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Mistakes in Lord of the Rings movies

ATP

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Bigger mistake in my opinion - replacing Gondor vassals who come on captured pirate ships with Army of the Dead.It had no sense.
And oliphants was just bigger elephants,when they not only made it kajiu size,but also turned into some other species.
 

Aldarion

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Bigger mistake in my opinion - replacing Gondor vassals who come on captured pirate ships with Army of the Dead.It had no sense.
And oliphants was just bigger elephants,when they not only made it kajiu size,but also turned into some other species.
Yeah, though these aren't mistakes so much as deliberate changes... stupid ones, sure, but still deliberate.
 
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The Original Sixth

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Like I said - my sample is small :)

Ha! I knew I've seen it - here is the AFAIK Tolkien endorsed plan:


Frontal assault, then :)
Well, this is certainly a much better keep.

  • Cons
    • The outer walls and the inner walls are too far apart. It's basically a free stroll from one gate to the other. It's best to create a sort of maze, both to maximize firepower for the defenders against the invaders, but also to stall the attackers and ensure that the battering ram that broke the Great Gate is not easily put to use against the Inner Gate.
    • The Inner Gate should not be directly behind the Great Gate.
    • The Ramp Causeway should not be made of stone, but should have a wooden drawbridge, which would have greatly of benefited the defenders of the keep.
    • There does not appear to be a tower between the Burg's outer wall and the Deepening Wall. Only what looks to be a staircase, which leads to the outer court. At first it looks as though this may connect to the other two walls, but upon closer inspection, I believe that the Deepening Wall only leads to the outer courtyard. While I think there should still be a tower and even a gatehouse here, this does reduce what at first looks like a glaring flaw. Anyone who takes the wall will attempt to take the outer courtyard, which is somewhat V-shaped. That would allow for a fair amount of concentrated fire from the wall's defenders. There should still be a wall tower here though.
    • There should really be a second wall between the triangular area that connects the Outer Court to the Deepening Wall. Doing so would have created a killzone for the defenders, while also forestalling the loss of the Outer Court.
    • There should have been walkways connecting the inner and outer courts (at the very least) to allow troops to more easily fall back. As it stands, if the Great Gate falls, the soldiers on the Deepening Wall will quickly be cut off from the safety of the Inner Wall and the Burg. So too if the Deepening Wall falls, will the defenders on the Outer Wall be at risk of being cut off from the Inner Wall and the Burg.
  • Pros
    • The Deepening Wall's position, the rear-gate, and the Glittering Caves, along with the local geography, allows for the Burg to be reinforced and supplied without ever having to expose messengers and forces to most forms of dangers. Given that most attacks on forts involved sieges; that of sitting outside and outwaiting the enemy, this is actually a brilliant design. Trying to wait out the Burg with a traditional siege will generally end with the defenders being well supplied and able to communicate with the outside, while cavalry arrives in a short time to attack your army. And unless you already know that (and most would not), you aren't going to count on it. Losing to the Burg is actually pretty easy if you aren't careful of this problem.
    • The geography of the keep's position forces either two points of attack. The first is a narrow ramp up to the gate, where you will be attacked by archers. The second is attacking a curtain wall of considerable strength and size. The only other possible alternative is to try to scale the Hornrock, which has a natural moat and no way to move siege equipment up and is a difficult climb for soldiers and engineers.
    • All that free running water will make mining both difficult and dangerous. ]
    • The Outer Wall is not only slightly shorter than the Inner Wall, (which is shorter than the Burg) but it has no defenses facing inwards, meaning that anyone who takes the Outer Wall will be exposed to arrow fire from the Inner wall, and anyone who takes the Inner Wall will be exposed to fire from the Burg

It's still better than the one from the movie, I think. Which had similar problems, but magnified for a few reasons.





Here the problems are even greater.

Pros
  • Pros
    • Again, the Deepening Wall allows for the keep to send messengers, aids in logistical support, and reinforcements. This is somewhat mitigated by a freaking bridge, but it's not the worst thing.
    • This fortress has areas where archers can flank the causeway with arrow fire, instead of a nearly perfectly round circle that does not allow for such fire.
    • There is a connection between the outer wall and the inner wall in at least one or two places, allowing for defenders to move to the inner wall without having to go to the ground. In fact, from the looks of it, the only way to reach the outer wall is through the inner wall, unless you somehow scale that wall--which is next to impossible.
  • Cons
    • The Deepening Wall is directly connected to the Outer Court in this design. So if you lose the Outer Court, you lose the wall. Period. If you lose the Deepening Wall, then you might possibly lose the Outer Court, unless there's a door to bar the way--which there may be. There is the advantage of height here as well though, so attackers from the Deepening Wall will face attack from the defenders of the Outer Wall.
    • Once the Outer Court is lost, so is the Inner Court--and thus is the critical flaw in this design. Where there an Inner Gate, then the defenders could attack from both the Inner and Outer Walls. Instead, what you have is no gate. Therefore the loss of the gate will very quickly lead to the loss of the Outer and Inner Court. And because the Inner Court is directly connected to access of the inner and outer walls, it therefore leads to the loss of almost the entire keep. Worse, there is no gatehouse between the inner court and the Burg--just heavy wooden doors.
    • The bridges leading to the Outer and Inner Walls are completely exposed, when they should be well defended to allow for the defenders to rain down death upon the invaders.
    • The second bridge of the outer and inner wall is not protected by a tower. So the loss of the bridge would mean an immediate invasion of the inner wall. It completely negates the protection of the tower leading to the first bridge.
    • There is again, no tower between the Deepening Wall and the Inner Wall. There does appear to be a doorway, so possibly an iron door or well braced wooden door--possibly even a short narrow tunnel with murder holes (but I doubt that). The Deepening Wall and the Burg's walls should effectively be semi-independent of sustaining themselves. As it is, the loss of the Outer Wall completely negates the defensibility of the Deepening Wall.
    • The smaller, more compact design would have made a battering ram useless and turned it into a kill zone, had they'd bothered to make a second gate. Or a gate to protect the Burg even. Instead, compromising the Great Gate compromises the Outer Court, the Deepening Wall, the inner Court--and therefore the Inner and Outer Wall, and puts the Burg directly in the line of fire.
 

The Original Sixth

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I have a niggling suspicion that Tolkien was a better linguist than military architecture historian :)
Well, on the face of it, it's not a bad fortress. It depends on how it was built. If they built the inner wall and the keep first, then the outer wall, and then the Deepening Wall, you can see why there would be flaws. These were added on later and hence not entirely well thought out. Of course, most of these can be fixed with just one or two adjustments.

The Tolkien approved model can be fixed by throwing up a one or two more walls, switching the inner gate back towards the rear of the keep, allowing for bridges to the inner wall, a few gate houses, and a couple of more towers. The LotR variation can actually be fixed by just putting a gatehouse between the inner and outer courtyards. Solves 70% of its problems. The rest is mostly just tweaking towers, adding in some defenses, and other redundancies. And a proper gatehouse on the Great Gate. And a drawbridge.

I personally don't overwork my brain on these issues. These are stories being told and these are props. And props are rarely 100% accurate. LotR is sort of 70% accurate when it comes to its medieval stuff. It gets most of it right, but misses out on important, but sophisticated details. In any sane medieval setting, these flaws would have long been fixed (or never existed). So it's less "these people are stupid in the movie" and more "well, this is how it's portrayed here, but it would actually have this or that."
 

edgeworthy

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I would imagine that Tolkien was thinking of something similar to Dover Castle when he came up with Helm's Deep?
(And probably Minas Tirith as well)

There are a strictly limited number of points of attack.
Geography makes some directions completely unfeasible.
 

The Original Sixth

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I would imagine that Tolkien was thinking of something similar to Dover Castle when he came up with Helm's Deep?
(And probably Minas Tirith as well)

There are a strictly limited number of points of attack.
Geography makes some directions completely unfeasible.
Minas Tirith perhaps, but Helm's Deep was I think just a small keep. Probably only had a small garrison.

This looks like a similar sketch in style to Helm's Deep, but for Minas Tirith.

 
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The Original Sixth

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[
Minas Tirith perhaps, but Helm's Deep was I think just a small keep. Probably only had a small garrison.

This looks like a similar sketch in style to Helm's Deep, but for Minas Tirith.

To go over the pros and cons I see here...

  • Defenses
    • Curtain Walls
      • Pros
        • There are a total of eight walls protecting Minas Tirith, starting with the Rimas Echor. The outer wall is mostly a delaying tactic, but it is an important one. It allows Minas Tirith possibly days of even weeks of extra time of drawing in food, goods, and people into the city walls.
        • The Othram is basically made out of a near-invincible stone material, meaning that the only real weak point of the outer wall is the Great Gate. That essentially allows the defenders to focus mostly on the gate and around it. There is an issue with siege towers and ladders, but the city also has catapults on its towers, allowing it to inflict heavy damage on siege weapons.
        • There is a height advantage for the defenders, should a lower level of the city fall to the enemy.
        • Walls 4-6 are actually connected by a walled, rear-facing wall that bridges all three levels. This allows the defenders from any of those three levels to move around as needed.
      • Cons
        • There is no apparent means for the defenders of levels 1-3 to get to each of the other levels. This is astonishingly bad, because it pretty much leaves any defenders on the lower levels out in the cold. The only bright side is that there are towers, which can in theory be used as fortifications, so should the wall be taken, the defenders can retreat to those towers and essentially hold off the enemy there. So too can soldiers from a higher level aid those on the lower level, assuming they themselves aren't under attack.
    • The Gates of Gondor
      • Pros
        • The gates are not only offset from each other, but on different sides of the fortress, which requires the invaders to run a hellish gauntlet. The journey begins after managing to penetrate the first gate, the enemy must then make a left and travel a quarter of a mile to the second gate. After penetrating that gate, the invaders must then travel another half mile to the third gate. After penetrating the third gate, the invaders must then travel back around for about another half mile to the fourth gate. After managing that feat, the invaders must then travel around again for about a quarte of a mile, to try and breach the fifth gate. Then they need to travel about another quarter of the mile to the sixth gate. After that, they need to enter the bow of the citadel's rock formation, follow a tunnel up--where there is likely yet another gate.
        • Each gate appears to be a proper gatehouse. Which means that even when you get through the doors, your trouble isn't over yet. Rather, the initial invaders run into the rear portcullis, while the defenders above drop the rear portcullis, then rain death from above with rocks, boiling oil, and arrows from murder holes. This must be repeated no less than five or six times before the defenders have taken the city.
      • Cons
        • The city makes it too easy for the attackers to get battering rams through the city. Even with constant attacks, a battering game can be carried from the first gate to the second gate and used there.
 
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