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Old 02-17-2001, 12:37 AM   #1
Mister Underhill
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I've come across yet another fascinating letter. In #246, Tolkien starts off speculating on the spiritual implications of Frodo's &quot;failure&quot; to destroy the Ring, then turns to speculating on how things might have turned out at the end under various different circumstances.

In one take, the prof ponders a path whereby Gollum might ultimately have been redeemed. He states that the most tragic moment in the whole series for him is in The Two Towers, when Sam, awakened suddenly and startled to see Gollum &quot;pawing at master&quot;, fails to note the complete change in Gollum's tone and aspect and yells at him harshly. He speculates that if things had gone differently, Gollum might still have seized the Ring by force at the last, but then, perceiving Sauron's great evil and his own inability to keep the Ring from its Dark Lord, he would have cast himself willingly into the Fire for the sake of Frodo and the regenerative love that Frodo had shown him, thereby sacrificing himself and destroying the Ring. He also speculates a similar twist in which Frodo &quot;succeeds&quot; in his quest when, after having claimed the Ring, he throws himself into the Fire to destroy it.

Tolkien also muses on what might have happened had the Nazgûl reached the Cracks of Doom in time (he thinks they would have been unable to attack Frodo, but might have been able to lure him outside and distract him while some of their number destroyed the entrance to the Cracks). The unfortunately unfinished draft ends with speculation on the chances of various characters in a head-to-head match with Sauron in a scenario where they have the Ring and attempt to master Sauron and bend the Ring to their own will (everyone is toast, with the possible exception of Gandalf, who in turn would have become an even more abhorrent Dark Lord in time; Frodo &quot;would have been utterly overthrown: crushed to dust, or preserved in torment as a gibbering slave.&quot.

Tolkien also gives a sparse description of Sauron: <blockquote>Quote:<hr> Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic. In his earlier incarnation he was able to veil his power (as Gandalf did) and could appear as a commanding figure of great strength of body and supremely royal demeanour and countenance.<hr></blockquote> Interesting! I wonder if PJ will attempt to portray Sauron. I suppose we will get at least glimpses if he includes a prologue revolving around the Last Alliance and Sauron's defeat.

I don't know if there's really a discussion thread here, but I found this material much too fascinating to not share it with the community and see if anyone had reactions. Thoughts on these possible alternate endings? Any ways in which you wish the end might have been different?

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Old 02-17-2001, 01:05 AM   #2
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

I thought that little section was extremely interesting.I think it would make an intensely dramatic scene:some of the remaining Nazgûl lying to Frodo,catering to his ego while the others eliminate the danger to the Ring. And then,the arrival of Sauron. We never see Sauron &quot;personally&quot; in LoTR,unless you count the brief occasional glimpses into his thoughts.To think of his confrontation with Frodo,and his triumphant seizure of the Ring(and swift defeat of the West):terrifying!
The book ends the way it should,though. Any of the other possiblities are too dark,and would have been out of keeping with the overall hopeful vein.

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Old 02-17-2001, 08:05 AM   #3
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> ...

That is one of the things that I thought LotR was missing, a personal appearance by Sauron, and even better a duel <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 02-17-2001, 09:49 AM   #4
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: ...

nay, no duel would be fitting - Sauron is somehow representing personification of an absolute evil, and, though concrete person and incarnate, is a bit abstract. any one challenging him in open duel is on very inadequate position.

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Old 02-17-2001, 11:53 AM   #5
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: ...

Didn't we use that particular letter for another discussion a couple weeks ago? I remember reading it.

The alternate endings are very interseting, I really like the idea of Gollum repenting, to me that sounds like the best ending possible, Frodo casting himself in is also very good, it would be very sad, but then Frodo would be an even bigger hero, it would be a very touching moment.

I think that Gandalf, if he had time to work with the Ring, would be able to triumph over Sauron, since none of his power was used up like Sauson's was. But kinda like Tolkien said, Gandalf would use it for good at first, but after a while what seems to be good to Gandalf would become unbareable for everyone else.

It seems fate is not without a sense of irony.</p>
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Old 03-16-2001, 01:01 AM   #6
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

This is soooo interesting.
I personally like the ending where gollum jumps into the fire for Frodo's sake
I think that ending would make me feel a little better and show that
Gollum wasn't bad all the way......

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Old 03-16-2001, 05:51 AM   #7
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

What if Treebeard had had the opportunity to seize the Ring?

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Old 03-16-2001, 12:29 PM   #8
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> He speculates that if things had gone differently, Gollum might still have seized the Ring by force at the last, but then, perceiving Sauron's great evil and his own inability to keep the Ring from its Dark Lord, he would have cast himself willingly into the Fire for the sake of Frodo and the regenerative love that Frodo had shown him, thereby sacrificing himself and destroying the Ring. He also speculates a similar twist in which Frodo &quot;succeeds&quot; in his quest when, after having claimed the Ring, he throws himself into the Fire to destroy it. <hr></blockquote>
I was thinking about this while washing dishes, and I just don't quite see it. Even if they wanted to, wouldn't they be too much in the thrall of the ring? IMO, an alternative ending would be something more like this:

As soon as he put on the ring, he could feel Sauron's awareness of him and where he was, his fear and his hate. And though the Ring was telling him Yes, he was strong enough to take even Sauron, Frodo knew deep down that it was false, that all he and the others had worked for was in vain because of his weakness. At that moment every part of his being wanted to rip off the Ring and fling it to the deepest reaches of the Cracks. But he couldn't. He was frozen to that spot. As much as he loathed it, the Ring would not allow him to do more than clench his fists until the nails cut through the skin. He forced himself in another direction, and finally managed to call out.
&quot;Sam.&quot;
&quot;Master?&quot; Sam cried in fearful hope.
&quot;Push...me over.&quot;
&quot;What?&quot; Sam gasped. &quot;No! I-I couldn't!&quot;
&quot;You must!&quot;
Tears streamed down his face as he understood what his master was going through. He looked in the direction of his voice and saw a few drops of blood betraying where he stood. Still he hesitated.
&quot;Do it!&quot; Frodo shouted. All of his will was focused now on
not moving, as the Ring perceived his new intent. He still could not step over the edge, but neither would he step away. He looked away from Sam and into the Crack.
Sam understood Frodo's mind completely. He knew that the Quest had to succeed, and that there was too little time left. There was no other way. He closed his eyes and ran straight in the direction of the last Ring-Bearer.


Dang. How's that for heart-wrenching?

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Old 03-16-2001, 10:00 PM   #9
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

bahahahaaaaa *sniff* bahahahaaaaa *sniff*
That would be too sad... *sniff*

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Old 03-16-2001, 10:23 PM   #10
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

I prefer the actual ending over any of those suggested in the letter. But, of the alternative endings suggested, I think the ending that is most plausible, true to the book and true to the natures of the characters would be Frodo stepping into the cracks of Doom himself. Being a huge admirer of Frodo, I'd like to think that he'd realize what he'd done and, lacking strenght to remove the Ring, would sacrifice himself. He had come very close to claiming the Ring before going into the cave and had been able to break free. I'd like to think that he'd be able to do so one last time. But, if Frodo wasn't able to overcome the power of the Ring, I think he would chose death with the Ring than life without it. Faced with his inevitable defeat by Sauron, he'd step into the abyss.

Frankly, the ending that always bothered me was the actual conclusion -- I have always regretted that Frodo left Middle Earth.



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Old 03-17-2001, 01:37 AM   #11
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

yes, but there wasn't much left in middle earth for him, and the loss of the ring affected him seriously.

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Old 03-17-2001, 05:46 AM   #12
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

*Sniff sniff*
I think I'd have liked Gollum to sacrifice himself... I was always upset that Sam was so mean to him. If Sam had been more trusting, kinder, more polite, Gollum would have changed much more thoroughly and then it would have been a possible ending. The way Sam acted made it impossible for him to truly change.

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Old 03-17-2001, 05:12 PM   #13
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Alternate Endings

It seems that in any event Frodo must be the one who gets rid of the ring. He has carried it these many miles and to have some other character be the one finally responsible for the ring's destruction just wouldn't seem right.

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Old 03-18-2001, 01:44 PM   #14
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Alternate Endings

But he wasn't the one finally responsible for the Ring's destruction in the end, Gollum was. Kinda makes you wonder about our beloved Frodo, doesn't it? Like what was he thinking right before Gollum jumped him? (I'm assuming that after Gollum jumped him all he could think about was keeping the Ring.)

Still, I do think the real ending is the best one. It's definitely happier than mine! <img src=smile.gif ALT="">

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Old 02-09-2004, 12:49 AM   #15
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Yes, I'd have to admit that the ending was the most satisfactory one. However, the ending where Sauron takes possesion of the ring and the Middle Earth falls under his dominion would be very interesting, too.
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:57 PM   #16
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I've recently been wondering what would have happened if Faramir had gone to Rivendell instead of Boromir, as should have happened. Obviously he would not have tried to steal the Ring from Frodo but would have protected him to the bitter end (which is probably why Tolkien had Boromir go instead; Faramir and Aragorn together in the Fellowship would have been redundant). Perhaps the Fellowship would not have broken; all might have turned toward Mordor together. In that case they would have been a lot more visible within Mordor, and they would not have fulfilled the very important roles they later fulfilled, especially the drawing of Sauron's eye to the Black Gate. Boromir's attempt to steal the Ring was what gave Frodo the impetus to leave by himself. Faramir would have been more faithful, but Boromir's failure was essential to the story . . .
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Old 02-10-2004, 08:38 PM   #17
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Well, an alternate ending doesn't necessarily have to drastically alter the storyline, which would be appropriate. Some possibilities could be engineered to alter the moving of the story, but not the fitting ending.

-While Aragorn leads the forces of Gondor at Morannon, Eomer and/or Eowyn lead the remaining Rohirrim and supplementary forces into Mordor via Cirith Ungol or another mountainous entrance. They ride across the abandoned plains of Gorgoroth towards Mount Doom. Perhaps, being on horseback, they catch up with Frodo and Sam. Finally we get to see the One Ring's effect on the people of Rohan.

-Interesting diversion from the story. Have the army that attacks Minas Tirith not contain any of the orcs under the Witch-King at Minas Morgul or Cirith Ungol. After Pelennor Fields, instead of attack the Black Gate, the last army attack Minas Morgul with the Nazgul still around. What effects would that have on the plot?

-Instead of heading to the Shire, Saruman takes the remainder of his armies and all the forces he can muster to rally around Sauron. He goes south instead of north, spreading dissidence, and attacks the mustered Rohirrim at Harrowdale. The Rohirrim could probably win, considering the superior losses, but what if someone important ended up being slain. That could engineer a slightly more adventurous end for Saruman and an interesting plot twist.

more later...
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Old 02-12-2004, 03:02 PM   #18
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Those are some very interesting alternative endings! I think I would have enjoyed any of them, but I think the most fitting alternative would have been for Frodo to fall in himself. It would be terribly sad, and so would have made for a great emotional ending.

Also, ever since my sister saw the last movie, she has thought that a great ending would have been for Sam to die by taking the ring from Frodo when he realises he won't throw it in, and falls or jumps into Mount Doom himself. After everything Sam and Frodo have gone through, it makes sense that he would have died to save Frodo and the rest of Middle-Earth. But I would have cried so much!
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