Submitted by verc1ngetor1x t3_127kawv in movies

If the point of the quest was to summon the ghost army and the sword of Isildur was the catalyst for that quest, why did the ghost king refuse to follow Aragorn after it was clear he was the King of Gondor? The build up was fine imo and it was weird when the ghost king decided to say yes because the trio had survived an avalanche of skulls. It makes it seem like the ghosts had encountered others who had a weapon to counter their ghost weapons but didnt make it out of the bone avalanche. I'm referring to the Extended Edition here.



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SailingBroat t1_jeeh5g9 wrote

I think the Ghost King's people have always had beef with the people of Gondor, and at this point their cursed selves have just been stewing in resentment for however many centuries. So, I guess it's just bitterness for their curse (whilst also stubbornly/eventually acknowledging their part in breaking their oath in the first place leading to the curse). So, their resistance to immediately follow Aragorn is just momentary pride/wanting to save face, which then gives way to a desire to 'move on'/be released from the limbo of being stuck in that state.

TL;DR - the Ghost King doesn't want to bend the knee right away out of pride, but ultimately wants to lift the curse so agrees to Aragorn's terms


PagingDrHuman t1_jeemm9y wrote

The ghosts swore an oath and betrayed it by fleeing Gondor or however they identified at the time and refusing to come to Gondors Aid. As Isildurs heir Aragon could hold them to that oath. So they sort of always didn't like Gondor, but didn't realize the ramifications.


dbcanuck t1_jef4xct wrote

two things that are much more apparent in the books:

  • oaths have meaning and permanence; The Silmarillion is all driven by oaths taken in anger and the ruin they lead to as a result
  • Aragorn's ability to envoke the oath signifies his legitimacy as King.

I wasn't a huge fan of how Jackson turned them into a giant glowing pacman army of green.


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeeq874 wrote

They were wallowing in their ghostness for thousands of years,found the one who could lift their ghostness had arrived, rejected him, sent an avalanche of skulls than changed their minds when he happened to survive.


bajajoaquin t1_jeez88e wrote

Don’t know why you were downvoted but you’re spot on. It’s extra drama introduced into the movies that isn’t in the books. In the original, Aragorn declares his ancestry, and that the curse would be lifted if they go to battle with him. They accept and go.


Chasa619 t1_jef1yqb wrote

the extended editions don't count


Alive_Ice7937 t1_jeeh1ak wrote

"That line has ended!"

I think it was more that the ghosts simply could not believe it was possible.

Also this is one area where the theatrical trumps the extended.


AnyNamesLeftAnymore t1_jeeitlz wrote

"It has been re-made"

Ghost: "Explain that to me, we've got time"

I'd honestly like to think that the part we don't see is just them sitting down at a table as Aragorn starts the story from the beginning.


MilesDryden t1_jeewa4u wrote

How dare you suggest that the version without pirate captain Peter Jackson is superior.


TheJoshider10 t1_jeeippq wrote

>Also this is one area where the theatrical trumps the extended.

How come?


Citizen_Kong t1_jeejlxu wrote

The ghost king's answer is left open until the army arrives at the harbor of Minas Tirith in the pirate ships. In the theatrical version, it really looks like it's over for the good guys in that moment while in the extended it's more like "when does Aragorn finally come"?


RichardCheeseLicker t1_jef7yzh wrote

Yep, the tension around this seen is far better in the theatrical version.

In general the theatrical versions are probably the better movies, but I’ll never go back to them because I want to spend as many hours as possible in Middle Earth.


rimmed t1_jeg3n1h wrote

I think Extended ROTK is just a worse edit. The Mouth of Sauron makes no sense in the movie because the whole drama in the book is that we have no idea what happened to Frodo and Sam and so it reads as if they failed.


Man_of_Average t1_jefd6xi wrote

Also they've been cruel murderous ghosts for a looong time. It's going to be hard to accept that freedom is even possible after a certain amount of time, let alone that it's standing right in front of you offering itself willingly. For treacherous beings it would make sense they be sceptical and reject it initially. Fortunately for them (and Aragorn) they came to their senses soon enough.


SkeletonLordDimy t1_jeeg7ns wrote

From what I recall, the encounter with the ghost army plays out a lot more efficiently in the book. The movie definitely took a few liberties for dramatic flair. I always felt that the Ghost King just thought it over and had a change of heart by the time they got out of the cave.


boysetsfire1988 t1_jeei712 wrote

Not just that scene, the whole "Aragorn is the king of Gondor" plotline is somewhat different. His internal struggle with his future position as king is non-existent in the books, he's actually quite sure and assertive about it.


PagingDrHuman t1_jeenrvf wrote

Aragon joined the Fellowship with full intent of parting before or at Gondor with Boromir. He knew he was going to reclaim the Throne. Aragon as a whole was more badass and more assured of himself in the books. He carried the shards of Narsil and drew the broken sword against the Rinfwraiths on Weathertop, really the first time you see him draw his sword. While spending the 3 months at Rivendell, he goes on patrols with Elronds sons, and Elrond reforfes the Shards of Narsil before the Fellowship leaves Rivendell. A few weeks after they leave Rivendell, the Grey Riders: the group of Rangers from the North who are Aragorns fellow Numenorian descendents as well as Elronds two sons themselves Elf Lord's, set off for Rohan and and meet Aragorn before goring through the ghost way. It's a small band of Men and Elves roughly 30 iirc but more fearsome than the Rohirrim. Aragorn plan is to use the Ghosts to defeat the pirates of the Coast, which they do, and Aragorn releases them for that act then. He and the Grey Riders meanwhile sail the boats up the coast and land at the docks on the day of battle and shift the tide of battle temporarily with just 30 dudes.


TallSeaworth t1_jeeuj53 wrote

I think you might be forgetting that when the pirates are killed/flee in terror of the ghost army, their ships are filled with gondorian soldiers and men from the coast. This is the force that sails up river and joins the battle. It wasn't just 30 dudes


Gh0stMan0nThird t1_jegx6tj wrote

> the Rinfwraiths


> Elrond reforfes the Shards


Is your G key stuck


SkeletonLordDimy t1_jeeirpp wrote

YES! Aragorn asserting his authority to Eomer and the other riders of Rohan during their first confrontation was genuine King Shit.

I particularly loved the chapter where the fellowship had just departed Lorien and passed the Argonath. That whole sequence of Aragorn assuming a king-like appearance and exhuming a determined aura was amazing.


ghsgjgfngngf t1_jeekc0x wrote

>exhuming a determined aura was amazing.



Stockpile_Tom_Remake t1_jef2ypr wrote

Not to mention he has the sword long before he gets it in the movie I’m pretty sure he has it the entire time or else at least since they leave rivendale.

Ghost armies all ready to go in the books


illinoishokie t1_jeel8hl wrote

Plus in the book it was a black banner that only the ghosts could see the standard on, and not the reforged sword.


blucthulhu t1_jeeldmq wrote

> The movie definitely took a few liberties for dramatic flair

Wouldn't have been the first time, either.


AthiestMessiah t1_jeefu5c wrote

The avalanche of skulls does piss me off somewhat


Andurilthoughts t1_jeetbin wrote

One of the most necessary cuts in the theatrical version, I’d say.


Dottsterisk t1_jeehbfa wrote

IMO Aragorn’s arc in that final film comes off a little bit wonky because the initial script, which they filmed and only changed at the very last minute in post-production, included a final battle between Aragorn and Sauron himself in front of the Black Gate.

So a lot of other Aragorn sequences seem rushed or relatively inconsequential, because none were supposed to rival that climactic encounter. But then they swapped out Sauron for a troll at the last minute.

I think those plans for a big Sauron reveal and battle with Aragorn at the end really affected how they treated the ghost army and that part of Aragorn’s arc.


albert_r_broccoli2 t1_jeehlgz wrote

>Included a final battle between Aragorn and Sauron himself in front of the Black Gate.

Holy shit that would have been awesome.


The_Meemeli t1_jeei0rb wrote

It wouldn't really have made sense for him to have a physical form without the ring, though.


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeeiej8 wrote

This was another question I had but thought I'd get buried if I admitted I never readthe books. How come Sauron's physical form is visible while he's wearing the ring?


Chaladan t1_jeejitq wrote

Sauron is essentially a spirit, albeit an extraordinarily powerful one. He is able to take many different physical forms, and once had a reputation as a shapeshifter. However, when he made the One Ring he put most of his power into it, so that he could better control it and therefore the other rings of power. It isn't that his physical form isn't visible when he doesn't possess the Ring, it's more that he doesn't have the power to manifest it in the same way. All he's capable of is the form of the Eye, and that's only after centuries of regathering his strength.


Dottsterisk t1_jeeke8h wrote

Importantly, this is according to the movie. In the books, Sauron is not a giant eye on top of a tower.


Chaladan t1_jeekiec wrote

True, it's more of a metaphor. Point still stands, though!


Aquagoat t1_jeeq11b wrote

Additionally, the ring doesn't have the 'power of Invisibility'. The ring contains Sauron's power, which is of the unseen world. Creatures who do not exist in this realm, are pulled there, and appear to disappear from the physical world when wearing the ring. This 'world' is more like a spiritual layer on our world.

If a creature who exists in both the Seen and Unseen wears the ring, nothing remarkable would seem to happen. So I believe if Elves wear the one ring, they wouldn't turn invisible. Perhaps even the three rings they wear would turn a mortal invisible by placing them in the unseen world as the one ring does.

Sauron of course exists in both realms, so wearing the ring doesn't switch him from Seen to Unseen like it does a Hobbit. And then as you say Chaladan, he just doesn't have the strength to manifest a physical body without the ring any longer.


[deleted] t1_jegk9qe wrote



Aquagoat t1_jegu67i wrote

Well I thought so, but it could be that he is something else entirely, and the ring has no effect on him at all, invisibility or otherwise.


jeffhopper t1_jeejxh2 wrote

Also never read the books, but recently picked them up on Kindle with audible narration to read/listen to at the gym. The newer audiobook is narrated/performed by Andy Serkis, and it is amazing! I'm almost finished with Fellowship, and I can't put it down. If you've ever been curious about picking up the books, I highly recommend the audiobooks. Make sure you get the Andy Serkis version and not the previous narrator.


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeekh0u wrote

I saw a promo of him narrating the Hobbit, it sounded great! I'll check it out one of these days.


Alive_Ice7937 t1_jeer74l wrote

It's understandable why they took it out. It would have pulled too much focus from Frodo and Sam. (It why losing the mouth of Sauron was a good idea too imo).

They used parts of the Sauron fight to make that part where he fights a troll instead.


asshat123 t1_jeh1w9k wrote

I also think that mouth of Sauron sequence is sort of weird for Aragorn's character. He just lops the guy's head off and says "He was probably lying, let's do this suicide mission anyways."

I feel like it could've worked, but it would've taken more than that sequence to make Aragorn's actions seem reasonable at that point


albert_r_broccoli2 t1_jeexsvm wrote

Less focus on Frodo & Sam would have been a huge improvement, iyam.

Movie should have been entirely focused on the Big 3 of Aragorn, Gandalf, and Legolas.


KeyWit t1_jef51kn wrote

The scene actually tickles me because I imagine the scene that happens off screen:

“Hey boss, I think you may have gone a bit too hard there on those guys. He seemed to legit have the sword”

“Yeah? You think? Ah, I really let me emotions run away with me there again. Just didn’t expect anyone to turn up after so long”

“Yeah I get it boss, but that could be our one chance of not actually staying in this undead cave with all of our skulls”

“You’re right Gavor Thurmsting, do you think we should try and catch them up and let them know we changed our mind? I bet they are really mad about the skulls”

“I am sure you can catch them up if you rush through a few walls”


Maverick916 t1_jeezgtg wrote

Well, youre looking at a scene that was originally cut from the theatrical version. The scene wasnt in the movie. They added it back because fuck it we gotta make this movie 4 hours for the extended cut


meowskywalker t1_jeel8i4 wrote

They’re ghosts specifically because they refused the commands of the King of Gondor. The fact that a new guy is the King of Gondor isn’t going to be a big selling point, in fact since they’ve spent 3000 years being pissed off at a King of Gondor for making them shitty ghosts, it’s probably the opposite of a selling point.

Now the deeper question of “why wouldn’t the ghosts leap at the chance provided by damn near anyone who offers them a chance to stop being ghosts, especially when they’re ghosts and cannot be harmed?” I dunno. Why don’t the eagles pitch in more? Why do the ents need to be tricked into caring? Why are the elves just fucking bailing? There’s a lot of beings in this world that seem to need to be dragged kicking and screaming into defending their own world.


zjm555 t1_jeem065 wrote

> There’s a lot of beings in this world that seem to need to be dragged kicking and screaming into defending their own world.

That's... the central theme. Overcoming the easy path of just letting things play out rather than fighting and sacrificing for good.


meowskywalker t1_jeenzi9 wrote

Sure I’m not saying it’s a plot hole or anything, I’m just saying it happens a lot, so the ghosts are hardly unique in their stubbornness.


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeemawd wrote

The film makes it pretty clear that noone can command the ghost army when Legolas shoots an arrow through a ghost. The ghost king revels in the fact that noone can command them except the king of Gondor. He laughs at Aragorn initially but is shocked when his ghost weapon is blocked by what can only be the sword of the King of Gondor right?


meowskywalker t1_jeenpkw wrote

The King of Gondor is the only one who can command the ghosts. But they have free will. They’re options are “follow the King of Gondor like they should have 3000 years ago” or “just keep being ghosts.” But they’re cowards. They’re ghosts because they’re cowards and ran away 3000 years ago. Of course their initial response to “you wanna follow me into battle?” is gonna be no. Especially up against Sauron, who I don’t know with 100 percent certainty can’t hurt a ghost. He’s kind of a necromancer, kind of a Lich. He might know how to hurt ghosts, so those ghosts might not be an invulnerable as we think.


fifadex t1_jeeq1hp wrote

>it seem like the ghosts had encountered others who had a weapon to counter their ghost weapons but didnt make it out of the bone avalanche.

You're not inclined to believe the king had a change of heart after thinking about it for a minute but fine with the idea he and the rest of the ghosts put all the skulls back where they after every visitor comes with a magic sword and gets crushed in the avalanche?


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeer2rv wrote

Just as odd to not only reject the one who can free you from your torment but also attempt to kill him(if he's the first in thousands of years of waiting right?)


Hypernova2000 t1_jeevkh7 wrote

One of the scenes in LOTR where "the extended edition" is arguably worse than the theatrical cut.


AsimovLiu t1_jegqaw1 wrote

It was so weird playing this level in the Return of the King game. The extended edition of the movie wasn't out yet and we were wondering why the hell we were running away from a collapsing cavern while fighting ghosts and breaking skulls walls lol.


Infinispace t1_jeg2xcn wrote

Nutshell Middle-earth History: They were Oathbreakers and were cursed to remain ghosts in ME by Isildur for refusing to fight for him. Thousands of years later Aragorn came to call in the oath to fight for the king of Gondor. If they did, they'd finally be set free.

They did.


MaggotMinded t1_jef15ot wrote

Solution: watch the theatrical cut


[deleted] t1_jefi6u3 wrote

Honestly, I always disliked the ghost army thing because it took any dramatic tension out of the battle. If the good guys now have an Army that is literally invincible, it's impossible for them to lose.


PugnaciousPangolin t1_jegshea wrote

It never happened in the book. I can't remember if a Ghost King was in the book, either.

It really annoyed me.


NKevros t1_jefu02d wrote

GHOST ARMY?!?! How about a spoiler tag?!



PDV87 t1_jeg1kig wrote

The whole ghost army thing was kind of lamely adapted in RotK. The relative ease with which they dispatched the forces of Sauron at Minas Tirith is almost insulting to the men of Gondor and Rohan who gave their lives at the siege and on the Pelennor Fields.

It’s my second least favorite thing about the movies after the omission of the Knights of Dol Amroth.


asshat123 t1_jeh2yah wrote

It's definitely a little anticlimactic and unsatisfying, but I think the way it makes sense is timing. The defenders didn't get to choose the timing, Mordor attacked, and they just had to hold out as long as they could. Every life given bought a little more time, which eventually meant Aragorn and his ghost buddies were still saving a city when they arrived instead of taking back a pile of rubble


Seankps t1_jeegmii wrote

Yeah, that was the part of the movie where I would always start trying to make out with my date. Probably why I had to watch it four times. A lot of moments like that in that film.


verc1ngetor1x OP t1_jeeh4x2 wrote

Easy there! Some of us had to suffer through this alone for the first few viewings.