Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings’ Early Drafts Killed a Beloved Character (And Other Crazy Things)

The character slowly evolved from that point. At one point, his true identity was a hobbit named Peregrin Boffin, who had run away and ended up in Mordor many years earlier. Then he becomes a human, and a Ranger, then he connects to the Ring. After a brief flirtation with the idea that he was an elf in disguise, he finally gains his human identity as Aragorn and loses the clogs, but it took Tolkien extraordinarily long to come to the conclusion that “Trotter” really isn’t fit, even as a nickname, for such a serious character, and he was eventually renamed “Strider” for the first part of the story, until his true identity was revealed.

Boromir Lord of the Rings Sean Bean

Boromir went on to betray the others to Saruman

This one might be a little less surprising, but Boromir’s moment of weakness as he attacks Frodo and tries to capture the Ring would lead to a much greater betrayal at one point. In one story overview, when the remaining members of the Fellowship came to Minas Tirith and the Lord of Minas Tirith was killed, Aragorn was to be chosen as “their leader”. Boromir, “jealous and enraged”, and not yet established as the son of the Lord, would desert to Saruman, wanting to gain a rulership.

Treebeard was an angry giant

When Tolkien first had Gandalf explain to Frodo why he hadn’t met him as arranged on September 22ndndGandalf explained that he had been held captive by “the Giant Treebeard”, who had captured him in Fangorn. In another snippet of a draft, Frodo will meet Treebeard, who “pretends to be friendly, but is in reality in competition with the enemy.” This didn’t last long, though – Treebeard had become “kind and pretty good” long before the story was changed to let Merry and Pippin meet him instead of Frodo.

Aragorn was going to love Éowyn, but she died

Éowyn was a shield maiden who went into battle early on, but in earlier versions she openly rides as a female warrior rather than disguising herself as a male. Aragorn (who is still referred to as “Trotter” by Merry) reciprocated her feelings, but she and Théoden were both killed while taking down the Nazgûl king, the head of the Black Riders. Aragorn, of course, eventually married the daughter of Elrond (then called Finduilas) in an echo of Tolkien’s earlier tale of the mortal Bears and the half-Elves and half-Maia Lúthien. Éowyn was eventually spared from death, leaving her in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith at the same time as Faramir, which gave us her happy ending as we have it in the last book, though her love for Aragorn remained even when his was written out for her.

Sam was on his way to the Crack of Doom with Gollum

Tolkien knew very early on that Frodo would not be able to destroy the Ring and that Gollum would grab it and fall into it. But exactly how Gollum ended up in the fire was more of a point of contention. One of Tolkien’s main ideas was that Sam, who had been delayed climbing the mountain, would arrive just in time to push Gollum into the fire. This has happened a few times, but Tolkien at one point also considered letting Sam push Gollum in and go after him himself, possibly to make the climax more heroic and less killer. Thankfully, that idea was rejected pretty quickly—much faster than some of those original names…

The Lord of the Rings Gollum

Under the spell of the Ring Once had a cute epilogue

The latter does not change the plot of Under the spell of the Ring† it simply gives the reader a glimpse into Sam’s future life (who was spared the Crack of Doom with Gollum) without having to dig around in the attachments.