Course Hero. "The Lord of the Rings Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Dec. 2016. Web. 26 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Lord-of-the-Rings/>.
Course Hero. (2016, December 2). The Lord of the Rings Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Lord-of-the-Rings/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "The Lord of the Rings Study Guide." December 2, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Lord-of-the-Rings/.
Course Hero, "The Lord of the Rings Study Guide," December 2, 2016, accessed September 26, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Lord-of-the-Rings/.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, published in 1954–55, is an iconic work of the fantasy genre. Featuring The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, Tolkien's work is a mythological epic following the journey of a hobbit named Frodo Baggins. Tolkien describes the battles fought by men and elves, the monstrous creatures of Middle-earth, and the powerful magic of wizards and villains, but he always keeps the story centered on Frodo, an unlikely hero carrying a terrible burden.
The enormous impact The Lord of the Rings has had on fantasy cannot be overstated. Numerous literary works, films, and video games cite Tolkien as a primary influence, and many of the races he describes inhabiting Middle-earth have become staples of the genre. The Lord of the Rings also inspired Peter Jackson's three blockbuster films, which have been praised as one of the greatest screen accomplishments of the 21st century.
The four musicians wanted to script and star in a film based on Tolkien's novel. John Lennon wanted to appear as Gollum, with Paul McCartney as Frodo, Ringo Starr as Sam, and George Harrison as Gandalf. Tolkien himself was unenthused by the idea, nixing the project before it began.
To make Middle-earth as immersive a universe as possible, Tolkien crafted the languages spoken by nonhuman races in his books. In particular, he designed the ancient Elven language Qenya based on Latin and Finnish and used Welsh as the inspiration for Sindarin, another Elven tongue.
Post-World War II paper shortages caused the publisher, George Allen & Unwin, to divide Tolkien's manuscript for The Lord of the Rings into three separate books. This way, the printing costs for the first novel, The Fellowship of the Ring, were lowered, and the book could be sold at a cheaper price. When he was informed that the novel would be divided and that he needed to create titles for the separate volumes, Tolkien wanted to name the third installment The War of the Ring, since he felt that the title The Return of the King revealed too much of the plot.
Considering the amount of time Tolkien devoted to world building, creating languages, and crafting character development, it may come as no surprise that The Lord of the Rings was a 14-year endeavor. When completed, the manuscript was more than 1,200 pages in length.
Tolkien was one of the staff of the dictionary between 1919 and 1920. He was assigned to write entries for a long list of words beginning with W. His first assigned entry was for the word waggle, which he defined as, "to move (anything held or fixed at one end) to and fro with short quick motions, or with a rapid undulation; especially to shake (any movable part of the body)." Perhaps most notably, the draft of his entry for the word walrus has been preserved at a library in Oxford.
Tolkien drew from his experiences as a soldier in World War I and transferred the horrors of modern combat to a fantasy setting. The mechanized war contraptions of the orcs, the harrowing calls of the Nazgul, and the friendships that developed between soldiers were all based on what Tolkien saw during combat.
At the 76th Academy Awards in 2004, The Return of the King, Jackson's final installment in the series, won 11 Oscars (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Picture, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects). This tied the film with Ben-Hur (1959) and Titanic (1997) for the most wins for a single film.
Although Tolkien's books have been popular since their publication, the early-2000s films contributed to a great resurgence in the series's fame. Of the more than 150 million copies sold of the books, 50 million of the sales occurred since the first film's debut.
One reason Tolkien was so meticulous in crafting the world of Middle-earth was that he intended it to serve as a mythology for England, which he felt was deprived of the ancient legends of other European cultures. He once stated,
I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story ... which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country.
The J.R.R. Tolkien Collection at the library of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, houses the manuscripts. In addition, the collection contains original maps of Middle-earth, first editions of the books, and an epilogue that was rejected.