That got me thinking a bit, and I pulled out my copy of LotR and started flipping through the appendices. I don't remember a lot of the stuff that's in there, and I wonder if I actually read them all those years ago. That would certainly explain the gaps in my knowledge of Middle Earth. So I read the stuff about Numenor, and then started in on Arnor, but got side tracked because I really wanted a map, and the little ones in the back of the book just weren't big enough. Somewhere in the attic there's a jigsaw puzzle of a map of Middle Earth, but despite looking in all the likely boxes, I couldn't find it. I did find the really big map from the old SPI game War of the Ring, which is nice, but it's also distorted because of the hex grid, and the mechanics of the game. Bother.
Anyway back downstairs, some more page flipping, and I found the timeline. I guess I'd never made the connection that the main events in the book take place in the *winter*. The Fellowship leaves Rivendell on December 25, and the ring is destroyed three months later. I don't remember that being all that clear in the book, and in the movie it doesn't appear to be winter at all, at least not a northern latitude winter. The only snow we see is on Caradhras, and right after they leave Bree, which is in early October. (According to the cast commentary the snow outside of Bree in the movie was due to a snowstorm the day before they shot the scene.) In fact, in TTT, we see heat lines in one of the scenes of Aragorn riding to Helms Deep. I dunno, maybe winters just weren't as cold in the Third Age. It would certainly explain why all the trees in Fangorn, Lothlorien, and the surrounding areas still have all their leaves in January and February.
Later on I watched The Two Towers. Ever since veejane pointed out to me that Legolas gets the direction to Isengard wrong (he says it's to the northeast rather than northwest), I have obsessed about what direction the pursuers are actually headed in the film. There's also a scene where it appears that Legolas looks into the rising sun as they're pursuing the orcs to the west, but on further examination he actually turns around almost 180° from the line of pursuit to look at the sunrise, so that's actually correct. I did catch another directional mistake, though. When the pursuit meets up with Eomer, Eomer has just come from the edge of Fangorn Forest, where the company slew the orcs. Fangorn is to the north, yet Eomer says that he can't stay with Aragorn because his company must ride *north*. Dude, you just came from there! In the book, he tells Aragorn they're heading south. </nitpicks>
Meanwhile, it turns out that I missaw something the last time I watched. For some reason, I was sure that I saw a huge forest of trees appear behind the orc army during the charge of Eomer at Helm's Deep, but rewatching last night I realized that I had mistaken the charging Rohirrim for the orcs, and the orcs for trees. Oops.