Tower


J.R.R. Tolkien’s most famous lecture, ‘Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1936), begins with a short story about a man who built a tower from which he could see the sea.

The view from the tower is a symbol of the art of the North. Tower and view entered The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien discovered the magic of the Necromancer – the Ring-maker – as a principle of evil in northern traditions that had ever opposed its art.

My ebook identifies the origin of Tolkien’s tower in ‘The Fall of Númenor’, the world-changing story that frames the ‘Silmarillion’ stories as pre-historical myth. The ebook illuminates the meaning of the view upon the sea, and shows how this tower of the Beowulf-poet begat the great and terrible towers of The Lord of the Rings.