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This Day in Alternate History Blog
Alternative authors' versions of
by Alison Brooks
One of the cult novels of the 1970s turned out to be Lord of the Rings. Written by one of the unlikeliest of best-selling authors, it affected a large number of people, not least of them being those people now in their teens saddled with names like Galadriel.
How would this book have turned out had it been written by someone else?
Lord of the Rings, by Ian Fleming
Aragorn placed his hand on the cool, ivory hilt of his 6.38 Anduril sword, half-holding it in as casual manner as possible. His eyes swept the room of the Prancing Pony, eyeing up the potential threats. He took out his pipe, made from the warmed heartwood of a mature oak. In the palm of his left hand, he unwrapped his leather tobacco pouch filled, as he preferred, with Gondorian Silk Cut. Aragorn preferred it to the harsher, stronger Numenorian blend...
Lord of the Rings, by PG Wodehouse
"Sam, I've decided to go and overthrow the Dark Lord by tossing his jewellery into a volcano."
"Very good, sir. Should I lay out your crazy adventure garb? I presume that this will pose a delay to tea-time. I would remind your Hobbitship that your Great Aunt Lobellia Sackville-Baggins is expected for tea."
"Blast! I say, bother! How can a chap overthrow the Dark Lord? I suppose I will have to delay my campaign."
"Very good, sir. I believe you will be free in about a decade."
"I'll do it then. Make a note, Sam."
Lord of the Rings, by Bernard Cornwell
"God save Rohan, we ye look at all those orcies," said Sergeant Eomer, looking down the slope near Helm's Deep. "Thousands upon thousands of them, and not a single guard."
Aragorn looked at the multitude. He was a professional soldier, born and bred in a hedgerow, good only for war and fighting. Unlike the other officers, he didn't come from the Nobility, and was looked down by most. 'Nosey' Gandalf had given him his commission, and his sword, for saving his life in battle. "You're right, Sergeant Eomer. Let's see what we can do with these Numenorian bows"....
Lord of the Rings, by Oscar Wilde
"He bested me in a riddle contest."
"A riddle contest?"
"It was so. And he cheated."
"To cheat in a riddle contest is a riddle in itself, and is therefore not cheating, but just another riddle."
"He cheated and asked me what he had in his pockets."
"He picked and pocketed a pretty prize, performing perfidious behaviour. How very noble, so like our own Lords and Masters"....
Yes, Dark Lord, by Lynn & Jay
"Ah, Lord Sauron. I have here the draft of your speech to the Nazgul Committee on Running Water."
"Still waters run deep, Sir Grishnakh?"
"Er, with respect, Dark Lord, if waters are still, then they can't run at all, deep or shallow."
"Thank you, Bernard. Where would we be without you. What's the gist of my speech?"
"Essentially, Lord Sauron, that the policy of the Dark Lord Administration is to avoid having a policy, and that the absence of a policy does not betoken a lack of policy, but a policy of policy limitation, limiting policy intiatives to initial policy outlines, without precluding disparate policy intiatives within the policy outlines."
"You'll tell them they can do what they like, Lord Sauron."....
Lord of the Rings, by Rudyard Kipling
I went round to an elven inn, to buy a glass o' beer
Yes it's Gimli this and Gimli that
Lord of the Rings, by Raymond Chandler
"Frodo Baggins?" said the old man in the doorway, rain dripping from his oversized hat with all the ease of a dwarf burrowing after gold.
"That's the name on the door. Guess I'm gullible enough to believe what it says about me."
The old man came in a dripped water on the earth floor. Added a touch of class, so I didn't complain.
"Frodo, you've got a problem."
"I pay my taxes, and I'm clean with the Rangers. What's my problem?"
"Bilbo shafted you with that heirloom. Gold ring? Gold ringer, more like."
"A dud, huh. Can't say I'm surprised."
"If it was a dud, you wouldn't have a problem. Your problem is that this little heirloom has a history, a history with a pearl-handled stiletto in the back. It goes back all the way through the biggest string of mugs you find as wallpaper on Minas Tirith's finest. Goes all the way back to Night-Time Sauron....."
Lord of the Rings, by George Lucas
"Did you ever wonder who your father was, Frodo?"
"Uncle Bilbo was my father, Obi Gan Dalf."
"Your Uncle is a fine man, but he is not your father. Your father was a fine warrior and a great captain, strong in the Force. He was called Sarumann the Wise, and he was a good friend."
"Was? Is he dead?"
"He is no more. It is your destiny to avenge his death, young Baggins."
Lord of the Rings, by Dylan Thomas
I whistled defiantly as I walked down the streets of Under Mount Doom. Auntie Grima was baking orc bread, and the smell wafted over the streets like a miasma of wonderment. She was a dried-up woman, who cursed everytime the pit was mentioned, that death-dealing, life-giving pit. It was precious to us even though it killed us, our precious it was, but we didn't care about it as much as we cared about the grilled human ears we had for tea.
"Dopey!" called my friend across the street to me, his voice echoing around our brown fields. "Dopey, you going to see the game?" There was always a game on. We didn't watch it, we devoured it, and when it was over, we played it out again and again, with a ball instead of a captive's head. Grishna was always Garth Lliwams, and I was always Jaypeeare. He was magic, and when we finished, we would go home and dream of Nazgul....
Lord of the Rings, by George MacDonald Fraser
I never could stand that Boromir. Stuck up and arrogant. Still, I fixed him good in his turn. I remember thinking, when the halflings rushed off, that's yours, Boromir.
But I'm getting ahead of the story. It all started back in Rivendell. It was all Gandalf's fault, of course. Nearly every disaster of the Third Age was. But this time he outdid himself. His idea of a good plan was to take this wonder weapon we had chanced upon, and throw it away. Couldn't even throw it away in the sea, like any sane chap. No, his plan was to take it all the way into the middle of enemy territory, where there were millions of orcs and others, and throw it into a volcano knowing that the d....d thing will explode. There was a long silence, and Gandalf then said "Volunteers only, of course." Then everyone looked towards me....
Lord of the Rings, by James Joyce
Old man willow, whistling like a tea pot, shining like a star, oh so brilliant in the dreaming and smoke and by the river, Goldberry's river, dancing like a vision, Bombadil, Bombadil, Bombadillo. Rock of ages, youg and ageless, naked before my eyes like Rivendell Rock, sweet and hard and trusting....
Lord of the Rings, by Meatloaf
It was a hot summer's day in the Marsh of the Dead
Gaffer Gamgee was relating the doings of the Baggins down at the old Green Dragon. "I tell you, they ain't proper Bagenders, with them noses in the air, not like our Samkin, who can turn up a turnip pretty as you please. Now Lobellia, she's all right. Nah, she is. But Bilbo? Remember that business with the Old Dwarfs? And what did that Bilbo give me on his elevnty first? Wine. I asks you. Do I look like a wine drinker? Yeah, I knows I drunk it, but that's not the point..."
Lord of the Rings, by Christopher Martin-Jenkins
"It's a lovely summer's evening here in the Paths of the Dead. Aragorn has won the toss, and has decided to bat. Interesting decision, and Jonathon Agnew has some news on that, so I'll pass you over to Jonathon while Fred cuts me a slice of that delicious orc cake sent in by Mrs Galadriel of Lorien Wood. Thank you Mrs Galadriel."
"Well, Chris, I've just been speaking with Eowyn, who said that she had recommended that Aragorn should send the other side in to the Paths of the Dead first. It seems that opening in there can be nasty. Bit of an uncomfortable pitch. The green slopes of Pelenor Fields are much more suitable to the opening pair of Aragorn and Eomer. Raggers seems keen to play a Captain's innings today. I gather the bearded wonder has some statistics for us?"
"According to my records, the last time anyone went in on the Paths of the Dead, it was a sticky wicket."
"I wonder if we'll see that again today. Well, Raggers has come out, and I must say, his new sword looks a lot better. Reforged, I hear. Fred?"
"I don't know about forged or reforged, but he'll need to show more application than he has done. Treated his sword like it were broken."
"That's true, but he has done some remarkable running between the countries. Oh dear, it looks like they're going in for the day. Yes, they're definitely going in to the Paths of the Dead...."
Lord of the Rings, by Andrew Lloyd Weber
Don't cry for me, Numenoria
Lord of the Rings, by Gene Roddenbury
"The Halflings, cap'n, they will na take the strain"
"Strider, we've got to get out of this snow. Legolas, did you get a reading on that creature?"
"Fascinating, Captain. It appears to be an unknown creature that lurks in the pool waiting for passing strangers. Ecologically implausible, captain."
"Do you know what it is?"
"I believe I said it was unknown, Dr Gimli. Logically, if I knew what it was, then it wouldn't be unknown."
"Cap'n, we're in some sort of temporal warp, stretching and deforming the plot. The snow should take place a day before our encounter with this beastie."
"Captain, what are we going to do."
"Boromir, put on that red armour."....
Lord of the Rings, by D H Lawrence
Arwen Evenstar stitched, her hands moving over the soft silk of the flag. Her hands moving, her mind roved, as free as she was herself trapped. Aragorn was far, far away, but active. She thought of his maleness, and stitched faster. Her hands brushed the silken flag, and she looked across the sward, eyes passing over the elven gamekeeper without seeing him, yet seeing everything....
The Lord of the Rings, by Ernest Hemingway
Frodo Baggins looked at the ring. The ring was round. It was a good ring. The hole at the heart of the ring was also round. The hole was clean and pure. The hole at the heart of the ring had an emptiness in it that made Frodo Baggins remember the big skies of the Shire when his father had taken him out and taught him to tear the heads off the small, furred things that walked there, even though he hated blood in those days and the stink of the blood was always part of the emptiness for him then and ever after.
Frodo Baggins could put the ring on his finger now. The stink of the blood and the hole and the emptiness could never leave him now. Frodo Baggins looked at the ash-heap slopes of Mordor and remembered the Cuban orc who had kept the ash on his cigar all the way to the end. The orc just drew on the cigar and smoked the cigar calmly and kept the ash in a long gray finger, a hard finger, right to the moment that the Rangers beat hit to death with clubs. He was mucho orco, the Cuban.
Frodo Baggins looked at the ring and the hole and smelled the sulfur smell that came from the vent in the mountain. There were scorched black bushes round the vent. The vent was like the cleft of the old whore at the Prancing Pony on the night that the Black Riders came. Frodo Baggins reached in his pouch and took out the flask of good grappa there and filled his mouth and swallowed the grappa. She was mucha puta, the old whore.
Frodo Baggins could spit again so he spat hard, once. He took the ring and threw it into the vent.
The earth moved.
The Lord of the Rings, by W.S. Gilbert
(to the tune of "We Sail the Ocean Blue")
We are hobbits of the Shire
We tramp - we tramp - o'er Middle Earth
O yay! O yay! Our leader is a wiz -
We are hobbits of the Shire...
The Lord of the Rings, by Lewis Carroll
Frodo peered at the wizard, who looked like nothing he'd ever seen before except in a nightmare after his elder sister's birthday party.
"Come on", he said, "No time to lose, we've got to go and lose Bilbo's ring!"
"Lose it?", said Frodo, "Why, I've only just found it."
"Tut tut, no time to argue, we've got to go and lose it again."
"But *can* we just lose something like that?" asked Frodo. "Without so much as a by-your-leave or how-de-do?" he added a little impertinently.
"Of course we can" said the strange wizard, "Why, I've frequently lost as many as six things before breakfast, rings included. I dare say you haven't had much practice at losing things. We can do *much* better than that if we really try, you know," he said, blowing several smoky rings of various colours into the room.
Frodo blinked, and wondered if his big sister had had *another* party the night before.
The Lord of the Rings, by A.A. Milne
"What we're going to do," said Frodo, "is we're going to go on an expotition."
"Ooh" said Pippin, "what will we discover?"
"We're not going to *discover* anything, Pippin, we're going to *undiscover* uncle Bilbo's old ring."
"CAN you undiscover things?" asked Sam. "Discovering doesn't seem to be a thing you can UN-, if you know what I mean."
"Sam", said Frodo, sharpening his pencil, "You haven't any brain."
Sam shuffled off trying to look like he hadn't said anything, and that it was one of Frodo's many friends and relations. Frodo continued, "Anything that can be discovered, can be *undiscovered*, it stands to reason."
"My grandfather Brandybuck undiscovered his spectacles once," said Merry.
"There you go then, that proves it then," said Frodo. "Of course, we shall have to beware of Trolls and Orcs and Things, that will try to stop us."
"Ooh", said Pippin, shivering slightly, but only because it was cold, he told himself. "Do you mean they'll chase us with swords and Other Deadly Weapons? Actually, I've just remembered something important I have to do, that can only be done on... what day is it tomorrow Merry?"
"Pippin," said Frodo, sucking his new sharp pencil, "You haven't any pluck!"
"It's hard to be brave," said Pippin looking crestfallen, "When you're a *very* small hobbit."
The Lord of the Rings, by Matt Groenig
Sam: Yo Hamfast! Frodo and the gang are going on a coo-ol troll bait. Should be plenty of ways I can really screw up the works on that one!
Gaffer: Yes son, but don't call me Hamfast. And I'm proud of you for taking it in that spirit. Nothing worth doing right is worth doing.
Widow Rumble: Mmmhmhmhm! Mister Gamgee, I don't think you should be encouraging him in such negative attitudes.
Gaffer: Nonsense Marjoram! Making a dog's dinner of things is what separates us from the animals, especially dogs. And weaselling out of things is what separates Hobbits and Trolls from the animals as well,... er... except weasels.
Rosy: Actually Mr Gamgee, studies have shown that so-called dumb animals are more likely to see through a task to completion than talking folk.
Gaffer: Doh! Go to your room!
Rosy's baby sister: (suck suck suck...)
The Lord of the Rings, by Archbishop Cranmer
The purposes of this endeavour are threefold.
Firstly, that this ring should be utterly destroyed and banished from the face of the earth, for ever and ever, amen.
Secondly, for the comfort and companionship that the free peoples shall have, the one from the others, in the certain knowledge that all the free peoples are allied in the great struggle against the works of Sauron and all his pomp.
And thirdly, the restoration of the heirs of Numenor to their estates, and the protection of Elvendom in Middle Earth, under the wardship of the Lords of the West, and the divine guidance and blessings of Eru Iluvatar in his timeless halls.
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