Phillip's Reviews > The Treason of Isengard: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Two

The Treason of Isengard by J.R.R. Tolkien
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Jul 03, 12

bookshelves: atlases-and-maps, fantasy, favorites-among-favorites, linguistics, literature, my-visionaries, poetry, popular-culture, tolkien
Read from May 31 to July 03, 2012

"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 "History of Middle-earth" books.

This particular volume covers a writing period spanning 1941-1942. He explains that this period of productivity on "The Lord of the Rings" started after LTR was unworked-on for over a year. Christopher Tolkien presents the narrative of the writing of LTR in the chronology of his father's writing rather than the chronology of the story of "The Lord of the Rings". The result is that episodes of the novel might appear multiple times and reappear later in Christopher Tolkien's telling of the writing of the novel if his father rewrote an episode in order to make his many changes.

To recap what is presented in "The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part 1" describes J.R.R. Tolkien's opening attempt to write a sequel to "The Hobbit". Throughout its evolution the story became darker. The Hero went through many name changes. He got to Rivendall before the first phase of writing ends.

"The Treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part 2" shows the evolution of the hobbit character named Trotter as he changes into a man and becomes Aragorn. This evolution represents a change in the tale from being a hobbit tale to one about the beginning of the age of man. It takes practically the entire volume for Trotter to have completely and securely changed from being a hobbit into the man Aragorn.

The change of Trotter into Aragorn is representative of the many changes occurring throughout the writing of LTR. Earlier editions of the "Lord of the Rings" describe in their front matter how errors were corrected from previous editions. After seeing the fumbling way J.R.R. Tolkien went about discovering his story, the continuous changes in character names and persons, plus Tolkien's hurried pencil penmanship on used paper--it is amazing that a final draft came into being at all that would be acceptable to a publishing company. My point is that Christopher Tolkien's books leave me with no surprise that there were errors in the books long after their first publication.

"The Treason of Isengard" Begins with the secret council in Rivendell in which the forces of good decide what to do with 'The one ring.' A fellowship of 9 representatives of hobbits, men, dwarves, and elves begin their mission. By the end of Christopher Tolkien's volume the fellowship is broken up.

Two side discussions interrupt Christopher Tolkien's larger narrative. One is a description of an early, multilayer-ed map that his father drew during the late 1930s. The second is a presentation rune-lore material created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"The Treason of Isengard: The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part 2" is another worthy contribution to Christopher Tolkien's larger series on the "History of Middle-earth." The books are demanding. My recommendation is that a person try them if he or she is ready to set aside expectations and simply enjoy the ride as it is.


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Reading Progress

06/01/2012 page 20
06/14/2012 page 150
29.0% "These books have their own beauty."
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