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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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November 18

In 1946, having eliminated the Fellowship of the Ring scene where Saruman proposes to Gandalf that the Wizards take the Ring for themselves and challenge Sauron for the mastery of Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien set about introducing a dramatically modified version of the same outcome into The Two Towers.

Wizard! Part 4
LOTR, the Kick Ass Edition
In the original text, Gandalf had failed to meet Frodo en route to Rivendell because he had been imprisoned at Isengard for refusing to reveal the location of Durin's Bane. Disappointed by the slow pace of the trilogy his son Christopher had suggested that the meeting was brought forward to the earlier location in Bree as planned. Because of this fork in the plot, Gandalf is not summoned to Isengard and is thus unaware that his fellow Istari was creating his own army of Orcs and wolves, "in rivalry of Sauron, and not in his service yet" and that the green valley below Orthanc "was now filled with pits and forges".

Based on an idea from Steven FisherIn the modified final chapter of FOTR a dramatic aerial battle ensues between the Nazgûl and Great Eagles during which Frodo recovers the Ring from the Balrog but in so doing is mortally wounded with the Morgul blade by the Witch-king of Angmar. In the confusion, the Fellowship is broken, and Frodo is taken to Isengard where the Ring is seized by Saruman, Gandalf's superior as the head of the White Council.

The context of War of the Ring has now changed dramatically, with open conflict breaking out between The Two Towers of Barad-dÊr and Orthanc. The breath-taking prospect of Uruk-hai versus Mordor Orcs hugely excited Tolkien. And yet this dramatic change in the plot presented a huge challenge of the imagination. Should he persist in the course of events where Gandalf et al. travel to Edoras to try to convince the Riders of Rohan to attack Isengard - but in this case, to rescue Frodo and seize the Ring by force, if that is even possible. Or should they press on to Minas Tirith and reform a great alliance of men and Elves that combats whichever of the masters of the Two Towers that prevails?
This article is part of the Wizard thread.






© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.