marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

The Return of the Shadow

The Return of the Shadow by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien

I can only review this from the point of view of a writer.  Which can find it very interesting indeed.  Knowing The Lord of the Rings is essential.

One of the very first scenes is a Long-Expected Party.  Which has many elements that you can easily recognize from Fellowship.  Except the part about Bilbo's decision to marry.  But right after, in the best style of the muses, he thrashes about with possibilities.  It takes him a while to have Bilbo pass the torch and at first it's to his son -- later adopted son, blood cousin -- Bingo.  Ah, what a name.  He rejects the notion of marriage.  (Though considering that he was very popular with his nieces and nephews, I suspect that perhaps a female connection, a niece's cousin perhaps, might also have been infected by his walking tours and ended up romantically involved.  Perhaps.  My muse, playing with the notion, was naturally filing off serial numbers in the process.  It does have a certain tendency to suggest Ideas.)  And then he even sent Bingo out and on his way before he had resolved what the Ring was, and how it was to figure.

Several passes through the opening chapters, some written out in full form, others sketchy outlines to form the plot.  Ideas that come and go.  The adventures in names -- a change in names sometimes but not always indicates a change in character.  The hobbit (at first Odo) whom they left behind to cover their disappearance was captured by the Black Riders and rescued by Gandalf -- we even get scenes from Gandalf's POV -- but that dropped without explanation.  The mysterious wild fellow at the inn was a hobbit named Trotter, who wore shoes.  It was not until they reach Rivendell, and he's told

By the third draft he was looking ahead past where he had gotten.  Treebeard appears in some notes, very different from the character you may remember.
Tags: idea development, inspiration, j. r. r. tolkien, lit crit, non-historical non-fiction reviews
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