Tolkien Gateway

Letter 91

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Letter 91
RecipientChristopher Tolkien
Date29 November 1944
Subject(s)Book Four done, preview of Book Five of The Lord of the Rings

Letter 91 is a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

[edit] Summary

Tolkien sent Christopher the last two chapters of the Fourth Book, where it would be seen that Tolkien had gotten the hero into such a fix that not even an author will be able to extricate him, without labour and difficulty. Lewis was moved almost to tears by the last chapter, yet Tolkien was chiefly interested in Christopher's reaction. It was very trying to have his chief audience Ten Thousand Miles away, on or off The Walloping Window-blind, said Tolkien. Even more trying for the audience but authors were an egotist tribe.

Tolkien then outlined Book Five, which he called the last. Tolkien described the story very much as it was published, until the destruction of the Ring. He did not know the manner in which this would be done. He then foresaw Baraddur[notes 1] crashing with the forces of Gandalf sweeping into Mordor. Frodo and Sam have to fight the last Nazgûl until rescued by Gandalf's eagle. Loose threads, down to Bill Ferny's pony, had to be cleared up. Much of this would be done in a final chapter where Sam reads to his children and answers all of their questions.[notes 2]

The final scene would be the passage to the Grey Havens. Aragorn far away labours to create order and preserve some memory of old among men, but Elrond has gone along with all the High Elves. Tolkien did not know what happened to the Ents. It might all happen very differently, he said, since the thing seems to write itself when he got going.

[edit] Note

  1. Not yet spelled "Barad-dûr".
  2. This final chapter, the Epilogue, was not published.