Talking Stone Film

Film Reviews & Headlines


In this series I go bit by bit through the
Lord of the Rings films in the extended edition and try to explain all references and differences
to the books I can find in detail. In addition I try to pronounce names as Tolkien
described it. Also before we start a little reminder: I
now have a discord server. Feel free to join. I’m also streaming on twitch again after this
episode releases. Links are in the description. But let’s start: Bree has always been a fascinating place for
me. It has this romantic adventure feeling, that
I often think about when I play fantasy tabletop RPGs. In those your characters often end up in the
tavern, drinking ale, looking for opportunities, people or both, while loud laughter halls
through the room filled with the warm light of the fireplace and candles, seemingly pushing
both your problems and the troubles of the world away – at least for now. In the Lord of the Rings this feeling appears
when the Hobbits are standing in front of the Prancing Pony. Even though all the big houses seemed a bit
weird to Sam and the four hobbits try to be very careful, but when they go inside their
cautiousness seems to slowly decrease over time. On the sign above the entrance we see a white
pony on its hind legs, which is described in the book too. I really love this shot of the sign in the
film. Still there are small differences. In the book we find the white letters “Prancing
Pony by Barliman Butterbur” over the door and not on the sign, but still it’s pretty
close and makes totally sense for the shot. Another example of how well they captured
the essence of these chapters and made it work in film. Last episode we stopped at the 4 Hobbits talking
to Mr. Butterbur (the innkeeper), who seemed to remember something. The Book and film have some differences here. Ofc Frodo introducing himself as Mr. Underhill
is in the book too, but after that we will see s ome differences. However the film also plays a bit with expectations
(if you know the book). In the film the innkeeper Butterbur repeats
the name Underhill as if he would remember something. But then they ask for Gandalf and he flat
out says: no haven’t seen him in 6 month. In the book the name “Gandalf” isn’t dropped
immediately, but Butterbur also tries to remember something, when he hears the name “Underhill”,
but can’t. Frodo is a bit suspicious and if he would
have said “Gandalf”, Butterbur would have most likely actually remembered what it was. We come to this in a moment. So again some differences, but also some references. Then we see some shots of the people in the
Prancing Pony and the Hobbits eating at a table. In the book they were led into a separated
parlour to have supper and Nob (he and Bob were two Hobbits working for Butterbur) showed
them their bedrooms. He and Butterbur also served the supper and
invited the Hobbits to join the company in the common room. This part was removed in the film and the
Hobbits stayed in the common room almost all the time. Also Merry warns his friends, to be careful
on what they say to others. He also wants to go a bit outside. Pippin also asks Merry to not go too far away
from the inn, because it’s not safe. So both act more mature than they would in
the film – at least to some degree. So Merry stays back and later goes a bit outside. Frodo, Sam and Pippin, decide to join the
company and enter the common room. While Strider sitting in a dark corner is
straight out of the book, the crowd of the inn seems far more mixed in the text. There’s a dwarf company and hobbits are mentioned
among several Men, even some from the south. The film scenes work a lot with people on
stilts and they use a scaled up rebuild (so a giant version) of the set, also scale doubles
in some scenes to create this illusion. They put quite some effort into this. I think here we also see someone, who could
be a Hobbit and this guy in the background could be a dwarf. In the Prancing Pony scenes from the Hobbit
films the different peoples are easier to recognize. The company in the inn is pleased to see the
hobbits and even welcomes them, while Butterbur introduced them. Some suspicious men seem to observe the Hobbits,
which is also mentioned in the book too. One of them is a guy called Bill Ferny. We come back to him later. The people are curious about news from the
Shire (from where they have rarely visitors these days) and so the three Hobbits begin
to have conversations and drink some ale. The Bree Hobbits also have some Underhills
among them and think, that Frodo is a long lost cousin. However it becomes quite difficult for Frodo
to make up a background story for Mr. Underhill on the fly. Also he is asked what he does. And he explains that he is interested in the
history and geography of the area, because he writes a book about it, which brings the
people to tell him all kinds of stories, but when he does not start writing down notes
or writing his book right on the spot, people lose a bit interest in him. We see this hinted in the film with Pippin
talking to all kinds of people while Frodo and Sam are a bit isolated. In the book Frodo, Sam and Pippin all talked
to people and Merry is missing from these scenes completely, because he is outside. So the pint dialogue is e.g. not in the book,
but it indicates that Merry knows Bree and the Prancing Pony at least a bit, which is
the case in the book too). So Pippin tells some funny stories from the
Shire and many people start listening to him, we see this in the film too. Then we have the scene where Frodo notices
a figure with a hood sitting in a dark corner, smoking a strange long-stemmed pipe. A hood overshadowed his face, only the gleam
of his eyes could be seen, watching the hobbits. Fordo asks Butterbur who he is without looking. He says he comes here infrequent. Sometimes you see him often and sometimes
he is not seen in months. He is one of the Rangers. His name is not known, but people call him
Strider here and the people of Bree find the rangers suspicious. This scenes in particular was adapted so well
in the film. It’s really like seeing the book coming to
life. The follow up is however a bit different. In the book Strider asks Frodo to come to
his table and they have a brief talk. Both, book and film, play a bit with if Strider
can be trusted. They manage to subtle hint at, that Strider
must be a good guy over a short time, but I think they do this fairly well. Strider warns Frodo, that his young friend
(meaning Pippin) is talking too much. Frodo got alarmed too, as Pippin started to
talk about Bilbo’s birthday party. The last thing he wanted was that the name
Baggins was said aloud. Now you may think that the book continues
as it does in the film, but no, both have a lot of differences in the following scenes. To get the attention away from Pippin, Frodo
climbs on a table making a speech. Quite similar to the speech scene with Bilbo
at his party. He also plays with the One Ring in his pocket
while doing so. We see this referenced in the film, with Frodo
playing with the Ring , while sitting at the table, as it would call to him. Suddenly someone shouted “song”. And Frodo sung a song, he learned from Bilbo,
where a tavern is mentioned in. And people started singing with him, even
asking to sing it again and providing him some ale. It was a huge success, people were jolly and
Frodo successfully distracted from Pippin’s story. It’s reminiscent of the scene in the Green
Dragon Inn, from the Shire. It’s quite funny, that actually Frodo is dancing
and singing on the table and not the troublemakers Merry and Pippin. You can also find the lyrics in the book. There’s also another reference (maybe a bit
far fetched). Sam asks (after they say good bye to Tom Bombadil
earlier before entering Bree), if the Prancing Pony is like the the Green Dragon Inn, which
Merry answers to, hinting that the knows the inn (as mentioned earlier). So also the books establish a connection here. However there is the line in the song “the
cow jumped over the Moon”, where Frodo also jumped up on the table, but tripped and fall
down, breaking some mugs, to the laughter of the crowd. But when he landed on the floor, he just vanished,
because he accidentality put on the One Ring while hitting the floor – to the shock of
everyone in the room. In the film we also see Frodo fall, but the
circumstances are very different. He trips over the feet of someone, while trying
to stop Pippin from talking too much. Still it makes sense from my perspective,
esp. considering, that they had to cut down the Bree part a lot for the film. For a visual medium it also makes sense to
move the Ring from his pocket into the air. It has something forced by fate you could
say and visualizes this quite well. Even in the book Frodo explains, that he does
not know how the Ring got on his finger and that it maybe happened, because it wanted
to be found. I think this scene catches this quite well,
because it feels so unnatural, like a higher power wants this outcome. It also shows the power of the One Ring and
how it tries to cause problems (so it can be found by his master’s servants), which
is actually a threat for the hobbits’ lives. The film also has an interesting detail in
the scene, where Frodo plays with the Ring in his hands. You see that he seems to bite his finger nails,
which makes him quite human and you think, maybe this is due to the struggle with the
One Ring. But Elijah Wood was actually a nail baiter
and Sir Ian McKellen also commented on it, that it was brave of him to show this. E.g. he could have asked for a finger double. He later managed to stop with this habit after
Return of the King aired, because he hated seeing his nails on screen. Still it actually adds to the character of
Frodo Baggins in my opinion. So after falling down Frodo became invisible,
or he was moved to the so called Unseen to be precise, the part of the world, that is
hidden for most eyes. Only powerful spirit beings like Sauron or
powerful Elves, who have seen the light of the Two Trees of Valinor (and let’s say are
still filled with it) could see the Unseen. I really like the effect of the films for
the Unseen world and that they bothered to show it, which also hints at the fundamental
concept of it for people who don’t know the lore so well. Through this visualization effort it is indicated,
that it’s not a magic trick making the wearer transparent or bending the light around his
body. He is moved into a different aspect of reality,
that is the Unseen or Wraith-world. Ofc it’s still magical, but more interesting
this way and has at least some answers and some plausibility inside a fantasy world. I made a video about Magic in Lord of the
Rings, which explains this a bit in case you are interested. In the film Frodo sees the a fiery red eye
of the Dark Lord Sauron. This is not in the book. Also the Nazgûl become aware of him and ride
to Bree, which isn’t mentioned explicitly, but it’s implied. The books mention an Eye of Sauron, which
is also on his banners, or a gaze that watches the Ring bearer, but it’s not that explicit
and often feels more metaphorically used in the book. Ofc film as visual medium had to show something
and visualize it. Sauron in the books is not much described
or ever seen. It’s difficult for a story in film to have
an antagonist, who is never shown, so they saw the need for at least some kind of symbol
that appears to represent him and I think many people liked the idea. The fiery eye has become very iconic and it
works well for the films. When I make videos, I often have the problem
too, that I don’t have a picture of someone or something, so I need to find a way to still
visualize it somehow (think of the iguana in the dragons video). It is needed. So as someone who uses this medium as well,
I can totally understand why they did this. However after fearing the eye and the voice
of Sauron, Frodo takes off the OneRing. I really like the Nazgûl shots riding through
the night by the way. A really cool scene and the second time. where the danger of the Ring truly becomes
reality for the hobbits. In the book there is nothing of this. The people were just shocked and even upset. Also the suspicious looking guy called Bill
Ferny leaves with another strange guy. A squint-eyed southerner. Both whispered during the evening looking
at the hobbits. No clue who the squint-eyed guy might be in
this crowd. Either this one or that guy I guess. In the card game it’s the guy with the mug. In the book he is probably from Dunland and
potentially a half-orc, which is not represented in the film at all. He’s a trusted men of Saruman and together
with Bill Ferny, who is probably also working together with the Gatekeeper (named Harry
Goatleaf), they are selling information to the Nazgûl. As said last video, we have a small conspiracy
going on in Bree and Bill Ferny seems to be the local leader. Frodo in the meantime crawled invisible to
Strider and took the Ring from his finger. The crowd was speculating in shock what happened. They were not amused and discussed with Butterbur. Strider now asks Frodo, why he did that and
also hints at the Ring, seemingly knowing about it, which makes Frodo suspicious. He even calls him Mr. Baggins, which Frodo
ignores. The mysterious man also wants to have a quiet
word with him, when the situation cooled down a bit. Frodo knew, how dangerous the situation has
become for him now. The hobbit agreed and went to the crowd, trying
to deliver some kind of explanation that he just crawled under the table and then having
a few words with Strider (which is suspicious in of itself, because the mysterious Rangers
were not very popular in Bree). The people were not pleased with his explanation,
slowly leaving the inn until only the Hobbits and Strider were left – not even saying good
night to the hobbits. This would be a topic for conversations in
Bree for quite some time and a disaster for the hobbits. The enemy knows now where they are and that
a Frodo Underhill (who is probably the Baggins they are searching for) has the Ring. The Hobbits have a brief talk with Butterbur,
who is sad that all customers went home, but now he finally remembered, what he has forgotten. They go back into the parlour and Strider
follows them – unnoticed. Which is quite impressive and shows just how
skilled he is, but also why people fear him and the rangers. Only when the hobbits put some logs into the
fire, they notice him sitting in the corner of the room again. Pippin greets him and asks who he is. This is all very different in the film. Here Strider grabs Frodo after he becomes
visible again and brings him upstairs into a room to probably protect him and have a
conversation (we see a scale double of Frodo here on the stairs). Then Sam, Merry and Pippin kick in the door
and confront Strider. According to Sean Astin (Sam’s actor), his
performance in this scene was so good, it actually made Viggo Mortensen (the actor of
Aragorn) a bit nervous for a moment. Not sure if this is true, but I can imagine,
he really nailed it. It was also Elijah Wood’s 18th birthday and
he was the youngest of the four hobbits, with Billy Boyd, who played Pippin (the youngest
hobbit in the story), being the oldest. He was 30 at this time. However Aragorn draws his sword in this scene,
which is another difference to the book, where he draws it much later in the conversation
to introduce himself as Aragorn with the words: “But the time is near when it shall be forged
anew.” And ofc in the book it’s not any sword he
draws, it’s Narsil, the sword of Elendil, that broke when he threw down Sauron (perishing
in the process), so Isildur could cut off the finger with the One Ring. In the film it’s just a long sword and Narsil
is stored in Rivendell, where Aragorn also grew up. It’s a very interesting idea that the One
Ring meets this sword again in this situation, in some bedroom in a small village. This sword is the reason why the Ring is not
with Sauron anymore and part of his later downfall. A fateful moment. Peter Jackson said they really wanted to include
Narsil for this scene, but he and his team could not make it work and it would require
more explanation, which he could not implement in this scene. It also did not look good (almost a bit funny). So in the film we learn about it later in
Rivendell and they changed this to a normal longsword sword for this scene. Hard to say if this could have worked. I think a mysterious guy with a broken sword
is pretty interesting. Still in the film they play a bit more with
if Aragorn can be trusted. In the book it becomes pretty clear earlier
due to an element that is missing completely in the film. We come to this in a moment. But step by step. So in the book all is different. As mentioned Aragorn secretly follows the
Hobbits, they notice him and have a conversation in which several things are explained and
become clear. He offers the hobbits to guide them. He also explains that the he knows the black
riders (which is later referenced in the film too), that they also came to Bree a few days
ago and that he is their only chance to get to Rivendell (so he even knows where they
are going). But not only that: he even reveals that he
heard the conversation with Tom Bombadil and that Frodo will not use the the name Baggins
during their journey and is Mr. Underhill from now on. Aragorn calls Tom “Old Bombadil”, so it
implies, that he has some knowledge about him too. Still no mention of Gandalf. He also later reveals, that Gildor, the leader
of the elvish company, the Hobbits met in the Shire, who saved them from the Nazgûl,
spoke with him too. I really like how he seems to be connected
to so many people the Hobbits met. It is also in this conversation, where it’s
revealed in the book, who the dark figure was that climbed over the wall after the hobbits
passed the gatekeeper in Bree. Strider observed the Hobbits for quite some
time, even when they were talking to Tom Bombadil and followed them unnoticed until this point,
which really shows what a “boss” he is. Even though he is “only” a man, considering
all this it feels like he’s some powerful entity, that can move in the shadows. As Gandalf said: Aragorn, the greatest traveller
and huntsman of this age of the world. He also tells the Hobbits about Bill Ferny
and his men, who (as mentioned) were visited by the Nazgûl some days ago and would sell
information to them, but he also explains, that Butterbur is not involved in this and
that he would have stopped them to join the company in common room, but Butterbur would
not let him talk to the hobbits in the parlour. Now Butterbur, who Frodo suspected to be part
of the conspiracy, enters and apologizes. As mentioned he remembered what he had forgotten
(and now we come to the element that explains why Aragorn must be a friend but is missing
in the film). Butterbur had indeed talked to Gandalf three
month ago (not six as stated in the film,) and Gandalf gave him a letter, that he should
sent to Frodo, but he forgot to do so. He hands over the letter and it recommends
Frodo to leave the precise, which is really bad news for the Hobbits and if Butterbur
would have sent the letter in time, they would be in Rivendell by now, not having the Nazgûl
at their heels. The letter also mentions Strider and even
reveals his true name: Aragorn. Gandalf also says to make sure it’s the real
Strider. In addition there are some mysterious sentences
or hints, which start to make sense, when Strider introduces himself. Aragorn as if he could read their minds, references
or even quotes several of them. And some of the dialogue we also find in the
film. One of my favourites is when Frodo says: “I think one of his spies would – well,
seem fairer and feel fouler”. To which Aragorn laughs and says: “I look
foul and feel fair. Is that it? All that is gold does not glitter, not all
those who wander are lost.” This references the first line of the letter. A really cool dialogue. In the film this was moved to when the Hobbits
leave Bree with Strider. I said, that things become clearer and the
letter is one part of it. Another is that Aragorn also explains: if
he wanted to betray or kill the hobbits, they would be already dead and he proved this by
just suddenly sitting in their room and having knowledge of their secret conversations outside
of Bree. Which is a pretty convincing argument and
the hobbits can be pretty sure, that this is the real Strider. Frodo also expressed: “I believed that you were a friend before
the letter came or at least I wished to.” I can really recommend reading these chapters. It was a lot of fun re-reading them multiple
times for my research. However a few things are still missing in
the Bree part . E.g. Merry. But we will discuss those in the next episode. Thank you for watching. Again I want to hint at the discord server
for this channel. Everyone can join and we are discussing how
to name some “cosmetic” server roles right now. If you hurry you can still vote on it. I will also stream on Twitch for some hours
shortly after uploading this episode. Feel free to chat a bit with me and leave
a follow. For people who don’t know: streaming is just
a small side project for me and I hope the sound is better this time. This episode was a lot tougher to make than
I planned it to be. I was not happy with my text, so I had to
rewrite many parts again while doing the voice recording, which took forever too. Still I think it worked out in the end. I also planned to leave Bree in this episode,
but there are still some more details I want to talk about, so I decided to end the video
here. I hope you still enjoyed it. If so, press the like button and leave a comment. I read and answer almost everything. In case you are still listening and want to
subscribe: consider pressing the stupid bell for notifications. Next video will be lore related I guess. I maybe continue this series or find another
interesting topic. If there are bigger news of the planned Amazon
LotR related series, I will make a video about this. Right now there’s the rumour that the British
actor Will Poulter was cast for it, which is not a bad choice. Some see a young Elrond in him, but we will
see. Again thank you for watching and good bye.

17 thoughts on “Meeting Strider (Aragorn) & the Prancing Pony in Bree – LotR Film & Book Differences, Lore explained

  1. I hope you like it ):
    I'm streaming right now (or let's say in a few minutes):
    https://twitch.tv/thephilosophersgames
    Also check the TPhGames Discord Server: https://discord.gg/SPW68vh

  2. Almost complete as far as I can see. You didn't mention the weapons he gave to the hobbits. In the book the got them at the grave hills from Tom Bombadil.

  3. Bilbo wrote the "All that is gold" verses and Bilbo told Frodo that in Rivendell in the Great Hall when they first met.

  4. 17:12 ay. It’s just a longsword. Liked the video for that tid-bit. A lot o people usually get the terms for swords mixed up. But not ye.

  5. As for the Eye of Sauron? – Check out this amusing nickname that has been coined (NOT by me!): The Flaming Vagina Of Sauron!

  6. Shrewd observation that the Ring in the book has more psychological influence on it's wearers/bearers — the "chance" and "luck" (as we call it) elements are typically more indicative of Providence.

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