Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s creative and much loved fantasy world, Shadow Of War was released to the public on Xbox One, PC, and PS4. This very popular franchise has been around for decades, it’s a story that is set in such a strong universe with such rich lore, I doubt the prequels, sequels, and additional stories will ever stop honestly. But there has been one issue with the Shadow Of War game, an issue that has made people question whether or not this should be taken as canon. Some die-hard fans have been questioning how this game came to be and why so many of the developers chose to leave out key aspects of the series that make Shadow Of War what it is, and feel that it makes little sense.
Some individuals have chalked it up to it just being new elements to the game to make it more enjoyable and interesting, but many fans have taken to the online forums to make it clear that this is not how the game should have unfolded. If the game was actually accurate it wouldn’t have taken away from the fun or adventure, it would have made it seem more real.
Shadow Of War is complicated to say the least, but throughout this article we’ll be walking you through some of the top elements that have been left out of the game. Adding more fire to the conversation of whether or not this game is canon or is it just a game company trying to make a profit off of the dedicated fans of the LOTR universe.
15 You Can't Tame A Balrog
Balrogs are not friendly, let alone a creature in the Tolkien universe that could be tamed. Do you even remember when Gandalf was almost killed because of a Balrog? These creatures show no mercy ever. Balrogs are known to only worship the god known as Morgoth, but even with that knowledge there was no control exerted over these creatures. Balrogs have intense control over magic and their powers, so when it shows that Sauron has more of an evil control over these monsters, it really makes you questions why that’s even possible in the first place. When Shadow Of War takes place, it turns out that these Balrog created actually aren’t even supposed to be alive. Do you think this is canon?
14 His Ring Wouldn't Be Good Enough
One of the BIGGEST problems die-hard fans have had with Shadow Of War has been the fact that the whole story basically revolves around Celebrimbor’s new ring. Some fans might not pick up on this, but if a new ring is made after Sauron’s ring, those rings will fall under Sauron’s control. In the game, it seems like they left out this piece of well known lore to help the story progress, but it still has bothered tons of people. Overall there are twenty magical rings in the Tolkien world; there are seven for the Dwarves, three for Elves, and nine total for men. Then there was only one left that was created by Sauron himself. This ring is also known as The One Ring. It’s one of the most powerful rings in the universe.
13 Celebrimor's Resume Is All Fluff
Many fans were quite unhappy with the boost of history and honor that was expanded upon when it comes to Celebrimbor’s history. He basically has a fluffed up resume in Shadow Of War, because his character has changed drastically in this game compared to the books and films. His mention in The Fellowship of the Ring involved him playing a huge role. Don’t get us wrong, he does play a huge role in LOTR, but his history has been mixed up quite a bit in this game. Celebrimbor was the creator of the concept that began the process of creating rings for the races of the Tolkien universe. He then betrayed everyone for the sake of creating The One Ring, but was then was killed by Sauron himself.
12 Everything Is Too Quick In SoW
One thing you’ll notice right away is the fact that the game starts off in Minas Ithil. This location is the main source of conflict throughout the game. It’s the last big location in the kingdom that has held strong. But when you start the game it feels as though the war has just started. Though in reality it has been going on for two plus years. While the timeline doesn’t always highlight the most important elements when movies and books are turned into games, it really does take a huge sense of realness out of the conflict you’re fighting against. There is a lot of immersion lost when the game messes with the normal timeline like this.
11 The Lore Of Shelob Is All Wrong
Most people were up in arms about this character switch because it literally had no base in the lore. Never was it mentioned in the books or the films that Shelob can take a human form. Throughout the game Shelob is seen only as a seductress. You might be thinking the name sounds familiar and you would be right, because it’s the name of the giant spider from the Tolkien universe! The same spider that almost killed Frodo by wrapping him up in her web! In the game, they make Shelob seem like some young shapeshifter, meant to seduce men that come her way. She even tricks Talion to give her his new ring. It’s just all wrong. Many players have no clue as to why this added any new substance to the story, other than fanservice.
10 Isildur Wasn't Strong Enough For The Nazgul
Another aspect of the game that made fans roll their eyes was the situation between Isildur and the Nazgul. In the film and in the book series, Isildur was killed by multiple arrows. He finally took his last breath as he fell into the river. The arrows brought his end and there was no way he was still alive. Everyone knows that that scene was the last of Isildur, but apparently not according to Shadow Of War. Apparently behind the scenes, after Isildur was killed and fell into the river, he was then found by the Nazguls and brought to Mordor. He was forced to wear one of Sauron’s rings, which would mean that Isildur is now a Nazgul. It really makes you question why they would try to stretch the truth just to have him in this game as a Nazgul.
9 Talion Shouldn't Even Be In SoW
In a lot of ways it doesn’t really make sense that Talion exists in the games. A little bit of background on Talion tells us that he used to be the captain of Gondor, this means he was usually stationed at the Black Gate of Mordor. The films and books never dive much into this location because of how close it is to Sauron’s army. But this area and the history of Talion is mentioned quite a bit in Shadow Of War because for some reason they wanted to include this vengeful spirit. In many ways it doesn’t actually make sense that Talion is still around because of how problematic his spirit is. After Talion’s death, he should have moved on just like everyone else, residing his spirit within the Halls Of Mandos, but that’s obviously not the case.
8 The War Had Been Already In Progress
Like we mentioned before, the war had already been in progress for the last 2 years. When Sauron makes his way to take Palantir and change how Minas Ithil, the main stage for Shadow Of War operates, there are quite a bit of details missing. This whole aspect of the game is completely made up to go with the storyline of just this game. Because this is not how the story unfolds in either the books nor the films. When Sauron takes out Minas Ithil, the last known human base in Middle-earth, it’s a devastating blow. Sauron then renames Minas Ithil to Minas Morgul. Many people might be wondering why this takeover was possible and what even was the point. Do you think they should have explained more of why this happened, or do you think Shadow Of War covers the causes well?
7 There's Actually A Reason Sauron Is A Flaming Eye
One thing that isn’t in the books but is in Shadow Of War is a better explanation as to why Sauron becomes a flaming eye. Many of us hardcore fans would see this same flaming eye in our dreams because of how menacing and memorable it is after watching the films on repeat. But there’s actually a lore based explanation as to why Sauron was turned into a flaming eye on top of a tower. The eye represents the struggle between Celebrimbor and Sauron, their hands were severed and they merged together to create this all seeing eye manifestation. The two then remained there in the tower, constantly fighting against each other. This struggle isn’t actually represented well in the films. Shadow Of War does a great job capturing this unique conflict.
6 Celebrimbor Had Nothing To Do With Sauron's Ring
Shadow Of War goes out of its way to boost the meaning of certain characters to make the story seem much more powerful. In this case, it’s obvious that Celebrimbor has been given much more power in the plot of Shadow Of War than you might expect. The game goes out of its way to make it seem like Celebrimbor was an equal to Sauron, that they had similar powers and were the same in their knowledge and magic capabilities. They even go as far as saying that they had the exact same combat skills. But Celebrimbor, just as Talion is undead, there is no possible way in this fantasy universe that he would have the same raw power as Sauron. In the books, Sauron has been the only one who created his ring, but in the story of Shadow Of War, there are even cutscenes that show Celebrimbor and Sauron creating the ring together, which is completely wrong.
5 Sauron Shouldn't Have Been In Human Form
In Shadow Of War, it should have never been possible for Sauron to be in his physical form. In the books and the films, it took years for Sauron to gain enough power to become a physical form. Even when he was defeated in that form, it took literally centuries for him to take a new form after that, even then it was grossly broken and not as strong as his most well known form. But in Shadow Of War, it showed Sauron fighting in his physical form, with no explanation. Shadow Of War takes place in the past, way before the timeline of the films, which means Sauron should have had no way to regain this physical form. Before the films it took centuries for him to be able to do so in the first place. For him to be able to create this form quickly makes you think this was just for the game.
4 Talion's End Was Disappointing
SPOILER: At the end of Shadow Of War, it becomes known that Talion has an awful fate ahead of him. His end involves him becoming a Nazgul under the ultimate control of Sauron. Talion is left by those who were supposed to be there for him as he dies. As he dies, he only has one option to make a difference, his last legacy. He has the option to take Isildur’s ring to gain the strength to finally fight against Sauron himself. While he might avoid death, he is then turned of course into one of the Nazgul. Also because this game is set much farther in the past, years and years before the Fellowship of the Ring, this means that Talion was probably one of Nazgul that hunted Frodo on his journey to destroy the ring.
3 Nazgul's Never Died
In Shadow Of War it’s been discovered that Isildur and Helm Hammerhand were both brought in to become Nazgul. It seems a bit strange, because there were no deaths of Nazguls since they became a part of them. This would mean that there should have been 11 Nazguls total, but instead there have always been 9 and there actually could only be 9. While they don’t go into detail about this, it really makes you wonder how these timelines match up and how this would even be possible, or if this is just some fabricated lore to make Shadow Of War more interesting. Because comparing the timelines between when Sauron released the Nazguls until his control, there could only be 9, no more, no less. What are your thoughts? Do you feel they did this just to add relevance between Isildur and Helm Hammerhand in Shadow Of War?
2 Helm Hammerhand Shouldn't Have Been A Nazgul
If you’ve read the books, this fact will probably have you confused too. In the books, Helm Hammerhand was much too dead to become a Nazgul. When it is revealed in Shadow Of War that Helm Hammerhand played a role in becoming a Nazgul, it might have you scratching your head, simply because he died in battle and was then buried by his family. This is actually talked about in length in the books. He even has a statue dedicated to him in the films, located above his burial. Just like we mentioned above with Isildur, who was killed by a dozen arrows and dragged to Mordor, did the same situation happen to Helm Hammerhand as well, because we have our doubts. There’s no way his frozen body could have been brought to Mordor, especially when his kin held a service for his death, with his body there!
1 Sauron Talks Too Much In SoW
One thing that always made Sauron more menacing in the films and the books was the simple fact that he never really talks. He’s always been a character more about showing you what he means rather than sitting there and talking about it. He’s been known as one of the best villains because of how aloof he really is. It allows the viewer and reader to really place their own fears into him, making him intimidating and quite scary. His character actually has set a standard for fantasy-based characters because of this unique lore surrounding him. But in Shadow Of War, you will constantly hear him talking. He talks so much it really diminishes that vibe about him that makes you feel anxious. He then becomes just some jerk that won’t shut up!