- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books (Sept. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618083561
- ISBN-13: 978-0618083565
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The End of the Third Age (History of the Lord of the Rings; The History of Middle-Eart) Paperback – Sep 2000
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The End of the Third Age is comprised of the first section of the hardcover volume published as Sauron Defeated, the ninth volume of The History of Middle-earth. It completes Christopher Tolkien's account of the creation of The Lord of the Rings begun in the earlier volumes, The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, and The War of the Ring.The End of the Third Age begins with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire, this part ends with versions of the hitherto unpublished Epilogue, in which, years after the departure of Bilbo and Frodo from the Grey Havens, Sam attempts to answer his children's questions.The book is illustrated with changing conceptions of Kirith Ungol and Mount Doom, as well as previously unpublished drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow.
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Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin publishes Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.
GROUP ONE, VOLUMES I - V, EARLY TALES
These five volumes deal primarily with Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.
Vol 1 & 2, The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 ( 1983) & 2 (1984). The Book of Lost Tales was written during the 1910s and 1920s. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The framework for the book is that a mortal Man visits the Isle of Tol Eressëa where the Elves live. In the earlier versions of the `Lost Tales' this man is named Eriol, of some vague north European origin, but in later versions he becomes Ælfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages."
Vol. 3, The Lays of Beleriand (1985). These are collections of poems, many of them incomplete, written between the 1920s and the late 1940s.
Vol 4, The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986).Read more ›
If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings than this book is well worth buying.
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It is also, buyers should know, an independently published portion of the previously published book called "Sauron Defeated," not a wholly new entry into the "History of Middle Earth" series, the larger, 12-part History that takes a close look at the creation of Tolkien's greatest achievement - Middle Earth itself - through early drafts, unpublished texts, and dead end writings. If you already have "Sauron Defeated," you will find no new text here.
If you're not a Tolkien fan, you need not apply. These incomplete and unfinished texts of early LOTR drafts, all explained, footnoted, annotated and expounded upon by his son, Christopher Tolkien, will only bore you. But if you're interested in seeing how the Professor developed the rich creation of Middle Earth, warts and all, this is a treasure trove of material. Christopher Tolkien goes to great lengths to examine each text, putting them in the context of the larger puzzle of his father's writings.
Most fascinating, and making this arguably the most essential entry to purchase for fans of the famous "trilogy," is the previously unpublished Epilogue featuring Sam speaking to his children. It was originally intended to be the book's final chapter, but was ultimately cut. It makes for interesting reading.
Again, take note: readers who can track down "Sauron Defeated" will get the entire text of this volume in that book, plus a wealth of other material not directly related to "The Lord of the Rings."
For casual fans, this is text better left unread. This is, after all, a series of unfinished draft chapters and essays. I enjoyed it, but many won't. Seek elsewhere if you are looking for more tales in the way of "The Lord of the Rings."
For ardent Tolkien readers, the series is a fascinating look at one of the great literary creations of the 20th Century, full of writings never before seen and stories only now being told. The exploration of how "The Lord of the Rings" came about is fantastic for those interested. Christopher Tolkien's work here is appreciated. Snatch this up.
It contains Tolkien's (sometimes garbled) notes and drafts of "Return of the King." Different lines, altered characterizations, changed scenes, and a radically different Scouring of the Shire appear in these drafts. (Frodo killed "Sharkey" in earlier drafts) Christopher Tolkien provides plenty of explanation between nuggets of text about "my father's" writings. And the crowning touch is a couple drafts of the unused epilogue, in which we see Sam talking with his family.
People who aren't devoted fans of the "Lord of the Rings" books may be completely befuddled by "End of the Third Age." It's a fangeek thing, but it also serves as a literary curiosity. How did the story evolve, and how it was originally different? Well, this is part of what Tolkien wrote before the story was finished and published.
Tolkien's outstanding writing is hinted at even in the roughest, most incomplete fragments. And what makes this of special interest is not what was unfinished, but what was finished and not included. The epilogues (which were unfortunately not used) are beautiful, sweet and touching, and show Tolkien's love of family. They also serve as a better wrap-up to the trilogy.
The sweet epilogues lift "End of the Third Age" from a fan curiosity to a sort of "director's cut" book. For die-hard fans, it's a must-have. For casual fans, it's certainly something to check out.