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The Shaping of Middle-Earth: The Quenta, the Ambarkanta and the Annals (The History of Middle-Earth, Vol. 4) [Mass Market Paperback]

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Book by Tolkien, J.R.R., Tolkien, Christopher

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5.0 out of 5 stars See the evolution of Middle Earth Sept. 25 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the third volume in The History of Middle Earth series, Christopher Tolkien picks up where he left off with The Book Lost Tales. In this volume you will see the central themes in Middle Earth evolve a little closer to what we see in the Silmarillion. You will see the early Silmarillion and the Annals of both Valinor and Beleriand. Also incuded are maps drawn by Tolkien himself showing his early ideas for the geography of Middle Earth and Numenor. Moreover, in his attempt to make the Silmarillion seem more like a real history (which it is in some of our hearts) Tolkien has translated parts of the Annals and the Silmarillion into the native language of Elfwine, Old English. I recommend this book for anyone who loves Tolkien's works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overview of The History of Middle-earth Series Dec 6 2008
By Michael W. Perry TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin publishes Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.

GROUP ONE, VOLUMES I - V, EARLY TALES

These five volumes deal primarily Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.

Vol 1 & 2, The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 ( 1983) & 2 (1984). The Book of Lost Tales was written during the 1910s and 1920s. Wikipedia describes it this way: "The framework for the book is that a mortal Man visits the Isle of Tol Eressëa where the Elves live. In the earlier versions of the `Lost Tales' this man is named Eriol, of some vague north European origin, but in later versions he becomes Ælfwine, an Englishman of the Middle-ages."

Vol. 3, The Lays of Beleriand (1985). These are collections of poems, many of them incomplete, written between the 1920s and the late 1940s.

Vol 4, The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Literally, the "Shaping" of Middle-Earth Jan. 3 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Shaping of Middle-Earth concentrates some part of it to actually physically describing the layout of Arda (the World) with some interesting maps drawn by Tolkien in the middle of the book. The book also includes information behind the fall of Morgoth at the end of the First Age.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evolution Of The Silmarillion Continues Dec 27 2001
By John Kwok TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this tome Christopher Tolkien delves further into his father's early writings that would later become the core of the "Silmarillion". Included are early maps of Middle Earth and Numenor, an extensive glossary of terms, and some geneaologies of some of the important families mentioned in the "Silmarillion". Along with "The Book Of Lost Tales", it includes some of the earliest descriptions of Elrond, Gandalf, and Sauron from the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy. Undoubtedly it is essential reading for Tolkien fans.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See the evolution of Middle Earth Sept. 25 1998
By olorin69@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the third volume in The History of Middle Earth series, Christopher Tolkien picks up where he left off with The Book Lost Tales. In this volume you will see the central themes in Middle Earth evolve a little closer to what we see in the Silmarillion. You will see the early Silmarillion and the Annals of both Valinor and Beleriand. Also incuded are maps drawn by Tolkien himself showing his early ideas for the geography of Middle Earth and Numenor. Moreover, in his attempt to make the Silmarillion seem more like a real history (which it is in some of our hearts) Tolkien has translated parts of the Annals and the Silmarillion into the native language of Elfwine, Old English. I recommend this book for anyone who loves Tolkien's works.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Notes for The Silmarillion, plus MAPS! Better than Vol III July 30 2005
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
`The Shaping of Middle-Earth' is the fourth volume of Christopher Tolkien's exegesis of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien's unpublished writings which were done before, during, and after the writing of `The Hobbit' and `The Lord of the Rings'. It is important to realize that beginning with Volume III, `The Lays of Beleriand', these volumes are prepared according to the date on which the elder Tolkien wrote the documents. That this `real world' chronology is roughly parallel to the great ages of middle earth is simply a happy coincidence.

One little niggle I have about the emphasis of `Middle Earth' in the title of both this volume and the series as a whole is that the land, middle earth, is just one part of the whole world in which this mythology is played out. It is basically a great continent, roughly similar to Eurasia in size, surrounded by a single great ocean which is, in turn, bounded by the undying lands. This fact is eminantly clear in the crude maps by Tolkien senior presented in this volume.

What is also eminantly clear in most of these fragments is the great difference in both geography and physics between our world and the world in which middle earth is embedded. There is no sun and no stars, until the stars are created by some of the `gods', the Valar, who are in turn created by `the one', Iluvatar.

The fragments in this volume are mostly early versions of the mythology which was to become the postumously published `The Silmarillion'. As such, it deals with my very favorite character outside of `The Lord of the Rings', the elven lord Feanor who, in a rough parallel to both Adam and Prometheus, disobeys the Valar based on the promptings of the ultimate bad guy in these stories, Morgoth.

Even if one buys the unique physics, cosmology, and pantheon of gods and demigods, the hardest part of this and similar writings is how to deal with Tolkien's handling of evil. How, one wonders, are eight `good' Valar duped by the ninth evil one, who is left to subvert the Valar's most favored creations, the elves, and create all sorts of mayhem in Middle Earth. Even if one introduces the arguments about `free will', one wonders how, if you posit a very real supreme being, Iluvatar (Eru), plus eight comparably powerful beings, such beings would let Morgoth get away with being the cause of all this suffering.

On a ligher note, I find this book an amazing source of poetic inspiration, even more poetic, sometimes than the overtly poetic `The Lays of Beleriand'. There are phrases and paragraphs here and there which sound like they are straight out of a song by Donoven Leitch or The Incredible String Band.

Like almost all the twelve volumes in this series, this is much more a study of fragments than a complete work. Many of the fragments rework the same material, so you find yourself reading the same story over again, in slightly different words. And yet, the power of the created world holds up through the scholarly framework. As with other volumes, there is an excellent index of names at the end of the book and the aforementioned maps are invaluable in understanding the very odd geography of this invented world.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally, the "Shaping" of Middle-Earth Jan. 3 2002
By "mokkan" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Shaping of Middle-Earth concentrates some part of it to actually physically describing the layout of Arda (the World) with some interesting maps drawn by Tolkien in the middle of the book. The book also includes information behind the fall of Morgoth at the end of the First Age.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Early Silmarillion . . . Feb. 4 2007
By David Zampino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
. . . continues in this, the fourth volume of "The History of Middle-Earth" series.

Christopher Tolkien, in his 12-volume "History of Middle-Earth" series presents the notes, stories, fragments, and legends of what was to eventually become "The Silmarillion" in two stages. This book is the final stage of what scholars would consider "The Early Silmarillion"; continuing on the work presented in the two volumes of "The Book of Lost Tales".

If the Tolkien fan is interested in seeing how the mind of the Master developed and progressed his stories, this volume is absolutely indispensable. It is especially interesting to compare "The Shaping of Middle-Earth" with "Morgoth's Ring" and the other volumes of what Christopher calls "The Later Silmarillion".

Once again, thanks is due to Christopher for his labor of love so that we can delve more deeply into Middle-Earth.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shaping of Midguard...Tolkien Style Oct. 13 2013
By S. Cranow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Once again I feel like I am rereading part of JRR Tolkien's Silmarrillion for the umpteenth time. I read these books to get some stories that somehow never made it to publication. What I get are differing versions of the same stories sometimes with similar event and at other times with different event. Though the names may change the song remains the same.
In this volume Christopher gives us a tales from the Early Silmarilion, the Quenta, Ambarkanta, Earliest annals of Valinor and the Earliest Annals of Beleriend. This volume takes us all the way till the end of the first age. Starting with the Valar coming down to Arda and Melkor's rebellion. We are taken through the capturing of Melkor by Tulkas and the awakening of the Elves an being lead to Valinor by Orome the Vala of the Hunt. We are told how when Melkor was released he deceives the Noldoli called Gnomes into turning against the Valar. Oh by the way there were three groups of elves that came to Valinor. The Quenda, who were lead by Ingwe, Teleri, and the Noldoli, who were lead by Finwe. By the way with the Noldoli there are enough names beginning with F to remember that it can get rather confusing. In any case after Melkor is freed he goes about destroying the two trees with the help of Ungoliant. From them the Silmarrion are created. He covets those as well and steals them. Later on when Ungoliant and Melkor feud over splitting the Silmarils, Melkor slays Ungoliant. Melkor holes up in Angaband creating Orcs, Balrogs and Dragon.
Feanor who crafted the Jewels wants them back so he and his Noldoli steal ships from the Teleri and go there. The Gods try to stop them and make them ask for pardon but to no avail. They reach the northern wastelands and wage war against Angaband. Gothmog the head Balrog clays Feanor and Maidros his eldest son his hung suspended by his wrist only to be rescued later on. Manwe in the mean time send Throndor the Eagle to keep an eye on things. The Valar have disavowed the Noldoli who went to the Earth. Aule is especially upset with them. Over the years there will be many battle/
The tale of Beren and Luthien is retold as is the Lay of Hurin's Chikldren. The Fall of Gondolin is reiterated once again as well. At least this time we are treated to a conclusion. Beren and Luthien gave birth to Elwing , while Tuor and Idril would give birth to Earedel. Survivors of Gondolin and Thingols realm would marry and from that birth Dior would be born. Maidros a son of feanor vows to ge the Silmarils back and there is a fight. Elwing takes off in the flight of a bird while Earedel builds Wingalot, a swan shaped boat. Earedel will contact the Valar on behalf of man and elf and Manwe's son will take on Melkor. We all know the end that evil loses and good wins but there is a prophecy that the light of the two tree Silpion and Laurelin will return, the Gods will reign over all and man and elf shall dwell side by in the end of days. All this happens after Melkor's return and a final battle. Until then Melkor is locked beyond the doors of time bound by hand and foot.
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