Now that 'The Hobbit' is finally on the road to production, Tolkien groupies and Led Zeppelin enthusiasts will be able to see the last great Middle Earth adventure. And while Ringers have waited a very long time to see Bilbo Baggins' battle with Smaug the dragon, perhaps there is one sobering reality that they refuse to admit: After the 'Hobbit' saga is finished, what's left to watch? What possible epics featuring dwarves, elves and wizards could possibly entertain you after you've read and watched the best?
Well, how would you react if we told you a secret installment of 'Lord of the Rings' in some other-worldly language existed, circulating among a few intrepid literary archivists, building in rumor to the point of myth? Now what if we told you that that new 'Lord of the Rings' story has finally arrived Stateside -- and that you can read it for free right now. Curious?
Proving that no dedication is more powerful than fandom, an acclaimed 'Lord of the Rings' side-sequel entitled 'The Last Ring-Bearer,' from Russian paleontologist Kiril Yeskov, has finally been translated in English and made available as a free Internet download. Yeskov published the book -- set after the War of the Ring finale at the end of the trilogy -- back in 1999 to an eager European audience who bought up copies of the book, all over the continent.
It was never released in the U.S. due to fears of legal action from the Tolkien estate, but superfan Yisroel Markov has posted an official, not-for-profit translation on his website, with Yeskov's seal of approval.
The most interesting twist about 'The Last Ring-Bearer' is that it is written from the sympathetic point of view of Mordor, making Sauron, Saruman and the hordes of orcs the good guys. In the book, the evil Gandalf gathers elven henchmen to destroy Mordor because it is home to forward-thinking scientists and artists, and in the White Wizard's eyes, those are bad things.
Just how wonderful is Mordor? Well, in the book's words it is an "amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle Earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic." And just how bad is Gandalf? Yeskov evokes Godwin's Law to describe Gandalf's "Final Solution to the Mordorian problem."
It's up to one little field medic and his Orc scout to save all of Middle Earth from a Fellowship of Conspiracy, including a hen-pecked Aragorn and his Lady MacBeth–like wife, Arwen. Salon offers up a review of the international fan fiction by saying:
If you want to see what all the hype is about, check out the free download for the story HERE. Then when you're done reading it, we can all begin speculating when the big-screen adaptation will finally happen (most likely the year 2350 when copyright law is abolished in the Great Disney Wars.)
"The novel still has some rough edges... For the most part, though, 'The Last Ring-Bearer' is a well-written, energetic adventure yarn that offers an intriguing gloss on what some critics have described as the overly simplistic morality of Tolkien's masterpiece... In Yeskov's scenario, 'The Lord of the Rings' is a highly romanticized and mythologized version of the fall of Mordor, perhaps even outright propaganda; 'The Last Ring-Bearer' is supposed to be the more complicated and less sentimental true story ... If it is fan fiction (and I'm not sure I'm in a position to pronounce on that), then it may be the most persuasive example yet of the artistic potential of the form."
Do you consider fan fiction to be valid entertainment?