Everyone’s talking about the show The Rings of Power, so we’ve been thinking a lot this week about The Lord of the Rings. Mostly, we’ve been thinking about the films—the special effects, the costumes, and how they might have been different. But we’ve also looked at the life of Tolkien himself and the meaning behind the books.

Here's a look back at the facts we learned this week. These short summaries are not meant to be appreciated by themselves—each one links to a full article we put out this past week with much more info, so click every one that interests you, or you will elect the way of pain. 

1. Peter Jackson’s track record before these movies was unimpressive. 

His last movie, The Frighteners, flopped, and his other stuff was low-budget, so it’s baffling that New Line Cinema funded his production to the tune of $300 million. 

2. Half the riders were bearded women.

The movies needed experienced riders, they just happened to find a bunch of women, and so they rolled with it, disguising them with beards to play the men of Rohan. 

3. A Rings of Power theory could fix a big story problem. 

We’re not going to spoil it here, but if you’ve watched the latest episode, check the theory out

4. The books had this wacky subplot about a hobbit impersonating Frodo. 

Fredegar Bolger in the Shire dressed as Frodo to explain the guy’s absence from the area. We don’t totally understand what this disguise entailed, but it must have been ridiculous. 

5. The cast experienced all sorts of injuries, some of which they just shrugged off. 

For more, read 20 Facts About Tolkien Films to Know Them All

6. Mouthwash blackened the orcs’ mouths. 

Actors swished black licorice mouthwash between takes, so their mouths would reflect orcs’ black blood

7. There’s a ton of Tolkien stuff The Rings of Power can’t legally include.

They don’t have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, or The History of Middle-earth. They only have the rights to content from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit (which, you might notice, include only vague references to earlier time periods. 

8. A murderer watched the trilogy as his final request. 

Ronnie Lee Gardner watched the films during a self-imposed 48-hour fast preceding his death by firing squad for murdering three people. 

9. Return Of The King’s ending could have been even longer. 

Peter Jackson shot epilogues for Faramir and Eowyn, Legolas, and Gimli, and we have a snippet of footage

10. J.R.R. Tolkien never wanted his work published in paperback.

For more, read 12 World-Building J.R.R. Tolkien Facts (That Surprised Us)

11. The screeches of those Nazgûl-birds came from recordings of Peter Jackson’s girlfriend. 

Fran Walsh also cowrote all three movies and composed songs for the trilogy. 

12. Years before the Hobbit movies, Evangeline Lilly appeared in Canadian phone sex ads.

Oh, it was nothing explicit, it was just footage of her pretending to talk on the phone, but it’s still pretty funny. 

13. No, Sam Gamgee couldn't lift Thor's hammer. 

You might have heard fans throw this idea around to honor Sam, but it misses the point of the story, which mocked linking honor and power. 

14. The story in The Rings of Power shares a lot of similarities with another popular streaming series: Stranger Things.

Warning: We may have indulged in a little pipe weed before coming up with this comparison

Get the Saturday Morning Cracked Newsletter!

Your weekly round-up of Cracked deeps dives, delivered every Saturday and perfect over a nice bowl of cereal. Subscribe now!

Tags

Forgot Password?