The Return of the Shadow: The History of the Lord of the Rings Volume 1

The Return of the Shadow: The History of the Lord of the Rings Volume 1

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Edited by: Christopher Tolkien
Foreword by: Christopher Tolkien
Published by: Unwin Hyman
Publication Date: 1988
Series: The History of Middle-earth
Series Number: 6

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With the sixth volume of The History of Middle-earth the story reaches The Lord of the Rings. Christopher Tolkien describes, with full citation of his father's 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 long believed would be a far shorter book, "a sequel to The Hobbit."

In The Return of the Shadow (an abandoned title for the first volume), the enlargement of Bilbo's magic ring into the supremely potent and dangerous Ruling Ring desired by the Dark Lord is traced; and the precise moment is seen when, in an astonishing and unexpected leap in the earliest narrative, a Black Rider first rides into the Shire, his significance still unknown. The character of the hobbit called Trotter (afterward Strider or Aragorn) is developed while his identity remains an insoluble 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 for a long time, as the Company of the Ring, still lacking Legolas and Gimli, stands 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.

From the dust jacket of the 1st American edition
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