Lord of the Rings

I thought that I could share some thoughts and observations, which were brought up after re-reading the Finnish translation of the Lord of the Rings. (Long post warning, and apologies for "geeking out"!)

The book was translated into Finnish in 1973. Initially, an author, translator and lecturer Eila Pennanen was supposed to do the work, but since she was flooded with jobs at the time, she delegated the duty to one of her students, Kersti Juva, who was 25 years old at the time. The condition was, that Juva would do the translation, and Pennanen then would go trough the text, to make sure that everything was ok; it was to be Juva's first "formal" translation. (Juva had freshly graduated from the university of Helsinki, one of her subjects being English philology, and was hired as a translator by a publishing house. Pennanen must have seen that Juva had a real talent when she was her student, and trusted her with the task.)

So, Juva translated the first two books (The Fellowship of the Ring 1973, The Two Towers 1974), with Pennanen checking the translation, and after seeing the quality of the work, she let her finish the Return of the King (1975) on her own. Juva was indeed a natural; the LotR translation is regarded as a greatly successful achievement, and I think that it's considered amongst the finest ones in any language.
(In time, Juva translated Tolkien's other books as well: Silmarillion, The Hobbit [a new translation; the old one was not that well done], The Lost Tales, Children of Hurin, the Fall of Gondolin, etc.)

Along the years, I have read LotR (nerd alert ;-)) maybe 8 times, and a couple of times in English for good measure. When I thought about it, and if memory serves, I read the translation before the movies came out (2001), and the original version sometime after the last of the movie, maybe in 2004-2005. In the interim, I have re-read Silmarillion, Hobbit, etc., but the Lord of the Rings has actually been gathering dust on the shelf since then! :scared:

In 2021, Juva wrote a book about the process of translating LotR, and going through the texts, she noticed that there are several inconsistencies and some amateurish mistakes (according to her) included. (Also, you could imagine how in almost fifty years, one's translation skills would develop and improve.)

2023 would mark the 50 year anniversary of the translation of the Fellowship of the Ring, and Juva proposed to the publishing house that to commemorite the milestone, a revised translation could be published. They agreed, and she started fine tuning the text to get it ready for the anniversary. (Juva reassured and highlighted, how the essence of the story is would be naturally unchanged, even if there were corrections that needed to be made practically on every page.)

(Over time, the Finnish fans had collected some observations of the inconsistencies in the translation on their website, and Juva mentioned how it was a great help. She has attended many Tolkien related conventions and mentioned, how appreciative she has been of the warm welcome she received during every occasion. The "Tolkienites" highly value the excellence of Juva's work, and I thought it was nice to hear how their findings assisted her with the workload.)

I re-read the Hobbit a couple of years ago, and was toying with idea of re-reading LotR as well, but didn't get around to it that quickly. However, there was a blessing in disguise with the delay: I read an article during late spring of 2023, that the revised translation would be published in the autumn of that year. So I held my horses, and bought the book immediately when it was out, and began reading it.

A funny thing: even though my last reading of LotR was ages ago, the 8 times I had read the old translation had ingrained Juva's rendition style into my "backbone" and left a lasting impression. (I think the "impurities" in the sentence structures etc. added "personality" to the text, so to speak.) Reading now her new translation, at first the text seemed almost "too pure" and had a differing feel from the old, but eventually I got over it, and the story overwhelmigly engossed me. It was kind of like reading the book "anew".

Although I knew the main beats by heart, I was in a way surprised about all the finesse, details and the skill of the writing, that were there in the story. For instance, I had forgotten how well written the threat and lure of the ring was; likewise the terror of Sauron, always foreboding in the backround, scanning for the ring and the characters associated with it. (It was pretty well portrayed in the movies, but in the books it's on a whole different level.)
Also, I had always liked the atmospheric and slowburning worldbuilding of the Fellowship of the Ring, but had forgotten how the Return of the King reads like a page-turner thriller, where you sit on the edge of your seat, wondering will they make it in time (even if knowing the outcome).

In my earlier readthroughs, I didn't dig in to the appendixes which are at the end of the book that much: I just read Aragorn and Arwen's backstory, and checked the "tale of the years", where the main events of the second and third ages are outlined. This time I read all of them (but only glanced through the part about the pronounciation and writing of the languages :whistle:), and was especially struck by the story of the loyal and true Numenorean people, who fled their island home to escape the mayhem caused by Sauron, ashored on the mainland and established the kingdoms of Gondor in the south and Arnor in the north.

The history of Arnor and its location, which was quite near the Shire, had pretty much slipped my mind. It was fascinating to read the backstory of the place, and how it reverberated all the way to the happenings in the LotR era (Arnor was long gone by then). For example, the head of the Nazgul, Witch-King, lead his orcs and "undead" wraiths/evil spirits against the Arnorians, who in turn forged weapons spesifically against the undead (and the Witch-King).

During his reign in the nearby Witch-realm of Angmar, Witch-King sent wraiths to pest areas of Arnor, and some of them settled to haunt the Barrow-down burial tombs. Aeons later, the hobbits encountered one on their way to Rivendell and were captured within a tomb. They were saved by Tom Bombadil, and as that particular tomb happened to contain knives made with above mentioned goal in mind (in its treasure stash), he gave them to the hobbits, for "future reference". Fast forwarding then to the battle of Minas Tirith, Merry stabbed the Witch-King's knee with the blade (normal one would have been ineffective), hurting and distracting him, so that Eowyn was able to make the killing blow. Finding out about all these nuances in the appendixes almost made me read the book again, right away. (In any case, I suspect that it won't take another 20 years to do that!)

All in all, the book is an absolute masterwork. Revisiting it after a prolonged period, reading the enhanced translation, made a particularly strong impression on me. There is authenticity, depth and universal truths in the writing, which really connect with the reader. I guess as Tolkien laid the groundwork, planned and wrote the history and languages of the Middle-Earth for a long time before publishing the first book (the Hobbit), it certainly shows. Regarding this, I think the following meme is quite apt!



It's always tricky to adapt a book into a movie, as you have to do a lot of well balanced cutting of corners and condensing during the process, to have a fruitful outcome. It is pretty universally agreed, that the Lord of the Rings adaptations managed to do this quite successfully.

Reading the book, I noticed that some pieces of the text which were taken and then very cleverly placed in the movie(s), into a different part of the story. Below are a few examples of this.

In the book, Frodo has the famous "I wish it need not have happened in my time" discussion with Gandalf in Hobbiton, before he leaves for Rivendell. However, in the movie, they have the conversation later on, in the mines of Moria:

‘But last night I told you of Sauron the Great, the Dark Lord. The rumours that you have heard are true: he has indeed arisen again and left his hold in Mirkwood and returned to his ancient fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor. That name even you hobbits have heard of, like a shadow on the borders of old stories. Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.’

‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
And already, Frodo, our time is beginning to look black. The Enemy is fast becoming very strong. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening. We shall be hard put to it. We should be very hard put to it, even if it were not for this dreadful chance.

‘What, just in time to meet Bilbo?’ said Frodo. ‘Wouldn’t an Orc have suited it better?’

‘It is no laughing matter,’ said Gandalf. ‘Not for you. It was the strangest event in the whole history of the Ring so far: Bilbo’s arrival just at that time, and putting his hand on it, blindly, in the dark.

‘There was more than one power at work, Frodo. The Ring was trying to get back to its master. It had slipped from Isildur’s hand and betrayed him; then when a chance came it caught poor Deagol, and he was murdered; and after that Gollum, and it had devoured him. It could make no further use of him: he was too small and mean; and as long as it stayed with him he would never leave his deep pool again. So now, when its master was awake once more and sending out his dark thought from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum. Only to be picked up by the most unlikely person imaginable: Bilbo from the Shire!

‘Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.’

‘But this is terrible!’ cried Frodo. ‘Far worse than the worst that I imagined from your hints and warnings. O Gandalf, best of friends, what am I to do? For now I am really afraid. What am I to do? What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!

‘Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.’

‘I am sorry,’ said Frodo. ‘But I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.’

‘You have not seen him,’ Gandalf broke in.

‘No, and I don’t want to,’ said Frodo. ‘I can’t understand you. Do you mean to say that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.’

‘Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least.

At the end of the book, Frodo takes the ship (with Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel) which sails towards the West and the "Undying Lands", where he will be able to let go of the bodily and psychological injuries gained during his journey to Mordor, and which lingered and bothered him while living in Middle-earth. (Many years later, Sam also will sail to the West, as he too had been a "ringbearer" for the short period when Frodo was incapacitated.)

In the movie, the below passage is spoken by Gandalf in Minas Tirith: Pippin is pondering how he "didn't think it would end this way", when facing a near certain death, with Gandalf then comforting him, how "the journey doesn't end here, death is just another path, one that we all must take", delivering the lines from the book and in a way, describing the transition to the afterlife.
This was quite a brilliant and beautiful "switcheroo" from the writers of the movie!

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.


There is a wealth of material that one could quote from the book; below are just some things that drew my attention...

When Frodo and Sam are nearing the borders of Mordor, they come across a clash between the Rangers of Ithilien and the army of Southrons, which is on way to reinforce Mordorian troops. Sam observes:
It was Sam’s first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace

Men of Dunharrow promised Isildur (Aragorn's forefather), that they would help him in the fight against Sauron, but when the push came to shove, they broke their oath and didn't come to his aid. Isildur then cursed them to remain in Middle-earth, until the time would come when their oath would be fulfilled. With time, they became ghosts, the "Army of the Dead", who haunted the mountains to the south of Rohan.

As Aragorn was Isildur's rightful heir, he took the mountain path where this army was located, to summon them to fulfill their oath, accompanied by Gimli, Legolas, the sons of Elrond and a bunch of Dunedain (Rangers of the north, Aragorn's kin).

Aragorn succeeds and he leads the group, followed by the dead army (it’s pretty horrific, especially for Gimli: he is the last in line, and almost goes insane from fear as the ghosts are breathing on his neck. He only makes it due to the support of Legolas [as an immortal elf, he doesn’t fear ghosts] and his utmost respect and trust in Aragorn), through the path, across the mountains, down to the river Anduin, where they beat the Corsairs of Umbar (they were in union with Mordor) along with the men from the local cities and towns. (The fight would have been lost without the Army of the Dead.) Aragorn then sees that their oath is fulfilled, releases them, and the captured ships manned with the victorious men of that region, sail towards Minas Tirith.

The book describes the incoming and ongoing confrontation between Gondor and Mordor for several chapters, without mentioning Aragorn's doings, and the reader almost "forgets" his mission. Things are starting look grim for Gondor and take a turn for the worse, when the Corsair fleet is seen approaching the battlefields.

However, the leading ship raises a flag of Gondor, but with the added sign of Elendil, the last king of Gondor (the sons of Elrond of Elrond brought the flag with them from Rivendell). It was a cool way to signal that the true heir to the king has returned (and it was also nice to know, that Arwen had made the flag for Aragorn).

I was very captivated by the story and when I read the following section (knowing Aragorn’s backstory and his longtime journey to become the king), I had goosebumps (and have to admit teared up a little ), even though I knew what would happen. Such is the power of Tolkien's prose:
It was even as the day thus began to turn against Gondor and their hope wavered that a new cry went up in the City, it being then mid-morning, and a great wind blowing, and the rain flying north, and the sun shining. In that clear air watchmen on the walls saw afar a new sight of fear, and their last hope left them.

For Anduin, from the bend at the Harlond, so flowed that from the City men could look down it lengthwise for some leagues, and the far- sighted could see any ships that approached. And looking thither they cried in dismay; for black against the glittering stream they beheld a fleet borne up on the wind: dromunds, and ships of great draught with many oars, and with black sails bellying in the breeze.

‘The Corsairs of Umbar!’ men shouted. ‘The Corsairs of Umbar! Look! The Corsairs of Umbar are coming! So Belfalas is taken, and the Ethir, and Lebennin is gone. The Corsairs are upon us! It is the last stroke of doom!’

And some without order, for none could be found to command them in the City, ran to the bells and tolled the alarm; and some blew the trumpets sounding the retreat. ‘Back to the walls!’ they cried. ‘Back to the walls! Come back to the City before all are over-whelmed!’ But the wind that sped the ships blew all their clamour away.

The Rohirrim indeed had no need of news or alarm. All too well they could see for themselves the black sails. For Eomer was now scarcely a mile from the Harlond, and a great press of his first foes was between him and the haven there, while new foes came swirling behind, cutting him off from the Prince. Now he looked to the River, and hope died in his heart, and the wind that he had blessed he now called accursed. But the hosts of Mordor were enheartened, and filled with a new lust and fury they came yelling to the onset.

Stern now was Eomer’s mood, and his mind clear again. He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark. So he rode to a green hillock and there set his banner, and the White Horse ran rippling in the wind.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day’s rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope’s end I rode and to heart’s breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

These staves he spoke, yet he laughed as he said them. For once more lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people. And lo! even as he laughed at despair he looked out again on the black ships, and he lifted up his sword to defy them.

And then wonder took him, and a great joy; and he cast his sword up in the sunlight and sang as he caught it. And all eyes followed his gaze, and behold! upon the foremost ship a great standard broke, and the wind displayed it as she turned towards the Harlond. There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count. And the stars flamed in the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold.

Thus came Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elessar, Isildur’s heir, out of the Paths of the Dead, borne upon a wind from the Sea to the kingdom of Gondor; and the mirth of the Rohirrim was a torrent of laughter and a flashing of swords, and the joy and wonder of the City was a music of trumpets and a ringing of bells. But the hosts of Mordor were seized with bewilderment, and a great wizardry it seemed to them that their own ships should be filled with their foes; and a black dread fell on them, knowing that the tides of fate had turned against them and their doom was at hand.
(Btw, in the movie version, Aragorn takes the Army of the Dead all the way to Minas Tirith, where they are depicted to be as such a force, that they quickly mop up the remaining orcs from the fields and the city "just like that". You could speculate, that if the ships had arrived earlier, all of the enemy forces could have been wiped out by the ghosts alone, and lives would have been saved on the home front.

Then again, if the ghost assault weren't shown in Minas Tirith, they would have had to explain and display the fight by the river, and the local men then manning the ships, etc. This could have brought up some dramaturgical problems in the movie's narrative, I think. Also, the ”flag waving” would have been an extremely powerful scene if they had managed to include it in the movie, but I suspect this too couldn’t be portrayed effortlessly and without it’s own problems.

Anyways, it's a miracle that the movies were adapted as well as they were, and have so few issues to "nitpick" about!)

After Merry stabs the Witch-king, he is overcome with the "Black Shadow" (produced by an encounter with a Nazgul). Aragorn "calls" him back, adding that the other kind of grief and loss he has encountered, will not "darken his heart":
Gandalf and Pippin came to Merry’s room, and there they found Aragorn standing by the bed. ‘Poor old Merry!’ cried Pippin, and he ran to the bedside, for it seemed to him that his friend looked worse and a greyness was in his face, as if a weight of years of sorrow lay on him; and suddenly a fear seized Pippin that Merry would die.

‘Do not be afraid,’ said Aragorn. ‘I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Eowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.

Following the destruction of Mordor's vanguard in Minas Tirith, the lords of the armies of men plan their next move. Gandalf
Gives advice (in essence repeating his guidance to Frodo in Hobbiton):
‘That would be no new counsel,’ said Gandalf. ‘Have you not done this and little more in all the days of Denethor? But no! I said this would be prudent. I do not counsel prudence. I said victory could not be achieved by arms. I still hope for victory, but not by arms. For into the midst of all these policies comes the Ring of Power, the foundation of Barad-duˆr, and the hope of Sauron.

‘Concerning this thing, my lords, you now all know enough for the understanding of our plight, and of Sauron’s. If he regains it, your valour is vain, and his victory will be swift and complete: so complete that none can foresee the end of it while this world lasts. If it is destroyed, then he will fall; and his fall will be so low that none can foresee his arising ever again. For he will lose the best part of the strength that was native to him in his beginning, and all that was made or begun with that power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever, becoming a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape. And so a great evil of this world will be removed.

Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

When Amazon's abomination of a tv-series "Rings of Power" premiered, people used the sentence "evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made", to comment its poor quality and the corruption of Tolkien's mythology. It wasn't a direct quote though, rather a paraphrased version (worked wonders nonetheless!) from the actual texts.

Inside the borders of Mordor, on the way towards Mount Doom, Frodo says:
That’s not going to be enough for two, nohow. Don’t orcs eat, and don’t they drink? Or do they just live on foul air and poison?’

‘No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures. Foul waters and foul meats they’ll take, if they can get no better, but not poison. They’ve fed me, and so I’m better off than you. There must be food and water somewhere in this place.’

Nearing Mount Doom, Frodo and Sam are utterly exhausted and desperate, and have to rest often. When pausing and leaning against a rock, Sam notices:
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

Gollum had betrayed the hobbits, but now Sam has a change to pay back, and kill the wretched creature. However:
‘Now!’ said Sam. ‘At last I can deal with you!’ He leaped forward with drawn blade ready for battle. But Gollum did not spring. He
fell flat upon the ground and whimpered.

‘Don’t kill us,’ he wept. ‘Don’t hurt us with nassty cruel steel! Let us live, yes, live just a little longer. Lost lost! We’re lost. And when Precious goes we’ll die, yes, die into the dust.’ He clawed up the ashes of the path with his long fleshless fingers. ‘Dusst!’ he hissed.
Sam’s hand wavered. His mind was hot with wrath and the memory of evil. It would be just to slay this treacherous, murderous
creature, just and many times deserved; and also it seemed the only safe thing to do. But deep in his heart there was something that
restrained him: he could not strike this thing lying in the dust, forlorn, ruinous, utterly wretched. He himself, though only for a little while, had borne the Ring, and now dimly he guessed the agony of Gollum’s shrivelled mind and body, enslaved to that Ring, unable to find peace or relief ever in life again. But Sam had no words to express what he felt.

The phial of Galadriel had saved the hobbits already a couple of times, but inside Mount Doom, where the Ring was made, all other powers were subdued. This was a fitting reminder that Sauron was "the boss" in Middle-earth:
At first he could see nothing. In his great need he drew out once more the phial of Galadriel, but it was pale and cold in his trembling
hand and threw no light into that stifling dark. He was come to the heart of the realm of Sauron and the forges of his ancient might,
greatest in Middle-earth; all other powers were here subdued.

Returning to the Shire after their travels, and preparing themselves to face the problems that they had heard would be awaiting there, the hobbits are disappointed to see that Gandalf won't accompany them:
‘Well, we’ve got you with us,’ said Merry, ‘so things will soon be cleared up.’

‘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.

Once they have scoured the Shire, the hobbits encounter Saruman, who has been behind all of the shenanigans. Frodo displays his growth, and shows clemency to Saruman (who in turn foretells how Frodo will have an uneasy future):
Saruman turned to go, and Wormtongue shuffled after him. But even as Saruman passed close to Frodo a knife flashed in his hand, and he stabbed swiftly. The blade turned on the hidden mail-coat and snapped. A dozen hobbits, led by Sam, leaped forward with a cry and flung the villain to the ground. Sam drew his sword.

‘No, Sam!’ said Frodo. ‘Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.’

Saruman rose to his feet, and stared at Frodo. There was a strange look in his eyes of mingled wonder and respect and hatred. ‘You have grown, Halfling,’ he said. ‘Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you! Well, I go and I will trouble you no more. But do not expect me to wish you health and long life. You will have neither. But that is not my doing. I merely foretell.’


I finished reading LotR before the end of the year, and the 30th December 2023 session, where Paul's letter about love was mentioned. Joe did an excellent "condensation" of it, and when I read the points he made in the post, I found many similarities between them and the actions of the characters in the book:

I think it was basically a reminder to be loving, and "being loving" means:

enduring long
being patient and kind
never envious or jealous;
not boastful or vainglorious
not conceited, arrogant and inflated with pride
not rude or acting unbecomingly
not insisting on our own rights or our own way
not self-seeking
not touchy or resentful
taking no account of the evil done to us – paying no attention to a suffered wrong.
not rejoicing at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoicing when right and truth prevail.
bearing up under anything and everything that comes
ever ready to believe the best of every person,
hopeful under all circumstances
enduring everything without weakening.

Love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end.


I'll end this long post (I promise!) with an "epilogue". After completing the book, I watched several videos made by the "in deep geek" channel on youtube, which dealt with LotR and Middle-earth related things (very thorough and fascinating stuff). Amongst the videos, there was one where an epilogue to LotR was referred to. Apparently, Tolkien wrote an epilogue which he intended to include in LotR, but as many people told him not to do that, he folded.

In the epilogue, Sam is surrounded by his children one evening, as he reads the "Red Book of Westmarch" (in which the Bilbo, Frodo and then Sam have recounted the events from the Hobbit, LotR and beyond) to them: the children are curious to know, what eventually happened to the people their father has been talking about.

Having read the epilogue now, I tend to agree with the host of the video: it's a charming little chapter but it probably would have changed the "tone" of the ending. Also, you can discover the information about the occurrences in the appendixes ("tale of the years").

The epilogue was published in the "History of Middle-earth" volume 9: I was able to find it here, and I'll quote it below as well. (Someone has made a comics adaptation of the epilogue, drawn in a semi-manga style, where Sam has a private discussion with her eldest child Eleanor. It can be found here.)


And one evening in March, 1436, Master Samwise Gamgee was taking his ease by a fire in his study, and the children were all gathered about him, as was not at all unusual, though it was always supposed to be a special treat.

He had been reading aloud (as was usual) from a big Red Book on a stand, and on a stool beside him sat Elanor, and she was a beautiful child more fair-skinned than most hobbit-maids and more slender, and she was now running up into her 'teens; and there was Frodo-lad on the hearthrug, in spite of his name as good a copy of Sam as you could wish, and Rose, and Merry, and Pippin were sitting in chairs much too big for them. Goldilocks had gone to bed, for in this Frodo's foretelling had made a slight error and she came after Pippin, and was still only five and the Red Book rather too much for her yet. But she was not the last of the line, for Sam and Rose seemed likely to rival the old Gerontius Took in the number of their children as successfully as Bilbo had passed his age. There was little Ham, and there was Daisie in her cradle.

'Well dear,' said Sam, 'it grew there once, because I saw it with my own eyes.'

'Does it grow there still, daddy?'

'I don't see why it wouldn't, Ellie. I've never been on my travels again, as you know, having all you young folk to mind - regular ragtag and bobtail old Saruman would have called it. But Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin, they've been south more than once, for they sort of belong there too now.'

'And haven't they grown big?' said Merry. 'I wish I could grow big like Mr. Meriadoc of Buckland. He's the biggest hobbit that ever was: bigger than Bandobras.'

'Not bigger than Mr. Peregrin of Tuckborough,' said Pippin, 'and he's got hair that's almost golden. Is he Prince Peregrin away down in the Stone City, dad?'

'Well, he's never said so,' said Sam, 'but he's highly thought of, that I know. But now where were we getting to?'

'Nowhere,' said Frodo-lad, 'I want to hear about the Spider again. I like the parts best where you come in, dad.'

'But dad, you were talking about Lórien,' said Elanor, 'and whether my flower still grows there.'

'I expect it does, Ellie dear. For as I was saying, Mr. Merry, he says that though the Lady has gone the Elves still live there.'

'When can I go and see? I want to see Elves, dad, and I want to see my own flower.'

'If you look through a glass you'll see one that is sweeter,' said Sam, 'though I should not be telling you, for you'll find it out soon enough for yourself.'

'But that isn't the same. I want to see the green hill and the white flowers and the golden and hear the Elves sing.'

'Then maybe you will one day,' said Sam. 'I said the same when I was your age, and long after, an there didn't seem no hope, and yet it came true.'

'But the Elves are sailing away still, aren't they, and soon there'll be none, will there, dad?' said Rose; 'and then all will be just places, and very nice, but, but . . .'

'But what, Rosie-lass?'

'But not like in stories.'

'Well, it would be so if they all was to sail,' said Sam. 'But I am told they aren't sailing any more. The Ring has left the Havens, and those that made up their mind to stay when Master Elrond left are staying. And so there'll be Elves still for many and many a day.'

'Still, I think it was very sad when Master Elrond left Rivendell and the Lady left Lórien,' said Elanor. 'What happened to Celeborn? Is he very sad?'

'I expect so, dear. Elves are sad; and that's what makes them so beautiful, and why we can't see much of them. He lives in his own and as he always has done,' said Sam. 'Lórien is his land, and he loves trees.'

'No one else in the world hasn't got a Mallorn like we have, have they?' said Merry. 'Only us and Lord Celeborn.'

'So I believe,' said Sam. Secretly it was one of the greatest prides of his life. 'Well, Celeborn lives among the trees, and he is happy in his Elvish way, I don't doubt. They can afford to wait, Elves can. His time is not come yet. The Lady came to his land and now she is gone; and he has the land still. When he tires of it he can leave it. So with Legolas, he came with his people and they live in the land across the river, Ithilien if you can say that, and they've made it very lovely, according to Mr. Pippin. But he'll go to Sea one day, I don't doubt. But not while Gimli's still alive.'

'What happened to Gimli?' said Frodo-lad. 'I liked him. Please can I have an axe soon, dad? Are there any orcs left?'

'I daresay there are if you know where to look,' said Sam. 'But not in the Shire, and you won't have an axe for chopping off heads, Frodo-lad. We don't make them. But Gimli, he came down to work for the King in the City, and he and his folk worked so long they got used to it and proud of their work, and in the end they settled up in the mountains up away west behind the City, and there they are still. And Gimli goes once every other year to see the Glittering Caves.'

'And does Legolas go to see Treebeard?' asked Elanor.

'I can't say, dear,' said Sam. 'I've never heard of anyone as has ever seen an Ent since those days. If Mr. Merry or Mr. Pippin have they keep it secret. Very close are Ents.'

'And have they never found the Entwives?'

'Well, we've seen none here, have we?' said Sam.

'No,' said Rosie-lass; 'but I look for them when I go in a wood. I would like the Entwives to be found.'

'So would I,' said Sam, 'but I am afraid that is an old trouble, too old and too deep for folks like us to mend, my dear. But now no more questions for tonight, at least not till after supper.'

'But that won't be fair,' said both Merry and Pippin, who were not in their teens. 'We shall have to go directly to bed.'

'Don't talk like that to me,' said Sam sternly. 'If it ain't fair for Ellie and Fro to sit up after supper it ain't fair for them to be born sooner, and it ain't fair that I'm your dad and you're not mine. So no more of that, take your turn and what's due in your time, or I'll tell the King.'

They had heard this threat before, but something in Sam's voice made it sound more serious on this occasion. 'When will you see the King?' said Frodo-lad.

'Sooner that you think,' said Sam. 'Well now, let's be fair. I'll tell you all, stay-uppers and go-to-bedders, a big secret. But don't you go whispering and waking up the youngsters. Keep it till tomorrow.'

A dead hush of expectancy fell on all the children: they watched him as hobbit-children of other times had watched the wizard Gandalf.

'The King's coming here,' said Sam solemnly.

'Coming to Bag End!' cried the children.

'No,' said Sam. 'But he's coming north. He won't come into the Shire because he has given orders that no Big Folk are to enter this land again after those Ruffians; and he will not come himself just to show he means it. But he will come to the Bridge. And - ' Sam paused. 'He has issued a very special invitation to every one of you. Yes, by name!'

Sam went to a drawer and took out a large scroll. It was black and written in letters of silver.

'When did that come, daddy?' said Merry.

'It came with the Southfarthing post three days ago on Wednesday,' said Elanor. 'I saw it. It was wrapped in silk and sealed with big seals.'

'Quite right, my bright eyes,' said Sam. 'Now look.' He unrolled it. 'It is written in Elvish and in Plain Language,' said Sam. 'And it says: Elessar Aragorn Arathornsson the Elfstone King of Gondor and Lord of the Westlands will approach the Bridge of Baranduin on the first day of Spring, or in the Shire-reckoning the twenty-fifth day of March next, and desires to greet all his friends. In especial he desires to see Master Samwise Mayor of he Shire, and Rose his wife, and Elanor, Rose, Goldilocks and Daisie his daughters, and Frodo, Merry, and Pippin and Hamfast his sons. There you are, there are all your names.'

'But they aren't the same in both lists,' said Elanor, who could read.

'Ah,' said Sam 'that's because the first list is Elvish. You're the same, Ellie, in both, because your name is Elvish; but Frodo is Iorhail, and Rose is Beril, and Merry is Gelir, and Pippin is Cordof, and Goldilocks is Glorfinniel, and Hamfast is Marthanc, and Daisie is Arien. So now you know.'

'Well that's splendid,' said Frodo, 'now we all have Elvish names, but what is yours, dad?'

'Well, that's rather peculiar,' said Sam, 'for in the Elvish part, if you must know, what the King says is Master Perhail who should rather be called Lanhail, and that means, I believe, "Samwise or Halfwise who should rather be called Plain-wise". So now you know what the King thinks of your dad you'll maybe give more heed to what he says.'

'And ask him lots more questions,' said Frodo.

'When is March the 25th?' said Pippin, to whom days were still the longest measures of time that could really be grasped. 'Is it soon?'

'It's a week today,' said Elanor. 'When shall we start?'

'And what shall we wear?' said Rose.

'Ah,' said Sam. 'Mistress Rose will have a say in that. But you'll be surprised, by dears. We have had warning of this a long time and we've prepared for the day. You're going in the most lovely clothes you've ever seen, and we're riding in a coach. And if you're all very good and look as lovely as you do now I shouldn't be at all surprised if the King does not ask us to go with him to his house up by the Lake. And the Queen will be there.'

'And shall we stay up to supper?' said Rose, to whom the nearness of promotion made this an ever-present concern.

'We shall stay for weeks, until the hay-harvest at least,' said Sam. 'And we shall do what the King says. But as for staying up to supper, no doubt the Queen will have a word. And now if you haven't enough to whisper about for hours, and to dram about till the sun rises, then I don't know what more I can tell you.'

The stars were shining in a clear sky: it was the first day of the clear bright spell that came every year to the Shire at the end of March, and was every year welcomed and praised as something surprising for the first time every year.

All the children were in bed. Lights were glimmering still in Hobbiton and in many houses dotted abut the darkening countryside. Sam stood at the door and looked away eastward. He drew Mistress Rose to him and held her close to his side. 'March 18th', he said. 'This time seventeen years ago, Rose wife, I did not think I should ever see thee again. But I kept on hoping.'

'And I never hoped at all, Sam,' she said, 'until that very day; and then suddenly I did. In the middle of the morning I began singing, and father said "Quiet, lass, or the Ruffians will come," and I said "Let them come. Their time will soon be over. My Sam's coming back." and he came.'

'I did,' said Sam; 'to the most belovedest place in all the world. I was torn in two then, lass, but now I am whole. And all that I have, and all that I have had I still have.'

They went in and shut the door. But even as he did so Sam heard suddenly the sigh and murmur of the sea on the shores of Middle-earth.
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I am the bearer of good news folks! 😉
A friend sent me this today, freshly out of the press... (drum roll)

Peter Jackson Working on New ‘Lord of the Rings’ Films for Warner Bros., Targeting 2026 Debut
The first film, which will center on the character of Gollum, has Andy Serkis set to star and direct.

Warner Bros. has made it official: It will be returning to Middle-earth.

On Warner Bros. Discovery’s first-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday, CEO David Zaslav said that the company is “now in the early stages of script development” for new Lord of the Rings movies, which he says they “anticipate releasing in 2026” and will “explore storylines yet to be told.”

The first film, from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures, will be called Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum (working title), with Andy Serkis set to star and direct the feature, Zaslav says that director Peter Jackson and his longtime writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens “will be involved every step of the way.” Boyens and Walsh will write the screenplay. The deal covers two films in the franchise.

“It is an honor and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that stinker — Gollum!,” Jackson, Boyens and Walsh said in a statement. “As life long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with [WBD film chiefs] Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros. on another epic adventure!”

Here's the link: Peter Jackson Working on New ‘Lord of the Rings’ Films for Warner Bros., Targeting 2026 Debut
"Joe said:
I think it was basically a reminder to be loving, and "being loving" means:

enduring long
being patient and kind
never envious or jealous;
not boastful or vainglorious
not conceited, arrogant and inflated with pride
not rude or acting unbecomingly
not insisting on our own rights or our own way
not self-seeking
not touchy or resentful
taking no account of the evil done to us – paying no attention to a suffered wrong.
not rejoicing at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoicing when right and truth prevail.
bearing up under anything and everything that comes
ever ready to believe the best of every person,
hopeful under all circumstances
enduring everything without weakening.

Love never fails, never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end."

I hadn't read that before, thanks for posting it here, of all places! That actually gives me some encouragement that what we are collectively undergoing on these boards since at least the COVID hoax, by remaining aligned to the objective truth and waiting it out so we can eventually be of help to those trying to understand what has happened, really is the right path. And: whether or not anyone ever actually asks us for help or understanding is irrelevant. Just being willing and open is the key.

I certainly have not tried to preach to anyone because I know that goes against free will. All I've done is hint that I have another understanding of events, and I'm here if anyone wants to know my thoughts. I did try to present some of the information I had earned (once being a virologist myself) when I was in the process of losing my job for not getting the jab, but I quickly shut it down and simply did all I could to remove myself from that situation because I intuited that it would just be a waste of all our time trying to explain anything then. I have since learned to simply hold the signal for those open to receiving what I know, and that's enough.

Now as for my shares on LOTR: even despite my currently limited means, I saw the extended versions of LOTR on Blue Ray available at a second-hand store for under $10 even though I did not own a Blue-Ray player or a TV. Right after that I got a used Samsung Blue-Ray player for $20 and an old Vizio computer monitor with no base for $15 and I jury-rigged a system just so I could watch them. I'm glad I did! Now I'm watching all the extras. Where there's a will, there's a way...some things are just too good to give up on.
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