Tolkien Started (Then Immediately Abandoned) A Sequel To Lord Of The Rings
In the 20 years since the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Hollywood has tried its hardest to mine Middle-earth for new material. We got the Hobbit trilogy (a project everyone involved seems vaguely ashamed of), and Amazon's new series is set to be the most expensive TV production of all time. We haven't received a direct sequel to Lord of the Rings, though, since J.R.R. Tolkien never wrote one.
But he tried to. He was going to call it The New Shadow, a title surely coincidentally used for dozens of fanfic sequels of Star Wars and Harry Potter.
A century or two has passed since the War of the Ring, and Men rule Middle-earth. You know how that one elf in the movie insists that "Men are weak"? Tolkien saw in humans a "quick satiety with good," which means that in times of peace, they'd turn "discontented and restless."
The little bit we have of The New Shadow has two men named Borlas and Saelon talk about something called "The Dark Tree," which is either a metaphor for growing evil or an actual cult. They also talk about fruit and forestry (again, lots of metaphors here), they make ominous plans to meet again at night dressed in black, and we hear something about attacks on ships.
And then Tolkien wrote no more. He wrote 13 pages and then stopped. He had ideas about men forming gangs and acting like orcs, and about evil politicians, and religious conspiracies, but found the whole thing "sinister and depressing" and ultimately pointless.
His sequel would have answered those criticisms we've had about how in fantasy stories, installing a king means it's happily ever after. But that doesn't mean the story would have been any good. Cheers to Tolkien, for knowing when enough is enough.
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Top image: New Line Cinema