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The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-earth, #7)
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The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth #7)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,571 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Treason of Isengard is the seventh volume in Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle-earth and the second in his account of the evolution of The Lord of the Rings. This book follows the long halt in the darkness of the Mines of Moria (which ended The Return of the Shadow) and traces the tale into new lands south and east of the Misty Mountains. Tolkien introduces us to ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 30th 1989 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published September 7th 1989)
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The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Middle Earth
23rd out of 130 books — 67 voters
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienJ.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set by J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers by J.R.R. TolkienHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Fantasy Book must be read before your death
38th out of 111 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary Catelli
The continuing analysis of the writing process.

It's not so wide-open as it was in The Return of the Shadow, since the prior story imposed definitely constraints. But he's still sorting out which hobbits have what names, and which ones will go. At one point Elrond firmly puts his foot down on the notion that either Merry or Pippin can go. Sam didn't always go with Frodo after the split up, and sometimes he was the first one to see Gandalf again. Eowyn was considered as a love interest for Aragorn
Dense and certainly not for everyone, but fascinating and full of intriguing odds and ends about the creation of the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien originally intended Aragorn marry Eowyn! It's amazing how late some very essential plot points (like Arwen) enter the story at all.
Luka Novak
This book is not a logical sequel to "The Return of the Shadow" but rather somewhat arbitrary separation of Tolkien early drafts. This book does not start where "The Return of the Shadow" ended as there are again later drafts of previous chapters. Christopher Tolkien had to separate his father's papers into several books so we are not presented with one massive book and this place seems as good as any. So if you expect this book to cover evolution of "The Two Towers" you'll be dissapointed.

"The Treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part 2" in which the subject matter is written by J.R.R. Tolkien and the commentary by his son Christopher Tolkien is a fun, informative, glorious read.

We millions of die-hard Tolkien fans are fortunate to have Christopher Tolkien in the world to make his father's papers available to us. It is a great fortune that he has just the right educational background, inclination, and ambition to present them as he does in all of the "Histor
This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth".

This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by
JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and
The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to
see the evolution of the story (for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as
a Hobbit (one of tho
I have already read The Return of the Shadow, which is the first book in Christopher Tolkien's "History of The Lord of the Rings". That book covers the process of writing the Prologue through Balin's Tomb in Moria, with the Fellowship comprised of five hobbits and Gandalf. This book, The Treason of Isengard, backtracks significantly and begins with multiple takes on the Council of Elrond, where the nine final Fellowship members are chosen and ends with the first encounters with the Riders of Roh ...more
Neil Coulter
Dec 29, 2013 Neil Coulter rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans interested in the development of The Lord of the Rings

In my review of the previous volume in Christopher Tolkien's History Of Middle-Earth, I said that it was a quicker, easier read than some of the earlier books in the series. One of the main reasons for this is that the four books that make up The History of the Lord of the Rings--the series-within-a-series--lead to an actual published endpoint. There is a final, definitive Lord of the Rings, and so it's enjoyable to see the early ideas and drafts heading toward the familiar story.

The second volu

Nicholas Whyte

The most interesting point for me was that Frodo and Sam's path to Mordor, and even back to the Shire, emerged in Tolkien's thinking much earlier than the story of the others after the death of Boromir. He seems to almost make up the tale of Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn as he goes along, and I must admit it's not the most satisfying part of the book (and was the most messed around with by Peter Jackson for the film). In the middle of this, however, the Treeb
A fascinating look behind the writing of LOTR for the person who wants to see the thought process behind the creation of a masterpiece. Some notes: Despite its title, half of this book discusses events in the Fellowship before turning to the Two Towers. I was intrigued to discover that originally Tolkien thought that Aragorn would marry Eowyn, hence the romance that began blossoming between the two. That is one of many examples in which one can see that earlier decisions sometimes retain a shado ...more
Anne Gazzolo
It is wonderful to see the Professor at work as he struggles to figure out what really happened in the tale he is bringing forth. Some ideas I am glad he abandoned, others I am sorry did not make it into print. Some are from the beginning almost the same was the published version, some are wildly different. As a fellow sub-creator. I find these volumes fascinating as he muses about what happens because I have a lot of the same wonderings about my own series I am working on. The tale that unfolds ...more
Michael Davis
Surprisingly, this one didn't correspond to the planning behind The Two Towers- I had expected each of the three volumes in this part of the larger History of Middle-earth to match up with the three volumes in LOTR. This one was not quite as exciting or informative as the last, and in starting the next in the series, that one looks a little more engaging, too. We'll see.

I wrote about the experience of reading all 12 of these volumes here: (part 1) and her
Ahmad Sharabiani
Nov 12, 2015 Ahmad Sharabiani marked it as to-read
The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth #7), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien
Ben De Bono
The second volume in The History of LOTR is no where near as interesting as the first. The material in Return of the Shadow was quite a bit different from the end result. It was great stuff.

Unfortunately most of what's in Treason of Isengard is a lot closer to the finished product. There is some good stuff. Tolkien's various outlines are fantastic and watching the development of the story is still great.

But on the whole this reads like a rough draft of the finished product. Great for Tolkien sc
Rossrn Nunamaker
Most people have noted this is only for die-hard fans of Tolkien, and it is. I'd also argue it is for those who seriously want to explore Tolkien's writing process (I'd imagine these are die-hard fans, but could be academics as well).

The titles of each of the three History of the Lord of the Rings books are misleading in that this volume mostly addresses content from book 1 of LOTR and book 3, which I began today, mostly covers book 2.

Get past all that and you will gain tremendous insight into h
Do not confuse this book as only the Two Towers part of the History of Lord of the Rings, it actually covers a lot of Fellowship as well. It is very interesting to see the process and rejected story lines. There is also some description on the evolution of the map and some background on dwarf runes. I wish the footnotes had been published on the bottom of the page instead of the back of the chapter - I got really tired of flipping pages.
A good read, but only for the die-hard Tolkien fan (it's pointless to read it before reading the LOTR trilogy, since it's about him writing the LOTR trilogy).
I liked it. There's a lot of alternative plots while he was still fleshing things out; the chararcter who would become Aragon was originally a hobbit. There's some extraneous details, but overall very interesting.
Very detailed and fascinating history of the manuscripts of The Lord of the Rings, from later manuscript redrafts of the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring through the Appendices. At times difficult to follow, this is a reference book and a look into J.R.R. Tolkien's writing process and apocrypha not included in the published Lord of the Rings.
Like Return of the Shadow this was a lengthy book that gives a wide glimpse of the earlier drafts before the final version of the Lord of the Rings. It is very illuminating into the creative process, and quite interesting if you have a deep interest in the development of the story. I wouldn't read it if your interest is only casual.
Unless you are certain you are familiar with the Lord of the Rings plot, I wouldn't pick this one up. Mostly Tolkien's drafts for LOTR from the council of Elrond up until the Sam rescues Frodo from (in this version Minas Morgul) the guard tower in Cirith Ungol. *Spoiler alert* Aragorn was originally a hobbit named Trotter?
Jeremy Raper
Again, like the other 'History of Middle-Earth' books, this is for serious Tolkienites only. Having said that - this volume is of particular interest as it covers much of the time period during which the events of the Lord of the Rings took place, and so is of most immediate interest to fans of the trilogy.
Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 7) by J.R.R. Tolkien (2000)
Evan Hays
More in the detailed background of how the Lord of the Rings was written. You have to be really into it to care about all of this, but I love getting the background to how things were created. I will be reading Vol. 8 at some time in the future, but no rush at this point.
Nov 15, 2012 Kana marked it as to-read
Shelves: tolkien
My goal for 2013 is to finish the Middle-Earth Universe of books. While doing so I will be following The Tolkien Professor Lectures.
Brilliant for a total LOTR nerd like myself. I skipped a lot of the stuff about maps and etymology but it was utterly fascinating to watch the writing process. I want the next volume now...
I find it really interesting to see how LOTR came to be and the different approaches taken to get there. As with the other ones, for die-hard fans only.
The first 200 pages are a boring rehash of volume VI. Things get better as the rest of the book depicts Tolkien's struggle with the plot of LOTR.
40 Forte
These are definitely more for the hardcore Tolkien fan....a glimspe into how the works were created, and Tolkien's own struggles to unify the story.
Stephen Smith
Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 7) by J.R.R. Tolkien (2000)
Interesting book but not light reading. The detail can be mind-numbing. Not for the casual Tolkien reader.
You've got to be pretty into LOTR to enjoy this one. It's for the Tolkien completist.
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The Treason of Isengard: The History of Middle-Earth Volume 7 1 3 Oct 20, 2015 06:17PM  
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
  • Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • Meditations on Middle Earth: New Writing on the Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-Earth for Dummies
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
  • The Magical Worlds of Lord of the Rings: The Amazing Myths, Legends and Facts Behind the Masterpiece
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
More about J.R.R. Tolkien...

Other Books in the Series

The History of Middle-Earth (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)
  • The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-earth, #3)
  • The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-earth, #4)
  • The Lost Road and Other Writings (The History of Middle-Earth, #5)
  • The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #6)
  • The War of the Ring: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Three (The History of Middle-earth, #8)
  • Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four (The History of Middle-Earth, #9)
  • Morgoth's Ring (The History of Middle-earth, #10)
  • The War of the Jewels (The History of Middle-earth, #11)

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