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The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion

From Tolkien Gateway
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The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion
Publication Information
AuthorWayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien (cover)
PublisherHarperCollins (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released27 December 2005
FormatHardcover; paperback

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion is an acclaimed book published in 2005, by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. It is an annotated reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

The book examines The Lord of the Rings chapter by chapter, offering insights into its evolution, structure, and meaning. It discusses important influences on its development, connections between that work and other writings by Tolkien, errors and inconsistencies, significant changes to the text, and archaic and unusual words used by Tolkien.

It contains many rare or formerly unpublished writings by Tolkien, including excerpts from the "Chronology", an unfinished index, and the important "Nomenclature" for the use of translators, first appeared in 1975 and now newly transcribed.


  • Preface
  • A Brief History of The Lord of the Rings
  • Chronologies, Calendars, and Moons
  • Preliminaries
  • The Maps of The Lord of the Rings
  • Foreword to the Second Edition
  • Prologue
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King
  • Appendices
  • Extracts from a Letter by J.R.R. Tolkien to Milton Waldman, ?Late 1951
  • Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Changes to the Editions of 2004-5
  • List of Works Consulted
  • Index

Rare or new writings

  • A portion (omitted from Letters) of Tolkien's important letter to publisher Milton Waldman, written probably in late 1951, which describes The Lord of the Rings as part of his larger mythology.
  • A glossary-index Tolkien began to prepare for The Lord of the Rings probably in 1953 but never finished, it includes only place-names.
  • Quotations from Tolkien's check copies of The Lord of the Rings.
  • A series of time-schemes Tolkien used to keep track of the locations and actions of the characters.
  • The plot outlines and time-schemes that comprises "The Hunt for the Ring" (some of which is published in Unfinished Tales).


David Bratman, reviewing the work for Tolkien Studies, described it as "simply ... an Annotated Lord of the Rings that for reasons of space omits the text of the work being discussed", by contrast with Douglas A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit. He notes that the omission makes keying the notes to the text difficult: page numbers are given for the three-volume Allen and Unwin 1954-1955 edition, and the HarperCollins/Houghton Mifflin one-volume 2004 edition. Since many readers have neither of those, it also provides the first words of every cited paragraph, which in his view is at least workable. As an annotated edition, it succeeds "admirably", Bratman writes, in documenting many words and phrases "worthy of specific relevant commentary", and in providing a scholar capable of doing such a task justice. He notes that at 900 pages "of small type" it is similar in length to the text, while the comments range from brief glosses to "a five-page essay" on the Elf-lady Galadriel, which he calls "by itself a major essay on the subject".[1]

Laura Schmidt, reviewing the book for VII, writes that the husband and wife scholarship team of Hammond and Scull offer inside information on how The Lord of the Rings was constructed through many stages, and assist with difficult passages. They note that although there are many other Tolkien references, having all the information in one affordable volume is "remarkable", and that it well complements Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume History of Middle-earth and the 50th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings.[2]

Publication history and gallery

External links


  1. Bratman, David (2006). "The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion (review)". Tolkien Studies. 3
  2. Schmidt, Laura (2008). "[Review] Wayne. G. Hammond and Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion". VII: Journal of the Marion E.
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not on Arda Short stories
and others
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · Letters from Father Christmas ·
Mr. Bliss · Roverandom · Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · The Old English Exodus · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Letters & poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
academic works
A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse
Books by other authors
Books on Arda The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Maps of Middle-earth
Tolkien biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Scholarly books The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.