Much to the thrill of fantasy fans everywhere, a previously unknown novel in the Fellowship of the Rings saga has recently been discovered in an attic in Painswick, England. What follows is brief review of The Return of the Two Towers.
The novel opens with the introduction of a new Tolkien character – Ishkabibble, Bilbo Baggins’ half brother from his mother’s previous marriage to a dwarf. Ishkabibble happens upon a pair of magic orthopedic shoes. While wearing these shoes, other people cannot hear the wearer when he speaks. Ishkabibble then sets upon a great quest to return the shoes to their creators, the cobbler elves (not to be confused with the Keebler© elves). Joining him on the quest are his boon companions Bilbo Baggins and Sam Wisenheimer, along with the mighty wizard Glandjob.
This intrepid band first enters into the valley of the Middle Earth Condominiums but are soon taken captive by the overseers of the Orcs, known as the Crocs. The Crocs, having heard a prophecy that a Hobbit/Dwarf hybrid would someday travel door-to-door through the valley selling whole life insurance, expel our heroes by throwing them into the River of Dyspepsia.
At this point Tolkien adds new creatures to the stable of Elves, Hobbits and Dwarves, by introducing Ewoks, Leprechauns and Flying Gerbils. All together they forge a kind of United Nations of Fabulous Creatures.
Meanwhile the Crocs, having realized that they let the magic orthopedic shoes slip through their hands, pursue Ishkabibble and his companions into the forest of the walking-talking-tap-dancing Trees. Fortunately, Ishkabbile is befriended by the Lawn Gnome Zoysia, who magically shields our protagonists by making them appear as pink flamingos, plaster mushrooms, jockeys-with-lanterns and concrete Mexicans with burros. Once again, disaster is averted.
I dare not reveal any more of the twisted plot turns in this novel, but be assured that what I have written above is just a small taste of the hundreds of hours of enjoyment will you have reading this book over and over and over.
Of course, one the great sources of edification in reading the Hobbit books is to meditate on the wise words of the wizard Glandjob. Here is just one sample from The Return of the Two Towers:
“In this passing shadow of darkness, dampness and gullibility, one can hope that the ending will be happy but, who knows, it may not end at all. Or, if not, the shadow shrinks and your feet disappear on the sidewalk when you step out your door. Then ages and ages may pass but no one really knows where he’s going or, if he does, where he’s been. But this is only a passing thing; even this gullibility and inanity must disappear.”
Thanks to Ignition Press, The Return of the Two Towers comes complete with 500 pages of footnotes explaining the theological meaning of each line of each page of the novel. However, Tolkein fans would be well advised to also purchase the 700 page Readers Companion to the Return of the Two Towers, which links the essential themes of this novel to the works of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Jose Escriva de Balaguer, and St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.
This is sure to be the publishing event of the year, and we can only look forward to the inevitable DVDs, CDs, coloring books, Pez dispensers, hand puppets and other Tolkienian memorabilia celebrating this literary discovery.