The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth #7)
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
I wrote about the experience of reading all 12 of these volumes here: http://soundscryer.com/2011/06/13/chr... (part 1) and her...more
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...more
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...more
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.
Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English language and literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a cl...more