Race and Ethnicity in Tolkien's Works - Christine Chism

Comments by squire, March 21, 2007

Chism picks the right approach from the beginning. She splits her article between considering the issues of racial character within Middle-earth, in story terms; and then pulls back and revisits the same question from without, as a literary device with strong roots in medieval literature.

The result is strong and good to read. I particularly like her highlighting of the Dwarvish characteristics of Feanor's clan with regard to the Silmarils, and the Elvish characteristics of Gimli the Dwarf when he falls in love with Galadriel; and her reduction of hobbits by race, clan, and individual, showing at every level a "seed of courage" that contradicts their racial typology.

However, there is a strong emphasis throughout on The Lord of the Rings, almost annoying for an article on "Tolkien's Works". While Chism doesn't completely ignore the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth, she practically does. In consequence, she never discusses Tolkien's original foray into racial characterizations: his tribes and clans of Elves of the Elder Days, and his tribes and clans of Heroic Men in the War of the Jewels. Typically, the Silmarillion reader only gradually discovers that these people are all kin: racially alike enough to interbreed, yet divided by lifespan, artistic or warlike temperament, and relative susceptibility to evil. And The Hobbit as well has its own peculiarly balanced set of races and character conflicts.

I would dispute Chism's example from the Third Age about the idea of feuds between morally equivalent races. Tolkien does indeed treat the Easterlings and Southrons who fight for the Dark Lords of their times (whether Morgoth or Sauron) as intrinsically 'evil', not merely as vengeful peoples oppressed by Western Man's imperialism. Sam's pity for the fallen Harad warrior is the exception that proves the rule. Her point that Tolkien does not see Man as intrinsically good or evil is more apparent in cases like the deluded Dunlendings who ally with Saruman in contest with the Rohirrim for their ancient lands, than it is with the endless waves of Easterlings, long ago fallen to worship of the Dark Lord, who press upon the West for Age upon Age.

The 'Further Reading' list is disappointingly scant, as is the See also list; and Chism's prose occasionally slips, slang-wise.


Race in Tolkien Films - Brian Rosebury

Comments by squire, April 12, 2007

It's an odd topic. How is "Race in Tolkien Films" to be distinguished as a subject of discussion from "Race and Ethnicity in Tolkien's Works", the previous article? Rosebury does eventually get around to answering this, after first demonstrating for most of a column that he is far more comfortable explicating Tolkien's writing than dancing around the fire of political correctness that illuminates the New Line films.

The answer, of course, is that films must visualize in concrete form the racial appearance of Tolkien's heroes and villains. So the filmmakers must address in a way that Tolkien never had to, just what "race" of humans the evil Easterlings and Haradrim, and the bestially cruel Orcs, might resemble. As Rosebury shows, the New Line response was to meld so many characteristics of different 'exotic' peoples, that the resulting enemy races can only be said to be "plainly not Western Europeans". His conclusion, the model of moderation, is that a basic "Eurocentric" perspective is inevitable in adapting Tolkien's work to the screen, unless one wishes to "undo entirely" Tolkien's own vision.

But the entire thing is a trap, that Rosebury fell into. Surely he can be excused for assuming that his entry topic "Race in Tolkien Films" must refer to, you know, Race: the question of color and the delicate relationship of "Third World" cultures to the core northwestern European peoples that Tolkien explicitly based his heroes on. That is where the blood and money is these days.

And yet. The subject is so much richer than whether the Easterlings or Haradrim are Mongols or Africans. Tolkien's idea of Race was not necessarily ours of the early 21st century; and there are more films of his work than just Peter Jackson's. Rosebury practically brushes off Ralph Bakshi's animated Orcs as "black, prognathous, red-eyed beasts and ghouls". Might he not have questioned why in the first place New Line made their Orcs so human, and thus so politically charged? And the Rankin-Bass animated films The Hobbit and The Return of the King films have their own vision of Orcs - and Elves (not to mention Gollum) - which Rosebury ignores. 

Why does this article not touch on how films have depicted the Elves? Do Elves have pointy ears? Does that make them into human freaks - if not, why not? Why does Elrond Half-elven, in the New Line films, have fully Elven features? Why does Bakshi's Legolas make Orlando Bloom's portrayal for Peter Jackson seem hyper-macho? Why does the Rankin Bass The Hobbit's Elven King look like a scarier monster than Peter Jackson's Orcs?

And Hobbits: Are Hobbits physiologically the equivalent of human dwarfs, or Little People? Why do the Rankin Bass animators make them look so very strange? What was Bakshi's solution? Why did New Line choose instead to portray Hobbits with full-size human actors, shrunk via forced perspective? If Gollum is supposed to be a kind of Hobbit in LotR's retrospective view, why does Rankin Bass make him look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Well, it's all water under the bridge. Rosebury conducts himself as well as can be expected. He mentions several times what the "critics" have to say about the racial imagery in films of Tolkien, but his 'Further Reading' list is oddly almost restricted to the Modern Fiction Studies Tolkien issue, without even citing his references to the creature and character design commentaries on the DVDs of the New Line films; it is enlightening by comparison to see Chism's heavily internet-based list of references for her following article on "Racism, Charges of".


Racism, Charges of -- Christine Chism

Comments by squire, June 22, 2007

With so many articles on basically the same subject, this is one that seems most superfluous. Inevitably, Chism duplicates points made in her earlier "Race and Ethnicity in Tolkien's Works" and in Rosebury's "Race in Tolkien Films". If one overlooks these sections, one is left with a rather simplistic summary of the actual "charges" of racism: that is, what the various critics have said. Given this limited subject, it would have been, perhaps, valuable for Chism to go deeper than she does in addressing why they said it, or whether what they say is correct or perceptive, or whether the "charges" have changed over time. In any case, if the Thematic organization of the Encyclopedia is to have any meaning at all, even though it seems to allow a lot of duplication to take place, surely this belongs in "Reception of Tolkien" rather than "Literature".

By taking as much time as she does with the recent New Line film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson, she loses space to finish her thoughts about Tolkien's written work. In particular, I wish she had given more room to discussing the third camp of critics that she lists in her opening: those who perceive that Tolkien himself recognized his earlier work as inherently racist and tried to amend this fault in his later works -- this is a subtle argument I've not seen elsewhere. The one example she gives, Tolkien's struggle in the 1940s and 1950s to explain the orcs' origins, has always seemed to me more driven by Tolkien's developing moral and theological concerns that any perception by him of "racial" (color of skin, facial features, stature, etc.) disparagement in his creations.

Likewise the film criticisms, highly topical with respect to the current (2000s) Western war against Islamic terrorism, monopolize Chism's timeline. Where are the earlier "charges of racism", say, from the 1960s or perhaps the 1980s? What impact did post-colonial consciousness have on critics' approaches to Tolkien, that may not even have existed when LotR or The Hobbit was published in the 1950s, or 1930s? Has The Silmarillion, published in 1977, had any impact on "the critics'" idea of Tolkien's racial portrayals?

Her ending is particularly unsatisfying, implicitly agreeing with the critics that she has cited without presenting any counterarguments by those critics who may not believe that Tolkien's written or adapted works "dangerously encourage" racism in "contemporary society".

The 'Further Reading' list is largely based on internet sources, and so is, as mentioned, largely topical rather than historical. Rearick's "Why is the Only Good Orc a Dead Orc? The Dark Face of Racism Examined in Tolkien's World", not listed here, is a good example of published scholarly work on this topic that reviews decades of "charges of racism". It is also distracting that several citations or quotes in the text of the article are sourced in-line, rather than being included in the bibliography. The See also is shamefully restricted to Chism's other article, "Race and Ethnicity..." Rosebury's, noted above, should be there of course, but so should  many others having to do with Tolkien's use of historically-based race and geography in his imagined world.


Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. - Janet Brennan Croft

Comments by N.E. Brigand, April 2, 2007

Croft’s comments on the animated films of The Hobbit and The Return of the King are thorough and helpful.  Following a short introduction to the work of producer-directors, Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. (the screenwriter, Romeo Muller, goes unmentioned), she discusses both films in turn, providing some production and release history; good plot descriptions; insightful comments on the quality of the animation, voices, songs; and careful attention to each work’s thematic fidelity to Tolkien’s writing.  For RotK, she includes some appropriate comparisons with Peter Jackson’s film version.  For The Hobbit, she makes smart use of an edition of the book that includes art drawn for but not used in the film (though my copy lists the publisher as Harry not Henry N. Abrams).  Croft’s bibliography is thorough; her See also list could use the addition at least of “Boyens, Philippa” and “Film Scripts, Unused”.

I am in agreement with most of her evaluation, though “somewhat unattractive” is too mild a term for the appearance of the wood-elves in Rankin/Bass Hobbit.  Additionally:


Ransome, Arthur - Michael Coren

Comments by N.E. Brigand, February 21, 2007

With only about 250 words to fill, this article should have focused almost entirely on connections between Tolkien and Ransome, the author of the Swallows and Amazons children’s adventure books, and included some comparison of the two men’s work and commentary on the notable correspondence between them.  Instead, the first three of four paragraphs summarize Ransome’s life – this should’ve been one paragraph at most, with a reference to Hugh Brogan’s biography of Ransome – and only in the last paragraph does Coren even mention Ransome’s suggestions to Tolkien regarding The Hobbit.

But he never notes that Tolkien actually adopted one of Ransome’s emendations, which is a significant point.  Also, there is no bibliography, where Coren could have cited Letters (p. 28) and Signalling from Mars (a collection of Ransome’s letters) as well as Douglas Anderson’s remarks in The Annotated Hobbit.  Though I have not seen the Ransome bibliography by Wayne Hammond, a noted Tolkien scholar, presumably that also should have been listed.  Readers interested in more connections between Tolkien and Ransome would do well to seek out some works that were not available to Coren:


Redemption - Joseph Pearce

Comments by squire, August 1, 2007

Pearce's barely contained enthusiasm in his "Christ" article for regarding The Lord of the Rings as an allegory for the New Testament, is here unleashed. Language like "Such is his genius that his work bears most fruit when it is read...as Christians read the Old Testament", "The connection between the One Ring and the One Sin is evident and obvious", and "Tom and Goldberry...remind us insistently of Adam and Eve, prior to the Fall" assume a communion between Pearce's readers and Christ that is not necessarily there.

Style aside, Pearce probably could have assembled a good argument about the theme of redemption, Christian or otherwise, in the LotR. On the former front, Tolkien acknowledged his "unconscious" insertion of Christian structures during its writing, which became "conscious" during revision. Rather than spending time on the late and ephemeral Athrabeth fantasy, Pearce could well have analyzed the distinction that Tolkien was referring to: when and how did Tolkien change in his view of his own work?

On the "otherwise" (non-Christian) front, Pearce's final paragraph comes closest to this point of view, though characteristically he dodges just who, within Tolkien's story, dispenses the grace that "redeems" Gandalf and Aragorn for their sacrifices. Pearce's use of "heroic" to describe self-sacrifice in LotR seems to me to confuse his Christian ideals with earlier pagan paradigms of redemption. Tolkien may well have had those more ancient literary/philosophical models in mind, in his attempt to avoid the overtly allegorical reading of his tale that Pearce insists on.

This sounds like a broken record, but again I say that I expect, in the J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (not The Lord of the Rings Encyclopedia), some mention of Tolkien's other works: why does Pearce not take at least a quick look at The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, if not Smith of Wooton Major or Roverandom, for other examples of Tolkienian redemption?


Report on the Excavation of the Prehistoric, Roman and Post-Roman Site in Lydney Park, Gloucestershire - Don N. Anger

Comments by Jason Fisher, May 7, 2007

An excellent (and for the most part lively) summary of an otherwise dry and arcane subject. Without the speculative connections to Tolkien’s fiction, “The Name ‘Nodens’” itself would not hold much interest for most of us, but with them, it becomes a completely different animal! Anger does a fine job summarizing these points – the best part of the essay for me; to be honest, my mind wandered a little as Anger described the archaeological expedition and its findings (even though this is necessary background material). Anger very aptly notes that Tolkien “could illuminate a lost mythology with a single word,” yet Tolkien himself is characteristically modest, saying in the essay that “[l]inguistic considerations unaided by other data can do little, usually, to recall forgotten gods from their twilight.”

The 'Further Reading' is absolutely first rate! For those readers who might have difficulty in finding the original, Tolkien Studies Volume 4 (2007) has reprinted “The Name ‘Nodens’”. The See also is short but perfectly adequate – I would just suggest the addition of “Mythology for England.” Sadly, it does cross-reference an entry on “Philology”, which is itself only mythical.

Comments by squire, May 7, 2007

I'm a little baffled by the Encyclopedia's use of the title of the Wheelers' full archaeological report to refer to this work of Tolkien's. Everyone from Jason Fisher to the editors of Tolkien Studies IV seem to prefer the name of Tolkien's actual scholarly essay, which was essentially an independent consultant's appendix to that report, entitled: "The Name 'Nodens'". It's certainly shorter and more to the point!


Resurrection - Bradley J. Birzer

Comments by N.E. Brigand, August 28, 2007

As there is a separate article titled “Elves: Reincarnation”, that can’t have been the intended subject here.  Nonetheless, the first half of this entry repeats the other one in summarizing Tolkien’s essays on elvish reincarnation that were published in Morgoth’s Ring.  Though Birzer is fairly clear on this material, he makes almost no attempt to contextualize what he quotes at too much length: to begin with, these are late texts that apply only retroactively if at all to The Lord of the Rings and earlier work, a fact Birzer never acknowledges. 

In the second half of the article, Birzer throws in two more long quotations, from the Letters and the “Athrabeth”, plus some strange comments on the refused reincarnation of Míriel, vaguely connecting the “judgments of the Valar” to his subject.

I can only guess that this article was meant by the editors to address the returns of Gandalf and Beren from death, to explain how those incidents function in the story, and then to relate them to resurrection as it appears in real world religions, most notably Christianity, of course.

There is no 'Further Reading list', and only “Elves: Reincarnation” and “Morgoth’s Ring” appear on the See also list.

Return of the Shadow - Stephen Yandell

Comments by squire, April 1, 2007

This is a fine summary of the first volume of the History of the Lord of the Rings, the 3-1/3-volume subset of History of Middle-earth that reconstructs Tolkien's composition of his masterpiece. Yandell properly emphasizes the difficulty of the leap that Tolkien made from writing a "New Hobbit", or sequel to The Hobbit, to a darker story that centered around the Ring, now "discovered" by Tolkien to be dangerous, perhaps even evil. As with all the HoLR volumes, a mere listing of Tolkien's early ideas and blind alleys impresses the reader with just how hard it was for him to write this book. Yandell also gives proper credit to editor Christopher Tolkien, who deliberately exposes the complexity and density of his father's creative process.

The only thing missing, and this is actually asking a lot, is any critical context. Yandell does not tell us how Return of the Shadow was received by critics and Tolkien scholars, or how it has contributed to Tolkien studies since its appearance. Oddly, both his citations in 'Further Reading' that have to do with the structure of The Fellowship of the Ring date from 1975, long before Return of the Shadow was published!

Comments by N.E. Brigand, January 3, 2008

As squire notes, none of the five works in Yandell’s ‘Further Reading’ list is specifically about The Return of the Shadow or even The History of “The Lord of the Rings”. But of Yandell’s sources, Carpenter’s biography of Tolkien did reveal some details of the LotR drafts that would only be fully explained eleven years later with the publication of Shadow, and Fonstad’s Atlas does use the work to explain inconsistencies between the geography of The Hobbit and LotR.

It seems that more than fifteen years after the appearance of “The History of The Lord of the Rings” volumes, relatively little has been said about them.  Even recent work by a major Tolkien scholar like Christina Scull (“What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?: Planning, Inspiration, and The Lord of the Rings” from the 2004 Marquette conference proceedings) is devoted largely to (good) summary of interesting variations between LotR and its drafts, with little analysis into what the drafts show of Tolkien’s literary achievement; in any case Scull’s article appeared too late for Yandell to cite.  Some other works he might have mentioned include David Bratman’s 2000 Mythlore article “Top Ten Rejected Plot Twists from The Lord of the Rings: A Textual Excursion into the 'History of The Lord of the Rings’”, and a few works by Tom Shippey, who comments in The Road to Middle-earth (3rd ed., p. 293) on “inhibiting confusions” and “naïve” ideas that are revealed in these published drafts.

What I missed most here was some consideration of Christopher Tolkien’s good analysis from this volume of his father’s creative methods: “there appears again and in the most striking form the characteristic of my father’s writing that elements emerge suddenly and clearly conceived, but with their ‘meaning’ and context still to undergo huge further development, or even complete transformation, in the larger narrative” (p. 176).


Reynolds, R. W. (1867-1948) - Douglas A. Anderson

Comments by squire, June 23, 2007

There is much here for a Tolkien student to discover and enjoy. Reynolds has heretofore been known only as Tolkien's English master at St. Edwards, and the recipient/reviewer of Tolkien's alliterative epic poem of Túrin in the 1920s. He turns out to have been a bit of a rake and possibly even a cad, having had an affair with the Fabian novelist Edith Nesbit, then marrying her niece. Yes, he taught at St. Edwards for twenty years (what were those "certain attitudes" of his that so repulsed the young Tolkien?), but then he retired to Capri, for heaven's sake, where he hung out with D. H. Lawrence, lost his wife and remarried at age 68, lost her too, fled the war to Chicago, but returned to Capri to die at the age of ninety, probably of exhaustion.

Whew! A life well lived, apparently.

Still, this is the Tolkien Encyclopedia. Anderson does eventually address this aspect of Reynolds'  fame, with plenty of characteristic and well-researched details about his relationship to Tolkien. Yet certain threads are left hanging - most importantly, I think, is the question of just what, as Tolkien's first "outside reader", Reynolds thought of the epic "The Children of Húrin" and its accompanying "Sketch" of the entire Silmarillion/Lost Tales mythology. Anderson ends his essay with this question left hanging, but in HoME III, The Lays of Beleriand, we read that Tolkien's diary notes Reynolds' response: the poem Tinuviel "meets with qualified approval, it is too prolix" and the sample of Túrin gets "little or none." Gong!

On a lesser note, I see that Carpenter credits Reynolds with being the first to encourage the boy Tolkien to write poetry. This isn't much, but it's there in the standard biography; and Reynolds' life is only in the Encyclopedia because of his relationship to Tolkien. It is strange to me that Anderson, with such a complete grasp of his subject's life, should spend so much time on its (fascinating) details to the exclusion of some of the few available facts that relate him to Tolkien.


Rhetoric - Allan Turner

Comments by squire, April 22, 2007

A very effective and complete treatment, for its length. Turner gives all the examples he can of the vast range of speaking styles represented in The Lord of the Rings, with an aside about The Hobbit. His analysis is very good throughout, and his closing, showing how Tolkien wielded rhetoric in his professional life as well, is a nice touch.

I have one major quibble - maybe two. Turner's general dismissal of The Silmarillion as "extremely compressed...with avoidance of direct speech" is understandable. In fact there is far less rhetoric in The Silmarillion than in Tolkien's later works, and what there is has far less range. Still there is interesting stuff: Fëanor's speech rallying the Noldor to rebel, the argument of Thingol and Finrod about the Kinslaying, and Beren's interview with Thingol come to mind; along with Sauron's seduction of Ar-Pharazôn in the associated Akallabeth

But Turner has turned a blind eye to Tolkien's lesser-known later texts. In the question referred to in the quote above, of whether Morgoth's rhetoric echoes Saruman's in "neutralizing meaning", we actually hear a good deal of Morgoth's rhetoric during the torment of Húrin in Unfinished Tales (and of course, now in The Children of Húrin too).

Turner also neglects Smaug in The Hobbit, and to a lesser degree Glaurung in The Silmarillion. Both dragons gave Tolkien an opportunity to demonstrate his command of the dragon-spell, the epitome of poisonous rhetoric; and Turner would have found them an interesting addition to his argument about the modernity of Saruman's politic lies.

The 'Further Reading' list seems abbreviated: have no other Tolkien scholars besides Shippey and Rosebury treated with this important aspect of Tolkien's style?


Riddles - Jason Fisher

Comments by squire, August 1, 2007

Though rhetorically diffuse and apt to stray by daylight, Fisher's article covers this subject pretty well. He correctly points out that Tolkien was fond of word games that gave clues with a right answer, and used them as virtual riddles, often even calling them "riddles", to liven his narratives. (What is the exact definition of a "riddle", by the way? I wish this had been included.) Fisher quotes plenty of examples; I missed Eowyn's tart reply "I do not wish to play at riddles!" to Farmir's dithering "Two reasons there may be, but which is true, I do not know."

But in place of the extended quotes, I would actually have preferred a little more analysis of why Tolkien uses riddling language in the ways he does. The note about Bilbo's "modern" riddles versus Gollum's "ancient" ones is good. But Fisher falls into the common trap of explaining The Hobbit's famous riddle game as "serving to explain" something Tolkien had not yet thought of: Gollum's and Bilbo's shared hobbit-ancestry in The Lord of the Rings. More likely here is that Tolkien knew the sequence would be immensely entertaining for adult readers and child auditors, as they tried to guess the riddles before the protagonists (cf. "I imagine you know the answer, of course"); and at the same time it allowed him to try his hand at one of his favorite pastimes, reinventing an ancient and difficult form of poetry.

But in the LotR itself, as Fisher notes, the riddles are more "loosely" structured. I venture to suggest they served Tolkien as an entertaining metaphor for the workings of fate as he conceived it in his grand romance: the future (the answer) is always hidden in plain sight. The most extended use of the riddle metaphor is played out during the Three Hunters'  search for Merry and Pippin, when both Gimli and Legolas use the word "riddle" for the mysteries they and Aragorn are applying their detective skills to (TT, pp. 43, 92). The entire sequence is a miniature of the increasingly intricate plot at this point in the story, which resolves itself, as Gandalf says (speaking also in "riddles" - TT, p. 99 ff.) "not in vain" and "in the nick of time".

Following this line of inquiry, we might well consider the relationship of the "Authorities" who judged the riddle game in The Hobbit, with Gandalf's cryptic words about Frodo being "meant to have" the Ring, to which Frodo answers, "I am not sure that I understand you": surely a forgivable answer to the biggest riddle in the entire book.

Fisher of course found it irresistible to discuss the sources of Tolkien's use of ancient riddles and the riddle contest format (as Tolkien himself did), and since the editors did not restrain him, once again the question arises of why an article on "Riddles: Sources" follows this one. Fisher's 'Further Reading' list looks excellent. Mightn't See also have pointed us to "Song Contests", the tragic equivalent of Tolkien's comic riddle contest?


Riddles: Sources - Yvette Kisor

Comments by squire, August 1, 2007

As a commentary on Tolkien's possible sources of the riddles in The Hobbit's riddle contest, this is excellent. The breadth of the preceding article on "Riddles" makes this one look limited and excessively academic, though.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, August 13, 2007

More specifically, Kisor’s scope is just Old Norse and Old English antecedents for The Hobbit’s riddles. The preceding “Riddles” article examines that work, and The Lord of the Rings also, with reference as well to Wagner, Shakespeare, and the Bible.


Ring-giving - Yvette Kisor

Comments by squire, May 26, 2007

Kisor explores in depth the Anglo-Saxon tradition of ring-giving between a lord and his thanes as a symbolic bond of duty and loyalty. Her explanation of the royal sin of hoarding, or withholding treasure, is especially interesting. Only at the very end does she connect all this scholarship to Tolkien's works, and she seems to be shakier here. The Rohirrim are indeed based on the Anglo-Saxons, but Théoden does not dispense rings in the story; and she leaves out the Silmarillion tale of the Ring of Barahir, which becomes a bond of loyalty and obligation for both its giver, Finrod, and its recipient Barahir, and his son Beren. She summarizes well the point of Isildur seizing the One Ring as weregild, although her explanation of that term should have come in the first half of her article. Her explanation of the perversion of ring-giving that Sauron engages in with the Rings of Power is very short but makes perfect sense as a conclusion.

Kisor does not remark that Tolkien presents two parallel ceremonies of medieval fealty, of Merry and Pippin to the lords of Rohan and Gondor, that feature the use of swords, not rings. Of course, once Tolkien had made the Rings of Power one of the central metaphors of the epic, he could hardly use the device in any other way afterwards!

For understanding the use Tolkien made of rings in his books and especially The Lord of the Rings, this highly specialized article is invaluable. Unfortunately, her See also list does not list the companion-by-necessity articles "Rings", "Rings of Power", and "One Ring, The". Luckily two of them follow immediately by the chance of alphabetic order.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, May 27, 2007

This is the strongest of the encyclopedia’s four “ring” articles, though it works best in context of the other articles; by itself, it’s unbalanced, with two excellent set-up paragraphs on medieval traditions that don’t quite pay off in the last paragraph on LotR.  Leslie Stratyner’s Mythlore article in the 'Further Reading' list looks like a promising source to supplement Kisor’s undeveloped conclusion. 

Would this entry have been a good place to mention the idea, which has been voiced by several observers, that Tolkien’s title “Lord of the Rings” could have been inspired by phrases in Beowulf, like “hringa thengel” (line 1507)?  That appearance doesn’t actually refer to ring-giving, but in the context explained by Kisor, it may have been on Tolkien’s mind.

Finally, I think Kisor might have teased a little out of the LotR drafts in The War of the Ring (pp. 425-426) where Tolkien toyed briefly with the notion that Galadriel gave Aragorn her ring, and he thereby was hailed as “Lord of the Ring” by the sons of Elrond and the people of Gondor.


Rings - Christopher Vaccaro

Comments by squire, May 26, 2007

While "Ring-giving" having its own article can possibly be understood because of its specialization, it's almost impossible to forgive these next two articles, "Rings" and "Rings of Power", being separate. However, since they are, one might expect this one to focus on the more general issues of the symbolism of and critical responses to Tolkien's use of rings throughout his writings. To an insufficient degree, it does.

Vaccaro starts strongly with a little history of ring-imagery in European literature, and some recognition that Tolkien uses ring symbolism other than jewelry, for example the Valar's court of judgement, and Isengard's setting. The explanation of the term "Morgoth's Ring" for the Earth itself is incomplete: Tolkien only used the term in a late unpublished essay, in specific reference to Sauron's One Ring and its symbolism.

Vaccaro moves on to more traditional rings, those worn on the finger, and is immediately ensnared in the trap. A long description of the Rings of Power follows (with minor errors regarding their nature and provenance with regard to Sauron's involvement). This should either have been expanded or contracted, since there are after all two entire articles on the "Rings of Power" and "One Ring, The". The Ring of Barahir gets its brief mention, as does Saruman's ring (with no hint of understanding that Saruman made the ring in imitation of Sauron).

Vaccaro ignores Gandalf's cryptic remarks in Bag End that there are many other "lesser" magic rings in the world, without gemstones and conveying invisibility, which was Tolkien's attempt to explain how the wizard could have missed the possibility that Bilbo's ring is the One.

Although there is a concluding discussion of the symbolism of rings in Tolkien, it is relatively superficial and focuses on the Rings of Power again. At least Vaccaro does refer the reader to "Ring-giving" with its excellent explication of the medieval symbolism of rings. The 'Further Reading' gives only David Day's Tolkien's Ring, which is ridiculous given the amount of critical writing devoted to rings and Tolkien's use of them.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, May 27, 2007

One of Vaccaro’s “minor errors” on the “provenance” of the Rings of Power is repeated by Thomas Honegger in the next article: both write that the ring of Durin III was given to him by Celebrimbor not Sauron.  However, Tolkien casts some doubt on this idea by explicitly identifying it as a tradition among Durin’s descendants.

This article is generally accurate but sloppy, and never delivers the analysis implied in Vaccaro’s assertion that “events surrounding their [i.e. rings’] forging, exchange, disappearance, recovery, and use occupy much of Tolkien’s imagination”.  The opening material on ring tradition in genuine “historical and literary periods” is vague.  As squire has noted, the survey of Tolkien’s various rings is insensitive to their development over years of writing, and there are no references to specific texts other than LotR.  Only the concluding paragraph redeems the article, with more careful attention to symbolism and sourcing, though with the caveats noted by squire.

The development of the Ring of Barahir, treated briefly by Vaccaro, might have made for an interesting contrast to the Rings of Power, showing how Tolkien’s use of the ring motif changed through his work on LotR: it first appears in the 1920s “Lay of Leithian”, then was incorporated into the LotR appendices some 25 years later.  There, in a slight exception to squire’s observation that the strong symbolism of the Rings of Power prevented Tolkien from making other uses of rings in LotR, Aragorn gives it in troth to Arwen (but only in a note buried in the “Tale of Years”).


Rings of Power - Thomas Honegger

Comments by squire, May 26, 2007

Given the subject, Honegger of course presents a great deal of information about the Rings of Power in The Lord of the Rings. As I've noted before, though, a far more useful article would have resulted had the three or four "Rings" articles been consolidated. Although Honegger's tone throughout is pretty much internal to the stories, he does at least include several references to The History of Middle-earth and Unfinished Tales to show Tolkien's consideration of alternate stories for the Rings. What is missing is any kind of critical wrap-up that considers the Rings from a literary standpoint; the conclusion as it stands is almost credulous in its simplicity.

Tolkien developed, from the simple device of a magic ring of invisibility in The Hobbit, a vast mythological story about the nature and meaning of Power as epitomized by these Rings. He in his own commentary (in Letters) noted that even the Three Elven Rings, with their apparently benign powers of preservation and healing, were a morally corrupt attempt to stop time and "embalm" the past. It's true as Honegger says that Sauron never touched them, but it was his knowledge and world-view that allowed their making at all. They were a partial triumph by Sauron, who had entrapped the Elves in their own natures without their realizing it.

The sad moments of Elvish regret and confession about this that pepper the Council of Elrond are "not obvious" as Honegger notes, but are one of the evidences of the tremendous depth and resonance that Tolkien built into his tale. Seen in this way, the myth of the Rings becomes a variation on the tale of the Simarils (which "embalmed" the light of the Two Trees), and ties LotR tightly to the Silmarillion. The Rings of Power, as much as the phial of Galadriel or the tale of Aragorn and Arwen, make the entire three-age legendarium a single story of the grandest scope.

In a more detailed sense, Honegger could have analyzed the mode of operation of the Rings with more than the bland statement that they were "designed to give their bearers the gift of longevity and special power in accordance with their nature." As with the more spectacular case of the One Ring, the question becomes, do the Rings have intrinsic natures appropriate for their various users or are they just all-purpose "amplifiers" of whatever race possesses them? If the Nine and the Seven, which seem to enhance the will to power and greed respectively, were made for the use of the Elves, not Men and Dwarves, what was their original purpose in relation to the Elves' racial nature? How did the Rings, held by leaders of various races, tend to corrupt the entire race, as is remarked of the Dwarves' generally becoming more greedy for gold once they received their Rings from Sauron?

Tolkien himself may never have completely thought these problems out, since they were not of central importance to his story, but tracing these lines of inquiry, with references to those critics who have considered them more fully, should have been one of the purposes of this article. Unfortunately the 'Further Reading' and See also lists are, again, so sparse as to be laughable.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, May 27, 2007

Honegger writes, “The Rings of Power were designed to give their bearers the gift of longevity”, but he should have indicated that, so far as Tolkien bothered to work out those rings’ history, the Elvish designers of the Three, Seven and Nine had no such intentions.  They were immortal and meant to keep the rings for themselves (excepting perhaps the ring received by the dwarf, Durin III).  Possibly Sauron, advising the elves in their work, may have meant the rings to convey longevity, but in “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”, a text Honegger never mentions, Tolkien writes of Sauron that “his desire was to set a bond upon the Elves and to bring them under his vigilance” (The Silmarillion, p. 287).  Distributing the rings to Men and Dwarves appears to have been his backup plan, if not a complete afterthought.


Rivendell - Matthew Dickerson

Comments by squire, January 14, 2007

I think some of the annalistic history given here could have been redirected to consideration of the meaning of Rivendell. Dickerson properly emphasizes Rivendell's identity as a sanctuary, but leaves it isolated as such in the array of Elvish realms that Tolkien imagined across the breadth of his legendarium. Rivendell stands in sharp contrast to Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings, and both places are characterized somewhat differently, ultimately because of the differing nature of the two Elven Rings that Elrond and Galadriel wield. Rivendell as a mystically hidden place, and Rivendell as a kind of proto-University, not to mention its inexplicable nature as a "stronghold", all stand alongside the "sanctuary" role.


Road Goes Ever On, The - Chester N. Scoville

Comments by squire, April 14, 2007

This is really fine. Along with a proper account of the various editions and changing contents of this fascinating product of Tolkien's and Swann's imaginations, Scoville reviews Donald Swann's background and musical experience, showing that his collaboration with Tolkien was anything but a casual or commercial coincidence. The following analysis of the qualities of Swann's musical settings for Tolkien's lyrics has real depth. (It is odd that the article on "Popular Music", which gives a quick précis of The Road Goes Ever On, does not refer to this article.)

I wish, just a bit, that Scoville had been able to give us a sense of the critical reception of Swann's music, both in its own time and later. Scoville does mention that few composers since Swann have followed his very classical and formal stylistic lead, despite it having the approval of Tolkien himself.

The comprehensive See also list makes up for any omissions of detail on Tolkien's philological or story notes, that Scoville must have sacrificed to his word count.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, January 3, 2008

Scoville describes “Bilbo’s Last Song” as unpublished before its inclusion in the 1978 edition of The Road Goes Ever On, but as noted in the Encyclopedia’s article, “Poems by Tolkien: Uncollected”, the poem was first published as a poster in 1974.


Rohan - Hilary Wynne

Comments by N.E. Brigand, July 28, 2007

As in Wynne’s articles on Éomer and Théoden, this entry on the country of Rohan and its people is heavy with its fictitious history, and needlessly repetitive, as well. Wynne writes twice that Rohan was formerly called Calenardhon, that Cirion of Gondor gave that land to the Rohirrim as a reward for their assistance against invasion, and that Helm’s Deep is the valley guarded by the Hornburg.  There are also errors in the article’s history: it was the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, not Rohan, that were “founded during the Second Age, in the year of 3320” – as Wynne notes elsewhere in this article, Rohan was founded more than 2,600 years later, in the Third Age.  Also, Wynne claims that Saruman moved to Isengard (not “Isenguard”) sometime “long after Helm’s death”, but Tolkien wrote that both events happened in the same year.

More significantly, though Tom Shippey’s Road to Middle-earth is the only work on Wynne’s 'Further Reading' list, and though Wynne notes the Old Mercian etymology of such names as Mark, Meduseld, and Edoras (not “Édoras”), she never comments on why Tolkien did this, ignoring, for instance, Shippey’s idea that Rohan’s transplanted Anglo-Saxons gave Tolkien the space to enlarge the story of LotR with imaginative solutions to cruces of English philology, by “explaining”, as it were, the words “orthanc”, “ent”, and “wose”, all of which border Rohan.  Wynne never even mentions the Woses or Ents.  Nor does she mention the Dunlendings, the neighboring people who view the Rohirrim as usurpers and who caused Helm’s death.  They attacked from the west, but when recounting Helm’s defeat, Wynne mentions only the simultaneous attack by other enemies from the east.

Wynne’s note on Tolkien’s development in drafts of the connection between Rohan and Old English is welcome, as are reminders of his debt to Beowulf and William Morris’s The House of the Wolfings (not “Wulfings”), but these are insufficient to outweigh the article’s faults, which also include a geographical description that doesn’t mention Rohan’s prominent grasslands; no reference whatsoever to “Cirion and Eorl” or “The Battles of the Fords of Isen” from Unfinished Tales; the absence of “Éowyn” and “Gondor” from the See also list; and this comment: “The language of Rohan (‘Rohirric’) is a form of Old English”.  Actually, Tolkien pretended that the Old English used in LotR for the Rohirrim merely represented their actual tongue.  Tolkien seems himself never to have used the word “Rohirric”.


Roman History - Sandra Ballif Straubhaar

Comments by squire, August 18, 2007

Between this article and the ones on Gondor, Gibbon, and Virgil, there are one, perhaps two, articles too many. It seems Straubhaar thought so too, since she practices here her usual economy of repeating, verbatim from her "Gondor" article, the sections on Aeneas and Romulus and Remus. But her identification of those twins with Isildur and Anarion, with the note that imperial rivalry breaks out "early in the Roman case, later in the Númenórean one" is inexact: Remus never founded a rival kingdom, but the break between Arnor and Gondor certainly came at the beginning of those realms' history. At least her concluding sentence to the paragraph, starting at "In contrast to Rome", is more graceful in this incarnation.

Her gloss on Gibbon's applicability to Tolkien is admirably more analytical than in the "Gibbon" article; but the result is still ineffective because she is unclear about which moral stages of the two empires, Roman and Númenórean, she is comparing at any time in their histories. She does at least cite in this article, unlike in her "Gondor", Ford's valuable "The White City" study; unfortunately she refers only to one of that fine essay's lesser points.

Tolkien in writing The Lord of the Rings started with only Strider the Ranger of the Wild and Boromir of the southern land of Ond. Bit by bit, using any number of Roman and other real-life models, he eventually imagined a rich three thousand years of dynastic and imperial history. His mythic connection of it all to the originally distinct legend of Númenor is one of his mock-historical triumphs, on a par with his entire Elvish royal saga of the First Age.

Straubhaar does not really get into any of this. After Aeneas and Romulus and Remus she goes right to her dubious interpretation of Gibbon. We get no mention here of the wars with Carthage/Umbar, the replacement of the monarchy with the Consuls/Steward, the seven walls/hills of the capital city, the importance of the great river port Ostia/Pelargir, the Civil Wars/Kinstrife that debilitated the upper classes, the recruitment of the Goths/Northerners to aid in the defense against the Easterlings/Huns, the decadence and increasing weakness of Byzantium/Minas Tirith, or the division of the northern empire into three petty realms that dissolved in jealous dissension, to name a few of the more obvious inspirations from Rome's epic history.

It is, of course, as interesting to study the variations on these events that Tolkien devised, as it is to point out his possible sources. Straubhaar is at least on solid ground in pointing out the quite different moral/religious underpinnings of Middle-earth. Nor should Gondor, Tolkien's late but great invention, be "identified" with Rome only, since Greek, Egyptian, medieval and even Renaissance scents also pervade the imperial atmosphere that drifted up from the South into the mostly Germanic mythological world that Tolkien had hitherto restricted himself to.


Romances: Middle English and French - Gerald Seaman

Comments by squire, March 12, 2007

This article starts out slow and fuzzy, gains tremendous focus and power in the middle, and fades out again at the end.

I admit I knew nothing of the Breton Lai as a literary genre in thirteenth-century France and England. Seaman's background briefing is necessary but confusing, because he races through the material, leaving this layman agape with questions. What was the relationship between Bretagne and Paris at the time, not to mention between Breton and French? Are King Horn and Havelock considered English or French in subject? What does it mean to say that the genre of "English romance" was brought to its end by Chaucer's parodic treatment of it before 1400? I would guess that Seaman should have spent more time on describing and defining his topic, especially as this trips him up later on.

But he does make it to Tolkien, by the second column, and fascinating stuff it is. I had thought that Tolkien shunned medieval French source material like its contemporary, the plague: the lack of Latinate/French words in The Lord of the Rings is the stuff of fan legend. Here I learn that the Breton Lais, born in France and transplanted to Plantagenet England, include Sir Orfeo which Tolkien translated. They are moreover the very source for the otherworldly fantasies that he famously analyzed and praised in "On Fairy-stories". Fascinating stuff.

Then things begin to slip. Seaman says that Farmer Giles of Ham is a parody of a Breton Lai-type Middle-English romance, and does "not end happily". That's news to me, and probably to King Aegidius too.

Next Seaman tackles The Lord of the Rings. He says that some of the poems therein "could be construed as lays" and predate the story in which they appear: he names Bilbo's "Song of Eärendil" and Strider's "tale of Tinúviel" in Fellowship as important examples. Unfortunately he mistakes Strider's song, which is descended from the short poem "Light as Leaf on Linden Tree", for an excerpt from the "Lay of Leithian", and he mistakes the "Eärendil was a Mariner" song, descended from the 1930s nonsense-poem "Errantry", for the much older prose/poem tradition of Eärendil from the Book of Lost Tales and Tolkien's early ephemeral poetry. Seaman proceeds to build on this bed of sand a massive case that "Tolkien conceived of these stories precisely as lays and not as other poetic forms", to be construed as part of an early "hitherto undocumented" English, not French, oral poetic heritage with an "imitable English voice" that provides the "substance and basis" for The Lord of the Rings!

For even part of Seaman's schema to work, it would be helpful if he had defined what a "lay" was in constructive terms, and shown how "Light as Leaf on Linden Tree" and "Earendil was a Mariner" were in fact lays, with links to the Breton Lai genre. Perhaps he could then have elided past the fact that neither verse in LotR (and he names no others - are no other LotR poems lays?) represent the earliest or most original tellings of their stories by Tolkien. Even better, he could have skipped LotR as a latecomer, and gone right to the sources in HoME and really looked for signs of the influence of the Breton Lai genre on Tolkien's actual early legendary poetry.

The Lord of the Rings is Tolkien's masterpiece, but it is not the be-all and end-all of his mythologizing, much less of his ballyhooed youthful goal of creating a mythology that he could "dedicate to England". Seaman might or might not have been on a false treasure hunt all along with his Lai idea, but he ends up high and dry on an irrelevant LotR reef that he wouldn't have hit had he not steered for it.

The 'Further Reading' list looks excellent, by the way.

Comments by Jason Fisher, March 13, 2007

I found it quite a surprising oversight that any discussion of King Horn would fail to mention that it provided Tolkien with the word Westernesse, which he used so often as a calque for Númenor. Missing this is all the more surprising since Tolkien himself acknowledges it in a published letter: “I have often used Westernesse as a translation [for Númenor]. This is derived from rare Middle English Westernesse (known to me only in MS. C of King Horn) where the meaning is vague, but may be taken to mean ‘Western lands’ as distinct from the East inhabited by the Paynim and Saracens.” (#276)

Comments by N.E. Brigand, January 3, 2008

Seaman mentions Havelock only as one of several lais without considering its possible influence on Tolkien: several observers have suggested that Tolkien adapted the name “Goldberry” from that romance, and there are further similarities in plot and imagery between Havelock and The Lord of the Rings.


Roverandom - Jared Lobdell

Comments by squire, March 24, 2007

I'm the first to admit that Roverandom is not very good as a story or as literature. What interest it holds for modern readers is mostly the glimpse it gives us of Tolkien at the beginning of his career as story-teller for his children. We see a polymathic wit who cannot resist sophisticated wordplay, mythic references, and evocative and symbolic fantasy landscapes even when telling stories to eight-year-olds. What he cannot yet do is contain and focus that artistic and literary energy into a well-shaped and proportionate plot with consistently engaging characters. That was to come later, with The Hobbit.

Lobdell shows no interest in context or critical evaluation. He ignores the issue of Roverandom's place in Tolkien's life and artistic development. Instead he highlights unimportant excerpts from the editors Hammond and Scull's countless acute observations of Tolkien's sources and themes. He gives an almost unreadable plot summary that is actually one gigantic run-on sentence. It is hard to believe that an article on Roverandom could avoid referring to the Book of Lost Tales or The Hobbit, but this one does. There are also numerous errors, from the title of Hammond and Scull's book J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, to the misplacement of Mew the seagull in the plot, to the missing author of Roverandom as listed in 'Further Reading'. It is absurd that the See also should ignore "Children's Literature and Tolkien", "Tolkien, Michael", "Farmer Giles of Ham", "Hobbit, The" and "Publications, Posthumous", to name the most obvious omissions.

Late in publication and slight in quality, Roverandom has barely penetrated the consciousness of Tolkien studies. Typical of its status as a Tolkien book is the omission of any reference to its dragons, not just in this article, but in the "Dragons" article of the Encyclopedia. Yet Hammond and Scull document substantial, if parodic, dragon-lore in Tolkien's creations the Great White Dragon, his ancient nemesis the Red Dragon, and the Sea-serpent. That is the kind of missing link readers will depend in vain for Lobdell to provide.


Runes - Arden R. Smith

Comments by squire, August 18, 2007

This is technically dense but impressively complete. Smith reviews the history of runes, both the real Germanic ones and Tolkien's inspired recreations for writing in English and Elvish. His organization is clear, and he briefly but effectively covers details such as the association of runes with magic and spells, the question of names for the individual rune-letters, and Tolkien's venture into showing how his Elvish runes could have survived and evolved across time to be the mock-historical basis for the real German runes.

I wish there was more about the relationship of Tolkien's runes to his imaginary racial and linguistic histories, and to his Elvish alphabets, particularly tengwar. Probably because of the prominence of their use by the dwarves in The Hobbit, I think most of Tolkien's readers get the impression that runes are "Dwarvish" while the tengwar are "Elvish". Smith does note that the original Angerthas were invented by the Elf Daeron, but he does not make it very clear that the Dwarves' runes found in Moria were only an adaptation of the Elvish system.

There is no hint here of Tolkien's deeper backstory for his writing systems: that the Sindarin Elves who never reached Valinor devised carven runes that reflected their cruder material culture, while the clever Noldorin Elves, taught by the Valar and led by Fëanor, used a "higher" lettering that was both linguistically meaningful and suited for writing with pen and ink. When Daeron of Thingol's kingdom discovered that the tengwar's forms, brought back to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor, derived from the vocalizations they represented, he reworked the old runes into his Angerthas system which does the same thing (to give credit to Smith, he brilliantly explains the resulting system in a brief paragraph; only the backstory is missing).

As good as this article is, I question its separate existence. The thematic category here is "Literary Sources" but Smith correctly focuses on Tolkien's runes, not their "literary" antecedents. By such a standard, there should also have been an expanded separate article on the tengwar, with some treatment of the medieval uncial lettering that was their presumed "source". Smith's article on "Alphabets, Invented" at least allows us to compare the cirth to Tolkien's other similarly scientific writing systems, though it too places detailed description above analysis and context. At least each article refers to the other; on the other hand, it's hard to imagine why they could not have been combined.

Comments by N.E. Brigand, January 3, 2008

Reviewing the Encyclopedia in Tolkien Studies 4, Kelley M. Wickham-Crowley complains that Smith in this article “emphasizes the term [‘rune’] as related to magic more than is warranted”.  That is not my impression: Smith notes that the term “most commonly” refers to early Germanic letters, only “sometimes” of a “cryptic, mystical or magical nature”, though the latter concept is “firmly rooted in the popular imagination”.  When Smith elaborates on the magical use of runes, he does so in context of Tolkien’s own use of magical runes in his fiction.  Also, though Wickham-Crowley implies otherwise, Smith does note that OId English runic characters each had a name, but he adds that Tolkien’s well-known runes created for LotR did not.

Among much fascinating material, I particularly liked Smith’s careful note that Tolkien’s drawing of the West-gate of Moria shows not the “runes of power” from Gimli’s song, but an Elvish script.  However, when Smith observes that Tolkien’s mock-up illustrations of three pages in the Book of Mazarbul feature runes, he should specify that this is true only of the first and third pages: the second page is written in the tengwar script.  More broadly, I would like more on the history of Tolkien’s rune-creation.  In place of Smith’s list of every letter represented by the runes in The Hobbit, for example, he might have explained why, if Tolkien had invented a non-Germanic “Gondolinic” system of runes by the mid-1920s, he reverted to a modified Old English system when he came to The Hobbit.


Russia: Reception of Tolkien - O. Markova

Comments by N.E. Brigand, May 20, 2007

This is a somewhat mystifying article, from Markova’s opening paragraph, where her insistence that “a dictionary of the English language is vital to readers” of Tolkien’s work seems aimed at a Russian audience, to her final paragraph’s bizarre description of “the gamers, for whom Tolkien’s world is more than a simple game, but rather a lifestyle, a special ritual, demanding serious self-discipline” – and “Gaming” does not appear on Markova’s See also list. 

The history of suppression, misinterpretation, and multiple translations that she presents is fascinating but short on specifics.  And I know from seeing Mark Hooker speak (at Mythcon in 2006) that there are gaps here: Hooker showed images of the ridiculous cover art of the many Tolkien knock-offs that, because of inadequate copyright protection, often use LotR characters in new stories. 

Presumably Hooker’s 2003 book, Tolkien Through Russian Eyes, which I have not read, should be incorporated into a 'Further Reading' list, which Markova’s article lacks.


Russian Language - Ivan A. Derzhanski

Comments by N.E. Brigand, May 20, 2007

Derzhanski begins and ends well, but bogs down in the middle with an excessively detailed comparison of words in Russian and Tolkien’s early Qenya language.  For instance, for Tolkien’s “velikë”, Derzhanski could have stopped with the Russian “velik(ij)” and perhaps its PIE root, without reference to related words in Old Slavic, Welsh, Greek, and Tocharian A.

The 'Further Reading' list looks good, though the connection Derzhanski mentions, between Russian “medved’” and the name “Beorn”, has lately received further study in Douglas Anderson’s 2006 article “R.W. Chambers and The Hobbit”.  To the one-item See also list, add The Book of Lost Tales I, The Hobbit, and The Lost Road.