Here’s a fact we mentioned quickly earlier in the week, but which may have left some of you saying, “Wait, what? I need to know more about that” or “pics, or it didn’t happen.”

The Two Towers needed hundreds of riders on horseback. Rather than assembling actors and putting them on horses, it made more sense for the production to assemble riders from the area who already had bonds with horses of their own. A fair chunk of these riders happened to be women, and though the Riders of Rohan were men, these women worked fine in the part. Regardless of who was playing these characters with no lines, the crew were going to plaster them with fake facial hair and wrap them in costumes till they were unrecognizable. 

In the end, women played the majority of the riders. In behind-the-scenes footage, they talk about the difficulty of having to eat while wearing fake beards (theatrical beards, unlike real beards, do not stand up well to you opening your mouth wide). You can also watch this short clip, though most of it consists of Dominic Monaghan and Viggo Mortensen talking about Viggo and a bearded woman possibly hooking up.

The final movie in the trilogy features Eowyn blending in among the riders, disguising herself as a man. She very noticeably (to us) looks less manly than any of the others around her, and yet some of those riders are also women disguised as men, just with a more competent makeup regimen. 

The subject of bearded women also comes up in Lord of the Rings, separately from Eowyn’s stint at crossdressing. Gimli talks of dwarven women, who are often mistaken for dwarven men, they’re so manly in voice and appearance. It’s the beards, whispers Aragorn, and Eowyn giggles—but it’s possible that there are actual women in beards elsewhere on the screen during that very scene. 

We’re now getting The Rings of Power, which should give us a chance to see bearded dwarven women, and though promo shots fall short in this department, Amazon claims the little hairy women are coming. The show’s success depends entirely on this matter. 

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For more secrets of Middle-earth, check out:

Snow White Is A LOTR Sequel: A Mind-Blowing Theory

Each Piece of Armor Has a Backstory

6 Fictional Places You Didn't Know Actually Existed

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