As everyone knows, The Lord of the Rings is based on historical events*–the exploits of Frodo Baggins, his servant** Samwise, and their companions during the war that ended the Third Age and restored the heirs of Isildur*** to the throne of Gondor. The book we have is a translation by Professor Tolkien of an ancient text written by a certain notorious Burglar (Book 1), the burglar’s nephew & heir (Books II-VI), the mayor of Hobbiton (the very end of Book VI), the Master of Buckland (the Prologue), and various anonymous Gondorian scribes (Appendix One and the non-halfling poems).
Frodo, in short, was the prime author of this text.
But what if he hadn’t been? It’s easy to imagine him succeeding in his quest yet not surviving the RingWar. The confrontation at Orodruin was a very near thing, after all. Frodo might easily have fallen into the lava just as Gollum did,***** or perished before the Eagles arrived to save him. If that had happened, I can also imagine Samwise and Meriadoc deciding to finish the book in his memory.
How would the text read then?
- Well, that’s the central conceit of the text, and certainly what I’m sticking with.
** Some might say sexually frustrated boyfriend sublimating his lust in gardening, but they’re just haters.
***Yeah, that’s right, the heirs of ISILDUR. Not Elendil. Who cut the ring off Sauron’s hand? Isildur, that’s who. Give the Man his props!
****Though of course there was no silly wrestling match. That is a vicious lie put about by that guy who directed that movie with the giant monkey. But I will not speak ill of him, for despite his other sins he did bring Kate Winslet into our lives, and as she is the next-to-last vestige of Eldarian beauty in Mortal Lands, he is to be forgiven.
*****Don’t bother looking for a fifth footenote. Tain’t there. I just like typing asterisks.