|Vivint APX, and others Deceptive marketing and fast talking salespersons canvasing unsuspectnng |
|17th of May, 2011 by User749064 |
|The salespersons come in young (under 30) fast tongued and eager to push you into a sale. Explaining (under false auspices) that you are a candidate for a free in home alarm system, and quickly explain that if you decide to take the service that you will not have to pay anything whatsoever, as you will be a silent partner in their sales drive coming through 'the neighbor hood' in a few weeks. The sayon the sales etimate that they are "giving you the system for free", and then when it comes to the contract they ask are you sure you understand all I have explained to you, (which what you hear is free,) and then they ask for a voided check and say that it will be about 50 dollars a month, but that will be offset by a couponing guide through "The Entertainment Guide" online access, only to have it taken away a day later, and to this day two weeks into this I still have NO access. THey set you up and let you have a look at things, then tell you there is a small option to terminte page attached to the bottom of the contract, but writen so smally in type and thier own hand, it is perused off, and when you finally realize that its bs, the window that they set forth, is so miniscule you have no chance. However in my case they offered an extra device in a monitered thermostat, but when installed, Blew my Furnace fuse. They had no idea what happened, and thier tech was in my home for over 6 hours trying to get it to work right.. He couldnt get it working, sugested I contact my Furnace company to fix and let him know when it was fixed.. Luckily it was just a fuse. However, after that day, they were unavailable to put another thermostat in, for over 2 weeks, when the next available tech came and "installed the aparatice" he did not make sure my furnace was operational, and lowand behold it fried my fuse again. Another was dispatched 2 days later, just to say I dont know, let me seeinside the furnace, my husband refused, since that tech is not registered in my book to tamper with My furnace. I called to say that this has been nothing but a headache for the last 2 weeks in my house, that I want my contract cancelled. and they have the gall to say that you had a 5 day window to cancel. Sorry you 'complete system' with benefits was not "FULLY" operational. They want me to pay for the "Panel" over $3000 pluss the $50 per month for 42 months of the contract. Not in my book, they breached contract when thier techies coudn't do a simple job, as well as rushing over the minute details with out clear verbage discussing them properly and their deceptive phone call afterwrds asking if you understand all the details, without highlighting the details (with mass deception). That company is not getting another penny from me. The got me for one month, and I NEVER even engaged the system on my own, only in instruction during install, then tech played with it for hour afterward. I have a page of error messages on my email page, from thier screwups throghout that day. Bottom line.. DO NOT get one of these Vivint systems.|
|Hobbits are a fictional diminutive race who inhabit the lands of Middle-earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.|
Hobbits first appeared in the novel The Hobbit, in which the main protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, is the titular hobbit. The novel The Lord of the Rings includes more Hobbits as major characters, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Peregrin Took and Meriadoc Brandybuck, as well as several other minor hobbit characters. Hobbits are also briefly mentioned in The Silmarillion.
According to the author in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Hobbits are "relatives" of the race of Men. Elsewhere Tolkien describes Hobbits as a "variety" or separate "branch" of humans. Within the story, Hobbits and other races seem aware of the similarities (hence the colloquial terms "Big People" and "Little People" used in Bree). However, within the story, Hobbits considered themselves a separate race, especially personality-wise. At the time of the events in The Lord of the Rings, Hobbits lived in the Shire and in Bree in the north west of Middle-earth, though by the end, some had moved out to the Tower Hills and to Gondor and Rohan.
4 Fictional history
6 Moral significance
7 In popular culture
8 See also
9 Notes and references
10 External links
Tolkien believed he had invented the word "hobbit" when he began writing The Hobbit (it was revealed years after his death that the word pre-dated Tolkien's usage, though with a different meaning). He later set out a fictional etymology for the name, to the effect that it was being derived from the word "Holbytlan" which translates "hole-dweller" in Old English, which appears as the tongue of the fictional Rohirrim in the books. Tolkien's concept of hobbits, in turn, seems to have been inspired by Edward Wyke Smith's 1927 children's book The Marvellous Land of Snergs, and by Sinclair Lewis's 1922 novel Babbitt. The Snergs were, in Tolkien's words, "a race of people only slightly taller than the average table but broad in the shoulders and of great strength." Tolkien wrote to W. H. Auden that The Marvellous Land of Snergs "was probably an unconscious source-book for the Hobbits" and he told an interviewer that the word hobbit "might have been associated with Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt" (like hobbits, George Babbitt enjoys the comforts of his home). However, Tolkien claims that he started The Hobbit suddenly, without premeditation, in the midst of rating a set of student essay exams, writing on a blank piece of paper: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit". While The Hobbit introduced this race of comfortable homebodies to the world, it is only in writing The Lord of the Rings that Tolkien developed details of their history and wider society.
In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien writes that Hobbits are between two and four feet (0.61–1.22 m) tall, the average height being three feet six inches (1.07 m). They dress in bright colours, favouring yellow and green. Nowadays (according to Tolkien's fiction), they are usually very shy creatures, but are nevertheless capable of great courage and amazing feats under the proper circumstances. They are adept with slings and throwing stones. For the most part, they cannot grow beards, but a few of the race of Stoor can. Their feet are covered with curly hair (usually brown, as was the hair on their heads) with leathery soles, so most Hobbits hardly ever wear shoes. Hobbits can sometimes live for up to 130 years, although their average life expectancy is 100 years. The time at which a young Hobbit "comes of age" is 33, thus a fifty-year-old Hobbit would only be entering middle age.
Hobbits are not quite as stocky as the similarly-sized dwarves, but still tend to be stout, with slightly pointed ears. Tolkien does not describe Hobbits' ears in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but in a 1938 letter to his American publisher, he described Hobbits as having "ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'". Tolkien describes Hobbits thus:
I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of 'fairy' rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf).
Hobbits and derivative Halflings are often depicted with large feet for their size, perhaps to visually emphasize their unusualness. This is especially prominent in the influential illustrations by the Brothers Hildebrandt and the large prosthetic feet used in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Tolkien does not specifically give size as a generic hobbit trait, but does make it the distinctive trait of Proudfoot hobbit family.
In his writings, Tolkien depicted Hobbits as fond of an unadventurous bucolic life of farming, eating, and socializing, although capable of defending their homes courageously if the need arises. They would enjoy six meals a day, if they can get them – in the film, The Fellowship of the Ring, the following meal times are mentioned: breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper (these number seven, but two are inter-changeable names for a mid-morning meal/snack). They were often described as enjoying simple food—such as cake, bread, meat, potatoes, tea, and cheese—and having a particular passion for mushrooms. Hobbits also like to drink ale, often in inns—not unlike the eighteenth-century English countryfolk, who were Tolkien's main inspiration. The name Tolkien chose for one part of Middle-earth where the Hobbits live, "the Shire", is clearly reminiscent of the English shires. Hobbits also enjoy an ancient variety of tobacco, which they referred to as "pipe-weed", something that can be attributed mostly to their love of gardening and herb-lore. They claim to have invented the art of smoking pipe-weed, and according to The Hobbit and The Return of The King it can be found all over Middle-earth.
The Hobbits of the Shire developed the custom of giving away gifts on their birthdays, instead of receiving them, although this custom was not universally followed among other Hobbit cultures or communities. They use the term mathom for old and useless objects, which are invariably given as presents many times over, or are stored in a museum (mathom-house).
Some Hobbits live in "hobbit-holes" or Smials, traditional underground homes found in hillsides, downs, and banks. Like all Hobbit architecture, they are notable for their round doors and windows.
“ "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats -- the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill -- The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it -- and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.
- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The Hobbits had a distinct calendar: every year started on a Saturday and ended on a Friday, with each of the twelve months consisting of thirty days. Some special days did not belong to any month — Yule 1 and 2 (New Year's Eve & New Years Day) and three Lithedays in mid-summer. Every fourth year there was an extra Litheday, most likely as an adaptation, similar to a leap year, to ensure that the calendar stayed synchronised with the seasons.
Historically, the Hobbits are known to have originated in the Valley of Anduin, between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. According to The Lord of the Rings, they have lost the genealogical details of how they are related to the Big People. At this time, there were three "breeds" of Hobbits, with different physical characteristics and temperaments: Harfoots, Stoors and Fallohides. While situated in the valley of the Anduin River, the Hobbits lived close by the Éothéod, the ancestors of the Rohirrim, and this led to some contact between the two. As a result many old words and names in "Hobbitish" are derivatives of words in Rohirric.
The Harfoots, the most numerous, were almost identical to the Hobbits as they are described in The Hobbit. They lived on the lowest slopes of the Misty Mountains and lived in holes, or Smials, dug into the hillsides.
The Stoors, the second most numerous, were shorter and stockier and had an affinity for water, boats and swimming. They lived on the marshy Gladden Fields where the Gladden River met the Anduin (there is a similarity here to the hobbits of Buckland and the Marish in the Shire. It is possible that those hobbits were the descendants of Stoors). It was from these Hobbits that Déagol and Sméagol/Gollum were descended.
The Fallohides, the least numerous, were an adventurous people that preferred to live in the woods under the Misty Mountains and were said to be taller and fairer (all of these traits were much rarer in later days, and it has been implied that wealthy, eccentric families that tended to lead other hobbits politically, like the Tooks and Brandybucks, were of Fallohide descent). Three of the four principal hobbit characters in The Lord of the Rings (Frodo, Pippin and Merry) certainly had Fallohide blood through their common ancestor, the Old Took.
About the year T.A. 1050, they undertook the arduous task of crossing the Misty Mountains. Reasons for this trek are unknown, but they possibly had to do with Sauron's growing power in nearby Greenwood, which later became known as Mirkwood as a result of the shadow that fell upon it during Sauron's search of the forest for the One Ring. The Hobbits took different routes in their journey westward, but as they began to settle together in Bree-land, Dunland, and the Angle formed by the rivers Mitheithel and Bruinen, the divisions between the Hobbit-kinds began to blur.
In the year 1601 of the Third Age (year 1 in the Shire Reckoning), two Fallohide brothers named Marcho and Blanco gained permission from the King of Arnor at Fornost to cross the River Brandywine and settle on the other side. Many Hobbits followed them, and most of the territory they had settled in the Third Age was abandoned. Only Bree and a few surrounding villages lasted to the end of the Third Age. The new land that they founded on the west bank of the Brandywine was called the Shire.
Originally the Hobbits of the Shire swore nominal allegiance to the last Kings of Arnor, being required only to acknowledge their lordship, speed their messengers, and keep the bridges and roads in repair. During the final fight against Angmar at the Battle of Fornost, the Hobbits maintain that they sent a company of archers to help but this is nowhere else recorded. After the battle, the kingdom of Arnor was destroyed, and in absence of the king, the Hobbits elected a Thain of the Shire from among their own chieftains.
The first Thain of the Shire was Bucca of the Marish, who founded the Oldbuck family. However, the Oldbuck family later crossed the Brandywine River to create the separate land of Buckland and the family name changed to the familiar "Brandybuck". Their patriarch then became Master of Buckland. With the departure of the Oldbucks/Brandybucks, a new family was selected to have its chieftains be Thain: the Took family (Pippin Took was son of the Thain and would later become Thain himself). The Thain was in charge of Shire Moot and Muster and the Hobbitry-in-Arms, but as the Hobbits of the Shire led entirely peaceful, uneventful lives the office of Thain was seen as something more of a formality.
The Hobbits' numbers dwindled, and their stature became progressively smaller after the Fourth Age. However, they are sometimes spoken of in the present tense, and the prologue "Concerning Hobbits" in The Lord of the Rings states that they have survived into Tolkien's day.
Harfoots: The Harfoots were the most numerous group of Hobbits and also the first to enter Eriador. They were the smallest in stature of all hobbits. They had closer relations with dwarves than did other Hobbits.
Fallohides: The Fallohides were the least numerous group and the second group to enter Eriador. They were generally fair-haired and tall (for hobbits). They were often found leading other clans of hobbits as they were more adventurous than the other races. They preferred the forests and had links with the elves.
Stoors: The Stoors were the second most numerous group of Hobbits and the last to enter Eriador. They were broader than other hobbits. They mostly dwelt beside rivers and were the only hobbits to use boats and swim. Males were able to grow beards. Tolkien says they were "less shy of Men". Sméagol and Déagol were apparently either hobbits of Stoorish descent or else close relatives of the breed.
Kocher notes that Tolkien's literary techniques require us to increasingly view Hobbits as like us, especially when placed under moral pressure to survive a war that threatens to devastate their land. Frodo becomes in some ways the symbolic representation of the conscience of Hobbits; a point made explicitly in the story Leaf by Niggle which Tolkien wrote at the same time as the first nine chapters of The Lord of the Rings. Niggle is a painter struggling against the summons of death to complete his one great canvas, a picture of a tree with a background of forest and distant mountains. He dies with the work incomplete, undone by his imperfectly generous heart: "it made him uncomfortable more often than it made him do anything". After discipline in Purgatory, however, Niggle finds himself in the very landscape depicted by his painting which he is now able to finish with the assistance of a neighbour who obstructed him during life. The picture complete, Niggle is free to journey to the distant mountains which represent the highest stage of his spiritual development. Thus, upon recovery from the wound inflicted by Angmar on Weathertop, Gandalf speculates that the Hobbit Frodo "may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can". Similarly, as Frodo nears Mount Doom he casts aside weapons and refuses to fight others with physical force: "for him struggles for the right must hereafter be waged only on the moral plane".
In popular culture
The skeletal remains of several diminutive paleolithic hominids were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004. These tiny people, named Homo floresiensis after the island on which the remains were found,  were informally dubbed "hobbits" by their discoverers in a series of articles published in the scientific journal Nature. The excavated skeletons reveal a hominid that (like a hobbit) grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child and had proportionately larger feet than modern humans. The original skeleton, a female, stood at just 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall, weighed about 25 kilograms (55 pounds), and was around 30 years old at the time of her death. Further analysis of the remains using a regression equation indicated that Homo floresiensis was approximately 106 cm tall (3 feet, 6 inches)—far smaller than the modern pygmies, whose adults grow to no more than 150 cm (4 feet, 11 inches). Thus far, nine skeletons of Homo floresiensis dating from approximately 38, 000 to 13, 000 years ago have been excavated, suggesting that these "hobbits" would have shared the island with dwarf elephants, giant rats, and Komodo dragons.
Whether the "hobbit" skeletons represent a species distinct from modern humans has been a subject of scientific debate. In addition to their small size and big feet, the skull and arm bones of Homo floresiensis differ from those of modern humans. Critics of the claim for species status argue that these differences were caused by pathologies of anatomy and physiology. In contrast, a 2009 article in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society noted that “attempts to dismiss the hobbits as pathological people have failed repeatedly because the medical diagnoses of dwarfing syndromes and microcephaly bear no resemblance to the unique anatomy of Homo floresiensis.”
Along with dwarves and elves, hobbits have become a common feature of many fantasy games, both pen-and-paper role-playing games and computer games. Examples of games which feature hobbits include the Wizardry series, Quiz Magic Academy series, Lufia: The Ruins of Lore, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, the Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) System (by Iron Crown Enterprises), and Lord of the Rings RPG (by Decipher Games). However the word "Hobbit" is a trademark owned by the Tolkien estate. For this reason Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy most often refer to hobbit-like creatures by another name, most commonly as halflings, a term sometimes used to refer to hobbits in The Lord of the Rings. Alternatives include hin in the Mystara universe, hurthlings in Ancient Domains of Mystery, and Bobbits in the Ultima series. A notable exception is the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Creature of Havoc, which features them by name. They also appear as an enemy in Overlord. They fit Tolkien's description quite well in the fact they have a love for food and ale and their houses are built into the side of hills.
"Stealing like a Hobbit" is the name of a parody song, by Luke Sienkowski, that was most requested in 2003 on the Dr. Demento Show (this might be a reference to the "Roast Mutton" chapter of The Hobbit, in which Bilbo Baggins tries to pick the pocket of a troll, or to a later chapter in which he infiltrates the dragon Smaug's lair). The song "Secret Kingdom" on Newsboys' Go includes the line, "send us hobbits out of the Shire". Hobbits are also (obviously) featured in Leonard Nimoy's infamous "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins."
|Bilbo Baggins is the protagonist and titular character of The Hobbit and a supporting character in The Lord of the Rings, two of the most well-known of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings.|
In Tolkien's narrative conceit, in which all the writings of Middle-earth are translations from the fictitious volume of The Red Book of Westmarch, Bilbo is the author of The Hobbit and translator of The Silmarillion.
1.1 The Hobbit
1.2 The Lord of the Rings
1.2.1 The Appendices
1.2.2 Poems/Songs written by Bilbo
1.3 Bilbo's Last Song
2 Portrayals in adaptations
3 Family tree
4 See also
6 External links
The Hobbit relates how Bilbo Baggins, in comfortable middle age at 50 years old, is hired in spite of himself as a burglar by Gandalf and thirteen dwarves led by their king Thorin Oakenshield on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. The adventure takes Bilbo and the companions through the wilderness, to the elf haven of Rivendell, across the Misty Mountains and the black forest of Mirkwood, to Lake-town in the middle of Long Lake, and eventually to the Mountain itself. Here, after the dragon is killed and the Mountain reclaimed, the Battle of Five Armies takes place.
In his journey, Bilbo encounters other fantastic creatures, including trolls, elves, giant spiders, a man who can change shape into a bear, goblins, eagles, wolves and a mysterious, murderous creature named Gollum. Underground, near Gollum's lair, Bilbo accidentally finds a magic ring of invisibility, which he uses to escape from Gollum.
While Bilbo initially comes across as a timid, easily-flustered bumbler, he grows wiser and more confident as the story progresses. In many gruesome situations, he is the one who saves the day. He rescues the dwarves from giant spiders with the magic ring and a short Elven-sword he acquired. He uses the ring to sneak around in hostile environments, as well as his wits to smuggle the dwarves out of the elves' prisons. He is able to hold his will in conversation with the wily Smaug. When tensions arise over ownership of the recovered treasure, he tries unsuccessfully to bring the opposing sides to compromise, using a stolen heirloom jewel as a leverage. This strains his relationship with Thorin, but the two are reconciled at Thorin's dying. Bilbo impresses leaders of men and elves, as well as Gandalf, who knew all along that there was more behind the easily-flustered hobbit from the opening chapter. At the end of the tale, Bilbo has become very wealthy due to his share of the dwarves' treasure; he also finds that he has traded respectability for experience and wisdom.
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings begins with Bilbo's "eleventy-first" (111th) birthday (on September 22), 60 years after the beginning of The Hobbit. The main protagonist of the novel is Frodo Baggins, Bilbo's kinsman.
In T.A. 2989 (S.R. 1389), Bilbo, a lifelong bachelor, adopted Frodo, the orphaned son of his first cousin Primula Brandybuck and his second cousin Drogo Baggins, and made him his heir. Though Frodo was actually "his first and second cousin once removed either way",  the two regarded each other as uncle and nephew.
All this time Bilbo had kept his magic ring, with no idea of its significance. He used the ring mostly to hide from his obnoxious cousins, the Sackville-Bagginses, when they came to visit. Gandalf's investigations revealed it to be a Ring of Power, the very Master-Ring forged by the Dark Lord Sauron to corrupt and dominate the bearers of the other Rings.
The Ring had prolonged Bilbo's life beyond the normal hobbit span, and at 111 he still looked 50. While the Ring did not initially corrupt him as it had its previous owners, it was beginning to affect him. Over the years, it had begun to prey on his mind when out of his sight; and he lost sleep and felt "stretched out and thin",  as he said to Gandalf.
On the night of his birthday party, Bilbo announces his intent to turn his home and estate over to Frodo, puts on the Ring and vanishes from sight. Gandalf (apprised of the plan) sets off a flash to cover Bilbo's disappearance and to mask the power of the ring. As Bilbo prepares finally to leave the house, he reacts with panic and suspicion when Gandalf tries to persuade him to leave the Ring with Frodo as well. Bilbo refers to the Ring as his "precious" — just as the wretched Gollum had in The Hobbit. Gandalf loses his temper with his old friend, talking some sense into him. Bilbo admits he would like to be rid of it; and he leaves it behind, becoming the first person to do so voluntarily. He leaves the Shire that night, and is never seen in Hobbiton again.
His earlier adventure, his eccentric habits as a hobbit, and his sudden disappearance lead to the enduring figure of "Mad Baggins" in hobbit folklore, who disappears with a flash and a bang and returns with gold and jewels.
Freed of the Ring's power over his senses and thus avoiding a lonely fate similar to Gollum's, Bilbo travels to Rivendell, where he lives a pleasant life of retirement: eating, sleeping, writing poetry, and working on his memoirs, There and Back Again, known to us as The Hobbit. He becomes a scholar of Elven lore, leaving behind the Translations from the Elvish, which forms the basis of what is known to us as The Silmarillion.
When Frodo and the other Hobbits return to Rivendell on their journey home to the Shire, Bilbo is still alive but now visibly aged, the years having caught up with him after he surrendered the Ring. Finally Bilbo accompanies Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Frodo to the Grey Havens, there to take ship for Tol Eressëa across the sea, on September 29, T.A. 3021. He had already celebrated his 131st birthday by this time, surpassing the Old Took by one year and becoming the oldest living Hobbit ever in Middle-earth.
According to the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo was born to Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took on September 22, T.A. 2890, or S.R. 1290. The Bagginses of Bag End were one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most respectable hobbit families in Hobbiton until the year 2941 (SR 1341), when Bilbo inexplicably disappeared on his adventure and was thought dead.
Poems/Songs written by Bilbo
A Walking Song
All that is gold does not glitter
The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late
Bilbo's Last Song
The posthumously published poem "Bilbo's Last Song", illustrated by Pauline Baynes, describes Bilbo's contemplation of his forthcoming voyage to the Undying Lands. The illustrations evoke his last ride in the company of Elrond from Rivendell to the Grey Havens, as described in The Lord of the Rings.
Portrayals in adaptations
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
In the 1968 BBC Radio serialization of The Hobbit, Bilbo was played by Paul Daneman.
Nicol Williamson portrayed Bilbo with a light West Country accent in the 1974 performance released on Argo Records.
In the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit, Bilbo was voiced by Orson Bean. Bean also voiced both the aged Bilbo and Frodo in the same company's 1980 adaptation of The Return of the King.
In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo was voiced by Norman Bird. Billy Barty was the model for Bilbo, as well as Frodo and Sam, in the live-action recordings Bakshi used for rotoscoping.
In the BBC's 1981 radio serialization of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo is played by John Le Mesurier.
In Peter Jackson's films The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Bilbo is played by Ian Holm, who had played Frodo in the BBC radio series 20 years earlier. For the upcoming film The Hobbit, also directed by Jackson, Bilbo will be portrayed by Martin Freeman.
|John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.|
Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.
After his death, Tolkien's son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings.
While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien,  the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more precisely, of high fantasy. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.
1.1 Tolkien family origins
1.4 Courtship and marriage
1.5 World War I
1.6 Academic and writing career
1.8 Retirement and old age
2.2 Politics and race
3.3 Posthumous publications
3.4 Manuscript locations
4 Languages and philology
4.1 Linguistic career
4.2 Language construction
5.3 Commemorative plaques
7.1 General references
7.3 Further reading
8 External links
Tolkien family origins
Most of Tolkien's paternal ancestors were craftsmen. The Tolkien family had its roots in Lower Saxony, but had been living in England since the 18th century, becoming "quickly intensely English". The surname Tolkien is said to come from the German word tollkühn ("foolhardy"). German writers have suggested that in reality the name is more likely to derive from the village Tolkynen, near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name of that place is derived from the now extinct Old Prussian language.
Tolkien's maternal grandparents, John and Edith Jane Suffield, were Baptists who lived in Birmingham and owned a shop in the city centre. The Suffield family had run various businesses out of the same building, called Lamb House, since the early 19th century. From 1810 Tolkien's great-great-grandfather William Suffield had a book and stationery shop there; from 1826 Tolkien's great-grandfather, also named John Suffield, had a drapery and hosiery business there.
1892 Christmas card with a coloured photo of the Tolkien family in Bloemfontein, sent to relatives in Birmingham, England
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now Free State Province, part of South Africa) to Arthur Reuel Tolkien (1857–1896), an English bank manager, and his wife Mabel, née Suffield (1870–1904). The couple had left England when Arthur was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank for which he worked. Tolkien had one sibling, his younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel, who was born on 17 February 1894.
As a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, an event which some think would have later echoes in his stories, although Tolkien admitted no actual memory of the event and no special hatred of spiders as an adult. In another incident, a family house-boy, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning.
When he was three, Tolkien went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit. His father, however, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them. This left the family without an income, and so Tolkien's mother took him to live with her parents in Kings Heath,  Birmingham. Soon after, in 1896, they moved to Sarehole (now in Hall Green), then a Worcestershire village, later annexed to Birmingham. He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent, Lickey and Malvern Hills, which would later inspire scenes in his books, along with Worcestershire towns and villages such as Bromsgrove, Alcester, and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt Jane's farm of Bag End, the name of which would be used in his fiction.
Mabel Tolkien herself taught her two sons, and Ronald, as he was known in the family, was a keen pupil. She taught him a great deal of botany and awakened in him the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. Young Tolkien liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, and his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin very early. He could read by the age of four and could write fluently soon afterwards. His mother allowed him to read many books. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was "amusing but disturbing". He liked stories about "Red Indians" and the fantasy works by George MacDonald. In addition, the "Fairy Books" of Andrew Lang were particularly important to him and their influence is apparent in some of his later writings.
Birmingham Oratory, where Tolkien was a parishioner and altar boy, (1902-1911)
King Edward's School in Birmingham, where Tolkien was a student (1900-1902, 1903-1911)
Tolkien attended King Edward's School, Birmingham, and later St. Philip's School, before winning a Foundation Scholarship and returning to King Edward's School. While a pupil at King Edward's School, he was one of a party of cadets from the school's Officers Training Corps who helped "line the route" for the coronation parade of King George V, being posted just outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Mabel Tolkien was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1900 despite vehement protests by her Baptist family,  who then stopped all financial assistance to her. In 1904, when Tolkien was 12, she died of acute diabetes at Fern Cottage in Rednal, which she was then renting. Mabel Tolkien was then about 34 years of age, about as old as a person with diabetes mellitus type 1 could live with no treatment—insulin would not be discovered until two decades later. Nine years after his mother's death, Tolkien wrote, "My own dear mother was a martyr indeed, and it is not to everybody that God grants so easy a way to his great gifts as he did to Hilary and myself, giving us a mother who killed herself with labour and trouble to ensure us keeping the faith."
Prior to her death, Mabel Tolkien had assigned the guardianship of her sons to Fr. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory, who was assigned to bring them up as good Catholics. Tolkien grew up in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. He lived there in the shadow of Perrott's Folly and the Victorian tower of Edgbaston Waterworks, which may have influenced the images of the dark towers within his works. Another strong influence was the romantic medievalist paintings of Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has a large and world-renowned collection of works and had put it on free public display from around 1908.
Tolkien in 1911
In 1911, while they were at King Edward's School, Birmingham, Tolkien and three friends, Rob Gilson, Geoffrey Smith, and Christopher Wiseman, formed a semi-secret society which they called "the T.C.B.S.", the initials standing for "Tea Club and Barrovian Society", alluding to their fondness for drinking tea in Barrow's Stores near the school and, secretly, in the school library. After leaving school, the members stayed in touch, and in December 1914 they held a "Council" in London, at Wiseman's home. For Tolkien, the result of this meeting was a strong dedication to writing poetry.
In the summer of 1911, Tolkien went on holiday in Switzerland, a trip that he recollects vividly in a 1968 letter,  noting that Bilbo's journey across the Misty Mountains ("including the glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods") is directly based on his adventures as their party of 12 hiked from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and on to camp in the moraines beyond Mürren. Fifty-seven years later, Tolkien remembered his regret at leaving the view of the eternal snows of Jungfrau and Silberhorn ("the Silvertine (Celebdil) of my dreams"). They went across the Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald and on across the Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen. They continued across the Grimsel Pass, through the upper Valais to Brig and on to the Aletsch glacier and Zermatt.
In October of the same year, Tolkien began studying at Exeter College, Oxford. He initially studied Classics but changed his course in 1913 to English Language and Literature, graduating in 1915 with first-class honours in his final examinations.
Courtship and marriage
Edith Bratt at age 16
At the age of 16, Tolkien met Edith Mary Bratt, who was three years older, when he and his brother Hilary moved into the boarding house in which she lived. According to Humphrey Carpenter:
Edith and Ronald took to frequenting Birmingham teashops, especially one which had a balcony overlooking the pavement. There they would sit and throw sugarlumps into the hats of passers-by, moving to the next table when the sugar bowl was empty. ... With two people of their personalities and in their position, romance was bound to flourish. Both were orphans in need of affection, and they found that they could give it to each other. During the summer of 1909, they decided that they were in love.
His guardian, Father Francis Morgan, viewing Edith as a distraction from Tolkien's school work and horrified that his young charge was seriously involved with a Protestant girl, prohibited him from meeting, talking to, or even corresponding with her until he was 21. He obeyed this prohibition to the letter,  with one notable early exception which made Father Morgan threaten to cut short his University career if he did not stop.
On the evening of his twenty-first birthday, Tolkien wrote to Edith a declaration of his love and asked her to marry him. Edith replied saying that she had already agreed to marry another man, but that she had done so because she had believed Tolkien had forgotten her. The two met up and beneath a railway viaduct renewed their love; Edith returned her engagement ring and announced that she was marrying Tolkien instead. Following their engagement Edith reluctantly announced that she was converting to Catholicism at Tolkien's insistence. Her landlord, a staunch Protestant, was infuriated and evicted her as soon as she was able to find other lodgings. Edith and Ronald were formally engaged in Birmingham, in January 1913, and married at Warwick, England, at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church on 22 March 1916.
World War I
In 1914, the United Kingdom entered World War I amidst an atmosphere of ultra-nationalism. As a result, Tolkien's relatives were shocked when he elected not to immediately volunteer for the British Army. Instead, Tolkien entered a program wherein he delayed enlisting until completing his degree in July 1915. He was then commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He trained with the 13th (Reserve) Battalion on Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, for eleven months. In a letter to Edith, Tolkien complained, "Gentlemen are rare among the superiors, and even human beings rare indeed." Tolkien was then transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving in France on 4 June 1916. His departure from England on a troop transport inspired him to write his poem, The Lonely Isle. He later wrote, "Junior officers were being killed off, a dozen a minute. Parting from my wife then ... it was like a death."
Tolkien served as a signals officer at the Somme, participating in the Battle of Thiepval Ridge and the subsequent assault on the Schwaben Redoubt. According to John Garth, however:
Although Kitchener's army enshrined old social boundaries, it also chipped away at the class divide by throwing men from all walks of life into a desperate situation together. Tolkien wrote that the experience taught him, 'a deep sympathy and feeling for the Tommy; especially the plain soldier from the agricultural counties.' He remained profoundly grateful for the lesson. For a long time, he had been imprisoned in a tower, not of pearl, but of ivory.
Tolkien's time in combat was a terrible stress for Edith, who feared that every knock on the door might carry news of her husband's death. In order to get around the British Army's postal censorship, the Tolkiens had developed a secret code which accompanied his letters home. By using the code, Edith was able to track her husband's movements on a map of the Western Front.
On 27 October 1916 Tolkien came down with trench fever, a disease carried by the lice which were common in the dugouts. According to the memoirs of the Reverend Mervyn S. Evers, Anglican chaplain to the Lancashire Fusiliers:
On one occasion I spent the night with the Brigade Machine Gun Officer and the Signals Officer in one of the captured German dugouts ... We dossed down for the night in the hopes of getting some sleep, but it was not to be. We no sooner lay down than hordes of lice got up. So we went round to the Medical Officer, who was also in the dugout with his equipment, and he gave us some ointment which he assured us would keep the little brutes away. We anointed ourselves all over with the stuff and again lay down in great hopes, but it was not to be, because instead of discouraging them it seemed to act like a kind of hors d'oeuvre and the little beggars went at their feast with renewed vigour.
Tolkien was invalided to England on 8 November 1916. Many of his dearest school friends, including Gilson and Smith of the T.C.B.S., were killed in the war. In later years, Tolkien indignantly declared that those who searched his works for parallels to the Second World War were entirely mistaken:
One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.
A weak and emaciated Tolkien spent the remainder of the war alternating between hospitals and garrison duties, being deemed medically unfit for general service.
During his recovery in a cottage in Little Haywood, Staffordshire, he began to work on what he called The Book of Lost Tales, beginning with The Fall of Gondolin. Throughout 1917 and 1918 his illness kept recurring, but he had recovered enough to do home service at various camps and was promoted to Lieutenant. It was at this time that Edith bore their first child, John Francis Reuel Tolkien.
When he was stationed at Kingston upon Hull, he and Edith went walking in the woods at nearby Roos, and Edith began to dance for him in a clearing among the flowering hemlock. After his wife's death in 1971, Tolkien remembered,
I never called Edith Luthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.
This incident inspired the account of the meeting of Beren and Lúthien, and Tolkien often referred to Edith as "my Lúthien".
Academic and writing career
20 Northmoor Road, the former home of J. R. R. Tolkien in North Oxford
Tolkien's first civilian job after World War I was at the Oxford English Dictionary, where he worked mainly on the history and etymology of words of Germanic origin beginning with the letter W. In 1920, he took up a post as Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds, and became the youngest professor there. While at Leeds, he produced A Middle English Vocabulary and a definitive edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E. V. Gordon, both becoming academic standard works for many decades. He also translated Sir Gawain, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo. In 1925, he returned to Oxford as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, with a fellowship at Pembroke College.
During his time at Pembroke, Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings, whilst living at 20 Northmoor Road in North Oxford (where a blue plaque was placed in 2002). He also published a philological essay in 1932 on the name "Nodens", following Sir Mortimer Wheeler's unearthing of a Roman Asclepieion at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, in 1928.
Tolkien's 1936 lecture, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics, " had a lasting influence on Beowulf research. Lewis E. Nicholson said that the article Tolkien wrote about Beowulf is "widely recognized as a turning point in Beowulfian criticism", noting that Tolkien established the primacy of the poetic nature of the work as opposed to its purely linguistic elements. At the time, the consensus of scholarship deprecated Beowulf for dealing with childish battles with monsters rather than realistic tribal warfare; Tolkien argued that the author of Beowulf was addressing human destiny in general, not as limited by particular tribal politics, and therefore the monsters were essential to the poem. Where Beowulf does deal with specific tribal struggles, as at Finnsburg, Tolkien argued firmly against reading in fantastic elements. In the essay, Tolkien also revealed how highly he regarded Beowulf: "Beowulf is among my most valued sources, " and this influence may be seen throughout his Middle-earth legendarium.
According to Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien had an ingenious means of beginning his series of lectures on Beowulf:
He would come silently into the room, fix the audience with his gaze, and suddenly begin to declaim in a resounding voice the opening lines of the poem in the original Anglo-Saxon, commencing with a great cry of Hwæt! (The first word of this and several other Old English poems), which some undergraduates took to be 'Quiet!' It was not so much a recitation as a dramatic performance, an impersonation of an Anglo-Saxon bard in a mead hall, and it impressed generations of students because it brought home to them that Beowulf was not just a set text to be read for the purposes of examination, but a powerful piece of dramatic poetry.
Decades later, W.H. Auden wrote to his former professor,
"I don't think that I have ever told you what an unforgettable experience it was for me as an undergraduate, hearing you recite Beowulf. The voice was the voice of Gandalf."
In 2003, Tolkien's handwritten translation of and commentary on Beowulf, running to roughly 2000 pages, was discovered in the archives of the Bodleian Library.
World War II
Merton College, where Tolkien was Professor of English Language and Literature (1945-1959)
In the run-up to World War II, Tolkien was earmarked as a codebreaker. In January 1939, he was asked whether he would be prepared to serve in the cryptographical department of the Foreign Office in the event of national emergency. He replied in the affirmative and, beginning on 27 March, took an instructional course at the London HQ of the Government Code and Cypher School. However, although he was "keen" to become a codebreaker, he was informed in October that his services would not be required at that time. Ultimately he never served as one. In 2009, The Daily Telegraph claimed Tolkien turned down a £500-a-year offer to become a full-time recruit for unknown reasons.
Despite being a vocal opponent of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, J.R.R. Tolkien was disgusted by Allied total war tactics against enemy civilians. In a 1945 letter to his son Christopher, Tolkien wrote:
We were supposed to have reached a stage of civilization in which it might still be necessary to execute a criminal, but not to gloat, or to hang his wife and child by him while the orc-crowd hooted. The destruction of Germany, be it 100 times merited, is one of the most appalling world-catastrophes. Well, well, — you and I can do nothing about it. And that should be a measure of the amount of guilt that can justly be assumed to attach to any member of a country who is not a member of its actual Government. Well the first War of the Machines seems to be drawing to its final inconclusive chapter—leaving, alas, everyone the poorer, many bereaved or maimed and millions dead, and only one thing triumphant: the Machines.
In 1945, Tolkien moved to Merton College, Oxford, becoming the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature,  in which post he remained until his retirement in 1959. He served as an external examiner for University College, Dublin, for many years. In 1954 Tolkien received an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland (of which U.C.D. was a constituent college). Tolkien completed The Lord of the Rings in 1948, close to a decade after the first sketches.
Tolkien also translated the Book of Jonah for the Jerusalem Bible, which was published in 1966.
The Tolkiens had four children: John Francis Reuel Tolkien (17 November 1917 – 22 January 2003), Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien (22 October 1920 – 27 February 1984), Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (born 21 November 1924) and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien (born 18 June 1929). Tolkien was very devoted to his children and sent them illustrated letters from Father Christmas when they were young. Each year more characters were added, such as the Polar Bear (Father Christmas's helper), the Snow Man (his gardener), Ilbereth the elf (his secretary), and various other, minor characters. The major characters would relate tales of Father Christmas's battles against goblins who rode on bats and the various pranks committed by the Polar Bear.
Retirement and old age
During his life in retirement, from 1959 up to his death in 1973, Tolkien received steadily increasing public attention and literary fame. The sales of his books were so profitable that he regretted that he had not chosen early retirement. At first, he wrote enthusiastic answers to readers' enquiries, but he became more and more bothered by the emerging Tolkien fandom, which was in part due to the popularity of his books with the hippie movement in the United States. In a 1972 letter, he deplored having become a cult-figure, but admitted that "even the nose of a very modest idol [...] cannot remain entirely untickled by the sweet smell of incense!"
Fan attention became so intense that Tolkien had to take his phone number out of the public directory,  and eventually he and Edith moved to Bournemouth, which was then a seaside resort patronized by the British upper class. Tolkien's status as a bestselling author gave them easy entry into polite society, but Tolkien deeply missed the company of his fellow intellectuals. Edith, however, was overjoyed to step into the role of a society hostess, which was the reason that Tolkien selected Bournemouth in the first place.
According to Humphrey Carpenter,
Those friends who knew Ronald and Edith Tolkien over the years never doubted that there was deep affection between them. It was visible in the small things, the almost absurd degree in which each worried about the other's health, and the care in which they chose and wrapped each other's birthday presents'; and in the large matters, the way in which Ronald willingly abandoned such a large part of his life in retirement to give Edith the last years in Bournemouth that he felt she deserved, and the degree in which she showed pride in his fame as an author. A principal source of happiness to them was their shared love of their family. This bound them together until the end of their lives, and it was perhaps the strongest force in the marriage. They delighted to discuss and mull over every detail of the lives of their children, and later their grandchildren.
Tolkien was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List of 1 January 1972 and received the insignia of the Order at Buckingham Palace on 28 March 1972. In the same year Oxford University conferred upon him an honorary Doctorate of Letters.
The grave of J. R. R. and Edith Tolkien, Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford
Tolkien's wife, Edith, died on 29 November 1971, at the age of 82. Tolkien had the name Lúthien engraved on the stone at Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford. When Tolkien died 21 months later on 2 September 1973, at the age of 81, he was buried in the same grave, with Beren added to his name. The engravings read:
Edith Mary Tolkien
Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford
The Corner of the Eagle and Child Pub, Oxford, where the Inklings met (1930-1950).
Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, and in his religious and political views he was mostly conservative, in the sense of favouring established conventions and orthodoxies over innovation and modernization; in 1943 he wrote, "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy."
Tolkien had an intense dislike for the side effects of industrialization, which he considered to be devouring the English countryside. For most of his adult life, he was disdainful of cars, preferring to ride a bicycle. This attitude can be seen in his work, most famously in the portrayal of the forced "industrialization" of the Shire in The Lord of the Rings.
Many commentators have remarked on a number of potential parallels between the Middle-earth saga and events in Tolkien's lifetime. The Lord of the Rings is often thought to represent England during and immediately after World War II. Tolkien ardently rejected this opinion in the foreword to the second edition of the novel, stating he preferred applicability to allegory. This theme is taken up at greater length in his essay "On Fairy-Stories", where he argues that fairy-stories are so apt because they are consistent both within themselves and with some truths about reality. He concludes that Christianity itself follows this pattern of inner consistency and external truth. His belief in the fundamental truths of Christianity leads commentators to find Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien objected strongly to C. S. Lewis's use of religious references in his stories, which were often overtly allegorical. However, Tolkien wrote that the Mount Doom scene exemplified lines from the Lord's Prayer.
His love of myths and his devout faith came together in his assertion that he believed mythology to be the divine echo of "the Truth". This view was expressed in his poem and essay entitled Mythopoeia. His theory that myths held "fundamental truths" became a central theme of the Inklings in general.
Tolkien's devout Catholic faith was a significant factor in the conversion of C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity, although Tolkien was dismayed that Lewis chose to join the Church of England.
In the last years of his life, Tolkien became greatly disappointed by the reforms and changes implemented after the Second Vatican Council,  as his grandson Simon Tolkien recalls:
I vividly remember going to church with him in Bournemouth. He was a devout Roman Catholic and it was soon after the Church had changed the liturgy from Latin to English. My grandfather obviously didn't agree with this and made all the responses very loudly in Latin while the rest of the congregation answered in English. I found the whole experience quite excruciating, but my grandfather was oblivious. He simply had to do what he believed to be right.
Politics and race
In a 1943 letter to his son Christopher, Tolkien wrote:
“ My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to people. ”
Tolkien voiced support for the Nationalists (eventually led by Franco during the Spanish Civil War) upon hearing that Republicans were destroying churches and killing priests and nuns.
At a time when many Western writers and intellectuals openly admired Joseph Stalin, Tolkien made no effort to hide his contempt for the dictator of the Soviet Union. Even during World War II, when Britain was allied with the USSR, Tolkien referred to Stalin as "that bloodthirsty old murderer." Tolkien also expressed hope that the United States would overthrow both Stalin and the CPSU after Hitler's defeat.
However, in 1961, Tolkien sharply criticized a Swedish commentator who suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an anti-communist parable and identified the Dark Lord with Stalin. Tolkien retorted,
"I utterly repudiate any such 'reading', which angers me. The situation was conceived long before the Russian revolution. Such allegory is entirely foreign to my thought."
Debate over race
The question of racist or racialist elements in Tolkien's views and works has been the matter of some scholarly debate. Christine Chism distinguishes accusations as falling into three categories: intentional racism,  unconscious Eurocentric bias, and an evolution from latent racism in Tolkien's early work to a conscious rejection of racist tendencies in his late work.
Tolkien expressed disgust at what he acknowledged as racism and once wrote of racial segregation in South Africa, "The treatment of colour nearly always horrifies anyone going out from Britain."
Opposition to Nazism
Tolkien vocally opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party prior to the Second World War. In 1938, the publishing house Rütten & Loening Verlag was preparing to release The Hobbit in Nazi Germany. To Tolkien's outrage, he was asked beforehand whether he was of Aryan origin. In a letter to his British publisher Stanley Unwin, he condemned Nazi "race-doctrine" as "wholly pernicious and unscientific". He added that he had many Jewish friends and was considering, "letting a German translation go hang". He provided two letters to Rütten & Loening and instructed Unwin to send whichever he preferred. The more tactful letter was sent and was lost during the later bombing of Germany. In the unsent letter, Tolkien makes the point that "Aryan" is a linguistic term, denoting speakers of Indo-Iranian languages. He continued,
But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject—which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.
In a 1941 letter to his son Michael, he expressed his resentment at the distortion of Germanic history in "Nordicism":
You have to understand the good in things, to detect the real evil. But no one ever calls on me to 'broadcast' or do a postscript. Yet I suppose I know better than most what is the truth about this 'Nordic' nonsense. Anyway, I have in this war a burning private grudge... against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler ... Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light. Nowhere, incidentally, was it nobler than in England, nor more early sanctified and Christianized.
In 1968, he objected to a description of Middle-earth as "Nordic", a term he said he disliked because of its association with racialist theories.
Tolkien criticized Allied use of total war tactics against civilians from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In a 1945 letter to his son Christopher, he wrote:
We were supposed to have reached a stage of civilization in which it might still be necessary to execute a criminal, but not to gloat, or to hang his wife and child by him while the orc-crowd hooted. The destruction of Germany, be it 100 times merited, is one of the most appalling world-catastrophes. Well, well, —you and I can do nothing about it. And that [should] be a measure of the amount of guilt that can justly be assumed to attach to any member of a country who is not a member of its actual Government. Well the first War of the Machines seems to be drawing to its final inconclusive chapter—leaving, alas, everyone the poorer, many bereaved or maimed and millions dead, and only one thing triumphant: the Machines.
He also reacted with anger at the excesses of anti-German propaganda during the war. In 1944, he wrote in a letter to his son Christopher:
... it is distressing to see the press grovelling in the gutter as low as Goebbels in his prime, shrieking that any German commander who holds out in a desperate situation (when, too, the military needs of his side clearly benefit) is a drunkard, and a besotted fanatic. ... There was a solemn article in the local paper seriously advocating systematic exterminating of the entire German nation as the only proper course after military victory: because, if you please, they are rattlesnakes, and don't know the difference between good and evil! (What of the writer?) The Germans have just as much right to declare the Poles and Jews exterminable vermin, subhuman, as we have to select the Germans: in other words, no right, whatever they have done.
He was horrified by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, referring to the scientists of the Manhattan Project as "these lunatic physicists" and "Babel-builders".
Tolkien devised several themes that were reused in successive drafts of his legendarium, beginning with The Book of Lost Tales, written while recuperating from illnesses contracted during The Battle of the Somme. The two most prominent stories, the tale of Beren and Lúthien and that of Túrin, were carried forward into long narrative poems (published in The Lays of Beleriand).
Main article: J. R. R. Tolkien's influences
British adventure stories
One of the greatest influences on Tolkien was the Arts and Crafts polymath William Morris. Tolkien wished to imitate Morris's prose and poetry romances,  from which he took hints for the names of features such as the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings and Mirkwood,  along with some general aspects of approach.
Edward Wyke-Smith's The Marvellous Land of Snergs, with its "table-high" title characters, strongly influenced the incidents, themes, and depiction of Bilbo's race in The Hobbit.
Tolkien also cited H. Rider Haggard's novel She in a telephone interview: "I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything—like the Greek shard of Amyntas [Amenartas], which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving." A supposed facsimile of this potsherd appeared in Haggard's first edition, and the ancient inscription it bore, once translated, led the English characters to She's ancient kingdom. Critics have compared this device to the Testament of Isildur in The Lord of the Rings and to Tolkien's efforts to produce as an illustration a realistic page from the Book of Mazarbul. Critics starting with Edwin Muir have found resemblances between Haggard's romances and Tolkien's.
Tolkien wrote of being impressed as a boy by S. R. Crockett's historical novel The Black Douglas and of basing the Necromancer (Sauron) on its villain, Gilles de Retz. Incidents in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are similar in narrative and style to the novel,  and its overall style and imagery have been suggested as an influence on Tolkien.
Tolkien was much inspired by early Germanic, especially Old English literature, poetry, and mythology, which were his chosen and much-loved areas of expertise. These sources of inspiration included Old English literature such as Beowulf, Norse sagas such as the Volsunga saga and the Hervarar saga,  the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Nibelungenlied, and numerous other culturally related works. Despite the similarities of his work to the Volsunga saga and the Nibelungenlied, which were the basis for Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen, Tolkien dismissed critics' direct comparisons to Wagner, telling his publisher, "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases." However, some critics believe that Tolkien was, in fact, indebted to Wagner for elements such as the "concept of the Ring as giving the owner mastery of the world ..." Two of the characteristics possessed by the One Ring, its inherent malevolence and corrupting power upon minds and wills, were not present in the mythical sources but have a central role in Wagner's opera.
Tolkien also acknowledged several non-Germanic influences or sources for some of his stories and ideas. Sophocles' play Oedipus the King he cited as inspiring elements of The Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin. In addition, Tolkien first read William Forsell Kirby's translation of the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, while attending St. Edward's School. He described its character of Väinämöinen as one of his influences for Gandalf the Grey. The Kalevala's antihero Kullervo was further described as an inspiration for Turin Turambar. Dimitra Fimi, Douglas A. Anderson, John Garth, and many other prominent Tolkien scholars believe that Tolkien also drew influence from a variety of Celtic (Irish, Scottish and Welsh) history and legends. However, after the Silmarillion manuscript was rejected, in part for its "eye-splitting" Celtic names, Tolkien denied their Celtic origin:
Needless to say they are not Celtic! Neither are the tales. I do know Celtic things (many in their original languages Irish and Welsh), and feel for them a certain distaste: largely for their fundamental unreason. They have bright colour, but are like a broken stained glass window reassembled without design. They are in fact 'mad' as your reader says—but I don't believe I am.
Catholic theology and imagery played a part in fashioning Tolkien's creative imagination, suffused as it was by his deeply religious spirit. Tolkien acknowledged this himself:
The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.
Specifically, Paul H. Kocher argues that Tolkien describes evil in the orthodox Christian way as the absence of good. He cites many examples in The Lord of the Rings, such as Sauron's "Lidless Eye": "the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing." Kocher sees Tolkien's source as Thomas Aquinas, "whom it is reasonable to suppose that Tolkien, as a medievalist and a Catholic, knows well". Tom Shippey makes the same point, but, instead of referring to Aquinas, says Tolkien was very familiar with Alfred the Great's Anglo-Saxon translation of Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, known as the Lays of Boethius. Shippey contends that this Christian view of evil is most clearly stated by Boethius: "evil is nothing." He says Tolkien used the corollary that evil cannot create as the basis of Frodo's remark, "the Shadow ... can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own, " and related remarks by Treebeard and Elrond. He goes on to argue that in The Lord of the Rings evil does sometimes seem to be an independent force, more than merely the absence of good (though not independent to the point of the Manichaean heresy), and suggests that Alfred's additions to his translation of Boethius may have inspired that view.
Another interesting argument is Stratford Caldecott's theological view on the Ring and what it represents. "The Ring of Power exemplifies the dark magic of the corrupted will, the assertion of self in disobedience to God. It appears to give freedom, but its true function is to enslave the wearer to the Fallen Angel. It corrodes the human will of the wearer, rendering him increasingly “thin” and unreal; indeed, its gift of invisibility symbolizes this ability to destroy all natural human relationships and identity. You could say the Ring is sin itself: tempting and seemingly harmless to begin with, increasingly hard to give up and corrupting in the long run".
Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics
As well as his fiction, Tolkien was also a leading author of academic literary criticism. His seminal 1936 lecture, later published as an article, revolutionized the treatment of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf by literary critics. The essay remains highly influential in the study of Old English literature to this day. Beowulf is one of the most significant influences upon Tolkien's later fiction, with major details of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings being adapted from the poem. The piece reveals many of the aspects of Beowulf which Tolkien found most inspiring, most prominently the role of monsters in literature, particularly that of the dragon which appears in the final third of the poem:
As for the poem, one dragon, however hot, does not make a summer, or a host; and a man might well exchange for one good dragon what he would not sell for a wilderness. And dragons, real dragons, essential both to the machinery and the ideas of a poem or tale, are actually rare.
Tolkien wrote a brief "Sketch of the Mythology" which included the tales of Beren and Lúthien and of Túrin, and that sketch eventually evolved into the Quenta Silmarillion, an epic history that Tolkien started three times but never published. Tolkien desperately hoped to publish it along with The Lord of the Rings, but publishers (both Allen & Unwin and Collins) got cold feet. Moreover, printing costs were very high in 1950s Britain, requiring The Lord of the Rings to be published in three volumes. The story of this continuous redrafting is told in the posthumous series The History of Middle-earth, edited by Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien. From around 1936, Tolkien began to extend this framework to include the tale of The Fall of Númenor, which was inspired by the legend of Atlantis. Published in 1977, the final work, entitled The Silmarillion, received the Locus Award for Best Fantasy novel in 1978.
Children's books and other short works
In addition to his mythopoeic compositions, Tolkien enjoyed inventing fantasy stories to entertain his children. He wrote annual Christmas letters from Father Christmas for them, building up a series of short stories (later compiled and published as The Father Christmas Letters). Other stories included Mr. Bliss and Roverandom (for children), and Leaf by Niggle (part of Tree and Leaf), The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, On Fairy-Stories, Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major, like The Hobbit, borrowed ideas from his legendarium.
Tolkien never expected his stories to become popular, but by sheer accident a book called The Hobbit, which he had written some years before for his own children, came in 1936 to the attention of Susan Dagnall, an employee of the London publishing firm George Allen & Unwin, who persuaded Tolkien to submit it for publication. However, the book attracted adult readers as well as children, and it became popular enough for the publishers to ask Tolkien to produce a sequel.
The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien's Cover Designs for the First Edition of The Lord of the Rings
The request for a sequel prompted Tolkien to begin what would become his most famous work: the epic novel The Lord of the Rings (originally published in three volumes 1954–1955). Tolkien spent more than ten years writing the primary narrative and appendices for The Lord of the Rings, during which time he received the constant support of the Inklings, in particular his closest friend Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set against the background of The Silmarillion, but in a time long after it.
Tolkien at first intended The Lord of the Rings to be a children's tale in the style of The Hobbit, but it quickly grew darker and more serious in the writing. Though a direct sequel to The Hobbit, it addressed an older audience, drawing on the immense back story of Beleriand that Tolkien had constructed in previous years, and which eventually saw posthumous publication in The Silmarillion and other volumes. Tolkien's influence weighs heavily on the fantasy genre that grew up after the success of The Lord of the Rings.
The Lord of the Rings became immensely popular in the 1960s and has remained so ever since, ranking as one of the most popular works of fiction of the 20th century, judged by both sales and reader surveys. In the 2003 "Big Read" survey conducted by the BBC, The Lord of the Rings was found to be the "Nation's Best-loved Book". Australians voted The Lord of the Rings "My Favourite Book" in a 2004 survey conducted by the Australian ABC. In a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers, The Lord of the Rings was judged to be their favourite "book of the millennium". In 2002 Tolkien was voted the 92nd "greatest Briton" in a poll conducted by the BBC, and in 2004 he was voted 35th in the SABC3's Great South Africans, the only person to appear in both lists. His popularity is not limited to the English-speaking world: in a 2004 poll inspired by the UK's "Big Read" survey, about 250, 000 Germans found The Lord of the Rings to be their favourite work of literature.
Tolkien's monogram, and Tolkien Estate trademark
Tolkien had appointed his son Christopher to be his literary executor, and he (with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, later a well-known fantasy author in his own right) organized some of his father's unpublished material into a single coherent volume, published as The Silmarillion in 1977—his father had previously attempted to get a collection of "Silmarillion" material published in 1937 before writing The Lord of the Rings.
Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth
In 1980 Christopher Tolkien published a collection of more fragmentary material, under the title Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth. In subsequent years (1983–1996) he published a large amount of the remaining unpublished materials, together with notes and extensive commentary, in a series of twelve volumes called The History of Middle-earth. They contain unfinished, abandoned, alternative, and outright contradictory accounts, since they were always a work in progress for Tolkien and he only rarely settled on a definitive version for any of the stories. There is not complete consistency between The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the two most closely related works, because Tolkien never fully integrated all their traditions into each other. He commented in 1965, while editing The Hobbit for a third edition, that he would have preferred to completely rewrite the book because of the style of its prose.
The Children of Húrin
More recently, in 2007, the collection was completed with the publication of The Children of Húrin by HarperCollins (in the UK and Canada) and Houghton Mifflin (in the US). The novel tells the story of Túrin Turambar and his sister Nienor, children of Húrin Thalion. The material was compiled by Christopher Tolkien from The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and unpublished manuscripts.
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún
In February 2009, Publishers Weekly announced that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had acquired the American rights to Tolkien's unpublished work The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún. The work, which was released worldwide on 5 May 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and HarperCollins, retells the legend of Sigurd and the fall of the Niflungs from Germanic mythology. It is a narrative poem composed in alliterative verse and is modelled after the Old Norse poetry of the Elder Edda. Christopher Tolkien supplied copious notes and commentary upon his father's work.
According to Christopher Tolkien, it is no longer possible to trace the exact date of the work's composition. On the basis of circumstantial evidence, he suggests that it dates from the 1930s. In his foreword he wrote, "He scarcely ever (to my knowledge) referred to them. For my part, I cannot recall any conversation with him on the subject until very near the end of his life, when he spoke of them to me, and tried unsuccessfully to find them." In a 1967 letter to W. H. Auden, Tolkien wrote, "Thank you for your wonderful effort in translating and reorganizing The Song of the Sibyl. In return again I hope to send you, if I can lay my hands on it (I hope it isn't lost), a thing I did many years ago when trying to learn the art of writing alliterative poetry: an attempt to unify the lays about the Völsungs from the Elder Edda, written in the old eight-line fornyrðislag stanza."
One of Tolkien's least-known short works is the children's storybook Mr. Bliss, published in 1982. It tells the story of Mr. Bliss and his first ride in his new motor-car. Many adventures follow: encounters with bears, angry neighbours, irate shopkeepers, and assorted collisions. The story was inspired by Tolkien's own vehicular mishaps with his first car, purchased in 1932. The bears were based on toy bears owned by Tolkien's sons. Tolkien was both author and illustrator of the book. He submitted it to his publishers as a balm to readers who were hungry for more from him after the success of The Hobbit. The lavish ink and coloured-pencil illustrations would have made production costs prohibitively expensive. Tolkien agreed to redraw the pictures in a simpler style, but then found he did not have time to do so. The book was published in 1982 as a facsimile of Tolkien's difficult-to-read illustrated manuscript, with a typeset transcription on each facing page.
The Department of Special Collections and University Archives at Marquette University's John P. Raynor, S.J., Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, preserves many of Tolkien's manuscripts; other original material is in Oxford University's Bodleian Library. Marquette University has the manuscripts and proofs of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other works, including Farmer Giles of Ham, while the Bodleian Library holds the papers containing Tolkien's Silmarillion mythology and his academic work.
In 2009, a partial draft of Language and Human Nature, which Tolkien had begun co-writing with C.S. Lewis but had never completed, was discovered at the Bodleian Library.
Languages and philology
Both Tolkien's academic career and his literary production are inseparable from his love of language and philology. He specialized in English philology at university and in 1915 graduated with Old Norse as special subject. He worked for the Oxford English Dictionary from 1918 and is credited with having worked on a number of words starting with the letter W, including walrus, over which he struggled mightily. In 1920, he became Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds, where he claimed credit for raising the number of students of linguistics from five to twenty. He gave courses in Old English heroic verse, history of English, various Old English and Middle English texts, Old and Middle English philology, introductory Germanic philology, Gothic, Old Icelandic, and Medieval Welsh. When in 1925, aged thirty-three, Tolkien applied for the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professorship of Anglo-Saxon at the Pembroke College, he boasted that his students of Germanic philology in Leeds had even formed a "Viking Club". He also had a certain, if imperfect, knowledge of Finnish.
Privately, Tolkien was attracted to "things of racial and linguistic significance", and in his 1955 lecture English and Welsh, which is crucial to his understanding of race and language, he entertained notions of "inherent linguistic predilections", which he termed the "native language" as opposed to the "cradle-tongue" which a person first learns to speak. He considered the West Midlands dialect of Middle English to be his own "native language", and, as he wrote to W. H. Auden in 1955, "I am a West-midlander by blood (and took to early west-midland Middle English as a known tongue as soon as I set eyes on it)."
Tolkien learned Latin, French, and German from his mother, and while at school he learned Middle English, Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh. He was also familiar with Danish, Dutch, Lombardic, Norwegian, Icelandic, Russian, Swedish, Middle Dutch, Middle High German, Middle Low German, Old High German, Old Slavonic, and Lithuanian,  revealing his deep linguistic knowledge, above all of the Germanic languages.
See also: Languages constructed by J. R. R. Tolkien
Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees! The beginning of the Quenya poem Namárië written in tengwar and in Latin script.
Parallel to Tolkien's professional work as a philologist, and sometimes overshadowing this work, to the effect that his academic output remained rather thin, was his affection for constructing languages. The most developed of these are Quenya and Sindarin, the etymological connection between which formed the core of much of Tolkien's legendarium. Language and grammar for Tolkien was a matter of aesthetics and euphony, and Quenya in particular was designed from "phonaesthetic" considerations; it was intended as an "Elvenlatin", and was phonologically based on Latin, with ingredients from Finnish, Welsh, English, and Greek. A notable addition came in late 1945 with Adûnaic or Númenórean, a language of a "faintly Semitic flavour", connected with Tolkien's Atlantis legend, which by The Notion Club Papers ties directly into his ideas about inability of language to be inherited, and via the "Second Age" and the story of Eärendil was grounded in the legendarium, thereby providing a link of Tolkien's 20th-century "real primary world" with the legendary past of his Middle-earth.
Tolkien considered languages inseparable from the mythology associated with them, and he consequently took a dim view of auxiliary languages: in 1930 a congress of Esperantists were told as much by him, in his lecture A Secret Vice, "Your language construction will breed a mythology", but by 1956 he had concluded that "Volapük, Esperanto, Ido, Novial, &c, &c, are dead, far deader than ancient unused languages, because their authors never invented any Esperanto legends".
The popularity of Tolkien's books has had a small but lasting effect on the use of language in fantasy literature in particular, and even on mainstream dictionaries, which today commonly accept Tolkien's idiosyncratic spellings dwarves and dwarvish (alongside dwarfs and dwarfish), which had been little used since the mid-19th century and earlier. (In fact, according to Tolkien, had the Old English plural survived, it would have been dwerrow.) He also coined the term eucatastrophe, though it remains mainly used in connection with his own work.
Works inspired by
Main article: Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien
In a 1951 letter to Milton Waldman, Tolkien wrote about his intentions to create a "body of more or less connected legend", of which "[t]he cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama". The hands and minds of many artists have indeed been inspired by Tolkien's legends. Personally known to him were Pauline Baynes (Tolkien's favourite illustrator of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Farmer Giles of Ham) and Donald Swann (who set the music to The Road Goes Ever On). Queen Margrethe II of Denmark created illustrations to The Lord of the Rings in the early 1970s. She sent them to Tolkien, who was struck by the similarity they bore in style to his own drawings.
However, Tolkien was not fond of all the artistic representation of his works that were produced in his lifetime, and was sometimes harshly disapproving. In 1946, he rejected suggestions for illustrations by Horus Engels for the German edition of The Hobbit as "too Disnified ... Bilbo with a dribbling nose, and Gandalf as a figure of vulgar fun rather than the Odinic wanderer that I think of".
Tolkien was sceptical of the emerging Tolkien fandom in the United States, and in 1954 he returned proposals for the dust jackets of the American edition of The Lord of the Rings:
Thank you for sending me the projected 'blurbs', which I return. The Americans are not as a rule at all amenable to criticism or correction; but I think their effort is so poor that I feel constrained to make some effort to improve it.
He had dismissed dramatic representations of fantasy in his essay "On Fairy-Stories", first presented in 1939:
In human art Fantasy is a thing best left to words, to true literature. [...] Drama is naturally hostile to Fantasy. Fantasy, even of the simplest kind, hardly ever succeeds in Drama, when that is presented as it should be, visibly and audibly acted.
On receiving a screenplay for a proposed movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings by Morton Grady Zimmerman, Tolkien wrote:
I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about.
Tolkien went on to criticize the script scene by scene ("yet one more scene of screams and rather meaningless slashings"). He was not implacably opposed to the idea of a dramatic adaptation, however, and sold the film, stage and merchandise rights of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to United Artists in 1968. United Artists never made a film, although director John Boorman was planning a live-action film in the early 1970s. In 1976 the rights were sold to Tolkien Enterprises, a division of the Saul Zaentz Company, and the first movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings appeared in 1978, an animated rotoscoping film directed by Ralph Bakshi with screenplay by the fantasy writer Peter S. Beagle. It covered only the first half of the story of The Lord of the Rings. In 1977 an animated TV production of The Hobbit was made by Rankin-Bass, and in 1980 they produced an animated The Return of the King, which covered some of the portions of The Lord of the Rings that Bakshi was unable to complete.
From 2001 to 2003, New Line Cinema released The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy of live-action films that were filmed in New Zealand and directed by Peter Jackson. The series was successful, performing extremely well commercially and winning numerous Oscars.
There are currently plans for a two-film series based on The Hobbit (see The Hobbit (2012 film)). The films are scheduled for release in Decembe
|The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, much of it during the Second World War. It is the second best-selling novel ever written with over 150 million copies sold.|
Although known to most readers as a trilogy, the work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, with the other being The Silmarillion. However, when Tolkien submitted the first volume entitled The Lord of the Rings to his publisher, it was decided for economic reasons to publish the work as three separate volumes, each consisting of two books, over the course of a year in 1954–55, creating the now familiar Lord of the Rings trilogy. The three volumes were entitled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Structurally, the volumes are divided internally into six books, two per volume; with several appendices of background material, much abbreviated from Tolkien's originals, included at the end of the third volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into many languages, becoming one of the most popular and influential works in the field of 20th-century fantasy literature and the subject of several films.
The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a Hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across north-west Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, notably the Hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise "Sam" Gamgee, Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the Hobbits' chief allies and travelling companions: Aragorn, a Human Ranger, Boromir, a Human nobleman, Gimli, a Dwarf warrior, Legolas, an Elven prince, and Gandalf, a Wizard.
Tolkien's work has been the subject of extensive analysis of its themes and origins. Although a major work in itself, the story was only the last movement of a larger epic Tolkien had worked on since 1917, in a process he described as mythopoeia. Influences on this earlier work, and on the story of The Lord of the Rings, include philology, mythology, religion and the author's distaste for the effects of industrialization, as well as earlier fantasy works and Tolkien's experiences in World War I. The Lord of the Rings in its turn is considered to have had a great effect on modern fantasy; the impact of Tolkien's works is such that the use of the words "Tolkienian" and "Tolkienesque" has been recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien's works,  and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works. The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continues to inspire, artwork, music, films and television, video games, and subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre, and film.
2 Main characters
3 Concept and creation
4 Publication history
4.1 Editions and revisions
4.2 Posthumous publication of drafts
8.1 Influences on the fantasy genre
8.3 Impact on popular culture
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
The Lord of the Rings
Volume I · Volume II · Volume III
The story takes place in the context of historical events in North-West Middle-earth. Long before the start of the novel the Dark Lord Sauron forged the One Ring in the year 1600 of the Second Age to gain power over other rings held by the leaders of Men, Elves and Dwarves. He is defeated in battle in the year of 3441 of the Second Age, and Isildur, son of Elendil cuts off his Ring and claims it as an heirloom for his line. Isildur is later killed by Orcs, and the Ring is lost in the river Anduin. Over two thousand years later, the Ring comes into the hands of the hobbit Déagol, who is then strangled to death by his friend Sméagol, who takes the ring, is banished from his community and hides under the mountains, where the Ring transforms him over the course of hundreds of years into a twisted, corrupted creature called Gollum. Eventually he loses the Ring, which, as recounted in The Hobbit, is found by Bilbo Baggins. Meanwhile Sauron takes a new physical form and reoccupies Mordor, his old realm. Gollum sets out in search of the Ring, but is captured by Sauron, who learns that Bilbo Baggins has the Ring. Gollum is set loose, and Sauron, who needs the Ring to regain his full power, sends forth the Ringwraiths, his dark, fearsome servants, to seize it.
The novel begins in the Shire, as Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo, his cousin and guardian. Both are unaware of its origin, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard, learns of the Ring's history and advises Frodo to take it away from the Shire. Frodo leaves, taking his gardener and friend, Samwise ("Sam") Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc ("Merry") Brandybuck and Peregrin ("Pippin") Took, as companions. They nearly encounter the Ringwraiths while still in the Shire, but shake off pursuit by cutting through the Old Forest, where they are aided by the enigmatic and powerful Tom Bombadil, upon whom the Ring has no effect. After leaving the Forest, they stop in the town of Bree, where they meet Aragorn, Isildur's heir, who joins them as guide and protector. They leave Bree after narrowly escaping attack, but the Ringwraiths follow them to the look-out hill of Weathertop and wound Frodo with an accursed knife. Aragorn leads the hobbits toward the refuge of Rivendell, while Frodo gradually succumbs to the wound. At the Ford of Bruinen, the Ringwraiths attack again, but flood waters controlled by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them, saving the company.
Frodo recovers in Rivendell under the care of Elrond. The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history about Sauron and the Ring, as well as the news that Sauron has corrupted the wizard Saruman. The Council decides that the threat of Sauron is too great and that the best course of action is to destroy the Ring by returning it to Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" is chosen to accompany and protect him: Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, and the man Boromir, son of the Ruling Steward Denethor of the realm of Gondor.
After failing to cross the Misty Mountains via the pass below Caradhras, the company pass through the Mines of Moria, where they are attacked by Orcs. Gandalf falls while fighting the ancient and terrible Balrog, allowing the others to escape. The remaining company take refuge in the Elven forest of Lothlórien. With boats and gifts from the Lady Galadriel, the company then travel down the River Anduin to the hill of Amon Hen. There Boromir succumbs to the lure of the Ring and attempts to take it from Frodo, who breaks from the Fellowship to continue the quest to Mordor alone, though Sam insists on coming to assist and protect him.
Meanwhile, orcs sent by Sauron and Saruman kill Boromir and kidnap Merry and Pippin. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas pursue the orcs into the kingdom of Rohan. Merry and Pippin escape when the orcs are slain by the Rohirrim. The hobbits flee into Fangorn forest, where they are befriended by the tree-like Ents. In Fangorn forest Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas find not the hobbits but Gandalf, resurrected after his battle with the Balrog and now the significantly more powerful "Gandalf the White". Gandalf assures them that Merry and Pippin are safe, and they travel instead to rouse Théoden, King of Rohan, from a stupor of despair inflicted by Saruman, and to aid the Rohirrim in a stand against Saruman's armies. Théoden fortifies himself at Helm's Deep along with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli while Gandalf rides off to gather more soldiers. Helm's Deep is besieged by Saruman's orcs, but Gandalf arrives with reinforcements, and the orcs are defeated.
The Ents attack Isengard, trapping Saruman in the tower of Orthanc. Gandalf, Théoden and the others arrive at Isengard to confront Saruman. Saruman refuses to acknowledge the error of his ways, and Gandalf strips him of his rank and most of his powers. Merry and Pippin rejoin the others and Pippin looks into a palantír, a seeing-stone that Sauron had used to communicate with Saruman, unknowingly leading Sauron to think that Saruman has captured the Ring-bearer, so Gandalf takes Pippin to Gondor.
On their way to Mordor, Frodo and Sam capture Gollum, who has been following them from Moria, and force him to guide them to Mordor. Finding Mordor's main gate impassable, they travel toward a pass known to Gollum. Gollum betrays Frodo by leading him to the great spider Shelob in the tunnels of Cirith Ungol. Frodo is left seemingly dead by Shelob's bite, but Sam fights her off. Sam takes the Ring, and forces himself to leave Frodo. Orcs find Frodo's body, and Sam learns that Frodo is not in fact dead, but unconscious. Frodo is carried to the tower of Cirith Ungol, and Sam determines to rescue him.
Sauron begins his military assault upon Gondor. Gandalf arrives at Minas Tirith in Gondor with Pippin to alert Denethor of the impending attack. Minas Tirith is besieged, and Denethor, under the influence of Sauron through another palantír, loses hope and commits suicide. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli come to Gondor by the Paths of the Dead, where Aragorn raises an undead army of oath-breakers in fulfilment of an old prophecy. The ghostly army help him to defeat the Corsairs of Umbar invading southern Gondor, and the forces freed from the south, along with Rohan's cavalry, help break the siege at Minas Tirith.
Sam rescues Frodo, and they journey through Mordor. Frodo weakens as they near Mount Doom, but is aided by Sam. Meanwhile, in the climactic battle at the Black Gate of Mordor, the vastly outnumbered alliance of Gondor and Rohan fight desperately against Sauron's armies, with the intent of diverting Sauron's attention from Mount Doom. At the edge of the Cracks of Doom, Frodo is unable to resist the Ring, and claims it for himself. Gollum reappears, struggles with Frodo for the Ring, and bites off Frodo's finger, Ring and all, but in so doing falls into the fire, taking the Ring with him. The Ring is thus unmade. In the instant of its destruction, Sauron perishes, his armies retreat, his tower crumbles into dust, the Ringwraiths disintegrate, and the War of the Ring seemingly ends. Aragorn is crowned Elessar, King of Arnor and Gondor, and marries his long-time love, Arwen, the daughter of Elrond.
Meanwhile, however, Saruman has escaped his captivity and enslaved the Shire. The four returning hobbits raise a rebellion and overthrow him. Saruman is killed by his former servant Gríma Wormtongue, who is in turn killed by Hobbit archers. The War of the Ring thus comes to its true end on Frodo's very doorstep. Merry and Pippin are acclaimed heroes. Sam uses his gifts from Galadriel to restore the Shire, and marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo remains wounded in body and spirit, and some years later, accompanied by Bilbo and Gandalf, sails from the Grey Havens west over the Sea to the Undying Lands to find peace. After Rosie's death, Sam gives his daughter the Red Book of Westmarch, containing the story and adventures of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry. Sam then crosses west over the Sea, the last of the Ring-bearers.
For a more comprehensive list, see the Lord of the Rings box at the bottom of this page
Frodo Baggins, a well-to-do Hobbit from the Shire who inherits the One Ring from Bilbo. Frodo is responsible for destroying the Ring in the fire of Mount Doom.
Samwise Gamgee, manservant for the Bagginses, who accompanies Frodo on the quest to destroy the Ring.
Meriadoc Brandybuck, or Merry, Frodo's cousin and companion in the Fellowship.
Peregrin Took, Pip or Pippin, Frodo's cousin and companion in the Fellowship.
Gandalf, a Wizard who aids Frodo in his quest.
Aragorn, descendent of Isildur and rightful heir to the throne of Arnor and Gondor.
Legolas, an Elven prince who aids Frodo and the Fellowship. Son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood.
Gimli, son of Glóin, the Dwarf representative in the Fellowship.
Boromir, the eldest son of Denethor, ruling steward of Gondor.
Faramir, younger brother of Boromir and not favoured by Denethor, last ruling steward of Gondor.
Théoden, king of Rohan.
Éomer, the 3rd Marshall of the Mark. Later King of Rohan after Theoden's death.
Éowyn, sister of Eomer. Disguises herself as a male warrior named Dernhelm to fight alongside Théoden at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. With help from Merry, is responsible for the death of the Witch King.
Sauron, the Dark Lord and titular Lord of the Rings, a fallen Maia who helped the Elves forge the Rings of Power long ago. He forged the One Ring in secret to control all the other Rings of Power.
The Nazgûl or Ringwraiths, nine servants of Sauron. Men of old, they were enslaved to the One Ring through the Rings of Power.
The Witch-king of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgûl, and Sauron's most powerful servant, who commands Sauron's army.
Saruman, a corrupted Wizard who seeks the One Ring for himself.
Gollum (named Sméagol earlier in his life), who formerly possessed the One Ring, which caused him to turn almost wholly evil and also gave him unnaturally long life.
Concept and creation
The Lord of the Rings started as a sequel to J. R. R. Tolkien's earlier work, The Hobbit, published in 1937. The popularity of The Hobbit had led George Allen & Unwin, the publishers, to request a sequel. Tolkien warned them that he wrote quite slowly, and responded with several stories he had already developed. Having rejected his contemporary drafts for The Silmarillion, putting on hold Roverandom, and accepting Farmer Giles of Ham, Allen & Unwin thought more stories about hobbits would be popular. So at the age of 45, Tolkien began writing the story that would become The Lord of the Rings. The story would not be finished until 12 years later, in 1949, and would not be fully published until 1955, when Tolkien was 63 years old.
Persuaded by his publishers, he started "a new Hobbit" in December 1937. After several false starts, the story of the One Ring emerged. The idea for the first chapter ("A Long-Expected Party") arrived fully formed, although the reasons behind Bilbo's disappearance, the significance of the Ring, and the title The Lord of the Rings did not arrive until the spring of 1938. Originally, he planned to write a story in which Bilbo had used up all his treasure and was looking for another adventure to gain more; however, he remembered the Ring and its powers and decided to write about that instead.
Writing was slow, due to Tolkien having a full-time academic position, and needing to earn further money as a university examiner. Tolkien abandoned The Lord of the Rings during most of 1943 and only re-started it in April 1944,  as a serial for his son Christopher Tolkien, who was sent chapters as they were written while he was serving in South Africa with the Royal Air Force. Tolkien made another concerted effort in 1946, and showed the manuscript to his publishers in 1947. The story was effectively finished the next year, but Tolkien did not complete the revision of earlier parts of the work until 1949.
Mentioned at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, the Ivy Bush is the closest public house to Birmingham Oratory which Tolkien attended while living near Edgbaston Reservoir. Perrott's Folly is nearby.
Main article: J. R. R. Tolkien's influences
The Lord of the Rings developed as a personal exploration by Tolkien of his interests in philology, religion (particularly Roman Catholicism), fairy tales, Norse and general Germanic mythology,  and also Celtic and Finnish mythology. Tolkien acknowledged, and external critics have verified the influences of William Morris and the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf. The question of a direct influence of Wagner's The Ring Cycle on Tolkien's work is often debated by critics.
Tolkien included neither any explicit religion nor cult in his work. Rather the themes, moral philosophy, and cosmology of the Lord of the Rings reflect his Catholic worldview. In one of his letters Tolkien states, "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like 'religion', to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."
Some locations and characters were inspired by Tolkien's childhood in Birmingham, where he first lived near Sarehole Mill, and later near Edgbaston Reservoir. There are also hints of the Black Country, which is within easy reach of north west Edgbaston. This shows in such names as "Underhill", and the description of Saruman's industrialization of Isengard and The Shire. It has also been suggested that The Shire and its surroundings were based on the countryside around Stonyhurst College in Lancashire where Tolkien frequently stayed during the 1940s. The work was influenced by the effects of his military service during World War I.
A dispute with his publishers, George Allen & Unwin, led to the book being offered to Collins in 1950. Tolkien intended The Silmarillion (itself largely unrevised at this point) to be published along with The Lord of the Rings, but A&U were unwilling to do this. After his contact at Collins, Milton Waldman, expressed the belief that The Lord of the Rings itself "urgently wanted cutting", he eventually demanded that they publish the book in 1952. They did not; and so Tolkien wrote to Allen and Unwin, saying, "I would gladly consider the publication of any part of the stuff."
For publication, the book was divided into three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring (Books I, The Ring Sets Out, and II, The Ring Goes South, ) The Two Towers (Books III, The Treason of Isengard, and IV, The Ring Goes East, ), and The Return of the King (Books V, The War of the Ring, and VI, The End of the Third Age, plus six appendices). This was due largely to post-war paper shortages, as well as being a way to keep down the price of the book. Delays in producing appendices, maps and especially indices led to the volumes being published later than originally hoped — on 21 July 1954, on 11 November 1954 and on 20 October 1955 respectively in the United Kingdom, and slightly later in the United States. The Return of the King was especially delayed. Tolkien, moreover, did not especially like the title The Return of the King, believing it gave away too much of the storyline. He had originally suggested The War of the Ring, which was dismissed by his publishers.
The books were published under a profit-sharing arrangement, whereby Tolkien would not receive an advance or royalties until the books had broken even, after which he would take a large share of the profits.
Editions and revisions
In the early 1960s Donald A. Wollheim, science fiction editor of the paperback publisher Ace Books, claimed that The Lord of the Rings was not protected in the United States under American copyright law because Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. hardcover publisher, had neglected to copyright the work in the United States. Ace Books then proceeded to publish an edition, unauthorized by Tolkien and without paying royalties to him. Tolkien took issue with this and quickly notified his fans of this objection. Grass-roots pressure from these fans became so great that Ace Books withdrew their edition and made a nominal payment to Tolkien. Authorized editions followed from Ballantine Books and Houghton Mifflin to tremendous commercial success. By the mid-1960s the novel had become a cultural phenomenon. Tolkien undertook various textual revisions to produce a version of the book that would be published with his consent and establish an unquestioned US copyright. This text became the Second Edition of The Lord of the Rings, published in 1965. Houghton Mifflin editions after 1994 consolidate variant revisions by Tolkien, and corrections supervised by Christopher Tolkien, which resulted, after some initial glitches, in a computer-based unified text.
Posthumous publication of drafts
From 1988 to 1992 Christopher Tolkien published the surviving drafts of The Lord of The Rings, chronicling and illuminating with commentary the stages of the text's development, in volumes 6–9 of his History of Middle-earth series. The four volumes carry the titles The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, The War of the Ring, and Sauron Defeated.
Main article: Translations of The Lord of the Rings
The novel has been translated, with various degrees of success, into at least 38 other languages. Tolkien, an expert in philology, examined many of these translations, and made comments on each that reflect both the translation process and his work. As he was unhappy with some choices made by early translators, such as the Swedish translation by Åke Ohlmarks,  Tolkien wrote a "Guide to the Names in The Lord of the Rings" (1967). Because The Lord of the Rings purports to be a translation of the fictitious Red Book of Westmarch, with the English language representing the Westron of the "original", Tolkien suggested that translators attempt to capture the interplay between English and the invented nomenclature of the English work, and gave several examples along with general guidance.
Main article: Reception of J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings has received mixed reviews since its inception, ranging from terrible to excellent. Recent reviews in various media have been, on the whole, highly positive and Tolkien's literary achievement is slowly being acknowledged as a significant one. On its initial review the Sunday Telegraph felt it was "among the greatest works of imaginative fiction of the twentieth century." The Sunday Times seemed to echo these sentiments when in its review it was stated that "the English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and those who are going to read them." The New York Herald Tribune also seemed to have an idea of how popular the books would become, writing in its review that they were "destined to outlast our time." W. H. Auden, an admirer of Tolkien's writings, regarded The Lord of the Rings as a "masterpiece", further stating that in some cases it outdid the achievement of John Milton's Paradise Lost.
New York Times reviewer Judith Shulevitz criticized the "pedantry" of Tolkien's literary style, saying that he "formulated a high-minded belief in the importance of his mission as a literary preservationist, which turns out to be death to literature itself." Critic Richard Jenkyns, writing in The New Republic, criticized the work for a lack of psychological depth. Both the characters and the work itself are, according to Jenkyns, "anemic, and lacking in fibre." Even within Tolkien's literary group, The Inklings, reviews were mixed. Hugo Dyson complained loudly at its readings, and Christopher Tolkien records Dyson as "lying on the couch, and lolling and shouting and saying, 'Oh God, not another Elf!'" However, another Inkling, C. S. Lewis, had very different feelings, writing, "here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron. Here is a book which will break your heart." Despite these reviews and its lack of paperback printing until the 1960s, The Lord of the Rings initially sold well in hardback.
In 1957, The Lord of the Rings was awarded the International Fantasy Award. Despite its numerous detractors, the publication of the Ace Books and Ballantine paperbacks helped The Lord of the Rings become immensely popular in the United States in the 1960s. The book has remained so ever since, ranking as one of the most popular works of fiction of the twentieth century, judged by both sales and reader surveys. In the 2003 "Big Read" survey conducted in Britain by the BBC, The Lord of the Rings was found to be the "Nation's best-loved book." In similar 2004 polls both Germany and Australia also found The Lord of the Rings to be their favourite book. In a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers, The Lord of the Rings was judged to be their favourite "book of the century." The Lord of the Rings was awarded the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 2009.
Ethan Gilsdorf, writing for The Boston Globe commented that while there are movements within academia to approach The Lord of the Rings as a serious literary work, the 2001–2003 film trilogy has contributed to a dumbing down of the reception of the novel by the forces of mass-commercialization.
Main article: Themes of The Lord of the Rings
Although The Lord of the Rings was published in the 1950s, Tolkien insisted that the One Ring was not an allegory for the Atomic Bomb,  nor were his works a strict allegory of any kind, but were open to interpretation as the reader saw fit.
A few critics have found what they consider to be racial elements in the story, generally based upon their views of how Tolkien's imagery depicts good and evil, characters' race (e.g. Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit, Southron, Númenórean, Orc); and that the character's race is seen as determining their behaviour. Counter-arguments note that race-focused critiques often omit relevant textual evidence to the contrary,  cite imagery from adaptations rather than the work itself; ignore the absence of evidence of racist attitudes or events in the author's personal life and claim that the perception of racism is itself a marginal view.
Critics have also seen social class rather than race as being the determinant factor for the portrayal of good and evil. Commentators such as science fiction author David Brin have interpreted the work to hold unquestioning devotion to a traditional elitist social structure. In his essay "Epic Pooh", science fiction and fantasy author Michael Moorcock critiques the world-view displayed by the book as deeply conservative, in both the 'paternalism' of the narrative voice and the power-structures in the narrative. Tom Shippey cites the origin of this portrayal of evil as a reflection of the prejudices of European middle-classes during the inter-war years towards the industrial working class.
The book has been read as fitting the model of Joseph Campbell's "monomyth".
Main article: Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings has been adapted for film, radio and stage.
The book has been adapted for radio four times. In 1955 and 1956, the BBC broadcast The Lord of the Rings, a 12-part radio adaptation of the story. In the 1960s radio station WBAI produced a short radio adaptation. A 1979 dramatization of The Lord of the Rings was broadcast in the United States and subsequently issued on tape and CD. In 1981, the BBC broadcast The Lord of the Rings, a new dramatization in 26 half-hour instalments. This dramatization of The Lord of the Rings has subsequently been made available on both tape and CD both by the BBC and other publishers. For this purpose it is generally edited into 13 one hour episodes.
Two film adaptations of the trilogy as a whole have been made. The first was J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1978), by animator Ralph Bakshi, the first part of what was originally intended to be a two-part adaptation of the story; it covers The Fellowship of the Ring and part of The Two Towers. When Bakshi's investors shied away of financing the second film that would complete the story, the remainder of the story was covered in an animated television special by Rankin-Bass. Stylistically, the two segments are very different. Finally, there was director Peter Jackson's live action The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, produced by New Line Cinema and released in three instalments as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). All three parts received nearly universal acclaim and were each nominated for and won multiple Academy Awards, including consecutive Best Picture nominations. The final instalment of this trilogy was the second film to break the one-billion-dollar barrier and won a total of 11 Oscars (something only two other films in history, Ben-Hur and Titanic, have accomplished), including "Best Picture", "Best Director", "Best Adapted Screenplay, ", and "Best Original Score".
The Hunt for Gollum, a fan film based on elements of the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, was released on the internet in May 2009 and has been covered in major media.
In 1990, Recorded Books published an audio version of The Lord of the Rings,  with British actor Rob Inglis – who had previously starred in one-man stage productions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – reading. A large-scale musical theatre adaptation, The Lord of the Rings was first staged in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2006 and opened in London in May 2007.
Main article: Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien
Influences on the fantasy genre
The enormous popularity of Tolkien's epic saga greatly expanded the demand for fantasy fiction. Largely thanks to The Lord of the Rings, the genre flowered throughout the 1960s, and enjoys popularity to the present day.
The work also had an influence upon such science fiction authors as Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke and filmmakers such as George Lucas.
Dungeons & Dragons, which popularized the role-playing game (RPG) genre in the 1970s, features many races found in The Lord of the Rings, most notably halflings (another term for hobbits), elves, dwarves, half-elves, orcs, and dragons. However, Gary Gygax, lead designer of the game, maintained that he was influenced very little by The Lord of the Rings, stating that he included these elements as a marketing move to draw on the popularity the work enjoyed at the time he was developing the game. Because D&D has influenced many popular role-playing video games through Dragon Warrior,  the influence of The Lord of the Rings extends to many of them as well, with titles such as EverQuest, the Warcraft series, and the Elder Scrolls series of games as well as, quite naturally, video games set in Middle-earth itself.
In 1965, songwriter Donald Swann, who was best known for his collaboration with Michael Flanders as Flanders & Swann, set six poems from The Lord of the Rings and one from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ("Errantry") to music. When Swann met with Tolkien to play the songs for his approval, Tolkien suggested a different setting for "Namárië", which Swann accepted. The songs were published in 1967 as The Road Goes Ever On: A Song Cycle,  and a recording of the songs performed by singer William Elvin with Swann on piano was issued that same year by Caedmon Records as Poems and Songs of Middle Earth.
In 1988, Dutch composer and trombonist Johan de Meij completed his Symphony No. 1 "The Lord of the Rings", which encompassed 5 movements, titled "Gandalf", "Lothlórien", "Gollum", "Journey in the Dark", and "Hobbits". In 1989 the symphony was awarded the Sudler Composition Award, awarded biennially for best wind band composition.
The Danish Tolkien Ensemble have released a number of albums that feature the complete poems and songs of The Lord of the Rings set to music, with some featuring recitation by Christopher Lee.
Rock bands of the 1970s were musically and lyrically inspired by the fantasy embracing counter-culture of the time; British 70s rock band Led Zeppelin recorded several songs that contain explicit references to The Lord of the Rings ("Ramble On", "The Battle of Evermore", "Over the Hills and Far Away", and "Misty Mountain Hop"). In 1970, the Swedish musician Bo Hansson released an instrumental concept album based on the book entitled Sagan om ringen (translated as "The Saga of the Ring", which was the title of the Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings at the time). The album was subsequently released internationally as Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings in 1972. The songs "Rivendell" and "The Necromancer" by the progressive rock band Rush were inspired by Tolkien. And Styx also paid homage to Tolkien on their "Pieces of Eight" album with the song "Lords of the Ring, " while Black Sabbath's song, "The Wizard", which appeared on their debut album, was influenced by Tolkien's hero, Gandalf. The heavy metal band Cirith Ungol took their name from a fictional place in Middle-earth of the same name. Progressive rock group Camel paid homage to the text in their lengthy composition "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider", and Progressive rock band Barclay James Harvest was inspired by the character Galadriel to write a song by that name, and used "Bombadil", the name of another character, as a pseudonym under which their 1972 single "Breathless"/"When the City Sleeps" was released; there are other references scattered through the BJH oeuvre.
Later, from the 1980s to the present day, many Heavy metal acts have been influenced by Tolkien. Blind Guardian has written many songs relating to Middle-earth, including the full concept album Nightfall in Middle Earth. Almost all of Summoning's songs and the entire discography of Battlelore are Tolkien-themed. Gorgoroth and Amon Amarth take their names from an area of Mordor, and Burzum take their name from the Black Speech of Mordor. The Finnish metal band Nightwish and the Norwegian metal band Tristania have also incorporated many Tolkien references into their music.
Enya wrote an instrumental piece called "Lothlórien" in 1991, and composed two songs for the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring—"May It Be" (sung in English and Quenya) and "Aníron" (sung in Sindarin).
Impact on popular culture
The Lord of the Rings has had a profound and wide-ranging impact on popular culture, beginning with its publication in the 1950s, but especially throughout the 1960s and 1970s, during which time young people embraced it as a countercultural saga. "Frodo Lives!" and "Gandalf for President" were two phrases popular among American Tolkien fans during this time.
In one scene of the 1993 film, Six Degrees of Separation, Paul (Will Smith) mocks The Lord of the Rings books in front of Ian McKellen's character. Less than a decade after this film was made, Ian McKellen would play the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Parodies like the Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings, the VeggieTales episode "Lord of the Beans", the South Park episode "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers", the Futurama film "Bender's Game", The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "Lights! Camera! Danger!", and The Big Bang Theory episode "The Precious Fragmentation" are testimony to the work's continual presence in popular culture.
In 1969 Tolkien sold the merchandising rights to The Lord of The Rings (and The Hobbit) to United Artists under an agreement stipulating a lump sum payment of £10, 000 plus a 7.5% royalty after costs, payable to Allen & Unwin and the author. In 1976 (three years after the author's death) United Artists sold the rights to Saul Zaentz Company, who trade as Tolkien Enterprises. Since then all "authorized" merchandise has been signed-off by Tolkien Enterprises, although the intellectual property rights of the specific likenesses of characters and other imagery from various adaptations is generally held by the adaptors. Outside any commercial exploitation from adaptations, from the late 1960s onwards there has been an increasing variety of original licensed merchandise, from posters and calendars created by illustrators such as Pauline Baynes and the Brothers Hildebrandt, to figurines and miniatures to computer, video, tabletop and role-playing games. Recent examples include the Spiel des Jahres award winning (for best use of literature in a game) board game The Lord of the Rings by Reiner Knizia and the Golden Joystick award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game, The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar by Turbine, Inc.
|The Two Towers is the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. It is preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and followed by The Return of the King.|
3 Plot summary
3.1 Book III: The Treason of Isengard
3.2 Book IV: The Journey to Mordor
4 Critical reception
7 External links
The Lord of the Rings is composed of 6 "books", aside from an introduction, a prologue and 6 appendices. The novel was originally published as 3 separate volumes due to post-World War II paper shortages and size and price considerations. The Two Towers covers Books III and IV.
Tolkien wrote, "The Two Towers gets as near as possible to finding a title to cover the widely divergent Books 3 & 4; and can be left ambiguous." At this stage he planned to title the individual books. The proposed title for Book III was The Treason of Isengard. Book IV was titled The Journey of the Ringbearers or The Ring Goes East. The titles The Treason of Isengard and The Ring Goes East were used in the Millennium edition.
In letters to Rayner Unwin Tolkien considered naming the two as Orthanc and Barad-dûr, Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr, or Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. However, a month later he wrote a note published at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring and later drew a cover illustration which both identified the pair as Minas Morgul and Orthanc.
In director Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Two Towers the title is indicated to be referring to the towers of Barad-dûr in Mordor and Orthanc in Isengard. In dialogue written for the film, the wizard Saruman says:
"The World is changing. Who now has the strength to stand against the armies of Isengard and Mordor? To stand against the might of Sauron and Saruman ... and the union of the two towers? Together, my Lord Sauron ... we shall rule this Middle-earth."
In different teaser trailers for the film, voice-over narration by Gandalf and Galadriel directly states the towers as Barad-dûr and Orthanc.
Because The Two Towers is the central portion of a longer work, its structure differs from that of a conventional novel. It begins and ends abruptly, without introduction to the characters, explanations of major plot elements, or a strict conclusion. This is characteristic of the technical classification novel sequence, not a book series — though it and the other two volumes are not individual novels themselves. The first section follows the divergent paths of several important figures from The Fellowship of the Ring, but tells nothing of its central character, on whose fate so much depends, enabling the reader to share in the suspense and uncertainty of the characters. The narrative of the second part returns to Frodo's quest to destroy the evil that threatens the world.
Book III: The Treason of Isengard
As Aragorn searches for Frodo, he suddenly hears Boromir's horn. He finds Boromir mortally wounded by arrows, his assailants gone. Before Boromir dies, Aragorn found out that Merry and Pippin were kidnapped by the Orcs in spite of his efforts to defend them, and that Frodo had vanished after Boromir had tried to take the Ring from him and that he truly regretted his actions. In his last moments, he charges Aragorn to defend Minas Tirith from Sauron. With Legolas and Gimli, who had been fighting Orcs themselves, Aragorn pays his last respects to Boromir and sends him down the Great River Anduin on a funeral boat, the usual methods of burial being impracticable. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli then resolve to follow the Uruk-hai captors. Meanwhile, after some hardship, Merry and Pippin escape when the Uruk-hai are attacked by the horsemen of Rohan, called the Rohirrim or "Riders of Rohan". Merry and Pippin escape into the nearby Fangorn Forest, where they encounter the giant treelike Ents. The Ents resemble actual trees, except they are able to see, talk, and move. These guardians of the forest generally keep to themselves, but after a long contemplation on whether or not the Hobbits were friends, or foes, their leader Treebeard persuades the Ent council to oppose the menace posed to the forest by the wizard Saruman, as suggested by Merry and Pippin, as Treebeard realizes that Saruman's minions have been cutting down large numbers of their trees to fuel the furnaces needed for Saruman's arming of his dark army.
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas come across the Riders of Rohan led by Éomer, nephew of King Théoden. The trio learn that the horsemen had attacked a band of Orcs the previous night, and that they had left no survivors. However, Aragorn is able to track a small set of prints that lead into Fangorn, where they see an old man who disappears almost as soon as they see him - they assume him to be Saruman. Shortly afterward, the three meet Gandalf, (again, they at first take him to be Saruman) whom they believed had perished in the mines of Moria. He tells them of his fall into the abyss, his battle to the death with the Balrog and his resurrection and his enhanced power. The four ride to Rohan's capital Edoras, where Gandalf rouses King Théoden from inaction against the threat Saruman poses. In the process, Saruman's spy in Rohan (and King Théoden's trusted advisor) Gríma Wormtongue, is expelled from Rohan. Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas then travel with Théoden's troops to the fortress of Hornburg, in the valley of Helm's Deep. Gandalf rides away before the battle begins, though he gives no reason for doing so. At the Hornburg, the army of Rohan led by King Théoden and Aragorn resist a full-scale onslaught by the hosts of Saruman. Yet, things begin to go ill with Rohan, until Gandalf arrives with the remains of the army of Westfold that Saruman's forces had previously routed. The tide now turns in Rohan's favour, and Saruman's orcs flee into a forest of Huorns, creatures similar to Ents, and none escape alive. Gandalf, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas, along with King Théoden and Éomer, head to Saruman's stronghold of Isengard.
Here, they reunite with Merry and Pippin and find Isengard overrun by Ents, who had flooded it by breaking a nearby dam of the river Isen, and the central tower of Orthanc besieged, with Saruman and Wormtongue trapped inside. Gandalf offers Saruman a chance to repent, but is refused, and so casts Saruman out of the Order of Wizards and the White Council. Gríma throws something from a window at Gandalf but misses, and it is picked up by Pippin. This object turns out to be one of the palantíri (seeing-stones). Pippin, unable to resist the urge, looks into it and encounters the Eye of Sauron, but emerges unscathed from the ordeal. Gandalf and Pippin then head for Minas Tirith in Gondor in preparation for the imminent war against Mordor, while Théoden and Aragorn remain behind to begin the muster of Rohan, to ride to the aid of Gondor.
Book IV: The Journey to Mordor
Frodo and Sam discover and capture Gollum, who has been stalking them in their quest to reach Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring, for Gollum hopes to reclaim the Ring for himself. Sam loathes and distrusts him, but Frodo pities the poor creature. Gollum promises to lead the pair to the Black Gate of Mordor and for a time appears to be a true ally. He leads them through a hidden passage of the Dead Marshes in order to avoid being spied by Orcs. Frodo and Sam learn that the Dead Marshes were once part of an ancient battlefield, upon which the War of the Last Alliance was fought. Upon reaching the Black Gate, Gollum persuades the hobbits not to enter, where they would have been surely caught. He tells them of a secret entrance to Mordor. Thus, they head south into Gondor's province of Ithilien and are accosted by a group of Gondorian rangers led by Faramir, the brother of Boromir. Frodo learns from Faramir of Boromir's death and Sam accidentally reveals to Faramir that Frodo carries the One Ring. As a result of this Frodo reveals the plan to destroy the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Later that night, Gollum is captured diving into the sacred pool, the penalty for which is death. Frodo negotiates Gollum's freedom with Faramir. The following morning Faramir allows them to go on their way, but warns them that Gollum may know more about the secret entrance (Cirith Ungol) than he has been telling them.
Gollum leads them past the city of Minas Morgul and up a long, steep staircase of the Tower of Cirith Ungol into the lair of an enormous spider named Shelob. Gollum hopes to get the Ring from Frodo's bones after Shelob is done with him. The hobbits escape Shelob in her lair and mistakenly assume that they are safe. However, Shelob sneaks up on Frodo. Sam attempts to warn Frodo but is attacked by Gollum. Shelob stings Frodo in the back of the neck and he collapses to the ground. Sam fends off Gollum and Gollum runs off back towards Shelob's cave. Sam then drives off Shelob. After seeing Frodo lifeless and pale, Sam assumes that Frodo is dead and debates chasing Gollum and abandoning the Quest in favour of vengeance. Sam resolves to finish the Quest himself and takes the Ring. But when Orcs take Frodo's body, Sam follows them and learns that Frodo is not dead, but only unconscious, and is now a prisoner. The book ends with the line, "Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy."
This section requires expansion.
The New York Times gave a positive review, calling it "an extraordinary work-pure excitement, unencumbered narrative, moral warmth, barefaced rejoicing in beauty, but excitement most of all."
Some of the events of The Two Towers along with The Fellowship of Ring were depicted in the 1978 film of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, directed by Ralph Bakshi.
In 1999, the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago presented the world premiere of The Two Towers, adapted for the stage by James Sie and Karen Tarjan, directed by Ned Mochel.
In 2002 the film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, directed by Peter Jackson, was released. Both The Two Towers and the succeeding film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King abandoned the parallel storytelling of the volume in favour of a more chronological presentation. The first chapter from the volume actually appears at the end of Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Later events of The Two Towers involving Frodo and Sam were filmed for Jackson's The Return of the King. Other significant changes were made in the plot line, partially to give each of the characters a story arc in which they could develop and change. Although all three of Jackson's films differ from their source material, "The Two Towers" arguably contains the most major alterations. There was initial concern over using the title "The Two Towers" due to the real-life association with the World Trade Center and the terrorist attacks the previous year. The WTC was also commonly called The Twin Towers and due to that similarity, the filmmakers were reportedly considering alternate titles. It was decided, eventually, to retain the original title.
Various games also adapt The Two Towers, including online role-playing games like The Two Towers Mud and graphically-oriented console games.
|The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.|
2 Plot summary
2.1 Book V: The War of the Ring
2.2 Book VI: The Return of the King
3 Critical reception
6 External links
Tolkien conceived of The Lord of the Rings as a single volume comprising six "books" plus extensive appendices. The original publisher split the work into three, publishing the fifth and sixth books with the appendices under the title The Return of the King. Tolkien felt the chosen title revealed too much of the story, and indicated he preferred The War of the Ring as a title.
The proposed title for Book V was The War of the Ring. Book VI was to be The End of the Third Age. These titles were used in the Millenium edition.
The Return of the King was in the end published as the third and final part of The Lord of the Rings, on October 20, 1955.
Book V: The War of the Ring
Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith in the kingdom of Gondor, delivering the news to Denethor, the Lord and Steward of Gondor, that a devastating attack on his city by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor is imminent. Pippin then enters the service of the Steward as repayment of a debt he owes to Boromir, Denethor's dead son and preferred heir. Now clad in the uniform of the tower guard, Pippin watches the fortunes of war unfold, while Denethor descends into madness as the hosts of Mordor press ever closer to Gondor's capital city of Minas Tirith. Faramir, Boromir's younger brother, returns from his campaign with the shattered remnants of his company and is soon ordered to ride out and continue the hopeless defence of Osgiliath against a horde of orcs. Osgiliath is soon overrun and a gravely wounded Faramir is carried back to Denethor. His people seemingly lost and his only remaining son all but dead, Denethor orders a funeral pyre built that is to claim both him and his dying son. Minas Tirith stands encircled and besieged by the armies of Mordor.
Meanwhile, in Rohan, Théoden and his Rohirrim are recovering from the Battle of the Hornburg, in which they defended Rohan against the forces of Saruman at great cost. Aragorn, having confronted Sauron through the palantír of Isengard, sets out to find the lost army of the undead oathbreakers who dwell in the Paths of the Dead, a mountain hall where they have been enslaved since their treachery ages ago. Helped by his companions Legolas and Gimli as well as a Company of Rangers from Arnor in the north (the "Grey Company"), he sets out to recruit the Army of the Dead to his cause. As Aragorn departs on his seemingly impossible task, King Théoden musters the Rohirrim to come to the aid of Gondor. Merry, eager to go to war with his allies, is refused by Théoden several times. Finally Dernhelm, one of the Rohirrim, takes Merry up on his horse, and secretly rides with the rest of the Rohirrim.
The hosts of Mordor, led by the dreaded Witch King of Angmar, succeed in breaking through the gates of Minas Tirith, but are in turn crushed by the arriving cavalry of Rohan. The battle is also joined by a "black fleet with black sails". The forces of Mordor initially rejoice at its arrival; and then are horrified to see the banner of the King upon the ships. Aragorn has succeeded in using the Oathbreakers to defeat the Corsairs of Umbar; the men of Gondor who were once slaves on the ships are brought back to fight the host of Mordor. In the following Battle of the Pelennor Fields the Witch-king is slain by Dernhelm, revealed to be Éowyn the niece of King Théoden, with help from Merry. Thus the siege is broken, but at heavy cost: many warriors of Gondor and Rohan fall, among them King Théoden. Denethor immolates himself and Faramir on his funeral pyre, but Gandalf and Pippin succeed in saving Faramir, who is subsequently healed by Aragorn. Aragorn also heals Merry and Éowyn, who were hurt by the Witch-king before he fell. Knowing that it is only a matter of time before Sauron rebuilds his forces for another attack, Gandalf and Aragorn decide to draw out the hosts of Mordor with an assault on the Black Gate, providing a distraction so that Frodo and Sam may have a chance of reaching Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring, unseen by the Eye of Sauron. Gandalf and Aragorn lead an army to the Black Gate of Mordor and lay siege to Sauron's army. The battle begins and the body of a troll he had killed falls onto Pippin, and he loses consciousness just as the Great Eagles arrive.
Book VI: The Return of the King
Sam, who now bears the One Ring in Frodo's place, rescues his master from torture and death by Orcs in the Tower of Cirith Ungol. The two navigate the barren wasteland of Mordor and are overtaken by a company of Orcs but escape and are forced to disguise themselves in Orcish armour. Gandalf's plan to distract Sauron from the Ring is successful: Mordor is almost empty as all the remaining Orcs have been summoned to defend the land against the assault of the army led by Gandalf and Aragorn. Frodo and Sam, after a weary and dangerous journey, finally reach the Crack of Doom. As he is about to throw the Ring into Mount Doom, Frodo succumbs to the Ring's power and refuses to let it go. Just then, Gollum, who had been following the pair still, attacks Frodo and bites off his finger, along with the Ring. Gollum gloats over getting his prize back, but loses his balance and falls into the lava below, taking the Ring with him. The Ring is destroyed, freeing Middle-earth from Sauron's power. Frodo and Sam are rescued by the Great Eagles who carry them from Mount Doom. Upon Sauron's defeat, his armies at the Gate flee. Sauron finally appears as a gigantic shadow trying to reach out for the armies of men, but is now powerless and is blown away by a wind. The men under Sauron's command that surrender are forgiven and allowed to return to their lands in peace.
Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor outside the walls of Minas Tirith in a celebration during which all four Hobbits are greatly honoured for their contribution to the War of the Ring. A healed Faramir is appointed Prince of Ithilien and Steward of Gondor, and Aragorn marries Arwen, daughter of Elrond of Rivendell. After a series of goodbyes, the Hobbits return home to find the Shire in ruins, its inhabitants oppressed by Lotho Sackville-Baggins (usually called "The Chief" or "The Boss") who is in reality controlled by a shadowy figure called "Sharkey". Sharkey has taken complete control of the Shire using corrupt Men, and begins felling trees in a gratuitous program of industrialization (which actually produces nothing except destruction and misery for the locals). Merry, Pippin, Frodo and Sam make plans to set things right once more. They lead an uprising of Hobbits and are victorious at the Battle of Bywater which effectively frees the Shire. At the very doorstep of Bag End, they meet Sharkey, who is revealed to be the evil wizard Saruman, and his servant Gríma. Obstinate in defeat, Saruman abuses Gríma, who responds by slitting his master's throat. Gríma is himself slain by hobbit archers as he attempts to escape.
Over time the Shire is healed. The many trees that Saruman's men cut down are replanted; buildings are rebuilt and peace is restored. Sam marries Rosie Cotton, with whom he had been entranced for some time. Merry and Pippin lead Buckland and Tuckborough to greater achievements. Frodo, however, cannot escape the pain of his wounds, having been stabbed by the Witch-king and poisoned by Shelob. Eventually he departs for the Undying Lands in the West, with Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and many Elves. Sam, Merry and Pippin watch them depart and return home. Now heir to all of Frodo's possessions, Sam is greeted by his wife Rosie and his daughter Elanor and delivers the final spoken words of the book: "Well, I'm back."
|The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord of the Rings by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It takes place in the fictional universe Middle-earth. It was originally published on July 29, 1954 in the United Kingdom. The volume consists of a Prologue titled "Concerning Hobbits, and other matters" followed by Book I and Book II.|
1 Title and publication
2 Plot summary
2.1 Book I: The Return of the Shadow (Also titled under newer publications, "The Ring Sets Out")
2.2 Book II: The Fellowship of the Ring (Also titled under newer publications, "The Ring Goes South")
3 Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
4 Critical reception
5 See also
8 External links
Title and publication
Tolkien conceived of The Lord of the Rings as a multiple volume with six sections he called "books" along with extensive appendices. The original publisher made the decision to split the work into three parts. It was also the publisher's decision to place the fifth and sixth books and the appendices into one volume under the title The Return of the King, in reference to Aragorn's assumption of the throne of Gondor. Tolkien indicated he would have preferred The War of the Ring as a title, as it gave away less of the story.
Before the decision to publish The Lord of the Rings in three volumes was made, Tolkien had hoped to publish the novel in one volume, or combined with The Silmarillion. At this stage he planned to title the individual books. The proposed title for Book I was The First Journey or The Ring Sets Out. Book II was titled The Journey of the Nine Companions or The Ring Goes South. The titles The Ring Sets Out and The Ring Goes South were used in the Millennium edition.
The Prologue is meant primarily to help people who have not read The Hobbit understand the events of that book, along with some other information that Tolkien felt was relevant to set the stage for the novel.
Book I: The Return of the Shadow (Also titled under newer publications, "The Ring Sets Out")
The first chapter in the book begins in a light vein, following the tone of The Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins is celebrating his 111th (or eleventy-first, as it is called in Hobbiton) birthday on the same day, September 22, that Frodo Baggins, his heir, is celebrating his 33rd birthday (his 'coming of age'). At the birthday party, Bilbo departs from the Shire, the land of the Hobbits, for what he calls a permanent holiday. He leaves his remaining belongings including his home, Bag End and, after some persuasion by the wizard Gandalf, the Ring he had found on his adventures (with which he used to make himself invisible), to Frodo. Gandalf warns Frodo to keep the Ring secret and safe from others, and leaves on his own business.
Over the next 17 years Gandalf visits Frodo periodically, staying briefly before going off again. Then one spring night Gandalf arrives to alert Frodo to a frightening truth about Bilbo's ring: it is the One Ring of Sauron (the Dark Lord); he forged the Ring to subdue and rule Middle-earth, but in the War of the Last Alliance, Sauron was defeated by the Elven King Gil-galad and Elendil, High King of Gondor and Arnor, though they themselves perished in the deed. The Ring was cut off from Sauron by Isildur, son of Elendil. Sauron was thus overthrown and he fled, and so, for many years, peace returned to Middle-earth. But the Ring itself was not destroyed: Isildur kept it for himself after cutting it from Sauron's hand. However, Isildur was slain in the Battle of the Gladden Fields and the Ring was lost in the Great River, Anduin; thousands of years later, it came into the hands of the creature Gollum, who possessed the Ring for many years. The Ring then passed to Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit, and so has now passed into Frodo's hands. Sauron has now arisen once again, and has returned to his stronghold in the land of Mordor, and is exerting all his power to find the Ring. Gandalf details the evil powers of the Ring, and its ability to influence the bearer and those near him, if it is worn for too long a time. Gandalf warns that the Ring is no longer safe in the Shire because, after some investigation of his own, Gandalf has learned that Gollum had gone to Mordor, where he was captured and was tortured into revealing to Sauron that a Hobbit named Baggins from the Shire possesses the Ring. Gandalf hopes Frodo can reach the elf-haven of Rivendell, where he believes Frodo and the Ring will be safe from Sauron, at least for a while, and where those of most concern of Middle-earth can decide the fate of the Ring. Samwise Gamgee (Sam), Frodo's gardener and best friend, is discovered listening in on the conversation. Out of loyalty to his master, Sam decides to accompany Frodo on his journey.
Over the summer, Frodo makes plans to leave his home at Bag End, under the guise that he is moving to a remote region of the Shire to retire. He makes plans to "move" in the Autumn after Bilbo's and his birthday. Helping with the plans are Frodo's friends Sam, Peregrin Took (or Pippin for short), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), and Fredegar Bolger (Fatty). However, Frodo does not tell them of his true intentions to leave the Shire, nor does he tell them about the Ring. At midsummer, Gandalf informs Frodo that he must leave on pressing business, but will return before Frodo leaves. Frodo enjoys his last few weeks at home awaiting the return of Gandalf. But as his birthday and departure approach, Gandalf is not seen or heard from. Regretfully, Frodo decides to leave without Gandalf. On their journey, the three hobbits encounter the nine Black Riders; Ringwraiths or the Nazgûl, "the most terrible servants of the Dark Lord." The hobbits discover that the Nazgûl are looking for Frodo and the Ring. With help of some Elves and Farmer Maggot, they eventually reach Crickhollow on the eastern borders of the Shire. There Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Fatty reveal that they know of Frodo's plan to leave the Shire and of the existence of the Ring. Sam, Merry, and Pippin decide to leave with Frodo, while Fatty stays behind as a decoy. The Hobbits, in hopes of eluding the Nazgûl, travel through the Old Forest and Barrow-downs, and with the assistance of Tom Bombadil, are able to reach the village of Bree, where they meet Strider, a friend of Gandalf who becomes their guide to Rivendell.
Even with Strider's help, this portion of the journey is not without further hardships. The worst of these occurs when, while at the hill of Weathertop, five of the Nazgûl attack the travellers. Frodo is stabbed by the chief of the Nazgûl with a cursed blade before Strider drives the Nazgûl off. Part of the knife remains inside Frodo, causing him to become increasingly ill as the journey to Rivendell continues. Strider leads the hobbits on old paths avoiding the main road. As the travellers near their destination they meet Glorfindel, an elf-lord from Rivendell, who helps them reach the River Bruinen on the border of Rivendell. But the Nazgûl, now at their full strength of nine, spring a trap at the Ford of Bruinen. Glorfindel's horse outruns the pursuers and carries Frodo across the Ford. As the Nazgûl attempt to follow, a giant wave in the shape of charging horses — commanded by Elrond, the lord of Rivendell — appears bearing down on the Nazgûl. The Nazgûl are swept away by the river, as Frodo finally collapses into unconsciousness on the riverbank.
Book II: The Fellowship of the Ring (Also titled under newer publications, "The Ring Goes South")
Book II opens in Rivendell at the house of Elrond. Frodo is healed by Elrond and discovers that Bilbo has been residing there. Elrond convenes the Council of Elrond, attended by Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo and many others. Gandalf explains that he had gone to Isengard, where the wizard Saruman (who is the chief of all wizards in Middle-earth) dwells, to seek help and counsel. However, Saruman has turned against them, as Gandalf finds out much to his dismay - Saruman now desires the Ring for himself. Saruman imprisons Gandalf in his tower, Orthanc, rightly suspecting that Gandalf knew where the Ring was. Gandalf, however, does not yield and manages to escape from Orthanc. He learns that Saruman is not yet in Sauron's service, and is mustering his own force of Orcs. In the Council of Elrond, a plan is hatched to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, which will destroy the Ring and end Sauron's power for good. Frodo offers to undertake this dangerous quest, and is thus chosen to be the Ring-bearer, and sets forth from Rivendell with eight companions: two Men, Strider (revealed to be Aragorn, Isildur's heir) and Boromir, son of the Steward of the land of Gondor; the Prince of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood, Legolas; Frodo's old friend and powerful wizard, Gandalf; Gimli the Dwarf; and Frodo's three Hobbit companions. These Nine Walkers (called the Fellowship of the Ring) are chosen to represent all the free races of Middle-earth and as a balance to the Nazgûl. They are also accompanied by Bill the Pony, whom Strider and the Hobbits acquired in Bree as a pack horse.
The Fellowship's attempt to cross the Misty Mountains is foiled by heavy snow, and they are forced to take a path under the mountains, the mines of Moria, an ancient dwarf kingdom, now full of Orcs and other evil creatures. During the battle that ensues, Gandalf battles a Balrog of Morgoth, and both fall into an abyss. The remaining eight members of the Fellowship escape from Moria and head toward the elf-haven of Lothlórien, where they are given gifts from the rulers Celeborn and Galadriel that in many cases prove useful later during the Quest. After leaving Lórien, the Ring's evil and corrupting powers begin to show. When Frodo is alone for a while to decide the future course of the Fellowship, Boromir tries to take the Ring from him and Frodo ends up putting on the Ring to escape from Boromir. While the rest of the Fellowship scatter to hunt for Frodo, Frodo decides that the Fellowship has to be broken, for the Ring was too evil. Frodo decides to depart secretly for Mordor, but is joined by Sam and they set off together to Mordor. The Fellowship is thus broken, and the book ends here.
Members of the Fellowship of the Ring
See also: List of Middle-earth characters
Frodo Baggins Hobbit Heir of Bilbo and Ring-bearer. He is 50 years old as he leaves on his quest to Rivendell.
Samwise "Sam" Gamgee Hobbit Frodo's gardener, he was a loyal companion throughout the journey.
Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck Hobbit The son of the Master of Buckland, he is cousin to both Pippin and Frodo.
Peregrin "Pippin" Took Hobbit The son of the Thain in Tookland, he is the youngest member of the group and cousin to both Merry and Frodo.
Gandalf the Grey Maiar Wizard who leads the Fellowship until Moria.
Aragorn (Strider) Man Ranger of the North, who accompanies the hobbits from Bree to Rivendell and becomes a member of the Fellowship. It is revealed that he is the Heir of Isildur and of Elendil.
Legolas Elf Elven Prince-archer. His father is Thranduil, king of the Silvan Elves of Mirkwood, and he came to inform Elrond of the escape of Gollum.
Gimli Dwarf Son of Glóin. He came to Rivendell from the Lonely Mountain with his father to warn Bilbo that Sauron's agents are seeking him.
Boromir Man Son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor. He came to Rivendell seeking the meaning of a prophetic dream.
In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien speaks more often of the "Company" of the Ring rather than the "Fellowship", as reflected in the page references in Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth. As it appears in the title of the book, however, "Fellowship" has become the familiar term.
This section requires expansion.
W.H. Auden wrote a positive review in The New York Times, praising the excitement and saying "Tolkien's invention is unflagging, and, on the primitive level of wanting to know what happens next, The Fellowship of the Ring is at least as good as The Thirty-Nine Steps." However, he noted that the light humor in the beginning was "not Tolkien's forte".
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