Questions tagged [the-lord-of-the-rings]

Questions about the fantasy novel 'The Lord of the Rings' (originally published in three volumes in the years 1954-1955) by J.R.R. Tolkien. Use this tag with the [j-r-r-tolkien] tag.

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47
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7answers
9k views

What is Tom Bombadil's importance in The Lord of the Rings?

Tom Bombadil is definitely one of the weirdest characters in all of The Lord of the Rings, he just comes out of nowhere, stumbling upon Frodo and Sam while singing. His actions are just incredibly ...
40
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2answers
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Was the title “The Lord of the Rings” picked on purpose to be ambiguous?

In one sense, it might refer to "the lord of" the rings, as in the person or entity currently in possession of The One ring. In another way, it could (IMO) mean that The One ring is "...
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10answers
20k views

Should I read The Silmarillion before or after reading The Lord of the Rings?

I spent an extensive amount of time as an undergrad writing about and researching The Hobbit, especially in terms of Tolkien's famous essay on Beowulf. Getting a sense of what inspired Tolkien greatly ...
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5answers
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Why is Aragorn so weird to Pippin when they make their final farewell before going back to the Shire?

But the Palantir of Orthanc the King will keep, to see what is passing in his realm, and what his servants are doing. For do not forget, Peregrin Took, that you are a knight of Gondor, and I do not ...
26
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3answers
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Isn't Gríma Wormtongue a very revealing name?

Something which strikes me both while reading the book and watching the movie is the very striking name "Wormtongue". He might as well be named "Evil Dude". He seems over-the-top ...
23
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2answers
4k views

Bilbo’s song of Eärendil in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the character Bilbo Baggins recites a poem beginning with these lines: Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien; he built a boat of timber felled in Nimbrethil ...
23
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3answers
2k views

Why are Orcs associated with the colors red, yellow, and black in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

In Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series, Sauron, and characters allied with Sauron, are frequently associated with the colors red, yellow, and black. For example, here is a description of the ...
21
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2answers
13k views

How to read é, ä, û?

If I want to read Tolkien's text aloud, or appreciate the rhythm and rhyme in his poems, I find it distracting not to know how names including these characters (and similar ones) were meant to be ...
20
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3answers
15k views

If Tolkien disliked allegory, why are there so many allegorical readings of The Lord of the Rings?

There is a famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien in which he states his hatred of allegorical writing. "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old ...
19
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4answers
9k views

Did Frodo want Bilbo to die?

I was reading in the first volume of the Lord of the Rings recently, and ran across this quote when Gandalf and Frodo are talking about the Ring for the first time after its true nature has been ...
17
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1answer
632 views

What is the significance of Sauron never having a physical presence in the Lord of the Rings?

So I noticed that in Lord of the Rings Sauron acts as a very interesting villain. He never makes a corporeal appearance, nor does he have any acting dialogue. He's mentioned plenty of times through ...
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1answer
2k views

What was supposedly satanic about the Lord of the Rings?

From a comment on another recent question I learned that The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have (in certain places and at certain times) been banned for supposedly satanic themes. A quick bit of ...
14
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6answers
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Does Théoden actually say that he misses Gríma (his “old advisor”) at one point in The Two Towers?

At roughly page 155 of The Two Towers, assuming that the English original follows roughly the same page numbers as my rather sloppy Swedish translation from 1970, king Théoden mentions that he now ...
14
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3answers
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In what way is The Lord of the Rings metafiction?

As a student, I read metafictional novels such as Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. When I checked the Wikipedia article Metafiction, I found, much ...
12
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2answers
669 views

Is there any animal internal monologue in The Lord of the Rings?

Does Tolkien ever include any internal monologue from the perspective of an animal? That is to say, a scene where he shows an animal talking to itself inside of its own head?
12
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3answers
996 views

Could Shelob have kept the ring for herself?

In the Lord of the Rings, Gollum/Smeagol’s plan is to lead Frodo and Sam into the pass of Cirith Ungol, where he was gonna leave them to be consumed by Shelob and take the ring from the remains. ...
12
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1answer
967 views

Where did Saruman know Frodo from?

Near the end of The Return of the King, the last Volume of the Lord of the Rings, the hobbits return to the Shire. There, they meet Saruman and his follower Grima (Wormtongue). When Saruman ...
10
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2answers
475 views

Was there a deliberate parallel between the Thénardiers and Gollum?

Long ago, I noticed that there was a parallel between The Lord of the Rings and Les Misérables in the characters of the Thénardiers and Gollum. Gollum has the One Ring at the start of the tale in The ...
9
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2answers
4k views

What were the ages of Bilbo and Frodo for these six major plot points?

I recently begun re-reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm over halfway through The Fellowship of the Ring now. In spite of having the story in "fresh memory", I still can't remember the ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Do the female Dwarves in Tolkien's Legendarium also have beards?

In The Return of the King, Appendix A, there's this quote about female dwarves: Dís was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that ...
9
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1answer
186 views

In the middle part of The Fellowship of the Ring, how did Strider find and interpret that rock message supposedly from Gandalf?

Maybe this is explained later, and if so, please don't mention the resolution. However, if it's never mentioned again, I'd like to hear some reasoning. Basically, Strider leads the hobbits and that ...
8
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1answer
564 views

What evidence is there for Tolkien's One Ring being based on the Ring of Silvianus?

I recently heard a theory that parts of Tolkien's legendarium and the Lord of the Rings story may have been inspired by the real-life Ring of Silvianus: As Wheeler consulted with J. R. R. Tolkien ...
7
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1answer
198 views

Why did Tolkien take such extreme offense to the original Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings?

I may be mistaken, but allegedly, Tolkien really took great offense to the first (and only, during his entire lifetime and decades beyond) Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings. He called the ...
6
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1answer
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What's the meaning of Tom Bombadil's poem?

From book 1, Chapter 6,of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Tom Bombadil's Song Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo! Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow! Tom Bom, ...
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2answers
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What did Elrond mean by telling the council “it is so ordered …”?

This phrase has been taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter II, page 271: Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, we must find ...
6
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2answers
1k views

What does “they were in name his subjects” mean?

While there was still a king they were in name his subjects, but they were, in fact, ruled by their own chieftains and meddled not at all with events in the world outside. What does "they were in ...
6
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2answers
495 views

Which real-life languages other than English, Welsh and Old English/Norse did Tolkien draw on for naming things?

According to Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, Tolkien believed that people had an innate ability to "hear" subtle differences in names and dialects, even if they didn't full understand why things sounded ...
6
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2answers
231 views

What is the English name for “Bilbo Secker”, and why is Bilbo Baggins apparently “alternatively” called that?

When Frodo is leaving Rivendell for home, Bilbo gives him a bunch of notes which are signed "B. S." (in the Swedish translation), or "B.B." in the English original, for Bilbo... S? ...
6
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1answer
358 views

Did Frodo have a prophetic dream?

Right before Frodo and company head into the Old Forest, Frodo has this dream. Eventually he fell into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of ...
6
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0answers
125 views

What exactly did the hobbits eat in the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring when journeying for many days?

Near the very end of the first part, it's mentioned that they now only have "old bread and dried fruit" left of their food, having wandered around for many days in the nothingness outside of ...
5
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2answers
556 views

How much did The Lord of the Rings cost when it was first published in 1954/1955?

What was the original price (first edition/first printing by Allen & Unwin, London) of The Lord of the Rings books when they were first sold in 1954/1955?
5
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1answer
427 views

“What a piece of work is man” - echo in The Lord of the Rings?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf tells Frodo the story of the One Ring and challenges him to destroy it, Frodo looks at the ring and we read this description: how rich and beautiful was ...
5
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2answers
268 views

Why did Gimli think that Gandalf would sneak around their camp in the middle of the night, not say a word and scare away their horses?

I'm a quarter into The Two Towers. Just before Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli enter the Ent woods, they camp outside in the night as they suddenly see a sketchy, strange old man standing there, not saying ...
5
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1answer
376 views

Tolkien character names inspired by Early Modern English

I have been browsing through A Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, Especially from the Dramatists by Walter W. Skeat (completed by A. L. Mayhew and published in 1914). It contains several entries that ...
4
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1answer
335 views

How did the dwarves possibly “dig out” gigantic hallways in the mountains to create Moria with such “primitive” technology?

I've just come out from Moria with the Fellowship of the Ring. They didn't quite see or hear me, but I was hovering around there and mentally "saw" their journey through reading about it in ...
4
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1answer
89 views

How could Merry know about who “Sharkey” was just before he showed up in end of The Return of the King?

Merry looked round in dismay and disgust. 'Let's get out!' he said. 'If I had known all the mischief he had caused, I should have stuffed my pouch down Saruman's throat.' 'No doubt, no doubt! But you ...
4
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1answer
306 views

What did Bilbo mean by telling Frodo that Aragorn “thought the whole thing rather above my head”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1, page 265 (emphasis added): "You needn't," said Bilbo. "As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that ...
3
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2answers
172 views

Is it known why Tolkien made Sam be Frodo's servant rather than very close and trusty friend “on equal terms”?

If I have to find one "flaw" about The Lord of the Rings, it may be the fact that Sam is more or less the slave of Frodo, albeit a willing servant. This fundamentally bothers me, for some ...
3
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1answer
160 views

Meaning of lines from Bilbo's “Song of Eärendil” in “The Lord of the Rings”

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 263): Through Evernight he back was borne on black and roaring waves that ran o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores that ...
3
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1answer
109 views

Did Saruman exclusively want to mess with the Hobbits in the end of the third book?

As the hobbits are on the way home, they meet Saruman walking around, defeated and angry. When they finally get back to their home village(s), they find that they are utterly destroyed and turned into ...
3
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1answer
197 views

Meaning of “the morning will speed you upon your way” in “The Fellowship of the Ring”

From book 1, Chapter 8, of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: "There you'll find an old inn that is called The Prancing Pony. Barliman Butterbur is the worthy keeper. There you can ...
3
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1answer
191 views

Why does Tolkien barely mention the Ring in terms of Frodo's physical handling of it?

As I'm approaching the end of The Two Towers, I'm increasingly frustrated by how, other than in the very beginning of the story in the first book, we never hear a single phrase such as: Frodo ...
3
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1answer
268 views

How is it possible that Sam only realizes that Gollum wants the Ring so very late?

At roughly page 277 (I'm reading a translation) of The Two Towers, where Gollum is talking to himself as Frodo is sleeping, it says: Sam had lain still, fascinated by this debate, but watching every ...
3
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2answers
139 views

Why exactly did Bilbo, Frodo and Sam have to leave?

The reason I phrased the title like that is to avoid spoiling the story for somebody who might see it and haven't read the books. I've just finished the last one in the trilogy, minutes ago, but I don'...
2
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2answers
278 views

Why is Minas Tirith called “Gondor” in Return of the King by king Théoden?

As I understand it, Gondor is the big country where a lot of important stuff happens. Minas Tirith, with its series of walls going in circles, is simply the main city of Gondor. The capital if you ...
2
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1answer
197 views

Why did Bilbo tell himself “Wake up, indeed”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Rings, Book II, Chapter 1 (page 258): Why, sitting and thinking. I do a lot of that nowadays, and this is the best place to do it in, as a rule. Wake ...
2
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1answer
145 views

What does “other light” mean in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 1 "Many Meetings" (page 258): The doors were thrown open, and they went across a wide passage and through other doors, ...
2
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2answers
155 views

What errand did Gollum think that the hobbits have in Mordor with the Ring?

Since he doesn't suspect that they are going to destroy it, just like the Dark Lord doesn't suspect this, what did he think? Why else would these mysterious hobbits be traveling to such a place, with ...
2
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0answers
149 views

If Sauron made The One ring, why couldn't he just make another, even better, instead of searching for the first?

As all of us who have read Silmarillion know, Sauron wasn't the original "Lord of Darkness". In fact, he is a much lesser, and later, one. Melkor (AKA "Morgoth") was the original. ...
1
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1answer
673 views

What is the meaning/significance of Aragorn putting a green stone into Bilbo's song?

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 265): As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that Aragorn insisted on my putting in a green stone.