(Many thanks to ~Venora~ for typing out this script) Please Note: You may NOT duplicate this script on your own website. Read here for more information.

(Scene opens on a sunny day with Déagol and Sméagol fishing in a boat.)

Déagol: Sméagol! I’ve got one; I’ve got a fish, Sméag-Sméagol!

Sméagol: Pull it in. Go on. Go on. Go on. Pull it in!

(Déagol falls in the water and Sméagol looks over the edge of the boat. Déagol is dragged by a fish, still holding onto his fishing rod. He sees the One Ring, and grabs it from the sand. He climbs onto shore, gasping for breath, and strokes the Ring in his palm with his finger. Sméagol comes over and looks at it covetously.)

Sméagol: Déagol? Déagol. (seeing the Ring) Give us that Déagol my love.

Déagol: Why?

Sméagol: Because…it’s my birthday and I wants it.

(A fight begins and escalates, ending with Sméagol choking Déagol to death.)

Ring: (quietly, whispering) …batul. Ash nazg gimbatul…

Sméagol: My Precious.

(He puts the Ring on. He is seen deteriorating into Gollum. The scene shifts to Gollum crawling through a cave, wincing and bawling as if in agony.)

Sméagol: (v.o) They cursed us. “Murderer” they called us. They cursed us and drove us away.

Gollum: Gollum. Gollum. Gollum.

Sméagol: (v.o.) And we wept, precious. We wept to be so alone.

(We see a fish, which Sméagol proceeds to catch and eat, while his fish song is heard in the background.)

Sméagol: —and cool, So nice for feet, And we only wish, To catch a fish/ So juicy sweet.

(We now see a yet more Gollum-ish Sméagol crawling into a cave.)

Sméagol: And we forgot the taste of bread…the sound of trees…the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name. My Precious.

(We see Sam asleep and Frodo sitting uneasily in a small cave. Frodo fingers the Ring, but quickly puts it back inside his tunic when he hears movement. Gollum pokes his head in from the top.)

Gollum: Wake up! Wake up! Wake up, sleepies. We must go, yes. We must go at once.

Sam: Haven’t you had any sleep, Mister Frodo?

(Frodo shakes his head.)

Sam: I’ve gone and had too much. It must be getting late.

Frodo: No. It isn’t. It isn’t midday yet. The days are growing darker.

(The ground rumbles and shakes.)

Gollum: Come on! Must go! No time!

Sam: Not before Mister Frodo’s had somethin’ to eat.

Gollum: No time to lose, silly.

(Sam hands Frodo some lembas.)

Sam: Here.

Frodo: What about you?

Sam: Oh, no. I’m not hungry. Leastways not for lembas bread.

Frodo: Sam…

Sam: All right. We don’t have that much left. We have to be careful or we’re going to run out. You go ahead and eat that, Mister Frodo. I’ve rationed it. There should be enough.

Frodo: For what?

Sam: The journey home.

(Frodo looks at Sam in surprise. Next we see Frodo and Sam following Gollum.)

Gollum: Come, Hobbitses. Very close now. Very close to Mordor. No safe places here. Hurry!

(Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas, etc. ride towards Isengard, and come upon Merry and Pippin laughing and sitting upon a broken wall.)

Merry: It’s good. Definitely from the Shire. Longbottom Leaf.

(Merry and Pippin both agree.)

Pippin: I feel like I’m back at the Green Dragon.

Merry: Green Dragon.

Pippin: A mug of ale in my hand. Putting my feet up on a settle after a hard day’s work.

Merry: Only, you’ve never done a hard day’s work.

(Both laugh. A small crew of Helm’s Deep survivors arrive. Pippin chortles like a loon.)

Merry: Welcome, my lord, to Isengard! (points to Orthanc)

Gimli: You young rascals! A merry hunt you’ve led us on, and now we find you, feasting and… smoking!

Pippin: We are sitting on a field of victory, enjoying a few well-earned comforts. The salted pork is particularly good.

Gimli: Salted pork?

Gandalf: (shakes head in disgust) Hobbits.

Merry: We’re under orders, from Treebeard, who’s taken over management of Isengard.

(The scene shifts to the group riding near Orthanc, while Treebeard greets them.)

Treebeard: Young Master Gandalf. I’m glad you’ve come. Wood and water, stock and stone I can master. But there is a Wizard to manage here, locked in his tower.

Aragorn: (whispering) Show yourself.

Gandalf: Be careful. Even in defeat, Saruman is dangerous.

Gimli: Well, let’s just have his head and be done with it.

Gandalf: No. We need him alive. We need him to talk.

Saruman: (v.o.) You have fought many wars and slain many men, Théoden King, (shows himself on the top of the tower) and made peace afterwards. Can we not take counsel together as we once did, my old friend? Can we not have peace, you and I?

Théoden: We shall have peace. We shall have peace when you answer for the burning of the Westfold and the children that lie dead there! We shall have peace when the lives of the soldiers whose bodies were hewn even as they lay dead against the gates of the Hornburg, are avenged! When you hang from a gibbet for the sport of your own crows, we shall have peace.

Saruman: Gibbets and crows? Dotard! What do you want, Gandalf Greyhame? Let me guess. The key of Orthanc. Or perhaps the Keys of Barad-dur itself along with the crowns of the seven kings and the rods of the Five Wizards!

Gandalf: Your treachery has already cost many lives. Thousands more are at risk. But you can save them, Saruman. You were deep in the enemy’s counsel.

Saruman: So you have come here for information. I have some for you.

(Saruman lifts up his Palantír and gazes into it.)

Saruman: Something festers in the heart of Middle-Earth. Something that you have failed to see. But the Great Eye has seen it. (puts the Palantír back down)Even now he presses his advantage. His attack will come soon. You’re all going to die.

(Gandalf approaches the base of Orthanc.)

Saruman: But you know this, don’t you, Gandalf? You cannot think that this Ranger will ever sit upon the throne of Gondor. This exile, crept from the shadows, will never be crowned king. Gandalf does not hesitate to sacrifice those closest to him, those he professes to love. Tell me, what words of comfort did you give the Halfling before you sent him to his doom? The path that you have set him on can only lead to death.

Gimli: I’ve heard enough! (whispers to Legolas) Shoot him. Stick an arrow in his gob.

Gandalf: No. Come down, Saruman, and your life will be spared.

Saruman: Save your pity and your mercy. I have no use for it!

(Saruman sends down a giant fire-ball towards Gandalf. A giant flame surrounds where Gandalf is. Gandalf is now shown surrounded by a shield as the flames die down.)

Gandalf: Saruman, your staff is broken.

(Saruman’s staff breaks in his hands into many pieces. Grima shows up behind Saruman.)

Théoden: Grima, you need not follow him. You were not always as you are now. You were once a Man of Rohan. Come down.

Saruman: A Man of Rohan? What is the house of Rohan but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek and their brats roll on the floor with the dogs? The victory at Helm’s Deep does not belong to you, Théoden Horse-master. You are a lesser son of greater sires.

Théoden: Grima, come down. Be free of him.

Saruman: Free? He will never be free.

Grima: No.

Saruman: Get down, cur!

((Saruman hits Grima, knocking him down.)

Gandalf: Saruman! You were deep in the enemy’s counsel. Tell us what you know!

(Grima is shown getting up slowly as he draws a small dagger.)

Saruman: You withdraw your guard, and I will tell you where your doom will be decided. I will not be held prisoner here.

(Grima pounces on Saruman and stabs Saruman several times. Legolas releases an arrow, hitting Grima. Grima winces in pain and falls back, making Saruman plummet off the tower and towards the ground. He lands on top of a spear on one of his own devices. Disgust fell over the faces of several of the riders.)

Gandalf: Send word to all our allies, and to every corner of Middle-Earth that still stands free. The enemy moves against us. We need to know where he will strike.

(The wheel spins, sinking Saruman into the waters. The Palantír falls out of his robe and into the water.)

Treebeard: The filth of Saruman is washing away. Trees will come back to live here. Young trees. Wild trees.

(Pippin sees an orange glow in the water. He wades into the water and picks it up, eyeing it curiously.)

Aragorn: Pippin!

Treebeard: Bless my bark!

Gandalf: Peregrin Took! I’ll take that, my lad. Quickly now.

(Pippin hands the palantír to Gandalf, who quickly wraps it in his robe. The riders are next seen traveling towards Edoras, and Éowyn stands in front of the Golden Hall. A large crowd is then seen in the Hall. Éowyn bows to Théoden as she gives him a cup.)

Théoden: Tonight we remember those who gave their blood to defend this country. Hail the victorious dead!

Crowd: Hail!

(Crowd begins to talk)

Éomer: No pauses. No spills.

(Gives a mug to Legolas.)

Gimli: And no regurgitation.

Legolas: So it’s a drinking game?

(Men “ai!” and raise their mugs.)

Gimli: Last one standing wins.

Men: What’ll we drink to? Let’s drink to victory! To victory!

(Gimli gulps down his mug as Legolas carefully starts to drink.)

(Éowyn approaches Aragorn with a cup.)

Éowyn: Westu Aragorn hál.

(She gives it to Aragorn, who drinks some. He walks off with a nod.)

Théoden: I am happy for you. He is an honorable man.

Éowyn: You are both honorable men.

Théoden: It was not Théoden of Rohan who led our people to victory. (Éowyn looks at him, not understanding.) Ah, don’t listen to me. You are young, and tonight is for you.

(Gimli glups down another mug of beer as Legolas puts down another mug. Someone hands both Legolas and Gimli another mug.)

Gimli: Here, here. It’s the Dwarves that go swimming with little, hairy women. (he belches)

Legolas: I feel something. A slight tingle in my fingers. I think it’s affecting me.

Gimli: (in a drunk voice) What did I say? He can’t hold his liquor.

(Gimli crosses his eyes and falls back off his chair onto the floor.)

Legolas: Game over.

(Merry and Pippin are dancing and singing on a table.)

Merry and Pippin:

Oh you can search far and wide,

You can drink the whole town dry,

But you’ll never find a beer so brown,

As the one we drink in our hometown.

You can drink your fancy ales,

You can drink ‘em by the flagon,

But the only brew for the brave and true,

(Pippin stops dancing as he sees that Gandalf is looking at him.)

Merry: Pippin!

Merry and Pippin: But the only brew for the brave and true, Comes from The Green Dragon!

(Merry and Pippin start drinking as fast as they can.)

Merry: Thank you! I win!

Pippin: Thank you!

(Gandalf laughs and claps, and is joined by Aragorn.)

Aragorn: No news of Frodo?

Gandalf: No word. Nothing.

Aragorn: We have time. Every day, Frodo moves closer to Mordor.

Gandalf: Do we know that?

Aragorn: What does your heart tell you?

Gandalf: That Frodo is alive. Yes. Yes, he’s alive.

(The Hobbits are sleeping. Gollum twitches and talks as if having a bad dream.)

Sméagol: Too risky. Too risky. Thieves. They stole it from us. Kill them. Kill them. Kill them both!

Gollum: Shh! Quiet. Mustn’t wake them. Mustn’t ruin it now.

Sméagol: But they knows. They knows. They suspects us!

Gollum: What’s it saying, my precious, my love? Is Sméagol losing his nerve?

Sméagol: No. Not. Never. Sméagol hates nasty Hobbitses. Sméagol wants to see them…dead.

Gollum: And we will. Sméagol did it once, he can do it again. (Quick flashback of Déagol struggling while Sméagol strangles him.) It’s ours. Ours!

Sméagol: We must get the precious. We must get it back.

Gollum: Patience. Patience, my love. First we must lead them to her.

Sméagol: We lead them to the winding stairs.

Gollum: Yes. The stairs. And then?

Sméagol: Up, up, up, up, up the stairs we go, until we come to…the tunnel.

Gollum: And when they go in, there’s no coming out. She’s always hungry. She always needs…to feed. She must eat. All she gets is filthy Orcses.

Sméagol: And they doesn’t taste very nice, does they, precious?

Gollum: No. Not very nice at all, my love. She hungers for sweeter meats, Hobbit-meat. (Switch to shot of Sam, who begins to awaken.) And when she throws away the bones, and empty clothes, then we will find it.

Sméagol: And take it for me!

Gollum: For us.

Sméagol: Y-yes, we meant “for us”. *gollum, gollum*

Gollum: The precious will be ours, once the Hobbitses are dead.

(He picks up a rock, and drops it in the water. The ripples fade to show Sam standing over his shoulder.)

Sam: You treacherous little toad!

(Sam tackles Sméagol and then struggles with him as Frodo rushes over.)

Sméagol: No! No! Master!

Frodo: No, Sam! Leave him alone!

(Frodo pulls Sam back from Sméagol.)

Sam: I heard it from his own mouth. He means to murder us!

Sméagol: Never! Sméagol wouldn’t hurt a fly! (He touches a small cut on his head, then sees blood on his hand) Argh! He’s a horrid, fat Hobbit who hates Sméagol and who makes up nasty lies!

Sam: You miserable little maggot! I’ll stove your head in!

(Sam tries to attack Sméagol, who hides behind a tree.)

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Call me a liar? You’re a liar!

Sméagol: Argh!

Frodo: You scare him off, we’re lost!

Sam: I don’t care! I can’t do it, Mister Frodo; I won’t wait around for him to kill us.

Frodo: I’m not sending him away!

(Sméagol shudders.)

Sam: You don’t see it, do you? He’s a villain!

Frodo: We can’t do this by ourselves, Sam. Not without a guide. I need you on my side.

Sam: I’m on your side, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: I know, Sam, I know. Trust me. Come, Sméagol.

(Frodo holds out his hand and Sméagol takes it. Gollum gives Sam an evil grin. The scene shifts to Edoras, at night. Aragorn walks out of the room where he was sleeping with his pipe. Pippin moves in his bed as if something is really bothering him. Aragorn walks into a room where Éowyn is sleeping by a dimmed down fire. He pokes the fire with a stick and fixes the blanket on Éowyn.)

Éowyn: What time is it?

Aragorn: Not yet dawn.

(As Aragorn begins to walk away, Éowyn grabs his hand.)

Éowyn: I dreamed I saw a great wave, climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shone behind me, but I could not turn. I could

only stand there, waiting.

Aragorn: Night changes many thoughts. Sleep, Éowyn. Sleep…while you can.

(Aragorn walks away and walks outside where he sees Legolas.)

Legolas: The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the east. A sleepless malice.

(Legolas turns to look at Aragorn.)

Legolas: The Eye of the Enemy is moving.

(Pippin is unable to sleep, and gets up, walking toward Gandalf.)

Merry: What you doing?

(Pippin is shocked and turns back. He then turns and looks at Gandalf, who is sleeping with his eyes open. He gets another shock. He waves his hand in front of Gandalf.)

Merry: Pippin! Pippin?

(Pippin jumps, then exchanges a nearby vase for the wrapped up palantír in Gandalf’s arms.)

Merry: Pippin. What, are you mad?

Pippin: I just want to look at it. Just one more time.

Merry: Put it back!

(Pippin holds the palantír in his hands and smiles, but then he starts to see the Eye of Sauron, and is questioned by him. Pippin’s pain is clearly obvious, as he screeches and writhes on the floor.)

Merry: Pippin! No! Pippin…

(Switch to the outside where Legolas and Aragorn are standing.)

Legolas: He is here!

(Pippin is still being tortured/questioned.)

Sauron: I see you…

Merry: Pippin! Help! Gandalf, help! Someone help him!

(Gandalf wakes up, and Aragorn and Legolas burst into the room. Aragorn takes the palantír away from Pippin and faints momentarily as the palantír rolls away. Legolas holds him. Gandalf grabs a cloak and throws it over the palantír.)

Merry: Pippin!

Gandalf: Fool of a Took!

(Gandalf pushes Merry away and bends over Pippin. Pippin looks frozen and shocked. Gandalf chants something under his breath, while touching Pippin’s forehead. Pippin then awakens and starts panting, horrified.)

Gandalf: Look at me.

Pippin: (cringing) Gandalf, forgive me.

Gandalf: Look at me. What did you see? (Pippin turns away, but Gandalf turns Pippin to face him.)

Pippin: A tree. There was a white tree. In a courtyard of stone. It was dead.

(Gandalf sees an image of the Court of the Fountain burning.)

Pippin: The city was burning.

Gandalf: Minas Tirith? Is that what you saw?

Pippin: I saw…I saw him! I can hear his voice in my head.

Gandalf: And what did you tell him? Speak!

Pippin: He asked me my name. I didn’t answer. He hurt me.

Gandalf: What did you tell him about Frodo and the Ring?

(Pippin looks at Gandalf, confusion in his eyes. The scene switches to the Golden Hall, where they are all standing tensely.)

Gandalf: There was no lie in Pippin’s eyes. A fool, but an honest fool he remains. He told Sauron nothing of Frodo and the Ring. We’ve been strangely fortunate. Pippin saw in the palantír a glimpse of the enemy’s plan. Sauron moves to strike the city of Minas Tirith. His defeat at Helm’s Deep showed our enemy one thing. He knows the Heir of Elendil has come forth. Men are not as weak as he supposed. There is courage still,strength perhaps to challenge him. Sauron fears this. He will not risk the peoples of Middle-earth uniting under one banner. He will raze Minas Tirith to the ground before he sees a king return to the throne of Men. If the beacons of Gondor are lit, Rohan must be ready for war.

Théoden: Tell me; why should we ride to the aid of those who did not come to ours? What do we owe Gondor?

Aragorn: I will go.

Gandalf: No!

Aragorn: They must be warned!

Gandalf: They will be. (He speaks quietly to Aragorn alone.) You must come to Minas Tirith by another road. Follow the river. Look to the black ships. (To all.) Understand this: Things are now in motion that cannot be undone. I ride for Minas Tirith. And I won’t be going alone. (His gaze moves in the direction of the two Hobbits.)

(Gandalf walks into the stables followed by Merry and Pippin.)

Gandalf: Of all the inquisitive Hobbits, Peregrin Took, you are the worst! Hurry, hurry!

Pippin: Where are we going?

Merry: (turns to Pippin) Why did you look? Why do you always have to look?

Pippin: I don’t know. I can’t help it.

Merry: You never can.

Pippin: I’m sorry, all right? I won’t do it again.

Merry: Don’t you understand? The Enemy thinks you have the Ring. He’s going to be looking for you, Pip. They have to get you out of here.

Pippin: And you-you’re coming with me? (Merry turns and goes to the stables.) Merry?

Merry: Come on.

Pippin: How far is Minas Tirith?

Gandalf: Three days’ ride, as the Nazgûl flies, and you better hope we don’t have one of those on our tail.

Merry: Here, something for the road.

(Merry hands Pippin a small package.)

Pippin: The last of the Longbottom Leaf.

Merry: I know you’ve run out. You smoke too much, Pip.

Pippin: But—But we’ll see each other soon…won’t we?

Merry: I don’t know… I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Pippin: Merry.

Gandalf: Run Shadowfax. Show us the meaning of haste!

Pippin: Merry!

(Shadowfax gallops off, and Merry runs up to a lookout point to see them off.)

Aragorn: Merry!

(Aragorn follows him up the stairs, and they sadly watch Gandalf and Pippin ride away.)

Merry: He’s always followed me, everywhere I went, since before we were tweens. I would get him into the worst sort of trouble, but I was always there to get him out. Now he’s gone. Just like Frodo and Sam.

Aragorn: One thing I have learned about Hobbits: They’re a most hardy folk.

Merry: Foolhardy, maybe. He’s a Took.

(Merry and Aragorn look at where Gandalf and Pippin are in the distance. Scene changes to a forest where Elves are traveling towards the Grey Havens, including Arwen.)

Elrond: (v.o) Take her by the safest road. A ship lies anchored in the Grey Havens. It waits to carry her across the sea…the last journey of Arwen Undómiel.

(In a vision, she sees a young boy run past. As he runs into the trees, the surrounding forest changes to become a place made of grey stone. The boy runs to an aged Aragorn who lifts him up, laughing and smiling. The boy looks directly at Arwen; she sees the Evenstar around his neck. The boy is her son, Eldarion. Arwen looks on in sorrow and shuts her eyes as tears roll down her cheeks.)

Elrond: (v.o.) There is nothing for you here, only death.

(When she opens her eyes again, the vision leaves her.)

Figwit: Lady Arwen, we cannot delay. (Arwen turns around and rides away.) My Lady!

(Arwen rides into Rivendell. In a pavilion, Elrond sees her running up.)

Arwen: Tell me what you have seen.

Elrond: (stands up to meet her) Arwen.

Arwen: You have the gift of foresight. What did you see?

Elrond: I looked into your future, and I saw death.

Arwen: But there is also life. You saw there was a child! You saw my son!

Elrond: (gloomily) That future is almost gone.

Arwen: But it is not lost.

Elrond: Nothing is certain.

Arwen: (kneels down in front of Elrond and touches her father’s face) Some things are certain. If I leave him now, I will regret it forever. It is time.

(Arwen walks into the chamber where the shards of Narsil are kept.)

Arwen: (v.o.) From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadows shall spring. Renewed shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king.

Arwen: Reforge the sword. Ada.

(Elrond doesn’t answer and walks away. She sits on a bed as if exhausted and drops the book that was in her hands. Elrond picks it up.)

Elrond: (feels her hands and lowers them down in front of her) Your hands are cold. The life of the Eldar is leaving you.

Arwen: This was my choice. Ada, whether by your will or not, there is no ship now that can bear me hence.

(Elrond is grieved. Scenes interchange between two Elven-smiths reforging Narsil. The scene shifts to Gandalf and Pippin riding through the countryside on their way to Minas Tirith.)

Gandalf: We’ve just passed into the realm of Gondor.

(They crest a hill, and see Minas Tirith in the distance.)

Gandalf: Minas Tirith. City of kings.

(They ride through the many levels of the city, as people jump out of the way in front of them.)

Gandalf: Make way!

(They enter the Courtyard of the Citadel, where the White Tree stands.)

Pippin: It’s the tree. Gandalf. Gandalf!

Gandalf: Yes, the White Tree of Gondor. The tree of the king. Lord Denethor, however, is not king. He is a steward only, a caretaker of the throne.

(Gandalf pauses before entering the hall.)

Gandalf: Now listen carefully. Lord Denethor is Boromir’s father. To give him news of his beloved son’s death would be most unwise. And do not mention Frodo or the Ring. And say nothing of Aragorn either. In fact, it’s better if you don’t speak at all, Peregrin Took.

(They enter the hall. We see a man sitting on a black chair at the end of the grand hall.)

Gandalf: Hail Denethor, son of Ecthelion, lord and steward of Gondor. I come with tidings in this dark hour and with counsel.

Denethor: Perhaps you come to explain this. (Holds up Boromir’s cloven horn.) Perhaps you come to tell me why my son is dead.

(Gandalf is bewildered. Pippin has a flashback to Boromir being wounded, and then steps forward.)

Pippin: Boromir died to save us, my kinsman and me. He fell defending us from many foes.

Gandalf: Pippin!

Pippin: I offer you my service, such as it is, in payment of this debt.

Denethor: This is my first command to you. How did you escape and my son did not, so mighty a man as he was?

Pippin: The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow and Boromir was pierced by many.

(Denethor begins to sob.)

Gandalf: Get up! (He whacks Pippin with his staff. He turns to Denethor.) My Lord, there will be a time to grieve for Boromir, but it is not now. War is coming. The enemy is on your doorstep. As steward, you are charged with the defense of this city. Where are Gondor’s armies? You still have friends. You are not alone in this fight. Send word to Théoden of Rohan. Light the beacons.

Denethor: (snarling) You think you are wise, Mithrandir. Yet for all your subtleties you have not wisdom. Do you think the eyes of the White Tower are blind? I have seen more than you know. With your left hand you would use me as a shield against Mordor. And with your right you would seek to supplant me. I know who rides with Théoden of Rohan. Oh yes. Word has reached my ears of this Aragorn, son of Arathorn. And I tell you now, I will not bow to this Ranger from the North, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship.

Gandalf: Authority is not given you to deny the return of the king, Steward.

Denethor: (standing) The rule of Gondor is mine, and no other’s!

(Denethor sits. Gandalf regards him for a moment, then turns and walks away.)

Gandalf: (to Pippin) Come. All has turned to vain ambition. He would even use his grief as a cloak. A thousand years this city has stood. (back to the courtyard) Now, at the whim of a madman, it will fall. And the White Tree, the tree of the king, will never bloom again.

Pippin: Why are they still guarding it?

Gandalf: They guard it because they have hope. A faint and fading hope that one day it will flower. That a king will come and this city will be as it once was, before it fell into decay. The old wisdom borne out of the West was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living, and counted the old names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. (walks to the edge of the wall) Childless lords sat in aged halls, musing on heraldry or in high, cold towers, asking questions of the stars. And so the people of Gondor fell into ruin. The line of kings failed. The White Tree withered. The rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men.

(Pippin walks over towards the edge of the wall as he sees red clouds climbing over mountains towards Gondor.)

Pippin: Mordor.

Gandalf; Yes, there it lies. This city has dwelt ever in the sight of its shadow.

Pippin: A storm is coming.

Gandalf: This is not the weather of the world. This is a device of Sauron’s making. A broil of fume he sends ahead of his host. The Orcs of Mordor have no love of daylight, so he covers the face of the sun to ease their passage along the road to war. When the Shadow of Mordor reaches this city it will begin.

Pippin: Well, Minas Tirith, very impressive. So where are we off to next?

Gandalf: Oh, it’s too late for that, Peregrin. There’s no leaving this city. Help must come to us.

(We now are switched to a forest where Frodo and Sam walking)

Sam: It must be getting near teatime. Leastways, it would be in decent places where there is still teatime.

Gollum: (turning around) We’re not in decent places.

(Frodo stops suddenly)

Sam: Mr. Frodo? What is it?

Frodo: It’s just a feeling. I don’t think I’ll be coming back.

Sam: Yes, you will. Of course you will. That’s just morbid thinking. We’re going there and back again just like Mr. Bilbo. You’ll see.

(They begin to walk again and they pass a large statue who’s head has been removed and replaced by a large rock with a cage-like thing over it.)

Frodo:I think these lands were once part of the kingdom of Gondor. Long ago, when there was a king.

(They walk past the original head of the statue. The sun begins to peer out of the clouds as Sam turns around.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo, look. The king has got a crown again.

Gollum: Come on, Hobbits! Mustn’t stop now. This way.

(Scene changes and shows Gandalf on a balcony smoking. Pippin is in a room just behind him. The armor of the Guards of the Citadel is laid upon his bed.)

Pippin: (looking over his armor) So I imagine this is just a ceremonial position. I mean, they don’t actually expect me to do any fighting, do they?

Gandalf: (in a scratchy voice)You’re in the service of the steward now. You’re going to have to do as you’re told, Peregrin Took. (he continues to cough)

(Pippin pours a glass of water for Gandalf and brings it to him.)

Gandalf: Ridiculous Hobbit. Guard of the Citadel. (his coughs echo around as Pippin gives him the glass.) Thank you.

Pippin: (looking towards the sky) There’s no more stars. Is it time?

Gandalf: Yes.

(Pippin walks over to the balcony.)

Pippin: It’s so quiet.

Gandalf: It’s the deep breath before the plunge.

Pippin: I don’t want to be in a battle, but waiting on the edge of one I can’t escape is even worse. (Gandalf walks over to stand next to him.) Is there any hope, Gandalf, for Frodo and Sam?

Gandalf: There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope. Our Enemy is ready. His full strength gathered. (v.o.) Not only Orcs, but Men as well. Legions of Haradrim from the south. Mercenaries from the coast. All will answer Mordor’s call. This will be the end of Gondor as we know it. Here the hammer-stroke will fall hardest. If the river is taken, if the garrison at Osgiliath falls, the last defense of this city will be gone.

Pippin: But we have the White Wizard. That’s got to count for something. Gandalf?

Gandalf: (v.o.) Sauron has yet to release his deadliest servant, (Switch to shot of the Witch-king preparing for battle.) the one who will lead Mordor’s armies in war. The one they say no living man can kill. The Witch-king of Angmar. You’ve met him before. He stabbed Frodo on Weathertop. (Flashback of the Weathertop scene in FotR.) He is the lord of the Nazgûl, the greatest of the Nine. Minas Morgul is his lair.

(The scene switches to Frodo, Sam, and Sméagol approaching Minas Morgul.)

Gollum: The Dead City. Very nasty place. Full of enemies.

(He jumps onto the road, and the two Hobbits follow him.)

Gollum: Quick. Quick! They will see. They will see!

(Frodo stares at the statues guarding the city.)

Gollum: Come away. Come away. Look, we have found it. The way into Mordor. The secret stair.

(The two Hobbits stare in shock at the steep stairs climbing the cliff face in front of them.)

Gollum: Climb!

(Frodo turns to look at the statues again, and begins staggering towards the city, as if against his will.)

Sam: No! Mister Frodo!

Gollum: Not that way!

(Gollum and Sam chase after Frodo.)

Gollum: What’s it doing?

Sam: No!

Frodo: They’re calling me…

Gollum: No!

(Sam and Gollum pull him back to the hidden staircase. The ground shakes, and then a large pillar of light fills the sky above Minas Morgul. Gandalf and Pippin in Minas Tirith see it, as does Faramir in Osgiliath.)

Sméagol: Hide! Hide!

(They quickly clamber behind a rock wall at the base of the stairs. The Witch-king on his fellbeast rises above the city, and he shrieks. The Hobbits writhe in pain.)

Frodo: (Clutches his shoulder, and shudders in pain.) I can feel his blade!

(The gates of Minas Morgul open, and Orc troops begin marching out.)

Gandalf: We come to it at last. The great battle of our time.

(The Orc army marches along the path out of Minas Morgul. The Witch-king flies over Sam and Frodo’s heads.)

Gollum: Come away, Hobbits. We climb. We must climb.

(Frodo, Sam, and Gollum begin climbing the stairs.)

Gandalf: The board is set. The pieces are moving.

Gollum: Up, up, up the stairs we go. And then it’s into the tunnel.

Sam: Hey, what’s in this tunnel? (grabs Gollum as he tries to get away) You listen to me, and you listen good and proper. Anything happens to him, you have me to answer to. One sniff something’s not right, one hair stands up on the back of my head, it’s over. No more slinker. No more stinker. You’re gone. Got it? I’m watching you. (climbs up to where Frodo is.)

Frodo: What was that about?

Sam: Nothing. Just clearing something up.

(Scene changes, showing Gandalf is striding swiftly through the city, followed by Pippin.)

Gandalf: Peregrin Took, my lad, there is a task now to be done. Another opportunity for one of the Shire-folk to prove their great worth. You must not fail me.

(Pippin has a look of understanding on his face. He runs off in the direction of the beacon tower. The scene shifts to Osgiliath where the men are eating and talking.)

Madril: (To Faramir)It’s been very quiet across the river. The Orcs are lying low. The garrison may have moved out. We’ve sent scouts to Cair Andros. If the Orcs attack from the north, we’ll have some warning.

(Orc-boats approaching slowly and quietly. All light is veiled by the growing darkness, though it is day. One Orc makes too much noise while rowing.)

Gothmog: Quiet!

(Switches back to Osgiliath.)

Gondorian Soldier: We need 10 more.

(Men continue to whisper to each other as the Orc boats continue to creep up to the banks. One Gondorian soldier sees the Orc army and is quickly killed by an arrow.)

Gothmog: Kill him!

(He falls down stairs, alarming the other soldiers, including Faramir.)

Faramir: They’re not coming from the north. To the river! Quick. Quick! Go. Come on!

(Faramir and soldiers are run to the shore, grasping spears, hiding behind walls, keeping out of sight of the boats. Some have obviously just been woken up and had no time to put on full gear. Low voices give orders.)

Gothmog: (in the boats) Faster.

(Swords are drawn. Close-up on Faramir, pressed to a wall, gets ready for battle. The first boats reach the shore.)

Gothmog: Draw swords!

(Ramps for disembarking are dropped, and the first Orcs step on the shore. Faramir and his Men let them pass. Faramir takes a deep breath then charges. Fighting begins. Back in Minas Tirith, Pippin climbs to the top of the beacon, and with some effort, dumps some oil on the wood and starts the beacon fire. He quickly realizes it’s not particularly clever to stay on a lit pile of wood, and begins climbing back down. The soldiers guarding the beacon realize it is lit. Several more shots show all of the beacons between Gondor and Rohan being lit, one by one.)

Gandalf: (quietly) Amon Dîn.

Guard: The beacon! The beacon of Amon Dîn is lit!

(Denethor peers out a window and sneers.)

Gandalf: Hope is kindled.

(Aragorn is sitting smoking a pipe in Edoras and notices the beacon in the distance is lit. He runs to the Golden Hall and throws open the doors.)

Aragorn: The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!

(Théoden looks up from a map. Éowyn runs to stand next to Éomer. Everyone watches Théoden’s reaction.)

Théoden: (pauses, and then calmly proclaims) And Rohan will answer!

(Éowyn and Éomer look relieved.)

Théoden: Muster the Rohirrim! (A person rings the gong on top of a tower. Théoden strides out of the Golden Hall in his armor.) Assemble the Men at Dunharrow. As many Men as can be found. You have two days. On the third, we ride for Gondor and war. Gamling!

Gamling: My lord.

Théoden: Make haste across the Riddermark. Summon every able-bodied man to Dunharrow.

Gamling: I will.

(Aragorn sees Éowyn leading out her horse.)

Aragorn: Will you ride with us?

Éowyn: Just to the encampment. It’s tradition for the Women of the Court to farewell the men.

(Aragorn lifts up the saddle blanket of her horse to reveal her sword. Éowyn snatches it back down, hiding the sword again.)

Éowyn: The men have found their captain. They will follow you into battle, even to death. You have given us hope.

(She turns away. Aragorn contemplates her words. Merry kneels before Théoden.)

Merry: Excuse me. I have a sword. Please accept it. I offer you my service, Théoden King.

Théoden: (Pulling Merry up to his feet) And gladly I accept it. You shall be Meriadoc, esquire of Rohan.

(A smile runs across the face of Merry as he runs off. Legolas and Gimli are on top of a horse ready to go.)

Gimli: Horse-master. I wish I could muster a legion of Dwarves, fully armed and filthy.

Legolas: Your kinsmen may have no need to ride to war. I fear war already marches on their own lands.

(We see many of the Rohirrim riders riding off as Merry tries to get his pony to go.)

Théoden: (v.o.) So, it is before the walls of Minas Tirith, the doom of our time will be decided.

Éomer: Now is the hour! Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken. Now fulfill them all! To lord and land! (The Rohirrim ride out of Edoras, including Merry on a small white pony.)

(The fearsome battle at Osgiliath continues. Men and Orcs are locked in a desperate struggle, but the ferocity and numbers of the Orcs begin to take a toll on the defenders. Men are rushing about in confusion. Faramir, followed closely by Orcs, runs through an arch.)

Madril: Faramir!

(Faramir steps aside as Gondorian archers release a hail of arrows into the pursuing Orc troops.)

Madril: We cannot hold them! The city is lost!

(Faramir surveys the scene in despair.)

Faramir: Tell the Men to break cover. We ride for Minas Tirith.

(Battle continues to rage as the Nazgûl and the Fell-beasts circle Osgiliath, darting in to grab Men in their claws.)

Soldier: Nazgûl!

Soldier: Take cover! Nazgûl!

Faramir: Fall back! Fall back to Minas Tirith!

(As the soldiers retreat, Madril is gravely wounded and falls to the ground. Faramir and the soldiers reach their horses and begin to flee from the city.)

Faramir: Retreat! Retreat!

Soldier: Run for your lives!

(All grows quiet as Orcs gather around the badly wounded Madril, who looks up with fearful eyes. The leader of the Orcs, Gothmog, snatches a spear from a lesser Orc and thrusts it into Madril’s chest, killing him.)

Gothmog: The age of Men is over. The time of the Orc has come.

(The Men of Gondor continue their headlong flight from Osgiliath. The Nazgûl dart in and out, causing many deaths among the horses and riders. All looks hopeless for the Men of Gondor, until a white horse gallops from the city gates of Minas Tirith.)

Soldier: It’s Mithrandir! The White Rider!

(Gandalf and Pippin, mounted upon Shadowfax, ride towards the retreating army. As they near the Men of Gondor, Gandalf raises his staff; and pure, white light issues forth, driving the Nazgûl back. Gandalf falls in at the head of the company and they withdraw into Minas Tirith.)

Faramir: Mithrandir! They broke through our defenses. They’ve taken the bridge and the west bank. Battalions of Orcs are crossing the river.

Gondorian Soldier: It is as the Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he foreseen this doom!

Gandalf: Foreseen and done nothing!

(Gandalf turns around with Shadowfax, revealing Pippin who is sitting in front of him. As Faramir sees the Hobbit, he stares at him. Pippin notices he is being stared at and lowers his face.)

Gandalf: Faramir? This is not the first Halfling to have crossed your path.

Faramir: No.

(Pippin looks up, the look on his face getting brighter.)

Pippin: You’ve seen Frodo and Sam?

(Faramir nods at Pippin.)

Gandalf: Where? When?

Faramir: In Ithilien. Not two days ago.

(Pippin turns to look at Gandalf, both look happy and relieved.)

Faramir: Gandalf, they’ve taken the road to the Morgul Vale.

(The smile on Gandalf’s face fades and he looks at Faramir, his eyes filling with worry.)

Gandalf: And then the Pass of Cirith Ungol.

(Faramir nods silently.)

Pippin: What does that mean? What’s wrong?

Gandalf: Faramir, tell me everything. Tell me all you know.

(Scene changes to Faramir and Denethor talking to each other.)

Denethor: This is how you would serve your city? You would risk its utter ruin?

Faramir: I did what I judged to be right.

Denethor: What you judged to be right. You sent the Ring of Power into Mordor in the hands of a witless Halfling. It should have been brought back to the Citadel to be kept safe. Hidden. Dark and deep in the vaults not to be used. Unless at the uttermost end of need.

Faramir: I would not use the Ring. Not if Minas Tirith were falling in ruin and I alone could save her.

Denethor: Ever you desire to appear lordly and gracious as a king of old. Boromir would have remembered his father’s need. He would have brought me a kingly gift.

Faramir: Boromir would not have brought the Ring. He would have stretched out his hand to this thing and taken it. He would’ve fallen.

Denethor: You know nothing of this matter!

Faramir: He would have kept it for his own. And when he returned you would not have known your son.

Denethor: Boromir was loyal to me! Not some wizard’s pupil! (He trips and falls against his chair.)

Faramir: Father?

Denethor: (face is lighting up) My son.

(Denethor sees a hallucination of Boromir walking towards him with the Ring. Boromir disappears and Denethor’s face goes from happiness to sadness.)

Denethor: (to Faramir) Leave me.

(Gollum, Sam and Frodo are climbing up the stairs. Frodo is struggling heavily, and nearly falls.)

Gollum: Careful, master! Careful! Very far to fall. Very dangerous are the stairs. Come master!

(Gollum sees the Ring hanging out of Frodo’s shirt. It starts to take him over.)

Gollum: Come to Sméagol…

(Gollum extends his hand to the Ring. Sam sees this from lower down.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo! (Draws out his sword.) Get back you! Don’t touch him!

(Gollum resists the Ring and places his hand on Frodo’s arm, pulling him up.)

Gollum: Why does he hates poor Sméagol? What has Sméagol ever done to him?

(Sam sheathes his sword.)

Gollum: Master? Master carries heavy burden. Sméagol knows. Heavy, heavy burden. The fat one cannot know. Sméagol look after master. He wants it. He needs it. Sméagol sees it in his eye. Very soon he will ask you for it. You will see. The fat one will take it from you.

(Frodo clutches the Ring protectively and looks at Sam with cold eyes. The scene shifts, and the Witch-king is surveying Osgiliath laid out before him.)

Witch-king: Send forth all legions. Do not stop the attack until the city is taken. Slay them all.

Gothmog: What of the Wizard?

Witch-king: I will break him.

(Back at Minas Tirith, Gandalf looks out from the city wall.)

Soldier(s): What of Théoden’s Riders? Will Rohan’s army come? Mithrandir.

Gandalf: Courage is the best defense you have now.

(Scene changes to Pippin sitting alone in a room.)

Pippin: What were you thinking, Peregrin Took? What service can a Hobbit offer such a great lord of Men?

Faramir: (walking into the room)It was well-done. A generous deed should not be checked with cold counsel. You are to join the tower guard.

Pippin: I didn’t think they would find any livery that would fit me.

Faramir: Once belonged to a young boy of the city. A very foolish one who wasted many hours slaying dragons instead of attending to his studies.

Pippin: This was yours?

Faramir: Yes, it was mine. My father had it made for me.

Pippin: Well, I’m taller than you were then. Though I’m not likely to grow anymore, except sideways.

(They both laugh)

Faramir: Never fitted me either. Boromir was always the soldier. They were so alike, he and my father. Proud. Stubborn even. But strong.

Pippin: I think you have strength of a different kind. And one day your father will see it.

(Pippin is kneeling before Denethor’s throne, swearing his service. Faramir stands and watches.)

Pippin: Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, in peace or war, in living or dying, from…from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me.

Denethor: (stands up with an amused smile on his face) And I shall not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given. (He extends his hand, on which there is a ring; Pippin kisses it reluctantly.) Fealty with love. Valor with honor. (looking at Faramir) Disloyalty with vengeance.

(Denethor then goes and sits at a table on which there is a platter of fruit and meats. Pippin stands.)

Denethor: (to Faramir) I do not think we should so lightly abandon the outer defenses, defenses that your brother long held intact.

Faramir: What would you have me do?

Denethor: I will not yield the river and Pelennor unfought. Osgiliath must be retaken.

Faramir: My Lord, Osgiliath is overrun.

Denethor: Much must be risked in war. Is there a captain here who still has the courage to do his lord’s will?

(Pippin looks at Denethor, then turns to look at Faramir, confused. Faramir watches his father with a saddened expression.)

Faramir: (voice breaking) You wish now that our places had been exchanged, that I had died and Boromir had lived.

(Denethor is silent before answering, the expression on his face serious.)

Denethor: (as if to himself) Yes, I wish that.

(Denethor brings a goblet to his lips and drinks. Faramir looks at his father, tears forming in his eyes.)

Faramir: Since you are robbed of Boromir, I will do what I can in his stead.

(Faramir bows to his father and turns to leave. Pippin watches as Faramir limps away. Denethor merely sits with the wine goblet in his hands and is silent. Faramir stops and turns to look at Denethor.)

Faramir: If I should return, think better of me, Father.

Denethor: (coldly and doesn’t look up) That will depend on the manner of your return.

(A close shot of Gollum apparently asleep. Cut back and forth between Sam trying not to fall asleep and Gollum’s closed eyes. Sam finally falls asleep, and as he does, Gollum instantly opens his eyes. Gollum takes the lembas bread out of Sam’s bag, and looks at it, disgusted. He breaks off a piece of it, and sprinkles the crumbs on Sam’s cloak. Then he throws the rest of the bread down the stairs. Sam wakes up again and sees Gollum also awake.)

Sam: What are you up to? Sneaking off, are we?

Gollum: S-sneaking? Sneaking? Fat Hobbit is always so polite. Sméagol shows them secret ways that nobody else can find, and they say “sneak”! Sneak? Very nice friend, oh, yes, my precious. Very nice, very nice.

Sam: All right. All right! You just startled me is all. What were you doing?

Gollum: (sneering) Sneaking.

Sam: Fine. Have it your own way. (Wakes Frodo.) I’m sorry to wake you, Mr. Frodo. We have to be moving on.

Frodo: It’s dark still.

Sam: It’s always dark here.

(Sam searches in his bag and realizes that the lembas bread has gone missing.)

Sam: It’s gone! The Elven-bread!

Frodo: What? That’s all we have left!

(Gollum puts on a childishly innocent face and pretends to be thinking about where the bread might have gone.)

Sam: (pointing at Gollum) He took it! He must have!

Gollum: Sméagol? No, no, not poor Sméagol. Sméagol hates nasty Elf-bread!

Sam: You’re a lying rat! What did you do with it!?

Frodo: (suspiciously) He doesn’t eat it. He can’t have taken it.

(Gollum suddenly spies the crumbs he left on Sam’s cloak.)

Gollum: Look! What’s this? Crumbs on his jacketses! (Gollum brushes them off.) He took it! He took it! I’ve seen him. He’s always stuffing his face when master’s not looking!

Sam: That’s a filthy lie!

(Sam punches and hits Gollum, and ends up trying to strangle him on the ground.)

Sam: You stinking, two-faced sneak!

Frodo: Sam! Stop it! Sam! (He grabs Sam and pulls him back.)

Sam: I’ll kill him!

Frodo: Sam! No!

(The effort to stop Sam is too much for Frodo, and he sits down heavily.)

Sam: Oh, my– I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it to go so far. I was just so– so angry. Here, just— Let’s just rest a bit.

Frodo: I’m all right.

Sam: No. No, you’re not all right. You’re exhausted. It’s that Gollum. It’s this place. It’s that thing around your neck! (Frodo starts to look wary of him.) I could help a bit. I could carry it for a while. (His words echo.) Share the load.

Frodo: Get away! (Pushes Sam away.)

Sam: I don’t want to keep it! I just want to help.

Gollum: See? See? He wants it for himself.

Sam: (close to tears) Shut up, you! Go away! Get out of here!

Frodo: No, Sam. It’s you. I’m sorry, Sam.

Sam: But he’s a liar. He’s poisoned you against me.

Frodo: You can’t help me anymore.

Sam: (Shaking his head while tears run down his face.) You don’t mean that.

Frodo: (plainly and coldly) Go home.

(Sam falls to the ground sobbing while Gollum and Frodo continue on without him. The scene shifts to Minas Tirith. Faramir rides through the streets of the city with a small group of soldiers, on their way to attempt to retake Osgiliath. The people of the city watch them as they go by, sad looks of despair mirrored on all of their faces. The women throw flowers at the horses’ feet, and hand small bouquets to the soldiers.)

Gandalf: Faramir! Faramir! (Gandalf pushes his way through the crowd, and begins walking beside Faramir.)

Gandalf: Your father’s will has turned to madness. Do not throw away your life so rashly!

Faramir: Where does my allegiance lie if not here? This is the city of the Men of Numenor. I will gladly give my life to defend her beauty, her memory, her wisdom.

(Gandalf watches as Faramir rides away.)

Gandalf: Your father loves you, Faramir. He will remember it before the end.

(The soldiers form ranks, and ride toward Osgiliath. The people of Minas Tirith line the walls to watch them go. Orcs in the ruined city raise their heads from behind broken boulders, and watch the oncoming riders. Back in the Great Hall, Denethor continues to eat.)

Denethor: Can you sing, Master Hobbit?

Pippin: Well, yes. At least, well enough for my own people. But we have no songs for great halls and evil times.

Denethor: (grimly) And why should your songs be unfit for my halls? Come, sing me a song.

(Pippin seems in thought, as if finding the words, and then sings:)

Home is behind, the world ahead,

And there are many paths to tread.

Through shadow, to the edge of night,

Until the stars are all alight.

Mist and shadow, cloud and shade,

All shall fade! All shall fade…

(While Pippin is singing, the scene flashes back and forth between Pippin singing, Denethor eating, and Faramir riding to suicide in Osgiliath. Pippin is close to tears. He bravely holds it in, but when he finishes singing he begins to cry. Cut to Gandalf sitting silently on a rock in a courtyard. We hear one bell ringing. The scene abruptly shifts to Trolls pushing huge combat towers across the river at Osgiliath. We can hear drums being played to mark the rhythm. Cut to Dunharrow, where the Rohan soldiers are encamped. Théoden and his entourage ride through.)

Soldiers: Make way for the king. Make way! The king is here. My lord. Hail to you, sire.

Théoden: Grimbold, how many?

Grimbold: I bring five hundred Men from the Westfold, my lord.

Soldier: We have three hundred more from Fenmarch, Théoden King.

Théoden: Where are the riders from Snowbourn?

Soldier: None have come, my lord.

(Théoden and Aragorn look down on the troops from above.)

Théoden: Six thousand spears. Less than half of what I’d hoped for.

Aragorn: Six thousand will not be enough to break the lines of Mordor.

Théoden: More will come.

Aragorn: Every hour lost hastens Gondor’s defeat. We have till dawn, then we must ride.

(Théoden nods. Nearby, a horse begins rearing and neighing.)

Legolas: The horses are restless and the men are quiet.

Éomer: They grow nervous in the shadow of the mountain.

Gimli: That road there, where does that lead?

Legolas: It is the road to the Dimholt, the door under the mountain.

Éomer: None who venture there ever return. That mountain is evil.

(Aragorn watches the Dimholt road from behind a rock and sees something like green smoke forming into faces. His face is worried.)

Gimli: Aragorn!

(Aragorn jerks around.)

Gimli: Let’s find some food.

(Éowyn and Merry are inside a tent. She dresses him in the armor of the Rohirrim.)

Éowyn: There. A true esquire of Rohan.

Merry: I’m ready!

(Merry draws his blade and almost cuts Éowyn. She laughs.)

Merry: Sorry. It isn’t all that dangerous. It’s not even sharp.

Éowyn: (Grabs the blade.) Well, that’s no good. You won’t kill many Orcs with a blunt blade. Come on.

(Merry runs out of the tent, wielding the sword, and Éowyn follows. Éomer and Gamling are sitting in front of a small campfire.)

Éowyn: (to Merry) To the smithy. Go!

Éomer: You should not encourage him.

Éowyn: You should not doubt him.

Éomer: I do not doubt his heart, only the reach of his arm.

(Gamling snickers.)

Éowyn: (earnestly) Why should Merry be left behind? He has as much cause to go to war as you. Why can he not fight for those he loves?

Éomer: You know as little of war as that Hobbit. When the fear takes him and the blood and the screams and the horrow of battle take hold, do you think he would stand and fight? He would flee. And he would be right to do so. War is the province of Men, Éowyn.

(Looking down from Dunharrow we see a mysterious figure, cloaked all in black, riding a horse up the winding path. He rides past the stone Púkel-men that squat by the road. Aragorn sleeps restlessly. He dreams of Arwen lying listless in her bed in Rivendell. Her eyes open and there is a quick shot of the Paths of the Dead.)

Arwen: (v.o.)I choose a mortal life.

(A single tear falls from her eye.)

Arwen: I wish I could’ve seen him…one last time.

(Arwen closes her eyes. The Evenstar drops and breaks into a thousand pieces. Aragorn snaps awake and draws his elven knife. A Rohirrim guard stands at the entrance to his tent.)

Guard: Sir? King Théoden awaits you, My Lord.

(Aragorn enters Théoden’s tent. Théoden stands in front of a hooded figure.)

Théoden: I take my leave. (He leaves.)

(Aragorn slowly approaches, and the figure stands up and removes the hood, revealing Elrond.)

Aragorn: (Bows, surprised.) My lord Elrond.

Elrond: I come on behalf of one whom I love. Arwen is dying. She will not long survive the evil that now spreads from Mordor. The light of the Evenstar is failing. As Sauron’s power grows, her strength wanes. Arwen’s life is now tied to the fate of the Ring. The Shadow is upon us, Aragorn. The end has come.

Aragorn: It will not be our end, but his.

Elrond: You ride to war, but not to victory. Sauron’s armies march on Minas Tirith, this you know. But in secret he sends another force which will attack from the river. A fleet of Corsair ships sails from the south. They’ll be in the city in two days. You’re outnumbered, Aragorn. You need more Men.

Aragorn: There are none.

Elrond: There are those who dwell in the mountain.

(Aragorn ponders this and sees a vision of the King of the Dead.)

Aragorn: Murderers… traitors! You would call upon them to fight? They believe in nothing! They answer to no one!

Elrond: They will answer to the King of Gondor!

(Elrond sweeps aside his cloak and pulls out the reforged sword. He presents it to Aragorn.)

Elrond: Andúril, Flame of the West, forged from the shards of Narsil.

Aragorn: Sauron will not have forgotten the Sword of Elendil. (He looks at the sword before him, and quickly draws Andúril from the sheath. The camera follows the blade to the tip as Aragorn stares at it.) The blade that was broken shall return to Minas Tirith.

Elrond: The man who can wield the power of this sword can summon to him an army more deadly than any that walks this earth. Put aside the Ranger. Become who you were born to be. Take the Dimholt road.

Elrond: Ónen i-Estel Edain. (I give hope to Men)

Aragorn: Ú-chebin estel anim. (I keep none for myself.)

(Aragorn is preparing to leave. Éowyn comes and confronts him.)

Éowyn: Why are you doing this? The war lies to the east. You cannot leave on the eve of battle. You cannot abandon the men.

Aragorn: Éowyn…

Éowyn: We need you here.

Aragorn: (sadly) Why have you come?

Éowyn: Do you not know?

Aragorn: It is but a shadow and a thought that you love. I cannot give you what you seek.

(Éowyn backs away in disbelief and shock. Aragorn gazes at her for a moment before he walks towards her)

Aragorn: I have wished you joy since first I saw you.

(He turns and leads Brego away, and Éowyn stands there in tears, overwhelmed and heartbroken.)

Gimli: Just where do you think you’re off to?

Aragorn: Not this time. This time you must stay, Gimli.

(Legolas walks up leading his horse.)

Legolas: Have you learned nothing of the stubbornness of Dwarves?

Gimli: You might as well accept it. We’re going with you, laddie.

(Switch to Théoden and other Rohirrim soldiers.)

Soldier(s): What’s happening? Where is he going? I don’t understand. Lord Aragorn! Why does he leave on the eve of battle?

Gamling: He leaves because there is no hope.

Théoden: He leaves because he must.

Gamling: Too few have come. We cannot defeat the armies of Mordor.

Théoden: No, we cannot. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless.

(Éowyn stands alone with her arms crossed, looking into the distance, her face perfectly still in deep thought. The sun rises. Théoden approaches.)

Théoden: I have left instruction. The people are to follow your rule in my stead. Take up my seat in the Golden Hall. Long may you defend Edoras if the battle goes ill.

Éowyn: (blankly) What other duty would you have me do, my lord?

Théoden: (Turns to Éowyn and takes her hands.) Duty? No. I would have you smile again. (Éowyn forces a tiny smile onto her face.) Not grieve for those whose time has come. (He cups Éowyn’s head in his hands and brings her forehead to his.) You shall live to see these days renewed. No more despair.

(Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli ride on the road to the Dimholt. Sharp grey rocks surround them on a narrow path.)

Gimli: What kind of an army would linger in such a place?

Legolas: One that is cursed. Long ago, the Men of the Mountain swore an oath to the last King of Gondor, to come to his aid, to fight. But when the time came, when Gondor’s need was dire, they fled, vanishing into the darkness of the mountain. And so Isildur cursed them, never to rest until they had fulfilled their pledge. Who shall call them from the great twilight? The forgotten people. The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the north shall he come. Need shall drive him. He shall pass the door to the Paths of the Dead.

(At the end of the path, a small opening is crafted into a rock. Primitive paintings are above it.)

Gimli: The very warmth of my blood seems stolen away.

Legolas: The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead. And the Dead keep it. The way is shut.

(They dismount, still holding the horses by the reins. Aragorn has Andúril in his hand. The sheath is attached to Brego’s saddle. The horses are nervous. They slowly approach the opening. The horses go crazy as a blast of air comes out of the tunnel. Aragorn and Legolas lose hold of the reins, and the horses gallop off.)

Aragorn: Brego!

(Aragorn turns and looks back at the tunnel into the mountain.)

Aragorn: I do not fear death!

(He walks quickly and firmly into the darkness behind the opening. Legolas hesitates another second, then follows him determinedly.)

Gimli: Well, this is a thing unheard-of. An Elf will go underground where a Dwarf dare not! Oh! Oh, I’d never hear the end of it!

(He stamps his feet a few times, finally finds his courage and follows his companions. The scene shifts back to the Rohirrim. Haste in the Dunharrow camp. Fires are put out quickly, Men jump on horses. Théoden leaves his tent with Éomer.)

Théoden: We must ride light and swift. It is a long road ahead. And man and beast must reach the end with the strength to fight.

(Merry stands with his white pony. Théoden passes him on horse.)

Théoden: Little Hobbits do not belong in war, Master Meriadoc.

Merry: All my friends have gone to battle. I would be ashamed to be left behind.

Théoden: It’s a three-day gallop to Minas Tirith, and none of my Riders can bear you as a burden.

Merry: I want to fight!

Théoden: I will say no more.

(Théoden rides off. Merry is left standing, lost and ashamed, watching the Riders pass him by. As one Rider approaches him, he reaches out with his arm, grabs the Hobbit and pulls him on his horse.)

Éowyn: Ride with me.

(She puts an arm around him. Merry smiles happily and proudly.)

Merry: My Lady!

Éomer: Form up! Move out! Form up! Move out!

Théoden: Ride! Ride now to Gondor!

(In Gondor, the Orc troops are rapidly approaching the city of Minas Tirith, with siege towers in tow. Elsewhere, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli rush through the mountain. Aragorn has a metal torch.)

Gimli: What is it? What do you see?

Legolas: I see shapes of men. And of horses.

Gimli: Where?

Legolas; Pale banners like shreds of cloud. Spears rise like winter-thickets through a shroud of mist. The Dead are following. They have been summoned.

Gimli: The Dead? Summoned? I knew that. Very good. Very good! Legolas! (runs towards a path where he thinks Legolas when.)

(Mists surround them as they walk. Gimli tries to blow away the mists.)

Aragorn: Do not look down.

(They hear cracks and Gimli looks down, seeing the skulls of the Dead. They walk into a giant hall and see a green figure appear.)

King of the Dead: (v.o.)Who enters my domain?

Aragorn: One who will have your allegiance.

King of the Dead: The Dead do not suffer the living to pass.

Aragorn: You will suffer me.

(The King of the Dead laughs. The Dead appear and surround Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli.)

King of the Dead: The way is shut. It was made by those who are dead. And the Dead keep it. The way is shut. Now you must die.

(Legolas releases an arrow. It goes through the one aimed at as if through thin air.)

Aragorn: I summon you to fulfill your oath.

King of the Dead: None but the King of Gondor may command me.

(Aragorn lifts Andúril. The King of the Dead attacks him with a sword. Aragorn parries and then grabs the King by his throat.)

King of the Dead: That line was broken.

Aragorn: It has been remade. (He releases the King, and addresses The Dead surrounding him.) Fight for us, and regain your honor. (He walks through the crowd of ghosts.) What say you?

(The Dead shuffle about and look uncertain.)

Aragorn: What say you?

Gimli: You waste your time, Aragorn! They had no honor in life, they have none now in death.

Aragorn: I am Isildur’s heir. Fight for me, and I will hold your oaths fulfilled!

(The Dead watch Aragorn, unable to decide.)

Aragorn: (commanding) What say you?! You have my word! Fight, and I will release you from this living death! (the Dead begin to disappear) What say you?!

Gimli: Stand, you traitors!

(The mists begin to blow away and the ground begins to shake. The whole place begins to burst out with skulls everywhere.)

Aragorn: Out!

(The try to get out as fast as they can but the skulls fall on them unmercifully.)

Aragorn: Legolas! Run!

(They finally get out when they run out of a small opening in the cave. Aragorn’s face begins to sadden as he sees the black ships of the Corsairs on the river. He falls to his knees. Legolas puts his arm around him. A noise comes from the cave and Aragorn turns around to see the King of the Dead.)

King of the Dead: We fight.

(Back at Minas Tirith, with Orcs and siege towers getting even closer.)

Soldier: Open the gate! Quick!

(The gate is opened and an unconscious Faramir is dragged in by a horse, his body struck with arrows. The Orc-leader, Gothmog, rides among his troops on a Warg and looks pleased. Faramir is carried up to the top of Minas Tirith.)

Soldier: Quick, hurry!

(Gothmog jumps off the Warg. An Orc helps him stand but he quickly pushes him away. Gothmog begins to limp down the ranks. Denethor runs into the courtyard.)

Denethor: Faramir!

(The soldiers lay Faramir down beside the White Tree.)

Denethor: Say not that he has fallen!

Soldier: They were outnumbered. None survived.

(Pippin watches from afar.)

Gothmog: Fear. The city is rank with it. Let us ease their pain. Release the prisoners!

Orc: Catapults!

(The catapults fire. On the walls of Minas Tirith, Men duck from what is flying in amongst them – the heads of Faramir’s soldiers. Meanwhile, Denethor leans over Faramir’s body.)

Denethor: My sons are spent.

(Denethor stumbles away from the litter that bore Faramir, torn with grief. Pippin runs to Faramir’s side.)

Denethor: My line has ended.

(Pippin touches Faramir’s brow.)

Pippin: He’s alive!

Denethor: The House of Stewards has failed!

Pippin: He needs medicine, my lord!

(Denethor ignores Pippin and continues to stumble towards the walls.)

Denethor: My line has ended!

Pippin: (calls) My lord!

(Denethor reaches the walls. His eyes grow wide as he looks upon the massive army that stands at his gates. His mind breaks and he goes insane.)

Denethor: Rohan has deserted us. (Cut to battlefield, and destruction of parts of the city.) Théoden’s betrayed me. (Calls to soldiers) Abandon your posts! Flee! Flee for your lives!

(The Gondorian soldiers look about uncertainly and in fear. Gandalf whacks Denethor in the forehead with his staff, then in the stomach, and the steward falls down in shock.)

Gandalf: Prepare for battle!

(Gandalf rides towards the outer defenses.)

Gandalf: Hurry, men! To the wall! Defend the wall!

(Soldiers and civilians rush about in fear and confusion.)

Gandalf: Return to your posts!

(He reaches the outer wall, and sees the oncoming army.)

Gandalf: Send these foul beasts into the abyss.

(The Gondorian soldiers begin hurling large rocks and pieces of buildings towards the Orcs with trebuchets.)

Gothmog: Stay where you are.

Soldier(s): We need more rubble! Watch out! (A rock flies towards the outer wall, flinging several people off of the wall.)

Soldier: Down to the lower level. Quick!

(One flung rock comes perilously close to killing Gothmog, who neatly steps aside at the last minute, and spits on it. The Nazgûl on their fellbeasts then arrive, and strike terror in the hearts of the Gondorian soldiers, by picking up random Men and dropping them. Pippin appears, holding his ears with his hands, to block out the sound of the Nazgûl cries.)

Gandalf: Hold them back! Do not give into fear! Stay at your posts! Fight!

(The siege towers are nearly at the wall.)

Gandalf: (to the archers) Not at the towers! Aim for the Trolls! Kill the Trolls! Bring them down!

(The siege towers connect with the walls, and Orcs begin swarming in. The gate is shown being bashed by a battering ram by the Orcs. Arrows from the soldiers fall on the Orcs as they attempt this.)

Gandalf: Fight them back!

(Gandalf sees Pippin coming down the stairs towards him.)

Gandalf: Peregrin Took! Go back to the Citadel!

Pippin: (dazed) They’d called us out to fight.

(An Orc heads towards Pippin, and Gandalf heads it off, killing it.)

Gandalf: This is no place for a Hobbit!

(The Wizard fights off several more Orcs, but one comes up behind him while he is busy fighting another Orc. Pippin stabs the Orc just as it is going to hit Gandalf.)

Gandalf: (smiling) Guard of the Citadel indeed. Now, back! Up the hill! Quickly! Quick!

(Orcs continue to hit the gate.)

Gothmog: What are you doing, you useless scum?!

Orc: The door won’t give. It’s too strong.

Gothmog: Get back there and smash it down.

Orc: But nothing can breach it.

Gothmog: Grond will breach it. Bring up the wolf’s head.

(Huge creatures pull the massive battering ram, Grond, towards Minas Tirith. It is shaped like a giant wolf, with flames licking inside its mouth.)

Armies of Sauron: (chanting) Grond! Grond! Grond! Grond! Grond!

(Gandalf looks down from the wall with great concern as Orcs continue to chant the name of this great ram. Scene changes as the Corsair ships pass where Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are.)

Aragorn: You may go no further. You will not enter Gondor.

(Corsair men laugh at him.)

Captain: Who are you to deny us passage?

Aragorn: Legolas, fire a warning shot past the bosun’s ear.

Gimli: Mind your aim. (Hits Legolas’s bow as he fires)

(Arrow hits the man next to the captain. Gimli covers his mouth as Legolas looks at him.)

Gimli: That’s it. Right. We warned you. Prepare to be boarded.

Captain: Boarded? By you and whose army?

Aragorn: This army.

(The King of the Dead and his army appear and run towards the ships.)

(The scene shifts to Frodo and Gollum climbing the stairs leading to Cirith Ungol.)

Gollum: In there. (Motions towards the tunnel opening.)

Frodo: (looking rather ill) What is this place?

Gollum: Master must go inside the tunnel.

Frodo: Now that I’m here, I don’t think I want to.

Gollum: It’s the only way. Go in, or go back.

Frodo: (in despair) I can’t go back. (He enters the tunnel.) What’s that smell?

Gollum: Orcses’ filth. Orcses come in here sometimes. (They continue along, and Gollum leaves Frodo’s side, running ahead.) Hurry! This way!

Frodo: Sméagol? (Breathing hard, scared.)

Gollum: Over here.

(Frodo falls against a wall, and touches some webbing.)

Frodo: It’s sticky! What is it?

Gollum: (Sounding pleased.) You’ll see! Oh, yes. You will see.

Frodo: Sméagol? Sméagol! Sméagol! (He realizes that Gollum has led him into a trap. He looks scared, and ready to cry.) Sam. (Frodo steps on a skeleton, and takes a good look around at the webs and dead animals. He hears a noise, and panics, beginning to run.)

(Sam is upset and sobbing while he makes his way clumsily down the stairs. He slips and falls, landing right beside the lembas bread. When he sees the bread, he crushes it in his hand angrily, then looks back up the stairs. Frodo is still running, and falls into a small pit filled with cobwebs, and bones.)

Galadriel: (v.o.) And you, Frodo Baggins, I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star.

(Frodo pulls Galadriel’s phial out of his pocket.)

Galadriel: (v.o.) May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.

Frodo: Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! (Hail Eärendil brightest of the Stars!)

(The light shows Shelob, a giant spider, standing beside Frodo. Frodo tries to crawl away, and keep her back with the light from the phial. She attacks. He slashes at her leg with Sting, and then runs. He turns to look back behind him, and runs into a bunch of very sticky webs, and is stuck.)

Gollum: Naughty little fly, why does he cry? Caught in a web, soon you’ll be…eaten.

(Frodo looks angry and slashes the spider web with Sting with much difficulty, while Shelob gets closer. Gollum realizes that Frodo is getting free, and quickly flees. Finally, the terrified Hobbit gets through the web, but Sting is caught in the web and he leaves it, with Shelob following right behind him. Frodo breaks out to the outside world, but Gollum is waiting for him.)

Gollum: Got away, did it, Precious? Not this time! Not this time!

Frodo: No!

(Gollum and Frodo fight, with much rolling around. Frodo takes control, and begins choking Gollum.)

Sméagol: It wasn’t us! It wasn’t us! Sméagol wouldn’t hurt master. We promised. You must believe us. It was the Precious! The precious made us do it!

(Frodo backs away uncertainly, while Gollum cries and coughs.)

Frodo: I have to destroy it, Sméagol. I have to destroy it for both our sakes.

(Frodo turns away, and an intense look of anger and hatred comes over Gollum’s face. He jumps on Frodo again, who rolls him off and throws him down a deep hole in the ground. Gollum screams as he falls. Frodo staggers on, anguish filling his face.)

Frodo: I’m so sorry, Sam. I’m so sorry.

(He collapses, and suddenly finds himself in a green, beautiful wood, presumably Lothlórien. Galadriel stands in front of him.)

Galadriel: (v.o.)This task was appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire. If you do not find a way, no one will.

(Galadriel reaches out her hand to him, and Frodo meets hers with his. As he rises, the scene changes back to Shelob’s lair. He continues on with a look of determination on his face. Scene shifts to Rohirrim riders.)

Éomer: The scouts report Minas Tirith is surrounded. The lower level’s in flames. Everywhere, legions of the enemy advance.

Théoden: Time is against us. Make ready!

Éowyn: Take heart, Merry. It will soon be over.

Merry: My lady, you are fair and brave and have much to live for, and many who love you. I know it is too late to turn aside. I know there is not much point now in hoping. If I were a knight of Rohan, capable of great deeds. But I’m not. I’m a Hobbit. And I know I can’t save Middle-Earth. I just want to help my friends. Frodo. Sam. Pippin. More than anything, I wish I could see them again.

Éomer: Prepare to move out!

Théoden: Make haste. We ride through the night.

(Horns blow. Merry and Eowyn put their helmets on.)

Éowyn; To battle.

Merry: To battle.

(The scene shifts to the Orcs still attacking Minas Tirith. Grond is being pulled back by several Trolls, and released. It hits the gate with a heavy thud.)

Gandalf: Back to the gate! Hurry!

(Pippin wanders up to the courtyard. He sees Denethor carrying a lit torch. Behind him follow guards who carry a litter, upon which lies the unconscious Faramir.)

Denethor: I am steward of the House of Anárion. Thus have I walked. And thus now will I sleep. Gondor is lost. There is no hope for Men.

(A single flower is shown on the White Tree as they pass it.)

Denethor: Why do the fools fly? Better to die sooner than late. For die we must.

(Denethor pushes open the doors to the House of the Stewards on Rath Dínen and enters.)

Denethor: No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No long, slow, sleep of death embalmed. We shall burn, like the heathen kings of old. (Turning to guard.) Bring wood and oil!

(The Orcs are still attempting to batter the front gate down.)

Gandalf: Steady. Steady!

(Grond’s nose breaks through, and the Gondorian soldiers look more than a bit scared.)

Gandalf: You are soldiers of Gondor. No matter what comes through that gate, you will stand your ground.

(The doors burst wide open, and several Trolls in battle armor come rushing in.)

Gandalf: Volley! Fire!

(Archers shoot the Trolls. Fighting ensues. Back at Cirith Ungol, Frodo appears to be coming out of the pass. He sees the Great Eye atop its tower in the distance. While looking at it, he doesn’t notice Shelob creeping up from above him. He hears a noise and spins around. When he turns back around, Shelob’s stinger stabs him in the chest, and he collapses after the poison works its way through his system. She picks him up with her spinnerets, and begins cocooning him. Sting and the Phial of Galadriel suddenly appear, held by the stalwart Sam.)

Sam: Let him go, you filth!

(Shelob looks at Sam and shrieks.)

Sam: Let him go!

(Shelob drops Frodo and moves towards Sam.)

Sam: You will not touch him again!

(Shelob moves closer.)

Sam: Come on and finish it!

(Shelob attacks Sam, and he slashes her leg. She knocks the Light of Eärendil from his hand and kicks it away. Shelob pushes Sam up against the rock wall and tries to bite him. Sam fights back, kicking Shelob in the head. They both fall to the ground, and Sam picks up Sting again. Sam stabs Shelob in the eye with the sword and does some damage. He tries again, but Shelob grabs Sting in her jaws and throws it behind Sam. Shelob tries to sting Sam, but misses as Sam rolls several times. Finally, Sam reaches Sting and drives it up, just as Shelob stings down. The blade is rammed deep into the spider’s abdomen and she falls backwards, staggering and crying out.)

Sam: Back!

(He pushes her back with the light from the phial and with Sting. Shelob retreats into her tunnel. Sam turns his attention to the cocoon of Frodo.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo!

(Sam tears the web from Frodo’s face. His eyes are staring off into the distance, and he is deathly pale.)

Sam: Oh, no. Frodo!

(Sam tries to wake Frodo.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo!

(Sam takes Frodo into his arms, and begins to cry.)

Sam: Wake up! Don’t leave me here alone. Don’t go where I can’t follow. Wake up!

(Sam’s face is filled with sorrow as he realizes Frodo won’t wake.)

Sam: Not asleep…dead!

(Sam holds Frodo close, and sobs. Sting glows blue, signaling that Orcs are nearby. Sam takes up Sting and hides behind a rock. The Orcs come down the stairs and spot Frodo.)

Shagrat: You get back, you scum! What’s this? Looks like old Shelob’s been having a bit of fun.

Gorbag: Killed another one, has she?

Shagrat: No. This fellow ain’t dead.

Sam: (Whispers from behind the rocks.) Not dead?

Shagrat: She jabs him with her stinger and he goes as limp as a boned fish. Then she has her way with them. That’s how she likes to feed. Fresh blood. Get him to the tower!

(The Orcs take Frodo up the stairs to the Tower of Cirith Ungol.)

Sam: Samwise, you fool!

Gorbag: This scum will be awake in a couple of hours.

Shagrat: Then he’ll wish he’d never been born.

(Cut to Minas Tirith. Faramir is being placed on a pyre of wood. Faramir moves uneasily in his unconscious sleep. The guards place piles of wood around the pyre table. Denethor bends over him and touches his face.)

Denethor: The house of his spirit crumbles. He is burning. Already burning.

(Pippin runs up to Faramir, and tries to remove the wood surrounding the pyre.)

Pippin: (hysterically) He’s not dead! He’s not dead!

(Denethor grabs Pippin and drags him out. Pippin continues to cry out that Faramir is not dead.)

Pippin: No! No! No! No! He’s not dead! No!

Denethor: Farewell, Peregrin, son of Paladin. I release you from my service. Go now and die in what way seems best to you.

(He throws Pippin to the ground and shuts the doors. Pippin is greatly distressed.)

Denethor: Pour oil on the wood!

(Pippin runs desperately through the city, trying to find the White Wizard. Chaos reigns around him.)

Soldier: Come on, soldier! Move it! Hurry along there! Hurry along!

Pippin: Gandalf! Where is Gandalf? Gandalf!

(Orcs are streaming into the city, while buildings crumble, and men and women run in fear.)

Gandalf: Retreat! The city is breached. Fall back to the second level! Get the women and children out. Get them out! Retreat!

Soldier: Come on. Come on!

Gothmog: Move into the city. Kill all in your path.

(The Orcs run rampant, killing everything they come across.)

Soldier: Take them down!

Gandalf: Fight! Fight to the last man! Fight for your lives!

Pippin: Gandalf! (pushes his way through the soldiers) Gandalf! Denethor has lost his mind! He’s burning Faramir alive!

Gandalf: Up! Quickly! (He pulls Pippin onto Shadowfax.)

(Shadowfax stops suddenly when he sees the Witch-King on his fell beast land before them.)

Gandalf: Go back to the abyss! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your master!

Witch-King: Do you not know death when you see it, old man? This is my hour. (His sword begins to flame and, at the Witch-King’s timing, he breaks Gandalf’s staff, throwing both Gandalf and Pippin to the ground.)

Pippin: Gandalf! (He takes out his sword and runs towards the fell beast but it roars in his face and frightens him off.)

Witch-King: You have failed. The world of Men will fall.

(Horns can be heard in the distance. Gandalf looks up as the Witch-King flys away towards the sound. Outside the city, the ranks of the Rohirrim crest the hill outside the Pelennor Fields. Théoden looks down on the thousands of Orcs, realizing that this battle cannot be won. His riders see the same. The Rohirrim are about to lose what courage they had.)

Éowyn: Courage, Merry. Courage for our friends. (She holds Merry close to her.)

Gothmog: Form ranks, you maggots. Form ranks! Pikes in front. Archers behind.

(Théoden bares his teeth at the enemy, and summons his courage, riding to his captains and giving orders.)

Théoden: Éomer, take your éored down the left flank.

Éomer: Flank ready.

Théoden:Gamling, follow the King’s banner down the center. Grimbold, take your company right after you pass the wall. Forth, and fear no darkness!

(Théoden rides in front of the Rohirrim, trying to bolster their courage.)

Théoden: Arise, Arise, Riders of Théoden!

(Théoden rides in front of Éowyn, and she hides her face from him.)

Théoden: Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!

(The riders ready their spears, as do the Orcs.)

Éowyn: (to Merry) Whatever happens, stay with me. I’ll look after you.

(Merry tries not to look nervous. Théoden rides in front of the horses, banging his sword against their lowered spears.)

Théoden: Ride now! Ride now! Ride! Ride for ruin, and the world’s ending! Death!

Rohirrim: Death!

(Éowyn gulps, looking nervous.)

Théoden: Death!

Rohirrim: Death!

Théoden: Death!

Merry and Éowyn: Death!

Théoden: Forth Eorlingas!!

(Horns sound. The Rohirrim charge. The Orcs ready to fire at them.)

Gothmog: Fire!

(The arrows are fired and many riders fall.)

Merry: Death!

(More arrows are fired, and more Rohirrim fall.)

Théoden: Charge!

Gothmog: Fire at will!

(More riders fall as another round of arrows are fired, but they charge on and the Orcs begin to back off. The Rohirrim charge into the Mordor armies with such a force that no Orc could withstand them.)

(The Rohirrim continue to decimate the Orc army. Back in the city Denethor stands atop the pyre pouring oil over his head. He looks down at Faramir who is covered in oil. Faramir’s face twitches, but it passes unnoticed.)

Denethor: Set a fire in our flesh.

(Denethor stands on the pyre, arms outstretched like a martyr. Faramir lies at his feet. The attending soldiers move closely to the pyre with their torches. Just as they are about to put fire to wood, Shadowfax kicks open the doors.)

Gandalf: Stay this madness!

(The guards stop. Denethor grabs a torch from a guard.)

Denethor: You may triumph in the field of battle for a day, but against the power that has risen in the east, there is no victory.

(Denethor lights the pile of wood himself. Gandalf takes up a spear and charges Denethor, knocking him off the pyre. Pippin leaps from Shadowfax onto the pyre and tries to roll Faramir from a flaming death. After several tries Pippin succeeds and they both fall off onto the ground. Pippin slaps the flames off Faramir’s clothes. Denethor rises and attacks Pippin.)

Denethor: No! You will not take my son from me!

Pippin: No! No!

(Gandalf rides up again and knocks Denethor onto the pyre, which now roars with flame. Denethor looks through the fire at Faramir, who has opened his eyes. Realizing that his son his still alive, Denethor softens…)

Denethor: Faramir.

(But the flames leap around him and set the steward ablaze. Mad with pain, the screaming Denethor leaps from the pyre and runs burning from the house, where he falls from the edge of Minas Tirith.)

Gandalf: So passes Denethor, son of Ecthelion.

(The Rohirrim are still slashing away at the Orcs, who begin retreating back to Mordor.)

Éomer: Drive them to the river!

Théoden: Make safe the city!

(All of a sudden everything becomes silent. We see a huge group of Mûmakil, ready for battle, approaching the Rohirrim. Théoden and his Men watch in fear as the giant beasts march toward them.)

Théoden: Re-form the line! Re-form the line!

(The riders fall back into position, and prepare to charge the Haradrim.)

Théoden: Sound the charge! Take them head-on!

(Gamling blows his horn.)

Théoden: Charge!

(The Rohirrim charge towards the Mûmakil, and get decimated by the strength and size of their opponents. The Mûmakil use their tusks to send riders flying, and stomp upon them with their feet. The archers on the back of the giant beasts also kill many riders. Éomer pauses in front of one beast, and throws his spear at its driver, killing him. The driver falls, stabbing his Mûmak in the ear, which causes it to swing sideways, taking down another beast and itself. Meanwhile, Éowyn and Merry are riding amongst the Mûmakil, barely dodging death several times.)

Éowyn: Take the reins! Pull him left! Left!

(She grabs a second sword from an Orc, and riding between a Mûmak’s legs, hamstrings it, causing it to fall.)

Éomer: (shooting arrows) Aim for their heads!

(The Mûmak he is aiming for rises on its hind legs, and begins to stagger.)

Théoden: Bring it down! Bring it down! Bring it down!

(A nearby Mûmak falls, nearly landing on Merry and Éowyn. Their horse falls, and they are sent flying. Éowyn narrowly misses being landed on, by rolling away. Merry appears to have disappeared.)

Éowyn: Merry!

(Éowyn sees Théoden fighting Orcs that are surrounding him. She runs and kills some of the Orcs along side of him. Merry coughs as he gets up from the ruins of the dead Mûmak. He is nearly killed by the spear of a Haradrim soldier but he ducks just in time and slashes him to death. Eowyn is approached by Gothmog, who tries to kill her. She hits him in his bad leg.)

(The Orcs are attacking the next level of the city, and soldiers wait behind the gate, ready to attack. Gandalf and Pippin are sitting behind a short wall, watching, and waiting.)

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.

(Gandalf looks at him in surprise.)

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it.

(Pippin listens hopefully, as the sounds of the battle around them fade.)

Pippin: What, Gandalf? See what?

Gandalf: White shores, and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad.

Gandalf: No. No, it isn’t.

(They smile slightly at each other. The Orcs have nearly broken in. Gandalf nods at the Hobbit, and Pippin tightens the grip on his sword. Outside the gate, the Rohirrim grimly continue to fight on.)

Théoden: Rally to me! To me!

(The riders near him are suddenly nervous. Théoden turns around and is aware of the presence of the Witch-king. The Witch-king swoops down and knocks down Snowmane and Théoden. Snowmane lands on top of Théoden. Not far off, Éowyn watches in shock and horror. The fell beast stands over Théoden.)

Witch-king: Feast on his flesh.

Éowyn: (Comes to stand in front of the beast.) I will kill you if you touch him!

Witch-king: Do not come between a Nazgûl and his prey.

(The fell beast tries to strike, and misses, foolishly leaving its neck exposed. Éowyn chops its head off in two strokes, and it dies, flailing about and landing heavily. The Witch-king then stands in front of Éowyn, a flail in its hand. Éowyn looks on in fear, and then ducks and sidesteps as the Nazgûl tries to hit her. The Witch-king finally lands a hit on her shield, and it shatters. She falls, crying out, and clutching her arm…The Witch-King stands triumphantly before her. Elsewhere on the battlefield, black ships begin arriving at the pier.)

Head Orc: Late as usual, pirate scum! There’s knife-work here that needs doing. Come on, ya sea rats! Get off your ships!

(Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli hop down from one of the ships.)

Gimli: (muttering to Legolas) There’s plenty for the both of us. May the best Dwarf win!

(Aragon, Legolas and Gimli then start running, charging the Orcs. The Dead stream from behind them, over the water, killing everything in their path. Éowyn pants in fear as the Witch-king approaches.)

Witch-king: (Grabs Éowyn’s neck.) You fool. No man can kill me! Die now.

(Suddenly Merry comes up from behind and stabs the Witch-king in the back of the leg. His blade crumbles into nothing and he falls to the ground, holding his right arm in pain. The Witch-king shrieks, and falls to its knees. Éowyn stands up and takes off her helmet, shaking her long golden hair loose.)

Éowyn: I am no man!

(With a cry, she stabs the Witch-king in the face with her blade. She falls to the ground in agony, but the Witch-king withers and crumples into nothing with a shrill cry, while Merry and Éowyn watch in surprise and shock. The scene shifts over to various shots of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli fighting.)

Legolas: (shooting as he goes) 15, 16…

Gimli: (hacking up Orcs) 17…

(Aragorn takes down several Orcs and looks up.)

Gimli: …29…

Éowyn; (Scared) Merry!

(Gothmog gets up just as Éowyn looks back. She begins to crawl. Aragorn is shown killing several Orcs. Eowyn reaches for a sword, but it slips from her reach. Aragorn slashes Gothmog just before he kills her and Gimli finished him off.)

Aragorn: Legolas!

(Legolas turns to see an Oliphaunt charging him and rushes to meet it, swinging up onto its tusk. He quickly moves from its trunk to its leg, clambering up its limb using the many arrows stuck in its hide as hand and foot holds. Reaching the top he is met by several Southron warriors.)

Legolas: (while shooting them down) 33, 34…

(Legolas then grabs hold of the rope holding the platform on the Oliphaunt’s back. Swinging off, he cuts the rope and lets the platform fall over the side, pulling him up to the creature’s back. Running up to the Oliphaunt’s head he strings three arrows and shoots them into the beast’s skull, bringing it down. Legolas slides off the trunk, landing safely on the ground in front of Gimli.)

Gimli: That still only counts as one! Come on, then! Come on!

(Aragorn looks over the battlefield; realizing most of the enemies are dead. In the distance, a group of The Dead take down a Mûmak. The Dead overrun the city, killing all of the Mordor troops. Meanwhile, Éowyn crawls to Théoden’s side.)

Théoden: (Opens his eyes and looks at her.) I know your face…Éowyn.

(Éowyn smiles tearfully.)

Théoden: My eyes darken.

Éowyn: (Strokes Théoden’s head gently.) No. No. I am going to save you.

Théoden: (weakly) You already did. Éowyn, my body is broken. You have to let me go. I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company, I shall not now feel ashamed. (He draws a labored breath.) Éowyn…

(Théoden dies and Éowyn cries bitterly over his body. In another spot on the battlefield, the Army of the Dead stands before Aragorn.)

King of the Dead: Release us.

Gimli: Bad idea. Very handy in a tight spot, these lads, despite the fact they’re dead.

King of the Dead: You gave us your word.

Aragorn: I hold your oath fulfilled. Go. Be at peace.

(The King of the Dead closes his eyes in relief, and the dead shimmer, and then disappear, as if blown away by the wind. Soldiers walk around the battle-field, including Éomer and Pippin, to see if there is anyone still alive. Pippin spots Merry’s Elven Cloak and picks it up.)

Pippin: Merry.

Eomer: (in severe despair) No!! (he drops his helmet and sword and runs over to Eowyn, who he thinks is dead.) No!! (he screams and cries bitterly)

(Scene flashes to the Houses of Healing, where Aragorn healing Éowyn of her wounds. She begins to breathe normally as she opens her eyes. Flashes to her walking towards a window. Faramir looks at her in compassion.)

(Scene goes back to where Pippin is looking for Merry.)

Pippin: Merry! Merry! (He glances over towards a dead Mûmak and pushes a dead body off of Merry.)

Pippin: (takes Merry in his arms) Merry! Merry, it’s me. (crying) It’s Pippin.

Merry: (weakly) I knew you’d find me.

Pippin: Yes.

Merry: Are you going to leave me?

Pippin: No, Merry. I’m going to look after you.

(Pippin grabs a cloak and covers Merry with it. The scene shifts to the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Frodo is unconscious or asleep, his chest is bare, and his hands are bound. The noise from the Orcs behind him wakes him, and he opens his eyes. Shagrat examines the mithril shirt removed from Frodo, bringing it into the light.)

Shagrat: Hands off! That shiny shirt, that’s mine!

Gorbag: It’s going to the Great Eye, along with everything else.

(Frodo gropes at his neck, realizing that he hasn’t got the Ring anymore.)

Shagrat: I don’t take orders from stinking Morgul-rats!

(Shagrat lunges for the mithril shirt. Gorbag grabs a blade and points it at Shagrat.)

Gorbag: You touch it, and I’ll stick this blade in your gut.

(Shagrat wrestles the blade from Gorbag and pushes him down a ladder, and then a set of stairs, to where another group of Orcs are eating.)

Shagrat: The scum tried to knife me. Kill him!

(The Orcs growl, and lunge towards Gorbag. One of them gets knocked out a window, which rallies the smaller Orcs to begin fighting once they see what is happening. Sam approaches the Tower, and hears the sounds of fighting. Sam enters the Tower of Cirith Ungol and sees that all the Orcs are dead. He begins to climb up the stairs, and then realizes that there are some more Orcs coming down towards him. He begins making noise and flexing so his shadow grows, which makes the Orcs believe that he is a large, powerful warrior. They begin to back away. He comes out and the Orcs, realizing that he is a small Hobbit, come after him. But Sam, holding Sting, fights and kills them one by one.)

Sam: (He kills one.) That’s for Frodo! (And another.) And for the Shire! (And the last one.) And that’s for my old Gaffer!

(He continues upwards through the Tower. Shagrat comes out of a door-way just as Sam leaves, carrying Frodo’s mithril coat. Frodo, struggling to get out of his restraints, hears someone coming up the ladder.)

Gorbag: Stop your squealing, you dunghill rat. (He draws his weapon.) I’m going to bleed you like a stuck pig!

(Gorbag suddenly cries out, and the tip of Sting appears, thrust through his chest. It gleams blue for a moment, and then fades as Gorbag dies.)

Sam: Not if I stick you first.

Frodo: Sam!

(Sam drops Sting and kneels beside Frodo.)

Frodo: Oh, Sam, I’m so sorry. Sorry for everything.

Sam: Let’s get you out of here. (He begins untying Frodo’s bonds.)

Frodo: (in despair) It’s too late. It’s over. They’ve taken it. Sam, they took the Ring.

Sam: Beggin’, your pardon, but they haven’t. (He pulls the Ring out of his pocket, as Frodo looks on in shock.) I thought I’d lost you, so I took it. Only for safekeeping. (He holds the Ring out.)

Frodo: Give it to me. (Sam pulls back slightly.) Give me the Ring, Sam. (The Ring speaks to Sam, and he seems uncertain as to what to do.) Sam. Give me the Ring.

(Sam slowly hands it over, and Frodo snatches it from his hand. He puts the chain over his head, looking greatly relieved, and then looks up at Sam.)

Frodo: You must understand. The Ring is my burden. It will destroy you, Sam. (He shudders and gasps while trying to stand under the weight of the Ring.)

Sam: Come on, Mr. Frodo. We’d best find you some clothes. You can’t go walking through Mordor in naught but your skin. (Frodo chuckles slightly.)

(The two Hobbits leave the Tower, and stand looking down at Mordor. They are both wearing Orc armor.)

Sam: We did it, Mr. Frodo. We made it to Mordor.

Frodo: (Gazing at the legions of Orcs standing between them and Mt. Doom.) There’s so many of them. We’ll never get through unseen. (The Eye of Sauron sweeps the plain in front of them.) It’s him, the Eye!

Sam: We have to go in there, Mr. Frodo. There’s nothing for it. (Frodo looks at him wearily.) Come on. let’s just make it down the hill for starters.

(Éomer, Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, and Gandalf stand in the hall at Minas Tirith. Gimli sits in the steward’s seat.)

Gandalf: Frodo has passed beyond my sight. The darkness is deepening.

Aragorn: If Sauron had the Ring, we would know it.

Gandalf: It’s only a matter of time. He has suffered a defeat, yes, but behind the walls of Mordor our enemy is regrouping.

Gimli: (breathing out a puff of smoke) Let him stay there. Let him rot! Why should we care?

Gandalf: Because ten thousand Orcs now stand between Frodo and Mount Doom. (sighing) I’ve sent him to his death.

Aragorn: (quietly) No. There is still hope for Frodo. He needs time and safe passage across the Plains of Gorgoroth. We can give him that.

Gimli: How?

Aragorn: Draw out Sauron’s armies. Empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate.

(Gimli coughs out smoke in surprise.)

Éomer: We cannot achieve victory through strength of arms.

Aragorn: Not for ourselves. But we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron’s Eye fixed upon us. Keep him blind to all else that moves.

Legolas: A diversion.

Gimli: Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?

Gandalf: (aside to Aragorn) Sauron will suspect a trap. He will not take the bait.

Aragorn: Oh, I think he will.

(Scene changes, Aragorn is shown walking towards the palantír with Anduril in his hand. He uncovers the palantír, showing the Eye. He reluctantly puts his hand atop it.)

Aragorn: (talking to Sauron) Long have you hunted me. Long have I eluded you. No more.(brings up Anduril) Behold the Sword of Elendil.

(Sauron fights back with a flashback of Arwen dying on her bed. Aragorn despairs and drops the palantír and falls back. Alike his dream, he also drops the Evenstar.)

(The Host of the West marches from Minas Tirith for Mordor, led by Aragorn in king’s armor. Near him ride Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Éomer, Merry and Pippin.)

(Scene flashes to the Houses of Healing.)

Éowyn: The city has fallen silent. There is no warmth left in the sun. It grows so cold.

Faramir: It’s just the damp of the first spring rain. I do not believe this darkness will endure.

(Faramir holds her hand as she smiles at him. She rests her head on him.)

(Frodo and Sam, dressed in Orc uniforms, look down on the plains of Gorgoroth. The Orcs are moving, and the Great Eye is looking northward.)

Sam: Look, the Orcs, they’re moving off. You see, Mr. Frodo, some luck at last.

(They look to their right and see a group of Orcs marching towards where they are.)

Orc: Come on! Faster!

(Frodo and Sam look desperately for a hiding place, but they find that they can only hope that they will not be seen. They sit against a rock wall.)

Orc(s): Come along, you scum! I’ll whip you down to the bone, you! Come on! What have I told you?!

(An Orc spots the two Hobbits, who are disguised as Orcs.)

Orc: Get up! Come on, you slugs! (he whips them) You two are going straight to the front line! Now, move it! Go on! Fall in! Move it!

(Shows hundreds of Orcs marching towards the Black Gate.)

Orc: To the Gate, you slugs! Now, move it! Don’t you know we’re at war?

(Aragorn and company are shown riding towards the Black Gate as the Orcs are continuing to march.)

Orc: Company, halt! Inspection!

Frodo: (weakly) Sam, help me. (he begins to collapse)

Sam: (trying to help him up) Mr. Frodo! Stand up, Mr. Frodo. Stand up!

Frodo: It’s so heavy.

(Sam looks at Frodo’s neck, which has been reddened by the Ring’s chain. An inspecting Orc glances at them and roars.)

Sam: On, no. What do I do? What do we do?

Frodo: Hit me.

Sam: What?

Frodo: Hit me, Sam! Start fighting!

Sam: Get off of me! Nobody pushes me, you filthy maggot! Get off of me!

Orc: Break it up! Break it up!

Inspecting Orc: Oi! I’ll have your guts if you don’t shut this rabble down!

Frodo: Go, Sam! Now!

(The Hobbits break for a tent, that lays out of the site of the Orcs.)

Inspecting Orc: (disregarding what had happened) Move along, scum!

Orc: Back in the line! You maggots! Get back into the line, you slugs! Dig it, you slugs. Move it!

(The Hobbits climb over a hill that will get them away from the Orc army. They struggle through a rocky, smoke-filled plain. The Orc armor clearly wears them down.)

Frodo: (weakly and is on the ground) I can’t—I can’t—I can’t manage the Ring, Sam. It’s—It’s—It’s such a weight to carry. It such a weight.

Sam: (takes off his helmet) We’re going that way. Straight as we can. There’s no point carrying anything we’re not sure to need.

(They throw their Orc armor and Sam’s pans off a steep cliff. Sam is shown shivering while Frodo is leaning on him. He looks up at the sky.)

Sam: (seeing a star in the sky) Mr. Frodo. Look. There is light and beauty up there that no shadow can touch.

(Sam looks down at Frodo, who is sleeping uneasily.)

(Aragorn and company are shown approaching the Black Gates, and then we cut back to Frodo, trying to wring the last bits of liquid from his water skin.)

Sam: Take mine. There’s a few drops left.

(Sam hands Frodo his water container, and Frodo drinks what is in it. Both Hobbits are very dirty, and Frodo looks especially tired and spent.)

Frodo: There will be none left for the return journey.

Sam: I don’t think there will be a return journey, Mr. Frodo.

(They look at each other sadly, and then Sam holds out his hand to Frodo, to help him up. They continue on. Aragorn’s troops stand outside the Black Gate. We cut back to Frodo and Sam again, and Frodo is staggering along, flapping his hands at things in front of him that only he can see, while Sam looks on sadly. Frodo pauses, and looks around. The Great Eye in the distance turns towards them, and Sam dives for cover.)

Sam: Frodo! Get down! Hide!

(Frodo turns around slowly and meets the gaze of the Eye. He crumples to the ground.)

Sam: Frodo!

(The Eye continues to sweep over their location. We cut back to Aragorn and his army.)

Pippin: Where are they?

(Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Éomer and Aragorn’s herald spur their horses forward toward the Gate.)

Aragorn: Let the Lord of the Black Land come forth! Let justice be done upon him!


(The Black Gate begins to open, and a dark rider on a dark, armor covered horse approaches them.)

Mouth of Sauron: My master, Sauron the Great, bids thee welcome.

(He makes a toothy grin but Aragorn returns a mocking look back at him.)

Mouth of Sauron: Is there any in this rout with authority to treat with me?

Gandalf: We do not come to treat with Sauron, faithless and accursed. Tell your master this: The armies of Mordor must disband. He is to depart these lands, never to return.

Mouth of Sauron: (sneers) Old Greybeard. I have a token I was bidden to show thee.

(He pulls out the mithril coat)

Pippin: Frodo.

(The Mouth of Sauron tosses it to Gandalf.)

Pippin: Frodo!

Gandalf: Silence.

Merry: No!

Gandalf: Silence!

Mouth of Sauron: The Halfling was dear to thee, I see. Know that he suffered greatly at the hands of his host. Who would’ve thought one so small could endure so much pain? And he did, Gandalf. He did.

(Aragorn approaches him)

Mouth of Sauron: And who is this? Isildur’s heir? It takes more to make a king than a broken Elvish blade.

(Aragorn quickly takes out his sword and cuts the Mouth of Sauron’s head off.)

Gimli: I guess that concludes negotiations.

Aragorn: I do not believe it. I will not.

(The Eye swings its gaze towards the North. Aragorn and the others see the Orcs marching towards them through the gate.)

Aragorn: Pull back! Pull back! (They ride back to their own forces.)

Sam: It’s gone, Mr. Frodo. The light’s passed on, away towards the north. Something’s drawn its gaze. (He helps Frodo stand up, and they struggle on.)

(Uncountable numbers of Orcs march toward the Host of the West. The soldiers are starting to lose heart and courage.)

Aragorn: Hold your ground! Hold your ground.

(The Men stare at him, fear and uncertainty written on their faces. Aragorn rides back and forth in front of them, trying to shore up their courage.)

Aragorn: Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not this day. This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!

(The Men draw their swords. We cut back to Frodo and Sam, struggling up the side of Mount Doom. Frodo slips and falls, and Sam stumbles to a halt beside him. Back at the battle, Aragorn and the others watch as they are surrounded by Sauron’s forces. The scene shifts back to the Hobbits, and Frodo looks up at the fiery peak above him, looking utterly defeated. He finds some strength within him, and begins pulling himself slowly and painfully up the mountainside with his bare fingers, trying to complete his quest. His strength finally gives out, and he collapses.)

Gimli: Never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an Elf.

Legolas: What about side by side with a friend?

Gimli: Aye. I could do that.

(Sam climbs up to Frodo and takes him in his arms, rocking him back and forth. He looks down at his master.)

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the Orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields, (Frodo opens his eyes, and stares blindly at Sam.) and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: (gasping for breath) No, Sam. I can’t recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, or the touch of grass. I’m naked in the dark. There’s— There’s nothing…no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I can see him with my waking eyes! (His eyes widen in pain and fear.)

Sam: (in tears) Then let us be rid of it, once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you! Come on!

(Sam staggers to his feet, placing Frodo over his shoulder. He continues slowly up the mountain, carrying Frodo and the Ring forward one step at a time. Meanwhile, the Eye of Sauron is now completely focused on Aragorn.)

Sauron’s voice: Aragorn. Elessar.

(Aragorn is motionless and stares off at the Eye in the distance. He then turns to the army behind him.)

Aragorn: For Frodo.

(Aragorn runs towards the Orcs, with Merry and Pippin right behind him, then the rest of the army following behind them.)

(Sam nears the top of the mountain, still carrying Frodo. He sees the entrance to the Crack of Doom.)

Sam: Look, Mr. Frodo. A doorway! We’re almost there.

(Gollum appears on top of a rock above the Hobbits.)

Gollum: Clever Hobbits to climb so high!

(He jumps on Frodo, and pulls him off of Sam’s back. Gollum clambers on top of Frodo and starts to reach for the Ring.)

Gollum: Mustn’t go that way. Mustn’t hurt the precious.

Frodo: You swore! You swore on the precious! Sméagol promised!

Gollum: Sméagol lied.

(Gollum grips Frodo’s throat with both hands. Sam picks up a rock and throws it at Gollum, knocking him off of Frodo. Gollum gets up again, and goes for Frodo, but Sam dives and rolls him away. The battle at the Black Gate continues, and the Nazgûl swoop in to do some damage. Gollum and Sam keep fighting, and Gollum bites Sam, and tries to attack him again. Sam pulls out his sword, and cuts Gollum in the chest.)

Sam: (turns to look for Frodo) Frodo!

(Frodo is now running up the mountain towards the Crack of Doom. At the battle, Gandalf sees a Nazgûl flying in for the kill, and then suddenly sees a moth flying in front of his face. In the sky, the cries of Eagles can be heard as several great Eagles appear, one of which attacks the Nazgûl headed towards Gandalf.)

Pippin: (shouting joyfully) Eagles! The Eagles are coming! (The Eagles swoop down at the Nazgûl and attack them.)

(Back at the Crack of Doom, Sam runs in, and looks for Frodo.)

Sam: Frodo!

(Frodo is standing at the edge of the pit of molten lava, and he turns his head to look wearily at Sam.)

Frodo: I’m here, Sam.

Sam: Destroy it!

(Frodo holds the Ring out before him, above the fiery pit, but does not throw it in.)

Sam: Go on! Now! Throw it in the fire!

(Frodo is still reluctant, and struggles internally, trying to do what he knows he must.)

Sam: What are you waiting for? Just let it go!

(Frodo stares deeply at the Ring, listening to its call. He pulls the Ring back to his chest, and turns back to Sam.)

Frodo: The Ring is mine.

(He pulls the Ring off of its chain.)

Sam: No…no…

(Frodo puts the Ring on his finger, a smile of pure evil on his face. He disappears.)

Sam: Nooooooo!

(The Great Eye suddenly becomes aware of the presence of the Ring, and turns its gaze to Mount Doom, while the Nazgûl abruptly leave the battle and head in the same direction. Back in the Crack of Doom, Sam stares in shock and despair at Frodo’s footprints on the rock before him. Gollum appears over his shoulder, and he hits Sam with a rock. Sam drops unconscious to the floor. Gollum then tracks the footprints of Frodo, and jumps on him. Frodo cries out as he struggles with Gollum. The action returns to the battle for a moment, where Aragorn faces off against a Troll.)

(Sam wakes up, and sees Gollum and an invisible Frodo struggling at the edge of the pit. Gollum grabs Frodo’s finger, and bites it off, taking the Ring with it. Frodo shrieks in agony, and falls to his knees, holding his bleeding hand in the other. Gollum holds the Ring before him in delight, ecstatic to finally have his Precious in his possession again. He cavorts at the edge of the pit, crying out his excitement and happiness.)

Gollum: Yes! Yes! Precious! Precious! Precious! Precious!

(Frodo stands up, glaring at Gollum with hatred, and grabs him, trying to wrest the Ring away from him. Meanwhile, the battle back at the Gate goes ill, and Aragorn is being crushed by the Troll, while the forces of Men around him are being rapidly decimated. We cut back to Frodo and Gollum, who are still struggling at the edge of the pit, when they both lose their balance, and go over the edge. Gollum falls toward the lava, holding the Ring to his chest in joy. He hits the lava, and melts away, while the Ring floats on the top. Sam runs to the edge of the pit, and sees Frodo clinging to the rocks over the fire. He extends his hand to his master.)

Sam: Give me your hand!

(The Ring in the lava begins feeling the heat, and Elvish letters begin to glow on its edges.)

Sam: Take my hand!

(Frodo throws up his bloody left hand, and it slips out of Sam’s.)

Sam: No!

(Frodo looks up at Sam, anguish written in his face, and the desire to just let go and end it all can plainly be seen in his eyes.)

Sam: Don’t you let go! Don’t let go. Reach!

(Frodo reaches for Sam’s hand and is pulled up. The Ring disintegrates within the pool of molten lava, and the Great Eye cries out in horror and pain. Sauron’s troops suddenly pause and look back to Mordor, and then begin running away. Aragorn and the others stare in shock, as the tower of Barad-dûr falls, and the Eye of Sauron disappears. A great explosion blows out from the dying Eye, and the Black Gate and the lands in between collapse and crumble, taking most of Sauron’s troops with them.)

Merry: (jubilant) Frodo! Frodo!

(The top of Mount Doom suddenly erupts in a great fiery explosion, and Merry and the others watch in horror as they realize that their friends are in the midst of the eruption. Back at the Crack of Doom, Frodo and Sam are running and jumping to escape the doorway, and get away from the river of lava flowing behind them. They jump to an outcropping of rock, and look across Mordor and the pooling lava, gazing at what they have wrought, and knowing that there’s no way for them to escape. Frodo shudders, realizing with both joy and despair that the Ring is destroyed.)

Frodo: It’s gone. It’s done.

Sam: Yes, Mr. Frodo. It’s over now.

(They rest themselves upon the rock, waiting for the end to come, while the world around them falls to pieces in fiery chaos. Frodo’s eyes are closed, and he looks exhausted, yet immensely relieved.)

Frodo: I can see the Shire. The Brandywine River. Bag End. Gandalf’s fireworks. The lights in the Party Tree.

Sam: (sadly) Rosie Cotton dancing. She had ribbons in her hair. If ever I was to marry someone, it would’ve been her. It would’ve been her. (Sam begins to cry; Frodo comes over to comfort him, and puts his arm around him.)

Frodo: I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.

(Fade to black)

(Frodo and Sam lie unconscious on the rock, completely surrounded by flowing lava. Three Eagles appear in the sky, one carrying Gandalf on his back. They swoop down, pick up the Hobbits gently in their claws and fly away. Frodo, half-conscious, opens his eyes and sees the Eagles before he passes out again.)

(The screen is dazzling white. In the background, objects start to come into focus, and Frodo is seen lying on a bed. Frodo then sits up, and smiles. He looks at Gandalf who is standing at the foot of the bed.)

Frodo: (in disbelief) Gandalf?

(Gandalf nods, smiling and laughing. Frodo begins to laugh in joy. The two friends continue to laugh, when Merry and Pippin come to the door.)

Merry: Frodo!

(Merry and Pippin run over to Frodo’s bed and jump on it, laughing and hugging him. Next, Gimli comes to the door, and starts laughing as well.)

Frodo: (looks up) Gimli!

(Gimli then moves into the room. Legolas appears in the doorway. He smiles, and enters the room. Aragorn comes to the room next, looking very kingly, and smiling with pleasure.)

Frodo: (no sound) Aragorn.

(The camera moves back to show Merry and Pippin still on the bed hugging and laughing with Frodo, while Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn stand by the bed. The camera once more moves to the door and Sam is standing there. He looks at Frodo and Frodo looks at him. Both have looks of understanding, love, and friendship on their faces.)

(View of Minas Tirith; over-head view showing thousands of men and women standing in the courtyard. Gandalf crowns Aragorn on the stairs in front of the great hall. Gimli is nearby, having held the crown for Gandalf.)

Gandalf: Now come the days of the king. (He smiles down at Aragorn, and says softly) May they be blessed.

(Before facing the cheering crowd, Aragorn pauses to catch his breath before taking on the mantle of his duty and destiny.)

Aragorn: (raises his hands) This day does not belong to one man but to all. Let us together rebuild this world, that we may share in the days of peace.

(The crowd cheers and applauds. White flower petals from the White Tree begin to fall. We see Faramir and Éowyn standing together. They smile and look at each other lovingly as they applaud the king.)

(Standing tall and proud, King Elessar sings in Quenya the song which, long years before his forefather, Elendil, had sung as his feet first touched the lands of Middle-earth.)

Aragorn: Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta.

(Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.)

(Aragorn walks down the aisle. People are standing to the two sides smiling and cheering. He walks past Éowyn, Faramir, and Éomer, who smile and bow/curtsy to him. A group of Elves comes up to Aragorn, led by Legolas. The two reach each other and place a hand on the other’s shoulder.)

Aragorn: Hannon le. (Thank you.)

(Legolas holds back a small smile as he steps aside. Behind him stands Elrond. A white banner with The White Tree is seen, and Arwen reveals herself behind it. Holding the banner, she walks up and curtsies to the king. Aragorn looks at her in disbelief and deep love as he caresses her face. Aragorn and Arwen embrace and kiss each other. The crowd again applauds. Arwen laughs joyfully and Elrond looks on smiling.)

(Aragorn and Arwen walk hand in hand through the crowd. They come before the four Hobbits, who bow to the king and queen.)

Aragorn: (to the Hobbits) My friends. You bow to no one.

(Aragorn kneels before them, and everyone in the courtyard does so as well. The Hobbits look about them, overwhelmed by this great honor. The camera pulls away and shows a map of Middle-earth.)

Frodo: (v.o.) And thus it was. A Fourth Age of Middle-earth began. And the Fellowship of the Ring, though eternally bound by friendship and love, was ended. (The camera swoops along the path of the Fellowship in reverse, finally ending in the Shire.) Thirteen months to the day since Gandalf sent us on our long journey, we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight.

(The Hobbits ride through Hobbiton on ponies, wearing rich clothing.)

Frodo: We were home.

(An older, fat Hobbit, cleaning his front walk, looks on in disgust as the four Hobbits ride by and nod to him in greeting. He shakes his head, and turns back to his cleaning.)

(Back at the Green Dragon Inn, Frodo almost bumps into a man carrying a large pumpkin. He sets four mugs of ale on the table before his friends. Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo look about them, at the simple folk and their simple lives who have no conception of the dangers they all went through to save the world, and the Shire. The four Hobbits look at each other, and raise their mugs to friends made and lost, battles won, and quests fulfilled. Sam suddenly looks up, and sees Rosie behind the counter. He quaffs a gulp of ale, and with a look of determination in his eye, heads to the bar to speak to her. Pippin and Merry look on in surprise, and grin, while Frodo begins to laugh. Cut to Sam and Rosie’s wedding day, where they kiss. Rosie throws her bouquet, which is caught by Pippin. The young Hobbit lass standing next to him gives him a roguish glance, and he smirks and nods. Frodo looks on grinning, and then his smile fades slightly.)

Frodo: (v.o.) How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back? (Shot of Bag End looking exceptionally tidy.) There are some things that time cannot mend, some hurts that go too deep…that have taken hold.

(Frodo is sitting at Bilbo’s writing desk, writing something on the page before him. Frodo closes the book and opens to the title page showing ‘There and Back Again by Bilbo Baggins.’ He reaches for his pen, and the sound of him writing something can be heard. Overtaken by a sudden pain he puts down the pen and holds his shoulder. Sam enters the room behind him.)

Sam: Mr. Frodo? What is it?

Frodo: (grimacing) It’s been four years to the day since Weathertop, Sam. It’s never really healed.

(Sam looks at the book over his shoulder.)

Sam: ‘There and Back again, a Hobbit’s Tale by Bilbo Baggins’ And ‘The Lord of the Rings by Frodo Baggins.’ You finished it.

(Frodo closes the book.)

Frodo: Not quite. There’s room for a little more. (He smiles gently up at his friend.)

(A carriage pulls into Hobbiton, driven by Gandalf, who smiles at the four Hobbits who are waiting for him. The carriage drives through the green countryside.)

Frodo: (v.o.) Bilbo once told me his part in this tale would end, that each of must come and go in the telling. Bilbo’s story was now over. There would be no more journeys for him…save one.

Bilbo: Tell me again, lad, where are we going?

Frodo: To the harbor, Bilbo. The Elves have accorded you a special honor, a place on the last ship to leave Middle-earth.

(Inside the carriage, Bilbo is resting his head upon Frodo’s shoulder. He looks very, very old.)

Bilbo: Frodo, any chance of seeing that old Ring of mine again? Hmm? The one I gave you.

Frodo: (Frodo looks worried for a moment, and a little sad.) I’m sorry, Uncle. I’m afraid I lost it.

Bilbo: Oh. Pity? I should like to have held it one last time.

(Frodo smiles slightly, and the two rest their heads against each other and close their eyes.)

(Gandalf and the Hobbits reach the Havens and they come to the harbor. Frodo and Sam help Bilbo walk along.)

Bilbo: (gasps) Oh! Well, here’s a sight that I have never seen before.

(A white ship is docked there. Upon the quay stand Elrond, Celeborn and Galadriel, who smile and greet them.)

Galadriel: The power of the Three Rings is ended. The time has come for the Dominion of Men.

Elrond: I Aear can vên na mar. (The sea calls us home.)

Bilbo: (Grins and chuckles.) I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.

(He hobbles over to the Elves. Elrond takes Bilbo’s hand and leads him onto the ship. Galadriel smiles and follows with Celeborn. Gandalf turns to look at the Hobbits before him, and smiles down at them.)

Gandalf: Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea, comes the end of our Fellowship.

(Merry and Pippin start to cry, but Frodo watches in silence.)

Gandalf: I will not say, “Do not weep”, for not all tears are an evil. (He moves toward the ship and then turns back.) It is time, Frodo.

(The other Hobbits turn to look at Frodo in surprise.)

Sam: What does he mean?

Frodo: We set out to save the Shire, Sam. And it has been saved. But not for me.

Sam: (Beginning to cry.) You don’t mean that. You can’t leave.

Frodo: (Gives Sam the Red Book.) The last pages are for you, Sam.

(Frodo embraces first Merry, and then Pippin, both of whom are crying. Frodo turns lastly to Sam and holds him tight while Sam sobs. Frodo pulls back, and laying his hands on Sam’s neck, gently kisses his forehead. They exchange one final glance, and then Frodo turns towards the ship. He takes Gandalf’s hand and they walk together onto the ship. Frodo turns back to look at Sam, Merry and Pippin one last time, and a beatific smile shines from his face as he gazes fondly upon his friends. With a nod, he turns, and faces his new destiny. The White Ship leaves Middle-earth and sails into the West. Merry and Pippin turn to leave, but Sam stands to watch the ship until it disappears.)

(Sam is walking up the road in Hobbiton, which is green and verdant, filled with flowers and all manner of plants. All of a sudden a little Hobbit-girl with curly blonde hair comes out of the nearest Hobbit hole, and runs to Sam, who picks her up.)

Frodo: (v.o.) My dear Sam, you cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years.

(Rosie comes out holding a baby boy with dark hair. Sam kisses Rosie.)

Frodo: (v.o.) You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in this story will go on.

Sam: Well, I’m back.

(Sam puts the little girl down, and closes the gate. They walk into Bag End, and the door closes behind them.)

(Credits followed by the Fan Credits)


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