The Lord of the Rings/Tear Jerker

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Tearjerker in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

  • From the book, when the Hobbits return to the Shire to find Saruman and his goons have trashed the place.
  • This troper was deeply moved by the very end of the book: "I'm back." The reader who is new to the story is not sure until the very end if Sam will survive his separation from Frodo, but when he returns he is recommitting himself to life in a changed world and the beginning of the Fourth Age - and with it, the loss of Lothlorien and diminishment of Elven magic. It is impossible not to relate their story to the universal story of soldiers returning from war, some irrevocably changed (Frodo) and some able to move forward (Sam).
    • Holy Crap, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. My father went to Iraq for 18 months when I was in high school, and when he came back... yeah, nothing is ever the same. Leave it to Tolkien to nail it.
    • "Well, I'm back" recently won some poll as (I think) the best closing line in 20th century literature.
  • The entire scene at the Grey Havens makes this troper cry every time she reads it. And she's read it a lot.
    • Ditto. Especially the paragraph involving the "white shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise." I'll probably gush more under the film folder.
  • The end of The Two Towers gets this troper every damn time. Sam weeping over Frodo's (unconscious) body, begging "Don't go where I can't follow," and resolving to carry on the quest by himself, even though he's in complete despair and expects the Orcs to come kill him at any minute...oh, Sam.
  • When Smeagol comes back to the Hobbits sleeping from betraying them at Shelob's cave. He sees them sleeping peacefully, and just for a moment he relents.

For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.

  • The ultimate fate of Arwen, after Aragorn's death. Aragorn knows it even as he is dying; he says to her, "I speak no comfort to you, for there is no comfort to such pain within the circles of the world."

But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn had also gone, and the land was silent.
There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by the men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the sea.
And so passed Arwen Undómiel, Evenstar of her people and the likeness of Lúthien the beloved, whom they have lost. An an end was come to the Eldar, of story and of song.

  • How Orcs are made. This troper can't even contemplate it without getting misty-eyed.
  • The diminishment of Lorien. Seriously. The heart of Elvendom on Middle-earth, the last place on the Bent World where some memory of Aman was preserved, left empty and silent. There's a reason why that chapter is called "Farewell to Lorien" and why this quote adorns the End of an Age page:

On the green bank near to the very point of the Tongue the Lady Galadriel stood alone and silent. As they passed her they turned and their eyes watched her slowly floating away from them. For so it seemed to them: Lorien was slipping backward, like a bright ship masted with enchanted trees, sailing on to forgotten shores, while they sat helpless upon the margin of the grey and leafless world.

  • Gandalf. Bridge of Moria. That was the first time This Troper cried because of a book. At the age of 12.
  • Sam thinking Frodo is dead after being stung by Shelob in the third book. I don't usually cry during books but this was definetly an exception.
    • Am I the only one who was actually convinced that Frodo was dead? Frodo was even explicitly mentioned on the jacket of Return of the King, and I was genre-savvy enough to know that you just can't kill that kind of character before the end, but Tolkien would. not. let. up. Turned to tears of relief on the last page.
    • Ugh, yes. But one line in particular stuck out for me. Sam is saying farewell to his master after deciding to complete the quest alone:

"Forgive your Sam. He'll come back to this spot when the job's done, if he manages it. Then I'll not leave you again."

    • The realization of what that last sentence really means, that Sam is willing to keep vigil over Frodo in death and never see his home again, is heartbreaking
      • When I read that line, I actually thought Sam was going to commit suicide. I started bawling.
    • Having grown up with the movies, and the movie having glossed over this scene a little, I thought I would be fine when I finally read the book. I was wrong.
  • And then the Appendices, where we learned what became of Sam after LOTR... *whimper*
  • The Appendices' account of the "Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" is heartrending. Aragorn's mother's last words to her son, who grew up under the name of Estel...

I gave Hope to the Dunedain, I have kept none for myself.

  • The end of Return Of The King. When Frodo realises that he can never be happy in Middle Earth, goes across the sea and *sob* leaves Sam, Merry and Pippin behind.
  • Was I the only one who cried when Pippin went to Minas Tirith? His little tour of the city with that kid whose name I forget, playing games and having fun and it's such a light-hearted and happy chapter that I wasn't sure if I was crying from happiness or relief (relief that it's a break from the general darkness of the rest of the books).
  • In-universe example: after the Rohirrim arrive to lift the siege of Minas Tirith, Pippin can never hear the sound of a horn again without tearing up. Manly Tears, of course.
    • The film certainly captures the sentiment as well.
  • In Ithilien Samwise sees his first dead (human) enemy, giving us one of the few moments where Tolkein is speaking obviously and heart-rendingly from his own experience.

He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace - all in a flash of thought...

  • If you read beyond the end of the Return of the King, you get to the appendices. And if you read to the end of appendix B, you finally come to the end of the Fellowship.

In this year on March 1st came at last the passing of King Elessar. It is said that the beds of Meriadoc and Peregrin were set out beside the bed of the great king. Then Legolas built a grey ship in Ithilien, and sailed down Anduin and so over the sea; and with him, it is said, went Gimli the Dwarf. And when that ship passed an end was come in Middle-earth of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Tearjerker in adaptations

  • Bill Nighy's performance as Samwise Gamgee in the BBC Radio Adaptation is nothing short of marvelous; one such example is his relationship with Bill the Pony... which is all the more heartbreaking when he grieves upon thinking the Watcher outside Moria killed him.

Tearjerker in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films

  • The Lord of the Rings movies are chock full of these moments, particularly the end where Frodo has to leave Sam behind to sail with Gandalf and the Elves to the Undying Lands, never to return. And then the song "Into the West" comes on. Damn you, Peter Jackson and Tolkien both.
    • Specifically, the way Frodo hugs Pippin and Merry goodbye, before just throwing his arms around Sam and gently kissing his forehead. God.
    • Unless you started crying at Pippin's song, in which case you will just have recovered in time to start crying again at the end.
    • Also, Gollum's Song, which is both heart-wrenching and scary, much like it's subject.
  • Pippin's lament. 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.
  • Gandalf's self-sacrifice and the survivors' reactions afterwards. Probably the only Big No that really works.
    • It was that look on Frodo's face like that of a lost little child thats the worst
    • The music that plays just after Gandalf falls is one of the most beautifully sad themes I've ever heard.
    • And Pippin is curled up on the ground, clearly bawling his eyes out despite the fact that there's no sound.
    • The need to abridge the story to make it film-length cut out most of Boromir's likeable moments from the book, but here you get a powerful one - Aragorn's right about the urgent need to keep moving, but Boromir's anguished "give them a moment, for pity's sake!" speaks for the audience.
  • "I can't carry it for you, Mister Frodo -- but I can carry you!" Cue the waterworks. Sean Astin did an awesome job all throughout the movies, though -- seriously, Sam gets possibly the most awesome moments.
    • At that moment, Sean Astin is no longer acting. He has become a complete physical embodiment of Samwise Gamgee. That blood, sweat, and tears? It's gotta be none other than the real deal.
    • Ditto; This Troper howls in Return of the King when Frodo thinks Sam wants the ring and tells him to leave. Then Sam is climbing down the stairs sobbing and then...then he slips and...*tears up*
      • Also, when Sam thinks Frodo is dead. Don't go where I can't follow
  • The Gondor Calls for Aid scene in the third movie was also very moving. I don't know why, but at that moment I remembered a famous quote from World War I -- "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime". And there I was, one lifetime later, watching a movie where the lights were being lit again to give hope to an embattled world. (It's worth noting that Tolkien himself lost all but one of his friends during that The First World War, so the scene was especially poignant).
    • This troper blames Howard Shore -- I can't even make it through that part of the soundtrack without tearing up.
  • Gandalf riding up to and through Minas Tirith did it for this troper. Yes, it's just filler material...but Shore's gorgeous music sweeping along at full tilt while the screen fills with images of this incredible, massive city built into the mountain...beautiful.
  • "For Frodo."
  • This troper shed tears (and still does) when he watched the cavalry charge at the Battle of Helm's Deep. It was just perfect.
    • This troper is unaffected by Helm's Deep, but becomes misty-eyed when the Rohirrim join the battle at Pelennor Fields.
    • This troper holds that that is the most emotionally powerful "going into battle" scene in the entire trilogy.
      • This troper can't even think about Theoden's speech.

Theoden: "Ride now! Ride for ruin, and the world's ending!"

        • Oh, hell yes. Théoden's entire speech sets it up for you, and minutes later, as he lies shattered beneath his horse, cue the Kleenex:

Théoden: "I go to my fathers . . . in whose mighty company I shall not now feel ashamed. Éowyn ..."

        • For this troper it was the deleted scene on the extended DVD when Eomer finds his sister's broken body on the battle field and just starts screaming in anguish.
      • Not affected by it? What? Not even the montage of the Rohirrim preparing to fight to the death, including the old men and children?

Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?

  • When Sam says "...there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."
    • "I made a promise Mr Frodo, a promise! Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee... and I don't mean to." To Howard Shore's heartwarmingly pure "Concerning Hobbits" muscial theme.
      • It's the remarkable message of sacrifice and undying friendship being expressed by Samwise, who has to know all-to-well, in his little Hobbit heart, that by going with Frodo into Mordor he's almost certainly sealing his own doom. Yet he gladly chooses to walk that dark path with Frodo, even if it means his end. Now THAT's unconditional love.
  • The moment when Frodo and Sam are talking about the tales people will tell of them in the future. Frodo's line- "What about Sam? I want to hear about Sam. Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam."
  • The Last March of the Ents, when the Ents march to avenge their fallen tree-friends. Also, by this point everyone had joined the fight. It wasn't just about Rohan anymore -- it was for the whole world. The somber music also adds to the mood.It sounds ridiculous when you type it, but when you see it...
    • There's also Treebeard's line just before they march, which reminds us that the Ents are as much of a dying race as the elves (except they dont have the option of leaving Middle Earth), and they march to war well aware that should they fail, their species will be wiped out...and they go anyway.

Treebeard: It is likely that we go to our doom... the last march of the Ents...

    • In addition to that, there's a Blink And You Miss It Moment in Return of the King where Gimli suggests going to request more aid from the Dwarves and Legolas informs him that they're very likely already fighting their own battles. The look on Gimli's face when he realizes the truthfulness of that statement and just how much different his home could appear when he returns says it all. It's also really the only time alluded in the entire films that the war is a going on on a much larger scale than just in Rohan and Gondor.
      • It's the music that does it. Howard Shore has struck again!
        • try reading this, while listening to 'Concerning Hobbits'. I dare you.
  • This troper has always found Boromir's Last Stand to be one of the most poignant and tear jerking scenes in the entire trilogy. Made all the better by the fact that as you watch it, it becomes very clear that he knows he won't survive...and in the face of seemingly endless orcs, still refuses to stay down. And who can forget the looks on Merry and Pippin's faces when Boromir is shot. It gets worse when You realize that as far as Boromir knew his Heroic Sacrifice was in vain! one of the last things he saw was the very ones he gave his life to protect get captured, and (as far as he knew) carried off to their deaths, that is, if they're lucky.

The only scene that surpassed it is when Pippin tells Denethor the story and Denethor's reactions to his words.

    • And his ultimate acceptance of Aragorn's role in the whole business. "I would have followed you. My king."
    • And of course... "They took the little ones!" It says something here about Boromir's development that when Aragorn reaches him, the only thing on his mind is not that he's riddled with arrows and about to die, but that the hobbits are in danger and he can't save them.
    • My Year 5 teacher, in an attempt to win my fantasy-hating class over to LOTR, played us this scene. Every time he fell we yelled encouragement to try and get him up again, and by the time he died, even the hardest wannabe-gangster was crying, and I reckon I can chart my entry to geekdom at that point.
    • Anyone whose read the books will know what's coming, but to actually see it in action is just heartwrenching. You see Lurtz walk down the slope, and raise his bow while Boromir is fighting, and then he jerks, an arrow protruding from his chest. He staggers, but he keeps on fighting. despite this horrible injury, he raises his weapon against the enemy again. Lurtz raises his bow and fires again, and the mighty warrior falls to his knees. He looks up at the horrified hobbits, panting in pain and exhaustion, and the realization that he's not going to survive hits him...and he stands up and keeps fighting. Then the third, inevitable arrow hits, and we know its coming so much that the movie doesn't even need to show it being fired. And Boromir falls.
    • This editor tears up at one other Boromir scene... when he's sitting in Lothlorien, talking to Aragorn about Minas Tirith, and the love he feels for his city is both astoundingly clear and strong and heartbreaking, because if you've read the books, or seen the movie already, you know he's never going to see his beloved home again.

Boromir: Have you ever seen the tower of Ecthelion... glimmering like a needle in the dawn? Have you ever been called home... by the clear ringing of silver trumpets?

      • Funny how so many of the Tear Jerker moments in the films coincide with speeches taken straight from the books. Sean Bean's delivery was spot-on here; this troper, who didn't even care that much about Boromir in the books, teared up at that.
  • Not to mention "Where Is [sic] The Horse And The Rider?"
    • Particularly the shot of the little boy being handed an axe and having a far too large helmet placed on his both made quite clear the true horror of war, and wrenched at the heart as you realized his likely fate well in advance, even if they never did show it. And the mother sobbing in protest while they pull her early-teenage-looking son away from her to be kitted out.
      • just at the end of that shot: although the soldiers pull the teenager away to arm him, you can see one of the soldiers lay a hand on the boy's shoulder, as if to say: "It'll be all right, son. Be brave."
    • Gandalf and Pippin's talk waiting for almost certain death during the siege of Minas Tirith did it for me. Gandalf was being very reassuring about how 'this is not the end' but seeing them calmly prepare themselves to facing death during the upcoming restart of the battle was extremely moving. Pippin is afraid to die and Gandalf reassures him that death is the next adventure.
      • For this Troper, its this one line that Gandalf says, along with the accompanying orchestral version of "Into the West": "The gray rain-curtain of this world rolls aside and all turns to silver glass; and then you see it: white shores, and beyond, a far green country into a swift sunrise." If that isn't a damned good description of whatever world waits beyond this one, then I don't know what is.
      • It's just sad that this scene is spoiled a bit for readers of the book, because it is, in the end, misinformation. The quote describes Frodo's experience of arriving in the West; but dead humans' and (presumably) hobbits' souls do not stay in this world, but leave it for a fate unknown.
        • No it's not. Frodo, like Sam, as a bearer of the Ring, is sort-of an Eldar now; thus he passes into the West to Valinor along with Gandalf and the rest of the remaining Noldor.
      • It was the look of absolute resignation on Pippin's face that reduced this troper to sobbing pitifully.
  • How about when everyone bows down to the hobbits ("You bow to no one!") at the end of Return of the King? That's one of the most powerful moments in the trilogy.
    • This troper, for one, was misty-eyed before but just started bawling at that point: the hobbits standing there shell-shocked, awkward and looking so young in their finery, as first the King, then an entire cityful of people kneel before them and do them honor.
  • Denethor and Faramir, before Faramir rides off to try to retake Osgiliath. It's one thing to have favorites, but tell your son that you wish he were dead and the other were alive? And the way Faramir's voice breaks, and he goes off on basically a suicide mission, and his father still doesn't care?
    • Not to mention the scene with Faramir's charge itself with Pippin singing on the soundtrack. Eerily beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking.
        • Oh good god -yes-! Faramir was always This Troper's favourite character, his love for his city and his people is just as strong as Boromir's, and yet his father never sees him for what he is. Then Denethor admits that he wished Faramir had died...having tried (and succeeded, mostly) to keep stony-faced throughout the beginning of the movie, that one sentence and Faramir's reaction just set it off.
    • What really tops that whole scene off is that long shot of Gandalf at the end, sitting all by himself in the shadows, in one of the most understated Heroic BSODs.
    • Even though anyone with the least bit of Genre Savvy should know that Frodo will Get Better after getting stung by Shelob, Samwise doesn't, and his plea for Frodo not to 'go where I can't follow', not least of which because it sums up the very best of Sam and Frodo's relationship so succinctly.
  • Théoden and Gandalf standing outside Théodred's grave.

Théoden: "Simbelmyne. Ever has it grown on the tombs of my forebears. Now it shall cover the grave of my son. Alas, that these evil days should be mine. The young perish and the old linger. That I should live to see that last days of my house."

    • the next line, when he looks straight at Gandalf and says, very quietly, "No parent should have to bury their child."
    • The thing that made this Troper sob was the song in the extended version - in Old English, sang by Eowyn in a voice at the verge of breaking down.
      • I lost my little sister. She was treated at St. Jude Children's Hospital. Their big saying, from the founder, Danny Thomas, is "No child should die in the dawn of their life." The line in the movies is so similar, and... everything, my whole damn family starts sobbing, or at the very least tears up.
    • At the time Tolkien composed his first draft, his three sons served in England's fight against the Nazis. Given his own experience in the First World War, Tolkien knew the odds.

"O my dear John Ronald what ever are we going to do?"

      • Oh, now you've gone and done it... I can't see the screen.
    • However, the "no parent should have to bury their child" line was added by Bernard Hill. He heard it from a woman who had lost a child, and felt that he had to add it. Damn good actors.
      • A number of lines that weren't in the books were in full keeping with the spirit of them and flowed just fine for this "the books are the Bible" troper -- who felt that line was one of them.
    • That line didn't faze this troper the first time he saw the movie in theaters, then he lost his brother who was Théodred's age at the time.
  • For this troper, the Tear Jerker moment comes during the sacking of Rohan, when Eothain and Freyda are hoisted onto the horse by their emotional mother, and sent to Edoras to raise the alarm. Tears flow freely again when the three are reunited at Helm's Deep.
    • The worst part of it is that Freyda doesn't understand what's going on, and can only protest that "Papa said Eothain is not to ride Garulf! He is too big for him!" And then you remember that Papa is probably lying face-down in a ditch somewhere with half a dozen arrows sticking out of him... Or that Eothain does understand what is happening and is near tears. Hell, everything that happens to Rohan in TTT counts as a Tearjerker for this troper.
  • This troper wept at the scene in the Extended Edition where Éomer catches sight of Éowyn (who wasn't even meant to be in the battle) lying apparently dead on the Pelennor Fields, and this proud, poised warrior throws away his sword, drops everything and runs to cradle his little sister's body, howling with raw grief. It's even worse when you remember that this was the last thing he expected to see--not only was she not meant to be in the battle, but he thought she was safe and in Rohan.
    • And similarly, when Pippin finds Merry's cloak on the battlefield and realizes that he was in the battle is a tearjerking moment. Especially in the extended edition when several hours are shown to have passed before he finally finds him.
  • It is a Tear Jerker for somewhat different reasons, but the Houses of Healing scene with the gorgeous, haunting song sung by Liv Tyler where Éowyn gets up in the middle of the night and walks to her window and then catches Faramir looking at her as if he's just seen an angel...
    • And also the scene where Éowyn is standing alone staring desolately into the East and Faramir walks up to her to give her some meaningful words of encouragement while still looking at her like she's the most amazing thing he's ever seen. Then she contently leans into him and they clasp hands. Awwww. Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
      • This troper was very pleased to find out those scenes made it it into the Extended Edition, because "The Houses of Healing" is probably his favourite chapter from the books. It's a tiny moment of peace and happiness for Eowyn and Faramir, after both of them have lost so much, in what may be the last days either of them spend alive. Also, there's no page-long descriptions of cliffs.
  • The parting of Merry and Pippin in the third film brings a tear to my eye. In particular when Merry gives Gandalf a look as if "can we please get this over with?" and Pippin cries out his friend's name. Not to mention the way Dominic Monaghan's voice utterly breaks on the "I don't know what's going to happen anymore" line as he steps away.
  • The beautiful speech that Elrond gives to his daughter in The Two Towers gets to this troper every time. The soundtrack and Hugo Weaving's perfect delivery are just... bawww.

"He will come to death an image of the splendor of the kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the world. But you, my daughter, you will linger on in darkness and in doubt, as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Here you will dwell, bound to your grief under the fading trees, until all the world is changed, and the long years of your life are utterly spent."

    • It's even worse if you've read the books. Then you'd know that every word Elrond says is true, that she will spend her time with Aragorn, bear a son and at least two daughters, and then her husband will voluntarily lay down his life. Arwen returns to Lothlorien, where she used to live with her mother and grandmother, and finds it completely empty, abandoned and silent, all her people having returned to Valinor, lies down on the grass of Cerin Amroth and effectively dies of a broken heart. Her true tragedy is that she knew this would happen when she gave up immortality for her husband, and for love, she chose a path that guaranteed widowhood and isolation from her people, culture and family forever until the end of the world.
  • "Your fingers might remember their former strength better, if they were to grasp your sword." Or something similar. The moment when Théoden takes his sword brought tears to my eyes, much thanks to Éowyn's tears and the amazing Rohan theme (IMHO the best piece of music in the entire trilogy score) rising to its climax.
  • When the Mouth of Sauron tells them Frodo is dead. The look on Pippin's face when he holds Frodo's mithril vest, and Gandalf comforting him.

Aragorn's whacking off the head of the Mouth of Sauron is highly cathartic.

  • An example of Howard Shore's music pulling at them heart strings, just the scene when the fellowship enter the halls of Moria and Shore's music swells. You'll tear up at the beauty of an ancient land lost.
  • This troper started to tear up the minute they got into Moria, knowing what was about to happen, again when Gandalf read the Book of Mazarbul and turned into a complete soggy mess when the Balrog appeared. Even though I have had the books practically memorized since I was a teenager (more years ago than I care to remember) and knew he would be back, oh shit, oh shit.
  • The death of Haldir and the Lothlórien Guard. Though he was only a minor character seeing his last moments alive, looking in half shock at the dead bodies of his men gave some real insight into his thoughts. He knew he had led these men directly to their deaths, with their race fading and dying out he had taken a considerable number of them directly into a meat grinder to help their allies. And as none were seen hiding in Helms Deep at the end, the film suggests they were all butchered.
    • "Tonight we remember those who gave their blood to defend this country. Hail the victorious dead!"
    • The death of Haldir was a tear-jerking moment, but seeing the anguished expression on Aragorn, who then rushed over and cradled Haldir... that made this troper shed more tears!
  • The scene with Frodo and Sam following the destruction of the Ring. First, you have Frodo realizing that his burden is gone ("It's gone... It's done."), then, while trapped on a rock in a sea of lava, Frodo recalls the Shire again, which makes Sam think of Rosie Cotton ("If ever I was to marry someone... It would've been her... It would've been her."). Because let's face it, where else in the trilogy does Sam get the chance to be selfish (and justifiably, too)? And then, to cap it all off, Frodo's delivery of the line, "I'm glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee... here at the end of all things."
    • And this troper always tears up when Frodo and Sam see that solitary star through the clouds while on the slopes of Mount Doom.
      • For me it's the goddamn music again! It's so hopeful and happy and for a second there you might think they're going to die with such happy music playing *tear*
  • Elrond's face at Aragorn's coronation, as he watches Arwen go to her mortal love. He's so torn between joy that all is well and Arwen is with someone she loves and grief that she has chosen mortality that it tore this troper up inside.
  • For this troper the first Tear Jerker of the trilogy is actually when Frodo is attacked by the cave troll in Moria. The looks on the faces of his friends afterward, and then how they all keep fighting harder just because of what happened, are bad enough, but the way that Aragorn (who was wounded) crawls to Frodo and then whispers "Oh, no..." just had her in tears.
  • When the Men force Frodo to lure Smeagol to him so they can capture him in The Two Towers. It's terrible luck, because it invokes Gollum to come back and gleefully give Smeagol an "I told you so" regarding the lies he had told Smeagol about Frodo being corrupt. Gollm/Smeagol is so tormented, and Frodo's friendship was his one last hope.
    • To me, the great Gollum-related Tear Jerker is when he falls into the fires of Mount Doom, blisfully unaware that he's falling, clutching his "Precious" to the very end... and the last thing he sees is the Ring, still quite fine, abandoning and betraying him for the very last time.
  • The scene where Gondor's cavalry marches to what we all know will be a losing battle in Osgiliath, where the citizens all toss flowers before their feet, and where one guard even receives a flower directly from hand-to-hand. That guard will always stand out to me.
  • At the end of RotK, as Elrond is just passing Arwen on to Aragorn, look at Hugo Weaving's eyes. It barely lasts a quarter of a second but it was enough to turn the triumphant feeling having watched the entire trilogy back to back to one of sadness and empathy.
    • When Frodo angrily tells Sam to go home.
    • The Hobbits saying good-bye at Grey Havens.
    • Another one that's in the Appendices: The crew had become acquainted with a teenage filmmaker who had a lot of talent - unfortunately he also had terminal cancer. They encouraged him to keep making movies as long as he could, even allowing the use of their high-tech equipment as much as he wanted. During this time they were writing "Into The West" and became inspired by his struggle; after he died the song was played for the first time at his funeral and they included his story and movies in the DVDs.
    • "DEATH!!!"
  • Your Mileage May Vary, but the development of Merry and Eowyn's friendship in the films has always gotten me, especially "I'll look after you", Eowyn's reaction to thinking Merry's been squashed by an oliphaunt, and the fact that just after having slain the Witch King, she's trying to find him.
  • Wormtongue shedding a tear as Saruman addresses his 10,000 Uruk-Hai, realizing that his actions may have doomed his race to genocide.
    • This Troper was moved by Wormtongue's tear, but thought it was rather his utter overwhelmed awe at the massive army Saruman had amassed. (Note that his dialogue just before the reveal was that there was "no such army" as could take Helm's Deep.)
    • Actually, the extended edition scene featuring Saruman and Wormtongue's death also seems to support the former; that Wormtongue still remembers that he was once "a man of Rohan" and is tormented by the fact that he sold Rohan out.
  • At the Battle of Helm's Deep, when, at the most desperate moment, Gandalf and Eomer and his men sweep down the hillside, pure white light streaming from Gandalf's staff. We've just watched the motley defenders of Helm's Deep ground down to hopeless despair by the seemingly invincible Uruk-hai, and those beams of light, the accompanying music, and the startled, fearful expressions on the Uruk-hai's faces -- the poignance of the moment, the almost gentle lift after a seeming eternity of grinding down, always breaks me down.
  • ONE line from Pippin always gets me. "The strongest man may be slain by one arrow. Boromir was pierced by many."
  • Bilbo's tearful apology to Frodo for having given him the ring, just before the fellowship set off from Rivendell.

"I'm sorry I have brought this upon you my boy . . . I'm sorry that you must carry this burden . . . I'm sorry for everything."

  • I distinctly remember the first time I saw RotK in theaters. A huge Tolkien fan, I'd enjoyed the previous two films, but had been nervous about RotK after Two Towers made me feel "meh" - not bad, just not as overwhelmingly awesome as FotR. I cried three times in the theater: first, when the Rohirrim came charging down the hill into the army of Mordor ("it's so... beautiful... and heroic!"); second, when Barad-Dur collapsed and Sauron imploded (I knew it was coming, but I still cried for joy because "they did it!"); third, at the Grey Havens (I'd recently graduated high school and gone to college hundreds of miles from home, and the hobbits reminded me of my friends back home - especially Sam).
    • Further, I still cry at the Grey Havens, and usually during the credits with "Into the West." I commented on the relevant paragraph in the Book section, but something about the phrasing always makes me look forward to what comes after, and the last image of Frodo evokes the words before "Into the West" begins. The effect is further reinforced by Annie Lennox's vocals and Howard Shore's instrumentals. Mr. Shore is a fucking genius.
  • This Troper agrees with all the former examples (god, this trilogy is one big Tear Jerker!) but would like to add one scene, or at least her interpretation of it. It's Rivendell, circa Fellowship of the Ring. Sam talks about wanting to go home, and Frodo realizes: sure, why not? After all, he got the Ring to Rivendell like he was supposed to. His job is done, so what's to stop him from leaving? (...Meanwhile, Gandalf pleads with Elrond to not burden Frodo with the Ring, knowing what it would most likely do to his young friend.) Then cue the Council meeting. It's a complete disaster. Nobody can agree on anything, Boromir wants the Ring for himself, Gimli won't work with elves, and everyone is arguing... hell, even Gandalf is yelling. The Ring is spreading chaos and malcontent. Then Frodo, visibly overwhelmed, stands up and says, "I'll do it"... and at first nobody hears him, but then Gandalf does and just closes his eyes...
    • Followed of course by the Fellowships' pledges, with one brave Hobbit uniting all these disagreeing minds.
  • Arwen's flash of prophecy in Return of the King as she sees Aragorn holding a little boy, wearing the Evenstar, and realizes what it means. She rides hell for leather back to Rivendell, and storms up to her father:

Arwen: You saw there was a child! You saw my son!
Elrond: I looked into your future and I saw death.
Arwen: But there is also life!

    • That scene, indeed, is a comfort against Elrond's dire prediction for Arwen: thought Aragorn will pass away, he will always be alive in his son's eyes.
  • Bilbo after the ring is destroyed. It's heartbreaking to see someone who used to be so feisty and child-like suddenly become so old and fragile. His conversation with Frodo in the cart- his confusion and the fact that he needs to be rugged up carefully to keep warm.
    • And at the Grey Havens, one last glimpse of the old adventurous spirited Bilbo- the gleam in his eyes and the eager tone when he says "I think I'm quite ready for another adventure."
  • "The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And- and all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won't be a Shire, Pippin."
  • This troper has cried quite a bit during these movies, both tears of... well, as a reaction to something completely amazing and tears of sadness. The death of Boromir is the first, then the battle of Helm's Deep and Haldir's death (Damn you, Peter Jackson! He wasn't supposed to die!), Faramir's memory of the taking of Osgiliath, when Gandalf tells Pippin that death is not the end, the charge of the Rohirrim at Pelennor Fields (this is one of those crying because it's so amazing moments), and then the end when Frodo sails for Valinor. Not to mention, this troper was also reduced to tears by the last disk of the Appendices.
  • The ending at Grey Havens. Full stop. If You've somehow gotten through this trilogy without shedding a tear, prepare for full on weeping. The scene really brings home the franchise: We're followed these characters in the good times and the bad, seen Them suffer loss and heartbreak, and struggle on when They could have given up many times over. And now it is at an end. If it doesn't bring You to tears, ask Your doctor to see if Your heart has turned to ice.
  • This troper would like to say that since he was giving so many Manly Tears during the movies that just reading this page brings tears to his eyes.