My destination is a place from which I can tell the story of the making of The Lord of the Rings. From this vantage point it can be seen how the story arose as a sequel to two distinct stories.

The Hobbit (1937; composed 1930-3). The story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who wins a magic ring and steals a cup from a dragon. The riddle-game, heart of this story, was revised in 1944 as the magic ring became the One Ring. A first passage is achieved by uncovering the original meaning of The Hobbit. This is my goal for 2019. See magic ring.

‘The Fall of Númenor’ (1936). The story of the destruction of the island of Atlantis and the founding of a kingdom in exile recalled in a later age in the myth of Scyld Scefing that opens the Old English tale we know as Beowulf. This second passage is now complete. See tower.

When both passages have been taken it will be possible to occupy a place in which these two earlier stories are seen to flow into one another to make one sequel, namely the story we know as The Lord of the Rings.