We’re usually taught to respect our elders; but there have been plenty of characters in film who never quite got that memo. There’s been a long and proud tradition in movies of elderly abuse and bad doings being transgressed on the 4:30 dinner crowd. This is the generation that did things like survived the Great Depression, fought the Nazis and the Reds, raised our parents and all too often us. One would think they’d earned a bit of consideration for things like guaranteed Social Security, adult diapers that don’t leak and generally not getting the shit beat out of them or snuffed like some third rate extra. In this CHUD list, we’re going to take a look at 15 old-timers who, unfortunately, turned into having-a-really-bad-timers.
The Film: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
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The Director: Peter Jackson
The Elder: Theoden, son of Thengel, King of Rohan and Lord of the Riddermark. Also his horse, Gumdrop.
The Abuse: Forced to attempt the notoriously difficult 1440° Equestrian McTwist. Duffs the landing.
Lack Of Respect By: The Witch-King of Angmar, Lord of the Nazgul aka The Black Captain, Dwimmerlaik, Lord of Carrion
This was it, the grudge match everyone had waited for. All eyes in Gondor were on the opulent Pellenor Field Gardens, where the king vs (witch) king showdown would take place. At stake were bragging rights, and potentially the fate of all the free peoples of Middle-Earth. Although Theoden was coming off a late-round knockout of Saruman at Helm’s Deep, bookies gave the Witch-King a slight edge, mostly due to advantages in size and experience. To better understand the handicapping, let’s examine the tale of the tape:
Weight: 235 lbs, armored
Weapons: short riding sword, horseman’s spear
Steed: Gumdrop, a very sweet horse with the occasional bout of colic
Fighting Out Of: The Riddermark
Preferred strategies: Retreating to his dad’s castle, following advice of a guy named “Wormtongue”
Height: 7’9 (8’11 with helmet spike)
Weight: 485 lbs, armored
Age: Immortal. So…yeah
Weapons: Flaming sword, 70 lb flail
Steed: Fell beast, a 30 foot long flying lizard whose shriek has been known to paralyze the most hardened troops in all of Middle-Earth
Fighting Out Of: Old Minas Morgul, used to be Minas Ithil, why they changed it I don’t know…
Preferred strategies: Relies heavily on size, ancient death magic, giant dragon, and fact that he cannot be killed by any living man
So on paper, the match-up looked pretty even. But when they actually faced off, things took a turn.
2.1 seconds into the first round, the Witch-King lands a punishing roundhouse dragon-bite-and-hurling. 6.3 seconds in, Theoden’s horse stopped rolling over him.
Did He Have It Coming: Pretty much. We all know how Theoden loved to smack-talk, and he tended to get poetical when the press were around. When pressed for comment pre-fight, Theoden is reported to have said “Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! Spears shall be shaken! Shields shall be splintered! A sword day! A Red Day! Ere the Sun rises!!! Also The Dwimmerlaik has a weak left cross and his mama is both portly and promiscuous! More like THE BLACK CRAP-TAIN!!!”
In a post-fight interview, he was heard to say “My body is broken.”
Could the AARP Have Helped? While I don’t doubt the group is staunchly anti-dragon mauling, they are hampered by the pesky “American” qualifier in their title. As many of you are aware, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot in New Zealand. What fewer know is that this was due to studio concerns that if they filmed a King being clobbered this thoroughly in America, Los Angeles would burn itself to the ground.
If nature had taken its course? Theoden probaby wouldn’t have lasted too much longer in any case, but he almost certainly would’ve found a more dignified exit, even if it was falling headfirst into a pile of horse manure while masturbating to his personally authored Elrond/Isildur slashfic. Did I mention that after he was taken out, his niece had to step in and finish the fight for him? And she won? In the history of royalty, the only person more embarrassed to die under a horse was Catherine the Great.
“I like The Hobbit. My father was a dwarf until his late twenties, and I always respected his small, deft hands and muttonchops. But one thing I don’t like is dragons. I grew up in the country, at a time when dragons were the number two cause of crop failure, and the number four cause of teenage pregnancy. Now, Hollywood would have you believe that dragons sound like Sean Connery and all have hearts of gold. But if you were to look inside a real dragon all you’re going to find is a roiling ball of fire or seven Chinese fellas. And I tell ya, I’m not sure which one scares me more. That’s why I’m glad The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand, which has endured 6 dragon deaths in the last year alone (4 of which were senior citizens!) That’s the second of any country in the civilized world, trailing only Australia at 312. I tip my hat to Peter Jackson for not shying away from depicting dragons as the dangerous beasts they are.
RIP Thraddeus Forgefist Rooney (1068-1893)”