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The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-Earth Hardcover – Oct 2 2003
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About the Author
Brian Sibley is the author of numerous books on animation and writers.
John Howe is Associate Professor of History at Texas Tech University.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›