The Lord of the Rings: why wasn't Arachne at the end of the Two Towers?

The Lord of the Rings: why wasn’t Arachne at the end of the Two Towers?

Unlike Tolkien’s books where she appeared at the end of “Two Towers”, the terrifying spider Arachne waits for “The Return of the King” to come out of her lair in the cinema. In the film’s audio commentary, Peter Jackson explains why.

Despite its immense respect for the original work of JRR Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson has some major differences with the writings of the author, some of which have sometimes raised the hair of some fans.

Among the most important of these changes, we can mention the appearance of the spider Arachne, a mythical sequence that occurs halfway through the Return of the Kingwhereas in the book, it occurs at the end of The Two Towers.

A modification which, in 2002, had not failed to disappoint certain spectators, convinced of seeing the monster land much earlier. However, as Peter Jackson explained in the audio commentary of his saga, this delay was necessary to harmonize the rhythm of his films, and in particular the two parallel journeys of the different characters: Frodo, Sam and Gollum on the one hand, the rest of the Community on the other.

While in his works, Tolkien had decided to tell the two plots one after the other, without intertwining them, such an option was unthinkable on the big screen. Thus, by involving the episode of Arachne from the end of the second film, the journey of Frodo and Sam would have been completely unbalanced in the final part, compared to that of Aragorn, Gandalf and the others.


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“If seeing this some of you still think that Arachne should have been in The Two Towers, watch what happens to Frodo and Sam from here until the end, and imagine that he didn’t. it’s all about The Return of the King”explains the filmmaker in front of the scene of Arachne.

“Thinking about it, it was impossible. We would have ended up with half of The Return of the King in The Two Towers.”


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This decision, taken very early in the production of the film, did not prevent peter jackson to take care of the sequence, quite the contrary. As he says, he had fun playing on his own phobia of spiders:

“I wanted the paintings to be realistic. The kind of nightmare where you try to run and where you wade through a molasses that you can’t get out of. It sticks everywhere and it prevents you from moving forward. (…) But in the end, this little sequence was very funny to shoot, especially when you can play with your own anxieties. Personally, I’m terrified of spiders, and I hate cobwebs. I had a lot of fun imagining a sequence that scared me.”

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The Lord of the Rings: 10 hidden details in The Return of the King

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