The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, later fitted as a trilogy. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier fantasy book The Hobbit and soon developed into a much larger story. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949, with much of it being written during World War II. The Lord of the Rings went on to become one of the most popular and influential novels of the 20th century.