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The Lord of the Rings Weapons and Warfare Paperback – November 5, 2003
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I was expecting a book with lots of interviews with the people at Weta about how the weapons were designed, forged, etc. for the movies. Instead, this book approaches the weapons and warlike peoples of Middle Earth as if they were (are?) real, historical peoples. There are good descriptions and pictures of the armaments, armor, etc. along with text that explains the history behind why the elves, for instance, designed their weapons that way. It's creative and interestingly written, but kind of like a fun textbook.
One little quibble, which I understand but still feel like mentioning. In any area where the movies deviated from Tolkien's book, this book follows the movie lore rather than the "actual" lore. So this book is really about the movies moreso than the books, though there is a lot of info in this book that was obviously gleaned from the books. I enjoyed it, but also wanted to shout out, "Wait a minute! That's not right!" a couple times.
I purchased the softcover book, which has a fantastic not-so-soft cover, and doesn't pick up fingerprints too much (a must since I expect to be thumbing through this in years to come). Each of the pages is adorned with at least half a dozen beautiful glossy photos, some of which have not even been seen in any of the movies thus far (theatrical and extended versions). These are namely scenes of Gil-Galad and Elendil, which I don't understand why PJ never put into the extended cut of FoTR.
I myself love military history, and I believe that PJ and company did the research, and it most certainly is demonstrated in this book. If you've ever wondered how long the ash-spears held by the Fountain Guards at the Tower of Ecthelion are, or cared about the different trolls present at the siege of Minas Tirith, or wanted to behold the staff weapon aiglos of Gil-Galad, then this book IS the one for you.
1000+ color photos and drawing illustrate all the weapons of Middle Earth, the battles and the strongholds of the land.
Learn about the weapons of the elves, the elven shield, bow, sword and fighting knives.
Read about famous swords such as Hadhafang, Narsil, and Sting.
Read about the Orcs and Cave Trolls, daggers fashioned out of horn, and the Mumakil a creature of legend as fabulous and fearsome as a dragon.
Elves of Lothlorien
Bows of Middle Earth
The Black Gate of Mordor
The Men of Gondor...
And much more
"Lord of the Rings Weapons & Warfare" is a great book. It's fun to read, and is a fantastic reference to Tolkien's World.
As one who collects swords and knives, loves fencing and enjoys all sorts of books on weaponry and a hopeless LOTRs addict, this is one gem of a book. It is not thin volume, but a jam-packed book loaded with 100s of photos, maps & artwork and a forward by Christopher Lee.
217 pages of high quality pages covering every aspect of the rings. It starts with the history of the War of the Ring, the last alliance of Elves and Men, covers the Dead Marshes, with chapters on ever main character in all three films, going into the armour and the weapons they used. At the end is a glossary for quick reference.
There is not enough praise for this book. It is just likely THE BEST collectors item for the Rings and if you don't have one you are missing a wonderful item for your collection.
That said, I also have to agree that the inconsistencies in Weapons and Warfare with the LOTR books (and sometimes the movies themselves) can at times be highly annoying. For example, Weapons and Warfare states in a couple of places that the Witch King defeated Gandalf and broke his staff during the battle of the Pelennor Fields. Even if this had been depicted in the movie, which I did not find to be the case at least in the DVD version that I have, the Weapons and Warfare author later seemingly contradicts himself when he states that the Witch King "may have been the equal of Gandalf".
In spite of its shortcomings, I still feel that Weapons and Warfare is well worth having. As a suggestion, you might consider getting a "like new" copy like I did and save yourself a lot of dollars without shortchanging your enjoyment of the book.