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DMotR Special 1:
A Pointed Editorial

By Shamus
on Monday Jul 23, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


This week I’m posting some amusing screencaps and photoshoppings while I recover from surgery. DMotR will resume next week.

Fan feedback for Peter Jackson.

Some fans take the story more seriously than others.

Comments (124)

1 2

  1. Yahzi says:

    I also wanted to see the Cleansing of the Shire. Would have been much better than all those silly goodbyes.

  2. Medium Dave says:

    Now wait, Hashberry was a genteel and marvelous wench.

    My shots-Wham! For the whole Osgiliath plot? Huh? Faramir rejected the ring. Period.

    Wham! The Barrow Wight scene is where the +20 vs Wringwraiths daggers were found, enabling Pippin the nail the head Nazgul. You think a lucky shot was enought to slay one of these creatures? Some wench whipping a longsword out is not a basis for dropping a boss monster. Sorry. The Nazgul were far nastier than that. What happened to the Black Breath?

    Wham (Ballista Bolt) No scouring of the shire/oddly compacted death of Saruman, on of the greatest of the Mayar by a freaking BACKSTAB from a little piece of work like Wormtongue? Totally anticimactic.

    Whams-Making Gimli the comic relief. And so on.

  3. -Chipper says:

    Luke (Thrythlind) – well said!

    I DO like the movies. But… It’s taken me a few years to see that the things in them I didn’t like fell into two main categories:
    1. the loss of characters’ nobility as noted by others here;
    2. things that didn’t make sense just within the movies themselves ignoring what the books said. Mostly this was in The Two Towers – how the characters wanted to defend Rohan (Let’s ride out rather than stay behind thick defensible walls!), Gandalf’s charge down a hill into a bunch of pikes that somehow managed to miss 99% of the charging horses, horsemen easily charging thru the massed orcs on the causeway, ents not knowing their forest is being decimated (c’mon guys, you’re the shepherds of the trees, how hard can it be to notice your stationary flock is dwindling so fast?), then being tricked into fighting, and all of them being within 10 ent-strides of Treebeard when he calls.

    But it is still visually stunning and mostly a great set of movies.

  4. Nixorbo says:

    “one of the greatest of the Mayar by a freaking BACKSTAB from a little piece of work like Wormtongue? Totally anticimactic.”

    So … you like the original death of Saruman better, where Wormtongue stabs him, better than Jackson’s death of Saruman, where Wormtongue stabs him?

  5. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Medium Dave:

    Unfortunately, if you don’t have Bombadil, you don’t have the Barrow Wights.

    However, it is acceptable to believe that Aragorn would have access to similar daggers. After all, it was the type of blade used, a blade of old numenor, that caused the protective spell around the Wraith King to fail and allow him to be killed by Eowyn’s simple longsword.

    Made stats for that in a live action game once. Basically, any creature hit by the dagger loses all regenerative abilities for like 20 seconds and, if killed in that period, they can’t come back to life.

    That said…the Barrow Wight scene would have been cool

    And Chipper, you’re right…most of the problems come in the second movie and towards the end of the third.

    and we haven’t even gotten to nitpicks like how the images of Barad Dur and Mount Doom were reversed in position as Sam and Frodo saw them coming down from the border-fortress.

    Or the lack of the scene with the Watchers.

    And we never get to see Pippin go berserk on a troll chief like he did in the book.

    Pippin SOLOED a troll chieftian in the last battle…the only telling blow it laid on him was FALLING on him so he couldn’t participate in the battle further.

    Poor Merry, meanwhile was stuck in Minas Tirith recovering from the Black Breath

  6. Luke (Thrythlind) says:


    That is because the languages of Adunaic, Quenya and Sindarin that really have an English “r” phoneme. They have one that approximates it, however, so it is easiest to approximate the spelling with an “r”, it’s deeper in the throat, though, and comes out sounding like you tried to swallow something as you talked. It is not a sound we have in the English language any longer (though if you’ve ever had to recite Old English, you might recognize it)

    As such, anytime he’s saying the name of a place named in one of those old tongues, he pulls it back from the front of the mouth a bit, not quite to the level of old English “gh” but still pulled back.

  7. Matthias says:

    Been reading this webcomic for awhile, and I’ve been greatly entertained between this and OOTS.

    My geekish take on Peter Jackson’s LOTR is that his Middle Earth is an alternate universe. They are similar enough in all the things that really matter, and as an adaptation of print to film it works just fine.

    Also the side-commentary on the vagaries of tabletop gaming (and especially DMing) are outstanding. Shamus, you really do need to collect these insights in one place and write the DMG III.

    Thirdly, I wish people here would stop trying to give Shamus ideas. How’s it going to look if someone posts a clever way of handling some future scene, and that’s what Shamus ends up doing? Sure, that one person looks smart, but it ruins the experience for everyone else.

    I know that as a DM I hate when my players talk among themselves out-of-character about some upcoming part of the campaign and decide they already know what’s going to happen (especially if they’re right!) It ruins the suspense for everyone else and steals the thunder of the storyteller.

    So enough with the “I bet he’ll do X next” sort of posts, just sit and watch with the rest of us. :)

  8. TheFlyingPig says:

    Hi Shamus, sorry to hear you health is less than perfect….
    this week maybe I can amuse you a bit. Here’s a project I did 2 or 3 years ago – FlyingPigComix. This one also grew out of an online game…..certain of my fellow players along with other guest stars form the cast. keep promising myself that I’ll rewrite it sometime cos it could be much better…..


    Anyway, been meaning to express my appreciation of DM of the Rings for some time – I’ve been following it for some few months now & it just gets better! Thanx – and I have never played D&D but DM makes me want to give it a go although I suspect the real thing probly aint a patch on the comic!
    And remember – No grunt, no phunt! – TheFlyingPig

  9. TheFlyingPig says:

    ps – email address on the letters page in episode 5 works…..

  10. Scarlet Knight says:

    Colin, You ARE consistent. Still, I feel like I’m working with Harpo Marx; only your bicycle horn goes “Pimp”!

    Imagine: *Scene: hospital room*
    Colin races in, then stops at Shamus’s bed. He reaches deep into several of his coat pockets, pulls out several random objects ( DMOTR mug,” My dice are trying to kill me” T-shirt, etc) before finding Get Well card in his hat. Shamus, touched, extends his hand to thank Colin. Colin places leg in Shamus’s hand, squeezes horn *Pimp*! He then gets chased from room when a hobbit smoking a cigar and a dwarf with an Italian accent run in…

  11. Telas says:

    After reading through all the slings and arrows directed at PJ, I came to the conclusion that these movies could have been far, far worse.

    While I can pick nits all day long, at the end of the day I’m thankful that we got the trilogy we did. If you don’t think Hollywood can screw up a good book, try renting Johnny Mnemonic some day…

    Oh, the horror…

  12. Smith says:

    Bombadil got his revenge: ever seen the music video of Leonard Nimoy singing “Bilbo Baggins”? d20 SAN loss, there.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Shamus!

  13. xbolt says:

    This is for ruining the scene with Gollum, Frodo, and Sam on the winding stair!

  14. Ambidexter says:

    I didn’t miss Bombadil. Switching Arwen for Glorfindel was no big deal. I understand why Jackson didn’t do the Cleansing of the Shire.

    But messing with Denethor really annoyed me. In the book, Denethor is an intelligent, highly competent ruler of a powerful country. He’s tricked by Sauron through the palantir into despair. That makes him a much more interesting and complex character than the nutjob that Jackson portrays.

  15. Jadawin says:

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Aragorn going over the cliff- hey Jackson you brainiac, in case you didn’t notice, Tolkien already used that plot device with Gandalf, and you wasted time that could have been spent putting all the crap you left out in.

  16. Deoxy says:

    The loss of Denethor as a sane character was a shame, but I can see that trying to convey a more complex character, especially a secondary character like that, would have taken more time that was needed for other things. Yes, I would rather have had the extra 10ish minutes tacked onto the movie for it, but I respect the choices required for the mass market. (Giving him an honorable death wouldn’t have been too much to ask, though.)

    Aragorn going over the cliff… eh, one of those “make the battle look good on the screen” kinds of things. I don’t care for it, it’s kinda dumb, but it’s not really that big a deal.

    My husband once said that if LOTR had been made exactly as the books were written, it'd be twelve hours long “” and a musical.

    12 hours? It’s ALREADY 12 hours! Try 12 DAYS! But yes, a musical (shudder).

    After reading through all the slings and arrows directed at PJ, I came to the conclusion that these movies could have been far, far worse.

    And has been, on all the other attempts; there have been several, and “hideous” is the a polite way to describe the best of them

  17. Kristin says:

    Ugh, not to mention the deeply disturbing scene wherein Aragorn can’t tell the difference between Arwen and Brego. Eliminate Aragorn going over the cliff, you get rid of that disturbing bit too.

  18. comicshorse says:

    Just to comment on Deoxy’s statement. I gotta say I’m a big fan of the cartoon version of LOTR. Anybody else stand up for it ?

  19. Nod says:

    re comments on the mounted combat aspects of the movies…

    my biggest disappointment was the Rohirrim charge at Minas Tirith. While the mass of horseman looked good visually, it was not how cavalry fought. There would have been space between each row of cavalry to allow room to avoid any obstacles caused by the preceeeding ranks – dead bodies, riderless horses etc. And all of the Riders had their shields hanging off their saddles – not ideal if you are charging archers – or entering melee. Admittedly some had bows, but they weren’t used until the giant elephants arrived.

    Theoden’s charge out of Helm’s Deep was good though. There’s no way foot soldiers can stand up to cavalry unless they are armed with pikes/spears and in a firm, disciplined formation. A battle-trained horse will go straight through any other infantry formation. A cavalryman will rely on speed and shock (momentum) for intial impact and then on not standing still once the melee starts.

  20. GEBIV says:

    In retrospect however, there is one scene that I’m glad Jackson left out.

    After being rescued from the Barrow Wights by Bombadil, the hobbits frolicked naked in a field as they recovered. If it took leaving out Bombadil to not get that scene, it was a small price to pay…

  21. James Blair says:

    On a similar note, I guess it’s also a good thing he didn’t do the tower-top Frodo rescue scene for pretty much the same reasons. I can imagine some off-camera orc saying, “Ewwwee! That’s ugly! Put those pants back on him, Shagrat!”

    My Big Ballista Bolt Moment: “Go away, Sam!”

    No excuse for it, not even the Ring. I literally skip that whole section of the movie when I come to it on the DVD. I want to pretend it isn’t there.

  22. K. Sanjuro says:

    Okay…I hope you all really do understand that those movies are now their own thing. Once a book is adapted into another medium, the movie cannot– let me repeat that, CANNOT be compared to the book. It’s a movie and its own product now. So stop whining about how it isn’t like the book. The book is different, the movie is different, and that’s all. No more.

  23. Adam says:

    I wanted a dice thingy!

    Just finished the comic. Marvelous.

  24. Luke (Thrythlind) says:

    Actually, LotR is not a trilogy.

    It is a multi-volume story.

    A trilogy is three distinct stories that fit within a larger overall storyline. Each part of a trilogy has a recognizable beginning, middle and end with only minimal loose ends. In fact, each story should be able to fit as a story on its own without anybody ever seeing/reading the previous or future parts.

    LotR however, always ends at terrible cliffhangers as evidenced by the “that’s it!” heard in theaters the first time I saw the movie. My loud response: “It’s a three volume book, two more movies.”

    In actuality, however, each volume of the story is divided into two books, and, if I had the money and the connections and the knowhow, then I would have done it as a 6 three hour movies rather than only 3.

    Then we’d have:

    Part 1: The birthday party to reaching Rivendell
    Part 2: Resting in Rivendell to the breaking of the fellowship
    Part 3: The events in Rohan
    Part 4: The events in Sam and Frodo’s trek up to Sam being taken into the fortress after Sam dispatches Shelob
    Part 5: Rohan and Gondor preparing for war to Pippin getting trapped under the troll chieftain he kills.
    Part 6: Sam and Frodo’s toils in Mordor to the Cleansing of the Shire.

    THAT however is an ideal and is unlikely to EVER get done.

    Truth comes to shove, books don’t translate exactly to movies and movies don’t translate exactly to books.

    Books are much better at introspection and internal thought than any movie or play will ever be. Unless you do like Shakespeare and have the characters break into internal monologue occasionally.

    Movies, however, are much better at showing everything that is going on around the main focus. There is a lot of visual subtlety that is hard to do right in text. For example, I have a character in a story idea that is constantly flying, the thing is, she is constantly flying approximately 1 to 2 inches off the ground and wears long dresses. Occasionally, she will “sit” where there is no chair. In text, this is difficult to hint at without blowing it wide open, I’m always having to be careful about describing her motion as a “glide” or else describing a scene including how many seats they are and gradually eliminate the seats she could be taking, or having people just assume she’s doing a pantomime trick (balancing on one foot in a psuedo-seated position). If I were doing the story in a visual medium, it would be much easier to show it without spot-lighting it. It would be background info.

    I still count the three as my favorite movies…despite all the flaws.

  25. oldschoolGM says:

    You know what? I could rip the Jackson movies apart on the skewer of Tolkien knowledge to an extent not even touched upon by this forum but what is the point? It was a great movie. It BASICALLY preserved the spirit of the books and gained this great work of literature a much wider audience.

  26. Butterfly says:

    Wishing you a quick recovery. On many occasions reading this comic has brightened my day. Thank you.

  27. Medium Dave says:

    Nixorbo Said: “So … you like the original death of Saruman better, where Wormtongue stabs him, better than Jackson's death of Saruman, where Wormtongue stabs him?”

    No I like the CONTEXT of Saruman having fallen so far from grace that he is some ragpicker named Sharky getting killed by a plain dagger. I liked the CONTEXT that Pippen and Meriadoc are now taller than the other hobbits and that they wear armor and carry swords AND they make short shrift of all the Shire Reeves and stupid nonsense that are wreaking havoc in their shire. I wanted to see Frod0 have reasons to leave for the Grey Havens. The hobbits that returned have changed, just as their world did. The scouring of the shire was a critical element, to my mind, and in that whole gestalt, Saruman’s mortality was much more evident. While he was aloft in his fortress, he was still somewhat potent, a dagger thrust would not have hurt him right then.

  28. Scarlet Knight says:

    “GEBIV Says:After being rescued from the Barrow Wights by Bombadil, the hobbits frolicked naked in a field as they recovered.”

    You know, that would clear up some questions:

    Frodo: “Why would someone as beautiful as Rosy Cotton be interested in Sam?”
    *Sam frolicks by, naked*
    Merry: “Oh,now I see. THAT rather explains a lot, it does.”
    Frodo: Still doesn’t explain why you’re Merry…”

  29. Phil says:

    “I don't care about Tom Bombadil half as much as the way he mucked around with Faramir!”

    And Theoden. And Aragorn. And Treebeard. And Gimli. And Frodo…

    Actually I really don’t care at all that they left out Bombadil! What I find hard to forgive (albeit in a churlish “even though the films were 100x better than I ever hoped they could be” sort of way!) is their lack of faith in Tolkein’s story and characters, changing them not for running time or simplicity (e.g. Bombadil or Glorfindel) but to “sex them up”. Gollum can’t fall, he has to be pushed; Treebeard can’t realise he needs to fight, he has to be tricked; Faramir and Aragorn can’t be noble, they have to flawed and redeemed. Theoden can’t just respond to Gondor’s call on his oath, he has to have a little peeved whine first. And so on, and so on.

  30. Lukelightning says:

    “That is because the languages of Adunaic, Quenya and Sindarin that really have an English “r” phoneme”

    Then how come Gandalf, Elrond, Legolas, Saruman, and Galadrial didn’t hit their R’s? No, it was just Viggo overacting his accent.

  31. Phil says:

    “And all of the Riders had their shields hanging off their saddles”

    Yes, that did look a bit silly, especially riding into an arrow storm. But I suspect there probably aren’t that many riders and horses in NZ which are trained for “no hands” galloping! I suppose they could have CGI’d a few such riders in but then the CGI bods at WETA did rather have their hands full getting that film out of the door in time!

  32. ash says:

    I always thought they should have mentioned Tom at the Council of Elrond at least. As a sort of respect. Sure, most of the ignorant film watchers wouldn’t have got it. But I would. And that is what matters.

  33. Telas says:

    Comicshorse: Just to comment on Deoxy's statement. I gotta say I'm a big fan of the cartoon version of LOTR. Anybody else stand up for it ?

    The Captain of the White Tower, Steward-Prince of Gondor, Boromir son of Denethor, running around without pants?

    Aragorn son of Arathorn, the nine and thirtieth heir of Isildur, the rightful King of Gondor and founder of the House of Telcontar, the Chieftain of the Dunedain, tripping over his scabbard?

    Durin’s Bane, the Nameless Terror, the last surviving Balrog in Middle Earth, nothing more than a tall guy with a monkey mask and some furry chaps?

    I say thee nay, varlet! :P

    (There used to be a hilarious review of the Bakshi film at http://www.wulfarchives.com, but it seems to have died an early death. Anyone know Internet Archaeology?)

  34. Minerva says:

    “Yes, that did look a bit silly, especially riding into an arrow storm. But I suspect there probably aren't that many riders and horses in NZ which are trained for “no hands” galloping!”

    Actually as we don’t have cars in New Zealand, most people are quite good at no hands riding these days as we’ve all got used to steering a horse while talking on a cellphone with one hand and adjusting with the horse-back stereo with the other.

  35. lollerskates says:

    Peter Jackson deserved it.

  36. SteveDJ says:

    Woohoo! It says “A hundred comments! Everybody wins!” Now, I wonder what we all won???

    (Realizes that by posting this, there won’t be exactly 100 anymore — there goes our prizes. Sorry about that everyone… :) )

  37. Svetlana says:

    Hehe :) However, the really intriguing question is what do elves eat and how do they retrieve their food. I can hardly imagine an elf-farmer and Tolkien is more than scarce in this point.

  38. Logan says:

    I want Bombadill RAAAAAAAA Ms. Hanickin line ‘KILL, KILL, KIIILL!!!’

  39. Majka says:

    however sad it was that bombadil was left out, I have to say that the Arwen-incident was waaay more aggrivating. “modern view of females” up my wazooo! sacrilidge it was!

  40. melkor says:

    Bombadil was melkor (morgoth). Check out the barrow wight scene – “till the dark lord lifts his hand….”.

    How else could he not be affected by the ring?

    At least that is the sort of thing I do in my campaigns…

    BTW: All my players MUST read these – fantastic!

  41. Lunch says:

    Personally I was pissed they left out the retaking of the shire. That was my favorite part of the book. :<

  42. serenitybane says:

    The face is simply perfect, in both the reaction of surprise and pain XD

  43. The Beerslayer says:

    I realize I’m late to this party, but…

    To #18: Laughter may indeed be the best medicine, unless you’re recovering from hernia surgery. Trust me on this.


  44. will says:

    that is brilliant. one of the three decent criticisms i’ve heard. accept…the singing would be too…gay. not that i haven’t experimented, but, in the context…

  45. Robin says:

    I’m amazed that nobody’s mentioned my pet peeve — the blacklight brass-brassiere Galadriel effect when Frodo offers her the ring.

    And you can’t include Bombadil. If you treat him like a sixties hippie, you mortally offend half the Tolkien fans. And if you don’t, you mortally offend the other half.

  46. Cassy Greyson says:

    Awesomeness to this picture…

  47. WJS says:

    I don’t know if the Ents not noticing Saruman’s work is as bad as some make it out. Remember, they move really slowly, and while the deforestation had been going on for months, that could be just like a couple of hours from the pov of an Ent. I agree it’s ridiculous how quickly the rest of the Ents appeared after Treebeard called them though.

  48. Karrot says:

    in my opinion the only things that pepole shoult get like this about is the razing of the shire and what they did to poor glimi

  49. Spike says:

    Oh my gosh! the part with Bombadil was SO fricken BORING!

  50. Papa Bear says:

    I can’t believe no one has posted a good old fashioned Strongbad


    I have fulfilled my duty.

  51. Papa Bear says:

    Sorry…double entry. Darn tactical network…

  52. Matt says:

    When I saw the Fellowship as a 12 year old, I was furious that he wasn’t in the movie. The movie was still awesome, but with no Tom or barrowights and numenorean daggers ….. it felt a bit less magical.

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