The following is a list of sections (but not subsections) that I have
documented; those updated on and after 2018/06/12 I will try and keep the
last updated date on for easier viewing what's new but I will not promise to
be 100% of it.
Ainu (p.l. Ainur): The Holy Ones; beings that Eru Ilúvatar created
Vala (p.l. Valar): The Powers of the World (Arda)
Maia (p.l. Maiar): Spirits who helped the Valar in Arda
Dwarrows: The historically accurate plural of
Dwarf. I discuss this a bit more in my commentary on the
History of Middle-earth.
Balrog: Maiar corrupted by Melko -> Melkor ->
Morgoth; they were his most formidable servants. Although there were at
one point considered to be many or unspecified amount Tolkien would
later specify that there were very few, perhaps no more than 7 (the
number might be off but it was less than 10 for sure). In The War of the
Wrath (First Age) at least one escaped and lie dormant for years (until
he was accidentally 'released' by the Dwarves in the Third Age; this is
the one who the Dwarves call Bane of Durin and is the one that Gandalf
confronts at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm in the Mines of Moria. I write
more about them in my commentary on the
History of Middle-earth
and as well as a bit more under the section about Glorfindel and the
If you don't care about how I have tried to structure this then you can go
to the next section.
As for how I've gone about reading the history it's important to realise
there is a lot of background information, a lot of history with many drafts,
ideas changing and essentially everything being different in some way or
another. I started out initially reading from the first book but then I decided
that I wanted to read the history of The Lord of the Rings first; therefore I
started with book VI, entitled: The Return of the Shadow (a name that Tolkien
thought of before deciding on The Fellowship of the Ring).
I will try my best to organise this in a somewhat intuitive order where
possible (and when I have the motivation to do so) but I personally prefer having
more content over having the best organisation. But just like Middle-earth there
will be many drafts and versions of this document; I will try to document where
possible but this will never be remotely perfect.
In earlier drafts Sauron made many Rings and gave them out to the different
peoples of Middle-earth. The elves were given many and there were now many
elfwraiths but the Lord did not have any power over them (maybe the idea
that they weren't under the Lord but also were in the Unseen is a precursor to
Glorfindel in The Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo sees him in the Unseen as
he himself, Frodo, is fading into the wraith world? I don't know for certain
but neither do I have a recollection of even hints of this in TS - though of course I have not
read that part of the histories). The dwarves it was believed had none because they
could not be taken: they were too solid. Men had 'few' and goblins had many and
the invisible goblins were very evil and wholly under the control of the Dark
Lord. The men-wraiths were also under the dominion of the Lord of the Rings.
A second draft has it that the Dwarves had seven (like in the final) and they
become greedy and in this way they were controlled but not beyond that (which of course is shown in TH when Thorin
is very angry that Bilbo took the Arkenstone and used it as a way to negotiate
with the people of Lake-town).
The men now had 'three'but they found more which were
abandoned by Elfwraiths (and so there could be more than three black riders).
Here the Elfwraiths however weren't said to not be under control of the Dark
Lord (which in my mind implies some might have been, some might not have been or
they all were under dominion of the Dark Lord).
Originally Gollum was - because this is how it was in the first edition of The
Hobbit and so Tolkien was working under those constraints - willing to give up
the Ring because he was tired of it; as soon as (in The Hobbit) Bilbo showed up
a plan began to formulate in his mind to get rid of the Ring. He could have
given it to the goblins but they were already evil enough where it wouldn't
amuse him and it would be dangerous for an invisible goblin - dangerous to
Gollum, that is.
Here Bilbo also had pity for the creature and Gandalf rebukes Bingo for having
suggesting it a pity he didn't kill Gollum when he had the chance. Only here
Gandalf tells him if he had done so it would be against the rules; he'd not have
had the Ring but the Ring would have had him at once (much like it does to
Sméagol -> Gollum in LR); here though it is also said by Gandalf that he might
have become a wraith at once! I want to say also in one of the earlier
drafts of LR Gandalf tells Bingo that if after he was stabbed by the
Morgul-knife (the attack itself varies in the drafts too but I've not documented
that yet) he were to put the Ring on he would have become a wraith at once also;
there were variations on this whole theme though and I'm not sure now what ended
up finally (even though I reread LR recently I also started reading RS off and
on and I'm quite busy and stressed). I do think however it was said in an
earlier draft: had Bingo put the Ring on he would have become a wraith. Of
course he doesn't do this in the end just as Frodo doesn't in FR. But that came after the first edition of
Before the darker nature of the Ring of Power was developed (remembering that The Hobbit wasn't meant to have a sequel)
Gollum was willing to give the Ring up to Bilbo if he won the Riddle-game. Of course Bilbo had already found it so Bilbo says never mind to him since he would
have had it (and Gollum wouldn't have) anyway if he gave it up and he'll let him
(Gollum) off if he shows Bilbo the way out of the cave. Gollum was relieved as
in this edition he truly was going to honour the Riddle-game rules (though of
course Bilbo didn't really honour it but since Gollum agreed to try to answer it
was acceptable) and give up his birthday gift (and he apologised profusely,
pleading for forgiveness). Since this obviously couldn't happen once the darker
nature was developed Tolkien modified it to later editions and then could say
Bilbo told this story (and of course it was a lie but this was the Ring's
influence on Bilbo).
There are some other slight changes which I cannot recall but they all involve
the Ring; for those who want to read the first edition you can order it at the
online Tolkien Bookshop (tolkien.co.uk) here. It
gives insight into how Tolkien originally envisioned it (and the finality of the
story) - and of course The Hobbit in any edition is a delightful story. I also
have more information on the development of the nature of the One Ring but this
too I do not have access to (and cannot at this time be bothered to rewrite it).
Several versions of the famous Ring verse are as follows:
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 Mor-dor 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 Mor-dor where the shadows lie.
Originally it was 'One ring to bind them' but then it was changed to 'and
in the darkness bind them' (as we all know). The first complete form however
read as the below; he was not certain of the way the Rings were to be doled
out; at one point it was 'Nine rings for the Elven-kings' and 'Three rings
for Mortal Men'; I believe I documented why the different numbers but I
don't know now for certain. The original:
Nine for the Elven-kings under moon and star,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Three for Mortal Men that wander far,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mor-dor where the shadows are.
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 Mor-dor where the shadows are.
Twelve for Mortal Men doomed to die,
Nine for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Three for the Elven-kings of earth, sea, and sky,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.
And at this point Twelve was changed to Nine and Nine changed to Seven.
The Three Rings were at one point called the 'Rings of earth, air and sky'.
On the subject of there being originally twelve Nazgûl see the section
Of Gollum and the Ring
(this is where Christopher documents the first draft of the source of the
Rings including the men wraiths and even the idea that Gollum was possibly a
distant goblin kind rather than a hobbit of old).
On the subject of how the Nazgûl was originally envisioned - in particular
the description of the black shape on the black horse - see the section
The flight of the Hobbits and the Nazgûl snuffling origin.
Strider was earlier called Trotter (who would go through many name changes back and forth) and he was a hobbit
(the name changes continued after it was decided he was after all a Man); he wore wooden shoes,
though, and he tells why at the Council of Elrond: he was actually captured in Mordor
and there is the suggestion that he had injuries to his feet and/or he then had
wooden feet (I want to say this was in TI but it was a long time ago I read it
but in either case for a Hobbit to wear shoes is by itself odd).
Trotter was not the only one who would later become a Man who was originally
a hobbit: Barliman Butterbur was originally called Timothy Titus (as a hobbit)
(the name actually from another story of Tolkien's though the two were very
different) and later became Barnabas Butterbur (also a hobbit) and only later would become
Barliman Butterbur (a Man). Bill Ferny (originally spelt Ferny but at one point
spelt Ferney and of course in the end it was Ferny) was also a hobbit and possibly so was the
swarthy looking person the hobbits see at The Prancing Pony (which was originally called
'The White Horse') - though I can't be 100% on that last one I seem to remember this
nonetheless. Nob was originally called Lob which is very interesting: Lob is an
Old English word for 'spider' and this is where the creature Shelob gets her
name: it literally means she spider. But Lob was in fact a hobbit here and later
becomes a Man.
The arrival of Bree and the events in Bree went through quite a few changes.
Trotter actually encounters the Nazgûl and goes on to tell Gandalf about them
being abroad (instead of Radagast the Brown at the bequest of Saruman the White
in FR); Gandalf actually writes the letter and leaves it in Trotter's care in
one draft and in another leaves it with Barnabas (who is equally forgetful as in
FR). Also, unlike in FR, Barnabas actually respects (or at least doesn't
question the nature of) Trotter. Trotter also praises Barnabas for turning away
the Nazgûl (who asked about four hobbits with five ponies coming out from The
Shire); to be specific, Trotter tells Bingo he should be very grateful for
Baranbas's actions. So Trotter actually has easy access to the hobbits unlike
(in the very first draft, at least) in FR and this is good for the hobbits; this
of course didn't make it in the end.
But who is Trotter?
Tolkien asked multiple times who Trotter was. He suggests that Rangers are
best not hobbits but either way Trotter must not be a hobbit OR he is someone
very well known e.g. Bilbo! The following note in RS in chapter 'QUERIES AND
ALTERATIONS' was one of several made by Tolkien:
Rangers are best not as hobbits, perhaps. But either Trotter (as a
ranger) must be not a hobbit, or someone very well known: e.g.
Bilbo. But the latter is awkward in view of 'happily ever after'. I
thought of making Trotter into Fosco Took (Bilbo's first cousin)
who vanished when a lad, owing to Gandalf. Who is Trotter? He
must have had some bitter acquaintance with Ring-wraiths &c.
Christopher notes that this is to be taken with Bingo's feeling that he had
met Trotter before and should be able to think of his true name. Bilbo's first
cousin Fosco Took hadn't yet been mentioned; Christopher goes on to say this
about Fosco vanishing:
The ascription of Fosco Took's vanishing to Gandalf looks back to the
beginning of The Hobbit, where Bilbo says to him. 'Not the Gandalf who
was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses going off into the Blue
for mad adventures?'
Of course at this stage it's still Bingo Bolger-Baggins who is the
Ring-bearer. Instead though he brings his nephews Odo and Frodo Took, along.
Which leads me to the next section regarding the flight of the Hobbits (leaving
the Shire) and also the origin of the Nazgûl snuffling.
In FR Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and Peregrin Took are in Hobbiton and
Sam hears hoofs. Frodo does not want to be seen by anyone and he wants to pull
a fast one on Gandalf (for being late if it is Gandalf). Of course it is the
Nazgûl and Frodo does NOT put the Ring on. Originally however the hobbits are
not the same: Bingo Bolger-Baggins, Frodo and Odo. Bilbo in one version is
Bingo's father and in another version is Bingo's uncle; Frodo and Odo are
Bingo's nephews, as noted in the previous section.
But whereas in FR Samwise Gamgee recounts hearing the Nazgûl in Hobbiton
earlier (after Frodo tells about the snuffling as if trying to find an elusive
scent when they get off the road after Sam hears hoofs), originally it is the
here mentioned Frodo who heard it but much earlier (which is odd because why are
they only seeking Bingo now allowing that he's fleeing just in time?). But where
does this snuffling come from if not the Nazgûl? In the original draft there are slight
Before this however, as above, the cloaked figure is white and it is
Gandalf; Gandalf saw the hobbits and so knows Bingo is playing a prank. But he
still sniffs and acts just as the Nazgûl later does with some additions. Tolkien
later points out that Bingo Bolger-Baggins must think about using the Ring but
must resist until the incident at Weathertop (where they will have Trotter ->
Strider). The sequence went this way:
Bingo Bolger-Baggins is with his nephews Frodo and Odo. This is not
Frodo Baggins and none of the adventures with Bingo which include Frodo does
it refer to Frodo Baggins.
It is this Frodo who hears the hoofs and it is Bingo who doesn't want to
be seen (not only because he was meant to have 'disappeared' but because he
had a feeling that the Black Rider(s) meant no good). In a later revision
Gandalf tells Bingo (when they finally meet up again in Rivendell) he should have
waited until he [Gandalf] returned but of course he likely would have been caught
in that case (and in the final Gandalf wanted Frodo Baggins to leave sooner
but he never got the note because Butterbur forgot to send the letter!).
Frodo and Odo move out of sight and Bingo puts on the One Ring.
A small, white cloaked figure on horseback stops right in front of Bingo
and begins to sniff.
Gandalf calls out Bingo on his prank and Bingo reveals himself.
Gandalf tells how he saw the hobbits not long before (when the hobbits
could hear but not see the horse) and so knew Bingo was playing a prank. He
first says it wasn't through magic.
This sequence changed slightly but was the beginning of the Nazgûl snuffling out
for Frodo Baggins.
But in an earlier plot Bingo would use the Ring to hide from
the Nazgûl during his flight from The Shire! Similarly Bingo would
hide from Farmer Maggot; originally Bingo had made such an effort of escaping
unseen he didn't want to be seen and because of the encounters with the Nazgûl
he now doubly doesn't want to be (in fact Maggot would send the Nazgûl away,
doing Bingo much good). Bingo is stuck outside while Frodo and Odo are having
food/drinks and Bingo decides to play a prank: he would take the mug of beer
from Maggot's hand and drink the remaining beer, terrifying Maggot as well as
Frodo and Odo (though they weren't as terrified and more so annoyed). This event
would change over time though and Bingo hides from Maggot not to remain unseen
but for his life; when Bingo was younger he had been attacked by one of Maggot's
dogs and Bingo ended up killing the dog. Maggot then threatened Bingo if he ever
showed up again he would kill Bingo! There are other variations too where
one has Bilbo and Bingo in the grasp of Maggot. In either case Bingo hides from
Maggot originally though of course later on it'd be extremely dangerous for him
to use the Ring in that way.
Incidentally, Meriadoc (Merry) was originally called
Marmaduke but he did not exist at first (and in no case was he ever there flying
from Hobbiton but how he comes across the three does vary in some subtle ways).
In any case there were a lot of name changes and it's not necessarily true to
say they can be only name changes for the same character (although for some they
largely can be especially Bingo Bolger-Baggins to Frodo Baggins).
As I alluded to quite a long while back Bingo plays a prank on Farmer
Maggot but I did not have access to what I documented. But as I am doing my
annual reading(s) of The Lord of the Rings I have decided to document it. In
fact document *them*: there was more than one version; in fact quite a few
though some were just slight variations. They get funnier as they progress
and Christopher asks a question of his father (a logistics or continuity
issue) that his father resolves; amusingly Christopher also pointed out the
different colours in one telling of Hobbit from another (maybe of the hat or
cloak of either one of the dwarves or Gandalf; Tolkien noted 'Damn kid' or
something near to it but of course Tolkien would rely on Christopher a great
deal and it was not meant in ill when saying that).
* Version 1: Bingo, invisibly in the house, takes the mug out of
Maggot's reach and drinks from it
Just before Farmer Maggot can see the hobbits (N.B. this is before they
reach Marmaduke which I will get to below) Bingo slips on
the Ring; the others cannot hide. They go into the house but Bingo
In The LR the hobbits say they cannot have dinner as they must get going;
however Maggot says he'll take them on the wagon to the Ferry. But there
Frodo Baggins (in the original Frodo was a Took and I do not refer to him
for this sentence) does have dinner for that reason. However in the earlier
drafts they do not have access to Bingo so they do not accept the offer and
Maggot does not offer to take them (let alone protect Bingo) to the Ferry.
Anyway the following occurs:
'Not that I remember,' said Farmer Maggot, 'and I don't want to see
any again. Now I hope you and your friend will stay and have a bite and
sup with me and my wife.
'Thank you very much!' said Odo regretfully, 'but I am afraid we
ought to go on.'
'Yes,' said Frodo, 'we have some way to go before night, and really
we have already rested too long. But it is very kind of you all the
'Well! Here's your health and good luck!' said the farmer, reaching
for his mug. But at that moment the mug left the table, rose, tilted in
the air, and then returned empty to its place.
'Help and save us!' cried the farmer jumping up. 'Did you see that?
This is a queer day and no mistake. First the dog and then me seeing
things that ain't.'
'Oh, I saw the mug too,' said Odo, unable to hide a grin.
'You did, did you!' said the farmer. 'I don't see no cause to laugh.'
He looked quickly and queerly at Odo and Frodo, and now they seemed only
too glad that they were going. They said good-bye politely but
hurriedly, and ran down the steps and out of the gate. Farmer Maggot and
his wife stood whispering at their door and watched them out of
'What did you want to play that silly trick for?' said Odo when the
farmhouse was well behind. 'The old man had done you a good turn with
that Rider, or so it seemed to me.'
'I daresay,' said a voice behind him. 'But you did me a pretty poor
turn, going inside and drinking and talking, and leaving me in the cold.
As it was I only got half the mug. And now we are late. I shall make you
trot after this.'
'Show us how to trot!' said Odo.
At this point Bingo reappears and does trot and the others hurry after
him. They see deep hoofmarks but there was nothing they could do and they
knew about it anyway. Of course at this point the Ring would be a way for
Bingo to be not seen. But then as they get close to Bucklebury Marmaduke
sings an amusing song to get their attention:
Their talk flagged. They were now getting really tired, and went
along with their chins down and their eyes in front of their toes. They
were quite startled when suddenly a voice behind them cried: 'Hi' It
then burst into a loud song:
As I was sitting by the way,
I saw three hobbits walking:
One was dumb with naught to say,
The others were not talking.
'Good night!' I said. 'Good night to you!'
They heeded me not in my greeting:
One was deaf like the other two.
It was a merry meeting!
'Marmaduke!' cried Bingo turning round. 'Where did you spring
'You passed me sitting at the road-side,' said Marmaduke. 'Perhaps I
ought to have lain down in the road; but then you would have just
trodden on me and passed gaily on.'
'We are tired,' said Bingo.
'So it seems. I told you you would be -- but you were so proud and
stiff. "Ponies! Pooh!" you said. "Just a little leg-stretcher before the
real business begins."'
'As it happens ponies would not have helped much,' said Bingo. 'We
have been having adventures.' He stopped suddenly and looked up
and down the road. 'We will tell you later.'
'Bless me!' said Marmaduke. 'But how mean of you! You shouldn't have
adventures without me. And what are you peering about for? Are there
some big bad rabbits loose?'
A few notes: first Farmer Maggot doesn't seem to
have any children. Perhaps not significant but still a difference and Bingo
refers to his dogs and children in a subsequent version. A few other
differences. This is probably the most significant: no mushrooms (they
appear in the next version); this changes the entire reasoning that Bingo
(Frodo Baggins) fears the farmer and the farmer would still harm Bingo if he
could catch him whereas in FR this is not so. Obviously there's no wagon,
Marmaduke isn't on a pony and so do not hear clip clop of hoofs which scares
them of the Black Riders. Also: Maggot suggests that Bingo got into some
trouble and disappeared a purpose . Of course that's correct.
* Version 2: Bingo taunts Maggot, pushes him over and steals his hat
Continuing the above: the hobbits in any case come to
the gate and Frodo (Took) states that this is Farmer Maggot's (N.B. at this
point for a moment he was called Puddifoot) land. Bingo is alarmed and he
explains that he hadn't been there in years; Frodo says he's all right but
not to trespassers. Bingo explains that one time he was in Maggot's fields
and he had killed one of Maggot's dogs with a heavy stone: he broke its
head. He was terrified and it was a lucky shot (for his life). Maggot beat
him and told him he would kill him next time. 'I'd kill you now,' he said,
'if you were not Mr Rory's nephew, more's the pity and shame to
Brandybucks.'. Frodo then says that's long ago and he might not even
remember it; Bingo says he doesn't fancy he'd forget especially about his
dogs (and note that Maggot does have a good memory) and it's even said that
he loved his dogs more than his children (first reference to them). Bilbo
told him a year or two before he left the Shire that one time he was down
this way and called at the farm to get a bite and drink; Maggot said he'd
have no Baggins over his doorstep and ordered him off. Called him Baggins
thievish murderous rascals and then threatened him with a stick: he also
shook a fist at Bingo every time he had passed the road.
They come across Maggot and he invites them into his house; he
says that they have leave on his land but no Baggins would: that Bingo had
killed one of his dogs once over 30 years ago and he'll even remind him of
it if he dares to come round. He heard that Bingo would be coming to live in
Buckland and couldn't think of why Brandybucks would allow it.'
But Mr Bingo's half a Brandybuck too,' said Odo (trying to keep from
smiling). 'He's quite a nice fellow when you get on the right side of
him; though he will go walking across country and he is fond of
There seemed to be a breath, the ghost of an exclamation, not far
from Odo's ear, though he could not be sure.
'That's just it,' said the farmer. 'He used to take mine though I
beat him for it. And I'll beat him again, if I catch him at it. But that
reminds me: what do you think that funny customer asked me?'
At this point Maggot tells of the encounter with the customer and his
report which is similar to the other versions and FR with a difference:
'...I had a short of shiver down my back. But the question
was too much for me. "Be off," I said. "There are no Bagginses here, and
won't be whilst I am on legs. If you are a friend of theirs you are not
welcome. I give you one minute before I call my dogs."
Maggot then goes on with the telling the hobbits what to think about the
customer and he advises them to avoid Bingo or they'll certainly be in more
trouble than they would ever bargain for. It continues:
There was no mistaking the breath and the suppressed gasp by Frodo's
ear this occasion.
'I'll remember the advice,' said Frodo. 'But we now must be getting
to Bucklebury. Mr Merry Brandybuck is expecting us this evening.'
'Now that's a pity,' said the farmer. 'I was going to ask you if you
and your friends would stay and have a bite and sup with my wife.'
'It is very kind of you,' said Frodo; 'but I am afraid we must be off
now -- we want to get to the Ferry before dark.'
'Well then, one more drink!' said the farmer, and his wife poured out
some beer. 'Here's your health and good luck!' he said, reaching for the
mug. But at that moment the mug left the table, rose, tilted in the air,
and then returned empty to its place.
'Help us and save us!' cried the farmer jumping up and gaping. 'This
day is bewitched. First the dog and then me: seeing things that
'But I saw the mug get up too,' said Odo indiscreetly, and not fully
hiding a grin.
Odo and Frodo stared. Sam looked anxious and worried. 'You did not
ask me to have a bite and sup,' said a voice coming apparently from the
middle of the room. Farmer Maggot backed towards the fire-place; his
wife screamed. 'And that's a pity,' went the voice, which Frodo to his
bewilderment now recognized as Bingo's, 'because I like your beer. But
don't boast again that no Baggins will ever come inside your house.
There's one inside now. A thievish Baggins. A very angry Baggins.' There
was a pause. 'In fact BINGO!' said the voice suddenly yelled just in the
farmer's ear. At the same time something gave him a push in the
waistcoat, and he fell over with a crash among the fire-irons. He sat up
again just in time to see his own hat leave the settle where he had
thrown it down, and sail out the door, which opened to let it pass.
'Hi! here!' yelled the farmer, leaping to his feet. 'Hey, Grip, Fang,
Wolf!' At that the hat went off at great speed towards the gate; but as
the farmer ran after it, it came sailing back through the air and fell
at his feet. He picked it up gingerly, and looked at it in astonishment.
The dogs released by Mrs Maggot came bounding up; but the farmer gave
them no command. He stood scratching his head and turning his hat over,
as if expected to find it had grown wings.
Odo and Frodo followed by Sam came out of the house.
'Well, if that ain't the queerest thing that ever happened in my
house!' said the farmer. 'Talk about ghosts! I suppose you haven't been
playing tricks on me, have you?' he said suddenly, looking hard at them
'We?' said Frodo. 'Why, we were startled just as you were. I can't
make mugs drain themselves, or hats walk out of the house.'
'Well, it is mighty queer,' said the farmer, not seeming quite
satisfied. 'First this rider asks for Mr Baggins. Then you folk come
along; and while you are in the house Mr Baggins' voice starts playing
tricks. And you are friends of his seemingly. "Quite a nice fellow," you
said. If there ain't some connexion between all these bewitchments, I'll
eat this very hat. You can tell him from me to keep his voice at home,
or I'll come and gag him, if I have to swim the River and hunt him all
through Bucklebury. And you'd best be going back to your friends, and
leave me in peace. Good day to you.'
Odo asks at this point what do you make of that; and where is Bingo?
Frodo says he thinks Uncle Bingo had taken leave of his senses and he
reckons they'll run into him in this lane before long. Bingo says to them
they won't because he's just behind. There is a slight variation of the
above: the hat is instead the jug; Christopher asked why the hat wasn't
invisible if Bingo's clothes were; he notes in RS that the story must have
been that Bingo was actually wearing the hat: otherwise it would be easily
answered: the hat was an external object to the wearer of the Ring just like
the mug or hat. Tolkien got round this question by changing it to the jug as
* Version 3: Bingo steals the beer jug
He sat up again just in time to see the jug (still holding some beer)
leave the table where he had lain it down, and sail out of the door ...
At that the jug went off at a great speed towards the gate, spilling
beer in the yard; but as the farmer ran after it, it suddenly stopped
and came to rest on the gatepost ... He stood scratching his head and
turning the jug round and round... (replacing 'jug' for 'hat' of
* Alternate version of the original encounter between Maggot and
There's actually another version where Bilbo and Bingo had the encounter
with Maggot, and the farmer a real ogre (N.B. not literally). They got lost
whilst in the Shirebourn (just like Deephallow it is not mentioned in The
Lord of the Rings but it is on Tolkien's map of the Shire and the published
FR) and they climbed through a hedge and found themselves in a garden;
Maggot found them, set a big dog on them, more like a wolf even. Bingo fell
down with the dog over him and Bilbo broke its head with a thick stick.
Maggot is violent, Bingo says. Bilbo ws [sic: this was actually a typo in
RS, presumably meant to be 'was'] trying to explain how they came there and
Maggot picked him up and flung him over the hedge into a ditch. He then
picked Bingo up and had a good look, recognised him as of the Brandybuck
clan though it was years he had been to his farm. "I was going to break your
neck," he said, "and I will yet, whether you be Mr Rory's nephew or not, if
I catch you round here again. Get out before I do you an injury!" He drops
Bingo over the hedge on top of Bilbo. Bilbo says to Maggot that next time
he'll come round with something sharper than stick and that Maggot and his
dogs would be of no loss. Maggot laughed, said he has his own weapons and
'next time you kill one of my dogs, I'll kill you. Be off now, or I'll kill
you tonight." This was 20 years before, he won't have forgotten and the
meeting would not be a good one.
Although Glorfindel is an important character in The Lord of the Rings his
role isn't elaborated upon in The L.R.; he is the Elf who rescues Frodo from the
Ringwraiths after the attack on Weathertop: it is his horse that takes Frodo
safely to Rivendell. In the book the Nazgûl command Frodo to stay still which
they were able to do because the fragment of the Morgul-knife had already
started to work (if it were to have reached his heart it would have turned him
into a wraith but under the command of the Nazgûl or at least the Witch-king of
Angmar but either way he would have been lost and so would have the Ring: lost
to Sauron and to the peril of Middle-earth) but then Glorfindel said to his
horse (Glorfindel was not mounted on the horse!):
'Ride on! Ride on!' cried Glorfindel, and then loud and clear he called to
the horse in the elf-tongue: noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!
This saved Frodo (at least in so far as he never became a wraith since Elrond
at the last found the fragment in Frodo and was able to heal him at least for
the time; he never did recover completely) and also the Quest as well, something
that Frodo bravely took upon himself to 'lead' (as in be the Ring-bearer).
In any case Glorfindel has a back story involving a Balrog in the Fall of
Gondolin and he fell just like all others who slew a Balrog. And Glorfindel in
the Third Age is indeed the same Elf as the Elf in the First Age. For more
information on this see my commentary on the
History of Middle-earth.
I also write a bit more on Balrogs in that document.
At first the 'Giant Treebeard' (as he was called and at some point also 'Tree
Beard') was in league with the Enemy and actually kept
Gandalf prisoner for some time (that's where he was when he was trying
to return to The Shire as he found out the Ringwraiths were once again abroad
contrast instead of being held at the tower Orthanc in Isengard by
Saruman); another version had Gandalf stuck in a tower surrounded by at
least some of the Ringwraiths but I cannot recall exactly how he escaped:
perhaps they were summoned? I seem to recall that. In any case this means he
[Treebeard] was in fact once a Giant and his forest Fangorn was a gigantic
forest (and he had two or three Giants with him). In TT Merry Brandybuck and
Pippin Took would encounter Treebeard and have quite an adventure. But
originally Frodo [Baggins; Tolkien would eventually realise Bingo Bolger-Baggins
would be Frodo Baggins along with other name and role changes] would have an encounter with Treebeard (I
don't recall specifics but I presumably will document this in the future).
A troll is a stone inhabited by a Goblin spirit which is to say a Stone
Troll. When Tolkien decided that Treebeard was not after all a Giant but
instead an Ent (which derives from Old English 'ent' which comes from
'eoten' for 'giant') he had to change the name of (as I
recall it) 'Entish Lands' to 'Ettenmoors'. The latter is of course on the final map of Middle-earth and of its
residents three were infamous: Tom, Bert and William Huggins, the trolls who
were tricked by Gandalf to remain out long enough to be hit by the Sun - and therefore turn to Stone (hence
Stone Troll); whilst Melkor's Trolls (etc.) had this weakness later breeds of Sauron and in particular the
Uruk-hai ('Orc-folk', 'Orc-people') and Olog-hai ('Troll-folk', 'Troll-people') did not (which might seem in
some ways ironic if you consider Sauron was a Maia whereas Melkor was originally an Ainu; indeed Sauron was
Melkor's most loyal lieutenant and was considered equally as evil as Melkor except that for a long time he did
not serve himself).
Moria's meaning was actually different in the past: in LR of course it is
The Black Pit but beforehand it was Black Gulf. Also, and this is pure
speculation on my part (and with the note that I actually don't think it's likely but it is
interesting in any case at least to me), originally (as I recall) the River
leading to Rivendell was called the Riven river and so Riven + dell. Of course
it's proper name is Imladris but that isn't in the common tongue.
Gamgee: Stayathome and Hamfast (as in Gaffer Gamgee being Sam's father).
Shelob: 'lob' is an old word for spider so 'She spider'.
On the One Ring: in a plot outline Gollum would betray Frodo to the spiders but instead of Shelob
trying to eat Frodo (or anything and everything) the spider would magically put Frodo to sleep. Also,
around this time (it's obviously not all complete) Gollum's cries would be heard by the Ringwraiths
but somehow Frodo lost the ring (I want to say either Gollum stole it at that time or Sam obtained it -
maybe wrestling it from Gollum - until he could rescue Frodo) yet had another ring -
and he was then in a dungeon in Minas Morgul (though at that point spelt Minas
Morgol). The Ringwraiths realising that the ring he had was not the One Ring threatened to send him to Barad-dûr (sometimes spelt
Barraddur and Barrad dur). But that's when Sam rescues him. I know there was something about overpowering the
Ringwraiths or something along those lines.
Here too Frodo initially saw him as an Orc (because Sam had the One Ring, much like
when Sam rescues him in Cirith Ungol in the Lord of the Rings) and therefore
hated him but Sam then handed it to him and they then dressed up as Orcs like in
the book. Their escape route was of course quite different and there were some
differences in how they went about it too. I want to say they both got around
Orcs but differently: this including if I recall Frodo using the Ring (of course
Sam would use the One Ring to hide from the Orcs in Cirith Ungol out of
necessity also but I want to say here it was riskier than in the final, at least
if you consider the final plot). Of course using the Ring near the Ringwraiths would never be wise (as
Frodo finds out when the Ring influences him to put it on at Weathertop and
there stabbed by a Morgul-knife by the Witch-king of Angmar, Lord of the
On the other hand it could have also been that Sam rescued him from the spider(s) when this
happened (I can't recall for certain but again these variants were brought up around
the same time). I should say these were different plots rather than slight
The spiders plot obviously was what would later become Shelob ('lob' being an
old word for 'spider' and therefore 'She+spider') and instead of the spell of
sleep it was venom meant to paralyse the victim so she could eat her prey at her
convenience; she would of course have eaten Frodo but for Samwise Gamgee.
Gollum's plan of course was to recover his Precious after Shelob eats Frodo but
this never happens; he backs away until they are at close to Sammath Naur where
he would shortly fall into the Cracks of Doom after biting the Ring off Frodo's
finger and therefore finishing the quest for Frodo - and saving the world.
Of course Gollum never would have been able to keep the Ring this time around;
Sauron and his armies were too powerful - not to mention so close to home.
Gollum would have been taken to Barad-dûr and would have been killed. This
didn't come to pass, however, and in either case the spider plot would change
along with the geography.
In an earlier version of this document I noted that C.T. wrote about what the
Nazgûl winged mounts were; in an earlier draft it would be that the Ringwraiths
were instead demonic vultures; then instead the mounts would
be demonic vultures. And indeed in The Return of the King they are referred
to amongst other things vultures (though this isn't the steed but the
Nazgûl themselves). This to me makes it most canon that they were
vultures: demonic vultures in particular. However in Letter #211 a Ms. Rhona Beare asked a
number of questions (including the colour of the two unnamed wizards that I
document next in this document). Question #4 had a number of parts and it
ended with the following:
Did the Witch-king ride a pterodactyl at the siege of
Tolkien had this to say in the matter:
Pterodactyl. Yes and no. I did not intend the steed of the Witch-king to be
what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn (with rather less shadowy
evidence that than lies behind many monsters of the new and fascinating
semi-scientific mythology of the 'Prehistoric'). But obviously it is
pterodactylic and owes much to the mythology, and its description even
provides a sort of way in which it could be a last survivor of older geological
There is a footnote at the end where the editors of the Letters say that he
didn't send that copy but instead a less elaborate version; it's understandable
they would include this version though because it's more interesting to the
study of Tolkien and his works.
On the colours of the Istari that weren't named in The L.R.: Tolkien was asked
a number of questions including this and he answered it in Letter #211:
I have not named the colours, because I do not know them. I doubt if they
had distinctive colours. Distinction was only required in the case of the three
who remained in the relatively small area of the North-west. (On the *names* see
Q[uestion[5.). I really do not know anything clearly about the other two - since
they do not consider the history of the N.W. I think they went as emissaries to
distant regions, East and South, far out of Númenórean range: missionaries
'enemy-occupied' lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I
fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I
suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and 'magic' traditions
that outlasted the fall of Sauron.
The footnote  in the letter above has the following to say:
Elsewhere Tolkien called the other two wizards Ithryn Luin, the Blue
Wizards; see Unfinished Tales pp.389-90.
As for question #5 he had this to say about the names of the other two Istari
and more generally about names full stop:
Since the Valar had no language of their own, not needing one, they had no
'true' names, only identities, and their names were conferred on them by the
Elves, being in origin therefore all, as it were, 'nicknames', referring to some
striking peculiarity, function or deed. (The same is true of the 'Istari' or
Wizards who were emissaries of the Valar, and of their kind.) In consequence
each identity had several 'nicknames'; and the names of the Valar were not
necessarily related in different languages (or languages of Men deriving their
knowledge from Elves).
He goes on to say something interesting here; he gives the example that
Elbereth and Varda 'Star-lady' and 'Lofty' are not related words but in fact
they do refer to the same person (he used the word person here too so one might
argue that he uses the term generally).
However in the Unfinished Tales C.T. notes the following:
Whereas in the essay on the Istari it is said that the two who passed into the
East had no names save Ithryn Luin 'the Blue Wizards' (meaning of course that
they had no names in the West of Middle-earth), here they are named, as Alatar
and Pallando, and are associated with Oromë, though no hint is given of the
reason for this relationship. It might be (though this is the merest guess) that
Oromë of all the Valar had the greatest knowledge of the further parts of
Middle-earth and to remain there.
Beyond the fact that these notes on the choosing of the Istari certainly date
from after the complete of The Lord of the Rings I can find no evidence of
their relationship, in time of composition, to the essay on the Istari.
I know of no other writings about the Istari save some very rough and in part
uninterpretable notes that certainly much later than any of the foregoing, and
probably date from 1972:
He goes on to cite the actual writings but I won't include that here. As for the
footnote  Christopher notes that in a letter Tolkien states that 'There
is hardly any reference in The Lord of the Rings to things that do not
actually exist on its own plane (of secondary or sub-creational reality)',
and added a footnote: 'The cats of Queen Berúthiel and the names of the other
two wizards (five minus Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast) are all that I recollect.'
I am not sure which letter this is offhand but I don't think it matters much if
at all so I won't try and find it. I seem to recall though the two names given
above though whether I am mixing it up with those above or not I do not
At one point there was a thought that Sam might
wrestle the Ring from Gollum and they both fall in (referencing Sam saying that
he thinks there is something he must do before the end); in LR of course Sam
thinks it is that he would go to the very end and die in the process but of
course he is rescued in the end. In the Letters Tolkien
states also that if Sam was kinder to Gollum he might have tried to take the
Ring from Frodo (as he does in the end) but upon realising he could not have
both the Ring and survival he would cast himself into the fire and therefore
be faithful to his Master in the end and also save the world (of course Gollum
loved and hated himself as he loved and hated the Ring).
Original name of Gríma Wormtongue (who wasn't always in the plot outline): Frána Wormtongue. Initially,
before the love between Arwen Undómiel arose, in fact before Arwen existed, Aragorn son of Arathorn would
wed Eowyn (so spelt at the time without the accent). This was then scratched out but still it was suggested
Aragorn would never wed after her death. Of course this was very different in the end because of Arwen and
instead Éowyn (now with the accent) would wed Faramir (brother of Boromir of the Fellowship). At one point
Eowyn (early stages) was still related to King Theoden (so spelt at the time) - who was actually at the time
not called 'King' but I believe Lord or some other title - but in a different way; I cannot recall specifically.
Gandalf's horse was not originally called Shadowfax.
Narothal ('Firefoot'), the first name given to Gandalf's white horse,
was replaced later in pencil by the suggestions: 'Fairfax, Snowfax', and pencilled in the margin is 'Firefoot Arod? Aragorn', but these
latter were struck out. Arod became in LR the name of a horse of
At another point the horse would be called Greyfax. If memory serves me
correctly he acquired the horse from Rohan differently but how so I'm