How Long Did It Take J.R.R. Tolkien to Type the Lord of the Rings?

The Lord of the Rings series was written by J.R.R. Tolkien over the course of around 12 years. After the success of The Hobbit, which was published in 1937, Tolkien's publishers asked for a sequel involving more Hobbits. While writing the series, Tolkien also worked full time in an academic position and has admitted in interviews that he typed The Lord of the Rings using only two fingers. He is thought to have stopped writing completely during 1943.

Tolkien was also known as a perfectionist and spent much time revising and re-writing every section of the book. In fact, there are as many as 18 different drafts for a single chapter, kept with the original manuscripts at Marquette University.

More about The Lord of the Rings:

  • The Lord of the Rings is one of the best selling series of all time, with over 150 million copies in print.
  • Tolkien's son Christopher was sent chapters of the series as they were written while he served in South Africa in World War II.
  • The series has been translated into at least 38 different languages, and many of the original translations were supervised by Tolkien himself.

Discussion Comments


I prefer "The Hobbit" as well. But I was 11 when I first read them and "The Hobbit" was the story that turned me on to fantasy fiction, so maybe it's just nostalgia.


I'm certain that I'm in the minority, but I vastly preferred "The Hobbit" over LoTR. I found the former easier to follow than the latter.

Still JRRT is one of my literary heroes.

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