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The War of the Ring

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The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. Unforeseen develop The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. Unforeseen developments that would become central to the narrative are seen at the moment of their emergence: the palantír bursting into fragments on the stairs of Orthanc, its nature as unknown to the author as to those who saw it fall, or the entry of Faramir into the story ('I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking through the woods of Ithilien'). The book is illustrated with the plans and drawings of the changing conceptions of Orthanc, Dunharrow, Minas Tirith and the tunnels of Shelob's Lair.


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The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. Unforeseen develop The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. Unforeseen developments that would become central to the narrative are seen at the moment of their emergence: the palantír bursting into fragments on the stairs of Orthanc, its nature as unknown to the author as to those who saw it fall, or the entry of Faramir into the story ('I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him, but there he came walking through the woods of Ithilien'). The book is illustrated with the plans and drawings of the changing conceptions of Orthanc, Dunharrow, Minas Tirith and the tunnels of Shelob's Lair.

30 review for The War of the Ring

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The War of the Ring: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Three, J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien The War of the Ring continues to the opening of the Black Gate. In the northwest, where Mordor's two ranges met, the pass of Cirith Gorgor led into the enclosed plain of Udûn. Sauron built the Black Gate of Mordor (the Morannon) across the pass, adding to earlier fortifications: the Towers of the Teeth, guard towers which had been built by Gondor to keep a watch on this entrance. The passage The War of the Ring: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Three, J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien The War of the Ring continues to the opening of the Black Gate. In the northwest, where Mordor's two ranges met, the pass of Cirith Gorgor led into the enclosed plain of Udûn. Sauron built the Black Gate of Mordor (the Morannon) across the pass, adding to earlier fortifications: the Towers of the Teeth, guard towers which had been built by Gondor to keep a watch on this entrance. The passage through the inner side of Udûn into the interior of Mordor was guarded by another gate, the Isenmouthe. The War of the Ring takes up the story of The Lord of the Rings with the Battle of Helm's Deep and the drowning of Isengard by the Ents, continues with the journey of Frodo, Sam and Gollum to the Pass of Cirith Ungol, describes the war in Gondor, and ends with the parley between Gandalf and the ambassador of the Dark Lord before the Black Gate of Mordor. ...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    _The War of the Ring_ continues Christopher Tolkien’s examination of his father’s development of _The Lord of the Rings_ covering the destruction of Isengard and the battle of Helm’s Deep, Frodo and Sam’s initial journey into Ithilien towards Mordor, the confrontation with Shelob, and the battle of the Pelennor Fields. While there was a fair amount of revision and rewriting in many of these chapters (especially in details of chronology and geography which seem to have been of special concern to _The War of the Ring_ continues Christopher Tolkien’s examination of his father’s development of _The Lord of the Rings_ covering the destruction of Isengard and the battle of Helm’s Deep, Frodo and Sam’s initial journey into Ithilien towards Mordor, the confrontation with Shelob, and the battle of the Pelennor Fields. While there was a fair amount of revision and rewriting in many of these chapters (especially in details of chronology and geography which seem to have been of special concern to Tolkien) and a significant period of time between versions where no writing at all occurred, it is still surprising how much of the story still seems to have come to Tolkien initially in something very close to the published text. Some of the most significant deviations that are of special interest: • In this volume we see the creation of Faramir, and tied with his rapid growth as an important character is the development of the history of Gondor into something much fuller than it had first been imagined. • Shelob was actually initially conceived as Ungoliant, the demonic spider from the Silmarillion (not simply one of her children), reduced in size and power after ages of hunger. • The continued growth of Aragorn in both personal prestige and narrative importance and the solidification of ‘the return of the king’ story arc (including the paths of the dead storyline and the nature of Dunharrow). • Still little to no sign of Arwen Undomiel and the re-capitulation of the Beren-Luthien story (Tolkien actually initially paired up Aragorn and Eowyn, though that relationship appears to have been short-lived). When the figure of Elrond’s daughter does appear it is interesting that her initial name was Finduilas...another direct reference to an ‘almost’ union of men and elves in the Silmarilion, this time from the story of Turin Turambar. Perhaps Tolkien was thinking that Aragorn would make up for Turin’s mistake in not getting together with his Finduilas? • While it seems that from the beginning she was destined to kill the Witch-King (or Wizard-King as he is called in these drafts) Tolkien goes through a fair bit of waffling in regards to the fate of Eowyn: death or life? Initially she was slated to die heroically along with Theoden in her famous attack. • Shockingly (to me at least) Tolkien seems to have toyed with giving Aragorn a ring of power at one point. I’m in this series for the long haul and it is definitely enjoyable, but, as always, I think these are really for the completists and hard-core fans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Christopher Tolkien tends to focus on chronology and maps to a greater extent than I personally enjoy, but it is worth a read just for the behind-the-scenes tidbits of the journey of the creation of The Lord of the Rings. Its super cool to imagine how the story might have turned out if some of Tolkien's earlier ideas had made it to the published version. This particular volume of the HoME focused on the Battle of Helm's Deep, the development of Shelob, and Gandalf and Pippin in Minas Tirith.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    @TolkienKC Last chance to discuss The War of the Ring as we finish reading Volume 8 of the History of Middle-earth and discuss it Friday, May 22nd, 6:30 p.m. Central via Zoom (see link below to connect). Topic: The Next Meeting of the Tolkien Society KC - Virtual Edition! Time: May 22, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting https://park.zoom.us/j/97944448486?pw... Meeting ID: 979 4444 8486 Password: hobbitry One tap mobile +19292056099,,97944448486# US (New York) +13017158592,,97944 @TolkienKC Last chance to discuss The War of the Ring as we finish reading Volume 8 of the History of Middle-earth and discuss it Friday, May 22nd, 6:30 p.m. Central via Zoom (see link below to connect). Topic: The Next Meeting of the Tolkien Society KC - Virtual Edition! Time: May 22, 2020 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meeting https://park.zoom.us/j/97944448486?pw... Meeting ID: 979 4444 8486 Password: hobbitry One tap mobile +19292056099,,97944448486# US (New York) +13017158592,,97944448486# US (Germantown) Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) Meeting ID: 979 4444 8486 Find your local number: https://park.zoom.us/u/adyz96O8xE

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne Gazzolo

    If anyone wishes to look over the shoulder of a sub-creator at work, read these fascinating volumes as Tolkien journeys with great labor to discover what really happened at the end of the Third Age of Middle-earth. There are blind alleys, great insights that are almost unchanged from the start to the final version, intriguing ideas that were found later to be untrue and discarded, and much more. A marvelous treasure trove for any Tolkien admirer!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Pryor

    Eye-opening, insightful, fascinating.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mythlee

    I don't really get into the chronology or the maps, but development of the plot and characters is often fascinating. Théoden's afterlife under the green mound, flowing forth gold or silver, and warning his people's descendants in times of peril? Legolas -- rather than Gimli -- freaked out by the Paths of the Dead? Éowyn and Merry riding openly into battle, with Théoden's knowledge and consent? Denethor actually speaking to Faramir with some sensitivity? All the things that seem so inevitable, so I don't really get into the chronology or the maps, but development of the plot and characters is often fascinating. Théoden's afterlife under the green mound, flowing forth gold or silver, and warning his people's descendants in times of peril? Legolas -- rather than Gimli -- freaked out by the Paths of the Dead? Éowyn and Merry riding openly into battle, with Théoden's knowledge and consent? Denethor actually speaking to Faramir with some sensitivity? All the things that seem so inevitable, so right, in The Lord of the Rings were once up for grabs. Sadly, I didn't see any real evolution in specific details I've been paying attention to recently (certain aspects of the Mouth of Sauron scene and Gollum's near-repentence). But that sure as heck isn't due to any lack of diligence of Christopher Tolkien's part! It might be that those details sprang fully-formed from Tolkien's pen, or they were overwritten, illegible, or otherwise lost. We may never know. But still, what we have is a gem.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    This covers the second half of Two Towers and the first half of Return. Less fumbling about for inspiration than the opening -- but some, with the future Orthanc stone first being just shattered when it hits the ground, or Faramir's name and relationship to Boromir -- and a lot of work with time tables. (This is what happens when you split up the party and four separate courses of events have to interweave.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Zama

    Fantasic, as all the rest of the History of Middle Earth. Maybe in comparison to the other books of the History of the Lord of the Rings this is a bit less intriguing, because at this point (this is the first draft of The Return of the King) Tolkien had figured out most of the story, so there aren’t the ‘alternate’ ideas I found in the previous two books. But it still gives us such interesting facts. I loved learning about Eowyn’s evolution. Some of the first ideas about her were so different fr Fantasic, as all the rest of the History of Middle Earth. Maybe in comparison to the other books of the History of the Lord of the Rings this is a bit less intriguing, because at this point (this is the first draft of The Return of the King) Tolkien had figured out most of the story, so there aren’t the ‘alternate’ ideas I found in the previous two books. But it still gives us such interesting facts. I loved learning about Eowyn’s evolution. Some of the first ideas about her were so different from how they evolved later. Denethor is also a character that evolved a lot. The pattern is always the same: Tolkien wrote the plot in a logical way, but then he saw twists in the story as he had laid it out. Twists that added meaning and layers to the original plot. I love watching this process happening in front of my eyes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Well I spent the weekend catching up, and as I finished my section for today I realized there were just 5 pages left! Yes, I read them! And I can’t believe that I’ve finished another of Christopher Tolkien’s History of Middle Earth books...something I never thought I’d even attempt to read, but I’m still here and still loving the backstories, side tangents, and sometimes outright sleuthing to piece together the story behind the story we know.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Regitze

    Even though he has now gotten a better handle on the begging of the story, the middle and the end seems to keep changing and it’s nerdy and fascinating to follow closey. Christopher Tolkien does a marvellous job at guiding the reader through the strange and twisted roads.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    I loved reading this book. Its beauty is in its contribution to both the "History of Middle-Earth" and "The History of the Lord of the Rings" by providing background depth to the "Lord of the Rings" that we all love. It represents the novel from the "Flotsam and Jetsam" chapter to the parley with the 'Mouth of Sauron' scene. We see Gandalf's evaluation of Saruman's skill as a wizard. Gandalf is shown to agonize over what the palentir was and we see his attempt to discover its place within the sch I loved reading this book. Its beauty is in its contribution to both the "History of Middle-Earth" and "The History of the Lord of the Rings" by providing background depth to the "Lord of the Rings" that we all love. It represents the novel from the "Flotsam and Jetsam" chapter to the parley with the 'Mouth of Sauron' scene. We see Gandalf's evaluation of Saruman's skill as a wizard. Gandalf is shown to agonize over what the palentir was and we see his attempt to discover its place within the scheme of unfolding events. More details are provided about the Treebeard, the Ents, and the Hurons. Also, (again) even more details about the palentir, not just the one taken from Isengard, but all five. Three of the five are described as part of the action: first, at Isengard; second, we see details of the role another plays in triggering the downfall of Denethor, Steward of Gondor; and third, another is retrieved from the Paths of the Dead when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pass through during their mission to conquer the Corsairs, immobilizing them as a threat and to take action that increases their own military numbers. This volume of "The History of the Lord of the Rings" is different from the first two volumes. In the earlier volumes we see J.R.R. Tolkien stumbling around attempting to discover what his story is. He changes from writing a sequel to a children's story to writing a dark heroic saga with links to his legendarium. He goes through many changes in his cast of characters and finalizing what their names will be. By the time he has reached the material represented in "The War of the Ring" Tolkien knows what kind of story he is writing and who the characters are going to be. Instead of another presentation as seen in the first two volumes of "The History of Middle-Earth" we see details that were more developed than what remained in the final version of "The Lord of the Rings" Also, the book describes the chronology of when Tolkien wrote different parts of the book. "The War of the Ring" does a wonderful job of giving us more from the "Lord of the Rings". Sometimes those extra details answer background questions about what was in the novel. But, it always provides more depth to one's experience of that great novel and the world in which it is set.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Max

    More Lord of the Rings history! Also a nice quicker read than the others, with lovely drawings and maps.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Again, a must-read for Tolkien die-hards and with a couple of gems which I'll summarize. This book, more than any other, confirms my opinion that Tolkien perceived himself to be "discovering" the work as he went along. For the last time, do not trust critics who think that Tolkien had it all mapped out. This book begins with Helm's Deep which was a battle that wasn't particularly meant to happen until it was written. Helm's Deep was not a fortress at first, but a kind of hollow geographical base. Again, a must-read for Tolkien die-hards and with a couple of gems which I'll summarize. This book, more than any other, confirms my opinion that Tolkien perceived himself to be "discovering" the work as he went along. For the last time, do not trust critics who think that Tolkien had it all mapped out. This book begins with Helm's Deep which was a battle that wasn't particularly meant to happen until it was written. Helm's Deep was not a fortress at first, but a kind of hollow geographical base. In the original meeting of Gandalf with Saruman at Isenguard, Wormtongue throws the palantir--and it smashes on the steps! In the next few drafts, it seems that Gandalf looks into the palantir (though this premise is short-lived). When we return to Frodo and Sam, Tolkien envisages Gollum's betrayal, Shelob's lair (multiple spiders though at first) and Frodo's imprisonment in Cirith Ungol. The detour with Faramir is completely unexpected and his identity as Boromir's brother only enters as Tolkien goes along. When Shelob finally becomes a singular entity she is named Ungoliant right to the end. When Sam puts on the ring, Tolkien emphasizes that the ring gives Sam understanding of orc language, but no courage. Tolkien began book five and knew that eventually it would reach the Black Gate, with Sauron's minions displaying Frodo's mithril coat. However, the rest of it was initially very hazy. He toys with a) making Aragorn and Eowyn fall in love and marry, and then b) with killing Eowyn in the battle. Intriguingly, he had intended to work in a feast at Edoras at which Gandalf and Aragorn and the hobbits are present, which is exactly what Peter Jackson decided to do to provide breathing space in the film version (Tolkien also pondered making Gandalf tell Frodo to go to Bree, having the elves from Lothlorien reinforce the heroes, and sending both Pippin and Merry to the final confrontation at the black gate). This is not to justify Jackson, but the fact that certain plot developments can both be thought of when working within similar constraints is very telling: don't assume that striking similarities between different authors are the result of imitation. Certain plots, it seems, do tend to favor certain events. The Ride of the Rohirrim and the Paths of the Dead sequences were also somewhat later developments, and Tolkien kept pondering a return of the ents to the battles before Gondor. Merry's accompaniment with Theoden was initially to be open before Theoden forbade him. Denethor is initially a much more fatherly figure, taking back his statement that he wished Faramir had died and Boromir had lived and giving a more fatherly farewell. However, Tolkien also lightens the character a little bit: in some versions, Tolkien has Denethor commit suicide because he knows Isildur's heir is coming in the black ships. There is also at this point before the pyre is invented in which Denethor refuses to yield the throne to Aragorn. At one point, Gandalf is supposedly revealed to Sauron. This would definitely be a book to skip though, since so much of it is boring.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    The War of the Ring follows the drafting of The Lord of the Rings from halfway through The Two Towers (with Frodo and Sam still stuck in the Emyn Muil, and Gandalf and his party on the way to Helm's Deep from Edoras) until halfway through The Return of the King. As the journey nears its end, or at least its final act, the scope for innovation (in the form of major variations from the text of The Lord of the Rings as eventually published) is less than in the previous two books in the series. Ther The War of the Ring follows the drafting of The Lord of the Rings from halfway through The Two Towers (with Frodo and Sam still stuck in the Emyn Muil, and Gandalf and his party on the way to Helm's Deep from Edoras) until halfway through The Return of the King. As the journey nears its end, or at least its final act, the scope for innovation (in the form of major variations from the text of The Lord of the Rings as eventually published) is less than in the previous two books in the series. There are some new developments that spring into life and alter the story in ways that Tolkien had not originally envisaged - the emergence of Faramir, Aragon's journey through the Paths of the Dead, the palantíri - and some pieces of the final picture that are yet to be achieved (no Arwen yet, although pre-traces of her part begin to show towards the end of the volume); but there are fewer alternative plots to be followed or imagined in The Return of the Shadow or The Treason of Isengard. As a result, The War of the Ring is a less exciting read than its predecessors, although equally worthy as a piece of Tolkien scholarship in its minute tracking of details of plot, naming, geography, and chronology. Most of these can be skimmed by those more interested in the big picture, and their profusion can be a bit overwhelming at times overwhelming at times—and sometimes a little underwhelming as well! For anyone who is not an ultra-completist, the broad-brush sketches captured by Tolkien's notes, rather than his more detailed drafts, may be the most accessible and enjoyable parts of the book; until the last few chapters, perhaps, when the drafting of the Minas Tirith story is itself quite fascinating. Outside of these sections, the addition of a few editorial summaries (providing an overview of the location and role of Kirith Ungol, for example) would have been a welcome addition. Having finished reading The War of the Ring just a few weeks after the death of Christopher Tolkien, it would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity of paying tribute to his indefatigable efforts toward securing, and his own huge contribution to, the legacy of his father's work. As in The Treason of Isengard, Christopher appears here and there in this book as a participant in the creation of The Lord of the Rings; and we also catch a glimpse of him as a writer of a work-in-progress himself, as he acknowledges and clarifies lacunae or errors that had emerged since the publication of earlier volumes in the series. I wonder if any future Tolkien scholar will write "The History of The History of Middle-earth" some day?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nonethousand Oberrhein

    How the King returns Christopher Tolkien continues his thorough analysis of his father’s work dedicating this volume to the constitution of the narrative between the last half of The Two Towers and the first half of The Return of the King . Sketches, outlines and comparisons between manuscript versions will satisfy any Tolkien enthusiast. Not just a curiosity collection, but a deep dive into the writer’s head to better understand the building elements of long known characters. Here below my How the King returns Christopher Tolkien continues his thorough analysis of his father’s work dedicating this volume to the constitution of the narrative between the last half of The Two Towers and the first half of The Return of the King . Sketches, outlines and comparisons between manuscript versions will satisfy any Tolkien enthusiast. Not just a curiosity collection, but a deep dive into the writer’s head to better understand the building elements of long known characters. Here below my reviews to the previous volumes of the History of Middle-earth: Vol.1: Sit down and listen Vol.2: Heroics of a young author Vol.3: The poet of Middle-earth Vol.4: Sketches and Annals of the First Age Vol.5: A glimpse of Númenor Vol.6: When Trotter led the way Vol.7: From Rivendell to Rohan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael Joosten

    Due to gaps in the collection possessed by the local library going up, this, the eighth volume of The History of Middle-earth was more like the fourth one I read--and, until this current reread, I had never read the LotR volumes of this series together in sequential order. Doing so makes more clear the structure of Tolkien's writing of The Lord of the Rings, which proceeded in great waves, one rolling after the other: the various waves of building intensity (oft returning to the beginning of the Due to gaps in the collection possessed by the local library going up, this, the eighth volume of The History of Middle-earth was more like the fourth one I read--and, until this current reread, I had never read the LotR volumes of this series together in sequential order. Doing so makes more clear the structure of Tolkien's writing of The Lord of the Rings, which proceeded in great waves, one rolling after the other: the various waves of building intensity (oft returning to the beginning of the tale) that finally brought the story to Balin's tomb, then what I think of as the "Aragorn" wave, bringing the tale to Gandalf and Pippin's ride to Gondor, with dangling threads everywhere for what was to come, then a wave each each for Book IV and Book V--and here ended The War of the Ring, with the armies of Gondor and Rohan marching on the Black Gate. This is the volume where the development of Rohan and Gondor happens--each existed before and were seeds of storyline waiting to blossom. Technically, we get to meet Éomer's éored and arrive in Meduseld in the previous volume, but just as we had already met Boromir and heard much of "Ondor," the tale of the land and thus of its inhabitants happens in these pages--and nowhere moreso than in the drafts that developed the conversations of Frodo and Sam with Faramir in Ithilien.

  18. 5 out of 5

    D-day

    War Of The Ring is book 8 of the History Of Middle Earth series, note that this series is for Tolkien enthusiasts only and not meant for the casual fan. This is the third volume documenting the creation of The Lord of the Rings. When we last left off, Merry and Pippin had met Treebeard and Gandalf and Aragorn had met Théoden. This installment takes us from Helms Deep through the Fall of Saruman, to the Siege of Minas Tirith and finally the Black Gate; so most of the Two Towers and the first half War Of The Ring is book 8 of the History Of Middle Earth series, note that this series is for Tolkien enthusiasts only and not meant for the casual fan. This is the third volume documenting the creation of The Lord of the Rings. When we last left off, Merry and Pippin had met Treebeard and Gandalf and Aragorn had met Théoden. This installment takes us from Helms Deep through the Fall of Saruman, to the Siege of Minas Tirith and finally the Black Gate; so most of the Two Towers and the first half of the Return of the King. At this stage Tolkien knew where he wanted the story to go and there is no longer the frequent revisions of the early part of the story. There were still some details to work out though: what exactly was the Palantir of Orthanc, who was Faramir, and how should Aragorn's journey through the Paths of the Dead be presented, as a flashback and if so when? In contrast much of Frodo and Sam's journey had long been foreseen. In fact much of the difficulty here was keeping Frodo's journey in sync with the other plots.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Poltz

    It’s been over a year and a half since I last read a book in the History of Middle Earth (HoME) series. So it was time to pick up the next in the series, the eighth. “The War of the Ring” is also the third in the subseries of the History of the Lord of the Rings. This book was a tougher start than most of the other books in this series that I’ve read. I had a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of the purpose and format of the book. It was probably because this book begins with the conclu It’s been over a year and a half since I last read a book in the History of Middle Earth (HoME) series. So it was time to pick up the next in the series, the eighth. “The War of the Ring” is also the third in the subseries of the History of the Lord of the Rings. This book was a tougher start than most of the other books in this series that I’ve read. I had a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of the purpose and format of the book. It was probably because this book begins with the conclusion of the battle of Helm’s Deep and it had been so long since I had read the beginning of it. Nonetheless, I eventually got into the rhythm of the book and settled down into a week and half of heavy but informative and interesting reading. Come visit my blog for the full review… https://itstartedwiththehugos.blogspo...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Warren Dunn

    I had a lot of trouble with this book. Looking at how long it took for me to read it the first time, I would say I had the same trouble then. Of course, back then I had just entered university, and the workload was more than I expected. This time around, I think I was simply less interested. But I wonder if it was just the style. Most of this book was the author pointing out passages that changed, which requires an intimate knowledge of the Lord of the Rings, down to the sentences in each chapter I had a lot of trouble with this book. Looking at how long it took for me to read it the first time, I would say I had the same trouble then. Of course, back then I had just entered university, and the workload was more than I expected. This time around, I think I was simply less interested. But I wonder if it was just the style. Most of this book was the author pointing out passages that changed, which requires an intimate knowledge of the Lord of the Rings, down to the sentences in each chapter. It almost expects the reader to have reread the trilogy just before reading this book. http://ossuslibrary.tripod.com/Bk_Fan...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Artnoose McMoose

    I have been continuing with the Mythgard Academy's web seminar journey through the History of Middle Earth series. It is pretty fascinating to walk through Tolkien's notes and drafts via the commentary of his son Christopher. Not everyone who likes the Lord of the Rings really wants to compare early drafts, but it is fun to see when and where Tolkien came up with certain ideas, such as the Path of the Dead.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Gerhart

    "The War of the Ring" was a very engrossing and detailed account of the final battles in "Return of the King", it was very cool to see the many rough drafts the eventually lead to the final form that appeared in the J.R.R. Tolkien classic. Characters who faded in the background of "Return of the King" are given slightly bigger parts in the story in "The War of the Ring".

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Continued exploration of Tolkien's notes and drafts for The Lord of the Rings, this time covering the end of The Two Towers and the beginning of The Return of the King. It is so interesting to see how much was still growing and changing even at this late point, and I'm guessing since we still have one more book to cover the remaining story, that there is still a lot to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thijs

    I don't know what you want me to say about this one that I haven't said about the others! It's simply delightful. If you haven't read the others: what are you doing here for? Go back and start from the beginning! Also, I do vaguely remember some writing about a full moon on feb 6th, but that didn't seem important or much mentioned at all, so I'm gonna skip that here...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A fascinating look at the development of the Lord of the Rings manuscripts and maps.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Makoto

    Best

  27. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    It will probably work out very differently from this plan when it really gets written, as the thing seems to write itself once I get going, as if the truth comes out only then, only imperfectly glimpsed in the preliminary sketch. (219)This is what J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son, Christopher , as he was working out the ending to The Lord of the Rings. This volume, The War of the Ring (Part 3 of The History of The Lord of the Rings series, and Volume 8 of The History of Middle-Earth series), show It will probably work out very differently from this plan when it really gets written, as the thing seems to write itself once I get going, as if the truth comes out only then, only imperfectly glimpsed in the preliminary sketch. (219)This is what J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son, Christopher , as he was working out the ending to The Lord of the Rings. This volume, The War of the Ring (Part 3 of The History of The Lord of the Rings series, and Volume 8 of The History of Middle-Earth series), shows Tolkien's drafting of much of what became The Return of the King. And indeed, as Tolkien wrote in the letter, it really seems that the story is created through the process of writing it, though he devised a number of different outlines for the conclusion of the story. It is uncomfortable at times to see Tolkien confidently stating that he is only a handful of chapters from the end--knowing as we do now that there was so much yet to write, and so much revision yet to happen before the final form was reached. But what a journey, looking over Tolkien's shoulder as he wrestles the ever-emerging story into its full, final version.This volume follows the format of Christopher Tolkien's previous entries in the History series, by now very familiar to anyone who has read even just the first two parts of the History of The Lord of the Rings. Many of the chapters in The War of the Ring, especially in the first half of the book, are very short, which psychologically helps me read the book faster. Christopher is still very concerned with the developing chronology of the story, and I continue to find it less interesting than he does. But in this volume most of his chronology commentary is removed to the end of each chapter, where it can be read, skimmed, or skipped. Here is an example of what those sections sound like:It will be seen that in their dating these time-schemes proceed from the schemes A and B (see p. 118), in which the day passed by Frodo among the slag-mounds was February 4, and in which he came before the Morannon at dawn on February 5. (141)To my reading, not the most enthralling parts of the book. But that's only personal preference and interest. The book as a whole, like the entire series, is incredible, and I enjoy it more with each volume I read.My reviews of the other volumes in The History of the Lord of the Rings series: The Return of the Shadow The Treason of Isengard Sauron Defeated

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elfscribe

    This book is fascinating if you are a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and are interested in detailed minutiae about how the story developed, and/or a writer interested in process. This is the 3rd of the series of 4 books in which Christopher Tolkien minutely dissects his father's various drafts for Lord of the Rings in what was clearly a labor of devotion. Christopher often grumbles about trying to decipher illegible manuscripts on which the first draft was often written quickly in pencil and This book is fascinating if you are a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and are interested in detailed minutiae about how the story developed, and/or a writer interested in process. This is the 3rd of the series of 4 books in which Christopher Tolkien minutely dissects his father's various drafts for Lord of the Rings in what was clearly a labor of devotion. Christopher often grumbles about trying to decipher illegible manuscripts on which the first draft was often written quickly in pencil and then overwritten in ink. He doesn't try to guess what his father had in mind at any point, unless J.R.R. specifically mentions something in his notes,(and when that happens it's marvelous) instead merely documents the process. This volume covers a good portion of The Two Towers through the end of Book V in The Return of the King. Here Christopher Tolkien attempts to resurrect the process J.R.R. took as he slowly moved forward on the ms. from around 1946, then an almost 2 year hiatus, to begin again in 1948. At this point the narrative wasn't characterized by major changes that required circling back to the beginning as was the case in writing The Fellowship of the Ring before Tolkien really had a grasp of the story he was telling. Although there were lots of changes in details as J.R.R. was writing, the main characters and story arc were in place. I found it fascinating to watch the narrative take shape and to contemplate all the starts down a path where J.R.R. then changed his mind,for example at first Denethor did not go mad and commit suicide and gives up the Stewardship to Aragorn. It was interesting to see how much trouble J.R.R. had with choreography, i.e. what happened when, in the story of Frodo and Sam's encounter with Shelob at Cirith Ungol. So, in reading this account it's possible to see where new invention keeps taking place as the story progresses. Christopher also included plot outlines written at various stages. It was interesting to see how those plot outlines evolved as the work progressed because although certain events were always foreseen, the details of the story changed quite a bit as J.R.R. wrote. One of the main difficulties J.R.R. seemed to have at this stage was in chronology because at this point we're following a number of different narratives as the Fellowship breaks up into Merry with the riders of Rohan, Aragorn and the Paths of the Dead, Gandalf and Pippin at Minas Tirith, and Frodo and Sam going into Mordor. J.R.R. was constantly revising the chronology to adapt to the narrative and vice versa. One can see all the painstaking work that went into it. In addition, nearly all the names changed from J.R.R.'s first idea. For instance, I was surprised that Arwen's name was not decided until nearly the end of the book. Instead she was Finduilas. Elladan and Elrohir started out as Elboron and Elbereth (seriously). All in all, I found it fascinating to watch how a work of genius is built through sheer hard work, millions of small decisions that all had to adhere in a logical fashion to the overall scaffolding of the story and how the story was crafted into the final epic tale.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Luka Novak

    This book deals with Tolkien manuscripts and notes at later phase. At this point LOTR already achieved more or less definite form, what was left was fleshing out the details. And this book does just that, shows how events in TT and ROTK were developed into form we know. Events covered are destruction of Isengard by Ents, confrontation with Saruman, assembly of Rohan, their ride to Minas Tirith and siege of this city and Sam and Frodo's journey to Mordor, including Cirith Ungol and Shelob. As I sa This book deals with Tolkien manuscripts and notes at later phase. At this point LOTR already achieved more or less definite form, what was left was fleshing out the details. And this book does just that, shows how events in TT and ROTK were developed into form we know. Events covered are destruction of Isengard by Ents, confrontation with Saruman, assembly of Rohan, their ride to Minas Tirith and siege of this city and Sam and Frodo's journey to Mordor, including Cirith Ungol and Shelob. As I said, Tolkien had already decided how these events will play out, he only toyed with details. While these developments are interesting to Tolkien fans they show no radical difference from finished work. Perhaps the biggest difference is Denethor-Faramir relation, at first shown as far better than what it became later and what was to become of Witch King of Agmar. At first Tolkien had little idea what his fate should be and it was only later that his death at the hands of Eowyn and Merry came about. This book makes a nice addition to previous two volumes but you'll not see radical changes from earlier ideas, most of those are in previous two volumes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1908266.html More in-depth analysis of the story of how The Lord of the Rings was written. We start at Helm's Deep, and follow through the end of Book III and Book IV (ie most of The Two Towers and then all of Book V (first half of The Return of the King). Tolkien's biggest problem was getting the chronology to work between four separated groups of protagonists so that they would eventually end up in the same place at the same time; placing the Paths of the Dead smoo http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1908266.html More in-depth analysis of the story of how The Lord of the Rings was written. We start at Helm's Deep, and follow through the end of Book III and Book IV (ie most of The Two Towers and then all of Book V (first half of The Return of the King). Tolkien's biggest problem was getting the chronology to work between four separated groups of protagonists so that they would eventually end up in the same place at the same time; placing the Paths of the Dead smoothly in the narrative was a challenge as well - it's probably the longest single flashback sequence in a book that generally avoids them. The process of typing up the Helm's Deep / Isengard chapters of The Two Towers seems to have lost a few sentences from Tolkien's manuscript - none crucial but it seems to me that a "definitive" edition of LotR should be published which would at least include them in footnotes. Finally, I was amused to see that the last person mentioned in the preface by Christopher Tolkien, thanking him for explaining an English folk-song reference, is one Mr. Neil Gaiman.

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