Houghton Mifflin, the official U.S. publisher of Tolkien’s work for more than 60 years, had paid a hefty sum to acquire the rights to the movie tie-in volumes. What if the film trilogy was a disaster? Would they lose an entire generation of potential readers? “Just in case, we put the new editions out early before the movie so we could sell as many copies as possible,” he says. “And to New Line’s great credit, they did a great job of encouraging people to read Tolkien.”
The Hobbits leave Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, and quickly encounter one of the most frightening sequences in The Lord of the Rings.