Fanboys love nothing more than to bitch and moan when some nitpicky detail of a novel they love doesn't make it into the final cut of the movie ("They left Peeves the Poltergeist out of Harry Potter? Now everything is just ruined!"). But the thing is, sometimes those changes happen for the right reasons. Below are honest-to-God insane elements of best-selling novels you definitely don't remember from the movies:
6The Lord of the Rings - The Ridiculous Tom Bombadil
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings defined the fantasy genre so hard that it'd have been stupid for all the other fantasy writers in the world not to rip him off, but it's also probably one of the least-cinematic novels you'll ever find this side of Ayn Rand. See, as we've already pointed out, Tolkien wasn't actually a novelist at all; he was a stodgy old linguistics professor with an awesome pipe habit who basically wrote the books as a support system for his made-up Elf languages.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Even in military uniform, he looks like the world's biggest nerd.
A fake language dictionary disguised as an epic fantasy novel, as you can imagine, doesn't exactly lend itself to the big screen. So, for the sake of streamlining the story, a lot of elements had to be tweaked or outright abandoned. For example, the book version drags on for six chapters after Gollum takes his swan-dive into the volcano, and before it's over, we see Saruman acting like a small-time mafioso in the Shire before ending up on the wrong end of a shiv. So, yeah -- the infuriating multiple endings in Return of the King: That's real. But what they left out was much weirder, such as the part where Merry and Pippin almost get eaten alive by an angry tree but are saved by a dancing, prancing forest-dweller who calms down the tree by singing to it and then lures the bewildered hobbits back to his secluded shack in the woods.
Meet Tom Bombadil:
Via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as "Holyfuckingbeard!"
Tom enjoys long walks in the woods, wearing a blue coat with stylish yellow boots, singing, flitting about like a wood-nymph-hobo and rescuing wayward travelers from angry trees. Oh, and when he talks, he sounds like this:
"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!"
In Chapter 7, Tom takes the hobbits (who inexplicably don't run in the opposite goddamn direction the second he opens his mouth) back to his home, where they are greeted by Tom's shockingly hot blonde wife, who serves them what "seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine and set free their voices."
Who's up for seconds?
Then it's off to bed for the hobbits, who are ominously warned, "Heed no nightly noises!" which has to be the most terrifying piece of bedtime advice you can possibly hear from a man whose facial hair looks like it has unspeakable sexual appetites of its own. Frodo, predictably, is plagued by terrible dreams all night and wakes up to Tom shouting, "Ring a ding dillo! Wake now, my merry friends! Forget the nightly noises! Ring a ding dillo del!"
"Ring a ding dello! The darkness demands tears and shrieking sacrifice! Ring a derry dol!"
Later, Tom shows up again to save the hobbits from a Barrow-wight, which is totally cool except that in the process, the hobbits mysteriously end up losing most of their clothes. "You won't find your clothes again," said Tom, "bounding down from the mound and laughing as he danced round them in the sunlight." Then he instructs them to "Cast off these cold rags" and "run naked in the grass!"
"I ... I guess we sort of have to, huh?"
Originally, Tom Bombadil has nothing to do with Lord of the Rings; Tolkien first wrote about him years earlier, portraying him as a sort of nature-spirit. He lifts out of the story so easily that even people who have read Lord of the Rings tend to forget about him. Who Tom is and why he lives in the woods are never fully explained; he's supposed to be "oldest and fatherless," so theories are that Tom may be God, or some kind of avatar of Middle-earth. You can read Lord of the Rings as an allegory for World War II, in which case Tom Bombadil represents the spirit of pacifism and noninvolvement. Which, as we all know, makes for bitching action movies.
In Tolkien's own words: "Tom Bombadil is not an important person -- to the narrative. I suppose he has some importance as a 'comment.' I mean, I do not really write like that: he is just an invention (who first appeared in The Oxford Magazine about 1933), and he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyse the feeling precisely. I would not, however, have left him in, if he did not have some kind of function."
"Or maybe it was all that pipe weed."
There you have it: The writer himself isn't prepared to commit to an answer about why the fuck this happened.