From the Wikipedia:

The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron

Is the title implies that the book is really about Sauron, not the fellowship that defeated him? It's strange, don't you think? It's like if the Harry Potter book series were named "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "The Dark Lord".

  • This issue has now been raised on the Wikipedia Talk page, with a user saying the article should explain this oddity.
    – PJTraill
    Aug 1, 2020 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


The full title, given in the last chapter, is:


(as seen by the Little People; being the memoirs of Bilbo and Frodo of the Shire, supplemented by the accounts of their friends and the learning of the Wise.)

Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell.

There's nothing really strange about it; snarkily, one might say that it's as if The mysterious case of Ellen Ripley was actually called Alien, or as if Sarah Connor and what she got up to next was actually called Terminator; in other words, it is actually quite common, and should not be seen as surprising, for a work to be named after the antagonist.

  • 19
    Thanks for clarification. Actually now I like your improvised titles for Alien and Terminator more than originals.
    – catemperor
    Apr 4, 2015 at 11:46
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    Another example nearer to Tolkien's time is Dracula.
    – user8719
    Apr 4, 2015 at 11:50
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    Sauron is the sole driving force behind the entire plot of the series, it makes perfect sense to name the series after him. Also, note that the individual books do have other names, only one of them referencing Sauron.
    – KutuluMike
    Apr 4, 2015 at 13:42
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    @Darth: just because historical time compression/dilation is fun, actually Alien (1979) is considerably closer to the publishing date of LOTR (1954) than is Dracula (1897). It's slightly further from when Tolkien started writing it though (1937). But Tolkien was alive when Dracula was published and not Alien so sure, his time, you can certainly have that :-) Apr 5, 2015 at 4:00

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