This movie strays the most from the books. However, the theatrical versions of the movies have always been geared towards people who have not read the book, the extended versions are for the book readers. Having said that, this movie has the difficult task of following three different storylines while trying to maintain harmony with everything you learned in the first film and teaching you everything that you'll need to know for the final film. Peter Jackson did an amazing job of keeping everything together. He also did a great job of introducing new characters while growing the viewers relationships with the characters from the first film.
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