The biggest complaint about The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the ending-- or should we say endings?
After the One Ring fell into Mount Doom, viewers were treated to the destruction of Sauron and the breaking of his armies. Frodo and Sam were rescued and everyone went home for medals and marriage. Then there was an extended sequence of goodbyes that had a lot of cinema goers looking at their watches in frustration, waiting for it all to end.
However, the book series has even more story after Sauron's fall, which includes the Scouring of the Shire (which was cut from the movies) and details of what happened to the Fellowship and their allies once the War of the Ring had ended.
We are here today to look at the final fates of many of The Lord of the Rings characters which were ignored in the movies-- from Gimli's best friend boat ride with Legolas to the A Clockwork Orange scenario that was about to take over Middle-Earth.
Here are the 15 Things You Never Knew Happened AFTER Lord Of The Rings Story Ended.
15 Saruman Was Forced To Wander The Land As A Ghost
Saruman was cheated out of his fate in the theatrical edition of Return of the King. Gandalf just says that Saruman won't be a problem anymore and he is never mentioned again. The special editions did show Saruman's fate, as he is killed by Legolas and falls to his death from the top of Orthanc.
However, in the books, Saruman managed to escape from Orthanc. He took control of the Shire even though his power was almost gone. This led to the final battle of the War of the Ring, which came to be known as the Battle of Bywater. Saruman was eventually killed by Grima Wormtongue on the steps of Bag End.
Saruman's spirit should have been allowed to return to the Halls of Mandos, as he was a Maia and could not truly die, but instead, his spirit was barred from returning home and he was forced to wander Middle-Earth forever, in a totally powerless state.
14 Sam Followed Frodo To The Undying Lands
As the story of The Lord of the Rings progresses, there is a bigger focus given to Samwise over Frodo. This is because Frodo is forced to deal with a great burden, while Sam can only watch and do nothing to help.
Frodo eventually decided to leave Middle-Earth behind, which was partly inspired by the great pain he felt from the wound he suffered on Weathertop. Sam chose to remain, as there was still a lot he needed to do in Middle-Earth.
Sam went on to get married to a woman named Rosie, and the two of them had thirteen children. The Gamgee family inherited Bag End from Frodo when he left for the Undying Lands, and Sam would eventually become the Mayor of the Shire, which was a role he served for forty-nine years.
When Rosie died, Sam decided that the time had come for him to be reunited with Frodo. Samwise traveled to the Grey Havens and was allowed passage to the Undying Lands. He was allowed to make the journey because he had been a Ring-bearer for a short time.
13 Sauron Was Unable To Take A Physical Form Again
When Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's finger, it destroyed his physical form. In the books, he had actually managed to regain a pitiful physical body. Pippin briefly witnessed this form when he looked into the Palantir and was seen by Sauron. When the One Ring was destroyed, this body faded away, leaving only a malicious spirit in its place.
Sauron put so much of his power into the One Ring that he essentially crippled himself when it was taken away from him. With the One Ring destroyed, Sauron would never be able to take a physical form again.
Like Saruman, he would be forced to wander Middle-Earth as a spirit who could no longer affect the living world. The threat of his return to power was thus over for good.
12 Gimli Became The Lord Of The Glittering Caves
Gimli fought alongside King Theoden and his men during the Battle of the Hornburg. This is the conflict that came be to known as the Battle of Helm's Deep in the movies. The women and children were housed in a massive underground complex beneath Helm's Deep, called the Glittering Caves. The battle eventually reached the Glittering Caves, which Gimli defended.
Once the War of the Ring was over, Gimli was granted lordship over the Glittering Caves. He created a colony for his people there and they fixed a lot of the damage caused by the war.
Gimli would eventually reunite with Legolas and the two would make the same journey that Frodo made and go to the Undying Lands. Gimli became the only dwarf who was ever afforded this honor.
A scene of Gimli taking over the lordship of the Glittering Caves was actually filmed, yet only a brief clip of it has been released. Peter Jackson has admitted that he is hoarding some clips for a future Star Wars style special edition of the films, so we will likely see it at some point in the future.
11 Legolas Tried To Rebuild The Lands Around Ithilien
There is a question of whether Legolas was the only son of King Thranduil. As far as we know, Legolas never had any aspirations to become the ruler of the Woodland Realm. This isn't helped by the fact that we don't know Thranduil's ultimate fate, as it is never stated whether he traveled to the Undying Lands with his kin or remained in Middle-Earth.
Once the War of the Ring had ended, Legolas traveled the world with Gimli. They revisited a lot of the places that they had traveled through in haste during their quest. When Gimli became the Lord of the Glittering Caves, Legolas took some of his people to the Ithilien region of Gondor in order to help repair the damage done during the war.
Legolas would eventually be reunited with Gimli, as the two of them would travel to the Undying Lands together. They were the last people to ever travel to the Undying Lands, though another Ring-bearer would precede them...
10 Aragorn Died At The Age Of 210
A lot of the members of the Fellowship were allowed to retire in some capacity after the destruction of Sauron. Aragorn was not allowed to, however, as he became the King of Gondor at a time when his realm was at the edge of devastation. In many ways, his struggle had only just begun.
Aragorn became known as King Elessar after his coronation. It was up to him to restore the damage that had been under Denethor's reign, which involved fixing the relationships with Gondor's former allies and bannermen.
King Elessar would eventually restore the old alliances between Elves, Men, and Dwarves that had been abandoned long before. He would also lead campaigns against the Haradrim in order to take back all of the lands that Gondor had lost over the years.
King Elessar died at the age of two hundred and ten. He said his goodbyes to his family and passed control of Gondor over to his son Eldarion.
9 Merry Became The Master Of Buckland
Meriadoc Brandybuck rode into battle alongside the Rohirrim at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. He helped Éowyn kill the Witch-King of Angmar by bravely sneaking up behind him and stabbing him when he wasn't looking. For his bravery, Merry was knighted and earned the name Holdwine from King Éomer.
Merry returned to the Shire with his friends and helped defeat Saruman and his cronies. With the Shire free from corruption, Merry was free to marry Estella Bolger, who produced a single son whose name remains unknown. Merry would go on to become the Master of Buckland and would eventually write Old Words and Names in the Shire.
When Merry reached the age of one hundred and two, he left his homeland behind and traveled with Pippin once more. The two of them visited Rohan and Gondor, before passing away. Both Merry and Pippin were entombed alongside Aragorn after his death.
8 Arwen Was Spared From An Eternal Life Without Aragorn
The Lord of the Rings movies gave Arwen a far bigger role than what she had in the books. It is believed that her relationship with Aragorn was focused on in an effort to make the films interesting to women. This turned out to be unnecessary, however, as many of the women in the audience couldn't wait for Liv Tyler to get off the screen so that the action could continue.
In the books, Arwen gave Frodo her seat on the ship to the Undying Lands, as she wished to stay in Middle-Earth and remain mortal. She had a son and several daughters with Aragorn and remained at his side for over a century. Arwen died a year after Aragorn passed, as her broken heart would not allow her to live without him. She was spared the agony of an immortal life without him.
At the time of her passing, Arwen was almost three thousand years old.
7 Treebeard And The Ents All Stopped Moving
Treebeard is said to be the oldest native of Middle-Earth to still be alive in the Third Age. He is one of the few remaining Ents that have maintained their consciousness into the modern era of The Two Towers. The Ents are unable to breed due to the fact that all of the female Ents (known as Entwives) disappeared long ago.
There are some Ents that became so dormant that they actually lost their consciousness and transformed into trees. This would be the fate of all of the Ents, as they had no means of reproduction. Treebeard and his friends would one day turn into regular trees. We don't know what the timeframe for this change was, but it was inevitable.
Galadriel hinted that the Ents still had some part to play in the fate of the world and that they would all one day reawaken after the apocalypse and walk among the people of Middle-Earth once more.
6 Éowyn & Faramir Had An Important Grandchild
Éowyn and Faramir were kind of abandoned by the narrative of The Lord of the Rings. This is especially true of Éowyn, who rode into battles while disguised as a man and was the one who kills the Witch-King of Angmar. She then met Faramir and decided to give up on the whole being a warrior thing and become a house wife instead.
Faramir gave up his position as the Steward of Gondor, though Aragorn told him that his family would retain this office, should they be needed again. Faramir became the Prince of Ithilien, with Éowyn as his wife. He led several campaigns to restore Gondor's old territories, which included retaking Minas Morgul.
The grandson of Éowyn and Faramir was a man named Barahir. He was the one who wrote The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, which chronicles the lives and the growing relationship between the two star-crossed lovers.
5 Pippin Became The Thain Of The Shire
The record industry doesn't exist in Middle-Earth. This is the main reason why Peregrin Took was unable to pursue a music career after the War of the Ring. This is a shame, as he probably could have got to number one with that song he sang to Denethor in Return of the King.
When Sauron was finally defeated, the Hobbits returned to the Shire. Pippin and his fellows defeated Saruman and freed the Shire from his cronies. He would go on to marry the young and beautiful Hobbit maiden called Diamond of Long Cleeve. The two of them would have a son, whom Pippin named after Faramir. This boy would eventually grow up and marry Samwise's daughter Goldilocks Gardner.
Pippin would become the Thain of the Shire, which was a position he held for fifty years. He would eventually go on the road again with Merry and the two of them would revisit Rohan and Gondor. The two of them lived out their days in Gondor and were eventually buried alongside Aragorn.
4 Éomer Became The King Of Rohan
When Aragorn took on the mantle of King Elessar, he spent most of his reign rebuilding the kingdom of Gondor, which had been taken from them over the centuries. He would form the Reunited Kingdom, which brought most of the lands around Gondor under his control. This kingdom stretched to the borders of Rohan, which was now ruled by King Éomer.
When King Theoden died, the crown went to Éomer, as he was the next male in the line of succession. He would go on to earn the title of "The Blessed" since his reign helped to heal much of the damage that been caused during Theoden's later years.
Éomer would later marry Lothiriel, who was the daughter of Prince Imrahil (an important character from the books who was left out of the movies). The two of them would have a son named Elfwine, who followed Éomer as the next King of Rohan.
3 Bard Became The King Of Dale
Those who read The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings were probably wondering why some of the characters from the former never appeared in the latter. Why did no one come to the aid of Rohan or Gondor?
The answer is that Sauron was also attacking them. His plan involved attacking all of those who posed a threat to him at the same time so that they could not come to the aid of the other.
After the Battle of Five Armies was over, Bard and his people recreated the Kingdom of Dale. He became the first ruler of the revived Kingdom and used his share of the treasure from Smaug's hoard to help it prosper. Bard ruled for thirty-three years before passing away.
When the War of the Ring began, Sauron almost destroyed Dale with an army of Easterlings. Bard's grandson Brand was killed in battle. The people of Dale were forced to flee to the Lonely Mountain. However, Brand's son eventually led a successful counterattack and freed the Kingdom of Dale once more.
2 Shelob Became The Last Of Her Kind
It's not known if Shelob survived her battle with Samwise. She scuttles off before a definitive conclusion can be reached. Sam can still hear her making noise after he puts the One Ring on, but she very well could be dying from her wounds.
If Shelob did survive, then we do know that she became the last of her kind. She was responsible for the creation of most of the giant spiders of Middle-Earth, as they all claim descent from her in some form or another.
When Sauron was defeated and the Fourth Age began, the kingdoms of Men worked hard to wipe out all of the giant arachnids that plagued the dark places of the world. Shelob was smart and powerful enough to avoid this fate, though her kind would never be allowed to repopulate again.
Shelob also recently became a woman who loves to show off her legs in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, though that's likely not canon.
1 There Was A New Shadow
Return of the King ended with Samwise returning home with his family. It's a fitting ending for the series, though it wasn't always meant to be the conclusion to the story of Middle-Earth.
J. R. R. Tolkien had begun work on a sequel to The Lord of the Rings, which was going to be set in the realms of Men over a century after the fall of Sauron. With most of the supernatural threats of Middle-Earth gone, the humans that remained became corrupt.
Satanic cults would have sprung up in Gondor, with the youths dressing like Orcs and smashing up property. It would have been up to two new characters, named Saelon and Borlas, to uncover the darkness within Gondor. This would have been the plot of The New Shadow.
Tolkien only wrote thirteen pages of The New Shadow before abandoning it, as he felt that the story was too dark and wasn't worth telling. The pages that he wrote were later published by Christopher Tolkien.
It seems that Middle-Earth didn't need a Sauron or Saruman around to corrupt the hearts and minds of mankind. They were perfectly capable of doing it on their own. Does this unfinished story reflect Tolkien's view of the world after he returned from war? We'll never know for sure.
Are you surprised about the real Lord of the Rings ending? Let us know in the comment section!