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The return of the shadow: the history of The lord of the rings, part one. Christopher Tolkien Hardcover – 1988

31 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1988
$54.00

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company; First Edition edition (1988)
  • ASIN: B000HKJJZK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,075,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ian McLeod on October 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In the forward of the Return of the Shadow, Christopher Tolkien writes "My father bestowed immense pains on the creation of The Lord of the Rings, and my intention has been that this record of his first years of work on it should reflect those pains." Well he has succeeded immeasurably. By taking the time to sift through all the old manuscripts, some only half finished and written in fading pencil, and putting them into a coherent order Christopher not only tells the story of how the Lord of the Rings came to be, but he provides aspiring writers like myself with a textbook, if you will, on how great books are written. As the quote above implies, writing a story can be like an intellectual child birthing during which the writer experiences great pains and frustrations to achieve what he hopes will become a wonderful new creation that others will enjoy. Perhaps the realization that a master storyteller and obvious genius like J.R.R. Tolkien first put pen to paper without even knowing what the story would be about, or where it would go, and then suffered through hundreds of revisions, alterations, and conflicting ideas to produce his masterpiece of literature should not be surprising. But it is, and therefore, such knowledge is a great encouragement for some who is currently going through the same process. Thank You very much Christopher Tolkien for this wonderful work.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Michael Haughey on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
For a Tolkien enthusiast, I think this is an extremely interesting work. Much like the relationship between The Silmarillion and the Books of Lost Tales, The Return of the Shadow is an in depth exploration of the development of The Fellowship of the Ring. The book gives an account of each chapter in the Fellowship of the Ring, from the Long-Expected Party to the Mines of Moria. Each section includes the various versions of the chapter that Professor Tolkien wrote and rejected. Notes and comments are included for each chapter. I was impressed by the research that went into compiling this book, as every stage of development was discussed in detail. While the Return of the Shadow is similar in format to the Books of Lost Tales I and II, one should not expect the dramatic differences between the Silmarillion and its embryonic tales. The early versions of the Fellowship of the Ring are not completely alien to the product that was produced. However, the development of characters and elements of the tale prove most interesting indeed. For someone who is unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings, this book would most certainly be a poor choice to read. But for those who cherish the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of The Shadow is a wealth of information which I would recomment as being indispensable.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Zampino VINE VOICE on December 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
. . .for anyone who wants to understand the thought processes behind the greatest exercise in fantasy fiction of all time.
In preparing this volume (and the others in the series) Christopher Tolkien has permitted us access to the inner workings of his father's thought, as the story which ultimately became "The Lord of the Rings" gradually evolved and took shape.
Any aficionado of "The Lord of the Rings" will delight at the early character portrayls of characters like Farmer Maggot and Treebeard (and not the least, Trotter the hobbit whose character ultimately morphs into that of Aragorn).
This book is also highly recommend for any student of language and literature and any budding novelist.
Thank you, Christopher, for your labor of love on behalf of your father.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By olorin69@hotmail.com on September 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In the sixth volume of The History of Middle Earth, Christopher Tolkien begins to show us the developement of The Lord of the Rings. This volume reaches the point where Tolkien himself stopped his writing for a long time--the Mines of Moria. Although most of the basic themes remain the same throughout Tolkien's creation, one difference in the early version certainly stands out. Not only is there no mention of the Dunedain, but Aragorn himself is now a hobbit called Trotter whose real name is none other than Peregrin. Also, many of the hobbit names were different and continued to shift back and forth until the present names were finally accepted. I recommend this book to all Tolkien fans, but especially for those who loved LOTR.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric San Juan VINE VOICE on May 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're not a Tolkien fan, you need not apply to the sprawling History of Middle Earth series. 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.
The 12 volumes of the History of Middle Earth take a close look at the creation of Tolkien's greatest achievement - Middle Earth itself - through early drafts, unpublished texts, and dead end writings. For ardent Tolkien readers it is a fascinating look at one of the great literary creations of the 20th Century. For more casual fans, it's text better left unread.
"The Return of the Shadow" marks the first in the four volumes dealing with the history of the writing of "The Lord of the Rings." Like the other volumes in the series, it features unpublished writings by Tolkien, supplemented, explained, footnoted, annotated and expounded upon by his son, Christopher Tolkien.
Here we have the earliest versions of what would later become the most beloved fantasy epic in the world, detailing the extraordinary and convoluted history of the earliest chapters of "The Lord of the Rings." Some readers might be surprised to know just how different a book this was in its earliest stages, and just how much Tolkien was making it up as he went along in those early days.
The wealth of information is fantastic, and Christopher Tolkien goes to great lengths to examine each text, putting them in the context of the larger puzzle of his father's writings. The exploration of how "The Lord of the Rings" came about is fantastic - for those interested. Otherwise, it will bore. This is, after all, a series of unfinished draft chapters and essays on the text. I enjoyed it, but many won't.
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