Aragorn’s greeting to all members of the Fellowship of the Ring has been called an act of “spontaneous, violent love.” The King of Men actor Viggo Mortensen used to headbutt his co-stars on and off the set of the Lord of the Rings films in greeting, and, according to former Hobbit Dominic Monaghan (Merry), the headbutting has continued on into the real world for years.
Mortensen would grab a person by the head, say something loving, and then violently bash his head against theirs.
When asked about on-set LotR pranks during a November 28 Reddit AMA, Monaghan wrote: “Vigo conducted a long running head butting prank which involved him head butting you quite violently. He almost knocked me out at my birthday party with a head butt. It continues to this day. When i saw him a few weeks ago the first thing i did was give him a good old fashioned head butt.” [sic]
LOTR actors were never strangers to violence. Mortensen was always reported as being incredibly gung ho about taking on the stunt doubles on set during fight sequences. And there were certainly plenty of those across the trilogy. What’s surprising is that the tradition has continued for 13 years since The Return of the King premiered in 2003, as proved by Monaghan’s Reddit responses.
A behind-the-scenes video from The Two Towers revealed that, inspired by Mortensen’s favorite greeting, a stunt actor once headbutted Orlando Bloom (Legolas) so hard that Bloom’s vision whited out for several moments. So Mortensen wasn’t only the perpetrator of what Frodo actor Elijah Wood called an act of “spontaneous, violent love,” but also the instigator of such behavior.
The greeting is a bit out of sorts for Strider, as he’s always been more of the strong-and-silent type who gives grand, inspiring speeches when necessary. But he’d probably get a good chuckle seeing his counterpart headbutting his friends.Photos via tumblr, councilofelrond.com