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Lord Of The Rings: 5 On-Screen Characters Who Were Never In The Books

Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" movies took many creative liberties. From Elves showing up to fight at Helm's Deep to Faramir's entire character arc, there are plenty of false facts in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. But there aren't a lot of false characters. Unlike Amazon Studios' "The Rings of Power" or Warner Bros.' upcoming "The War of the Rohirrim" projects (which have minimal source material and thus, many invented characters), Jackson and company had no need to invent individuals to beef up the story. If anything, several fan-favorite faces, like Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry, had to be cut to help adapt the story for a theatrical run.

Even so, there are a handful of freshly minted individuals who are sprinkled throughout the films. They may play minor roles, but each has become an iconic part of the Middle-earth experience in their own small way — even if they were never in the books. Let's take a look at a quintet of these characters, the roles they play, who they may have been inspired by in the source material, and how famous they've become in the aftermath of their on-screen creation.

Lurtz is a frightening new villain

"The Fellowship of the Ring" book has an abrupt ending. As Uruk-hai and orcs attack the Fellowship on the banks of the River Anduin, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) use the opportunity to break away from the group and head off to Mordor on their own. In the books, even Boromir's (Sean Bean) heroic and climactic death is reserved for the opening pages of "The Two Towers." Add it all up, and the third act of Peter Jackson's first film was going to end not with a bang but with a whimper.

What better way to jazz things up than to introduce a villain who could threaten the Fellowship of the Ring and even take on Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) one-on-one? Enter Lurtz. Played by the physically intimidating Lawrence Makoare, the Uruk-hai captain was invented for the silver screen and on-screen, he makes the Fellowship's encounter with enemies at the end of the first movie a much more thrilling affair.

Jackson also moved Boromir's death into the first part of the story as a way to pile on the drama. The book says Boromir was pierced by many arrows before he died. In the film, Lurtz is the one who deals out the multi-pronged killing stroke before dueling Aragorn and nearly taking the Ranger out more than once. The character is a great way to make things more interesting without dramatically changing the plot or narrative flow. (And the fact that Makoare actually threw his knife at Mortensen by accident while filming makes his character's final moments that much better.)

Figwit was a fun elf, but not an original one

There are many Elven extras scattered throughout "The Lord of the Rings" movies, but only one of them has risen to fan fame: the legendary Figwit played by Bret McKenzie. The Rivendell Elf shows up multiple times in the story, first at the Council of Elrond where he plays the part of just another Elven counselor. By the time "The Return of the King" came out, he appeared a second time escorting Lady Arwen (Liv Tyler) to the Grey Havens. This time, he was given lines too — he's the Elf that warns Arwen not to delay before she rides back to her father in distress.

The character's official name in the story is either Aegnor or Elf Escort depending on the scene in question, but fans have overwhelmingly replaced this with his endearing moniker Figwit, which stands for "Frodo is great .. Who is that?" The fan phenomenon built so much momentum behind the character that a documentary by the same name was made for McKenzie's character a year after "The Return of the King" came out. 

The best part? Bret McKenzie also played a Rivendell Elf in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." While his name in that film is Lindr (who actually is a canon character), the film takes place less than a century before "The Lord of the Rings," and the longevity of Elves is well documented. Nothing is certain, but Figwit fans have had a field day with the actor's pre-appearance. Too bad we'll never know the truth, though, since Peter Jackson's films are the only place you can (kind of) find him.

Morwen and her children channel unspoken canon grief

In "The Two Towers" book, when the army of Rohan reaches Helm's Deep, they hear about the devastation that Saruman's Uruk-hai are unleashing on their land. They see distant burning as night closes in, and at one point Théoden says, "They bring fire...and are burning as they come, rick, cot, and tree. This was a rich vale and had many homesteads. Alas for my folk!" The plundering is clearly there, but we don't see it close up.

In Jackson's films, we see those same depredations in detail, and primarily through the eyes of one family, in particular: Morwen (Robyn Malcolm) and her two children, Freda (Olivia Tennet) and Éothain (Sam Comery). This Rohirric nuclear family's village stands right in the maw of Saruman's attack, and they end up splitting up for a time. The kiddos ride off, sent by their mother to warn King Théoden at Edoras of the attack. The children make it to the capital, and their warning helps their king decide to head to Helm's Deep, where they're reunited with their mother. Both the names Éothain and Morwen are Tolkienian. The former is a knight of Rohan and the latter is a very important noblewoman in "The Silmarillion." However, in the case of the Morwen, Éothain, and Freda of Rohan, they're all new faces made up to add some down-to-earth drama to the story.

Madril channels two book characters but is new nevertheless

When Frodo and Sam are captured by Faramir's men in Ithilien, we meet a character named Madril. Played by John Bach, Madril functions as Faramir's second in command. He is a veteran warrior who advises his young lord in both "The Two Towers" and the final movie in the trilogy. In the lengthy extended edition of "The Return of the King," we find out that Madril finally meets his doom during the initial evacuation of the river ruins of Osgiliath. This happens while Faramir and his men withdraw from the massive assault of the misshapen Orcish captain Gothmog's overwhelming forces. Madril is caught and killed by Gothmog himself with a spear to the chest as he lies helpless on the ground.

The drama is intense. It's also new to J.R.R. Tolkien book fans, as Madril isn't a character from the books. However, Faramir does have two primary companions that travel with him in the books — Damrod and Mablung. These characters stay by their commander's side for a good chunk of the story and are clearly trusted soldiers. Technically speaking, Damrod shows up briefly in the films and is played by Alistair Browning. Mablung isn't officially named, but a Decipher Card Lord of the Rings trading card identifies a Ranger from "The Two Towers" film as Mablung, as well. Even if they're there, though, their dual responsibility as trusted lieutenants appears to have been bundled into Madril's role for the film, even though the latter never makes an appearance in Tolkien's writings.

Brego the horse appears in a fun story just for the films

Aragorn befriends a horse named Brego (probably named after the ancient King of Rohan of the same name) and rides the lordly beast throughout "The Two Towers" and much of "The Return of the King." Brego saves Aragorn when he takes a tumble off a cliff and bears him into multiple dangers afterward. It isn't until the horse breaks down when faced with the terror of the Paths of the Dead that he exits the story posthaste.

J.R.R. Tolkien's writings are filled with famous named equines. Rohan is especially full of renowned horses — especially Gandalf's well-named steed Shadowfax. And yet, Brego isn't one of these canon four-legged mounts, as he's made up for the film.

Despite his movie-only status, Brego remains a popular character (he even has a fan site of his own), and his story has a happy ending. After he bolts from the shadowy Paths of the Dead, we don't see the horse on the screen anymore. But after filming, Viggo Mortensen had grown so fond of the real-life horse actor, named Uraeus, that he bought him. His words when the animal passed away in 2015 are just what you'd expect a king to say to his mount. He said, "A timeless presence in the minds of those who had the honour of knowing this proud, handsome, and supremely intelligent being, mighty Uraeus has finally come to rest on the physical plane. Thank you, Jane and Ray, for helping him do so with dignity. Dearest friend and teacher, I hold you and keep you." A fitting end for a fan-favorite original character.