Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens did an incredible job with The Lord of the Rings, bringing Tolkien’s world to life in a trilogy that’s stood the test of time. But with such long and detailed movies, there are naturally a few goofs that slip through the cracks, like the very brief glimpse of what appears to be a car driving past the shire or hardcore fans quibbling that tomatoes shouldn’t be present in Middle-earth.
Some people care very deeply about this sort of thing, occasionally to a scary degree. Now Sean Astin – who played the loveable Samwise Gamgee – has recalled one bizarre encounter in an interview with ScreenRant. The anecdote came as he discussed the instant stardom the cast experience in the wake of the films’ release:
“It’s funny how, after a week of it, you’re just used to it. You’re just like, ‘Oh yeah, of course, we’re in another thing, we’re in another thing. But we jump in the limo and there’s this guy knocking on the window because people were always like … It was like a Beatles movie, they were always chasing after you. It was crazy. But this guy, he was dressed fancy. So I rolled the window down a little bit, and he puts an envelope through the thing, and he is like, ‘Hi, I’m Dr. So-and-so.’ He’s like, ‘I have to tell Peter Jackson that there’s a mistake, or there’s an anomaly,’ or something like that.”
Within the envelope was an interesting point:
“When the cave troll comes into Balin’s Tomb, and it’s really the first time the Fellowship sets up as a group, and we’re fighting him. I’m using pots and pans on orcs, and Elijah’s [Wood] got the mithril vest to stave off the orc, or the whatever, the cave troll stabs him with the spear. Well, Balin’s Tomb, the dwarf is lit by a ray of sunlight, and the cave troll passes through it. Well, if you know The Hobbit, when trolls encounter sunlight, they turn to stone. This cardiologist had identified this seam in the universe, in the mythology where we had made this mistake. I just remember thinking, ‘I don’t think we can redo it now, man.'”
First and foremost, Jackson actually got this right. We see trolls in sunlight in multiple scenes in the trilogy: for example, being used to open the gates of Mordor or as soldiers in the attack on Minas Tirith. However, these aren’t the same kind of trolls encountered by Bilbo with a deadly aversion to sunlight. The ones in The Hobbit are Stone-Trolls, while the (apparently more common) variety sprinkled throughout The Lord of the Rings are Cave-Trolls.
Let’s hope for this consistency and attention to detail in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings show, which is expected to premiere in September 2022. More on that as we hear it.