Echo Dot countdown boutiques-francophones Introducing Fire 7 tablet, starting at $59.99 WFM Furniture Kindle Paperwhite Explore the Vinyl LP Records Store sports Tools

on May 5, 2014
We play Tolkien trivia in one of the websites I frequent and this is an absolute gem when it comes to stumping other players. It's comprehensive and useful.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 8, 2017
It is a Christmas present, very happy with cost and availability.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon April 30, 2003
Author J.R.R. Tolkien worked on his incredibly complex, vivid invented world his entire life. Now, with the epic movie trilogy hitting theaters, the books are getting the royal treatment. But even if you're a longtime fan, this book is an invaluable tool if you can't remember what the heck Angmar was or who Elendil was.
From A to Z ("Abyss" to "Zirakzigil"), Foster carefully includes entries from the LOTR trilogy, the Silmarillion, the Hobbit, and lots of other books by Tolkien. He carefully includes dates, when people were born and died, translated names (Legolas's is "Greenleaf," Tom Bombadil's is "Old--without father"), and what language those names are in. For the sake of clarity, he also includes a timeline up until Elrond was born, and then several of Tolkien's created family trees. (Who was Elrond's great-grandpa?)
If you simply can't remember something -- like Aragorn's many and varied names, what Gandalf is, what the Elvish name for hobbits is -- then this can refresh your memory. While there are a few inevitable errors, Foster is exceedingly careful and faithful to Tolkien's work. If it's set down in here, you can bet that it's correct. The one slightly distracting aspect of this book is that the characters with two names are listed by their given name, not family name. So Frodo Baggins is listed under F, not B; Sam Gamgee is under S, not G.
So if you're a fan of the books, just getting into them, or even have only seen the movies and want to understand Middle-Earth a little better, you should definitely check out "Complete Guide to Middle-Earth." For anyone who enjoys Tolkien's work, it's a keeper.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMEon March 2, 2003
This detailed guide was compiled to assist readers of The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion by placing historical events, characters and places in the context of Tolkien's vast cosmology. As such it is an indispensable concordance for the serious fan of Tolkien's world. The history of Middle Earth and Aman was woven together with great attention to detail so that all the stories fit together in perfect cohesion. The main body of the work has alphabetical entries from "Abyss" to "Zirak-Zigil", while Appendix A is a chronology of the First Age from the creation of Eä to the birth of Elrond and Elros, and Appendix B contains genealogical tables like that of the first house of the Edain, the lines of Isildur and Anarion, the descent of the Peredhil, the house of Hurin and the Rohirrim. Many of the Elvish entries have translations of their meaning, e.g. Aragorn = "Royal Tree". The treatment of languages, like variations and different shades of meaning, is quite detailed and interesting. Important races, places and characters have extensive commentary devoted to them but there are also many single line entries. This comprehensive reference work makes one appreciate Tolkien's achievement all the more. I recommend it to all who are seriously interested in his brilliant creation that has come to life again at the beginning of our third millennium with the release of the excellent Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy. I would also like to recommend David Day's book "A Tolkien Bestiary" which contains maps, chronologies and wonderful illustrations. These two titles together are all you need to have a complete reference to Aman and Middle Earth.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 13, 2000
I feel a bit of nostalgia whenever I open this book because it takes me back more than twenty years to when I was first beginning to study Tolkien's world. Robert Foster's glossary is now sadly outdated because so many informative books have been published by Christopher Tolkien, but none of the tertiary sources written by other Tolkien researchers even come close to Foster's dedicated achievement.
Unlike some early Tolkien indexers, Foster usually refrains from mixing his opinions with the facts he is reporting. His occasional guesses and interpretations may be wrong but given the information available when the book was written they are solid and well-considered. Many more recent books have contained unforgivably egregious errors because those later authors had access to material Foster didn't.
The sources that Foster covers include some of Tolkien's private correspondence, and the research has been vindicated by Humphrey Carpenter's Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Foster's other sources include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Pauline Baynes' 1969 map of Middle-earth (on which she was advised by Tolkien himself), and the first edition of The Road Goes Ever On.
The most impressive section, however, is Foster's attempt to devise a chronology of the First Age. Such a chronology could be achieved with any hope of accuracy only after Christopher Tolkien published The War of the Jewels in 1994, 16 years after Foster published the Complete Guide. Foster's guesswork was off by no more than a few years. I still glance through his chronology for a quick reference when I just need to be reminded of critical dates.
My only regret is that this book was never updated, although I heard a rumor that HarperCollins was looking for someone to revise it. It would be good to see a much fuller guide published, but only if Foster's impeccable standard was adhered to.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on July 7, 2000
I can't say enough good about this book. As a companion resource to the any of Tolkien's novels based in mythical Middle Earth this is the perfect companion. This isn't a series of essays and it doesn't try to explain the twists of plot in all of Tolkien's books. What this book does is give complete, sourced and easy to find definitions for nearly ALL of the terms, places and people in Middle Earth.
Ever wonder what the difference between the Maiar and the Istari? Want to know a brief history of Morgoth, the original poison in Middle Earth? This is the book for you. I had to work VERY hard to find any obscure term not included in this book. Not only is this book complete but it is cross-referenced and multiple terms are listed. For instance both Melkor and Morgoth are listed separately so you will find him regardless of which name you look him up under.
What a wonderful piece of work. This book has furthered my reading enjoyment of the Lord of the Rings and opened the Silmarillion to me in a entirely new light. A definite A+ recommendation.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on March 9, 2002
If you love Tolkien, you'll get a lot of use out of this book. After a point, the sheer number of characters and places can become overwhelming -- especially when so many have several names.
'Guide' is a godsend, and is always right by my side every time I pick up Lord of the Rings. It's an invaluable companion book that covers everything from Arda to the Silmarillion. The descriptions are thorough; at times an entire histroy is given. Reference pages are noted. I had started taking notes, which was a real nuisance. This book makes that unnecessary.
In the trilogy, there are a few passages that hint at a great mystery. Impatient as I am, Mr. Foster's 'Guide' explains the pre-LotR history clearly without giving away *too* much.
Though it's a reference book, you can spend hours (no joke, I've done it!) going from one entry to another, as many are tied together in the story. For example, I looked up 'Palantir' and from there went to Saruman, Orthanc and maybe a dozen other entries.
What a fun book to get lost in!
I can't say enough about this book. It's absolutely fantastic, and if you love Tolkien's magnificent saga, you need the 'Guide'!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 26, 2004
I agree with others that the definitions aren't often that clear and require that you know the character/item ahead of time. But there are a few areas of improvement that would really make this book shine:
-Including guide words on the top of pages would make finding terms easier.
-The genealogical charts at the end are full of errors - mostly typographical - including obvious ones such as switching the names "Aragorn II" and "Arathorn II".
-Maps would make geographical descriptions so much easier. They may have not been included for other reasons, but would make this truly a superb reference.
In conclusion, this book may be misleading in its appeal and not be so well suited to the casual reader. It may also spoil some events you have not yet read if you are reading Tolkien for the first time. It is great for that occasional (aka frequent) confusion though. It is a useful reference and with a good edit would be vastly more excellent and accurate.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 20, 2006
The book has a well thought out design in a dictionary form. You find information on every character, every place, and every thing. There is a section on how to read the sources and abbreviations in the book. There are appendixes with A Chronology of the First Age, Genealogical Tables, and Conversion of page references to Houghton Mifflin Editions.

Some may think this guide is geared towards those that already have a basic knowledge of Middle earth. But upon exam one finds it is like any other dictionary those with a large vocabulary may need an occasional glance; while others may have to look up the words that explain the words.

I find it indispensable.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on December 28, 2003
As the editorial review says, this is essentially a dictionary for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion. It does also include data from some of Tolkien's other writings. A very useful appendix explains dates given during the First Age, based upon the inclusion of events predating the Years of the Sun, such as the Spring of Arda. This book will be a valued reference for those fascinated by the events of Middle-Earth and the Changes of the World. It may leave you desiring even more information, but that is what you will find in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, as well as in such reference material as Karen Wynn Fonstad's revised Atlas of Middle-Earth. You will surely enjoy the answers provided and the new searches begun by reading this guidebook.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Customers also viewed these items

Need customer service? Click here