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.

You can skip to the introduction here and to the first section here.

Skip to introduction.

* Abbreviations
  • TS: The Silmarillion
  • TH: The Hobbit
  • LR: The Lord of the Rings
  • FR: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • TT: The Two Towers
  • RK: The Return of the King
  • RS: The Return of the Shadow [The History of Middle-earth VI]
  • TI: The Treason of Isengard [The History of Middle Earth Book VII]
* Vocabulary
  • : The universe created by Eru Ilúvatar
  • Arda: The world
  • 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 Balrogs.
  • Halfling, Halfhigh:: Other names for 'Hobbit'
* Introduction

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.

* Of Gollum and the Ring

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).

* Of Gollum and the Ring in The Hobbit

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 TH:

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 ( 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).

Alternate Ring verses (New: 11 June 2019)

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.

Another had:

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.

* On Hobbits, Strider and Bree

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.

For more information on the history of Hobbits (the invention thereof) see my commentary on History of Middle-earth (and specifically On the invention of 'Hobbits').

* The flight of the Hobbits and the Nazgûl snuffling origin

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 variations.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!).
  3. Frodo and Odo move out of sight and Bingo puts on the One Ring.
  4. A small, white cloaked figure on horseback stops right in front of Bingo and begins to sniff.
  5. Gandalf calls out Bingo on his prank and Bingo reveals himself.
  6. 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).

* Bingo's pranks on Farmer Maggot (New: 11 June 2019)

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 follows them.

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 same.'

'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 sight.

'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 from?'

'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 mushrooms.'

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.[0]

'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 ain't.'

'But I saw the mug get up too,' said Odo indiscreetly, and not fully hiding a grin.[1]

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 in turn.

'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 below:

* 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 course).

* Alternate version of the original encounter between Maggot and Bingo

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.

* Glorfindel and the Balrogs

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.

* Treebeard (the 'Giant Treebeard') origin

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).

* Ents (Tree-folk) and Trolls (Last updated: 05 July 2019)

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).

* Other Etymology

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.

Samwise: Half-wit.
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 (near and in Mordor and the spiders)

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 Nazgûl).

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 variations!

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.

* The Nazgûl steeds

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 Gondor?

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 eras.

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 two unnamed Istari (and their names)

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[3]. 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 [3] 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[7].

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 [7] 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 know.

* On the destruction of the One Ring (Sam and Gollum)

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).

* Rohan, Gríma Wormtongue, Éowyn, Aragorn and Arwen

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 Rohan.

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 uncertain.