In 1947, having taken the pivotal decision that Frodo must die and Aragorn (pictured) should become the new Ringbearer, J.R.R. Tolkien began to redraft Return of the King (a title which now assumed a vastly different meaning, recasting Aragorn as the forsaken king who must die so his people may live).
Wizard! Part 6
LOTR, the Kick Ass EditionThe death of Frodo was the bittersweet climax to the Battle of Isengard in which Saruman's army (reinforced with the ten thousand orcs at Helms Deep) is eventually beaten by the heavily outnumbered Rohirrim after the Ent's release the dam. Entering the Wizard's Tower, Gandalf casts down Saruman and retakes the Ring. But after discovering that the dying Frodo has succumbed to a mortal wound inflicted by the Witch-king of Angmar's Morgul blade, Aragorn takes up the Ring, and vows to finish the quest.
Based on an idea from Steven FisherWith the defeat of Saruman, The War of the Ring is reduced to two combatants. Having prevailed at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the forces of the Dark Lord move into Rohan.
In a desperate race against time to prevent the Fall of Edoras, Aragorn is forced to look for aid from the Elves and the Men of the Mountain. And learns that Faramir might be alive after all. He then travels to Rivendell where Elrond reforges Andúril, the blade that was broken.
He leaves the mustering army to journey through the Path of the Dead under the White Mountains where he uses the reforged sword of Gondor to bind the Dead men of Dunharrow to his service (they were cursed to remain in Middle Earth after they betrayed Isildur in the War of the Last Alliance). With the Sword of Isildur returned to him, he forces the Dead Men to fulfill their oath and find the Dark Lords's forces.
With the Grand Alliance in place, the stage is set for a climatic Great Battle that will decide the very future of Middle Earth (a mirror image of the close-out of the Second Age).
This article is part of the Wizard thread.