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The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition Paperback – October 12, 2005
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A Christian can almost be forgiven for not reading the Bible, but there's no salvation for a fantasy fan who hasn't read the gospel of the genre, J.R.R. Tolkien's definitive three-book epic, the Lord of the Rings (encompassing The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King), and its charming precursor, The Hobbit. That many (if not most) fantasy works are in some way derivative of Tolkien is understood, but the influence of the Lord of the Rings is so universal that everybody from George Lucas to Led Zeppelin has appropriated it for one purpose or another.
Not just revolutionary because it was groundbreaking, the Lord of the Rings is timeless because it's the product of a truly top-shelf mind. Tolkien was a distinguished linguist and Oxford scholar of dead languages, with strong ideas about the importance of myth and story and a deep appreciation of nature. His epic, 10 years in the making, recounts the Great War of the Ring and the closing of Middle-Earth's Third Age, a time when magic begins to fade from the world and men rise to dominance. Tolkien carefully details this transition with tremendous skill and love, creating in the Lord of the Rings a universal and all-embracing tale, a justly celebrated classic. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
New Line Cinema will be releasing "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy in three separate installments, and Houghton Mifflin Tolkien's U.S. publisher since the release of The Hobbit in 1938 will be re-releasing each volume of the trilogy separately and in a boxed set (ISBN 0-618-15397-7. $22; pap. ISBN 0-618-15396-9. $12).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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For those who care about such things, the printing is based on the 2004 corrected text, with even further corrections. There are updated introductions/forwards by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, authors of the authoritative "LOTR Readers Companion," as well as by Douglas A. Anderson, who provides a detailed publication history of the Lord of the Rings. The full appendices are included.
Two-page red and black maps of Middle Earth and of Gondor/Rohan/Mordor adorn the front and back covers, with a map of the Shire before the first chapter. Also present are other essentials such as the Doors of Moria and the Tomb of Balin. The only drawback is that the facsimile pages of the Book of Mazarbul was not included, which I found to be surprising and a bit disappointing Also, the ring inscription and the Gandalf "rune" are printed in black rather than silver and red. Probably the main issue is the clear plastic slipcover, which is barely bigger than the book itself, and it is difficult to slip the book back inside it after taking it out. You are more likely to scuff the corners of the book. That being said, these are far from dealbreakers, and the joy to be received from owning this edition far outweighs these issues.
There are two releases of the illustrated edition, with two different covers. The copies that I purchased were used, and shipped from private bookstores through Amazon, but not from Amazon. Both releases have the same story illustrations in them, but the illustrations before and after the story are different, Also, the covers were illustrated by two different artists, but the story was illustrated by a third artist.
This edition stays true to the tale in J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit. Unlike Peter Jackson's movies, which change the storyline in significant ways, this adaptation does not change any of the storyline, though with only 134 pages, it does not go into great depth. It does address the major points of the story, and illustrates them in clear, well drawn illustrations.
I have read The Hobbit onto a set of CD's that my older grandchildren listened to when they were little and again as their younger siblings listened to them. I know that they will enjoy this illustrated edition, and the parents or older siblings will read the story to the little ones, discuss the pictures and help the little one's understand the story.
Graphic adaptations to stories don't appeal to everyone, particularly those purists who love the original works and don't want them changed. I consider myself a Tolkien purist, but can appreciate the quality of the illustrations and the accuracy of this adaptation. I would recommend this illustrated edition to those who want to share The Hobbit with children they hold dear, or for the child in each of us who wants to rediscover the story in a new way.