The Lord of the Rings will go down as one of the greatest movie trilogies in history, and this year Peter Jackson’s follow-up trilogy The Hobbit will be coming to a close as well. The movies are tremendously detailed and, at least with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, incredibly faithful to the books. Obviously, there are some omissions and additions, but particularly with the extended editions, they’re everything a Tolkien fan could ever hope for.

But there are probably some things about the movies that not even the most devoted Tolkien fans realize. If you are like us and loved these movies, you’ve watched them all dozens of times. After all, you can barely go a week without one of the three being broadcast on cable. These are some of the coolest facts about arguably the most successful movie trilogy ever made.

1.

The Portraits of Bilbo’s Parents Look Familiar…

The Portraits of Bilbo’s Parents Look Familiar…

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They don’t get much screen time, but the portraits of Bilbo’s parents in Fellowship were modeled after Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.

2.

Andy Serkis Pulled Double Duty

Andy Serkis Pulled Double Duty

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You know that Andy Serkis played Gollum (and Smeagol), but he also voiced the Black Rider in Fellowship who says, “Shire…Baggins…”

3.

Those Were Real Forges Used by Saruman’s Orcs

Those Were Real Forges Used by Saruman’s Orcs

Saruman’s forge of Orthanc were actual forges, and the goblins doing the forging were actual foundry workers.

4.

One Does Not Simply Memorize an Entire Scene

One Does Not Simply Memorize an Entire Scene

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Unless it’s Sean Bean, who was given his big, foreboding speech about Mordor just the night before and still nailed it on the first take.

5.

Bill the Pony was at Times Two Dudes

Bill the Pony was at Times Two Dudes

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Believe it or not, Sam Gamgee’s pony, Bill, was actually two guys in a pony costume for some shots.

6.

Gandalf was Mourned Before He Actually Died

Gandalf was Mourned Before He Actually Died

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The scenes where the Fellowship actually mourns the death of Gandalf were filmed before Ian McKellen ever arrived on set to film his first scene.

7.

Aragorn Was Really in Pain When He Kicked a Helmet

Aragorn Was Really in Pain When He Kicked a Helmet

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In The Two Towers when Aragorn thinks Merry and Pippin are dead and he kicks a helmet, Viggo Mortensen broke his toe and that yell was one of actual pain.

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