The Tolkien Road

A podcast about Middle-earth and all things Tolkien.

0225 – The Life of JRR Tolkien – Part 3: 1937 – 1949

On episode 225, we continue our exploration of Tolkien’s life story, focusing on the years of 1937 – 1949, including the publication of The Hobbit and creating Lord of the Rings. Also, we take a look at feedback from our Project Northmoor episode!

The executive producers of this episode are Kaitlyn of Tea With Tolkien, Liis U, and Andrew T. 


0219 – The Life of JRR Tolkien – Part 1: 1892 – 1917

0220 – The Life of JRR Tolkien – Part 2: 1917 – 1936


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Special thanks to the following patrons:

  • Kaitlyn of Tea with Tolkien
  • Liis U
  • Andrew T
  • Shannon S
  • Brian O
  • Emilio P
  • Zeke F
  • James A
  • James L
  • Chris L
  • Chuck F
  • Asya V
  • Ish of the Hammer
  • Teresa C
  • David of Pints with Jack
  • Jonathan D
  • Eric S
  • Joey S
  • Eric B
  • Matt L
  • Johanna T
  • Ms. Anonymous
  • Sam N
  • Mike M

2 Responses

  1. Dear Greta and John,

    1st thanks for the podcast. I look forward to the each episode. A few comments.

    The Hobbit or There and Back Again is the full title of the book. Almost no one uses the subtitle, “or there and back again. But it is there. Pull down your copy from the shelf, or the nightstand (where mine is currently) look at the title page and you’ll see it is there.

    I know you have to be selective in what you include but I think the revision of the Hobbit in connection with the writing of the Lord of the Rings is significant. Gollum is a very different character in the 1st edition. He shows Bilbo the way out and is very sorry he can’t give him the ring. The scene where Bilbo leaps over Gollum is also absent. mercy and faith are both much less on display.

    For the next show I guess you’ll be covering the Ace paperback story. One of the better explanations of the whole copyright issue is in the September 1995 issue of Beyond Bree, “The Great Copyright Controversy” by Richard Blackwelder. I don’t think you could get a copy before you record, but it is an interesting read. As a librarian, Marion isn’t the only one, I feel I should recommend other readings.

    For a long time I accepted the “biographic fallacy”, reinforced by Tolkien I guess. “Modern ‘researchers’ inform me that Beethoven cheated his publishers, and abominably ill-treated his nephew; but I do not believe that has anything to do with his music.” Tolkien, J.R.R. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (p. 288). HMH Books. Kindle Edition.” So, aside from Carpenter, I avoided them. Occasionally I’d dip into one at the library and found them not for me. The past 10 years or so has changed that a bit. I was late to reading Garth’s excellent treatment of Tolkien’s wartime experience, Tolkien and the Great War. I also found The Ring of Words covering his time on the OED enlightening.

    As for comparisons between Alice and The Hobbits, there are several. Both were written by Oxford professors of difficult subjects. Both can be enjoyed by children and adults. Both are works of imagination. As for the other works Lewis mentions, The Wind in the Willows still is a great read. The chapter where they see Pan on the island is as good as a story can get and a surprise in a book filled with homey comforts and hi-jinks. Flatland is interesting but maybe a way to make geometry more palatable. Phantastes I doesn’t work for me.

    Thanks again.

  2. Don’t worry… I get that all the time.

    This was an interesting podcast. I didn’t know about that review by C. S. Lewis or that Tolkien had abandoned The Hobbit until encouraged by a student to finish it an publish it.

    The Lost Road wasn’t entirely abandoned, as John implied. Instead, it was the first attempt a writing what we now know as Akallabêth, The Downfall of Númenor.

    “The Akallabêth originated with The Lost Road, a time-travel story that Tolkien wrote due to a conversation with C.S. Lewis about writing their own science fiction. Lewis produced Out of the Silent Planet however Tolkien abandoned The Lost Road, having only written two introductory chapters and two chapters of Númenor in the end, as he was more interested in writing his own version of the Atlantis legend. As Tolkien was writing The Lost Road he also produced another manuscript, an outline which was closely related to the last two chapters of The Lost Road about Númenor and it’s downfall. This was followed by another, more finished, manuscript titled The Fall of Númenor. These can be said to be the true germ of the Akallabêth itself, written in the mid-to-late thirties” (

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