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The Lord of the Rings
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NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by brentage5000 who also sent in the spoiler for Fellowship of the Rings.

The film actually starts in the Mines of Moria, with Gandalf (Ian McKellan) facing off against the Balrog (this happened in Fellowship). Gandalf makes the Balrog (a giant walking minotaur that’s always on fire) fall into the pit, but he gets dragged down too. Gandalf and the Balrog keep fighting while they’re falling (this part wasn’t seen – instead they showed the rest of the Fellowship escaping the mines), and eventually Gandalf is able to slice and dice the Balrog real good. Unfortunately, he doesn’t manage to kill it (yet – see more later), and the two of them fall into a big lake many miles below the surface, just in time for Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) to wake up screaming. This wakes his sidekick, Samwise “Sam” Gamgee (Sean Astin), and Sam asks what’s wrong, but Frodo says it was just a dream.

Before I go further, I’m gonna do a quick recap of everything that’s happened so far (for those who came in late). About five months ago (Middle-Earth time), Frodo, Sam, and their friends, Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck (Dominic Monaghan) and Peregrin “Pippin” Took (Billy Boyd) set out from the Shire with the intent of figuring out what to do with the One Ring, the tool of Sauron, all-powerful Dark Lord of Middle Earth, who was killed a long time ago but still hangs around in spirit form. Eventually, they found a way to Rivendell, home of Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and his daughter Arwen (Liv Tyler). There it was decided that the four hobbits would set out to destroy the ring, accompanied by Gandalf, the dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), the elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and the humans Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson) and Boromir (Sean Bean, who’s not in this one). Unfortunately, things went bad, and Boromir was killed by the fighting Uruk-Hai (see?) after trying to take the ring from Frodo, who then set out, accompanied by Sam, to destroy the ring without the others. Meanwhile, Pippin and Merry were captured by those same Uruk-Hai that killed Boromir, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli set out to find Merry and Pippin (for full details, see my Fellowship of the Ring spoiler, located in the spoiler archive).

Now, getting back to the story, Frodo and Sam eventually realize that they’re going in circles. In addition to this, Frodo thinks that they’re being followed. That night, the creature Gollum (Andy Serkis) tries to sneak up on the sleeping hobbits and retake the ring (it was unknowingly taken from him by Bilbo Baggins, Frodo’s uncle). Unfortunately for Gollum, they’re not asleep, and they manage to get him on a leash. The next morning, Frodo is able to convince Gollum to lead him and Sam into Mordor, despite Sam’s protests.

Now we cut to Merry and Pippin, who are tied to the backs of two Uruk-Hai, who are slowly making their way to the fortress of the dark wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee). They are followed by Aragorn, Legolas, and a none-too-happy Gimli (he’s not as fit as he thought). At one point, Pippin manages to get his elven brooch off and tosses it on the ground. The next morning, Aragorn finds it and realizes that they are less than a day behind the Uruk-Hai.

Meanwhile, Saruman is keeping himself busy. He has managed to convince a bunch of brigands (kind of like medieval thieves and plunderers) that the reason their life sucks is that the Rohan men took their land. He tells them to go and kill as many Rohan people as they can. Next we see a mother sending her two children off to the kingdom of Rohan to let them know what is coming. Meanwhile, over in Rohan, King Théoden (Bernard Hill) is not doing well. He is pretty much doing whatever his assistant Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif – Chucky from the Childs Play movies) tells him. One morning his niece Eowyn (Miranda Otto, who should definitely get more work after this) and her brother Eomer (Karl Urban) come to tell him that his son is dead. However, Théoden is so old and decrepit looking that he is unable to do anything more than sit there and say something that sounds like “Whe heh ma se Benewer?” Grima leaps to the opportunity and tries to dismiss them, and is able to get rid of Eowyn. Eomer, however, sees him looking after his sister and threatens him. In response, Wormtongue has him banished.

Getting back to the ring-bearer, we see Frodo, Sam, and Gollum walking through the dead marshes. These are swamps that have the souls of many dead elves, orcs, and humans in them. Gollum warns Sam and Frodo not to follow the lights or go in the water, but the ring, which is getting some power over Frodo, makes him fall in the water. Beneath the surface, Frodo sees a bunch of dead bodies reaching up for him and, more specifically, the ring. Fortunately, Gollum pulls Frodo up above the surface, saving him (or saving the ring, anyway). No sooner does the group get out of that fix than a Ringwraith appears, riding a Nazgul (a winged dragon with a neck as long as a giraffe’s and a head as big as computer monitor – same shape too). The Nazgul hovers about searching for Frodo and the ring, but just as Frodo’s about to put it on, Sam grabs his hand and forces the ring away from it. The Nazgul and Ringwraith leave, and the threesome continue on.

Next we go back to Merry and Pippin. Pippin has managed to slide away and get over to Merry while the Uruk-Hai are chopping up one of their brethren for dinner. He wakes Merry up, and the two of them try to get away by crawling, but one orc (or maybe it’s an Uruk-Hai – I’m not really sure) gets over to them and is about to kill them when the Riders of Rohan, led by Eomer, come up and set about slaughtering everything that has greenish skin and walks on two legs. During the chaos, Merry and Pippin get temporarily separated, and Pippin rolls underneath a horse that is on its hind legs. He screams, and the scene changes to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. The trio is still close, but Legolas pauses to say that a red sunrise means that blood has been spilled. Suddenly they hear horses and hide in some rocks, but it’s just the Riders of Rohan. Aragorn pops out and says, “Riders of Rohan! What news from the north?” and him and the other two promptly get surrounded by the soldiers. Eomer asks what they’re doing, and after a brief but funny testosterone match between Eomer, Gimli, and Legolas, Aragorn tells Eomer who they are and what they’re doing. Eomer says that last night they slaughtered all the Uruk-Hai. When Aragorn says that the hobbits would be the size of children, Eomer just shakes his head and gives the trio two horses, Brego and Hasufel. He then mounts his own horse and tells them not to hope for much, for “it is forsaken in these lands.”

Some time later, Aragorn and the others come upon a burning pile of orcs and Uruk-Hai. Aragorn grieves, but he then notices tracks indicating that two hobbits were there recently. The scene then switches back and forth between Aragorn explaining what happened and Merry and Pippin doing what he says. See, after the horse stood over Pippin, he rolled out from underneath it, and him and Merry managed to cut the ropes holding them. They got up and made for the forbidden forest of Fangorn and went inside, followed by an orc. We then see Merry and Pippin running from said orc. They fight him off and climb a tree. The orc grabs Pippin, pulls him out of the tree…and then gets crushed by the tree. Pippin then gets lifted up, and we find out that the tree is really an Ent, an ancient race. The Ent, whose name is Treebeard (voice of John Rhys-Davies) thinks that Merry and Pippin are either orcs or orc spies. Merry and Pippin make to leave, but they then meet someone dressed all in white who looks an awful lot like Saruman.

Now we go back to Frodo and Sam. Gollum is leading them closer and closer to the Gate of Mordor, and while he’s on ahead, Sam tells Frodo that he doesn’t trust Gollum. Frodo gets mad at Sam for saying so, but then apologizes. Sam says that the Ring is taking over Frodo. Frodo gets mad again, and then they arrive at the Black Gate. A pair of cave trolls open it, and the hobbits start down. Gollum stops them though, and he accidentally makes Sam fall down the hill. Frodo goes after him, and he and Sam hide under Frodo’s Elvin cloak, which works like the Invisibility clock in Harry Potter, only instead of turning you invisible, it camouflages you. In this case, it makes the soldiers who investigate the noise made when Sam fell that Frodo and Sam are nothing more than an overly large rock. The soldiers go away, and Gollum comes down the hill. He says that the hobbits shouldn’t go through the gate, and he says that there’s another way in. When Sam asks Gollum why he didn’t say this earlier, Gollum just smiles weakly and says, “Master did not ask.” Frodo asks Gollum if he means it. He also calls Gollum by his real name from long ago, Sméagol, and says that Gollum was once a hobbit, a long time ago. Sméagol swears that it’s true. Frodo then watches the gate close, and then turns to follow Sméagol. That night, while Frodo and Sam sleep, Sméagol argues with Gollum (he’s a split personality). The Gollum half of him wants to kill Frodo and Sam and take the ring, but Sméagol gets rid of the Gollum personality, saying that he doesn’t need Gollum and that Frodo will take care of him.

Now we cut back to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. They are searching Fangorn for signs of Merry and Pippin. Aragorn comes upon some orc blood and a strange giant footprint. Suddenly, Legolas hears something. He and Aragorn start talking in Elfish. They think that Saruman is behind them. Aragorn (in Elfish) instructs Gimli (who seems to barely understand Elfish) and Legolas to be quick. They then turn around, but the White Rider (as he was called by Eomer) forces them to drop their weapons. He then says that Merry and Pippin met someone they did not expect, and are now with Treebeard (we cut back to them at various spots over the next hour and a half, so I’ll just ignore them until they become important again). Aragorn commands the White Rider to reveal himself, which he does. It’s Gandalf. After being reminded of his name (a somewhat funny moment), Gandalf says that he was able to kill the Balrog at the top of a mountain peak. He then died, but was reborn. He is now Gandalf the White (or Gandalf 2.0, if you prefer). Gandalf leads the others out of Fangorn, and then calls upon the horses of the others and his own horse, Shadowfax. They then head for the kingdom of Rohan. Upon their arrival, they are stripped of all weapons save Gandalf’s staff, which he calls his walking stick. They go into the main hall, and after getting Wormtongue out of the way, Gandalf purges the spirit of Saruman from Théoden’s body (thus making Saruman fly across his room over in Isengard, Saruman’s tower). He then proceeds to make Théoden appear young again like he should, while Eowyn (who entered while they were disciplining Wormtongue) watches in shock. She goes up to Théoden and makes sure that he’s alright. Gandalf says that his strength will be better if he holds his sword. Théoden does, and the next shot is Théoden kicking Wormtongue out, and Wormtongue making for Isengard. Later, Théoden has a burial for his youngest son, who died while he was crazy. After the burial, the children who were told to head for Rohan at the beginning of the film arrive. While Eowyn patches them up, Théoden and the four members of the Fellowship discuss their next course of action. It is decided that they should head for the fortress at Helm’s Deep. Before they leave, Gandalf mounts Shadowfax with the intention of catching up with Eomer and the Riders of Rohan. Gandalf says that at dawn on the fifth day, look to the east. However, Wormtongue already told Saruman that they would do this, and on the way to the fortress, they are attacked by orcs riding wargs, which are hyenas that are the size of bears and have the attitude and appetite of wolves. Before the attack begins though, we see Aragorn remembering Arwen giving him a necklace that holds her immortality. After, we see Arwen arguing with Elrond about whether she should stay in Middle-Earth or go to the west with the other elves. Arwen decides to go, and Aragorn stops recalling this memory to Eowyn just in time for the attack to begin. The battle is quite vicious, depleting the better half of the forces of Rohan. Before the battle is over, Aragorn gets his clothes stuck in a warg’s saddle and goes over a cliff and into a river. The survivors head for Helm’s Deep, and Gimli, who was getting quite close to Eowyn on the way there, tells her of Aragorn’s fate.

Meanwhile, Aragorn (not dead) is floating in a river and washes up on the shore. He is woken by Brego, his horse, mounts Brego, and heads for Helm’s Deep. On his way there, he sees Saruman’s army of ten thousand (at least) Uruk-Hai heading for Helm’s Deep. He gets there amid much cheering and some joshing from Legolas. He goes to Théoden and tells him of the approaching army. Théoden orders the women and small children to be put in the caves below while every man and able-bodied teenaged boy will be armed for battle.

Now we go back to Frodo’s party. He is woken one morning by Sméagol, who has a present for him – two dead rabbits. He starts to make Frodo eat them, but is stopped by Sam, who says that will make Frodo sick. Sam then does something that really angers Sméagol – he makes stew out of the rabbits. While Sam and Sméagol argue about the best way to eat fish and chips, Frodo goes wandering. He comes to the top of a hill, looks down, and sees a large army of men working for Sauron. With them is a pair of Oliphaunts – ten story tall elephants with four tusks. Sam and Sméagol come up behind him just in time for the whole group – Oliphaunts and men – to come under attack. Sméagol splits early, and just as Sam and Frodo make to do the same, they get captured.

Some time later, Frodo and Sam find themselves in a large cave, surrounded by the men who attacked Sauron’s forces. They are led by Faramir (David Wenham), brother of Boromir. He asks who they are and they tell him their names and a part of their quest. When Frodo mentions Boromir, Faramir asks what happened to him, but the hobbits say they don’t know. That night, Faramir wakes Frodo and asks him to come with him. They go to a cliff overlooking a pool. Frodo sees that Sméagol is hunting for fish in the pool. Faramir says that the pool is forbidden and that he must kill Sméagol, but Frodo says that Sméagol is bound to him and vice versa. Instead, Frodo goes down and convinces Sméagol to follow him, letting the men capture Sméagol. Sméagol is taken to a chamber and questioned by Faramir, but he slips back into the split personality mode. Faramir is able to pick up enough to figure out what Frodo carries. He calls Frodo on it, but instead of letting him carry on with his quest, he forces Frodo to come with him to Osgiliath, a city on the edge of Mordor that is under siege by Sauron’s forces.

Meanwhile, at Helm’s Deep, Legolas and Aragorn are arguing (in Elfish) about Théoden’s decision of recruiting everyone. Legolas says (in Elfish) that they will all die, and Aragorn yells out (in English) “Then I will die as one of them!” They part company, and Aragorn goes outside. There he talks to a boy who is nervous about the coming battle. He reassures the boy, thus conquering his own nervousness. He and Legolas make up just as a horn sounds. Legolas says that it is not an orcish horn. They go join the king and see an army of Elves at the gates. They come in, and their leader says that they are renewing their alliance with Rohan, and just in time. Soon, the Uruk-Hai come and begin their attack. The Battle for Helm’s Deep begins, while at the same time we see the battle in Osgiliath, where Faramir basically throws Sam, Frodo, and Gollum aside and tells them to keep out of trouble. While the people (at both sites) are fighting, Pippin and Merry are trying to convince the Ents to go to Isengard and stop Saruman. Treebeard tells Merry and Pippin that they will not fight, and he will take them to the Shire. As they’re getting ready to go, Merry expresses his anger at the whole lazy lot of them. As Merry and Pippin are riding Treebeard back three things happen. First, Frodo goes to the top of the city and almost gives up the ring, but is stopped by Sam, who he draws a sword on. Second, Pippin is able to convince Treebeard that they’d be safer if they headed south towards Isengard. Third, the Uruk-Hai are able to break into Helm’s Deep. The men and elves retreat, just as Aragorn notices that it’s dawn. Gimli climbs to the top of the tower, looks east, and sees Gandalf and the Riders of Rohan arrive. They overwhelm the orcs. Meanwhile, Treebeard arrives at Isengard and sees that Saruman has killed many Ents. This REALLY p***** him off, and he sounds a battle cry. Other Ents arrive, and they wage war on Isengard. Some Ents get set on fire, but eventually, a few Ents manage to break open a dam, causing water to flood Isengard’s pits, basically ending the battle there (and creating a huge lake around Saruman’s tower).

Back in Osgiliath, Frodo has let Sam go. Faramir comes up and Sam tells him that Boromir died because he tried to take the ring. Faramir understands and lets Sam, Frodo, and Sméagol carry on with their quest. We cut to Helm’s Deep, where Gandalf, Eomer, Théoden, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli look out over the battleground. Gandalf says that the battle for Helm’s Deep is over, but the battle for Middle-Earth has just begun. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam are slowly following Sméagol east towards Mordor. Sam begins talking about how he’d like to hear some stories or songs someday about “that brave hobbit, Mr. Frodo Baggins.” Frodo smiles and reminds him about that most important character, “brave Samwise Gamgee.” They laugh and go to catch up with Sméagol. Sméagol meanwhile has gone on ahead a little and is talking with Gollum. Gollum thinks that the hobbits betrayed them and deserve to die. Sméagol says that he can’t kill them, but then Gollum says that he doesn’t have to, that “she” could kill them for Sméagol. Sméagol agrees, and then he leaps out from behind the tree he was hiding behind and calls to Sam and Frodo to catch up. They catch up to him, and Sméagol turns and leads them onward into Mordor.

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