The Treason of Isengard – Outline by Chapters
Date: Roughly end of 1939, possibly as early as August.
This chapter presents six "outlines, time schemes, and notes" collected together.
1. State of Plot assumed after XI. (Much of explanation in XII and of incident in Bree chapter will have to be rewritten.
This is Tolkien’s notes. XII refers to Council of Elrond. The plot is advanced to the point that Bilbo goes away, leaving the Ring with Frodo. Gandalf goes away, returns, tells Frodo about The Ring, leaves again. Gandalf does not return for over a year, Frodo decides to leave by himself, with friends, just as the Black Riders arrive at Hobbiton. Gandalf cannot help, being detained by the Dark Lord’s emissaries, or by Treebeard the giant.
Tolkien briefly considers having Trotter be a disguised Elf.
2. In another undated scrap is seen the actual emergence of ‘Trotter’s’ true name – as a Man: Aragorn.
Tolkien works out the consequences of Trotter being a man, one of the ancient Men of the North: for instance, no wooden shoes! No Odo hobbit being taken along by Gandalf during his chase to catch up with Frodo, as Gandalf is being held prisoner elsewhere.
Tolkien here briefly considered having Trotter be Peregrin Boffin, a runaway hobbit who followed Bilbo.
3. Final Decisions, Oct. 8, 1939.
Outline of the plot as it stood. Much the same as above. Gandalf has disappeared, Frodo sets out on his own. Trotter is a ranger, descendant of Elendil, a ‘Tarkil’, i.e., Mortal Man.
4. New Plot. Autumn 1939.
Elaboration of Gandalf’s disappearance: He is held a prisoner in the ‘Western Tower’ by five Black Riders. He escapes when the Riders leave to pursue Frodo, and Gandalf is behind Frodo and Trotter the whole time.
First appearance ("April 1418") of any ‘exterior chronology’ to the story.
5. A series of notes on unconnected topics on the back of (4.) above.
Bill Ferny’s pony stays in Bree; Trotter’s real name is Aragorn; Elrond should tell more of Gil-galad. New name for Dimrilldate, River of Gondor, Entishlands, home of trolls, north of Rivendell; Butterbur does not know Bombadil, because he never leaves his home; More Trotter back story as Man; Frodo’s red sword broken, so he gets Sting.
Comparison of four different versions of Gandalf’s delay. A matches the New Plot, above; and D, the last, matches the final LotR version.
See notes 8, 16
Date: Fall 1939
The "Fourth Phase", and final manuscript phase, of development of Book 1 of LotR achieved the near-final text of Fellowship of the Ring. New passages and alterations were written over the fair copies of the "Third Phase" (as presented in Shadow), then rewritten as new fair copies. Parts of "Third Phase" that were kept intact were incorporated into the "Fourth Phase".
8. Chapter I: ‘A Long-expected Party’
Changes nearly achieve the final text. Exceptions: Bilbo does not lose his temper at Gandalf over the Ring; Gandalf holds the Ring to give to Frodo; Frodo does not mention Bilbo’s "other" story of how he got the Ring from Gollum.
9. Chapter II: ‘Ancient History’
Substantial rewriting in some places, none in others; but still different from the final. Gandalf does not mention any other Rings; no mention of Saruman, but suggestion of other wizards who go in for Ring-lore; the beginning of the story of Gollum and the higher power that brought Bilbo to find the Ring; Deagol finds the Ring in a mudbank, not in the River; the invention of the "birthday" back-story to explain away the more innocent "Hobbit" storyline. Subsequent additions are tied into the writing of the Council of Elrond and will be covered later.
10. Chapter III: ‘Three is Company’
Gandalf’s advice to Frodo to get moving precedes the Pub talk; the character of Peregrin (Pippin) is settled on.
11. Chapter IV: ‘A Shortcut to Mushrooms’
No changes, final text achieved in "Third Phase".
12. Chapter V: ‘A Conspiracy Unmasked’ (with ‘The Dream of the Tower’)
Rewriting almost reaches the final text of FotR. The text of the "Dream of the Tower" is given, that Frodo had, originally in the Woody End, then at Crickhollow, finally at Bree, after Gandalf had already escaped. The dream shows Gandalf trapped in one of the Elven Towers west of the Shire, surrounded by Black Riders. This was later simplified to the dream at Crickhollow of Towers by the Sea; and the dream of Gandalf escaping from Orthanc was had at Bombadil’s house.
13. Chapter VI: ‘The Old Forest’
Changes here possibly all belong to the "Third Phase": see Shadow for the changes to their descent into the Withywindle valley, and for the roles of Merry and Frodo being switched in the Willow episode.
14. Chapter VII: ‘In the House of Tom Bombadil’
No changes from "Third Phase", except that the Riders’ attack on Crickhollow was removed since it now took place when the Hobbits had reached Bree. The dream of Gandalf at Orthanc was not yet in place.
15. Chapter VIII: ‘Fog on the Barrow-downs’
No changes from "Third Phase", except at ending, where all reference to Tom knowing Butterbur are removed. Bits about Carn Dûm and Angmar were added subsequently.
Date: Fall 1939
"Fourth Phase" manuscript revisions to Book 1, continued.
16. Chapter IX: ‘At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (i) The Cow Jumped Over the Moon’
Date: October 1939. The "Fourth Phase" manuscript for these two chapters (originally one) was made from the "blue version" of the "new plot" for the Bree sequence in Shadow. It is settled that Gandalf and Odo had not already passed through Bree.
The text is close to the final. Exceptions: the interview between the Black Riders and Harry at the gate is still in and was struck out later; Trotter, though a Man, still has hobbity physical characteristics; Harry has more of a presence in the scenes in the common-room.
17. Chapter X: ‘At the Sign of the Prancing Pony (ii) All that is gold does not glitter’
The chapter later renamed ‘Strider’. Follows "blue version" (from Shadow), but now Butterbur does not enter and interrupt Trotter, who continues to warn and inform Frodo of his danger. Only then does Butterbur appear with the letter after guessing Frodo’s identity; the letter is from early September and is being held upon Frodo’s arrival at Bree. After reading Gandalf’s warning, Frodo asks Trotter for proof of identity, and the ranger produces his own letter from Gandalf affirming he is Aragorn, of the line of Elendil. The gold does not glitter verse is the verifying clue that he is the Trotter in Gandalf’s letter, which Sam tries to dispute.
This text is not yet final; more development is covered in IV. below.
18. Chapter XI: ‘A Knife in the Dark’
This is partly the existing "Third Phase" and partly new sections.
The attack on Crickhollow is in this chapter now, and the draft of this is shown. Gandalf appears on a white horse, with
i. Hamilcar (Fredegar) clinging behind him, to chase the Riders away from the house.
ii. An alternate has Ham alone, blowing the horn of alarm.
iii. Finally there is the version where the Riders abduct Ham from the house, thinking they have Frodo, and flee, chased by Gandalf.
In Bree, Frodo dreams of the hoofbeats and the horn-blowing.
New writing covers the morning and their departure from Bree. The "Third Phase" text survives almost unchanged to their arrival at Weathertop, except for the lights in the eastern sky, the evidence of fire on Weathertop, and the remains of the tower of Amon Sul and Strider’s account of its history. Sam’s song of Gil-galad was written and added at this point. Trotter finds the stone from Gandalf, and finds both boot-tracks and hobbit-traces in the mud at the foot of the hill, implying the Riders had captured a hobbit. Trotter’s tales by the fireside are close to final, and the song of Beren and Luthien also reaches its final form, although it has not been copied into the manuscript.
19. Chapter XII: ‘Flight to the Ford’
Mostly existing "Third Phase" text with occasional new pages inserted: The Hoarwell and Bruinen are named; the Entish Lands are north of the Road; Angmar and the North Kingdom are not mentioned. Three versions of the Troll Song were tried: the first, originally meant for Frodo at Bree, is reprinted, as it shows the earliest changes from the 1920s original given in Shadow. Glorfindel finds them with the news that Gandalf has arrived at Rivendell, but that is soon changed to Gandalf still missing. The number of Riders at the Ford is adjusted to cohere with the attack on Weathertop.
Note 13 has prelimary drafts of Gandalf’s letter to Frodo; 17, Trotter’s speech to Frodo on Trust for its own sake; 25, Sam’s chatter after reciting the Gilgalad lay. Also 32 on the Ettenmoors/Entish Lands; and 36 on the Baraduin name.
Date: August 1940
Introduces Tolkien’s use of dated examination paper to confirm that Aug 1939-Aug 1940 (not 1940-41) was the time of the one-year pause after he had reached Balin’s tomb, which he mentions in his 2nd edition Foreword.
21. "Fourth Phase" continues.
One year later than material in Chaps I-III, above: Rewritten passage of ‘Many Meetings’, establishing that Gandalf had rescued Ham from the Riders and brought him to Rivendell, where Frodo finally hears the story.
22. New Plot. Aug 26-27, 1940.
A Narrative Outline. This is the point where Tolkien conceived the character of the treasonous wizard Saruman as the agent that held Gandalf captive, or detained him from escorting Frodo from Hobbiton.
[I am not clear whether this ‘New Plot’ dated Aug 1940 is the same ‘New Plot’ from Aug 1939 in I.4 above. Both involve Gandalf being held captive, one in the Western Tower by Black Riders, one by Saruman or Treebeard in the South. – JM 9/17/05]
Also has a complex working out of the movements of all nine Black Riders, identified as A through I.
Added later to this manuscript: the idea of Butterbur forgetting to send Gandalf’s letter to Frodo, which explains why Gandalf or Trotter never told Frodo to leave as soon as the Black Riders were reported to be abroad.
The consequences of this ‘New Plot’ were worked out with the following revisions to "Fourth Phase" material:
i. A narrative passage establishing that Harry the gatekeeper sees the Black Riders turning South outside Bree, to take Ham to the Captain.
ii. Elimination of the capture of Ham, as the Riders "would obviously kill him." Return to "Second Phase" Crickhollow version, where Gandalf alone surprises and chases the Riders away.
iii. Rewrite of the "Strider" Chapter (see IV.2, above) to incorporate the "forgotten letter" idea. Final form of this chapter is reached. Eliminates second letter that Trotter carries, Frodo reads the Butterbur letter silently, Trotter quotes "Glitter" verse unprompted to show he is Aragorn, displays the Broken Sword.
Note 18 has a variation on the "Glitter" verse.
Date: Fall 1939 to Fall 1940
The ‘Many Meetings/Council of Elrond’ chapter XII (now XIII since Bree became 2 chapters) was only completed to the Gloin-Frodo dinner conversation in the "First" and "Third Phase" texts in Shadow. That is part I in this discussion.
24. Changes made to part I in the "Fourth Phase"
Gandalf tells Frodo that Trotter/Aragorn as a Ranger is of the "race of the Kings from over the Sea". Frodo indicates he has heard of Númenor.
25. "Fourth Phase" manuscript of Part II.
New writing, mostly not quoted, as very close to the final text of ‘Many Meetings’. Bilbo’s account of his travels to Dale is added, also his request of Frodo to see the Ring. Further additions informing us that Aragorn is Númenorean.
No change to the chant to Elbereth, and no mention of Aragorn courting Arwen.
26. The textual history of the Errantry/Earendil poem.
A very involved and original piece of scholarship by C. Tolkien, showing the connection between the two poems, and discovering the "true" version that was meant to go into The Lord of the Rings but accidentally did not.
Note 10: An early draft from 1933 of a bit of the dramatic dialogue that eventually became The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son (1953).
28. The Second Version
Here are excerpts from the mostly unchanged ‘fair copy’ of the text presented in Shadow. Some of the more significant changes: incorporation of Elrond’s memory of the First Age into his account of the Last Battle; Gandalf’s attitude toward Bombadil; Power of the Elven rings described, though still made by Sauron; Gandalf’s comments on composition of the Company, now that Trotter is a Man; first account of the selection of the Company by Elrond; gift of Sting and the elf-mail to Frodo from Bilbo;
29. Outline of the Council narrative
Development of the name Minas Tirith for Gondor’s capital; Boromir on the prophecy of the Broken Sword; Tarkil (Aragorn) will come to Ond (Gondor) where his ancestors had been king; Elrond sent the Eagles to look for Gandalf when he was being held prisoner.
30. The Third Version
A long quotation from a rough manuscript on the same paper: 1. of Gloin’s story; and 2. Galdor of Mirkwood on Gollum’s escape—close to final text, though in the wrong order within the chapter; then 3. a long quotation of the history of the Numenorean kingdoms by Elrond. Story of how Aragorn’s ancestors were ejected as Kings by the traitorous city: question to Boromir of whether Aragorn should return now. The sword was broken then, not in battle with Sauron. The Kings went North, but the subsequent North-kingdom declined and disappeared.
An unconnected manuscript describing the distribution of the Elves on Middle-earth after Beleriand was destroyed.
The first version of the dream-verse that Boromir heard was unfortunately lost since part of this draft has disappeared. Interesting names first appearing: Khazaddum; Osgiliath, Minas Anor and Minas Ithil; Bay of Belfalas; Imlad-ril (later Imladris); Osforod (later Fornost). Also Bombadil’s other names.
31. The Fourth Version
The next complete manuscript of the Council chapter is a confusing mess. It follows the "Third Version" fairly closely at the beginning: 1. Gloin, 2. Galdor on Gollum’s escape, and Gandalf’s comments. Then follows, newly expanded, 3. Elrond’s account of the Rings, the last Battle, and the later decay of Gondor. 4. Boromir makes his speech; the Dream verse is first seen. 5. Aragorn presents his Sword. 6. Aragorn’s tale of the North kingdom; this now has the sword being broken when Elendil fell.
At this point, close to where the "Third Version" stopped, Tolkien stopped again, and went back and reordered the sequence and adding more material; this will be the "Fifth Version", see below, which will follow Aragorn with 1. Bilbo 2. Gandalf accounting for the Ring and connecting Bilbo’s Ring with Isildur’s Bane 3. The hunt for Gollum 4. Galdor’s tidings of Gollum’s escape 5. Frodo’s story 6. Gandalf’s captivity 7. Bombadil.
But first, before presenting the "Fifth Version",
32. Gandalf’s Tale
Here in full is the first writing of Gandalf’s encounter with Saruman and his pursuit of Frodo and the Riders. Introduction of Radagast, location and description of Isengard and Orthanc, dialogue with Saruman who is completely a vassal of Sauron, captivity on top of Orthanc, sending of the Eagles, escape to Rohan the horse country, introduction of Greyfax/Shadowfax, interview with the Gaffer, cottage empty at Crickhollow, siege on Weathertop.
33. The Fifth Version
34. Gandalf’s Tale
36. Note on Thrór and Thráin
The problems have now been solved. Trotter is now Aragorn, the hobbits have settled into the final four, Bombadil is retired, and the riddle of Gandalf’s disappearance is solved. "With that answer had arisen (as it would turn out) a new focal point in the history of the War of the Ring: the Treason of Isengard." (p. 161)
37. Choosing of the company
Notes on the "August 1940" paper debating the company’s membership. Final elimination of an Elf-lord or Half-elf like Erestor, and final inclusion of Merry and Pippin.
38. Clear manuscript of "The Ring Goes South"
Little variation from final text. Chronology still has them leaving in late November, not late December. Confusion of the "Dimrill Stair" with the "Redhorn Pass" which survives into the published text. Choosing of the company, in alternate versions. Reforging of the Sword, named Branding. No blowing of Horn on departure, less detail on arms and clothing, no "missing rope" scene.
39. Rivendell to Hollin
More development, still very close to final text. Brief excerpts from the draft text. Identification of the three Peaks of Moria. The River on the other side is the Blackroot, or Morthond. First mention of Lothlorien. Threat of Fangorn, the Topless Forest, quickly deleted. In the debate, Trotter/Strider favors Moria, Gandalf the Pass. Descent from Caradhras: extensive excerpt, showing the diminishment of Gandalf’s ill-humor from Shadow, closer to final text.
14. Origins of the "sit beside the fire" verse. 18-22. Comments on the Dwarvish and Elvish names for the mountains of Moria.
The fair manuscript rewriting of the first part of the Moria journey, from this same period (late 1940?). It is the last rewrite, as the earlier drafts covered in Shadow stopped at Balin’s tomb. Most of "A Journey in the Dark" resulted from this rewrite.
41. Debate in Hollin; the Doors.
Uncertain geography of Gondor: the location of the Seven Rivers seems to be in Rohan. Barad-dûr first mentioned. Wargs and journey to the Doors almost reaches final text. Continuing idea of the two western doors to Moria. Elimination of mentions of the Moon (all but one) when T. realized it would not be present at dusk.
42. The Mines of Moria (ii)
43. Sketch of Plot
56. Additional Notes on the name Elfstone
57. The original element in the First Map
58. The 1943 Map
59. The redrawn maps in this book
60. Maps I and IA
61. Map II
62. Maps IIIA and III
63. Maps IVA to IVE
65. Map IVB
66. Map IVC
67. Map IVD and Map IVE
68. No Man’s Land and the Dead Marshes
69. (i) The Scattering of the Company
70. (ii) Mordor
72. Note on Time in Lórien
74. Note on the Chronology
76. The Song of the Ent and the Entwife
77. (i) The Elvish Alphanets
78. (ii) The ‘Alphabet of Dairon’