Technically, reading the appendices that follow The Lord of the Rings is not really necessary. An appendix, after all, contains additional information; a reader could stop after the story proper and still have the full story. However, the Lord of the Rings appendices are far less boring than you might think. Here are ten reasons you should not skip them the next time you pick up The Lord of the Rings.
The appendices contain the story of Aragorn and Arwen.
Were you wondering how Aragorn and Arwen met? What Elrond said when he found out? (Hint: It is far different from what he says in the films.) What happened to Arwen after Aragorn died? It’s all here and it’s possibly more romantic that you thought!
You can read a condensed version of the Fall of Númenor.
Discover Faramir and Aragorn’s heritage by learning about the realm founded by Elros, Elrond’s brother. Tolkien traces its gifting to Men by the Valar, their growing discontent at their mortality, and their fall, spurred on by Sauron.
Arnor and Gondor’s history is laid out in more detail.
Aragorn’s heritage is a little more complicated than readers might assume. His ancestor is Elendil, who had two sons: Isildur and Anárion. Initially, Elendil ruled the North-Kingdom of Arnor while his sons jointly ruled in Gondor. Eventually the line of kings in the South failed, but the Steward refused to accept the claim of Isildur’s heir in the North-kingdom. Isildur’s heirs faded and became the Dunedain while Gondor remained under the rule of the Stewards until Aragorn Isidur’s heir claimed the kingship. Talk about some complicated politics!
The history of the Rohirrim and its kings is included in the appendices.
Learn how Eorl was gifted the land of Rohan by the Steward of Gondor. Find out more about Helm, after whom Helm’s Deep is named. Even catch some tantalizing glimpses of women like Théoden’s wife Elfhild, his mother Morwen, and his sister Théodwyn.
You Can Learn Some Dwarven History.
Tolkien’s Dwarf history contains his only named Dwarf-woman and reveals what happened to Gimli after the events of LotR.
We receive a glimpse of the Wizards and the Rings of Power.
Three Wizards are named in LotR, but more than three arrived in Middle-earth. We receive a glimpse of them and their mission. We also learn a little more about the forging of the Rings of Power and where they were bestowed and how some were lost or stolen.
You can learn about Merry and Pippin’s families and declining years.
Merry and Pippin became interested in lore. They also traveled and were honored by the lords of the realms where they had sworn loyalty. And neither is buried in the Shire.
The lineages reveal some surprisingly interesting information.
Like the names of all twelve of Sam’s children. The fact that Pippin named a son after Faramir. And the marriage between one of Sam’s daughters and Pippin’s son.
Even the calendars contain fascinating tidbits.
The actual lists of years do contain passages you won’t want to miss. This is where you will find out where Merry and Pippin are buried and what happened to Legolas at the end of his life in Middle-earth. However, the appendix dealing solely with calendars isn’t necessarily as dull as you might think. For instance, it reveals that the Elven year contains 144 of our years!
Languages, languages, languages.
You can pick up some easy pronunciation tips here, even if you don’t consider yourself a linguist. For instance, “c” in Quenya is pronounced as “k” so the name “Celeborn” is pronounced “Keleborn,” not “Seleborn.” You’ll also find a history of the languages of Men, Elves, Hobbits, Orcs, Trolls, etc. and a note on translation. There are humorous tidbits, such as the information that the Common Speech spoken by Hobbits lacked a deferential form, so that Pippin addressed everyone in Gondor as his equals! We also learn that some names have been translated. Merry’s first name is really Kalimac–Kali for short!
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