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The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth Hardcover – October 2, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

Brian Sibley is the author of The Map of Tolkien's Middle-earth, Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie, and The Land of Narnia: Exploring the World of C.S. Lewis. He lives in England.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061839110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618391103
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have been a professional writer for thirty years and a freelance broadcaster for the BBC in London for almost as long.

My career began as a radio-writer with dramatisations for the BBC which include serialisations of J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings", C. S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" and Mervyn Peake's "Titus Groan" and "Gormenghast" for which I won a coveted Sony Radio Award. I have also made radio programmes on a wide variety of topics from the history of magic to the crimes of Jack the Ripper! Series of note include "A Century of Cinema", "The Sound of Movies" and "'Ain't No Mickey Mouse Business!"

My specialist interests have always been film (in particular animation) and children's literature and I have broadcast numerous radio and TV programmes and written several books about both these topics.

For the best part of a decade I presented weekly arts and film programmes on the BBC's domestic and World Service networks but have spent the last few years concentrating on books including a couple of best-sellers on the making of Peter Jackson's film trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings" and researching and writing that director's authorised biography, scheduled for publication in 2006.

I live in London with my life partner, a professional magician, in a house overcrowded with so many books, DVDs and CDs (not to mention all those old videos and gramophone records!) that it is seriously beginning to look like one of's smaller warehouses!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 74 people found the following review helpful By David Bratman on December 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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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2004
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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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful By S. Mason on September 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Eagle on March 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is, to say the least. is a very, very disappointing product. First the good. The "maps" are on good heavy paper that should last with reasonable care. The printing is adequate but not exceptional in any way. The 'maps' come in a protective binder and are also enclosed in a box that contains both the 'maps' and a short book that tells something about the 'maps' but there are no references provided.
Now for the bad. The maps are more art than map. The maps at most take up 50% of the available space and one map maybe 25%. The art work is distracting and adds little to nothing the ascetic value of the product. The title of the product lead me to believe that the maps contained therein would be like the wall maps one sees of the world and of the United States, and they are not. The author is an artist and defiantly not a cartographer. The detail on the maps themselves is very rudimentary and would add little to your understanding of Middle Earth. There are no contour lines to aid in determining the type of land in the area being depicted. One map has only regional names and no cities or other boundaries provided.
I have been a longtime lover of maps (my father was a cartographer for the Corps of Engineers US Army) and have studied in some detail the entire published works of professor Tolkien. I began reading the work of the good professor in 1967 and have not been able to stop. I was lead to believe that these maps were well researched and would provide some help as to scale, but since no distance measure is provided it is of no use there either.
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