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In the first part of Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien completes his account of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire. This part ends with versions of the previously unpublished Epilogue, an alternate ending to the masterpiece in which Sa In the first part of Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien completes his account of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire. This part ends with versions of the previously unpublished Epilogue, an alternate ending to the masterpiece in which Sam attempts to answer his children's questions years after the departure of Bilbo and Frodo from the Grey Havens. The second part introduces The Notion Club Papers, now published for the first time. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the interval between The Two Towers and The Return of the King (1945-1946), these mysterious Papers, discovered in the early years of the twenty-first century, report the discussions of a literary club in Oxford in the years 1986-1987. Those familiar with the Inklings will see a parallel with the group whose members included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. After a discussion of the possiblities of travel through space and time through the medium of 'true dream," the story turns to the legend of Atlantis, the strange communications received by members of the club out of remote past, and the violent irruption of the legend into northwestern Europe. Closely associated with the Papers is a new version of the Numenorean legend, The Drowning of Anadune, which constitutes the third part of the book. At this time the language of the Men of the West, Adunaic, was first devised - Tolkien's fifteenth invented language. The book concludes with an elaborate account of the structure of this language by Arundel Lowdham, a member of the Notion Club, who learned it in his dreams. Sauron Defeated is illustrated with the changing conceptions of the fortress of Kirith Ungol and Mount Doom, previously unpublished drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow, and fragments of manuscript written in Numenorean script.


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In the first part of Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien completes his account of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire. This part ends with versions of the previously unpublished Epilogue, an alternate ending to the masterpiece in which Sa In the first part of Sauron Defeated, Christopher Tolkien completes his account of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, beginning with Sam's rescue of Frodo from the Tower of Kirith Ungol, and giving a very different account of the Scouring of the Shire. This part ends with versions of the previously unpublished Epilogue, an alternate ending to the masterpiece in which Sam attempts to answer his children's questions years after the departure of Bilbo and Frodo from the Grey Havens. The second part introduces The Notion Club Papers, now published for the first time. Written by J.R.R. Tolkien in the interval between The Two Towers and The Return of the King (1945-1946), these mysterious Papers, discovered in the early years of the twenty-first century, report the discussions of a literary club in Oxford in the years 1986-1987. Those familiar with the Inklings will see a parallel with the group whose members included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. After a discussion of the possiblities of travel through space and time through the medium of 'true dream," the story turns to the legend of Atlantis, the strange communications received by members of the club out of remote past, and the violent irruption of the legend into northwestern Europe. Closely associated with the Papers is a new version of the Numenorean legend, The Drowning of Anadune, which constitutes the third part of the book. At this time the language of the Men of the West, Adunaic, was first devised - Tolkien's fifteenth invented language. The book concludes with an elaborate account of the structure of this language by Arundel Lowdham, a member of the Notion Club, who learned it in his dreams. Sauron Defeated is illustrated with the changing conceptions of the fortress of Kirith Ungol and Mount Doom, previously unpublished drawings of Orthanc and Dunharrow, and fragments of manuscript written in Numenorean script.

30 review for Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    The history of the writing of the Lord of the Rings comes to a close with _Sauron Defeated_ (well, with the exception of the appendices which get discussed in _The Peoples of Middle Earth_, but I think we can consider that a slightly different thread). This volume is broken up into two major sections, only one of which directly relates to the writing of the LotR. The first section gives the final details about the development of the story of the LotR from the destruction of the ring at Mount Doo The history of the writing of the Lord of the Rings comes to a close with _Sauron Defeated_ (well, with the exception of the appendices which get discussed in _The Peoples of Middle Earth_, but I think we can consider that a slightly different thread). This volume is broken up into two major sections, only one of which directly relates to the writing of the LotR. The first section gives the final details about the development of the story of the LotR from the destruction of the ring at Mount Doom to the return of the hobbits to the Shire, while the second gives us a completely different story that further develops the tale of Numenor which composed in 1945-46 when Tolkien had taken a long hiatus from writing the LotR. I must admit that I found the second section much more compelling, even surprising and enlightening, in a way that the first simply couldn’t compare to. That’s not to say that there weren’t interesting nuggets to be gleaned from the first section, such as the fact of just how late the character of Arwen Undomiel and her role in the story came about, or the significant changes in the fate of Saruman and the exact nature of what would become the scouring of the Shire, and the inclusion of an unpublished epilogue to the story, but the second section was just so different, and in many ways seemed to give us a glimpse into Tolkien the man and the artist, that I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it. The only obvious link between the two sections that would warrant their inclusion in the same volume of the History of Middle-Earth (aside from convenience) is found in the title, since both deal with a time in which the defeat of Sauron in different parts of Tolkien’s legendarium is central. The second half of the book presents a story called _The Notion Club Papers_, which is an interesting amalgamation of several things: in part it appears as something of a parody of a group of pseudo-Inklings, perhaps giving the reader a glimpse into what kind of meetings Tolkien and his literary friends had; it morphs into what could be considered a continuation, or revision, of the earlier abandoned _Lost Road_ in which the story of the Fall of Numenor continues to develop and take on new features as it is mysteriously communicated to a modern day audience; and finally it also gives us the perhaps most complete glimpse we are likely to get of Tolkien the language-maker as we witness the birth and development of the Numenorean language of Adunaic. I was surprised at first with how point-blank Tolkien’s apparent caricature of the Inklings was. We start off with a title (“Beyond Lewis or Out of the Talkative Planet”) that lets the reader know that Tolkien’s initial purpose (apparently) was to put C. S. Lewis in his sights and give a fictional (though perhaps no less serious for all that) critique of his (at the time) newly published work _Perelandra_ and its related prequel _Out of the Silent Planet_. In my view none of the Inkling characters presented here come across in what could be called a truly positive light (though it’s certainly not character assassination either), and while Tolkien explicitly states that one should not look for one-to-one correspondences between the fictional and real Inklings, he certainly seemed to be taking at least some of the less than flattering characteristics of his friends and putting them on display. The Notion Club Papers starts with a discussion of the problem of convincingly portraying in a science fiction story the mechanism for getting one’s protagonist onto an alien world. To a modern reader (or me at least) this seemed an odd point of contention since the use of the tried-and-true space ship/rocket seems to me to be unproblematic, but I suppose in the days before the moon landing or any real results in attempted forays into space this may have seemed like nothing more than a pipe-dream. Apparently Tolkien felt that Lewis’ solution in both of the then published Cosmic trilogy was less than ideal. This debate soon shifts gears, though, as one member monopolizes the conversation by going into an in-depth description of his recent forays into the manipulation and use of dreams as a valid way to actually travel through time or space. The ‘dream frame’ is an old literary device often used by medieval authors, though its use here brought more contemporary authors such as E. R. Eddison and especially David Lindsay (in his _Voyage to Arcturus_) to mind for me. I couldn’t help but see this section as giving some real insights into Tolkien’s working process, esp. in regards to inspiration as he had often, albeit in a much more oblique way, made reference to the feeling that he was more of a transcriber of his stories looking for the ‘real’ tale as opposed to someone making things up purely from his imagination. I always took this to be simply metaphorical, but the way in which the process is presented, and the conviction and detail with which it is outlined here, made me think that perhaps there was a bit more of the esoteric to Tolkien’s own method than I would have at first credited. Of course Tolkien would no doubt be shocked and dismayed at my immediate desire to ascribe such a large auto-biographical element to The Notion Club Papers, and certainly always warned against the dangers of reading biography into a writer’s work, but in this case I really couldn’t help myself. The fact that I doubt Tolkien ever meant for this to be published to the wider public beyond his intimate friends (if at all), and that it deals with several elements of his personal life in a very close way, may mean that he was willing to be more transparent than he otherwise would have been. Of course, I could just be reading way too much into it, but I can’t help but think that the work as a whole really does give us a glimpse into some of the inner workings of the mind of Tolkien the artist. As the meetings develop a new pair of members take center stage, detailing their own successful forays into the deep past using this dream method, out of which comes the burgeoning tale of the Fall of Numenor. It turns out that both characters are actual descendants of characters in the old tale (shades of the Lost Road here) and are picking up what I can only call the psychic resonances of the story (which nonetheless manages to break into the ‘real’ world in a very physical way). There’s a lot going on here, but I think the most significant elements are the drastic changes to the Silmarillion legendarium that take place, most surprisingly in the paucity (or complete disappearance) of the Elves. In the end Christopher Tolkien has what I think is a very valid explanation for this: that his father was likely trying to convey the story of Numenor (which was still very much within the context of his Middle-Earth legendarium) from a purely “mannish” perspective that had been eroded by time and thus, even with the implied dream/time travel element in the story, many of the ‘true’ elements that included the Eldar and their battles with Melkor were lost in the mists of time. One might wonder why Tolkien returned to this tale of Numenor when he was in the very midst of writing what would (though unbeknownst to him) become his magnum opus. Part of the answer appears to lie in the fact that at the time Tolkien underwent what might have been a breakdown due to professional (and perhaps personal) pressures that left him with a severe case of writer’s block. Added to that may have been the fact that, as his new tale, ostensibly nothing more than a sequel to _The Hobbit_, became subsumed into his greater legends of the Silmarillion (something to which it had not really been connected to before) he needed to figure out how to make the divergent aspects of each gel. In some ways the tale of Numenor became central to this as it sets up the situation in Middle Earth at the time of the LotR and has direct links with the story of Aragorn and the kingdom of Gondor which was rapidly taking shape. I would also argue that the apparently recent inspirations around the Numenorean tongue Adunaic, which are interwoven into the tale and very much form a basis for the whole story itself, gave him the push he needed to write something new. The importance of Tolkien’s languages, and linguistic creation, to his story writing process (always stressed by him, but I think often misunderstood or overlooked by many readers) thus comes through very clearly. I will admit that the final section of the book, in which the excruciating details of Adunaic’s grammar and linguistic structure are detailed, was more or less skipped over by me. I really do not have a linguistic mind, but for those who do I imagine this would be a real treasure trove of information and insight. This was, for me, one of the best entries in the History of the Lord of the Rings segments of the HoME series, though ironically less because of it’s depiction of how the LotR itself was developed, than because of a new (though related) story and the insights it seemingly gives to Tolkien the man and the artist. Recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Sauron Defeated: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part Four (The History of Middle-Earth #9), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    I often find the final installment of a series to be alternately satisfying and mundane. Satisfying, because it's the conclusion of so much that I've invested in. Mundane, because by that point the only things that can happen are the things that absolutely must happen before the story ends. Sauron Defeated (Part Four of The History of the Lord of the Rings within Volume IX of The History Of Middle-Earth) is like that. I'm still interested to see Tolkien's process as he figures out how to bring T I often find the final installment of a series to be alternately satisfying and mundane. Satisfying, because it's the conclusion of so much that I've invested in. Mundane, because by that point the only things that can happen are the things that absolutely must happen before the story ends. Sauron Defeated (Part Four of The History of the Lord of the Rings within Volume IX of The History Of Middle-Earth) is like that. I'm still interested to see Tolkien's process as he figures out how to bring The Lord of the Rings to a conclusion. But it's the weakest and least interesting part of The History of the Lord of the Rings. Unlike the first part of the series, The Return of the Shadow, which showed the wildly different directions Tolkien might have gone with "the Hobbit sequel," the end shows Tolkien connecting the loose ends and bringing things to the end that is required. There are fewer diversions, fewer surprises--not much trivia that is fun or amusing to bring up in conversation with other people. A number of times throughout the text, Christopher says something like this: "In the first draft of this chapter my father again achieved for most of its length an extraordinarily close approach to the final form" (44). It's the end of the writing of The Lord of the Rings (except for the Appendices, which Christopher doesn't cover in this series), but it's not an especially interesting read. And this final part of the history is but one small part of the whole Volume IX of the Middle-Earth history--it takes only the first 141 pages, out of the total 482.After the conclusion of The History Lord of the Rings, Christopher turns back to where he left off in Volume V, The Lost Road and Other Writings, with Tolkien's continued writings on the Fall of Númenor/Akallabêth/Drowning of Anadûnê mythology. The second part of Volume IX comprises drafts of The Notion Club Papers, an unfinished and unpublished idea that Tolkien worked on after finishing LR. What exists of the Notion Club is in two parts, and the first part begins very much in the subgenre that I think of as "Oxford Dons in Supernatural Adventures." It's a subgenre that blossomed in the mid-20th century, mostly pioneered by the Inklings. Charles Williams was the master of this kind of story, and C.S. Lewis was also very good (in The Ransom Trilogy and other short stories like "The Dark Tower"). Tolkien didn't make many contributions in this area, but The Notion Club Papers may have become a significant entry. The first part is about the possibility of intergalactic travel through dreams and memories. Discussion among the dons centers on the difficulty of finding a good method of travel in sci-fi stories, and then one of the members, Ramer, explains the methods of dream- or memory-travel that he has been cultivating. Though I found this quite a jarring change coming right after the Lord of the Rings, once I got my mind into it I found it a nice slow build-up an intriguing narrative style, and slightly (pleasantly) creepy and disturbing. Part Two is where things begin to be muddied. It brings a return to the Lost Road idea of people throughout history being connected to the Eärendil story, a narrative device designed ultimately to bring us back to the Númenor story. This is all complicated by plot elements that just don't make sense to me. The main character in Part Two is suddenly Lowdham, who seemed in Part One to be rising as the dark, shadowy antagonist. Ramer fades into the background as Jeremy, a character of only minor importance in Part One, becomes the secondary protagonist of Part Two. There are also leaps in logic and narrative that are somehow accepted by the characters but to me don't fit right with the pace of the story. The growing complexities of multiple ancient languages being revealed, mysterious connections between prehistory and present-day, some kind of travel between eras . . . it all just gets to be too much to keep track of, turning into a story only a Tolkien could love. As Christopher says, the writing had become "a conception so intricate that one need perhaps look no further for an answer to the question, why were The Notion Club Papers abandoned? (282) In the end, the Númenor mythology would continue to develop apart from the narrative frame Tolkien played with in The Lost Road and The Notion Club Papers.The Notion Club includes some enjoyable discussions about language, including this prescriptive/descriptive debate: 'And I detest it, when philologues talk about Language (with a capital L) with that peculiarly odious unction usually reserved for capitalized Life. That we are told "must go on" - if we complain of any debased manifestations, such as Arry in his cups. He talks about Language as if it was not only a Jungle but a Sacred Jungle, a beastly grove dedicated to Vita Fera, in which nothing must be touched by impious hands. Cankers, fungi, parasites: let 'em alone!      'Languages are not jungles! They are gardens, in which sounds selected from the savage wilderness of Brute Noise are turned into words, grown, trained, and endued with the scents of significance. You talk as if I could not pull up a weed that stinks!'      'I do not!' said Lowdham. 'But, first of all, you have to remember that it's not your garden - if you must have this groggy allegory: it belongs to a lot of other people as well, and to them your stinking weed may be an object of delight. More important: your allegory is misapplied. What you are objecting to is not a weed, but the soil, and also any manifestations of growth and spread. All the other words in your refined garden have come into being (and got their scent) in the same way. You're like a man who is fond of flowers and fruit, but thinks loam is dirty, and dung disgusting; and the uprising and the withering just too, too sad. You want a sterilized garden of immortelles, no, paper-flowers. In fact, to leave allegory, you won't learn anything about the history of your own language, and hate to be reminded that it has one. . . . For the One Speaker, all alone, is the final court of doom for words, to bless or to condemn. It's the agreement only of the separate judges that seems to make the laws. If your distaste is shared by an effective number of the others, then pants will prove - a weed, and be thrust into the oven.      'Though, of course, many people - more and more, I sometimes feel, as Time goes on and even language stales - do not judge any longer, they only echo.' (225-26) The final part of Sauron Defeated gives several drafts of the Númenor story, now using the newly developing Adunaic language for the names. There are significant differences in the various versions of the story--especially the conception of the world as either always round, or at one point flat and then re-made round.My reviews of the other volumes in The History of the Lord of the Rings series: The Return of the Shadow The Treason of Isengard The War of the Ring

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    No I didn't read all of this, and probably most of it is boring, but it includes an alternate ending which is a must-read for all Tolkien-lovers. In this version, Sam tells his children about what happened after the events of the book and it's truly lovely and would have worked really nicely in the book (though the ending Tolkien went with is amazing too). That alone is worth the price of admission. Please go read this. Please, please, please. Oh, and I skipped the last half of the book: all I wa No I didn't read all of this, and probably most of it is boring, but it includes an alternate ending which is a must-read for all Tolkien-lovers. In this version, Sam tells his children about what happened after the events of the book and it's truly lovely and would have worked really nicely in the book (though the ending Tolkien went with is amazing too). That alone is worth the price of admission. Please go read this. Please, please, please. Oh, and I skipped the last half of the book: all I want is Lord of the Rings, thank you Christopher Tolkien, you genius scholar of Middle Earth. The first bits are not particularly good, although Tolkien repeats the intriguing idea of Frodo hearing a soothing voice tempting him to claim the ring, and then Frodo repents instantly but cannot take off the ring. Gollum has to intervene, in some versions repentantly. And Frodo tells the Witch King to throw himself into Mount Doom and it does (that would have been cool). There isn't that much fun stuff until we get to the Scouring of the Shire. It seems that it too was unplanned and that initially a ruffian named Sharky was to be at the back of it, but Tolkien "discovered" that it was Saruman, based on a careless line in which Merry invites Saruman to the shire when they meet and give him tobacco. At any rate, Gandalf goes with them to the Shire in some versions, and in others Frodo himself kills quite a few ruffians and even kills Sharky, striking the last blow in the war of the ring. I almost wish that this had been how it happened, because the Frodo we see in the books is really tortured almost out of his masculinity. I do find it interesting though that some of the earlier drafts would have been closer to Frodo's perspective in the ending, but that Tolkien felt the need to distance himself from the hobbit the more like Jesus he became. Also, since we're talking about The Return of the King, why not observe that Tolkien chose to make the final confrontation on Mount Doom an illustration of the Lord's Prayer. Jackson's changing of the ending, almost nonchalantly, always seemed to me to be the worst crime in adapting the books (even more so than Frodo and Sam's parting). It's kind of like getting to the end of the Iliad and having Priam steal Hector's body, or like coming to the end of the Aeneid and having Turnus assassinated, or like coming to the end of Dante and seeing a non-Trinitarian God. Anyway, that's my two cents against the movies: they really don't capture the nobility of the characters or the theme of human sinfulness and the need for divine mercy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Great installment in the History-series. This one contains a lot of versions of the Lord of the Rings stories, so read this one if you're mostly interested in LotR. The Notion Club Papers part didn't really interest me, I skimmed through those parts. Great installment in the History-series. This one contains a lot of versions of the Lord of the Rings stories, so read this one if you're mostly interested in LotR. The Notion Club Papers part didn't really interest me, I skimmed through those parts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anna C

    Up 'til now I've been totally game for whatever rabbit holes Christopher wants to take me down, but this is the first volume of HoME (of the 8 I've read so far) where I just hit a brick wall. Now, the first section of the book covers the end of RotK and the various epilogues, and it's sublime. But it has no relation to anything else in "Sauron Defeated," so was even published separately (and rated separately by me). Everything else in "Sauron Defeated" after that first section is.... well... yeah. Up 'til now I've been totally game for whatever rabbit holes Christopher wants to take me down, but this is the first volume of HoME (of the 8 I've read so far) where I just hit a brick wall. Now, the first section of the book covers the end of RotK and the various epilogues, and it's sublime. But it has no relation to anything else in "Sauron Defeated," so was even published separately (and rated separately by me). Everything else in "Sauron Defeated" after that first section is.... well... yeah. The Notion Club Papers seemed out of place, a very niche interest in what is already a very niche 12-part book series. I almost wonder if the most appropriate place for them would have been as an extended appendix to Humphrey Carpenter's book on the Inklings? The first set of Notion Club Papers isn't even about Middle Earth at all, but a nearly 100-page discussion of Lewis's 'Out of the Silent Planet' books. We do *eventually,* *finally* get to relevant material in the second set of papers, but these still would have benefited from a lot of cutting and excerpting. I kept reading through to the end mainly for the notes on Adunaic, because I'm a linguistics nerd. I've read Ruth S. Noel's book on Tolkien's language construction, and I've been able to follow all the linguistics discussions in the rest of HoME, but this is the chapter that finally defeated me. I think you honestly need grad-level philology training to understand that. A bit of a frustrating read, tbh. Heavy skimming.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mythlee

    Parts of this were interesting, but I have very little interest in the grammar or phonology of invented languages, and that's what the book closes with. Here's something from p. 433 that I liked: But members of the royal house seem often to have lived to be close on 300; while kings seem normally to have been succeeded by the grandsons (their sons were as a rule as old as 200 or even 250 before the king 'fell asleep', and passed on the crown to their own sons, so that as long and unbroken a reign Parts of this were interesting, but I have very little interest in the grammar or phonology of invented languages, and that's what the book closes with. Here's something from p. 433 that I liked: But members of the royal house seem often to have lived to be close on 300; while kings seem normally to have been succeeded by the grandsons (their sons were as a rule as old as 200 or even 250 before the king 'fell asleep', and passed on the crown to their own sons, so that as long and unbroken a reign as possible might be maintained, and because they themselves had become engrossed in some branch of art or learning). And there's some interesting discussion of fairy-stories at 169-170. That's where we see probably the best or most famous quip from the Notion Club papers, Guildford's claim to have determined "the only known or likely way in which any one has ever landed on a world." He teases the others, in response to their inquiries, that "it's not private, though I've used it once." The big reveal? His method is "Incarnation. By being born."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This one was overall a mixed bag for me, loved Part I, the end of the history of LOTR, Part II with the The Notion Papers was so-so for me, it definitely had interesting sections but probably wasn’t one I’ll go back and re-read, then ended with Part III where Tolkien expanded and developed his early Númenorean legend as his Atlantis-esque retelling story shifted and grew to fit into his growing legendarium of interrelated tales. I couldn’t help but think of his Leaf by Niggle short story again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tamsyn

    The last section on Adunaic was rough going, but very interesting to see the ebbs and flows of the Numenor story. Best part was the end of the textual history of LOTR, including the epilogue. Onwards to the next volume!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bookworman

    Full disclosure: I only read “The Epilogue” chapter which is about Samwise and his family. Very satisfying!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    Rounding out the tale of how The Lord of the Rings was written, with the final chapters in Mordor, the rejoicings after, the Scouring of the Shire, the end it now has, and his intended epilogue, where much that got relegated to the appendices about future history was put into a conversation between Sam and his children over the age of five. (Several below had already been packed off to bed.) Much less flexibility than in the first volume, as the plot builds up steam. Then it's filled out with som Rounding out the tale of how The Lord of the Rings was written, with the final chapters in Mordor, the rejoicings after, the Scouring of the Shire, the end it now has, and his intended epilogue, where much that got relegated to the appendices about future history was put into a conversation between Sam and his children over the age of five. (Several below had already been packed off to bed.) Much less flexibility than in the first volume, as the plot builds up steam. Then it's filled out with some stuff he worked on about this time. The Notion Club Papers contain very little about even Middle Earth, and I skimmed most very lightly, and then a bit about the fall of Numenor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The book is split between the final part of the LOTR books and something called The Notion Club Papers and some more about Númenor. I took a break after reading the part about LOTR (of which the versions of the Scouring of the Shire and the different epilogues were very interesting) because I had no idea what the Notion club Papers were and didn't think they'd interest me as much. Boy was I wrong! When I finally read it, I couldn't put it down any more! I LOVED the Notion Club Papers a lot. I lik The book is split between the final part of the LOTR books and something called The Notion Club Papers and some more about Númenor. I took a break after reading the part about LOTR (of which the versions of the Scouring of the Shire and the different epilogues were very interesting) because I had no idea what the Notion club Papers were and didn't think they'd interest me as much. Boy was I wrong! When I finally read it, I couldn't put it down any more! I LOVED the Notion Club Papers a lot. I liked the discussions being held by the fictitious members (about sci-fi and dreams and such), as well as the whole mystery about the dream visits and the mysterious words and images appearing to some members. It was intriguing. On top of that, it was hilarious as well. It truly is a pity it was never smoothed into a complete work because I would have loved to read it in full. As is true for every HOME book: not for everyone but if you love to read about Tolkien's work and his thought-process then the first and last part are for you. As for the Notion Club Papers, it might not be but I say give it a shot. I did and I regretted not doing so sooner.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Grooms

    Another volume in the History of Middle-earth, and another invaluable look into Tolkien's creative process. Sauron Defeated is odd in that it includes a variety of sources, nothing odder than his convoluted Notion Club Papers. It's a bit of a slog to those not as obsessed with Tolkien's work, however. As with many of the books in this series, even someone as fascinated as me found bits tedious, in particular those about the Adunaic language. To paraphrase Tolkien, it is sad that that part of Tol Another volume in the History of Middle-earth, and another invaluable look into Tolkien's creative process. Sauron Defeated is odd in that it includes a variety of sources, nothing odder than his convoluted Notion Club Papers. It's a bit of a slog to those not as obsessed with Tolkien's work, however. As with many of the books in this series, even someone as fascinated as me found bits tedious, in particular those about the Adunaic language. To paraphrase Tolkien, it is sad that that part of Tolkien's work should remain outside the range of my sympathy (though I understand his own inclinations toward it and appreciate how it shaped his created world). This whole series is a must-read for the invested Tolkien fan.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Artnoose McMoose

    Again, this is from the History of Middle Earth series, so you’d have to be a full-on Tolkien geek to want to attempt this. This volume begins with the final part of the early drafts of the Lord of the Rings. The next section is The Notion Club Papers, an unfinished time-travel novel Tolkien wrote as a way to retell his Numenor story. He wrote it during a pause in writing LotR, and ended up finishing that instead of Notion Club, which I’m happy about. The final third of this book is yet another r Again, this is from the History of Middle Earth series, so you’d have to be a full-on Tolkien geek to want to attempt this. This volume begins with the final part of the early drafts of the Lord of the Rings. The next section is The Notion Club Papers, an unfinished time-travel novel Tolkien wrote as a way to retell his Numenor story. He wrote it during a pause in writing LotR, and ended up finishing that instead of Notion Club, which I’m happy about. The final third of this book is yet another retelling of the Numenor story where Tolkien is figuring out whether the world was made round at the fall of Numenor or whether it was always round.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    If previous volumes of this series that I have read have been odd metafictional experiences by which one sees some of the manuscript editing that takes one away from the stories themselves and examines how it was that Tolkien gradually conceived of his story and put it together piece by piece, this one ups the ante considerably.  And if you are a fan of Tolkien's writing, this is something that makes sense to enjoy, because Tolkien was so detailed about linguistics and geography and the larger w If previous volumes of this series that I have read have been odd metafictional experiences by which one sees some of the manuscript editing that takes one away from the stories themselves and examines how it was that Tolkien gradually conceived of his story and put it together piece by piece, this one ups the ante considerably.  And if you are a fan of Tolkien's writing, this is something that makes sense to enjoy, because Tolkien was so detailed about linguistics and geography and the larger world in which the story is a part that it makes sense that many of those who would find his stories compelling are going to find this book compelling as well, even if it includes a metafictional experience that gives a big of mixed prophecy on the literary world in which Tolkien was a part.  Rather than simplifying the experience of Lord of the Rings, this book complicates it even beyond the levels that it had previously been complicated with thanks to the previous writings of the series.  If you like very complicated inside jokes that point to the Lord of the Rings in Tolkien's other writings, this book will be a special pleasure, if an unusual one. This particular book, like its predecessors, is more than 400 pages in length.  That said, only about the first third of the book or so is made up of material from the Lord of the Rings directly.  This is the first part of the book, which discusses the end of the third age, showing the story of Sam and Frodo in Mordor (1), the tower of Kirith Ungol (2), the land of shadow (3), Mount Doom (4), the field of Kormallen (5), the steward and the king (6), many partings (7), the homeward trip of the hobbits (8), an interesting variant on the scouring of the shire (9), the Gray Havens (10), and an epilogue that had Sam talking to one of his daughters that was unfortunately removed from the final book (XI), as well as some drawings.  The second part of the book, which makes up a majority of the contents, are the two parts of the Notion Club papers as well as some major divergences between the earlier versions of the second part of the story, which have their own interesting textual history.  Finally, the book ends with the third version of the Fall of Numenor as well as three forms of the Drowning of Anadune as well as a theory of the work and a humorous metafictional report on the work. What is perhaps most enjoyable about this particular book is the way that it provides the reader with the chance to see Tolkien's Notion Club Papers, which are among the most intriguing metafictional works that can be imagined.  Tolkien not only wrote stories that are connected to deeper myths, and not only does this work provide a manuscript history of how The Lord of the Rings came to be, which is all very interesting itself, but this book also manages to show that Tolkien could imagine his work and the work of his friends like C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams being only of interest to fans of obscure fantasy literature in the same way that he and his friends were similarly passionately interested in obscure fantasy literature from the past themselves and inspired by it.  This allows Tolkien to jokingly write about a future where people sat around and talked about his own linguistic games in the Lord of the Rings, something that people actually do and something that this book is a sign of, which ought to remind us that Tolkien would likely have been amused or gratified at the way his work and that of C.S. Lewis has lasted far longer than he might ever have expected it to. 

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martti

    On the title page it says that it's The History of The Lord of the Rings part 4, but actually that is true only about the first third of the book - which easily might have been a final 140 pages of the part 3. 140 pages is not that much. Feels like an unnecessary drag or filler for commercial purposes. Furthermore, this book might have been called much more accurately the history of Silmarillion, specifically the history of Númenor, which is what the second and third part of the book largely dea On the title page it says that it's The History of The Lord of the Rings part 4, but actually that is true only about the first third of the book - which easily might have been a final 140 pages of the part 3. 140 pages is not that much. Feels like an unnecessary drag or filler for commercial purposes. Furthermore, this book might have been called much more accurately the history of Silmarillion, specifically the history of Númenor, which is what the second and third part of the book largely deals with. Yet again I am amazed of the constant changing of the names from draft to draft to the final version. There probably was some logic in there for Tolkien, but it feels just so arbitrary. Especially as his names usually mean something literally. In the Middle-earth that seems like a must and if the parents got the name somehow a bit wrong because they're not seers, the name was later changed to something more appropriate to the function of the beholder. Like a pair of socks. But ok, you can say it's their culture, just a bit weird to the reader. And then there's the middle part of this HOME volume 9 where JRRT takes time off from writing LOTR in the 1940s and starts fiddling around with a new story - The Notion Club Papers, taking place in the 1980s of UK. So you could say he was writing a speculative fiction of the near future! What a surprise. Of course it almost has no connection to the Middle-earth and is a very boring account of an academic club who talk about their dreams and about adventures in dreams. But they try to convey the notion of dream-traveling to other times and places. Supposedly real places. Maybe JRRT read some HP Lovecraft Dream Cycle stories? Randolph Carter and the Silver Key. Or maybe Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars stories where another Carter also travels space and perhaps time in a dream-like method? But seems that JRRT wanted a bit of variety as an author from the depths of high fantasy. But sadly in the current form it's just another unfinished draft that lacks a strong ending. Well, actually also the beginning and the middle. Basically also Christopher Tolkien agrees that maybe the middle part is not that relevant in the HOME series, but he doesn't have a better place to put it and since he has this 140 pages of LOTR history to finish and leftover room in the book. On the other hand HOME is essentially a series of JRRT leftovers and drafts that he might or might not have wanted published, so for the academical research it might have it's place in the history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex Matzkeit

    Unlike the last three Histories, this one contains only about 130 pages of Lord of the Rings (Book VI) in which there is no longer as much observable change to the narrative as in previous stages. The most interesting reads are the development of "The Scouring of the Shire" and the eventually abandoned epilogue with Sam Gamgee's family. The largest part of the book is consumed by "The Notion Club Papers", a weird text that I found extremely boring to read (it consists basically of minutes from c Unlike the last three Histories, this one contains only about 130 pages of Lord of the Rings (Book VI) in which there is no longer as much observable change to the narrative as in previous stages. The most interesting reads are the development of "The Scouring of the Shire" and the eventually abandoned epilogue with Sam Gamgee's family. The largest part of the book is consumed by "The Notion Club Papers", a weird text that I found extremely boring to read (it consists basically of minutes from conversations between fictionalized "Inklings") and of which I eventually skipped large parts. Together with the variations of "The Fall of Númenor" in the last part of the book, however, it perfectly showcases Tolkien's way of thinking - how interested he was in describing myth and oral tradition. Even though he knew and reflected that his writings and fictional languages were conceived purely in his own head, it was very important to him to give them a path from a mythic past through time into this world. Thus, "The Notion Club Papers", in which the main character describes how a language and its corresponding story (recognizably a variation on the Atlantis mythos, as all characters agree) came to him in a sort of dream state, like transmissions from a realm just outside our own. It's interesting to observe the mind of Tolkien at work like this, who was apparently never satisfied just to be an isolated craftsman and inventor, but always had to conceive of himself, his characters and tales as mere glimpses into a large river of the Whole Story. Christopher Tolkien puts it very well at the end of the book with respect to the discontinued Adunaic language: "[H]ad he returned to the development of Adunaic (...) it would doubtlessly have been reduced to a wreck, as new conceptions caused shifts and upheavals in the structure. More than likely, he would have begun again, refining the historical phonology - and perhaps never yet reaching the Verb. For 'completion', the achievement of a fixed Grammar and Lexicon, was not, in my belief, the over-riding aim. Delight lay in the creation itself, the creation of new linguistic form evolving within the compass of an imagined time. 'Incompletion' and unceasing change, often frustrating to those who study these languages, was inherent in this art." (Emphasis mine)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Sauron Defeated picks up pretty much where The War of the Ring left off, following the evolution of The Lord of the Rings from about halfway through The Return of the King until the end of the published book—and beyond. As such, it makes sense to read this part of the volume immediately after finishing its predecessor. Whereas that book did not include quite so much "new" or at least alternative content as the first two volumes of the History, much of the material to be found here is quite start Sauron Defeated picks up pretty much where The War of the Ring left off, following the evolution of The Lord of the Rings from about halfway through The Return of the King until the end of the published book—and beyond. As such, it makes sense to read this part of the volume immediately after finishing its predecessor. Whereas that book did not include quite so much "new" or at least alternative content as the first two volumes of the History, much of the material to be found here is quite startling: first, with the Scouring of the Shire, which is significantly different in its early drafts to the final version, particular in the much greater leadership role given to Frodo; and secondly with the eventually unpublished Epilogue, two versions of which are given here. Tolkien was persuaded to omit it, a decision which "he seems both to have accepted and to have regretted" but which was in my opinion certainly the correct one: its glimpse of Sam amongst his children only just avoids being twee, as well as unnecessary. And so ends The History of The Lord of the Rings (with few adjustments that are puzzlingly undocumented: when and why did Trotter finally become Strider, for example?); but not this volume, which continues with two more tangentially-related texts. The Notion Club Papers is an oddity, an unfinished novel set mainly in a "future" 1980s, but begun during the writing of The Lord of the Rings. Its first part was (for me) a hint, and a fairly dull one, that Tolkien was at his best writing within a fantasy world rather than in a contemporary setting; its second is a much more interesting glimpse into Tolkien's attempts to connect his legendarium, especially the Númenórean legend, to history. The downfall of Númenór is also the subject of the third section of Sauron Defeated: all of the versions of the legend are beautifully told, and interesting, as are the insights into Tolkien's attempts to work out the theoretical underpinnings of his world that follow them. The detailed notes on the structure of Adûnaic, the language of Númenór, that close the book are likely to appeal to only the most determined Tolkien fans and specialists. For me, to know that they exist was enough!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Zama

    The final book in The History of the Lord of the Rings is quite different from all the others. It can be said it is divided into three distinct parts: The final instalment in the examination of the first drafts of The Lord of the Rings. Which I adored. The original Scoring of the Shire was so surprising. That's the part I enjoyed the more, together with the emergence of Arwen as a character, though I'd have loved to see a lot more of that. The whole of The Notion Club Papers, which Tolkien wrote d The final book in The History of the Lord of the Rings is quite different from all the others. It can be said it is divided into three distinct parts: The final instalment in the examination of the first drafts of The Lord of the Rings. Which I adored. The original Scoring of the Shire was so surprising. That's the part I enjoyed the more, together with the emergence of Arwen as a character, though I'd have loved to see a lot more of that. The whole of The Notion Club Papers, which Tolkien wrote during a long pause in the drafting of LotR and was an elaboration of a time-travel novel he had started years before, The Lost Road. It is quite evident that Tolkien never meant to publish this work and it was intended for his fellow Inklings, who even appear as characters inside the work. There's a lot of inside jokes in The Papers, and I'm sure that we readers can only grasp a minimal part of it because we were not part of that group. The first part of the papers addresses the theory of storytelling, much like Tolkien did in On Fairy Stories, but in a much more academic way. This makes it quite hard to read, but still very interesting. The second part of the Papers slowly slips into a story where time-travel happens in dreams. The third part is those dreams written down. It contains the bulk of the story of the Second Age - The Fall of Numenor - which Tolkien had originally created in The Lost Road. This is the part of the book I enjoyed the most. Yes, I've always loved the story of Numenor and loved to see her evolved though many different drafts. It was also fascinating to see Tolkien consider to change his already written Silmarillion, as in The Drawing of Anadune he experimented with the creation of his words, the names, the role of the characters. It is a demanding book to read, but I think it's well worth the effort.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nonethousand Oberrhein

    The eagles will always come at the end The volume where Sauron gets defeated twice! An incredibly moving epilogue of the Lord of the Rings, and lots and lots of pages on the Fall of Numenor creative work. We are here confronted with a more mature author that despite the thousands of pages written is still struggling getting “the story right”. The reader will pass from a domestic setting in Fourth Age Shire, to the imagined ‘80s following a writers club in Oxford (any resemblance to actual Inkling The eagles will always come at the end The volume where Sauron gets defeated twice! An incredibly moving epilogue of the Lord of the Rings, and lots and lots of pages on the Fall of Numenor creative work. We are here confronted with a more mature author that despite the thousands of pages written is still struggling getting “the story right”. The reader will pass from a domestic setting in Fourth Age Shire, to the imagined ‘80s following a writers club in Oxford (any resemblance to actual Inklings is purely intentional!), to several versions of the Drowning of Anadune. A sunning and riveting mix for any Middle-earth enthusiast. Here below my reviews to the previous volumes of the History of Middle-earth: Vol.1: Sit down and listen Vol.2: Heroics of a young author Vol.3: The poet of Middle-earth Vol.4: Sketches and Annals of the First Age Vol.5: A glimpse of Númenor Vol.6: When Trotter led the way Vol.7: From Rivendell to Rohan Vol.8: How the King returns

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Poltz

    I have to admit book nine is the first History of Middle Earth (HoME) book that I haven’t finished. I read about 385 pages out of about 440. The last fifty odd pages were very dry, almost textbook-ish, reading. I skimmed through it and got the general idea of what it was about. In general, the book was very dry compared to the other books in the series. It was in three parts: the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings, the Norton Club Papers, and the Fall of Numenor. The Norton Club Papers was part I have to admit book nine is the first History of Middle Earth (HoME) book that I haven’t finished. I read about 385 pages out of about 440. The last fifty odd pages were very dry, almost textbook-ish, reading. I skimmed through it and got the general idea of what it was about. In general, the book was very dry compared to the other books in the series. It was in three parts: the conclusion of The Lord of the Rings, the Norton Club Papers, and the Fall of Numenor. The Norton Club Papers was particularly difficult to read, it being different than anything else Tolkien or his son Christopher published so far. Thank goodness for the Tolkien Professor’s podcast on this book. While I haven’t finished all seventeen episodes yet, it really helped me a lot in understanding the Norton Club papers. I found the majority of the book to be dry and not as interesting as the first eight in the series. Even though I’ve been a big fanboy of these books, this one nearly had me stopped in my tracks. Come visit my blog for the full review… https://itstartedwiththehugos.blogspo...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Jore

    Sauron Defeated is definitely one of the more interesting History of Middle-earth volumes. It contains a fairly mixed bag of material, not all of which deals directly with Middle-earth, but it's written by Tolkien so what's not to love? I thoroughly enjoyed the Epilogue. There's nothing like reading a new chapter of a book from an author who's been dead for decades. The epilogue takes away from the sadness of the ending of LotR, which is both good and bad. I wish Tolkien had developed the story o Sauron Defeated is definitely one of the more interesting History of Middle-earth volumes. It contains a fairly mixed bag of material, not all of which deals directly with Middle-earth, but it's written by Tolkien so what's not to love? I thoroughly enjoyed the Epilogue. There's nothing like reading a new chapter of a book from an author who's been dead for decades. The epilogue takes away from the sadness of the ending of LotR, which is both good and bad. I wish Tolkien had developed the story of Elessar's visit into a full book. The Notion Club Papers were fairly interesting. They really started picking up in Part Two but were becoming unnecessarily complex. Thus, it is not one of the more grievous of Tolkien abandonments (looking at you, Tuor). Overall, a decent volume. I am looking forward with eager hype to Morgoth's Ring, which I intend to start on Tolkien Reading Day. The road goes ever on!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Joosten

    This is the one book of the HoME I have hardly ever read (i.e. "only twice"). It was one of the last I read, since the local libraries did not have a copy of it, and it wasn't the one I wanted to read THE MOST (that would be The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings). The Notion Club papers and everything to do with them--in other words, two-thirds of this volume--stand apart in Tolkien's work as close to parody and the material is densely linguistic in a way that even Tolkien does not always r This is the one book of the HoME I have hardly ever read (i.e. "only twice"). It was one of the last I read, since the local libraries did not have a copy of it, and it wasn't the one I wanted to read THE MOST (that would be The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings). The Notion Club papers and everything to do with them--in other words, two-thirds of this volume--stand apart in Tolkien's work as close to parody and the material is densely linguistic in a way that even Tolkien does not always reach to. It went over my head at sixteen in the same way the Silmarillion did at ten. If only because of my late exposure to it (here and in its predecessor, The Lost Road), Tolkien's time travel attempts might be the most prominent parts of his mythology that have little traction on me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thijs

    A very enjoyable part that finishes off the History of the LoTR. Although that part makes up only 1/3rd of the entire book. The next two parts might be even more intriguing then Tolkien's usual stuff. The Notion Club Papers is a story unlike any other I've read. It's part autobiography about Tolkiens time in the Inklins, part surreal scifi dream spacetravel, part philological language creation course and part mystery discovery of an ancient mythical land. Oh yeah, it's one awesome mess. The last 1 A very enjoyable part that finishes off the History of the LoTR. Although that part makes up only 1/3rd of the entire book. The next two parts might be even more intriguing then Tolkien's usual stuff. The Notion Club Papers is a story unlike any other I've read. It's part autobiography about Tolkiens time in the Inklins, part surreal scifi dream spacetravel, part philological language creation course and part mystery discovery of an ancient mythical land. Oh yeah, it's one awesome mess. The last 1/3rd of this book is basically the telling of the legend of the Drowning of Numenor, but written or remembered as by Humans many years later, and it's quite interesting with the conceptions in that regard. All in all, an amazing book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    More than the details regarding the final stages of the writing of The Lord of the Rings (although the draft epilogues involving Sam and his family were interesting), I enjoyed the various versions of the downfall of Númenor (and related discussion of the Adûnaic language) and the placement of them in relation to the story of The Akallabêth in the published Silmarillion as part of an oral/literary tradition that’s changed over time and been compiled from “original” source texts. Just another lay More than the details regarding the final stages of the writing of The Lord of the Rings (although the draft epilogues involving Sam and his family were interesting), I enjoyed the various versions of the downfall of Númenor (and related discussion of the Adûnaic language) and the placement of them in relation to the story of The Akallabêth in the published Silmarillion as part of an oral/literary tradition that’s changed over time and been compiled from “original” source texts. Just another layer of detail he put into his work.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Scott

    Very interesting to see the evolution of the text from Tolkein’s first versions, especially of the Epilogue which he cut out almost entirely. Also interesting for the Notions Club discussion: a fictional writers’ group (like the Inklings) discussing one writer’s text and its relatedness to HG Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. This obviously refers to Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. I read the Wells book just recently and it’s fascinating to read Tolkein’s take on the 2 books.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ancillar

    the first part of this book is the fourth and final part of the History of the Lord of the Rings (a somewhat awkwardly named subset of the History of Middle Earth), and contains a real treasure: the epilogue to the LoTR, which tolkien was (to my mind tragically) talked out of including in the published version. whoever is responsible for that is guilty of a special kind of evil. anyway, skip to the final draft and read that first, then do the others if you like.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ciaran Mcgrath

    Combining some of Tolkien’s most readable ephemera (the LotR epilogue and The Notion Club Papers) with some of his least approachable (an Adunaic grammar, anyone?), this is an uneven read but very much worth it in the high points. Kudos to The late Christopher Tolkien for putting all of this together and giving readers a look at how Tolkien created his world and stories, version by version.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Warren Dunn

    This is probably the most difficult of the History of Middle-Earth books, and if it wasn't for the fascinating story of Frodo and Sam traveling through Mordor to finally destroy the Ring, the rating would be much, much lower. http://ossuslibrary.tripod.com/Bk_Fan... This is probably the most difficult of the History of Middle-Earth books, and if it wasn't for the fascinating story of Frodo and Sam traveling through Mordor to finally destroy the Ring, the rating would be much, much lower. http://ossuslibrary.tripod.com/Bk_Fan...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Gerhart

    An amazing recount of the end of the War of The Rings. Not much else, just an epic battle and the aftermath after the battle, a happy ending for all to enjoy.

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