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Thread: Extended Editions LOTRs

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I recently saw all 3 extended editions of the LOTR's on the Big Screen here in NZ, as a way to raise funds for the Christchurch Earthquake. Peter Jackson had a special commentary at the start of the Return of the King, it was really cool, he did it especially for this screening, and he talked about the Battle of Pelenor Fields (Sorry about the Spelling) and how there were 6000 horse or something in the charge, and it actually happened during one War or something which Tolkien knew about were there were actually 6000 horses in the charge, and Peter made sure his graphic designers put exactly 6000 horse on the screen. Pretty cool, that scene is the greatest in movie history I think. Here is a blog I have on the Hobbit Movies, and a cool audio book with pictures.

hi Nickil,

Yes,That scene was awesome....probably the best in the whole trilogy...there were actually about 250 real horses & riders; the rest were was Bernard Hill's idea , just on the morning of filming, to track his sword along the lances of his soldiers...ahh, I cry every time......

Yes great scene and a great speech from King Theoden.  Also the music is exceptional during these scenes!  I thnk Bernard Hill is underated in his role as Theoden, I thought he was womderful.

Yeah that scene gives me goosebumps, the music was just perfect and the editing is amazing, I would not like to be one of those Orc's with Eomer charging at me with his spear!!

Yeah the casting for the Films was perfect in my opinion.

That IS a truly amazing cinematic moment and not even once have I succeeded in watching it with my mouth closed.But 6000 live horses on a set,however massive is a bit hard to believe...but if he said it himself,then it might be true.

And what heavenly seems to be torn between peace and anguish and the thunder of horses' hooves.Intense.

And Nickil,welcomeSmile Smilie

No, there definitely were not 6000 live horses on set...about 250 live horses; the rest were digital...but it was amazingly well really can't tell......

Yeah the casting for the Films was perfect in my opinion 


The people or the horses?


Certainly not Shadowfax in any case... he was grey not white

not quiet grey yet not white either. more of a pearly grey! be precise

The casting was not entirely flawless...I still believe that Christopher Lee would have made a better Gandalf. Forget the fact that years ago, he received Professor Tolkien's blessing to take up that particular role should the books ever be made into films; his voice, demeanor, and appearance makes him a superb Gandalf. He played the part of Saruman amazingly, but the only thing that was off was his voice. In the books, Saruman's voice was soft and persuasive - not deep and commanding as it was portrayed in the films. That was supposed to be what Gandalf the Grey sounded like.


I am not saying that Sir Ian McKellen is a bad Gandalf - no indeed, I think him to be a wonderful wizard. I just would have liked to have seen Christopher Lee as Gandalf instead of Saruman. 

not quiet grey yet not white either. more of a pearly grey! be precise 


I meant book Shadowfax was grey (the real Shadowfax)... but film 'Shadowfax' was white -- or white enough to be generally described with 'white' I think.

I've also seen the extended editions of LOTR, and I must say that if I've to choose a part I either didn't like, or was more like: 'What the hell?', then it must be the one, where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli went to seek out the kingdom of damned, or sth like that, and in the end of that scene, a wall broke and thousands and thousands of skulls rolled and nearly knocked 'em off. ^^

That was somewhat ridiculous in my opinion.

But all in all, those movies are very magnificent, and the extended versions were quite good, though I liked more of the original ones.

In accordance to Shadowfax being 'Grey' instead of white; In horse terms it is the same thing. A grey horse just means it has dark skin and a white coat. Not literally greyWink Smilie

With reference to the casting...the thing is, Christopher Lee has been typecast as a villain all his life...he never plays the good guy........

Fahvier wrote: In accordance to Shadowfax being 'Grey' instead of white; In horse terms it is the same thing. A grey horse just means it has dark skin and a white coat. Not literally grey .


I've encountered this before, and Hammond and Scull appear to note this in their amazing Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings -- but so far anyway, I can't agree this is necessarily relevant to Tolkien's use of colour-words in his tales.

I note that JRRT refers to both white and grey horses in the same sentence, which would seem to distinguish them in my opinion -- from Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin published in Unfinished Tales:

'Silent upon either hand stood a host of the army of Gondolin; all of the seven kinds of the Seven Gates were there represented; but their captains and chieftains were upon horses, white and grey.'  


And there's no mixing as far as I recall: meaning if a given horse is white it is not also described with grey anywhere. Shadowfax is consistently grey or 'shadow-grey' (to my knowledge 'shadow-grey' doesn't seem to be an equestrian term), or shining like silver.

 Tolkien never seems to use grey as a noun (for a horse). In the Oxford English Dictionary I found the adjective used for horses of course, and other animals; and there is the noun referring to horses too (the badger was also called a grey it seems), but again I don't think Tolkien uses it as a noun in any description of horses. Of course my 'never' here really means 'not that I recall'.


Someone brought this up elsewhere  -- a person who thought the horse in the film looked 'very white'. I responded with my findings from a book about the use of 'grey' in Old English (although not that anyone claimed this usage hailed from Old English in any event):


  he or she too thought the horse in the film looked very whitethe

Someone wrote: 'A word of caution, if I may, where Shadowfax is concerned. 'Grey' is the correct equestrian description of just about any white horse (excepting albinos, I think). Tolkien would surely have known this, from his early days in the army. (For example, the horse used for Shadowfax in the movie - sorry, but it's a convenient example - would correctly be described as grey, even though it looked very white.)'

Galin wrote: Hmm, but was Tolkien echoing this usage? In any case there are no instances of this in the book 'Grey in Old English' by C. P. Biggam, for example, though references to horses are very slight. Biggam lists but two very similar examples (Prognostics: Tiberius and Prognostics: Oxford) where grey, technically grægan, grægium, and white (hwit) both appear, among other colours, indicating distinction.

In each example, with respect to the interpretation of dreams, the color of a horse has a meaning: a white horse indicates honor for instance, and both a yellow-brown horse and a grey horse is 'good' or indicates a 'good dream'. One version seems a bit dubious since Biggam argues the possibility that græg is a later addition: 'The significance of the fifth entry is completely wrong, while the translator appears not to believe that the list could have omitted a græg horse'.

This could be interesting, as Latin albus and Anglo-Saxon hwit are present, yet the translator appears to think a grey horse should be added (if Biggam is correct). In any event I could find no examples of this usage with respect to horses in 'Ambiguity of Grey from a Diachronic Perspective' by Makoto Yamaguchi (Biggam is referenced), which delves into Middle English as well.

While you bring up the good point that JRRT was not unfamiliar with horses, and thus arguably familiar with equestrian terminology, Tolkien explained: 'Sceadu-faex 'having shadow-grey mane (and coat)' and I would say, at least from the evidence to date, that he envisioned something distinct enough from 'white' to merit a different colour-word.  


That's actually the shorter, edited version

Shadowfax being one of the Maeras, and a relative of the Valar, Orome's steed Nahar inherited the long life, stature and wisdom of the Valinorean horses of old.  In the Silmarillion Nahar is described as "White under the Sun, Silver Grey under the Moon, shod in gold.

The horses (there were two) used in the movies as Shadowfax fit the bill as far as I can see.  The horsmanship in the movies was handled extremely well in my book.  I love the scene where Gandalf calls for his old friend.  Almost brings a tear to my eye.

In the Silmarillion Nahar is described as "White under the Sun, Silver Grey under the Moon, shod in gold.       The horses (there were two) used in the movies as Shadowfax fit the bill as far as I can see. 


If you refer to the Valaquenta quote, the word 'grey' is not used for Nahar there (in my edition anyway), but he is 'silver' at night rather.

In any case Shadowfax is not Nahar and is not (that I recall) described as 'white' under the sun, but grey, and Gandalf notes that his horse shines like silver in the day -- as I imagine a grey horse might.

Nahar is white -- and 'silver' in a different light (under a lesser light), which makes sense to me as a colour description -- my point above being that (again as far as I'm aware) Tolkien uses colour description, or colour-words, rather than terms as used in equestrian circles...

... or more specifically one term, the equestrian usage of 'grey' as explained above.

Yes correct Galin, and pardon my dodgy memory re grey/silver.  I guess Im agreeing with you.  As both horse actors were andalucians they are indeed actually very light grey and are become lighter the older they are, they are actually born almost black.  If we look closely to the main horse used as Shadowfax, he has a very soft light silver dappling around his muzzle, socks and chest.  He also has a star on his chest.

For those who have not seen the making of specials in the Extended versions there is a whole chapter on the horses used in the films.  Arwen's  stallion is particularly impressive for those who are into horses.

Tolkien was (in my opinion) a very good artist, even if depicting figures was not his strong point, and if he is using colour-words rather than equestrian jargon, I note that Gandalf the Grey rode a white horse earlier in the tales -- this horse is named Rohald in the 1960 Hobbit. 

But later, ultimately the White Rider rides a grey horse. Did Tolkien himself note a contrast here, at least when Gandalf allowed his new colour to be revealed? I can't say!


Thank you Galin! You do your research wellSmile Smilie

Thanks Fahvier!

But even if I'm right (that's if) do you or anyone know any other details concerning this use of grey in horse jargon? I find it interesting and wonder how far back in history it goes, for example; if this can even be known of course. I assume it easily dates before Tolkien was in the war in any event.


I admit the history of the term doesn't seem a very important detail for even equestrians to care much about, however.