Another week, another great FLASHBACK from Ringer Diedye. This week’s flashback details the events that took place in the Tolkien universe between August 3rd and August 9th. This is a weekly feature that Diedye posts in the forum, so if there is ever a time we don’t post it on the homepage of TORn, make sure to check the Main board in our forums. Click on the link below to transported in time!

Here’s your FLASHBACK for…

August 3 to August 9


c. August 4 – Christopher Tolkien completes a typescript copy of the fair copy of the “Galadriel” chapter of LOTR, along with copies of “Farewell to Lorien” and “The Scattering of the Company” (which was later split into two chapters, “The Great River” and “The Breaking of the Fellowship”).


August 9 – In reaction to the atomic bombs being dropped on Nagasaki on this day and one on Hiroshima three days earlier, Tolkien expresses his horror to Christopher in a letter (#102):


The news today about ‘Atomic bombs’ is so horrifying one is stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the world! Such explosives in men’s hands, while their moral and intellectual status is declining, is about as useful as giving out firearms to all inmates of a gaol and then saying that you hope ‘this will ensure peace’.


August 7 – In a letter to George Sayer and his wife, Moira Casey, he informs them that Allen & Unwin have reconsidered publishing LOTR (the typescript of the first half of which he has lent them, at C.S. Lewis’ urging). The sooner they read it, the better, and he would like to hear their opinions of the whole book.

August 8 or 9 – Having obliged Tolkien by finishing the first half of LOTR, George Sayer drives to Oxford, returns it and leaves with the second half.


August 4 – Tolkien complains to Christopher (Letter #138) that the galley-proofs of the first volume of LOTR “are proving rather a bore! There seem such an endless lot of them; and they have put me very much out of conceit with parts of the Great Work, which seems I must confess, in print very long-winded in parts.” He also mentions the letter he wrote to Allen & Unwin on July 22 regarding the “corrections” that were made by the compositors to certain words, such as dwarves being changed to dwarfs, elvish to elfish, and elven to elfin. Meanwhile, W.N. Beard sends him the proofs of the Foreword, contents page and galley proofs 120-132

August 6 – In reply to Rayner Unwin’s suggestion that each volume of LOTR have a separate sub-titles, Tolkien, although averse to the idea, does not object to…

The Lord of the Rings I The Return of the Shadow
The Lord of the Rings II The Shadow Lengthens
The Lord of the Rings III The Return of the King

… as long as each volume has the over-all title to avoid confusion. He goes on to discuss several other matters pertaining to LOTR, including the inclusion of the reproduction of the burned pages of the Book of Mazarbul, the re-drawing of the doors of Moria, as well as maps for the first volume.


August 5 – In a formal letter of acceptance, Tolkien expresses his gratitude to Jerome W. Archer for the invitation to visit Marquette University. However, in a second letter, Tolkien is uncertain as to whether he will be able to attend. “Continuous over-work since 1951 has begun to tell on me; and I am feeling rather exhausted. I have recently been ill; and I am obliged to cancel plans for travel this vacation…” (Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University)


August 9 – Tolkien is slowly recovering from fibrositis. Although his arm is still painful, he is allowed to write and type again.


August 4 – In response to a query by W.H. Auden on whether he knew that a “New York Tolkien Society” had been formed and his fears that they may be comprised mostly of lunatics, Tolkien admits that he has heard of it. “Real lunatics don’t join them, I think. But still such things fill me too with alarm and despondency.”

c. August 6-9 – Tolkien sends a short note to Austin Olney regarding the cover of the first authorized American paperback of The Hobbit by Ballantine Books, expressing his distaste, which he later summarizes in a letter to Rayner Unwin (#277):


I think the cover ugly; but I recognize that a main object of a paperback cover is to attract purchasers, and I suppose that you are better judges of what is attractive in USA than I am. I therefore will not enter into a debate about taste – (meaning though I did not say so: horrible colours and foul lettering) – but I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs? I do not understand how anybody who has read the tale (I hope you are one) could think such a picture would please the author.


August 7 – Pamela Chandler photographs Tolkien and his wife, Edith, in the garden and in his garage-study of his home at Sandfield Road.

August 8 – Tolkien writes to Joy Hill, asking her if it would be possible to patent the word Hobbit, which would “at least prevent people sticking this label on disgusting objects, or on any objects, without some compensation”* (HarperCollins archives). Two days later, Joy Hill replies that, although it is not possible to copyright or patent the phrase The Hobbit, it could be registered as a trademark.

* According to Clyde S. Kilby, this dislike for the commercialization of his beloved Hobbit came about through his involvement with “an American manufacturer who proposed to exploit the Hobbit image by making dolls, T-shirts and the like. This manufacturer declared his intention of going ahead with or without permission but offered some remuneration for the privilege.” (Tolkien & The Silmarillion).


c. August 8 or 9 – In response to a letter from Tolkien a day or so earlier, a Mrs. Ogden Nuffield, presumably of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, informs him that he will need to say in hospital for two weeks to restore strength to his leg, which has been in plaster, and for a fitting of a new support for his leg.


August 4 – In a letter to Joy Hill, Tolkien confides that he is feeling tired. “I am beginning to feel anxious, waning. I begin to feel that when at last, if ever, I break from the endless entanglements and delays that prevent me from returning to my ‘work’, I shall finally be exhausted.” (Rene van Rossenberg collection).


August 7 – AICN posts a review of the original Miramax script of LOTR that was originally intended to be split into two movies instead of Newline’s three.


August 3Pulp, a New Zealand pop culture magazine, boasts to have inside information on the LOTR trilogy, which could , if one does not perceive the tongue-in-cheek humor, send unsuspecting fans into a tizzy.

August 4 – More satire, this time for the folks at

… who offer some insight on Tolkien and how Peter Jackson should transition LOTR from book to the screen.

August 5 – A TORn spy reports on the Wingate set being flooded, which sparks a four-year debate about the “spikey wheel”.

August reports on the filming of that “spikey wheel” scene with a pic for visual aid…

–> Another TORn spy report from the Wingate set reveals what looks like the scene where Gandalf confronts Saruman in his tower.

August 8 – In the latest entry in his Grey Book, Sir Ian McKellen reflects on his time in New Zealand filming scenes with “Bilbo” (Ian Holm), doing a little sight-seeing and trying not to get blown up. H also tries to put to rest rumors about him being the victim of that “spikey wheel”.

August posts a new pic of the ruins of Amon Hen.


August 8 – In a Q&A session with Entertainment Weekly‘s website, Sam Neill confirms that he had indeed been offered a role in LOTR, but that he was unable to accept due to prior commitments.


August 4 – Lawrence Makoare informs TORn that he will be returning in ROTK in the role of the Witch-King of Angmar.

August 7 – The Dork Tower gang seem to be obsessed with obtaining the preciousss, namely the FOTR DVD.


August 6 – It seems Tolkien spoiled things for all wizards and monstrous creatures, that is, according to John Deering and his Strange Brew.

August 7 – TORn posts a multitude of pics for Ringers’ perusal, including posters of TTT

… some hi-res pics of pivotal scenes in TTT

… and an Entmoot…


August 4 – In a new E-post, Sir Ian McKellen offers up advice to a chiropractor student and some behind-the-scenes info.

All info has been collected from Hammond & Scull’s “J.R.R. Tolkien Companion & Guide”; “The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien”, TORn and various sites on the web.