When Sauron was destroyed at the end of the Third Age, was that the end of evil? No, as Tolkien knew, evil would try to creep across the land again. He had began to outline what would unfold in the generations after The Lord of the Rings, prefaced on the nature of evil:
If evil is not faced up to and confronted, it will spread…the Dark Tree, the concept of growing evil…a dark tree whose roots can never be fully destroyed so that evil will once again arise if the tree is left untended or unwatched. When we do not actively keep watch for evil, it will return…Sometimes in order to preserve the good in the world, we need to step put of the Shire with hope in our hearts, and journey to the darkest places whatever the cost. – “In Deep Geek”
The sequel was never completed, but Tolkien’s vision and warnings about evil live on. Learn more about J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished sequel to The Lord of the Rings here.