Top 10 Lord of the Rings Moments with @LifeAtBagEnd

It was tough, but for the site’s first collaborative article we worked with @LifeAtBagEnd to come up with our Top 10 moments from the critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy!

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Who knew that it could be so difficult narrowing down one of the best trilogy’s in film history into its Top 10 best scenes? It was something that @LifeAtBagEnd and I found out the hard way as we worked together over the past few days to put together our list.

Before getting into the Top 10, I want to highlight some honorable mentions which just didn’t quite make the cut. If we ever go back and do a Top 20, or Top 10 specific to each movie then you’ll be sure to see the following making it in there.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Ringwraiths chase Arwen
  • Gollum falls into Mt. Doom and the One Ring is destroyed
  • Sam fights Shelob to save Frodo
  • “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you”
  • Gandalf explains Valinor to Pippin during the siege of Minas Tirith

The quality of the scenes that missed out is quite scary and says a lot about the scenes that did make it into the Top 10. But given the overall quality of the series it shouldn’t be surprising that there was such a plethora of great moments and scenes from which to choose.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Scenes from the Lords of the Rings trilogy as chosen by @WeAreNiche and @LifeAtBagEnd…

Number 10: Weathertop, The Fellowship of the Ring

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A personal favourite of @LifeAtBagEnd, the skirmish on top of Weathertop was a standout of the first film. Keeping in tone with the first 3rd of Fellowship of the Ring the scene was one of dread and helplessness.

From the opening comedic shots of the Hobbits around the fireplace, quickly transitioning into the shrill scream of a Ringwraith out in the distance and finally the fast paced action as we see for the first time what Aragorn is capable of as he battles 5 wraiths alone.

The scene blends together perfectly and Peter Jackson’s direction is of top quality here.

Number 9: Boromir’s Death, Fellowship of the Ring

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Another worthy highlight from the first film in the trilogy.

The Captain of Gondor; the man who’s character arc dominates the last two thirds of the Fellowship of the Ring. From the moment he stands and says his piece during the Council of Elrond, with the gentle tones of Gondor’s theme playing in the background, to his passing in the final throws of the movie, Boromir’s journey is about protecting his people at whatever the cost.

Ultimately, whilst it seems as though he about to fully fall to the corruption and power of the One Ring, Boromir holds true to his principles and his love for his people by protecting Merry and Pippin with his life. Before then metaphorically passing on the torch of Gondor to the rightful heir, Aragorn.

A touching and beautiful moment that serves as a perfect conclusion to the fast paced and violent action that precedes it.

Number 8: Ride out and meet them, The Two Towers

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It’s an easy argument to make that the entirety of the Battle of Helms Deep could make anyone’s Top 10 list. But with us wanting to keep this list limited to specific scenes, we decided on the final moments of the battle.

In perfectly balanced on-screen tension, our protagonists are cornered, the battle has been lost and everything appears to be a door-width away from failure. But then, for each their own reasons, the remaining men guarding Helms Deep, decide to ride out and meet the enemy head on. To buy the women and children time to escape and to die in a blaze of glory.

This would be a fitting end for any hero. But Gandalf had other plans, as Aragorn had predicted as he recalled his last words to him before he departed. Flanked by Eomer and his Rohirrim, Gandalf charges the lines of Uruk-Hai in a dazzle of light and before long the greatest on-screen battle has been won.

Number 7: Aragorn’s Crowning, Return of the King

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Many consider the Lord of the Rings trilogy to be split into two core story paths. The first follows Frodo and Sam on their journey to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. The second, and the grander in scale of the two, is the rest of the Fellowship fighting to save each other and Middle Earth. This scene is the culmination of that second arc.

At long last the heir of Gondor has been found, he (Alongside others) have won the war against Mordor and an Age of peace has begun. Aragorn takes his place as the King of Gondor, he finds that he still has Arwen by his side and to the backdrop of a heartwarming song by Viggo Mortensen the scene ends as the King bows to the most unlikely of creatures… the Hobbits.

It is equal parts moving as it is poignant.

Now come the days of the kingMay they be blessed”

Number 6: Frodo’s Goodbye, Return of the King

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Turns out that @LifeAtBagEnd and I are suckers for an emotional moment. Our sixth best scene in our list comes directly after our seventh, and it’s Frodo’s goodbye to Sam, Merry and Pippin on the shores of the Grey Havens.

Think what you will about the 3 faux-endings to the Return of the King, but you can’t deny that it earns them. For me personally, this scene is the most gratifying of all the arguable “endings” that Return of the King has. Frodo accepting that he has outgrown the Shire, and in fact all of Middle Earth is crucial character moment for him that truly brings his arc full circle. From the young Hobbit who enjoyed the life that the Shire had to offer, but longed for more, to the person he becomes at the end of the trilogy is how a character arc should be done.

Not to mention the emotional weight that is placed on this scene. All the actors play their role perfectly, and seeing Frodo and Bilbo set sail into the great unknown is a tear-jerking scene no matter how boldly you fight off the tears.

Number 5: Charge of the Rohirrim, The Return of the King

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Echoing a scene from earlier in our list, the charge of the Rohirrim at the battle of Minas Tirith is a perfect blend of character development, outstanding directing, beautiful music and the significant importance of the moment.

The charge itself, as the army of Rohan rushes to the aid of Gondor is crucial to both the story and Middle Earth as a whole. Lose the battle here and the armies of Mordor would have free reign over much of the lands of Men, Dwarves and Elves alike. Win, however, and Sauron’s armies would be dealt a significant defeat. Despite this, it is the characters involved who turn this scene from a good one, to a great one.

Eowyn finally achieving her goal of being able to fight, not for glory but to protect those she cares about. Merry, fighting for his friends, for the Shire and most importantly for Pippin who he knows is trapped at Minas Tirith. And Theoden, the bitter King who has put aside his differences with Gondor to come to their aid when they needed it most.

It’s the perfect combination of storytelling and action set piece.

Number 4: The lighting of the Beacons, The Return of the King

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Perhaps the most visually beautiful of all the scenes in this list.

No characters needed, no dialogue, this is simply outstanding cinematography. It’s a testament to Peter Jackson’s direction across the entire trilogy that a scene which is entirely music and visuals can make it so high into the Top 10 list.

If you wanted to you can add on the conclusion of Aragorn bringing the message to Theoden at the end of this scene also, then you can push this scene even higher. But for our purpose we’re going to focus on the beauty of the SOS being sent from the high walls of Minas Tirith through the mountains all the way to Theoden’s halls in Rohan.

Beautiful.

Number 3: Sam’s Speech, The Two Towers

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The climax of The Two Towers presents a moment of crisis for all our heroes. For Sam and Frodo this climax doesn’t come in the shape of a large scale battle that they must overcome (Although they are around one), it instead comes from the question of “Why are we doing this?”.

As Frodo is lured ever closer to the dark power of the Ring, as the armies of Mordor close in around Gondor and as the corruption of men rests on a pivot, Sam delivers his most impactful moment of the series. A powerful speech to Frodo that explains why they’re fighting, why they’re carrying on to Mordor and what it means for them as people.

It’s wonderfully cut together over the final moments of the battle at Helms Deep, and the reactions of characters around Sam show off some of Peter Jackson’s best work as a director.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

Number 2: “I am no man”, The Return of the King

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Earlier on we mentioned both character arcs and more specifically Eowyn’s goal of being able to fight for those she cares about. This is the culmination of that arc and it’s amazing.

Finally standing up on her own and facing off against the most threatening antagonist on the battlefield, Eowyn shows that she is more than worthy of her place among her men. Before removing her helmet, declaring that she is no man and plunging her sword into the face of that which no man can kill.

It’s a powerful moment than is as important in today’s society as it was at the time it was written, and will likely be important for many years to come.

Well done Eowyn, you kicked ass.

Number 1: “You cannot pass”, The Fellowship of the Ring

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It had to be this didn’t it?

The epic climax (HOW DOES THIS ONLY TAKE PLACE 2/3 OF THE WAY THROUGH FELLOWSHIP?!) to Gandalf’s story in The Fellowship of the Ring. Facing down with a demon from a forgotten time, Gandalf holds the line across the Bridge of Khazad Dum whilst the rest of the Fellowship make for the escape.

It’s possibly the most mimicked and talked about scene among the general public from the entire trilogy. It’s a scene that encapsulates the “epic” nature of Lord of the Rings perfectly, but more than that it actually offers up an element of surprise and emotion.

If you go into watching Lord of the Rings blind, without having read the books first (As I did as a young child), then Gandalf being dragged down off the Bridge by the Balrog is perhaps the most surprising thing you will witness on a film screen (Okay maybe not but my point still stands).

As Gandalf offers his final warning of “Fly you fools” before being ripped from the Bridge and as the beautiful score by Howard Shore swells in the background, you realise that the film has managed to punch you in the gut and pull the rug out from under you at the same time. Watching the Fellowship react as they lose their leader and their friend is heartbreaking, but seeing Aragorn, Boromir and Legolas step up to protect the more vulnerable Hobbits is as equally heartwarming.

It’s the perfect scene to top of an incredibly impressive Top 10 scenes from Lord of the Rings.

 

So there we have it! The Top Ten Scenes from Lord of the Rings as chosen by myself and @LifeAtBagEnd! Let us know what your top ten scenes would be, and whether or not you agree with our list. Then be sure to go over to @LifeAtBagEnd if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan and be sure to give her a follow, she puts out some great Lord of the Rings content.

WWE: Royal Rumble 2018 Predictions

It’s nearly here! Arguably the most anticipated PPV of WWE’s calendar year, filled with surprises, debuts, returns and drama, the Royal Rumble nearly always delivers in one capacity or another.

Promising to be “more Rumble than ever” this weekend’s PPV has quite the card, from top to bottom there is the potential for this to kick start WWE off in a big way going into 2018, and it’s out job to go through the card to give you our predictions as we head into Rumble weekend.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The USO’s (C) vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
2 Out of 3 Falls

Starting things off we have the SD Tag Team title match. These two teams are extremely talented and if they’re allowed to put the stipulation to work then there’s a good chance that they could have one of the best, if not THE best, match of the night. The arrest of Jey Uso may have made this slightly easier to predict, but as of yet there’s been no visible punishment for the Samoan, so all bets are off when it comes to this match.

Mitch prediction = Gable & Benjamin

Rachel prediction = The Uso’s

WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Bar

A truly unpredictable match with both teams working at the top of their games over the past couple of months. Jordan’s character has been built up perfectly and he finally feels as though he belongs in the ring alongside the likes of Seth, Roman and Sheamus.

The story could go in multiple ways from here on out as WWE gear up for Wrestlemania season, could we see a Jason Jordan vs. Seth Rollins match at Elimination Chamber? Or does the WWE have bigger plans for the team, with or without the championships?

Mitch prediction = Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins

Rachel prediction = The Bar

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Leonard (C) vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman

From the outside looking in this looks like a pretty safe bet for Lesnar to be walking out with the Championship in tact, but with the momentum that is once again behind Braun would the WWE risk having him lose again against the Champ? Even if Kane takes the pinfall there’s no doubt that Braun will be hurt by the result. That is, unless there’s outside interference from a certain COO…

Mitch prediction = Brock Lesnar

Rachel prediction = Braun Strowman

WWE Championship: AJ Styles (C) vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
2 on 1 Handicap match

For me this is the safest bet on the card (Rachel doesn’t agree with me), there’s no chance of Sami and Kevin walking out with the title, especially after Sami scored the pinfall over AJ on Smackdown. This could still be a great match and the story has been relatively well built, so there’s still a lot to look forward to.

Mitch prediction = AJ Styles

Rachel prediction = Sami and Kevin

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Well you can’t say that this isn’t deserved! This will no doubt be one of the highlights of the night and perhaps the WWE’s calendar year. It’s a thoroughly deserved match for the women on the roster and we’re both looking forward to seeing what they can pull out to make it feel as though two royal rumble matches in one night isn’t too much. It’s also noteworthy for how unpredictable this match is, with there being no less than 5 perfectly viable winners and with plenty of room for nostalgia returns, debuts and call ups.

Mitch prediction = Ronda Rousey

Rachel prediction = Nia Jax

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

And finally, what is likely to be the main event of the evening, the men’s royal rumble match. For the first time in a number of years this match is actually wide open for a number of people to win. Anyone from John Cena to Nakamura could walk out as the No. 1 Contender heading into Wrestlemania. But there can only be one, and it’s going to be a tough one to call.

Mitch prediction = Finn Balor

Rachel prediction = Finn Balor

And that’s it! We disagreed on all but one match, so it’s sure to be an interesting watch for us. Be sure to follow @WeAreNiche for our thoughts and review of the show once we’ve watched it on January 29th.

Women in Hollywood

What has been wonderful about the films that have come out in 2016 has been the women of Hollywood. We have seen a rise of female protagonists in cinema and people love it. This trend of female leads has continued to 2017. With the gender gap for pay being more acknowledged in Hollywood, could this be a sign of a change for more female protagonists instead of a damsel in distress?

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After The Theory of Everything, Felicity Jones’ career took off with Oscar-nominated performance as Jane Hawking. We now see her in the latest Star Wars story Rogue One where she plays Jyn Erso and plans to steal the Death Star. Even though the film has had mixed reviews, Jones has been praised as A.O. Scott says in The New York Times “Jones is a fine addition to the “Star Wars” tradition of tough-minded quick-thinking heroines”. Having the hero as a female shows a dramatic change to the typical sci-fi film with an intelligent female lead.

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Like most people, I fell immediately in love with Octavia Spencer in The Help with her charming but sassy character. The film moved me to tears, I knew I was not alone in thinking this, even my most unemotional friends have admitted they were truly touched by the film. Now Spencer has gone to star in Hidden Figures, a wonderful film telling the tale of three female mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA in the early years of the space programme. The film has been nominated for three Oscars this year with Spencer included for her performance. The film is finally being made about these amazing women and critics are loving it Aaron B. Peterson said in ‘The Hollywood Outsider’ “Hidden Figures tells a story of genuine heroes that have been shelved for far too long”. It has been called an inspiration for girls everywhere to follow their dreams, could this be a hit at the Oscars? Time will tell.

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Personally, I cannot wait to see Ocean’s Eight come out in 2018, the trend of female protagonists will continue with this twist on a classic trilogy. The fantastic line-up of Hollywood’s finest actresses consisting of Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter what’s not to love? We know very little about the plot, but George Clooney has been thought to reprise his role as Danny Ocean playing Sandra Bullock’s brother in the film. Let’s hope it brings as much humour and witty remarks as the original films.

What are your thoughts on women in Hollywood? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter @WeAreNiche

Top 10 Mass Effect Trilogy Moments

 

This is a list that we’ve been wanting to do here for a while now, but the list has changed so many times in our head that we kept putting it off until we really decided what we wanted to be on here and where.

We want to say though before we begin that we aren’t including moments from any of the DLC packs. So sorry but some of the incredible moments from Lair of the Shadow Broker or the Citadel DLC’s won’t be making the list. This will be purely vanilla titles, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.

So let’s get on with the list!

Moment 10: Meeting Sovereign, Mass Effect

What’s more important than first impressions?

During Shepard’s mission on Virmire, we come into contact with a Reaper who goes by the name of Sovereign. Despite Saren being set up as the big bad for the first installation of the trilogy, it is this conversation with Sovereign that sets up the trilogy’s overarching story with the Reapers.

Moment 9: Hold the line, Mass Effect

Also coming on the mission on Virmire, before you head off into war it isn’t Shepard who gives the heroic speech, it is instead Captain Kirrahe and by god is it a good speech. It is impossible not to feel pumped about going to kill some Geth after listening to the wise words of the trilogy favourite.

Moment 8: Escape from Earth, Mass Effect 3

In a moment that really upped the ante of the series, Mass Effect 3 starts out with the invasion of Earth and subsequently Shepard having to leave in order to rally the fleets of the Universe to its defence. Whilst we can ignore what becomes of the young boy throughout the rest of ME3, taken at face value Shepard having to stand there and watch as innocent people die is a hard moment for any Mass Effect fan.

Moment 7: Praying with Thane, Mass Effect 3

You would be hard pressed to find a Mass Effect fan who doesn’t believe that what makes the series great are the characters you meet, travel with, fight with and love. So when it’s time to lose them it makes it all the more heart-wrenching. What made this one so impactful, even though Thane may not make everyone’s top 5 favourite teammate lists, is his final prayer. A prayer that everyone assumes to be about himself, the lonely assassin, when in fact it turns out to be for his friend and Commander.

A fitting farewell for an amazing ally.

Moment 6: Do we save the Council? Mass Effect

Whether you choose to save the Ascension or hold back until it is a clear run to attack Sovereign this moment makes the list regardless. Whilst Mass Effect gives you the option of saving one life over another much earlier in the game, it amplifies this a hundred fold in the final moments by putting the lives of thousands of people in your hands.

Save the Ascension at the cost of human lives or sacrifice the Council and everyone on board the Ascension so that you have a better shot at beating Sovereign. An impossible call that you have no choice but to make.

Moment 5: Quarian and Geth peace, Mass Effect 3

Bringing an end to a centuries-old war? Losing a squad mate who only wanted to help his people? Potentially losing another squad mate you’ve had since the first game? All this at once and you’re damn right it’s in the top 5.

Ending the war between the Geth and the Quarian’s is an amazing feeling, but it takes such a large amount of effort in order to pull it off that the majority of people end up having to choose one side over the other. This is a crucial moment in the third game and no matter which way you play it tears will be shed.

Moment 4: The fleets arrive, Mass Effect 3

Everyone loves a big battle right? Well it doesn’t come much bigger than this. Yes this scene is even better once you take into account the extended cut, but the vanilla version alone is worthy of a place in our Top 5.

This is the moment that the culmination of 3 games worth of effort (Both offline and online by this point) finally comes to fruition. A final siege of the Reaper forces in an attempt to liberate the Galaxy of their scourge or go down fighting.

To simply see so many fleets that you personally have gathered as war assets over the course of the third game finally come together to fight an unbeatable threat makes this a moment that you’ll never forget.

Moment 3: Mordin’s sacrifice, Mass Effect 3

From the largest scale possible to the very smallest, one man alone in a tower takes our third spot. Mordin’s sacrifice to cure the Genophage perfectly sums up what we love about our Mass Effect companions, in the right circumstances they can show more humanity and character than countless high budget films.

Yes, it is possible to save Mordin, but that is route chosen by few. In his final moments, Mordin sings his way into our hearts and into the future of an entire species.

Farewell good friend.

Moment 2: Suicide Mission, Mass Effect 2

Possibly the best mission in any game ever made. The Suicide Mission puts the crew of the Normandy in an impossible scenario, but they go in anyway and the game allows you to choose who does what. Whilst at first that may seem a simple way to send your favourite (Or least favourite) crew members off to do the important tasks, it soon reveals itself to be much more meaningful.

Every crew member can die. Shepard can die despite completing the mission. Squad mates can die before you even reach the surface. Everything is down to choices you make and with that you take full responsibility for what comes next.

Yes it may be easy to figure out the patterns for who should do what on repeat playthroughs, but going in blind the first time? There aren’t many who save everybody.

Moment 1: The Normandy is destroyed, Mass Effect 2

And kicking off our list is the moment that made every Mass Effect fan ask “What the fuck is happening”? The original Mass Effect had been a success, but the developers of Mass Effect 2 knew they had to up the ante in the sequel. So what did they do? They killed Shepard in the opening sequence and destroyed your ship that you’d been flying around the Galaxy in since day 1.

Yes this all becomes redundant in a matter of an hour or so, but that doesn’t take away from the impact that this opening sequence has on first time players. It was a (somewhat) bold move and really sets the scene for what is possibly the best game ever made.

 

So there you have it, our personal Top 10 best moments of the Mass Effect trilogy! There were so many moments that we wanted to include… Shooting bottles with Garruss, any number of romances, playing as Joker when the Normandy is attacked, choosing between Ashley and Kaiden to name but a few. But we had to cut it down to a Top 10 and these are the ones we finally settled on.

Do you agree? Do you have other moments that you prefer? Let us know on Twitter @WeAreNiche!