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The Return of the Shadow by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Return of the Shadow (1988)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Showing 5 of 5
This one, I've read! All the way through. And would like to read it again. It's deep, and not that easy to read. I would recommend a chapter at a time, to fully inundate oneself in the process Tolkien went through while he moved from the joviality and child-like-ness of The Hobbit to the darker themes of the War of the Ring.

There is even the point in his writing where he seems to realize that he needs to write something darker. It's while he's describing four hobbits trekking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up to them. It's Gandalf and merriment ensues. Then four hobbits are trekking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up to them. It's Gandalf, but they are scared before he reveals himself. Then four hobbits are walking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up behind them. It starts to sniff at them and they are frightened by its presence.

The book includes the original writings, then Christopher Tolkien's commentary and history of the writings, and it is fascinating to see how the names and countries and themes evolved. A must-read for any Tolkien geek. ( )
1 vote threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
I really love this. It's not for everyone, but I find seeing the process by which The Lord of the Rings came into being absolutely fascinating, as a fan who knows the books in their finished form inside out. Really magnificent work by Christopher Tolkien here. ( )
  chriskrycho | Mar 30, 2013 |

Here we have three-ish drafts of The Lord of the Rings up to the exploration of Moria. It is striking how quickly Tolkien shifted tone from the young-reader-ish style of The Hobbit, which surivives in the very first draft of the first chapter, but really no further, to adopt a more mature voice. But it's also interesting to see the evolution of the character who became Strider, at first a mysterious hobbit called Trotter who turns out to be a long-lost cousin of Bilbo's called Peregrine. The names and characters of Frodo and his friends changed very substantially between rewrites (though the dialogue between them was surprisingly constant). The original Fellowship includes the four hobbits from the Shire, Troter, Gandalf and Boromir but no dwarf or elf. At one point the editor quotes his father's marginal note "Christopher wants Odo kept" but admits that he is unable now to remember why (Odo ends up party Frodo and partly Pippin). The geography and distances between Bree and Rivendell are chopped about a bit, leaving some inconsistency in the published book. It's a fascinating insight into how revising a text can make it stronger, and how sometimes bits in the middle come right almost immediately while you are still tinkering with the beginning. ( )
2 vote nwhyte | Oct 1, 2011 |
This is book 6 in The History of Middle Eath series, but is the beginning of the 4-book study on The Lord of the Rings. I found it pretty interesting, much more interesting than the previous 5 (except maybe for The Lays of Beleriand) though I did enjoy those as well. This gets back to hobbits, and its really neat to see how the story develops. For instance- Strider started out as a hobbit!! ( )
  jcsoblonde | Jun 19, 2007 |
This is volume one of The History of the Lord of the Rings. I loved this, but I'll tell you right now that this is beyond nerdy, and if you aren't deeply interested in Tolkien and his creative process, it will be beyond boring to you. That said, it's an amazing trove of information on the development of The Lord of the Rings and of Middle-earth in general. Christopher Tolkien provides annotated exerpts from various drafts of The Lord of the Rings, starting with Tolkien's earliest conceptions. It provides one with loads of great trivia -- did you know that Strider was originally a hobbit with wooden shoes known as Trotter? And Frodo's name was originally Bingo, and Merry was Marmaduke? What was fascinating to me, as well, is how comparatively late in the writing process Tolkien seems to have hit upon the idea of the Rings of Power and the themes that became integral to the novel. Fascinating stuff. ( )
5 vote Crowyhead | Feb 21, 2006 |
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Lee, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As is well known, the manuscripts and typescripts of The Lord of the Rings were sold by J.R.R. Tolkien to Marquette University, Milwaukee, a few years after its publication, together with those of The Hobbit and Farmer Giles of Ham, and also Mr. Bliss.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 061808357X, Paperback)

In this sixth volume of The History of Middle-earth the story reaches The Lord of the Rings. In The Return of the Shadow (an abandoned title for the first volume) Christopher Tolkien describes, with full citation of the earliest notes, outline plans, and narrative drafts, the intricate evolution of The Fellowship of the Ring and the gradual emergence of the conceptions that transformed what J.R.R. Tolkien for long believed would be a far shorter book, 'a sequel to The Hobbit'. The enlargement of Bilbo's 'magic ring' into the supremely potent and dangerous Ruling Ring of the Dark Lord is traced and the precise moment is seen when, in an astonishing and unforeseen leap in the earliest narrative, a Black Rider first rode into the Shire, his significance still unknown. The character of the hobbit called Trotter (afterwards Strider or Aragorn) is developed while his indentity remains an absolute puzzle, and the suspicion only very slowly becomes certainty that he must after all be a Man. The hobbits, Frodo's companions, undergo intricate permutations of name and personality, and other major figures appear in strange modes: a sinister Treebeard, in league with the Enemy, a ferocious and malevolent Farmer Maggot.

The story in this book ends at the point where J.R.R. Tolkien halted in the story for a long time, as the Company of the Ring, still lacking Legolas and Gimli, stood before the tomb of Balin in the Mines of Moria. The Return of the Shadow is illustrated with reproductions of the first maps and notable pages from the earliest manuscripts.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:27 -0400)

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Christopher Tolkien chronicles his father's creation of his classic fantasy novel, "The Lord of the Rings," presenting early drafts and sketches as well as previously unpublished sections.

» see all 2 descriptions

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