Something that I’m surprised doesn’t get mentioned is how in the Extended version of ROTK, Aragorn literally decapitates an unarmed messenger. This is so far from the book’s portrayal of Aragorn as a noble king that it’s honestly shocking, and for me counts as character assassination.
Man if I could fix this scene I’d finally have my fanedit of ROTK done. I love the idea of its inclusion but don’t understand why they couldn’t use some restraint with this scene. The way the literal “mouth” keeps scoffing and of course Aragorn’s tantrum is very off-putting. I remember back on the IMDB message boards someone suggesting that in their heads they fixed it by saying that the Mouth in the Jackson films is not so much an emissary as someone just taunting and trying to cause pain, basically an orc, so that he deserved the head chopping. It doesn’t work for me anymore though. It’s a bad scene that could’ve been great.
My point is, the films are no untouchable masterpieces, and they’re allowed to take liberties, even ones I vehemently disagree with. I think it’s more productive to approach these adaptations and flights of fancy where they are and in the context of their time, just like the books themselves. And while it’s good and right to point out where they fall short, it’s also good to recognize where they strive to do justice to their material, and in many ways, especially with regards to production, the new series so far succeeds.