“Changed, Changed Utterly”: The Implications of Tolkien’s Rejected Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings Nicole duPlessis n a letter from April 195 T 4o , lkien describes his delight in hobbit I children, and mentions an Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings that gives “a further glimpse (though of a rather exceptional family),” but which was “so universally condemned that I shall not inL se ette rt i rs t” ( 179). Tolkien’s concession and seemingly reluctant acknowledgment in the same letter that “one must stop somewhere” produces the well- known ending in which Sam, returning to his wife Rosie from seeing Frodo off at the Grey Havens, announces “Well, I’m back,” followed by further, non-narrative exposition in the Appendices. In contrast to contemporary writers, who might publish happenings in their s - econd ary worlds as supplementary short stories in an electronic format to satisfy or engage a fan ba T se ol , kien’s Appendices feature spare details told briefly and formally to offer closure while elevating the story to a history, maintaining consistency with the Prologue. Though rejected, the Epilogue—in some ways an ending to a very different work—does offer some insights into the
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Oct 27, 2018
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