Stuff We Love: The non-canonical LOTR scene that won a war

Contributed by
Jun 1, 2017

When an army of Elves in immaculately polished armor marched upon the fortress of Helm’s deep, it seemed half the fandom exploded into outrage over Peter Jackson’s non-canonical blasphemy—and the other half spontaneously combusted from utter ecstasy.

Uncharacteristically, I was fangirling with the ecstatic ones. The irony here is that I’m usually the type who wants to howl in the darkness of a movie theater if a book-based movie veers way off canon. Even the wrong hair and makeup colors will set me on edge, so forget about creating fan-fiction armies or killing off characters who never died in the book because they never willingly threw themselves into a war against 10,000 Uruk-hai in the first place. Despite J.R.R. Tolkien probably tossing in his grave at this, my favorite thing ever at the time of The Two Towers theatrical release was a meme floating around the internet in which the immortal army was Photoshopped into latex with caption Elves in wetsuits at Helm’s Deep. Don’t miss it.

It would be shameful to admit how many times I backtracked to this scene on the DVD.


The bromance between Haldir and Aragorn is nothing short of epic. Here are two races who haven’t been allied on the battlefield since the aptly named Last Alliance, and they’re suddenly brothers like that whole blindfolding episode in Lothlorien never happened. Two long-estranged armies suddenly joining forces after centuries having nothing to do with each other is shocking enough. Almost as shocking is that the unapologetically sarcastic Haldir is the one to give the whole speech about how proud his Elven army is to fight alongside men once more—in all seriousness. He even seems to put aside Elf-Dwarf drama and accept or at least ignore the presence of That Dwarf Who Breathes So Loud We Should Have Shot Him in the Dark, though it’s possible he couldn’t even see Gimli from behind the wall. When Haldir falls, it is Aragorn who catches him and places a hand over his heart before he passes into the shadow realm.

This scene is so much more than just the bromance to spark a thousand fanfics (though it was that too at the time). It speaks silent volumes about the power of acceptance and camaraderie, the triumph of friendship that defies differences to conquer a battlefield. When something this powerful grips you, the last thing you care about is whether it’s canon or not. You should just be glad you weren’t there to witness the bawling.


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