Now that The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies has hit theaters, we've seen all of Peter Jackson's interpretations of J.R.R. Tolkien's most popular works: The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Regardless of your opinions of Jackson's films, you have to admit that those movies are pretty fun rides, and they are rife with some heart-stopping action and some truly amazing, badass moments.
Though there are many to pick from in Jackson's six Middle-earth films, we’ve thought back on each of the titles and selected the moments we truly believe to be the most badass of the badass. These are the true standouts.
Be warned, there will be spoilers for every Peter Jackson Tolkien film - including Battle of the Five Armies - ahead.
10. Tauriel Interrogating The OrcOkay, so Tauriel wasn’t actually featured in any of the Middle-earth books at all, and Legolas wasn’t actually present in The Hobbit. This is only the start of particular complaints about the arguably unnecessary additions Peter Jackson made to the The Hobbit trilogy’s story, but there is one thing we can all probably agree upon: Tauriel definitely was a badass character. A perfect example of this is seen when she is interrogating an orc in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Tauriel refuses to wait around for the orc to decide to play nice, and just before lunging at the creature, she says, "You like killing things, orc? You like death? Then let me give it to you." Made up character or not, this line is one of the most awesome lines since Eowyn’s, "I am no man."
9. Birth of the Uruk-HaiThe Uruk-hai were some seriously badass fighters that led Saruman's army. While the orcs were certainly a force to be reckoned with, the Uruk-Hai were far more fearsome and powerful than any orc. It was no surprise that the way these tough-as-nails fighters were ushered into the world is equally badass... and also super gross. In
8. Arwen’s Horse Tidal WaveIn Fellowship of the Ring Frodo is stabbed by one of Nazgul at Weathertop with a Morgul blade. With Frodo’s wound beyond Aragorn’s ability to heal, he calls in Arwen to take Frodo to get him Elvish care. As Arwen rushes off with Frodo, the Nazgul are hot on her heels. When it seems she will be unable to lose the Nazgul, she coerces them out into the water to come and take Frodo from her. As they get closer and closer to Arwen and Frodo, Arwen summons an enormous, horse stampede-shaped tidal wave to knock the Nazgul out. It’s an awesome display of power, and one of the franchise’s best moments.
7. Thorin And His Men Join The FightIn The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Thorin succumbs to a serious case of dragon sickness, closing his men into the mountain while an overwhelming army of orcs attacks the armies of men, elves, and dwarves being obliterated outside. It takes a while for the dwarves to speak sense into Thorin, with Bilbo even attempting to trick the dwarf king into sanity by giving Bard the Arkenstone, but when Thorin is finally able to snap out of the sickness it’s a genuinely badass moment. Once he is back in his right mind, he and his men rush to the field to fight against the orcs, and when the dwarves see their king fighting alongside of them, they rally and ultimately defeat the enemy. Greed and evil being defeated by brotherhood and good is always badass.
6. Bard Takes Down SmaugAfter Smaug descends upon Laketown, Bard immediately flies into action at the start of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. He tries to take down the dragon, and ultimately finds the legendary weak spot in Smaug’s scales. Bard runs to the top of a tower in Laketown, uses his own son to aim an enormous, makeshift arrow, and takes the great, red dragon down like a chump. The winged monster does end up crashing into the town, destroying whatever was left of it after multiple passes with fire breath, but at least Bard stopped the beast from burning everyone and everything to ashes.
5. Thorin Defeats AzogAzog the Destroyer was a force to be reckoned with for all three Hobbit movies, and the most consistent, present antagonist. While there was the awesome moment in the first Hobbit where Thorin chops off Azog’s arm, the final, nail-biting fight between the two in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on that frozen lake is completely amazing. Sure, the fight does have quite the tragic end as Thorin ends up dying himself, but he is able to use his sacrifice to end Azog once and for all. A sad moment, yes – but also a badass one.
4. Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel Save Gandalf And Banish SauronWhen Galadriel discovers a captured Gandalf in Battle of the Five Armies, she rescues him and carries him away from danger. However, Sauron is not about to let her leave so easily. Just as he turns his nine kings on her - who will become the Nazgul in the Lord of the Rings films - Elrond and Saruman come to her aid. As it turns out she doesn’t really need them, as she puts on an extreme display of power that helps both defeat the kings and banish Sauron. Of course, that’s not the last we see of Sauron in Middle-earth, but we won’t talk about that right now...
3. Gandalf vs. The BalrogGandalf might look unassuming with his big beard, walking stick, and his giant grey hat, but he is most certainly not one to be trifled with. He proves his abilities in Fellowship of the Ring while fighting the Balrog. Really, Gandalf’s entire encounter with the Balrog is so completely badass, it is hard to isolate just one moment that is the most badass. Sure it’s amazing when Gandalf jumps in front of the Balrog to let the rest of the Fellowship escape, but it’s also amazing when he lays down the law screaming, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS." And let’s not forget that that he continued fighting with the greatest beast while falling to his death, leading to his return as Gandalf the White. The entire encounter is incredible and proves how awesome Gandalf is.
2. I Am No ManEowyn is one of my personal favorite characters in the Lord of the Rings universe, and a fan favorite for many others. We first meet Eowyn in The Two Towers, where we see her as a strong presence in Rohan, and a capable fighter that is never able to see any real battle because of her gender. However, she takes charge in Return of the King and sneaks onto the battlefield. When Eowyn finally comes face-to-face with one of the Nazgul, she delivers perhaps the most badass line in the franchise – as noted above - before promptly taking the Nazgul out. Don’t mess with Rohan.
1. The Ring And Sauron Are DestroyedThis is the ultimate badass moment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. After three films of travelling, Frodo and Sam finally reach Mount Doom, and go to throw the ring into the fires of the mountain at the end of Return of the King. Of course there are a few hiccups along the way of actually hurling the ring into the fire, what with Frodo deciding he wants to keep the ring and Gollum attacking Frodo – ultimately biting his ring finger off. But the ring, along with Gollum and a portion of Frodo’s finger, end up in the fires of Mount Doom anyway, just as planned. Once the ring finds its way to the fires, Sauron is destroyed, and his armies are also vanquished, saving the men and elves fighting against Sauron’s army. The good guys win!