In 1946, on this day the conception of an ingenius plot loop back for the final chapter The Breaking of the Fellowship enabled J.R.R. Tolkien to close out LOTR Volume One on an epic high point, the richer fantasy proposed by his son Christopher.
Wizard! Part 3
LOTR, the Kick Ass EditionThe fork in the plot had begun with Gandalf meeting Frodo earlier at Bree (instead of later at Rivendell). In fact, he never makes it to Rivendell because he perishes at the hands of the Nazgûl in the defence of the Hobbit at the Ford of Bruinen. Without the leadership of the Wizard, the Balrog seizes the Ring from Frodo at The Bridge of Khazad-dum.
And instead of the Fellowship mourning the fallen Wizard, they are reunited with Gandalf the White, his resurrected alter-ego in the very next scene. The Fellowship then fly south upon the Great Eagles to pursue the Balrog before he can return Durin's Bane to its maker. But now the ever seeing eye of the Dark Lord is fully focused on the Fellowship, creating a more palpable sense of danger that was considered absent from the previous edition.
Based on an idea from Jared MyersAt this critical juncture, Tolkien reintroduced the Ringwraiths, the nine Men who succumbed to the Dark Lord's power and attained near-immortality as servants bound to the power of the One Ring (they were once mortal Men, Sauron gave each of them one of nine Rings of Power). But instead of the Nine Riders who fought at the Battle of the Ford, the Ringwraiths are now mounted on hideous flying beasts and are transformed into the Winged Nazgûl.
Accordingly the revised edition of The Breaking of the Fellowship features an epic aerial battle between the Great Eagles and Winged Nazgûl which concludes with Frodo recovering the Ring. But the Hobbit is mortally wounded with the Morgul blade despite the bravery of Boromir who perishes at the hands of the leader of The Nine, the Witch-king of Angmar.
This article is part of the Wizard thread.