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The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-Earth [Hardcover]

Brian Sibley , John Howe
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 37.56
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Book Description

Oct. 2 2003
Best-selling Tolkien expert Brian Sibley (The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide) presents a slipcased collection of four full-color, large-format maps of Tolkien's imaginary realm illustrated by John Howe, a conceptual designer for the blockbuster films directed by Peter Jackson. The set includes a hardcover book describing in detail the importance and evolution of geography within Tolkien's epic fiction and four color maps presented with minimal folds, including two (Beleriand and Númenor) never before published in this country.

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Product Description

About the Author

Brian Sibley is a writer and broadcaster with a life-long interest in fantasy books and cinema. His fascination with J. R. R. Tolkien and the myths and history of Middle-earth led to his critically acclaimed BBC radio dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings in which the role of Frodo was played by Ian Holm, who now portrays Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Brian’s subsequent radio dramas included several of Tolkien’s short novels collected under the title Tales from the Perilous Realm, C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, two series of Tales of the Bizarre by Ray Bradbury and Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan and Gormenghast which won him the prestigious Sony Radio Award.

His books include Three Cheers for Pooh, Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie, Cracking Animation, The Disney Studio Story, The Land of Narnia and Shadowlands, as well as the text accompanying three maps by John Howe based on Tolkien’s The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice maps, with even nicer commentary Dec 20 2003
Format:Hardcover
This item is a slipcase with two volumes inside.
One contains four unfoldable 28 x 28 maps, with border illuminations and illustrations, in watercolor with ink captions, by Howe after the originals: Wilderland from The Hobbit, the isle of Númenor, Third Age Middle-earth, and Beleriand. The last two of these impressed me most: Howe's Middle-earth, though less precisely rendered than Pauline Baynes's earlier copy along the same lines, is really attractive. But the appeal of Tolkien's original Wilderland map lies in its busy detail, and Howe's open wash from a receding perspective seems rather vacant. My wife the musician immediately started critiquing the bowing styles of the dwarf musicians in the framing illustration.
The other volume has four independent and well-written essays by Sibley discussing the origin of each original map and the place of geography in each story, plus a gazetteer of each land.
I'd recommend this for the commentary, or if you want to pin the maps as posters on your wall. If you have the original books, you don't need these maps, but they do make nice posters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, but not what I expected Jan. 19 2004
Format:Hardcover
I purchased this on impluse before Christmas as a gift for my husband. While the maps are beautiful and the book, what I've read so far, interesting, I was really, really hoping for a more detailed map of Hobbiton and environs. The cover of the boxed set implied, to my eye, there would be more detailed coverage of the places in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. That said, it is still a nice addition to the library of die-hard Tolkien fans. Just don't expect to study the maps and then be able to day-dream of walking trails in the shire or following the footpaths of the Fellowship through Middle Earth in detail.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, not great. Sept. 28 2003
Format:Hardcover
It is divided into two books. One containing the maps which are not connected to the spine, and the other with the list of places and events on the maps. I'd probably recommend this to a younger reader or someone just starting out reading Tolkien. The maps are nicely done yet not really what I expected. Really more of a poster art. The book(s) aren't bad, just not what I expected and I wasn't really impressed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the perfect gift March 3 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this gift went to a Tolkien fan whose only distress is that he does not have enough wall space to proudly display all the maps. Well done replicas of the original maps, these were a gorgeous gift to a lover of the legends.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mapping Middle-earth Feb. 26 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
John Howe and Brian Sibley are both towering figures in the "Lord of the Rings" fanbase -- Howe has been known for years as one of the two finest Tolkien artists, and Sibley gained fame in the past few years as the guy who chronicled the behind-the-scenes information on the movies. Together, their "Maps of Tolkien's Middle-Earth" is a solid release that adds an extra dimension to ordinary maps.

Howe presents four fold-out maps of Middle-Earth: Wilderland, the areas traversed by Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit," a general map of Middle-Earth, a map of Beleriand and other lands of the north, and the land of Numenor. The latter two haven't been released in this country, which makes them especially interesting.

Admittedly, the maps aren't too detailed or intricate; they seem rather basic. But Howe hasn't just drawn colorful maps -- he surrounds the maps with his exquisite illustrations of trees and hills, castles, Bilbo and the Dwarves at Bag End, Gandalf on Shadowfax, the seashore and mountains. With Howe's intricate, Celtic-looking borders separating the illustrations from the maps, each poster takes on almost the look of a medieval tapestry.

The foldout poster-maps are exceptional on their own. But Brian Sibley's accompanying guide is almost as good -- he has a separate section for each map that details the various cities, mountains, and other important points. What's more, Sibley details the history of each map in Tolkien's life, and the importance of that part of Middle-Earth in his ongoing story. Sibley's essays are well-written and interesting, and his descriptions of the locations in Middle-Earth is quite well done.

Don't expect something too earth-shattering -- "Maps of Tolkien's Middle-Earth" is precisely what the title implies.
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