Whether you agree or not, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most beloved franchises in history. Before the Peter Jackson films, the books tickled the imaginations of millions of fans worldwide and inspired countless other fantasy stories. Today, LOTR stands as a foundational pillar in the genre, but no adaptation can ever be truly faithful. There are always going to be things lost in translation.
The differences between the books and film really irk some people, whereas others have accepted the changes. Though we won't be picking sides, we will discuss some of the differences. With legions of fans of the books, the films, and those who love both, LOTR carries a cultural currency that few fictional worlds can rival. Quotes, images, and plot points are instantly relatable to the masses, which is precisely why LOTR memes are so effective.
First of all, through Eru, all things are possible, so jot that down. Secondly, the great minds at Reddit's r/lotrmemes collect and create incredible original and focused memes for us to enjoy. We've simply selected the memes that fit our topic and identified the ones we consider the funniest and most on-point.
Without further ado here are Lord of the Rings: 16 Hilarious Movies Vs Books Memes Only True Fans Will Understand.
16 Movie Vs. Books: Battles
Created by the talented Andy Kluthe over at Dorkly.com, this two-panel animation shows the difference in mindset behind J.R.R. Tolkien and Jackson when drafting battle scenes. On the left, Merry and Pippin discuss how, in The Two Towers book, the Battle of Isengard is described through dialogue afterward by the Hobbits. This is a tactic that Tolkien uses a few times throughout, as well as a tradition that many famous fantasy authors still use.
The other image, which is a hilarious animation of Legolas riding his shield down the steps of Helm's Deep firing arrows madly, captures what Jackson saw as important: high-octane action sequences. This shift is one reason Christopher Tolkien, J.R.R.'s son, hates the films so passionately, saying "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25."
15 Drawing Swords Together
It doesn't matter if you're familiar with this meme -- it's fantastic. Aside from being hilarious, it also highlights a change between the books and films. Say what you will about it, but most character manipulation is unavoidable in film adaptations. What typically happens in these situations is that multiple characters are melded together, creating fewer but better-defined characters. In LOTR, the characters are so numerous and so well-colored that this combination process proved very challenging.
Théoden, for example, does not say the "draw swords" line in the books.
That is said by Aragorn, but he says it to Éomer. Now, in the films, you'll remember that Éomer is banished at this point, so Théoden takes over his part. Meanwhile, Éomer takes over for a book character named Erkenbrand, who is actually the one that returns with his army and Gandalf from the East to win the Battle of Helm's Deep.
14 This Is My Chance
This funny meme points out the somewhat strange and rushed relationship between Éowyn and Faramir in the films. Many feel that the films underserved the relationship between these two characters, making them seem like nothing more than pair the spares partners after Aragorn brushes Éowyn off. We witness a quick montage-like sequence of these two falling in love and then they live happily ever after.
Yet, while the books engage in this romance in more detail, Tolkien was not one to get overly mushy. In fact, what little romance exists between these two is probably the only true romance in the books. Both the books and films complete their missions in different ways. Yes, there are some subtle messages here, such as love existing even at the end of all things, but, symbolically, the connection between Éowyn and Faramir is really only there to underscore the re-forged relationship between Gondor and Rohan.
13 No Man
We've all likely seen variations of this meme and they're all great. In the books, Éowyn is part of two different genderbending scenarios. The first being that she disguises herself as a male, Dernhelm, to join the fray. Since the movies could never get away with such a costume, the name is abandoned and Merry recognizes her immediately.
The second scenario is what we see in the meme. After the Witch-king declares that no man can best it, Éowyn reveals herself as a woman and defeats him.
Admittedly, Jackson makes the reasoning ambiguous, but his version of the fight is clearly different than the books.
Though it can be argued that film Merry weakened the Witch-king because he is "no man," which made him vulnerable to Éowyn, it seems more likely that a Éowyn's strike worked simply because she is a woman. In the books, though Éowyn may believe her gender is key, it is actually Merry's Barrow-blade that broke the Witch-king's invulnerability.
12 Who Is Your Daddy
The pairing of Kindergarten Cop and LOTR is soul food. This beautiful meme also brings up an important change in Faramir's daddy, Denethor II. In the books, Denethor is not the raving lunatic he is in the films. While Boromir is the idealized and favorite son to both versions of the character, the book Denethor does not so openly despise Faramir. In the book, Osgiliath is not yet taken when Faramir is sent back.
There's also the cause of the madness of Denethor. Though it is hinted at the films, the palantír of Anárion is largely absent. Viewers are to believe that Denethor is driven to madness by grief and despair. In the books, the palantír and, therefore, Denethor's communication with Sauron, began to corrupt him and causes him to despair. Sauron convinces him that men are doomed, and Denethor accepts that fate.
11 The Mines Of Moria
Despite this meme's underestimating the relative safety of the other passages, it's funny.
This meme addresses the change in Gimli's character, particularly regarding the Mines of Moria.
In the films, Gimli is desperate to go through the Mines. When the pass of Caradhras is suggested, the Dwarf says "I'd say we were taking the long way round. Gandalf, we could pass through the Mines of Moria. My cousin, Balin, would give us a royal welcome."
In the books, Gimli is not so hopeful of a family reunion. After all, much more time passed between their last communication than in the films. In Tolkien's text, it is only after Gandalf suggests the Mines of Moria that Gimli speaks up. "I will tread the path with you, Gandalf!'" he said. "I will go and look on the halls of Durin, whatever may wait there — if you can find the doors that are shut."
10 The Greatest Choke
Seeing how quickly Legolas strikes and how ranged his attacks are, you do have to wonder how hard he failed for Gimli to beat him. Now, there should be no underestimating Gimli's abilities either, he can easily dispatch groups of foes, but, the game probably shouldn’t have been as close as it was in the end. In the film, the competition gets interesting when Legolas shoots the quivering Orc that Gimli is "sitting pretty" on, adding a wrinkle, which may nod to some ambiguity from the text.
In The Two Towers book, Legolas loses as well. Interestingly, Jackson changed the scores from 42-41 to 43-42. As for the ambiguity, some fans wonder if Legolas let Gimli win. When Gimli says, "Alas! My axe is notched: the forty-second had an iron collar on his neck. How is it with you?" Legolas announces that Gimli beat his score "by one." Some believe that Legolas felt bad about Gimli being injured in battle though and the competition becomes secondary.
9 Gondor Calls For Aid
This meme hilariously represents a contemporary Théoden's lukewarm response to Gondor's call for help in the films. After Aragorn relays the fact that the beacons are lit, Théoden is not too quick to rally the troops. Instead, he questions why Gondor never came to help Rohan.
The possibility of Gondor being able to split their forces during their own war to help Rohan is another matter altogether, but Théoden's response is much different from the book.
In the text, Théoden quickly responds, "...say to Denethor that even if Rohan itself felt no peril, still we would come to his aid." He only ponders briefly the possibilities of his army being besieged before they ever get to Gondor, but he reaffirms his commitment to Gondor and battle for Middle-earth. Many purists agree that Théoden is one character that Jackson changed for the worse.
8 Hobbit Camouflage
In The Two Towers film, when Sam slides down the hillside near the Gates of Mordor and is nearly spotted, he's only saved by Frodo's quick thinking and magical Elven cloak. Now, in the books, the cloaks are quite effective -- they hide Merry and Pippen during the skirmish near Fangorn Forest and keep the fellowship largely unseen throughout their travels, but they don't seem to carry shapeshifting abilities as we see in the film.
While many fans may find the film cloaks to be overly effective in that scene, it is a pretty fantastic bit of filmmaking. When the camera shifts perspectives from under the cloak to outside it, the viewer expects to see Frodo and Sam under a cloak in some way, but they don't, they see only a boulder. When Frodo throws that cloak off, revealing that they were the rock, minds were blown.
7 Elrond Bop It!
Elrond yelling "Isildur!" in various ways is one of the more popular memes from LOTR. It's been done in many different ways, but the Bop It! meme is by far the best. While it's likely that the film took this moment from Tolkien's universe and actually improved upon it, the changes are palpable.
Elrond (and Cirdan) did try to dissuade Isildur to destroy the ring, just not as forcefully as the yelling Elrond we see in the films.
"Isildur took it, as should not have been," Elrond recalled. "It should have been cast then into Orodruin’s fire nigh at hand where it was made. But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood by his father in that last mortal contest; and by Gil-galad only Círdan stood, and I. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel."
6 King Théoden Twitter
Twitter-usage has given movie characters with Twitter accounts the opportunity to meme in hilarious ways, but this King Théoden post hits the concept out of the park. It presents several of the strategies that Théoden and the besieged employed, hence the "All of the Above" majority. We already mentioned drawing swords and looking to the East, which Jackson changed. In the text, Gimli did not blow the Horn of Hammerhand in the text, but that is of little consequence. The "Ride out and meet them" option, however, brings up another small change.
In the The Two Towers book, Théoden suggests the ride out, not Aragorn. "But I will not end here, taken like an old badger in a trap," he said. "When dawn comes, I will bid men sound Helm’s horn, and I will ride forth. Will you ride with me then, son of Arathorn?"
5 Ori: Then and Now
Jokes aside, this meme is great because it provides casual fans of LOTR with a cool little piece of trivia. Though many recognize the name Balin as one of the more prominent dwarves from The Hobbit films or book and pieced together that it is his tomb the fellowship encounters within The Mines of Moria, many others may not have noticed the mention of Ori in the same scene.
When Gandalf picks up the Book of Mazarbul inside the Chamber of Mazurbul, the skeleton hand that he moves is that of Ori.
We know this because it is also Ori who wrote about the Dwarves final stand against the intruding Orcs, finishing with his final words "They are coming."
4 Ranger Things
Discovered at Ninja & Pirate, this meme is an excellent piece of art combining the worlds of Stranger Things with LOTR. For our purposes, this picture works well to discuss the differences between the book and the film, specifically regarding Aragorn's task of finding Gollum. In the films, Gandalf mentions that he learned that Gollum revealed two words to the enemy: Shire and Baggins. But how?
This little riddle is answered in the books (and this meme). That's right, Aragorn found him. After Sauron tortured Gollum, he released him. Aragorn then found him and learned that he revealed who had the ring. Aragorn then took Gollum to Mirkwood (to Legolas and his father), from where Gollum would escape. In fact, Gollum's escape is the only reason Legolas attended the Council of Elrond.
3 Book Vs. Movies: Saruman
Another piece from Dorkly.com points out a problem for many fans: Jackson eliminating "The Scouring of the Shire" from LOTR is his greatest crime. In the books, when the Hobbits return home, the Shire is greatly changed. They learn that Saruman (going by the name of Sharkey) took over and created havoc in their once-peaceful homeland. After a brief struggle, Saruman is detained. With Wormtongue still at his side, Saruman insults his right-hand man for the last time. Wormtongue loses his temper and eliminates his master.
Obviously, in the films, a similar thing takes place on top of Orthanc, which allows Jackson to omit the entire scouring of the Shire.
While Jackson likely found the Hobbit's struggle with Saruman to be anticlimactic after all that the audience just witnessed, it will always remain a soft spot for many fans of the books.
2 The Battle For Helm's Deep Graph
The graph is simple and to the point, which is part of what makes it so hilarious. The scene in question from the films comes in the banter between Legolas and Gimli. The latter first mentions that of the 300 men at Helm's Deep, "Most have seen too many winters." Legolas then adds, "or too few." This is different from the books for a few reasons.
First, in the book, it is Gamling who says the line "most of them have seen too many winters, as I have, or too few." In the films, Gamling's role is actually expanded. He's the one who asks for Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas to disarm themselves before entering Meduseld in Rohan. Second, there are 1,000 men ready to fight in the books, not 300.
1 The Eagles
This one is less a problem now than it used to be online, but there are still many people who wish to talk about it. Admittedly, Jackson's films do make the Eagles seem like an awfully good taxi option without explaining why they could not be used, but this meme does a pretty stand-up job of discussing the sides.
The bottom line is: Sauron and his army were far too powerful for the Eagles to just fly up and drop the ring off.
They would be easily dispatched. Now, that's not even the canonical answer. The truth is that the Eagles, like the Wizards, were not to meddle in the affairs of Middle-earth. They were messengers, counsel, and helpers… not doers. The Valar instructed these beings not to tamper. Just because some (Gandalf) became too invested, doesn't mean we should judge those who obeyed their orders.
Which Lord of the Rings meme did you share? Let us know in the comments!