Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A New Shadow in Middle-earth

Tolkien spent a great deal of time building the world of Middle-earth, developing languages, cultures, calendars, myths, legends, histories and stories. But, as Tolkien noted, and as apparent in 'Leaf by Niggle' this creation within his mortal life time was incomplete. He could work tirelessly on the one 'leaf' that was stories, but the tree and the lands were lost to him. He began many parts, but only a few were ever truly completed.

Before Tolkien died, he began work on something which is known as 'The New Shadow', a story which supposedly starts one hundred years after the end of the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien only penned 13 pages before abandoning the project, describing it as "sinister and depressing". He eventually states that it was "not worth doing."

Do you think the Lord of the Rings could have a sequel? If so, what do you think it would necessarily be about? If not, why not? Tolkien at least attempted it, even if he eventually abandoned it. Would you have wanted to read another story set in the same universe?


Manwë said...

I personally would love more stories in the Tolkien universe! I think that even if some people seem to be bored with the setting, there is so much change coming! I find social change very interesting so maybe that would bias my interest but seeing how the societies of Middle-earth change in the wake of the Elves departure and the destruction of Sauron would be pretty cool. Maybe we would end up with other races interpretation and perspective of history and the events of the Ring? Would they be drastically different? Were the Elves completely biased in their report? What if they weren’t actually that important to the story and completely made up all the details that include them?!
Though I would say that the story would have to be set enough into the future that the characters from the story are long gone… This would be a chance to introduce whole new people with new ideals and new past experiences. It could feature those that did not grow up and were influenced by the surrounding dangers of Sauron and great evil… I suppose more of the characters would be like the Hobbits- somewhat ignorant of danger and evil.
Anyway, yes that would be really cool and I think I would enjoy that…. But I suppose I can search the Internet for Fanfiction to hold me over until this happens (not likely).

Varda said...

I think I could go either way on this topic. While I would love to see what happened after the ring was destroyed, I also feel as though I do not need to know, and that maybe knowing would ruin the mystery. Sometimes when authors create a sequel after many years have passed, or when a film adaptation is made, the magic of an actual novel becomes completely lost.

Lórien said...

One thing that I've learned about the evil characters in Tolkien's Legendarium, is that they refuse to stay defeated. Sauron came to power and was defeated on two other occasion after the War of Wrath and the War of the Ring. Melkor pestered the Valar a number of times before he was finally defeated. I think this is a statement on the nature of evil. It isn't something that can be extinguished like a flame because evil live in the hearts of all people. Each one of us has the capacity for both good and evil, and that will always be the case. I could see a number of scenarios, Morgoth could break free somehow, perhaps Sauron's most loyal servants find a way to revive him. Sauron trained a number of men in dark magic and necromancy, anyone of them could take his place. I would love to hear more about Middle-earth post Lord of the Rings but I am not sure I would trust anyone other than Tolkien with that task.

Nienna said...

I'm conviced every story could have a sequel. The question is: should they? Some stories end beautifully and need no sequel. Although there is always something that comes after, the mystery is sometimes better than when a sequel attempt is made and it falls short. While I would enjoy more Middle-earth stories, perhaps Tolkien ran into this conundrum. Something always happens next, but perhaps it was not his story to tell. If the attempt did not go as planned it could indicate that The Lord of the Rings was a masterpiece that could not be followed up adequately.

Ulmo said...

I would have liked a sequel to Lord of the Rings too! I think that a sequel may have turned new readers off to the series, though, making reading all of it seem a daunting task. I am curious as to why Tolkien said that it wouldn't be worth doing. Many of his stories as we've seen delve into the dark and depressing, but there is always the constant theme of hope. Maybe he couldn't muster up that theme while writing the sequel and that's why he decided not to continue? I can't help but feel a bit sad that he didn't provide the rest of the world with even a little bit more of his mythmaking. However, The Lord of the Rings was fantastic, along with many of his other works, so I suppose that's more than good enough.