The Return of the Shadow (History of Middle-Earth S.)

by J.R.R. Tolkien

Paperback, 1990



Call number




HarperCollins (1990), Paperback


The first part of The History of The Lord of the Rings, an enthralling account of the writing of the Book of the Century which contains many additional scenes and includes the unpublished Epilogue in its entirety. The Return of the Shadow is the story of the first part of the history of the creation of The Lord of the Rings, a fascinating study of Tolkien's great masterpiece, from its inception to the end of the first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring. In The Return of the Shadow (the abandoned title of the first volume of The Lord of the Rings) we see how Bilbo's magic ring evolved into the supremely dangerous Ruling Ring of the Dark Lord; and the precise, and astonishingly unforeseen, moment when a Black Rider first rode in to the Shire. The character of the hobbit called Trotter (afterwards Strider or Aragorn) is developed, and Frodo's companions undergo many changes of name and personality. The book comes complete with reproductions of the first maps and facsimile pages from the earliest manuscripts. This series of fascinating books has now been repackaged to complement the distinctive and classic style of the 'black cover' A-format paperbacks of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Crowyhead
This is volume one of The History of the Lord of the Rings. I loved this, but I'll tell you right now that this is beyond nerdy, and if you aren't deeply interested in Tolkien and his creative process, it will be beyond boring to you. That said, it's an amazing trove of information on the
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development of The Lord of the Rings and of Middle-earth in general. Christopher Tolkien provides annotated exerpts from various drafts of The Lord of the Rings, starting with Tolkien's earliest conceptions. It provides one with loads of great trivia -- did you know that Strider was originally a hobbit with wooden shoes known as Trotter? And Frodo's name was originally Bingo, and Merry was Marmaduke? What was fascinating to me, as well, is how comparatively late in the writing process Tolkien seems to have hit upon the idea of the Rings of Power and the themes that became integral to the novel. Fascinating stuff.
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LibraryThing member threadnsong
This one, I've read! All the way through. And would like to read it again. It's deep, and not that easy to read. I would recommend a chapter at a time, to fully inundate oneself in the process Tolkien went through while he moved from the joviality and child-like-ness of The Hobbit to the darker
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themes of the War of the Ring.

There is even the point in his writing where he seems to realize that he needs to write something darker. It's while he's describing four hobbits trekking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up to them. It's Gandalf and merriment ensues. Then four hobbits are trekking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up to them. It's Gandalf, but they are scared before he reveals himself. Then four hobbits are walking through the Shire and a cloaked figure comes up behind them. It starts to sniff at them and they are frightened by its presence.

The book includes the original writings, then Christopher Tolkien's commentary and history of the writings, and it is fascinating to see how the names and countries and themes evolved. A must-read for any Tolkien geek.
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LibraryThing member jcsoblonde
This is book 6 in The History of Middle Eath series, but is the beginning of the 4-book study on The Lord of the Rings. I found it pretty interesting, much more interesting than the previous 5 (except maybe for The Lays of Beleriand) though I did enjoy those as well. This gets back to hobbits, and
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its really neat to see how the story develops. For instance- Strider started out as a hobbit!!
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LibraryThing member chriskrycho
I really love this. It's not for everyone, but I find seeing the process by which The Lord of the Rings came into being absolutely fascinating, as a fan who knows the books in their finished form inside out. Really magnificent work by Christopher Tolkien here.


Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Inklings Studies — 1989)


Original publication date


Physical description

502 p.; 7.72 inches


004440669X / 9780044406693
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