Tolkien Geek

Blogging J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and other aimless pursuits.


Appendices D, E & F

Tolkien's attention to detail in all aspects of Middle-Earth lends an air of greater authenticity to this world. As Middle-Earth is supposed to be an imaginary time of this real world, it makes sense that the calendar by which its history is reckoned should be different than that of the modern Gregorian calendar which was not instituted until 1752. While the Elves measured the passage of time in longer measurements, the calendar used by the Numenoreans at the beginning of the Second Age - known commonly as the "King's Reckoning"- was later adapted by the hobbits after the founding of the Shire.

In the King's Reckoning, there were twelve months broken up into weeks that consisted of seven days just like ours. But whereas we account for 365 days by varying the number days within each month ("Thirty days hath September, April, June and November..."), the Middle-Earth calendar has thirty days in each month plus five specially designated days throughout the year that do not belong to a specific month or day of the week (360 + 5 = 365). One of the biggest differences with our modern calendar is that their equivalent of February has thirty days, something you may or may not have noticed in "The Tale of Years".

The first and last days in Middle-Earth are designated as "Yule" days - Yule I follows the last day of the old year and Yule II precedes the first day of the new year. In between June and July are three days that signify the middle of the year: Lithe (or Lithe I), Mid-Year's Day and Afterlithe (or Lithe II). Because of this configuration, any given date falls on the same day of the week every year. And for leap years, there is one extra Lithe day following Mid-Year's Day called Overlithe.

One glaring error that Peter Jackson made in "The Fellowship of the Ring" was a line delivered by Saruman concerning the Nine Nazgul who he learned were abroad. He says "they crossed the River Isen on Mid-Summer's Eve disguised as riders in black". Well, first of all there is no such thing as Mid-Summer's Eve by Tolkien's calendar. It's possible that Jackson meant the day before Mid-Year's Day but according to "The Tale of Years", the Nazgul crossed the Isen on September 18th - hardly mid-summer or mid-year. Perhaps he felt that audiences would identify with a "mid-summer's eve". I'm sure even most fans failed to notice this. I didn't even think about it until I just read through the Appendix.

Anyway, if you've ever looked at our calendar and marked an anniversary of a significant event in The Lord of the Rings, you were way off. Tolkien didn't include a conversion table that showed the relationship between his dates and our modern calendar. But anyone with a working knowledge of spreadsheet software (and the inclination) can create their own. Being a Tolkien Geek, I did just that. There is one other variable however. Since Mid-Year's Day in Middle-Earth corresponds seasonally to the Summer Solstice, the Middle-Earth calendar is actually ahead of ours by ten days. So our New Year's Day would equate to their Afteryule (January) 9th.

Confused? It's not surprising. But here is a list of significant dates during the War of the Ring converted to our own equivalent:

- September 22nd (Bilbo's Birthday) = September 14th
- October 6th (Attack on Weathertop) = September 28th
- December 25th (Fellowship departs Rivendell) = December 16th
- March 10th (the Dawnless Day) = March 3rd
- March 25th (Destruction of the Ring) = March 18th

One other thing I wanted to mention. When the Ring is destroyed and Sauron is overthrown on March 25th, Aragorn (as King Elessar) decrees that March 25th will be the first day of the new year for every year going forward. This is not an arbitrary date for Tolkien. Knowing his history, he was aware that up until 1752, March 25th was recognized by the Kingdom of Great Britain as the first day of the year because all throughout the Middle Ages, England (as well as much of Europe) adapted the reckoning of the Christian Liturgical year which began on the Feast of the Annunciation (the revelation to Mary of her conception of Jesus Christ) which is March 25th [revised and corrected]. While Tolkien probably didn't plan this from the beginning, it seems he decided at some point to make this parallel.

[I've only scratched the surface here on the intricasies of the Middle-Earth Calendars. For a more in-depth analysis, I heartily recommend this page at "".]


Part of the mythology that Tolkien created within Middle-Earth is that the text of the story comes directly from the Red Book of Westmarch, written in the language of Westron or The Common Speech as it existed at the end of the Third Age. Tolkien, as a sort of editor, presents the work as if he has translated it into modern English. So why then discuss such topics as spelling and pronunciation?

Simply stated, the names of beings and places pre-date modern English and are not subject to typical English pronunciation, which is really an amalgam of rules that evolved from several other Germanic and Romance languages. Tolkien, remember, was a professor of languages - a subject very near and dear to his heart. For Tolkien, even words that originated in the Common Speech conformed to the rules of pronunciation associated with Quenya, the ancient High-Elven language of the Noldor. Peter Jackson did a decent job (with a few notable exceptions) of conforming to Tolkien's pronunciation guidelines in his films. In fact, it was here that many a casual reader of the books first heard some of these names pronounced the way that the author had intended.

I, myself, have had to "re-train" myself in the way I read the books to try and get it right. For years, I referred to Celeborn and Cirdan incorrectly as SELLeborn and SEERdan. In Quenya, there is so soft "c". These names are properly pronounced KELLeborn and KEERdan. The letter "G" has only a hard sound as in "give", never a "j" sound as in "gentle". The vowel sounds are also very specific. In English, the vowels a, e, i, o and u each have long and short sounds but in Middle-Earth they are only pronounced as ah, eh, ee, oh and oo, much like in Spanish or Italian. As such, Gandalf's proper pronunciation is GAHndAHlf. I did notice that Peter Jackson's hobbits deviated from this, using a longer "a" as it sounds in "stand". Purists would hate this but frankly that's the way I'm most comfortable saying it. And, hey, perhaps living in such isolation the hobbits developed their own peculiar dialect. There is evidence in the next Appendix to lend credence to this theory.

Incidentally, when you listen to Christopher Lee - who plays SAHrumAHn - his pronunciation is perfect. This is because he himself is a huge Tolkien fan (which makes you wonder if he raised any objections to the "Mid-Summer's Eve" line). The other vowel sound that most people get wrong is "i". Minas Tirith should be Meenas Teereeth, not with an "eye" sound as in the mathematical term "minas". There are also some vowel diphthongs that I've gotten wrong in the past. For example, "au" should always be pronounced as it is in "how", not as in "dinosaur". Sauron should be SOWron, never SAWron. Also, the "ai" diphthong used in words like Edain and Dunedain is pronounced "aye" as in "fine".

Tolkien dedicates the rest of Appendix E to writing. he differentiates between the Tengwar, or letters, and the "Cirith" which are primarily runes. The former was used for writing with an implement, such as a pen. The latter was reserved for inscriptions. Unfortunately, Tolkien overindulges himself here and gets extremely technical. I admit that I find this part difficult to follow. Unless languages are your passion, it's hard to get into it. And I barely got through second year high school Spanish. He also makes no mention of how the Common Speech is written. Did Bilbo and Frodo use the Elvish letters or some other form? He isn't really clear on this one.


One of the most interesting legacies of Tolkien's work is his creation of the languages of Middle-Earth. He developed enough vocabulary, syntax and grammatical rules that languages such as Quenya and Sindarin can be learned like any other language. For those interested in pursuing this depth of study, I recommend the following websites: Quenya Course, Elvish Dialogue Translations & Ardalambion. As I noted above, languages aren't exactly my thing.

In Appendix F, Tolkien discusses the different languages of Middle-Earth in relation to the races who spoke them: Elves, Men, Hobbits and others. For the Elves, Tolkien explains the difference between Quenya and Sindarin. Quenya is the more formal of the two languages and was spoken chiefly by the Noldor. Sindarin was the more colloquial tongue, spoken mostly by the Wood Elves, or Teleri, in Mirkwood and also in Lothlorien. When Galadriel spoke Elvish, it was mostly Quenya which I believe is the language used for the songs that Tolkien included in the later chapters of Book Two. Legolas' primary language was Sindarin but he understood the language of his Noldor kin.

The Common Speech originated among the Men of Middle-Earth. Although the Numenoreans spoke a language closer to Elvish called Adunaic they were fluent in Quenya. Those Numenoreans who were seduced by Sauron into sailing to Valinor rejected the Elvish language and even outlawed it. But the faithful, including Elendil and his followers, were much closer to the Elves and spoke Quenya as a second language. This tradition followed the Dunedain all the way down to Aragorn. And over time, the Numenoreans and their descendents enriched the Common Speech with element of the Elven language.

Hobbits adapted the Common Speech but Tolkien points out that they may have changed it slightly. He writes that "they used it in their own manner freely and carelessly". Perhaps Peter Jackson took note of this and encouraged the actors to "mispronounce" Gandalf? Who knows? Because one of the three strains of Hobbits, the Stoors, migrated over the Misty Mountains and spent some time in the south near Dunland, they may have brought with them a word that the indigenous people still used, "holbytla", which meant "hole-builder". The word Hobbit may well have been derived from this term.

Tolkien then touches briefly upon the languages of Ents, Trolls and Dwarves. The Dwarves were very secretive of their own language, guarding it as a treasure of the past. In fact they were even more secretive about their names. Tolkien writes:"Gimli's own name, however, and the names of all his kin, are of Northern (Mannish) origin. Their own secret and 'inner' names, their true names, the Dwarves have never revealed to any one of alien race. Not even on their tombs do they inscribe them."

The rest of the section focuses on how Tolkien "translated" the various languages and does it in such a convincing way that the reader is able to buy into the idea that these cultures were real. and that's one of the primary reasons that Tolkien included all of this material that made up the Appendices; to make all of it more "real" to the reader (and perhaps to himself).



Well, there you have it: The Lord of the Rings from Prologue to Appendices. It's been six months to the day since I first posted an introduction to The Fellowship of the Ring, which was the official "kick-off" of this project. It was probably foolish of me to thing that I could get all this done in the three month time period that I originally planned. Actually, I probably could have finished it that quickly, but by doing so I wouldn't have put in half of the effort that I ultimately did.

It's been a long (sometimes grueling) process but I've learned a lot more about the books by doing it. Hopefully, those of you who followed along got something out of it as well. So what's next? I'm not really sure. Certainly, I need a long break. And I'm not eager to tackle anything significant anytime soon. For the time being I'll likely make a general post now and then. I actually have one planned for my top ten favorite casting choices in Peter Jackson's films. One day I'll read through the books again and maybe I'll make amendments to the original posts as I'm always discovering new stuff as I read.

In the meantime I'm open to suggestions as well as any nagging questions that anyone might have. I've appreciated your past input and encouragement.


Appendices B & C

I'm willing to bet there isn't a single reader of The Lord of the Rings that has never consulted Appendix B. With so much going on - and so much backstory - how can you not? "The Tale of Years" is an absolute necessity for keeping track of the complex plot layering within the story. In fact, not only is it a great resource for the three volumes that precede it but if you're reading The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales or even The History of Middle-Earth series, this Appendix helps a reader keep his bearings.

While there is reference to the First Age of Middle-Earth and the Elder Days that come before, Tolkien had yet to organize and sift through the tons of material he had written of those periods. So it gets barely a mention. There is, however, a good fleshing out of the events of the Second Age which is kind of the Golden Age of both the Numenoreans and the Elves. Most of the events have already been discussed in Appendix A, but there are some notable entries not previously mentioned.

For example, the whole matter of the forging of the Rings of Power, as well as Sauron's One Ring, is recounted. A lot of readers wonder why the conflict between Sauron and his enemies dragged on so long after the One Ring was created. You have to keep in mind that, while both races of Elves and Men were at the height of their strength, the forces of good engaged Sauron only to the extent that they needed to. And it was only when the Numenorean realms in exile were established that Sauron felt the need to became more aggressive in countering this threat. It wasn't until the Last Alliance of Elves and Men that the conflict came to a showdown over control of Middle-Earth. Later on, by the time of the War of the Ring, Sauron had the advantage because most of the Elves have sailed West over the Sea and the strength of Men had dwindled down to what was left in Gondor.

The arrival of the Istari - the wizards - is also chronicled although it focuses primarily on Saruman and Gandalf. We see the kind of duplicitous actions that Saruman used in the Council of the Wise to allow him to gather his own power while he searched for the One Ring himself. It is also important to note that in the process Tolkien traces the histories of all the races and intertwines their dealings within this one chronology. So we can even see how the hobbits developed from three scattered "tribes" to a united group of little folk existing in the Shire, a region that evolved in the wake of the fall of Arnor.

As far as the War of the Ring goes, Appendix B explains exactly which events are taking place simultaneously throughout Middle-Earth on any given date. Within Tolkien's narrative, he leaves out a lot of this information to maintain the tension throughout the story. Frankly, it wouldn't be as interesting if the reader had the omniscience of knowing everything that was happening at once. It's part of the genius of how The Lord of the Rings is layed out. But with additional readings, it's nice to be able to grasp where Gandalf is as the hobbits trek through the Old Forest or what is going on with Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas as the City of Gondor is under siege.

The other bonus of Appendix B is that we can learn exactly what happened in Middle-Earth after Sam came home to the Shire from the Grey Havens. Interestingly enough, Tolkien converts the measurement of time at this point to that of the Shire Reckoning. We find out the final stories of each of the remaining members of the Fellowship - Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gimli, Legolas and King Elessar (as well as Arwen). In the year 1482 S.R., Rosie Cotton Gamgee dies and Sam (whose surname he has changed to Gardner) follows a fate befitting one who was once a Ring-bearer:
"On September 22, Master Samwise rides out from Bag End. He comes to the Tower Hills, and is last seen by Elanor, to whom he gives the Red Book afterwards kept by the Fairbarns. Among them the tradition is handed down from Elanor that Samwise passed the Towers, and went to the Grey Havens, and passed over the Sea, last of the Ringbearers."
And it is on this premise - the preservation of the Red Book of Westmarch - that we are able to know and read the story of The Lord of the Rings.


Hobbits were known for their love of personal history as opposed to more general history. While they generally shared a lack of concern for the events of the broader world at large, they were intense about their knowledge of family trees. I suspect that Tolkien was also a genealogy freak. In the section "Family Trees" he goes to great lengths to show the lines of the Baggins', the Brandybucks, the Tooks and the Gamgees.

Frankly, unless you're a genealogy aficionado, this is one of the Appendices that you'll spend very little time on. I would, however, like to point out that having become familiar with the early drafts of "The Fellowship of the Ring" I noticed several of the original names that Tolkien had kicked around for Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin scattered among the family trees. Among these are Bingo, Odo, Falco (Folco), Fosco and Marmadoc (Marmaduke). Also if you took through the trees, you can find the familial relationship between not only Bilbo and Frodo, but of Merry and Pippin to the two Baggins'.

Bilbo is referred to as Frodo's cousin in the books and as Frodo's uncle in the films. According to Tolkien, both Bilbo and Frodo trace their families back to one common ancestor, Balbo Baggins. Bilbo was three generations removed from Balbo and Frodo was four generations removed. So to Bilbo, Frodo was (I believe) a second-cousin, once removed. While Bilbo was a first-cousin to Otho Sackville-Baggins, Frodo was much more distantly related. Bilbo was related to the Brandybucks by marriage only. But his mother was Belladonna Took, daughter of Gerontius (the "Old Took"). So Pippin was a closer relation to Bilbo than Merry was.

As for Frodo, he was related to both the Tooks and the Brandybucks because his grandmother was Mirabella Took and his grandfather was Gorbadoc Brandybuck, both parents of his mother, Primula Brandybuck. Primula married Drogo Baggins. He was also a distant cousin of Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger who helped him set up house at Crickhollow and stayed behind to face the attack of the Ringwraiths. Sam's history is interesting enough but what's even more notable was the number children he sired - thirteen. Among them can be found the names Bilbo, Frodo, Merry, Pippin and Hamfast. While Merry did wed Estella Bolger, it seems he had no children. Pippin, on the other hand, had a son with Diamond of Longcleeve. His name was (not surprisingly) Faramir.

I'm sure that other observations can be made from these records but I'll leave those to other readers. Next, we'll wrap it up with Appendices D, E & F: Calendars, Writing and Spelling and Languages.


Appendix A (Part Two)

The rest of Appendix A discusses the history of the people of Rohan as well as the most recent history of the Dwarves. Having fully developed a backstory for the Numenoreans, Tolkien didn't want to short-change the Men of the Mark. For Tolkien, the population of Rohan was a thinly veiled representation of the Anglo-Saxons of his native England. That is to say they represented what the Anglo-Saxons could have been had they been introduced to horses. It always bothered Tolkien that the Normans had such a strategic advantage when they invaded Britain in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were a hearty bunch but, for want of a cavalry (among other things), the forces of William the Conqueror were nevertheless able to do what no other army has done since - invade and defeat the British Isles.

Tolkien decided first to establish a distant link to the Numenorean race by having the forefathers of Eorl the Young come from Rhovanion, which lay east of Mirkwood and was early on an extended part of the Kingdom of Arnor. Before they came to live in what was to become Rohan, the people of Eorl were known as the Eotheod and lived in the northern lands between the Misty Mountains and the Anduin, as far south as the Gladden Fields. They were great horse-masters even then and spent much of the middle of the Third Age fighting the forces of Angmar that existed east of the mountains.

Tolkien describes the situation that led to the first alliance between Gondor and the Eotheod which did battle against the Wainriders at the Field of Celebrant. As a reward for their assistance, Cirion - the Steward of Gondor at the time - gave to them the lands from the River Isen to the Anduin, north of Gondor. Eorl named this land, which was originally called Calenardhon, the Mark of the Riders and they called themselves Eorlingas (hence the "Forth, Eorlingas!" command by Theoden). The names Rohan and Rohirrim were actually what the people of Gondor called them.

There are several tales of the various Kings of Rohan but one of the most interesting is that of Helm (for whom Helm's Deep was named). He was named Helm Hammerhand because he killed a Dunlending named Freca with one blow of his fist. The circumstances of this confrontation are explained further by Tolkien which set off a war with the men of Dunland that ultimately claimed Helm's life. We can see now why the men who fought for Saruman so hated the Rohirrim. Upon the death of Helm Hammerhand, his nephew Frealaf became King (for he had no heir).

It was at this time that Saruman first came to the people of Rohan offering friendship. And by the leave of Beren, the Steward of Gondor, he began to live at Isengard acting as its custodian in the name of Gondor. It is no doubt that this move was motivated by Saruman's desire to find the Orthanc-stone and use it for his own designs. From that point on, the White Wizard began to plot his rise as a power in Middle-Earth. And by the year 2953 of the Third Age (the time of The Hobbit), he claimed Isengard as his own and gave up all pretense of allegiance to either the Men of Rohan or Gondor.

Tolkien traces the three lines of Rohan Kings: the first line from Eorl to Helm, the second line from Helm's nephew Frealaf to Theoden, and the third line that began with Eomer, Theoden's nephew. Tolkien writes:
"Eomer became a great king, and being young when he succeeded Theoden he reigned for sixty-five years, longer than all their kings before him save Aldor the Old. In the War of the Ring he made the friendship of King Elessar, and of Imrahil of Dol Amroth; and he rode often to Gondor. In the last year of the Third Age he wedded Lothiriel, daughter of Imrahil. Their son Elfwine the Fair ruled after him."
And Aragorn reaffirmed the gift of Cirion and Rohan was the only land in that part of Middle-Earth that was not subject to his rule.


By this time, Tolkien probably hadn't developed the origin of the Dwarves because he makes almost no reference to their beginnings. He simply writes that "strange tales are told both by the Eldar and by the Dwarves themselves; but since these things lie far back beyond our days little is said of them here." Later, in The Silmarillion, Tolkien told the tale of the Dwarves' creation. It's a very interesting story involving the Valar Aule and it bears some similarity to the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament of The Bible. The most renowned of the original Dwarves was Durin, and his descendents are referred to as Durin's Folk. Five Dwarves that followed in his line were also named Durin.

Tolkien's account of this race begins, as with the Numenoreans, at the end of the First Age. The Dwarves moved around a lot. They started living in the Ered Luin (the Blue Mountains) which are on the west coast of Eriador. From there they settled in Moria and had a trading relationship with the Elves of Eregion. After Sauron's creation of the One Ring and the lesser Rings, they shut themselves away under the Misty Mountains and remained there until their activities disturbed and released the Balrog. This was the same Balrog that fought with Gandalf, beginning at the Bridge of Khazad-dum and finishing with the Battle of the Peak. But the leader of the Dwarves at the time, Durin VI, was killed by the Balrog and the creature was known afterwards as "Durin's Bane".

The Dwarves had to leave Moria and eventually established a settlement at Erebor with Durin VI's grandson, Thrain I, taking the title of King Under The Mountain. Tolkien then chronicles that attack of Erebor by Smaug the dragon who remained in possession of the Dwarves' horde of treasure until at last Thorin and Company, with their "burglar" Bilbo Baggins, came to take it back. Among the other events in Dwarf history recounted here is the great War of the Dwarves and Orcs, which was responsible for wiping out a large number of the Orcs population that lived in the Misty Mountains. It also established Dain II - Dain Ironfoot (pictured at right) - as the greatest warrior of all of Durin's Folk. Dain would later succeed Thorin as King Under The Mountain at Erebor when his cousin was killed in the Battle of the Five Armies.

Tolkien also traces the fate of the last of the Seven Dwarf Rings which had not yet been taken back by Sauron or consumed by dragons. These Rings never achieved their intended purpose, which was to enslave the Dwarves. The only affect they really had was to "inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless." It was this level of greed that drove Durin to delve too deeply for mithril in Moria and Thorin to go to war with the Men of Dale over the treasure of Erebor.

The last Ring was in the possession of Thorin 's father, Thrain II, when it was taken from him by Sauron who captured and imprisoned the Dwarf at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. Gandalf, while investigating the secret of the "Necromancer" (he did not yet know that this was Sauron), found Thrain at that fortress and the Dwarf gave to the Wizard the map and key to Erebor before he died. These items the Wizard presented to Thorin and thereby sent into motion the events that led to Bilbo's finding of the One Ring. In the text, Tolkien recounts Gandalf as saying that the domination of Middle-Earth by Sauron "has been averted - because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance meeting, as we say in Middle-Earth." There is a section of Unfinished Tales called "The Quest For Erebor" that serves as a supplement to this part of Appendix A, "Durin's Folk". It gives us the full story of Thrain's capture at Dol Guldur, Gandalf's discovery of the Dwarf, his "chance" meeting with Thorin and the hatching of the plan that would come to involve Bilbo. But reading it requires a familiarity of the material presented here in the Appendix.

Finally, Appendix A wraps up with an account of Gimli and we get to read about what happens to him after the events of The Lord of the Rings. He returns with his people to the Glittering Caves and helps Gondor rebuild the gates of the City that the Witch King broke during the siege of Gondor. In the end, it was said that he accompanied Legolas on a ship to the Undying Lands. Tolkien writes:

"If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter."
This concludes Appendix A. We will continue on to Appendices B & C: The Tale of Years and Family Trees.


Appendix A (Part One)

The first Appendix is useful for anyone who could use some clarification on the history of Men, in particular the story of the Numenoreans. Who were they? Where did they come from? What made them more special than other races of men? Appendix A reads like a real history and Tolkien's narrative style is that of an historian who is summarizing information that he derived from primary documents. Before writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien had sketched out a lot of material concerning the history of Middle-Earth. Most of it concerned the Elves in the Elder Days and would end up being published in The Silmarillion. But the history of Numenor and the two realms in exile, Arnor and Gondor, are very relevant to how things led up to the War of the Ring.

I'm not going to go through all of it. It occurs to me that summarizing a story that Tolkien himself is already summarizing is a waste of time. Besides, if I discussed it all it would take away any incentive for you to actually read the Appendices yourself. I will, however, mention a number of interesting things that you can learn from experiencing them first hand.

In Tolkien's universe, a lot of stuff happened before Middle-Earth was even created. But in Appendix A, Tolkien picks up at the end of the First Age when Elrond and his twin brother Elros were born to Earendil, a man of mixed lineage. Like their father, Elrond and Elros were both half-elven and were given the choice of which race they wished to be by the Valar. Elrond, of course, chose to be of Elf-kind. Elros, on the other hand, chose to be mortal although he and his people were granted lifespans many times those of lesser men.

Elros was the first High King of Numenor and the men of this race were granted their own island, far west of the lands of Middle-Earth. Numenor is Tolkien's Atlantis legend, adapted to his own created history. Here he sketches out the events that led to the island's destruction and how Elendil, a descendent of Elros, led a group of Numenoreans to Middle-Earth aboard nine ships and escaped the catastrophe. They brought with them seven palantiri, gifts of the Elves, and a seedling of the White Tree Nimloth which comes to symbolize their race. This story is given further development in the chapter of The Silmarillion titled "Akallabeth".

Elendil established the Numenorean realms of Arnor - located in the North in Eriador - and Gondor - in the south, within sight of Mordor. Elendil ruled as High King over both territories and his two sons, Isildur and Anarion, ruled Gondor jointly in his name. How the Last Alliance of Men and Elves was formed to defeat Sauron is described. After the death of Elendil, Isildur becomes the next High King, but he never makes it to Arnor because of the disaster at the Gladden Fields. I would note that an entire account of the attack on Isildur's army and the loss of the Ring is included in the book Unfinished Tales Of Numenor And Middle-Earth. Isildur's one surviving son succeeds him and Anarion's son rules Gondor. Over time the High King would follow in this line, ruling from Annuminas, even though Gondor exists fairly autonomously in the south.

Tolkien then traces the fates of both Arnor and Gondor separately. He describes how Arnor diminished and was divided into three smaller kingdoms. The Witch-King of Angmar - who was the Lord of the Nazgul - made war on the people of Eriador to the point where the kingdom was broken and the line of kings had to be continued in secret through the chieftains of the Dunedain, who became a wandering people. Then he describes the history of Gondor, which found its own struggles against the Men of Harad. In both of these accounts, we learn how three of the palantiri are lost. We also see how the city of Minas Ithil falls into the hands of the enemy and becomes Minas Morgul.

There is also an entire section devoted to the Stewards. I always knew that King Earnur was the last King of Gondor but I had forgotten that the reason the Stewards wait for a return of the King is because, when he goes off to meet the challenge of the Witch-King, there are no witnesses to his death. Therefore, it became tradition for the Stewards to rule Gondor without actually taking the thrones themselves. And the line of Stewards, also related to the Numenorean blood of the Kings, passed down the office to the eldest son.

One of the most interesting passages in the section on the Stewards tells of Ecthelion II, father of Denethor. He was a wise and just Steward who took the counsel of a man who was called Thorongil by the people of Gondor. He had come to Ecthelion after having been in the service of King Thengel, Theoden's father, but he was not a man of Rohan. Thorongil served the Steward by leading a battle against the men of Umbar who threatened Gondor from the south. He also counseled Ecthelion to be wary of Saruman the White and to trust in Gandalf the Grey. But Thorongil departed a few years before Ecthelion's death. Before he even succeeded his father, Denethor was suspicious of Thorongil's background and saw him as a potential rival for the rule of Gondor.

He was correct because Thorongil was actually Aragorn. It was said that Denethor was able to discover the truth about Thorongil's identity as the Chieftain of the Northern Dunedain and was ever after wary that he would return and try to supplant him with the aid of Mithrandir (Gandalf). This fear played a part in motivating Denethor's secretiveness, driving him to look into the palantir of Minas Tirith. During the siege of Gondor, Denethor believed that "this Ranger from the North" was returning to the White City to make his claim to the throne. I don't recall if it is mentioned in the text of The Lord of the Rings, but at the time of the War of the Ring Aragorn is eighty-seven years old. As one of pure Numenorean blood, he aged slowly as one who would eventually live three times the average lifespan of other men.

Tolkien also tells much of the story between Aragorn and Arwen. Peter Jackson saw fit to include this story in his film trilogy. Here we find out about Aragorn's lineage and how he came to live with Elrond in Rivendell after his father's death. Elrond gave him the name Estel (which means "hope") to protect his identity. It was there that he first saw Arwen, who was visiting from her mother's land of Lothlorien. He fell in love with her. When Aragorn turned twenty years old, Elrond told Aragorn of his true heritage. He also guessed Aragorn's love for his daughter. Aragorn left Rivendell and endured many trials, exploring the lands of Middle-Earth. The burden of expectation lay heavy upon him. At one point, he encountered Arwen again in Lothlorien. It was then that they betrothed themselves to each other on the fair hill of Ceren Amroth.

It was Arwen's choice to forsake the ship that would bear her to the Uttermost West with her people, but though Elrond loved Aragorn like a son he insisted that his daughter should not "diminish her life's grace for less cause" than Aragorn's fulfillment of his destiny and the restoration of the line of the High King. Aragorn knew this would only be possible if Sauron were destroyed and he dedicated himself to this cause until it came to being through the War of the Ring. And as we know they were married and Elrond sailed to the Undying Lands without his daughter.

The tale of their marriage over the one hundred and twenty years that followed is bittersweet. At last Aragorn died and their son Eldarion became the new King. Arwen succumbed to her grief:
"But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lorien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent."
At last, Arwen laid herself down on the hill of Cerin Amroth where she first declared her love and commitment to Aragorn and died. It's a sad ending to their story, but one that makes you appreciate all the more the choice that she had to make. It's perhaps fitting that we should think about this love story on Valentine's Day.

Next up, we'll finish Appendix A with the history of the people of Rohan and of the Dwarves.


Introduction: The Appendices

Nowadays we're all so used to getting "supplementary material" from DVDs that we almost come to expect it. Some of these special features that we get are quite interesting while others are nothing more than silly filler designed to make a DVD purchase more tempting. Incidentally, I love it when you look at a DVD of an older movie and they list things like "interactive menu" as a special feature. Nice. And how about that "English/French subtitles" deal? Wow. The stuff in the Extended Editions of Peter Jackson's films are superb. Supplementary material for films is standard nowadays. But supplementary material for literature? Unheard of. In this way, Tolkien was a pioneer when you think about it.

And imagine how the publishers must have reacted to Tolkien when he told them he wanted to include 130 or so pages of stuff that isn't even in the story? They must have been beside themselves. But hey, they desperately wanted "Return of the King" published so they went along with it. In fact it was because Tolkien took so long to finish with the Appendices of "Return of the King" that they weren't able to release it to the public until almost a full year after "The Two Towers". But the good folks of Allen & Unwin no doubt forgave the good professor, not just because of the book's financial success but because fans were clamoring for more about Middle-Earth! In hindsight, putting in those Appendices seemed like a shrewd move.

The reason Tolkien was so adamant about the inclusion of the Appendices is that he honestly thought that it would be his only chance to publish them. Of course, the further successes of The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and the whole History of Middle-Earth series proved his concerns to be unwarranted. But sadly, all of those volumes were published after his death. Tolkien had much more material to share than what he eventually included with The Lord of the Rings. But he pared it down as best he could.

I can certainly understand why most readers would avoid them. I mean, you just finish a thousand page story to its final conclusion and now there's...more? I'm sure lots of people put aside "Return of the King", expecting that they'll eventually get around to the Appendices. Unfortunately, most never do. And it's a shame. While much of the material isn't as compelling as the story itself, there really is a lot of worthwhile stuff there. So, to entice those who maybe haven't read them and might be interested, I thought I'd write a little about the Appendices.

Giving the material a once over, I've broken it up into four separate posts:
Some parts are more interesting than others, but hopefully each part will yield something of interest. Enjoy!

Book Six Chapters

1) The Tower Of Cirith Ungol

2) The Land Of Shadow

3) Mount Doom

4) The Field Of Cormallen

5) The Steward And The King

6) Many Partings

7) Homeward Bound

8) The Scouring Of The Shire

9) The Grey Havens


ROTK: Bk 6, Ch 9

The Grey Havens
"One evening Sam came into the study and found his master looking very strange. He was very pale and his eyes seemed to see things far away.
'What's the matter, Mr. Frodo?' said Sam.
'I am wounded,' he answered, 'wounded; it will never really heal.'"

The first order of business for Frodo was to ride to the village of Michel Delving and release the prisoners in the Lockholes. Among them was Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. She looked old and worn and as she emerged the hobbits cheered for her. Frodo felt terrible about having to tell her about Lotho. She decided to return Bag End to Frodo and go to live with her family in Hardbottle. To her credit, when she died the next spring, she left everything she had to be used to help those hobbits who had lost their homes as a result of her son's actions.

Whatever ruffians remained in the Shire were hunted down and shown the borders. The shiffiff-houses were torn down and the hobbit holes were repaired. Bagshot Row was rebuilt and the Old Gaffer was returned to his rightful spot at Number Three. But Sam lamented the loss of all the trees that were destroyed. At last, he remembered the small wooden box that Galadriel had given him. He looked inside and saw that it was filled with a grey dust and in the middle was a small silver seed. After talking it over with Frodo, Merry and Pippin, he went all around the Shire planting saplings where the most beautiful trees had been chopped down. With each he put a small amount of the dust in the soil that surrounded the roots. And the seed he planted where the Party Tree had stood.

By the time spring came, the trees sprouted very quickly and the seed had grown into a small sapling of a Mallorn tree like those in Lothlorien. That year, 1420 by Shire Reckoning, was a prosperous year for the hobbits. But that March, while Sam was out tending to his trees, Frodo fell into a bought of depression. Close to the anniversary of Shelob's sting, Farmer Cotton found him lying in his bed clutching the white gem that hung around his neck. "It is gone forever," he said, "and now all is dark and empty." But this malaise passed by the time Sam returned on the 25th though he didn't tell his friend anything about it.

Sam proposed to Rosie Cotton and Frodo, sensing Sam's wish to still take care of his Master, invited them to live at Bag End and start a family. Within the year they would have a daughter, Elanor, named after the golden flowers of Lorien. Merry and Pippin lived for a while at Crickhollow but returned to Bag End often. They had become the talk of the Shire not only because of their heroics at the Battle of Bywater but for the fact that they had grown taller than any living hobbit because of the Ent Draughts they drank in Fangorn Forest. On October 6th, Frodo seemed distracted and not quite himself. It was the second anniversary of the attack on Weathertop.

Time passed and a year later Bilbo's one hundred and thirty-first birthday was approaching. Frodo asked Sam to go on a short journey with him. Sam assumed they were going to Rivendell to see Bilbo, but Frodo had other plans. He gave Sam the red-bound book in which he and Bilbo had written about their adventures. "I have quite finished, Sam," said Frodo. "The last pages are for you." They journeyed east the same way they had traveled when they first encountered Gildor and the Elves. On September 22nd, they saw Gildor again and he was with Elrond and Galadriel. Riding slowly behind them was a very old Bilbo Baggins. It was the last riding of the Ring-bearers, bound for the Grey Havens and Frodo was going with them.

Sam didn't understand. He thought that Frodo would stay on and enjoy the Shire for years.

"So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I had and might have had I leave to you. And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodo-lad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more that I cannot see. Your hands and your wits will be needed elsewhere. You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardner in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger and so love their beloved land all the more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the Story goes on."

They rode throughout the night westwards across the Shire and along the edge of the White Downs. They reached the white towers of the Emyn Beraid and were met by Cirdan the Shipwright. In the distance, they they saw the sea, the beauty of which they had never seen before. Cirdan led them to the Gulf of Lune, where a ship waited for them at the Grey Havens. Also waiting for them was Gandalf. He was robed in white standing alongside Shadowfax and openly wearing the red Elvish Ring Narya, the Ring of Fire. Elrond was wearing Vilya, mightiest of the Three. It was a gold band embedded with a blue stone. And Galadriel wore Nenya, the Ring wrought of mithril with its single white stone. Because of the departure of the Elven Rings, the refuges of Rivendell and Lothlorien would diminish without the power to sustain them. Though, their waning strength would have made this inevitable even if they had remained in Middle-Earth.

Merry and Pippin suddenly rode up to join them and see Bilbo and Frodo off. Gandalf said farewell to his friends, for his work was done and he was taking the journey over the Sea as well. It was the end of the Fellowship. "I will not say: do not weep," said Gandalf, "For not all tears are an evil." He escorted Bilbo onto the large white ship which Elrond and Galadriel had already boarded. Now it was time for Frodo to say goodbye to his friends.

It's sometimes very difficult for some readers to fully understand why Frodo sails to the Blessed Realm. I've had people who had either read the books or seen the films for the first time ask me (knowing full well I'm a Tolkien geek) "Why did Frodo have to go away?" It certainly wasn't the ending they were expecting. It's even more confusing when you consider that he is journeying to a physical place that is removed from this world. And he's going by ship. They also ask "Where is he going?" and "Does he live forever there or does he die." If you haven't read any of Tolkien's other works, it's not surprising for such questions to come up.

The quick answers are that Frodo doesn't have to go. He is given the opportunity to go and he chooses to because he can never be truly happy anymore at home. Like a returning war veteran, Frodo bears many scars - both physical and spiritual - that won't heal and will cause him suffering his whole life. In the Undying Lands, he will be at peace. And there will be friends, particularly those with whom he is now taking the journey. Frodo is a mortal and will eventually die when he reaches his full lifespan but he will live out the remainder of his years in a sort of paradise. There his wounds will heal and he will forget what suffering is. Imagine if you could spend the rest of your life in the perfect vacation spot doing whatever you wanted and never having to worry about the end of the trip. Not a bad deal, huh?

As Tolkien explains in Letter No. 246 in reply to a reader:
"He went both to a purgatory and to a reward, for a while: a period of reflection and peace and a gaining of a truer understanding of his position in littleness and in greatness, spent still in Time amid the natural beauty of 'Arda Unmarred', the Earth unspoiled by evil."
For even though the Ring was destroyed, it still "possessed" Frodo. The evil of the Ring had left its mark on him and its loss would forever torment him. In Valinor, he would be free of that torment.

Sam, Merry and Pippin watched as the ship sailed away down the Gulf into the open Sea. It was time for Sam to let go of Frodo, and to fully embrace the life that waited for him back in the Shire.

The story is now ended. So I will conclude it exactly the way J.R.R. Tolkien (and, thankfully, Peter Jackson) did:
"At last the three companions turned away, and never again looking back they rode slowly homewards; and they spoke no word to one another until they came back to the Shire, but each had great comfort in his friends on the long grey road.

At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on to Buckland; and already they were singing again as they went. But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected. And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.

He drew a deep breath. 'Well, I'm back,' he said."


[Chronology: November 4th 3019 through October 6th 3021 T.A.**]

** Technically, the Fourth Age began on September 30th 3021 but for simplicity's sake all chronology dates are listed as T.A. (Third Age)


J.R.R. Tolkien had much more to share about Middle-Earth that didn't quite fit into The Lord of the Rings. But he saved much of this additional material for the reader to explore by including it at the end of The Return of the King in The Appendices. First, I'll start off with an Introduction.

(revised 11/14/06)


ROTK: Bk 6, Ch 8

The Scouring Of The Shire
"'This is worse than Mordor!' said Sam. 'Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it's home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.'"
For Peter Jackson, there was never any debate as to whether or not the next chapter would make it into his film, The Return of the King. With the audience already having sat through three hours in the theater, he knew that they would have a hard time dealing with such a major sequence in the wake of the trilogy's emotional climax. It just wouldn't have fit. Many fans no doubt disagreed and hoped that it would at least make it into the Extended Edition. But Jackson didn't film it. I have to admit that this has always been one of my least favorite parts of the story because at this point I'm ready to finish it. But, alas, the conflict in the Shire and its resolution was an important - and necessary - part of the story for Tolkien. I'm sure it was cathartic in allowing him to relate his own experiences of coming home from World War I. He left an idyllic life, saw the horrors of war and returned to find that for him neither the outside world nor the world he left would ever be the same again.

The four hobbits arrive at the Brandywine Bridge only find that it is gated. It is guarded by several shirriffs - a position that until recently was served somewhat casually as the Shire's means of law enforcement. But Frodo and company had no patience for this nonsense and entered the gate by force. The shirriffs were under orders from the "chief" residing in Bag End. This meant Lotho Sackville-Baggins, to whom Frodo had sold his home before he had left. Bill Ferny, who is one of the chief's "big men", tries to bar the entrance but retreats when he realizes that he is no match for the sword-wielding hobbits. He is never heard from again.

They decide to stay the night at the guard house when they learn that all the inns have been closed. They also get a little information from Hob Hayward - one of the shirriffs that they knew. It appeared that Lotho was now in charge and had established on oppressive new set of rules that were enforced by the shirriffs and a large number of the ruffians that Barliman Butterbur had warned them about. Most of the shirriffs acted out of fear of the men rather than allegiance to Lotho.

Well, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin had just faced Orcs, Balrogs, Trolls, Giant Spiders and Nazgul. They felt no fear for these squinty-eyed men from the south and resolved to investigate the situation and put things right. Our dear hobbits had "grown" in more ways than one. The next day, a new band of shirriffs showed up to arrest them. Frodo and his companions couldn't contain their laughter at this absurdity and told them that they were setting out to confront their chief but if they wanted to follow along with them they were more than welcome. As they rode through the village of Frogmorton, the shirriffs who had traveled on foot were getting tired and had to stop. Merry told them that they were riding on but bid them to "come along in your own time."

They traveled on until they made their approach to Bywater and were shocked at what they saw.
"Many of the houses that they had known were missing. Some seemed to have been burned down. The pleasant row of old hobbit-holes in the bank on the north side of the Pool were deserted, and their little gardens that used to run down right to the water's edge were rank with weeds. Worse, there was a whole line of ugly new houses all along the Pool side, where the Hobbiton Road ran close to the bank. An avenue of trees had stood there. They were all gone. And looking with dismay up the road towards Bag End they saw a tall chimney of brick in the distance. It was pouring out black smoke into the evening air."
They were met in front of The Green Dragon, now boarded up and lifeless, by a group of swarthy men. These men resembled the squint-eyed, orcish-looking southerner that they had seen at The Prancing Pony over a year ago. It was clear from the look of them that they had been the result of Saruman's doing down in Isengard. These half-orcs, half-men had clubs but no other weapons. They warned the hobbits that their "uppish" behavior would be dealt with harshly. Lotho would see to it they said, because "Sharkey's come now, and he'll do what Sharkey says."

Frodo tried to bring the ruffians up on current events regarding the fall of Barad-dur and Isengard and the return of the King to Gondor. One of them snapped his fingers in Frodo's face and called him a little "cock-a-whoop". This was too much for Pippin, who unsheathed his sword and declared himself a messenger of the King. Merry and Sam joined him but Frodo did not move. These men, who weren't used to such defiance from the little folk, turned and fled up the Hobbiton Road. But Frodo knew they would soon return in greater numbers.

Merry told his friends that something needed to be done at once.
"'Raise the Shire!', said Merry. 'Now! Wake all our people! They hate all this, you can see: all of them except perhaps one or two rascals, and a few fools that want to be important, but don't at all understand what is really going on. But Shire-folk have been so comfortable so long they don't know what to do. They just want a match, though, and they'll go up in fire. The Chief's Men must know that. They'll try to stamp on us and put us out quick. We've only got a very short time.'"
Merry understood that at one time the four of them had been just as "comfortable" in their provincial lives, but they had since learned that the safety they had always felt was just a fantasy. The threat of evil had pierced their formerly tranquil existence. And it was time to defend it.

While Merry sounded a horn that was given to him by Eowyn, Sam made a dash for Farmer Cotton's place. Cotton and his sons were up for joining in the fight. Sam also took the opportunity to reacquaint himself with Rosie Cotton, who was pleased to see him return. Soon the whole village had gathered. When the shirriffs arrived, most of them joined their side. Farmer Cotton told Frodo of the resistance shown by the Tooks down at Great Smials over the last year which gave Pippin the idea to hurry down to Tuckborough and bring as many of his kin as he could muster.

The hobbits set up a barrier across the road and beyond it a huge bonfire was set - which was breaking one of the "rules". When a squad of ruffians, about twenty of them, headed into the town they saw the barrier and laughed. The hobbits let them in and they marched to the fire where Farmer Cotton stood alone. But they had led them into a trap. As the men made a move to seize Cotton, they stopped because suddenly they found themselves surrounded by a circle of some two hundred hobbits that had crept out of the shadows, each of them holding some sort of weapon. Merry stepped forward and warned them that they were covered by archers. The leader, however, made a move at Merry with a knife and a club. He was shot dead with four arrows. This was enough for the other men, who gave up and were taken away to be bound and locked up under guard.

They knew a larger scale attack of ruffians would come by morning. Farmer Cotton gave them a further account of how all this had happened. More than a year earlier, Lotho Sackville-Baggins had been secretly buying up large amounts of property throughout the Shire. His source of funds was never revealed but he soon began sending large quantities of pipe-weed out of the Shire. And as he gained more control, other goods followed. Soon the men from the south began to arrive and, about the same time that the Fellowship set out from Rivendell, Lotho declared himself "chief shirriff", had the Mayor arrested and locked up and handed down the "rules".

Merry asked him who Sharkey was and Cotton told him he was "the biggest ruffian o' the lot". No one had ever seen him but he arrived sometime around the end of September and took up residence in Bag End. It seems that now Sharkey was the new "chief" and his orders to his men seemed mostly to be "hack, burn and ruin." And shortly after his arrival he had Lotho's mother, Lobelia, arrested for interfering with Sharkey's men. Lotho had not been seen in weeks.

The next morning there was news that close to one hundred ruffians were heading down the East Road towards them. It was clear they meant to squash this rebellion as quickly as possible. But Pippin had just arrived with one hundred hobbits from Tuckborough to join the other two hundred in Bywater. And Merry had a plan. The men turned up the Bywater Road, which lay between two high banks aligned with low hedges. As they came around a bend, they were stopped by a barrier of overturned carts. Out from the hedges above, the army of hobbits appeared. Merry ordered them to lower their weapons but soon the battle began. As the men tried to climb the banks, the hobbits attacked. Those men that made it out were caught and encircled by a wide ring of hobbit archers.

When it was over, seventy ruffians were killed and the remainder were either taken prisoner or had run away. They buried the men in a large sand pit nearby, which was later named "the battle pit". Nineteen hobbits were killed and thirty were wounded. Frodo had been in the battle but his efforts were focused on preventing those enemies who surrendered from being killed by the other hobbits. Now it was time to deal with the chief.

Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin were joined by an escort of about two dozen of the sturdiest hobbits and marched up to Bag End. Even Sam's vision in Galadriel's mirror hadn't prepared him for the devastation that they saw. The old mill had been torn down and a larger one built in its place. In the distance they could see that Bagshot row had been dug up into a quarry. The fields were bare of grass. Large huts had been erected in front of Bag End so that the hobbit hole could not be seen from the road. But worst of all for Sam, the Party Tree under which they had celebrated Bilbo's birthday so many years before had been cut down. Its trunk was lying dead in the field. (click on the before and after graphic below for larger view)

They arrived at the front door of Bag End but there was no answer. They forced their way in to find it was full of filth and disorder. Then suddenly, Saruman appeared at the door. "Sharkey!" cried Frodo. Yes, Saruman said, that was the name that his men called him back at Isengard - a derivative of the orcish word sharku, meaning "old man". He had been the one who financed Lotho's land grabs and sent his people north to ensure that the supply of leaf and other goods in the Shire were sent to his fortress. Lotho had always believed he was more in control of his situation than he really was. But he had ultimately been under the power of Saruman, which is ironic when you consider how similar this was to the relationship Saruman had with Sauron. While the wizard believed that he was a power in his own right, his actions were merely an echo of the purposes of Mordor.

When Saruman left Isengard, he decided to head north and settle a score with the little folk who had caused his ruination. He explained:
"'You thought you had done very well out of it all, and could now just amble back and have a nice quiet time in the country. Saruman's home could be all wrecked, and he could be turned out, but no one could touch yours. Oh no! Gandalf would look after your affairs.'

Saruman laughed again. 'Not he! When his tools have done their task he drops them. But you must go dangling after him, dawdling and talking, and riding round twice as far as you needed. "Well," thought I, "if they're such fools, I will get ahead of them and teach them a lesson. One ill turn deserves another." It would have been a sharper lesson, if only you had given me a little more time and more Men. Still I have already done much that you will find it hard to mend or undo in your lives. And it will be pleasant to think of that and set it against my injuries.'"
Saruman tried to scare the band of hobbits into backing off, but Frodo declared that the old man no longer had any power beyond his persuasive voice and ordered him to leave. Knowing he wasn't in a position to make a stand, Saruman called to Wormtongue to come with him. As he passed Frodo, he produced a knife that he had hidden and stabbed him but Frodo's mithril-mail once again saved him from harm and the knife just turned and snapped. The other hobbits, led by Sam, threw Saruman to the ground. But Frodo stopped them, insisting that he not be slain. This only angered Saruman, who cursed Frodo because he must now "go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy."

Frodo told Wormtongue that he didn't have to go with Saruman because he did him no wrong. They would allow him to stay if he wished. Saruman revealed that Grima had killed Lotho, stabbing him in his sleep. Aghast with hatred, Wormtongue hissed that Saruman had ordered him to do it. Saruman only laughed and kicked his servant in the face before turning to leave. But Grima's wrath drove him to seize his master and, producing his own knife, he slit his throat. A hobbit bowman sent an arrow into him and they both fell dead on the doorstep of Bag End.

It seems that for the longest time, Tolkien was uncertain as to the ultimate fate of Saruman. In his notes outlining the story as foreseen from the Field of Cormallen, he wrote regarding the hobbits return trip through Dunland: "They come upon Saruman and he is [?pardoned]."

Christopher Tolkien writes of this matter:
"That they would meet Saruman again on the homeward journey was an old idea (see 'The Story Foreseen from Moria', VII.212), but then it had taken place at Isengard, and the matter of that scene had of course been removed to a much earlier place in the narrative (VII.436). A later note (VII.287) says that 'Saruman becomes a wandering conjuror and trickster', but nothing further has been told of him since he was left a prisoner in Orthanc guarded by the Ents until now." (Volume references are for The History Of Middle Earth)

This idea clearly continued toward the end of his first draft because in the first writing of "The Scouring of the Shire", the Sharkey that the hobbits met at Bag End was simply the leader of the ruffians. He had become the new chief when Lotho had fled the night before after receiving the news of the rebellion. The men still had acted on orders from Isengard but they had not had any contact with Saruman for some time. This original "Sharkey" was dispatched by Frodo, who stabbed the man with Sting. This fierceness of Frodo's demeanor had been present throughout the early draft. It was later that Tolkien chose to make Frodo more passive and abhorrent towards violence.

When Tolkien revised his portrayal of Frodo in the later drafts, he apparently decide to write a final unambiguous ending for Saruman as well. Instead of just disappearing after he went off into the woods of Dunland in "Many Partings", he devised that Saruman made for the Shire and arrived on September 22nd (the day after Frodo and his companions reached Rivendell). Over the next five weeks, he worked his mischief although much had already been done. He got rid of Lotho by ordering Wormtongue to kill him and moved into Bag End.

Now he lay dead with his body shriveled and withered as his spirit left this physical incarnation.

"To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing."
Saruman's true nature, just like Gandalf's, was that of a Maiar spirit. Bereft of its physical form, it attempted to return to the Undying Lands. But a power in the form of wind from the west destroyed it. For despite opportunities to repent, Saruman remained an evil, twisted version of his former good self. Unlike Gandalf, he would not be welcomed back by the Great Powers of Valinor.

With the death of Saruman came the official end of the War of the Ring. But as Sam observed, there was still quite a mess to clean up which would require much time and work.

[Chronology: October 30th through November 3rd 3019 T.A.]

Next: The Grey Havens

(revised 11/13/06)


ROTK: Bk 6, Ch 7

Homeward Bound
"'Well, good luck on your road, and good luck to your homecoming!' said Mr. Butterbur. 'I should have warned you before that all's not well in the Shire neither, if what we hear is true.'"
Now the hobbits turned toward home and this last part of their journey was very much like a reunion tour of the sites that they saw throughout Book One, most of them reviving unpleasant memories - especially for Frodo. On October 6th, Frodo was very quiet until Gandalf finally asked if he was in pain. Frodo replied that his shoulder was and that it had been one year ago that day since the Witch-King had stabbed him with his Morgul-blade on Weathertop.
"'Alas! there are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured,' said Gandalf.

'I fear it may be so with mine,' said Frodo. 'There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?'

Gandalf did not answer."
By the next day, however, Frodo was feeling a bit better. They followed a leisurely pace along the Great East-West Road. Although Frodo pressed his friends to pick up the pace as they passed Weathertop on their right. It wasn't long before they found themselves at the south-gate of the village of Bree. They were met by a different gate-keeper than Harry Goatleaf and as they entered they noticed that the town seemed almost deserted. When they reached The Prancing Pony, Barliman Butterbur was both surprised and delighted to see them, especially Gandalf. There was not much company at the inn and even from the Common Room only the low murmur of a few voices could be heard.

Butterbur led them to the same small parlor where they had gathered a year before and the innkeeper was eager to hear of news from the outside world. After the guests told him some of their tale, he explained to them why business was now so bad. It wasn't long after Frodo and company departed Bree at the end of last September that strange folk from other lands began coming to the area and these ruffians were full of thievery and mischief. Old Harry the gatekeeper had a hand in letting them in and it seems that he threw himself in with their lot. The townsfolk didn't feel safe venturing out after dark. Few people would come to the inn and those that did tended to keep to their rooms.

Butterbur lamented the recent departure of the Dunedain Rangers, who had left to aid Aragorn back in February. He had come to realize that he and the others of the town had taken them for granted. "I don't think we've rightly understood till now what they did for us," he said. Gandalf declared that better times were coming. He told him there was a King again and there would soon be more comings and goings up and down the Greenway - the road that the intersected the Great East-West Road and led northwards to Fornost, the old abandoned capital of Arnor (which was now known locally as Deadman's Dike). At first Butterbur was troubled at the thought of outsiders coming to his inn, but Gandalf assured him that the new King would leave Bree alone because "he knows and loves it." When the wizard told him that the King was in fact Strider, Butterbur couldn't believe it. His jaw dropped at the idea that the mysterious Ranger was now the King of all these lands.

They stayed that night as well as the next one. Their presence had drawn the village's curious inhabitants to the inn and once again the Common Room was full of patrons. Sam was thrilled to learn that not only had Bill the pony survived the wolves that surrounded the West Gate of Moria but he had made it back all the way to The Prancing Pony. When they left the next morning, the pony went with them.

Butterbur wished them a safe journey but also cautioned them that, if what he had heard was true, all was not well in the Shire and they should be careful. Now it was time for Gandalf to say goodbye.
"'I am with you at present,' said Gandalf, 'but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.'"
Gandalf said farewell for now and he turned Shadowfax Southward away from the road to visit Tom Bombadil. As the hobbits rode on, they saw the Barrow Downs off to their left and, further on, the Green Hill country where their journey had begun. It was close to this point where they left Tom and almost expected to see him standing out on the Downs waiting for them. But they needed to get moving if they were going to reach the Brandywine Bridge by evening.
"Well here we are, just the four of us that started out together,' said Merry. 'We have left all the rest behind, one after another. It seems almost like a dream that has slowly faded.'

'Not to me,' said Frodo. 'To me it feels more like falling asleep again.'"
Frodo felt that his life in the Shire, with no care for the outside world around him, was like being in a blissful sleep. And leaving it over a year ago had been a rude awakening to the evils that lay beyond its borders. Now he was returning to a home that was very different from the one he remembered - one that had been assaulted by the kind of evil that he had just left behind. But as we shall see, Frodo and his friends had also changed.

[Chronology: October 5th through October 30th 3019 T.A.]

Next: The Scouring Of The Shire

(revised 11/11/06)