Read The Lord of the Rings—from Mordor's point of view

Both of the following are true: There are always two sides to every story, and history is written by the victor. So what's the other side to J.R.R. Tolkien's War of the Rings? A Russian author imagined it in a novel you can now download for free.

In 1999, Russian paleontologist Kirill Yeskov wrote The Last Ringbearer, a novel that looks at the events detailed in The Lord of the Rings from the perspective of a human field medic and an orc scout who pledge their allegiance to the Dark Lord Sauron—who isn't quite so dark here.

In fact, Yeskov takes a different view of both Mordor and its capital, the tower of Barad-dur:

"That amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic."

Here, Gandalf is a warmonger, the elves are bent on turning Middle-earth into a carbon copy of the Gray Havens, and Aragorn is a devious villain who is ultimately controlled by his Lady Macbeth of a wife, Arwen.

So why haven't you been able to read The Last Ringbearer? Well, copyright laws—and the Tolkien estate—have prohibited its publication in English, though it's been available in Europe since its initial publication.

If you'd like to give The Last Ringbearer a read, you can nab a pretty deft translation over here. Every great work should be able to withstand some scrutiny. And every villain is the hero of his own story.

(via Salon)

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