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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
***Favourite Chapters - The Choices Of Master Samwise (LOTR)
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squire
Half-elven


Apr 1, 4:52pm

Post #26 of 33 (876 views)
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My mistake, sorry [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the reminder. Well, back to the old drawing board on a general theory of suicide in Tolkien's legendarium.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 1, 8:23pm

Post #27 of 33 (864 views)
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Yes, but [In reply to] Can't Post

The Book divisions, while Tolkien's, came later; he originally just had consecutively-numbered chapters from 1 to 50-odd. So those bits that happen to end Books now weren't intended to do so at the time when they were written- even when it's pretty logical, like the Ford of Bruinen.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Apr 1, 9:16pm

Post #28 of 33 (859 views)
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Hornet's nests [In reply to] Can't Post

Christopher's editorial choices for The Silmarillion (and for that matter The Children of Hurin and even HoMe itself is one issue, but honestly it is not the hornet's nest that I was mostly thinking of. What I was mostly thinking of was how Tolkien's work in general and in particular his vast and only partly published work on Turin's story was so complex and contradictory, particularly in relation to his Catholic beliefs. In both Unfinished Tales and in The War of the Jewels Christopher makes special note of the fact that he "did not enter into the complexities of the tale of Turin in those parts that [his] father left in confusion and uncertainty." Without having access to all those manuscripts (and the skill to interpret them, which may well have passed on with Christopher's passing), it would be difficult fully understand what Tolkien's intentions really were. But it is a subject that I have often thought about addressing, without much success.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


enanito
Rohan

Apr 2, 12:22am

Post #29 of 33 (846 views)
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Story flow [In reply to] Can't Post

So if I follow this correctly, then Tolkien always intended the story flow to be what we now see? And no chapter re-ordering was required when making Books, and then further splitting into the Trilogy?

If that's the case, it's interesting how the consecutively-ordered chapters so neatly fell into fairly same-sized Books, and then into fairly same-sized Trilogy books.


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 2, 5:28pm

Post #30 of 33 (829 views)
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Yes, I think that's right. [In reply to] Can't Post

 

In Reply To
So if I follow this correctly, then Tolkien always intended the story flow to be what we now see? And no chapter re-ordering was required when making Books, and then further splitting into the Trilogy?


Yes, I think that's right. Or at least, the story flow is what he submitted in his first manuscript, rather that something that was imposed or agreed for publishing production reasons. (Whether JRR experimented with different flows before deciding on the final one, I don't know)

As regards when Books and Volumes were introduced, it may be that others can answer more fully. But he idea of 'parts' is something JRR refers to in a letter to Unwins in March 1945, when he describes how far he's got with LOTR:


Quote
It is divided into Five Parts, of 10–12 chapters each (!). Four are completed, and the last begun. I could send it to you, Part by Part, with all its present imperfections on it–riders, alternatives, variable proper names–until you cry ‘halt! This is enough! It must go the way of “The Silmarillion” into the Limbo of the great unpublishables!’”

Letter 98


Part I - IV would have pretty much corresponded with Books I - IV as they are published in FOTR and TT, if I've understood correctly.

At some point, JRR must have decided that Part V was best split into V and VI. I infer that the LOTR manuscript that JRR handed over to Unwins in September 1952 was a 6-parter

By Letter 135 (24 October 1952) it's become clear that a one-volume or two-volume publication would have been impractically expensive. A plan of 2 parts (now Books) per volume and 3 volumes is being discussed in Letter 136 (24 March 1953), although JRR points out this isn't fully satisfactory as III and IV don't really form a satisfying pair. Possibly there weren't any other real options - six very short volumes might also have been impractical.


In Reply To
If that's the case, it's interesting how the consecutively-ordered chapters so neatly fell into fairly same-sized Books, and then into fairly same-sized Trilogy books.


Yes - but that seems to have been something that emerged as Tolkien wrote - note that he had five roughly equal parts in mind when he wrote Letter 98.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


(This post was edited by noWizardme on Apr 2, 5:32pm)


noWizardme
Half-elven


Apr 2, 5:37pm

Post #31 of 33 (828 views)
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About the story flow/ interlacing -- A Marine's Tummy Uproots (anag.) [In reply to] Can't Post

A Marine's Tummy Uproots, or, in correct letter order, TORn Amateur Symposium is where I once published an essay on some of the advantages of Tolkien's back-and-forth between different groups of characters scheme. I'm still quite pleased with it.

~~~~~~
"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Apr 2, 7:10pm

Post #32 of 33 (819 views)
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Oh, yes, that was a total cliffhanger for me on first read: AGONIZING! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Frodo was alive but taken by the Enemy.

I read that as: "and Sauron will win unless something really extraordinary happens, or 100 extraordinary and very unlikely things happen."


Solicitr
Gondor


Apr 2, 8:39pm

Post #33 of 33 (813 views)
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Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

decided around 1944-45 or so to divide the book into "Parts". However, he retained consecutive chapter-numbers for some time after that, before starting each Book over with Chapter 1. Yes, at the time of that letter he overoptimistically thought that he was on "the final chapters!" when in fact he only had made an aborted start on "Minas Tirith" by that point.

It is also true that he wrote the whole book pretty much in the order of the published version. The only significant exceptions to that were 1) very very early, where he wrote Three's Company before deciding Ancient History> The Shadow of the Past had to precede it; and 2) much later, when he couldn't decide where he wanted to place the account of the Paths of the Dead and the ride to Pelargir. But yes, in general the basic plan was always to tell the story in "chunks" after the Breaking, War - Frodo - War - Frodo.

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