"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."
With those words, Sauron
forged the One Ring
, the vessel of his power
and the pivot on which the fate of Middle-Earth would turn for five thousand years — until the most unlikely of heroes
did the one thing Sauron could never have imagined
, and brought his dark tower tumbling down
.The Lord of the Rings
by J. R. R. Tolkien
is too well-known, and too complex, to be summarised in full
. Succinctly, it is by far the most recent addition to the canon
of Western epic literature and is the epic which set the stage for the entire modern genre
that followed in its wake. Interestingly, the story was originally intended as a shorter
sequel to The Hobbit
, but as its author famously remarked, "the tale grew in the telling."
Volumes with Publication Dates
- The Fellowship of the Ring, July 24, 1954
- The Two Towers, November 11, 1954
- The Return of the King, October 20, 1955
All three volumes were revised in 1965.
Film adaptations include:
In addition, there has been a BBC radio adaptation, an NPR radio adaptation, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
, a 2003 Real Time Strategy game by Liquid Entertainment
, three Tabletop RPGs
set in Middle-earth, and several video games and mods. There is also a tabletop miniature game by Games Workshop
, and a board wargame was published by Simulations Publications, Inc. in the late 1970's. At least one Collectible Card Game
has been set in Middle-Earth.
The first attempt to make a screen version was made in 1958 by a certain Zimmerman, who wrote a film script for The Lord of the Rings
. J.R.R. Tolkien looked through it and in his letter to Forrest Ackerman heavily criticized this feeble attempt. It turned out that the script didn't reflect many of Tolkien's thoughts and some of the characters lost their appeal.
There was another aborted attempt by John Boorman to adapt the books in the 70s. It would've been live action and the notes from it might have suggested that adaptation might have looked like Zardoz
The Harvard Lampoon published a parody titled Bored of the Rings
in 1969, which manages to cover the entire journey in under 200 pages.
The majority of tropes used in The Lord of the Rings
are well-explained, unlike in the majority of its imitators
. For instance, Mordor has large fertile areas offstage where food is grown, thus explaining how Sauron's armies survive in the volcanic hellscape around Barad-dûr. The Ring
is also more than just a convenient MacGuffin
— its effects matter too much for that. This is largely due to the immensely elaborated Back Story
and Tolkien's life-defining experiences in The Great War.
There were, though, some tropes J. R. R. Tolkien
couldn't justify to his satisfaction, not helped by the fact that he updated his mythos constantly over a period of decades, creating a minor Continuity Snarl
at times but never quite reaching the Shrug of God
. He spent years trying to decide how orcs could be Always Chaotic Evil
without being born evil or soulless — since Eru would not give creatures inherently evil souls, on moral grounds, Morgoth was unable to create souls, and Tolkien believed anything without a soul would be a mere animal — but he never found any answer he liked. It was philosophical niggles like this that stopped him from publishing The Silmarillion
in his lifetime. His son Christopher did it posthumously, to the delight of all Tolkien scholars, and most of his readers.Please note that this is the page for tropes used in the book. See above for the links to pages for the movies. (And Tolkien's Legendarium for the Middle-earth verse in general.)
The Lord of the Rings provides examples of the following tropes: