Must be Monday. New podcast! Just click on the fancy logo below.
Lord of the Rings
open/close all folders
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG:
General in-universe WMG
Sauron Planned to Bring Morgoth back into the world.I remember reading somewhere (one of the LOTR wikis) that Arda was Morgoth's 'ring': in the same way that the One ring holds part of Sauron's soul and bind him to life, so does Arda for Morgoth, Arda has litterally been described as "Morgoth's Ring"... I'm not sure why he'd want to destroy it in that case, but let's overlook that for now. So Sauron spends the second and third ages trying to Rule the World, he successfully dominates the areas north, south, and east of Middle-Earth and... for what? Maybe he didn't want to rule Arda, maybe he wanted to use it in a huge summoning to bring his Master back from the Void thereby bringing about Dagor Dagorath!
The Elves going into the West are feeding Sauron's armies.No, not literally, although that could well be the case. Mordor is a rather barren place, and the fishing in Nuln can't be great. But Tolkien explicitly states that the orcs were created out of "twisted" elves. We can presume then that there is a process by which elves can be transformed en masse into orcs via Sauron's power and likely torture as well, mentally breaking them down into savage beast, which is what they are physically reformed into. Now think about it - where is Sauron getting that many elves from? After Dagorlad, the Elvish corpses are still intact in the Dead Marshes. So logically, there is only one place they could be coming from. The Elves sail into the West ... go all the way around the world, where they hit the rear end of Mordor, are captured and turned into orcs. Not quite the sort of afterlife they were anticipating, but maybe elves can't actually reach the Blessed Isles after all.
The Tooks have elvish ancestry.The Fallowhides are often described with traits, that, for hobbits, have an elfish bent to them (slight physical appearance, interest in music and hunting, and being overall more social with them) An "absurd" reference in The Hobbit is made to the saying that one of the Tooks must have taken a fairy wife, which explains why they're so odd. Interestingly, the Hobbit uses the word "Fairyland" to describe where elves are going (similar to how 'goblin' and 'orc' generally refer to the same creature.) suggesting fairy may be another word for elf. There's clear evidence humans and elves can have children, and hobbits are aware they're not that physically unrelated to Men, so it's certainly possible.
The Orcs created the idea for Sting and swords like it.They told Sauron, and he used his influence with the elves to convince them of the design. Think about it. The glow is not there to tell Orc enemies that the Orcs are there, but to help the Orcs find them wherever they're hiding. The glow helps them out, just like a lighthouse guides a ship.
Magic is nuclear.Middle-earth is filled with uranium. This is why the subterranean races are either suffering from stunted growth (Dwarves) or hideously deformed (Orcs). Orcs are so radioactive that certain fluorescent materials will react to their presence, and are used in swords. Sauron and Saruman both detonate nuclear weaponry; Saruman in the explosion that destroyed the Deeping Wall, and Sauron as the Great Signal, the mushroom cloud from which leads to the Dawnless Day. The Crack of Doom is the swimming-pool reactor that powers Sauron's workshops, and dropping the highly radioactive Ring into it leads to a critical mass. (Based on an ''SFX'' column by David Langford.)
Every orc death strengthens Melkor-MorgothAn extension of the above, that the Orcs were created via Melkor-Morgoth spreading himself thin. Every time one was destroyed, that power would logically return to him. Given how many orcs were left when he was sealed into the void, it means that every time an orc was killed after that, he would have become closer to breaking the seal. Logically, this means that either he could break out any time now, or there's still a few orcs and miscellaneous fiends lying around keeping his power away from him.
Old Man Willow is one of the old ents from the time when the Old Forest was part of Fangorn.Treebeard probably knew him by name. The source of his malice is the same that corrupted the Barrows: the evil of the Witch-king.
The Entwives never left.Trees, like all plants, are hermaphroditic, having both male and female reproductive parts. The entwives were not physical beings but the "female" persona of the ents. Over time and ages however, they were "lost" — their feminine "mojo" was lost.
The Entwives went to the Shire.A hobbit mentions having seen a tree walking while on patrol there. And it is the sort of terrain (farmland) that they say they like in Treebeard's song.
There are no Entwives - there never were.The Ents don't understand their own reproduction because their lives are so long. When an Ent dies, they seed the land and another Ent grows. (Maybe they have seasons where many Ents die off at once and are then born at once.) The Ents have either forgotten this or never understood it in the first place. The reason Ents think there are Entwives is because they are assuming they reproduce like all the other intelligent species of Middle-Earth. Some Ent came up with the idea and everyone just assumed it was right. Ents can surely have meetings that take so long everyone forgets they were debating what was a theory at the beginning.
The reason the Fellowship didn't ride the eagles into Mordor was Sauron's air forceIn The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales, it is written that Sauron taught the Númenóreans how to "sail against the currents and the wind", which presumably involved steam power. Ironclads and air ships are also mentioned. Now, as we all know, Númenor got destroyed by Eru. But, since Sauron taught them how to make the things, he would still have the ways to make these things in his head! In the appendix for the Lord of the Rings, it states that Aragorn sneaked into Mordor once disguised as someone else. While there, he must have stumbled upon one of Sauron's secret underground airship factories, where he was building a fleet of air ships to unleash on the world once he had completed enough of them. Sometime during the Council of Elrond (we probably didn't see all of it), someone mentioned the eagles, and Aragorn had to shoot the idea down.
The Eagles refused to bring the Fellowship to Mordor.After the clusterfuck that ended the Second Age, the Eagles were very wary of anything to do with that Ring, if it could corrupt the once-brave and noble Men. In their eyes, mankind had to prove that they were still capable of standing up to the darkness as in yesteryear, before they would do anything in return. Gandalf tried to convince them to help with the quest, but the Eagles refused once they learned the old wizard would be restoring the throne of Gondor in the process.
The Witch-King is Aragorn's ancestor.The Witch-King was once a great king before becoming Sauron's servant. He is also of Númenórean descent. Aragorn is a descendant of Isildur, who himself is a descendant of the long line of Númenórean kings, this may include the Witch-King. Nothing else is known of the Witch-King, other than he was alive around the Second Age, while Aragorn was born in the Third Age. The Witch-King was one of the nine great kings of men who became wraiths, so he may have some family connection with Aragorn.
One of Aragorn's descendants screwed up big timeMiddle-Earth is supposedly Europe tens of thousands of years ago. The cyclopean ruins dotting the continent that were ancient even in Homer's time and far beyond the tech level known in the era they were built are supposedly all that remains of the Third Age. But, as the above summary hints, something big happened, historically, that caused the technological level of mankind to plummet. By the time of Homer, the ruins of Arnor and Gondor were thought to have been built by giants, since they had no other idea how they could have been made. All knowledge of the era, despite the great libraries of Minas Tirith, was lost until Professor Tolkein found the Red Book of Westmarch and the Silmarillion, and translated them. The fact that humanity had such a major societal crash implies that the person in charge — one of Aragorn's descendants — failed to keep it together. Theories on what happened include these:
The idea hobbits aren't adventurous is a "modern" idea to discourage young hobbits.An early reference to Gandalf in The Hobbit casually mentions him being responsible for hobbit boys and girls going off in the world to have adventures. Likewise, Hobbits were historically wanderers who later settled down, suggestion the "modern" hobbit is much like the modern-day human.
Gollum's death was suicide.Gollum knew perfectly well that the Nazgûl would be coming once Frodo put the Ring on in Mount Doom. He knew what would happen if Sauron got the Ring. He also knew that the Ring was the only thing keeping him alive, and in any case he wouldn't be able to destroy it in a million years. So he threw himself into the lava with it in his hands, thus keeping it for himself and destroying it at the same time.
Tom Bombadil is...
Dragons were created from the corrupted bodies of Eagles.Evil in Middle-Earth can't actually create anything; they can only change things. The brutish and hideous orcs come from the beautiful and wise elves; rocky trolls come from wooden ents; flaming, chaotic balrogs are suspected to come from shining, righteous Maiar. On the side of evil, this leaves the dragons: enormous, flying reptiles, of firey breath, shrewd tongues, and immense strength. On the side of good, this leaves the giant eagles: enormous birds of immense strength, wise tongues, and mysterious natures. Put two and two together.
The Nazgûl's flying steeds are the cursed forms of each one's old steed.If you were a king in medieval times, particularly in a fantastical one, you had to have at least a favored steed. The Nine Kings, in life, each had their own steed, but once the Rings were bestowed upon them, a foul side-effect occurred. Not only did the kings dissolve into foul forms beyond death, so too did their steeds. As opposed to the Nazgûl's transformation into cloaked phantoms, their steeds morphed into massive flying monsters. Over time, this form became their Game Face, and they can walk the Earth as horses for periods of time, but they're just as doomed as their masters. epic moment broke his concentration, causing his wings to break apart.
Aragorn was trained in sword fighting in the same way as the ring wraiths while they were men.Almost totally confirmed in the movies. Before attacking the Uruk-hai near the end of the first one, Aragorn holds his sword up in front of his face almost exactly like the ring wraiths. Coincides with the above theory that Aragorn is related(however distantly) to the Witch King. If they were related, wouldn't their training be the same?
The Silmarillion is not accurateAt least, not in its earlier chapters. Its quite explicit that its just a translation of a historical document the Elves wrote. The thing is... how do they know about what happened before Cuivienen? Anything from before they woke up in The Silmarillion is just a mixture of Elvish mythology, rumor, exaggeration, and Valar Lies to Children. Its even possible that some of the early Cuivienen era stuff is not entirely accurate, given that they probably didn't learn how to read and write until decades after settling down in the Undying Lands, and what they did remember was inevitably colored by biases and personal perspectives or misconceptions.
"Gollum" was Sauron, or an aspect of him.Sméagol kept the One Ring so close for so long, some of Sauron's essence rubbed off on him, giving birth to the alter-ego Gollum. This alter-ego's domination coincided with Sauron's slow return to power, and Gollum secretly conspired to give the Ring up to its main spirit. Had he not been fallen into Mt. Doom, Sméagol would have become Sauron's new Soul Jar, one that would've been considerably more difficult to destroy.
Latter-day Númenor was a steampunk civilization.Consider:
The force in the ring working against Sauron's will is the only tiny seed of good left in Sauron.When he put his hate and malice into the ring he inadvertently put in the only good left in him. The ring doesn't realize this bit is in there. This is also why Sauron without the ring is so very evil. The good part is why the ring ended up with Bilbo - that was the extent the good in the ring could do, passing over from Gollum to Bilbo.
Anguirel became an heirloom of a great Rohirric house.The most likely candidate for retrieving swords from Gondolin is Scatha, the dragon ultimately slain by the men of Éotheod. If Scatha saved Glamdring, Orcrist, and Sting for his hoard, you bet your ass he'd have saved so rare a sword as Anguirel, too.
It wasn't Frodo's decision to go to Mt. Doom.It was the ring talking through him. The ring needed to get to Mordor and if anyone else had taken the ring, it would have stayed with Sauron's enemies. Frodo seemed strong enough to get to Mordor but not strong enough to destroy the ring. If it hadn't been for Sam (and Gollum), Frodo would have delivered the ring directly to the Black Gate.
Peoples of Middle-earth
Hobbits Became Humans Under the Influence of Entish DraughtsMerry and Pippin probably picked up a few recipes during their visits with Treebeard. These became popular, and led to a steady increase in the size of Hobbits. Eventually the younger and larger generations began interbreeding with Men, leading to the loss of their racial identity. The influence of Hobbit genes can still be seen in some modern Humans.
Hobbits are a cross between humans and bunnies.I know this seems random, but think about it! They're small, cute and cuddly, they've got pointy ears and big, furry feet, they tend to eat a lot (and seem to have a very fast metabolism) and they live in holes in the ground!
Elves are six-fingered.They count in base 12, and there doesn't seem to be any textual evidence to the contrary.
The elves used to have pointy ears.
Orcs are a race of reanimated corpses.This explains how they're Always Chaotic Evil, and why Sauron calls himself The Necromancer in The Hobbit.
Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil due to cultural pressure as well as the commands of the various powerful evils.There are some good orcs, but they've been used as soldiers for so long by various evil beings that the bad ones vastly outnumber the good ones, and thus the good ones quickly get killed, either by other orcs or by the Free Peoples who just assume they're all bad.
Hobbits were created by Eru himself, specifically to handle the One Ring.Consider this: the origin of Hobbits is shrouded in time, they're explicitly said to possess a greater endurance against magical corruption (specifically, that of the One Ring) than any other creature, and besides all the events to do with the Ring, they factor very little in Middle-Earth's history, if they ever did. Also consider that, despite the gambits pulled off by the forces of darkness, Eru, by virtue of being Eru, would know that these things would happen, and would have some power to stop them. So, Eru, around the time the Men were waking up, created the Hobbits; or, Eru made the Hobbits very late in Middle-Earth's history, and retconned their world and history in. That way, once the fate of evil in the world finally rested on Sauron and his Ring, the Hobbits could dispose of it (which they do).
Dragons were corrupted DwarvesEvery race seems to have a counterpart that was created when Morgoth corrupted them. Elves were turned into Orcs, Maiar into Balrogs, Men into Ringwraiths and Ents into Trolls. However, Dwarves don't have a counterpart, and dragons don't have a confirmed origin. You do the math. Also, both races have a profound love of precious metals and gems. While Morgoth COULD have taken single dwarves and mutated them into the much-larger dragons, I prefer to think that he took entire cities of dwarves, broke them down into biological material and souls, and smooshed them together into a single entity. Every dragon is a nation.
Middle-earth in time and space
The novel actually takes place in the future, on another planet.In about 300+ years, scientists find a way to take an inhospitable planet and give it the ability to support life. One of the first planets colonized was dubbed "Middle Earth" due to it being not quite Earth, not quite anywhere else making it a middle ground, if you will. Creatures like orcs and elves came about as the military's attempts at creating bio-weapons to aid in battle. Orcs were their first attempt, but failed miserably due to them being super-strong, but incredibly dumb and easy to kill. Elves came next, designed to just be better than humans at everything. This worked well at first, but unlike orcs, the elves had minds of their own, and didn't like being treated like property. This lead to a rebellion war which the elves naturally won. And hobbits? More than likely they're the end result of an eccentric billionaire commissioning a genetic experiment splicing human DNA and rabbit DNA. See the above post.
The events of the Lord of the Rings took place during the interglacial period before the last ice-age, and the events of the Silmarillion occured during and after the preceding that ice-age.The lower sea-level and extensive ice-caps during the ice-age created a land-bridge between North America (Valinor) and Middle-Earth (Europe), allowing the second party of Noldor to cross the Grinding Ice after Fëanor abandoned them. The drowning of Númenor, the apparent removal of Valinor, and the changes wrought to the western coast of Middle-Earth were nothing to do with divine punishment, but were simply the result of sea levels rising at the end of the ice age, and the absurd story about a flat earth becoming round is simply a myth that developed to explain the changes. Similarly, many of the accounts of Morgoth's activities - raising up and throwing down mountains, the smoke and fire issuing forth from his underground forges, the shaking of the earth when they were at work, etc) are actually mythologised accounts of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes). The "War of Wrath" and the resulting destruction was either an exceptionally violent eruption and earthquake, or the result of a meteor impact (Eärendil casting down Ancalagon the Black and destroying Thangorodrim). The Fourth Age, the age of Man, began during the last interglacial, but all traces of its civilizations (and of course, the civilizations of the previous Ages) were lost when a new ice age (the most recent one) began. This was also responsible for the changes in geography between then and now.
The Men of Middle-Earth became the people of Europe.The Northmen (relatives of the Houses of Bëor and Malach, including the Rohirrim) became the Germanic (and Slavic?) peoples. The Dunlendings and other relatives of the House of Haleth became the Celts. The Dúnedain of Gondor became the Greeks and Romans.
The Blue Wizards are responsible for the creation of Judaism and ZoroastrianismAs the above guess mentions, Lord of the Rings is supposed to have happened far back in our own history. In Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkein mentions that his father had written in a letter that, most likely, the Blue Wizards had gone into the east to do missionary work (and, implicitly, kept doing so even after the last ships had set said for the True West). Being immortal, they might have been at this for quite some time trying to spread the word of Eru. That word got corrupted by word of mouth a fair bit along the way.
The extensive and somewhat contradictory mythology that is Middle-Earth belonged to an actual people.About 1000 years ago, a wayward group of Britons, cast out from their homeland by some force or another, traveled to the mysterious fjords of Scandinavia (possibly southernmost Norway). Hearing tales of mighty Norsemen and lessons of the Christ-Jesus, these Britons began to cultivate their own mythology, blending these outside elements with their native British myths. They were spread thin, but kept a respectable territory, from their original landing-spot in the Norse lands down to Denmark and northernmost Germany. These people, now calling themselves "Gondorins", after their "lost" kingdom, told wild tales of the hosts of men and elves and mighty spirits battling numerous forces of evil (whose demographics changed with location). In turn, they helped to influence both Norse mythology and ancient Christianity; from them came the idea that Dwarves were a separate race from Elves, and from them came the idea that the forces of Heaven and Hell fought or once fought. Sadly, they have vanished from the Earth, and no one claims to come from their stock. However, thanks to the efforts of historian J.R.R. Tolkien, and the remarkable preservation of the Red Book of Westmarch, the Gondorins live on.
The war against Morgoth in the First Age was the most recent Ice AgeJ.R.R. Tolkien stated in one of his letters that the Third Age ended about 6,000 years ago, and the Middle-Earth calendars show that the First Age had ended about 6,000 years before the end of the Third Age. The most reent Ice Age ended 11,700 years ago. The Last Glacial Maximum was the time when Morgoth held sway over Middle-Earth. When the Valar captured him, things started to thaw out, causing the Bølling-Allerød interstadial. When he darkened Valinor and returned, he brought a sudden cold snap, which was the Younger Dryas period. Angband was surrounded by icy mountains = glaciers, and a cold north wind blew steadily south from the area, just as high pressure over continental glaciers causes wind to blow out from their edges steadily. With his defeat, the current interglacial began. Even by 6,000 years ago the sea hadn't yet finished rising, and the isostatic rebound of the continents hadn't finished, which is how the land and coasts changed after the end of the Third Age (unless there was another catastrophe, related to the collapse of the Third Age civilizations when Aragorn's descendant screwed up, as above). We even have the Druedain (Drughu, Pukel-men, Woodwoses) aka the Neanderthals. Obviously they survived the end of the Ice Age in small numbers, but even the fossil record of their extinction can be explained: after the First Age, the few surviving Druedain joined the Númenóreans. Later they abandoned Númenor and returned to Middle-Earth, long before it's fall, because they didn't like the direction things were going. Thus they disappear from Middle-Earth and the fossil record. Since their surviving numbers were so small, when they returned to Middle-Earth, they came back in such small numbers that they don't show up in archaeology. And by the end of the Third Age they were clearly nearly extinct.
Middle-Earth is Mid-Childa in the distant past.At some point in time, there was an inter-dimensional incident between Middle-Earth and our world, which most cultures just call Earth, or whatever Earth means in their language. Some wizards from Middle-Earth learned were amazed by our world's technology, which can advanced more in a century than technology from their world does in a millenium, and developed a new form of magic combined that incorpated Earth technology. has no distinct races like elves and hobbits, just humans, so the people of Middle-Earth were inspired to start racial-integration, generations of inter-racial reprodcution caused the distinct races on Middle-Earth to dissapear. The name Middle-Earth was shortened to Mid-Earth, which was eventually changed to Mid-Childa, and the TSAB was set up to handle any future inter-dimensional incidents.
LotR is propaganda
Original manuscript is pro-Gandalf propaganda. It was all a plot to control the pipeweed trade.See also David Brin's historical revisionist argument below, claiming a royalist succession plot. It was all a conspiracy to control the flow of pipeweed coming out of the Shire. Gandalf, who is widely acknowledged to be the Chessmaster in the series, managed to convince everyone the Ring was a "weapon of mass destruction", and propped up Frodo as a sort of Waif Prophet, when in fact the Ring was a minor artifact or hoax. It explains everything - non-magically. The premise of the Quest and the justification of the military manouevers needed to support it was all Based on a Great Big Lie - that Gandalf made to Frodo in Bag End. Much like the Children's Crusade to return a piece of the True Cross to Bethlehem, the notion of the One True Ring had great appeal to peasants, who believed in the legends of the Elves and the myth of the Great Rings, and Gandalf used this as a smokescreen for large-scale regime change. As noted in the book, Gandalf used a mix of blackmail, rhetoric and magic tricks right out of The Man Who Would Be King in order to establish his friend Aragorn's claim to the Gondorian throne, enlisted a foreign Rohanian force to impose him on the Gondorian people, and "a coalition of the willing" to wage war against the (admittedly poorly governed) kingdoms of the south and east. All of this can be traced back to Saruman, the real hero of the story, whose efforts to modernize the production of pipeweed and bring Middle-Earth into the 31st century were thwarted by Magnificent Bastard Gandalf, who wanted right-wing Dúnedain militia to have a monopoly on the means of production for Middle-Earth's most valuable resource (note the hints throughout the story about pipeweed's importance) — in order to fund their constant guerrilla campaigns elsewhere. A rigorous Straussian or Marxian analysis can thus demonstrate that, much like the Trojan War, it was all a fight over resources. Desperate, Saruman sought a protective alliance with the dictator Sauron in hopes of building a modernist coalition to counter the agression and imperialism of the aristocrats and their claim of being "Ringbearers"; unfortunately, petty landowners refused to embrace land reform, and the Shire's resources continued to be exploited by tribal Hobbit chiefs who spent no money on the betterment of infrastructure. Sauron sent in nine "observers" to check the power of the brutal Ranger militias, who were financing themselves on the black-market with the export of pipeweed crop, kicking off the excuse for Gandalf's elaborate psy-ops mission to claim that "a Weapon of the Enemy has been found". Unfortunately, history is written by the victors, and Aragorn commissioned Lord of the Rings to be written from the perspective of the Hobbits, to re-interpret the historical record and create an extensive hagiography for Gandalf. (In reality, it was compiled in Minas Tirith, at least 60 years after the Hobbits are said to have lived.) All the (non-miraculous) facts in the book are mostly true, (Gondor's scholars were unable to cover up events) but put a pro-Gondor spin on everything and created a whole overlay of miracles and magic to justify the notion that Sauron's Ring, an entirely legendary object equivalent to the Holy Grail, had been found in a hobbit hole (!) and that only Frodo, a minor local mystic who believed in elves, could return it to Gondor's rightful fiefdom of Mordor (which had, not un-coincidentally, been recently lost to the infidels) and provide salvation — not hard work, technological betterment, or resistance against the Númenórean invaders! It was really all about cornering the market in
The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King is pro-royalty propaganda.It was written to justify a coup by the exiled royal house of Gondor and a war against the so-called lesser races like orcs and Easterners. In reality, Mordor was trying to help Gondor defend itself from Rohan and Aragorn. Aragorn hired hobbit mercenaries to sneak a nuclear bomb into Mordor, and the resulting explosion killed millions, including the noble Sauron.
Mordor was merely a political rival to Gondor and Rohan, LOTR is a propoganda piece justifying Sauron's assasination and the genocide of the Orc nation.
Melkor, Sauron and Witch-King were all noble if tragic heroes attempting to protect Middle-Earth from insanity of the Valar.See Michael Aquino's Morlindale for details. Among other things, orcs had bad tempers because they had been abused and slaughtered by the elves for thousands of years.
Lot R is mythology, not propaganda.Melkor and Sauron really were evil, imperialistic, would-be conquerors. They were also completely human. Even a passing familiarity with history will show that there have been plenty of evil, imperialistic, would-be conquerors of purely human stock. The story of Frodo and the Ring probably grew out of the very real story of a small band of commandos who went behind enemy lines to assassinate the monstrous tyrant. As time went on, the "tale grew in the telling," so that the human monsters became demonic monsters, and the wise diplomat who helped put together the alliance to oppose the evil empire became a wizard, and so forth.
Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG:
In-universe WMG: Peter Jackson's films
Every piece of media made after "The Return of the King", is more or less canon to the Movieverse.Which means, yes there was a war going on in the Northern regions of Middle-Earth (Bfme2), Elrond did instruct a handful of warriors to slow the enemies conquest by taking one of Sauron's generals out the picture(War in the North). The chracters from (The Third Age) all exist. There just in different areas.
The Movies are based on a newer but still equally valid version of The Red Book of WestmarchBilbo is explicitly named unreliable narrator for misrepresenting his encounter with Gollum in his memoires. He also councils Frodo to leave stuff out of stories that might be disliked by his audience and that he would have liked to gone over notes with him. Bilbo would have no trouble with a "souped-up" version of the story if he thought it would please an audience. In the original story, Frodo and Sam are mentioned to be reluctant to change anything Bilbo wrote, but your average hobbit (who Sam specifically points out don't ever find out much about what happened) probably wouldn't mind revisions after a few generations.
Gríma murdered Théodred.Sure, Théodred was severely wounded in battle and maybe he would have died, anyway. But when he lived long enough to be brought home, Gríma decided to make sure he wouldn't make it. In the scene where he finds Éowyn mourning over Théodred's body, he really doesn't sound surprised he's dead. Tolkien letters even make reference to Gríma's work with "subtle poisons", perhaps how he earned the nickname Wyrmtongue in the first place.
Gothmog recieved his massive swelling from a fight with Shelob.Judging by their staff, Sauron's corps would never let a deformed-from-birth Orc so much as march in an army, let alone lead one, so Gothmog must have recieved that massive deformity prior to his induction in the Dark Army. Before his becoming a lieutenant, Gothmog was confined to simple sentry duty atop Cirith Ungol, keeping the many unruly orcs in line. One day, however, Gothmog caught some loathsome little snaga teasing Shelob in her lair. She attacks, but Gothmog steps in. Fending Her Ladyship off, Gothmog walks away with only a tiny nick from the Giant Spider's fangs. Unfortunately, he has an adverse reaction to spider venom, and so grows puffy.
Unicorns exist within the film-verse.During the raid on Minas Tirith, the forces of darkness eventually bring out Grond, an enormous wolf-headed battering ram. From the back, it's pushed by a gaggle of trolls (like most large wheeled evil structures), but from the front, it's pulled by two enormous, one-horned, rhinoceros-like creatures. They're never identified by any name, didn't appear before, and never appear again. A variety of ancient unicorn, called the "Monoceros", resembles these creatures; "[it] has the head of a stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length". Naturally, unicorns as we know them are not the size of elephants, nor are on the side of darkness, but it wouldn't be the first time a familiar beast was re-interpreted through inclusion into Tolkien's mythos.
The moth was RadagastIn the film canon, Radagast dies at some point before Gandalf's imprisonment in Isengard. Instead of leveling up like Gandalf does, the brown wizard opts to return as a moth. In that form, he is able to carry messages to the eagles and is indirectly responsible for saving Gandalf from Isengard and Sam and Frodo from Mount Doom. That possibility would explain why Radagast never appears in the Lord of the Rings films, but is a character in The Hobbit movie.
The Ents decided to prank the HobbitsHow come so many Ents came out of the forest so quickly? Because they did decide to fight Saruman. They just told the Hobbits otherwise. I wonder whether this was Gandalf's idea.
Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG:
Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG
Word Of God, but it seems too perfect to be a complete coincidence. Anyways, as a schoolboy, little Johnny Tolkien once had to read William Shakespeare's Macbeth for his English class. He liked the story for the most part, but one part of it always rubbed him the wrong way: the part in Act IV where the witches tell Macbeth the prophecies about how he'll be defeated. He expected two awesome plot twists, but got two lame cop-outs instead.
There's the first one: "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". "Cool!" Johnny Tolkien thought to himself. "An evil king who gets defeated by an army of badass walking trees? What a perfect ending!" He was dismayed, though, when he found out that the prophecy actually meant: "Macbeth will be vanquished when Macduff's soldiers hold up a bunch of tree limbs and make it look vaguely like the forest is moving". So he vowed that when he wrote his own story, he would include actual marching trees. Hence, he gave us the Ents, who defeat Saruman by marching against Isengard.
Or there's the other one: "No man of woman born can harm Macbeth". Johnny Tolkien expected a cool Prophecy Twist from that one, but was dismayed when the twist turned out to be: "Macduff was born by c-section...which technically doesn't count as being born from a woman". "That's your idea of a cool plot twist?" he thought. "Wouldn't it have made more sense if a woman had bypassed the prophecy and killed him instead?" Hence, he gave us the Witch-King's death at Éowyn's hands. He's protected by a prophecy saying "No mortal man can kill him", so he gets killed by a woman. It made more sense, and it felt cathartic.
The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia take place in the same continuityAccording to Tolkien, Eru Ilúvatar the creator of the entire Middle-Earthverse is the actual Judeo-Christian God, and according to C.S. Lewis Aslan is suppose to be Jesus Christ, and if The Emperor-Over-the-Sea is Aslan's father, than He is the same person as Eru Ilúvatar which technically puts both series in the same continuity.
Tolkien was a tabletop fantasy/adventure game fanatic time travellerSeriously... Tolkien travels back in time Terminator-style, because that's possible where and when he is from, to see the birth of his obsession, only to find that it hasn't been invented yet. So he writes The Hobbit to keep himself busy. When he realises how easy it is to exploit the market, he uses all those old clichéd concepts thrown out by his contemporaries; thus was born the Lord of the Rings. He even based the concept on an RP he had played himself.
Saruman is possessed by StarscreamIt explains everything.
Tom Bombadil is from Wonderland.He just plain doesn't fit in Middle-Earth; he's much more "fairy-tale" than anything else that exists, with magical powers and implied incredible age despite being apparently human. His bit of the story is a cheerful diversion from the main plot, and almost seems to belong to another tale altogether.
Every theory that's a Perspective Flip of LotR was influenced by Sauron himself.In his modern incarnation as Uwe Boll, no less. Remember, Sauron, like Uwe, can never truly create, only copy and corrupt.
Middle-Earth and Narnia are on the same continentThe former is a Left-Justified Fantasy Map, the latter is one of the few subversions, they both sort of fade into nothingness on the inland sides, and the creators knew each other. It's quite possible Tolkien and Lewis mapped a continent and tore it in half on a north-to-south axis.
Sauron runs the British government.The Shire got paved over by the British government when they built the gigantic ring freeway around metropolitan London. The men in bulldozers never realized they were causing a hobbit holocaust by leveling the little hobbit hills. Tiny hobbit skeletons form the underlay of the highway. Sauron finally had his revenge, and then he caused the British to build the Millennium Dome.
Middle-Earth is just Shanarra in another few hundred thousand years.spoiler: Compare Shanarra and Earth. Fast-forward a bit and see what happens. The four wizards are just a group of people who found the place with the Sword and the Druid knowledge.
The video game Lord of the Rings: Conquest is translated from an old Gondorian war epicAnyone who has played the good campaign in that game knows that it plays merry hell with the continuity. There is a very good reason for that. While The Lord of the Rings was translated from the Red Book of Westmarch, the game was based on an old epic poem written hundreds of years after the War of the Ring. The poem exaggerated many aspects of the war, adding additional heroics to the Men of the West (such as an attack on Minas Morgul and the battle in Moria). Apparently, one of the holders of the Red Book got ahold of a copy of the poem, and it has been held by the Tolkien Estate for the last few decades. They licensed the poem to EA and Pandemic, who made a game out of it.
Balin was a Zionist; Moria is Eretz Israel; the Balrog is the ArabsMoria/Khazad-dûm was the lost homeland of the Dwarves, who are well-established to be counterparts to the Jews. Balin goes back to try and reestablish their great kingdom, but just as he's getting started, the power that occupied the land destroys the project. This is what a lot of observers (including David Ben-Gurion, in his darker moments) thought would happen if a Jewish state were established: the Arabs would march in and end the project forever. Especially considering that Tolkien was writing before 1948, it's not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of the recolonized Khazad-dûm is what he was afraid would be the fate of the Zionists. Since Tolkien was at least somewhat sympathetic to the Zionist project, it's not too much of a stretch.
The film Willow takes place late into the Fourth Age.By the time of the events of the movie the Dwarves and Elves have very nearly or entirely vanished and Aragon's kingdom has long since shattered into various small warring kingdoms like Nockmaar and Galadorn. The Nelwyns are the descendants of the Hobbits.
The Ring was never entirely destroyed.Somewhere between the time of Isildur being killed and Sméagol finding The Ring, it eroded in the water until a tiny chip of it was broken off. This fragment of gold was still imbued with the power of the Ring, making people desire it. At one point this chip was lodged in an oyster, and layed dormant for thousands of years, creating a gigantic pearl. Then, millions of years after Frodo destroyed the Ring and Sauron, a poor diver named Kino discovers the pearl created from the Ring-chip, thus bringing about the events of John Steinbeck's The Pearl.
The Nazgûl are refugees from the world of Narnia."Nazgûl" is a reasonably common Kyrgyz woman's name. Middle-Earth names don't tend to be taken from Central Asian languages; Narnian names, on the other hand, do (Aslan, Tash, Caspian, and so on). Obviously the Nazgûl came from Narnia at some point, and brought their collective name with them.
Tolkien meant for the series to work without magic, possibly as a slight counterpart culture to our world.Frodo could be bearing a crucial part of a nuclear weapon that had a sporadically functional tracking device instead of a ring, Elves would be snipers from a more developed country with better technology and more access to vaccines etc. to allow them longer lives. Dwarves could be a mining people with more advanced technology than the men of Gondor, but less than that of the Elves. Hobbits are nomads that settled in Gondor territory a long time ago, but are not seen as integrated into the culture, and are also seen slightly as hillbillies. Pipe weed is pot. Sauron has invented nuclear weaponry, and possibly cloning/genetic modification (orcs). The enormous eagles and winged mounts of the Nazgûl are early airplanes.
Sauron is Sonic the HedgehogSauron is considered unkillable as long as The One Ring exists. And as any Sonic player will tell you, Sonic also cannot be killed so long as he has at least one ring.
Sauron eventually became Dark Matter.Sure, he ended up being utterly destroyed at the end of the Third Age, but even death may die, through strange eons. Millions of years after the War of the Ring, Sauron reconstitutes himself into a new form. He lacks his former armies, and Mordor fell to the wayside epochs ago, but his Mind Control and ability to raise up a few minions were retained, along with a few new powers.
Gandalf is The Doctor.It's no co-incidence that part of his Elvish name basically means "traveller". After the business with the War Games, the High Council of Time Lords originally marooned the Doctor on Middle-Earth, reasoning that there'd be less chance of him breaking his parole if they stranded him somewhere without much in the way of technology. They reckoned without him bumping into a bunch of Sufficiently Advanced Valar and setting himself up as a 'wizard'. Then the Doctor being the Doctor, he just had to go and get involved. When Gandalf was introduced in The Hobbit, he was a slightly tatty, gregarious (yet still intense at times) vagabond, but following his near-fatal battle with the Balrog in The Lordof The Rings, he showed up as a white-haired, no-nonsense patrician with a more refined taste in clothes. After the War of the Ring, he saw Bilbo and Frodo safely to the Undying Lands, then "borrowed" the Silmaril that the Valar had placed as a star in the night sky (they'd actually just launched it into a geosynchronous orbit), and used its power to jump-start his TARDIS. He shaved and put his second incarnation's clothes back on before he left Middle-Earth, reasoning that, knowing his luck, he'd probably wind up on 20th century Earth, and whoever found him probably wouldn't be comfortable wandering around the woods with a heavily-bearded man wearing what was essentially a big white dress. (A few hundred years later, he finally realised that he needed to return the Silmaril in time for the Dagor Dagorath, so he popped back to Middle-Earth in his Seventh incarnation, this time posing as his own, slightly clownish 'cousin', who was apparently a dab hand at bird calls...)
River Song : "I hate good wizards in stories. They always turn out to be him."
The whole thing is an ancient tale inspired by a turf war between medieval wizards, and the search for a Horcrux.Each part of the story is merely a "translation" of the conflict, its characters, and its events into terms tribal Muggles could understand.
This happened long ago and the story has drifted and changed over the years into Scientology.
The popular MERP(Middle-Earth Role Playing) mod for Skyrim was brought down not by a C&D from the Warner Brothers alone, but by The Protectors of the Plot Continuum as well.
The two Blue Wizards went so far east...
King Arthur is a corruption of the story of Aragorn becoming king of Gondor.
Lord of the Rings Continuities (what is in which timeline/continuityTolkien's Works: The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Hurin, History of Middle-Earth, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, etc