Despite the Lord of the Rings being a book series that is over 60 years old, the popularity of the fantasy series has, if anything, only increased, especially after the hugely successful Peter Jackson movie series.
With the success of any film comes the countless fan theories that read into any and all details in the books and its extended universe. Without further ado, check out the 10 most bizarre fan theories about The Lord of the Rings and see if you agree with any of them:
Warning: some of these are a little crazy!
1. LotR was an allegory for World War II
Now, I know what you Tolkien fans will be thinking, and yes, he was always extremely adamant that his works were not an allegory for anything specific, but were open to the reader's interpretation. However, that hasn't stopped people from speculating en masse.
Because Tolkien fought in World War I, many have strongly believed that the series was somehow an allegory for the second World War, even Sir Ian McKellan believes there is almost no way such a traumatic event in Tolkien's life didn't change the way he wrote. Theorists believe that in the books Hitler is Sauron, the Nazis were Orcs and Saruman could have perhaps been Stalin, the ally who the Allies shouldn't have trusted.
It may not be true, but Tolkien has no problem with people interpreting his books as they liked - what he objected to was the notion that he did it on purpose.
2. There is more to Radagast than we know
Unlike Tom Bombadil who was left out of the movie version of the Lord of the Rings saga, Radagast the Brown actually had more screen time in The Hobbit than he did pages in the book. While some fans of the series were unhappy that Peter Jackson had tried to get so much out of such a minor character, others believed that it was fitting, having theorized that despite the small mentions of him, he held a much bigger part in the series.
Firstly, even though he is not mentioned much, Radagast is still a Maia, a powerful wizard in the same category as Saruman and Gandalf. He has strong powers, able to transform himself, blend in with the natural environment and talk to both animals and plant life. Radagast has the ability to use animals as spies over Middle-earth, and perhaps could have been the one who helped Gandalf summon the eagles who have saved the day on more than one occasion.
Adding even more to the Radagast theory is that in The Two Towers, Aragorn and company are near Fangorn when they see a wizard nearby. The theory that this is Saruman was discounted because the lurking wizard was wearing a hat, not a hood, and Gandalf later denies that it was him, so perhaps it was the hat wearing Radagast who was keeping an eye over the group?
3. Two Harry Potter characters were originally in LotR
Originally there were five Maiar spirits who all entered the world of Middle-earth at the same time as wizards, of course we know three: Saruman, Gandalf and Radagast, but the remaining two were unnamed, clad in blue and went into the east and never heard from again. With no more information about where these two wizards ended up these two mystery wizards have been the focus of some very elaborate fan theories, but by far the weirdest is that they became Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
This theory, claims that the prison Nurmengard, used by Grindelwald in the Harry Potter novels, is a portmanteau of the names Nuremberg and Isengard. It also goes on to say that Dumbledore and Grindelwald dealt with the temptation to do whatever necessary to protect people "for the greater good," and it led them down a dark path against the wishes of the Iluvatar and the Valar. The theory goes on to say that after Dumbledore had defeated Grindelwald and prepared people for Voldemort, he was able to move on - hence why Dumbledore accepted his death and didn't make any return trips from the grave.
4. Merry was the true Witch-king killer
Everyone knows the scene at the end of The Return of the King when Merry and Eowyn are fighting the Witch-king of Angmar. First he is stabbed by Merry, and then Eowyn finishes him off after being told no man could kill him, and then revealing that she is a woman, thus capable of killing him.
However, some people theorize that although it was Eowyn who had the last thrust of the sword, it was actually Merry who delivered the kill shot, due to a different way of interpreting the line. The Witch-king says that no man could kill him, but rather than just take this to mean that someone of the opposite gender could kill him, the people behind this theory take it to mean that actually someone not of the human race needs to kill him, like a small Hobbit. The sword Merry was fighting with also lends credibility to the theory because it was made by the men of Westernesse and especially crafted for killing creatures like the Witch-king.
While this theory is interesting, the book does seem to make it clear that Eowyn's blow was the one that sealed the Witch-kings fate and not to mention that J.R.R.Tolkien was a very specific man, and if he meant that no human man (or woman) could have killed him, he probably would have specified.
5. The Ring represents original sin
This is another theory about Tolkien's true meaning with the book series, and one that Catholics particularly enjoy. J.R.R. Tolkien himself was a very devout Catholic and the church has taken to interpreting his books as a Catholic allegory. One popular theory is that the Ring represents original sin, and Frodo is a Christ-like figure. The theory also strongly believes that the Elves Lembas bread is a symbol of the Holy Eucharist. Sauron of course, is a Satan-like figure, and the Iluvatar is God.
Despite claims being made that Tolkien admitted it was created as a work of Catholic allegory, this is not true, though perhaps, like the World War II theory, it's a nice to believe.
Do you have your own Lord of the Rings theory? Tell us here!