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The Complete Tolkien Companion Paperback – October 14, 2004

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The Complete Tolkien Companion + The Atlas of Middle-Earth (Revised Edition) + Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you're a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, this is a great reference book, as it has entries that will probably jog the memories of even the most ardent adherent... this one has it all." - Kansas City Star

One of the newer reference volumes that attempts to explain Tolkien's densely imaginative world. (Seattle Times)

A treasure of arcane information that will be helpful to the casual reader... as well as to the newly minted Middle-earth fanatic who wants to learn everything as soon as possible. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

"Excellent" - Creative Loafing (Atlanta)

There's nothing you can't find in Tyler's tome of Middle Earth knowledge... indispensable... a sine qua non for new and experienced Tolkien readers alike. (TheTrades)

This book will help you, even as it gives you a chance to read about and delight in correlations between things that you never realized, or small, assorted facts that you glanced past. (Fantastica Daily)

A resource that will bring further enjoyment to those already familiar with LotR and its associated works... a wonderful achievement for Tyler, and will make a welcome addition to the library of anyone who has come to consider Frodo and the lot as de facto members of the family. (ScifiDimensions)

A detailed and sweeping compendium, this book is a valuable reference to have handy when reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading Tolkien's work. (SFRevu)

Essential for a new generation of readers to fully enjoy Tolkien's version in a new century... an invaluable aid to a better understanding of Middle Earth and deserves a place on the shelf right next to The Hobbit. (Baryon Magazine)

From the Back Cover

British Praise for The Tolkien Companion:


"The quarrying Mr. Tyler has done in the books of our hero rivals the work of the dwarves in the mithril-mines of Moira."

- Observer


"Fascinating...For every Tolkien reader it is a must."

- Yorkshire Post (UK)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 2 edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312339127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312339128
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,781,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Appleseed VINE VOICE on December 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I first saw the rather average to poor ratings that this book has received, I was very surprised. I remember getting the book as part of as part of a set from The Science Fiction Book Club when I graduated from junior high (1980!!). By that time I had read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit several times, but never The Silmarillion, which was also part of the set.

I vividly remember staying up late at night reading the entries of this book, sometimes just to refresh my memory, sometimes for more information, sometimes just to read the same stories over and over again. I never tired of the world Tolkien created, and he left me in awe as a teenager. I'm far from being a teenager, but am still in awe of his creation.

When I finally got around to reading The Silmarillion, I found this book to be indispensable. As a 14-year old - and while I would consider myself an advanced reader for my age back then, I was by no means a prodigy - The Silmarillion was a difficult but incredibly magnificent read. In all honesty, I compared it to the Christian Bible and Bullfinch's Mythology, and found that I enjoyed it far greater than either, and any mythology I had read previously (which was quite a bit). If we can analogize Morgoth's war with the Valar as Satan's with heaven, then I can safely say (IMHO) that Tolkien's interpretation (although it wasn't allegory - we all know that he despised allegory in fiction - but certainly the similarities between Manwe and Melkor/Morgoth are significant and unavoidable) was more interesting than anyone who has ever attempted to re-tell that story. Or tell a similar story of "great evil thrown down by forces of good". Which means, in essence, better than just about every epic fantasy ever written.

Okay, I'm back from my tangent.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Do not waste your money on any version of JE Taylors Tolkien books. He hides his "references" at the back of the book instead of professionally citing them on the page for the entry you are reading. If you are a Tolkien purist you will find many fictional made up details in this book. Instead buy the book that Christopher Tolkien himself cites...
Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle Earth. This book is VERY accurate for your Hobbit,LOTR, Simarillion reference needs.
If you need a cross-reference for the 12 volumes of the History of Middle Earth buy Christopher Tolkiens Index to the History of Middle Earth. You can buy that at Amazon UK.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By "rocking_fetus" on January 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have one word which sums up this entire book "dissappointment". Ok, maybe not entirely worthless but to any self-respecting Tolkien fan this companion would have to be the least helpful of those available. Not only did I find information hard to find (characters etc were listed by their most "common name" thus if you were looking for a particular name which was less used, its highly likely that you won't find it which can get very frustrating. Also I couldn't help feeling that the Tyler seems to get his/her wires crossed alot, mixing what is "fact" and what is "fiction" mixed around. Also the major dissappointment I found with this "complete" Tolkien companion, is that its not "complete". Lesser characters, places, events etc seem to have been "lost" or "omitted". At the expensive of this "lesser" characters etc Tyler seems to have spent the energy instead on elaborating more on the "major" characters which I personally found annoying as no doubt many people want to buy a companion to help them understand alittle bit more on "lesser" characters which they come across in books. You wouldn't buy half a dictionary so why settle for half a "companion". I also found it quite shifty of Tyler "hiding" his/her references and sources at the back of the book.
However on a high note I did find the front cover design, I must say the best looking of the companions on the market. If only the inside was as good as the outside.
I suggest if your serious about getting a companion, "The Complete Guide to Middle Earth" by Robert Foster is 1st Rate and easier on the hip pocket too!
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David Bratman on December 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Third edition of an encyclopedia whose first two, pre- and post-Silmarillion, versions have been floating around for years. A reliable source but a very poor second choice to Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-earth (less detail, more omissions, few dates, hardly any page references), Tyler's tome now includes entries from Unfinished Tales, 24 years after that book was published. It ignores almost everything else since then, whether it fits into the (illusory) "final" legendarium or not. Tyler claims he's dropped his pretence that Middle-earth is real, but entries like that for Orcs, identifying them as the true origin of mythic goblins, show that he hasn't. This new edition is only worth having if a copy drops into your lap.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John A. Ruder on July 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Unlike some of the other reviewers of this book, I for one did like it very much in fact. Of course it doesn't have every last tidbit of every last detail for all the entries. It is already over 700 pages for gosh sakes. If the author tried to cram in any more info, we probably could no longer afford the book and it would have to have an incredibly flimsy bind on it in order to accommodate that many pages. The bind would also most likely fall apart.

I recommend this book not for the Tolkien scholar but rather for the vast majority of Tolkien fans out there who just want to have an all-encompassing recourse to refer. I found this book particularly helpful when I was reading the Silmarillion for the first time (which in itself is a daunting task with so many proper names tossed around. I used the Companion book in order to figure out the basics of some of the important people, places and things.

As far as encyclopedias of Tolkien are concerned, this book is probably one of the best compared to others out there. Excellent resource.
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