The planned culmination of this research discloses the hidden meanings of the icons of our time: the Dark Tower and the Lidless Eye.
The Lord of the Rings as we know it began in September 1939, just as Britain declared war on Germany. Historical context is relevant to ‘the new hobbit story’ pivoting into the tale of the war of the Ring. Tolkien’s thoughts on a second descent into world war are reflected in his new focus on necromancy (the same spirit of power that forged the One Ring was once again abroad in the named lands of the North). The war against Nazism also sidelined Tom Bombadil (once envisioned as an answer to an evil magic ring, now exposed as a pacifist).
But the emergence of The Lord of the Rings out of 18 months of writing and re-writing a hobbit journey from Bag-end to Rivendell also reflects our author’s internal struggle with his own ideas.
To tell the story of how The Lord of the Rings was imagined I now weave together the earlier strands of my research: the magic ring of the first edition Hobbit, the story of Atlantis that divided myth and history and generated a tower looking over the sea, the ‘ghost sequel’ to The Hobbit starring Tom Bombadil, and the essay On Fairy-stories.