The Tolkien Thread (3)

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The Tolkien Thread (3)

Edited: Jul 23, 2015, 6:31 pm

Per scholasticus's sensible suggestion

"May I suggest starting a new thread? I'm a lurker on this particular thread as I have a passing interest in Tolkien's books, but even I must admit that this thread is taking a while to load with all the images throughout."

This thread is a continuation of

Jul 23, 2015, 9:50 pm

>1 Studedoo:

Many thanks! Aside from LOTR and Hobbit, I'm mainly interested in Tolkien the academic, so of course I have his academic works. Not so much interested in the legendarium of Middle-earth (aside from how Tolkien borrowed heavily from medieval sources in terms of inspiration &c) and/or editions of LOTR &c, but it's still a fascinating thread to follow all the same!

Jul 24, 2015, 7:23 am

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Jul 24, 2015, 8:05 am

>3 JeromeJ: ha Scholasticus you dull old academic :)

I disagree jerome. I like reading old JRR as much as anyone but when it came to historical material which influenced his fiction he was a thieving magpie (and quite honest about it).

Jul 24, 2015, 8:10 am


I'm not t all comfortable with old JRR being called a thief. Rather he worked with traditional mythology like others have done, and drew great understanding from the mythological pool to inform his work.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 8:16 am

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Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 8:17 am

>5 LesMiserables: Hyperbole, but my point stands and like I said he was quite open about it. Remember, I refer only to the direct influence of historic events/cultures within the context of his fiction, not the fiction itself.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 8:19 am

>6 JeromeJ: yup, chalk me up as a dull academic I suppose. This Tolkien thread is becoming a token thread I fear.

Jul 24, 2015, 8:27 am

If we regard Tolkien as a thief, we'll need to come up with a new word for Shakespeare, who invented hardly a bit of his stories.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 8:51 am

Ya, and was shameless about it too, except no one would feel the need to mount a defense of Shakespeare. Listen, I did not say he was a bad writer, I did not say he was unoriginal. Thieving magpie was a term applied famously to John Webster who was just that( speaking of the Renaissance) but still a good writer and whose works are constantly juxtaposed to Shakespeare's (which is the context of the magpie comment). The context of the statement, based on a quote that is evidently not as well known as I had thought, is that if you a good enough magpie (Shakespeare) you get away with it.

As I evidently stepped in a pile of hobbit poop and must clean my shoes before I go to work...

Ring wraith out.

Jul 24, 2015, 10:38 am

I must say I read these posts with amusement; I never intended to set off such a firestorm!

I suppose that given that I'm an academic, I just need to work on the adjectival aspects of it??? ;)

It is true that to an extent, this is an 'academic game' in sussing out Tolkien's (purported) sources, whether direct or inspirational, but as Tim points out, Tolkien was quite open about it. Shakespeare, on the other hand, wasn't, and this indirect discussion of plagiarism is quite fascinating. Plagiarists or not, Shakespeare and Tolkien turned their (not so) raw materials into brilliant works as far as I'm concerned.

Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 2:30 am

I think that all writers are "thieves" in one way or another. It is essentially impossible to write anything truly new. Simply can't be done, as by the time one has learned the skills of the language, one has already been exposed to a large body of work. Tolkien obviously borrowed very heavily from earlier works, and that is no bad thing. My personal opinion, is that the inspiration he got from the sagas, etc, turned an (arguably) somewhat arrogant (and not necessarily particularly likeable) academic, that was - by the accounts of many critics - a mediocre author into one that was able to produce a genuine classic (LOTR) and a nice Children's story (The Hobbit). I think the depth that sits behind LOTR, in particular, is what makes it great, even if the writing is often considered to be a bit patchy by critics. I believe that the depth came from the older stories and linguistic sources that he studied as an academic.

I think, perhaps, that there has been too much poring through his notes post mortem. As interesting as some bits of HoME are, perhaps Christopher went too far, aided and abetted by an increasingly greedy publisher keen to squeeze out every last dollar. Not everything is worth publishing, and Tolkien has had more lesser quality work published than finer work, and that is a pity (and not, I suspect what he would have personally wanted - he surely chose to leave many things unfinished for a reason). If an author chooses not to publish or finish something in his own lifetime, perhaps it is best to honour that choice.

Jul 24, 2015, 7:20 pm


I have to say that in Tolkien's defence, he wasn't that really interested in the purest sense about the LOTR and the Hobbit being stand alone successes but a window to his sub-creation. Whilst the financial rewards were obviously welcome, jRRT was far too honest and sincere a gentleman to plagiarise, pilfer or purloin any material. Using existing material that remember, all his peers, would be well aware of their source, is as natural as using the OED to help you write.

JRRT was in the end, a brilliant architect.Most people only see two stained glass windows of his Cathedral.

Jul 24, 2015, 10:07 pm

Interesting conversation. Where do we find Tolkien arrogant and unlikeable? I've not read any biographies on him, and I have no horse in this race. Just curious.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 11:10 pm

>14 SgtStryker0331:

That's just a feeling I have received when reading some of his letters and comments in the past. I'd say he is inconsistent - he can sometimes come across as humble and gracious, and sometimes not so. I suspect it is a result of the whole Oxford thing. Christopher is by some accounts quite similar. I can't give any specific examples (off hand), but I probably could if I picked up "Letters" and had a pore through. He was certainly somewhat odd.

Edited: Jul 24, 2015, 11:18 pm

>13 LesMiserables:

I don't think anyone is suggesting the stole any material from his contemporaries, simply that he was very heavily influenced by certain older sources. It is self-evident, and I don't really have an issue with it. He created a convincing and enjoyable world and told a few decent stories within it, for which I am thankful.

Jul 24, 2015, 11:44 pm

Page 3 turned this thread into quite a new direction ;)

Jul 25, 2015, 12:01 am

>13 LesMiserables: and some people see a cathedral whenever they see a stained glass window I suppose.

Jul 25, 2015, 12:38 am

Talk about begging the question!
Obviously disdain coming through for JRRT, loud and clear.

Perhaps another thread and not this one?

Edited: Jul 25, 2015, 5:02 am

>19 LesMiserables:

Don't know that it is really disdain (I think that might be exaggerating things). From my perspective, obviously I enormously enjoy and collect his works and have done for many years. That doesn't stop me seeing him as being flawed, just as all people are (each in a variety of different ways). I'm never a fan of hero worship. Plus he is was a Catholic, and I haven't forgiven them for the Inquisition :) That said, perhaps I should re-read Letters and Carpenter's biography and see if I form a different impression all these years later. I find my opinions often change over time.

Jul 25, 2015, 7:14 am


Plus he is was a Catholic, and I haven't forgiven them for the Inquisition

Perhaps, it might be apt to read about the inquisition too, and know the froth from the facts.

Edited: Jul 25, 2015, 9:15 am

>19 LesMiserables: actually I quite like his writings Les Miserables. I would like to point out you are chasing me because I responded to someone who called his academic works dull, or at least read by dull people. A point I disagree with.

Perhaps you should read a post in its entirety before donning your armor and rushing to the defense of an author who requires none: or, start a fan club page where you are entitled to determine who passes the test of loving your heroes enough to post and who does not.

My comment about cathedrals was directed towards you, not Tolkien.

Jul 25, 2015, 10:10 am


My comment about cathedrals was directed towards you, not Tolkien.

Good heavens. Really!

Edited: Jul 25, 2015, 6:12 pm

>20 Studedoo:

Perhaps, it might be apt to read about the inquisition too, and know the froth from the facts.

It's called humour.

Jul 25, 2015, 8:14 pm

I seem to have set people on quite the path. I was only making a bit of fun. All writers steal. It's a requirement.

Jul 25, 2015, 8:56 pm

>25 Jason461: Actually it was >3 JeromeJ: who lit the fuse:) followed by me defending dull ol' Scholasticus and dull academics everywhere followed by Les Miserables who thinks his opinions carry the weight of a papal bull - After the inquisition/Catholic comments I think I know why.

So really a number of us are to blame. My sin is venial.

Jul 25, 2015, 8:58 pm

>24 Studedoo: I strongly suspect for Les miserables those were the good old days not to be made light of by us modern apostates.

Jul 25, 2015, 9:11 pm

>21 LesMiserables:

I think you skipped over the emoticon that Studedoo included in >20 Studedoo:. Was pretty obvious to everyone else that Studeoo was merely being humorous. Though if you really want the finest humour concerning the Inquisition, you can't do any better than Monty Python's magnificent 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!' Gets me every time I watch it. :) (And before you jump down my throat, yes, I know all about the distinctions between the various inquisitions in Europe from the 13th c. through to the Spanish, as well as all the myths and outright slanders that have been built up/thrown against the 'Inquisition' as a general concept. Even then, I still find the humour in Stu's post and Monty Python's to be amusing.)


dull ol' Scholasticus and dull academics everywhere

Proof that I have finally become a full-fledged academic! ;)

Edited: Jul 25, 2015, 9:30 pm

>28 scholasticus: you are bound to ruin my fun aren't you :) in my experience the best academics are the dull ones. Anyone think Doctor Angelicus was a riot? How 'bout Leodamas, Plato or Theaetetus? Actually, Leodamas was probably a riot as a teacher.

See how I worked a scholastic(us) and some (of the) Academics in there for ya?

Spanish inquisition, heck! I sure didn't expect the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X either!

Jul 26, 2015, 12:21 am


No scholasticus. It was pretty obvious to everyone that it was an attempt at humour at the expense of the Catholic Church. For those who are Catholics and take their Faiths seriously, the humour is not humour, but distasteful error.

Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 1:36 am

>30 LesMiserables:

Yes, you are correct, it was humour at the expense of the Catholic church. I'm happy to be humorous about any church or religion, Catholic or otherwise. You might not like it, but I don't consider your faith to have any more importance than my lack of faith. Lack of blasphemy is why the world is stuffed and run by greedy idiots. To be honest, if your faith is so weak that a joke about the Inquisition offends you, you need to take a long hard look at what you believe in (you should do this anyway).

That said, I wasn't aware of your Catholicism (and nor do I care about it), and the comment wasn't pointed at you.

Jul 26, 2015, 3:47 am


Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back. --Beninese

Edited: Sep 11, 8:16 am

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Jul 26, 2015, 6:51 am

It's a typhoon in a dunny.

Jul 26, 2015, 9:11 am

So... J.R.R. Tolkien and stuff.

Jul 26, 2015, 10:45 am

Okay. So I have not read the Silmarillon. Is it worth reading from an entertainment perspective, or is it more interesting from an academic perspective?

Jul 26, 2015, 10:57 am

Its more to say you've been able to read it. Took me awhile (tried as a child, mistake) and finally made it all the way through but I won't pretend I remember it all, or much. The writing is fairly dense. I like Children of Hurin as a gentler introduction. But I do plan to read Silmarrilion again soon.

Jul 26, 2015, 11:01 am

I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to read Silmarillon, or any of the others. Don't get me wrong - there's something wonderful about delving deeper into the legendarium of Middle-earth, but I'm not sure these volumes were really meant to be read cover to cover, if that makes sense. And in a more practical sense, where ever would I put copies of these books??? My bookshelves are full to bursting these days.

Jul 26, 2015, 11:04 am

>38 scholasticus: I *almost* bought a kindle yesterday.

Jul 26, 2015, 11:33 am

I agree with cstojano, it's kind of an accomplishment read. It took me two tries to get through when I was maybe 17 and I haven't read it since (I'll be 35 tomorrow). There is interesting stuff there, but as I recall the chronicles of the early part of Middle Earth history are especially dull. A lot of elves fighting about who has the prettier baubles. It's been a long time though, so I may not be remembering perfectly.

Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 3:19 pm

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Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 4:57 pm

>32 LesMiserables:

You seem to be implying I would want to take them back. I absolutely don't.

By anyway, back onto topic.


The Silmarillion is good from an entertainment perspective if you can get into the right mind-set for it. It took me a couple of failed attempts to manage it, at which point I enjoyed it. I don't objectively think it is a good book, but there is some magic buried within it and it certainly adds depth to re-reads of LOTR.

Jul 26, 2015, 5:08 pm

For the Silmarrillion it might help to watch a youtube summary before reading it to understand how the different parts are supposed to fit together. I like the one by CCPGrey but there are others. In terms of bragging rights I find that in the post film era it is an accomplishment to even crack open any of the books when talking to the random person on the street.

Jul 26, 2015, 5:54 pm

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Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 6:47 pm

>44 JeromeJ:

Objectively, you are a good example on this forum of an obsessive collector (in your case of Tolkien) who has poor judgment. Stick with the kids stuff if it serves you well but please don't spread about your opinions so confidently !

I'll spread my opinions however I feel appropriate, thanks. The Silmarillion was patched together from sources that were inconsistent and CT attempted to create a coherent whole from something that was not in a state to do so. It works better in some places than in others. But (and this is what Tolkien obsessives like to forget) it is just fiction. Yep, that's right -- it isn't "real", so you don't have to be so defensive. I'll just say it again - FICTION. Doesn't matter. Not important.

I think if the majority of readers are unable to read a work of fiction, then it can not objectively be regarded as good. That is the rule of "objective goodness" that I have chosen to apply (despite, as I stated, the fact that I enjoyed it myself). I think it says a lot about you that you think your opinion has more weight than mine. That you care enough to be annoyed, suggests you are the obsessive one (I probably buy one or two Tolkien books a year, and some years I don't buy any -- I am interested in the details and printing history, though).

I have enough awareness to know that my enjoying it has no bearing on whether it is technically "good". As stated, I would judge a work of fiction as being good if the majority of readers can approach it and gain value from it. This is not the case with the Silmarillion, based on the people that I have spoken to. I would similarly judge a factual work's "goodness" on the accuracy of the content and the ease with which the content could be digested by the reader.

The original question was "is it worth reading from an entertainment perspective, or is it more interesting from an academic perspective?". The majority of people I have spoken to on the subject have not felt it was particularly worth reading from an entertainment perspective. And no, they weren't kids.

Thanks for your input, though. It is only through people like yourself that the world can be enlightened and pulled out of the darkness caused by dissenting opinions. I don't consider myself to be a Tolkien expert (and never have). I have read the majority of the published material, not just the "kids" stuff (as you describe it) like LOTR, though. I'll leave my future commentary on the works themselves to the experts such as yourself, and I'll stick to number-lines and copyright notices.

Jul 26, 2015, 6:54 pm

I disagree with the notion the LOTR is for teenagers. The Hobbit is a children's book, and clearly so. LOTR is a very well written work. Much more so than The Silmarillion, in my opinion, as it pays attention to pacing and doesn't trip over its own high-flown language. That a some teenagers might enjoy it does not make it literature for teenagers.

I generally have no interest in what writers consider to be their best works. Often, I find them to be strikingly wrong. Just because they love something the most, doesn't make it the best.

But, and this is important, we are all entitled to our own opinions. My mother was fond of an aphorism about how we all have them, just like, well, I'll keep the language clean. Anyway, I doubt there's anyone here who isn't well read. I've read around 700 books that I've kept track of. I expect that's, at best, a middling total in this group, though it surpasses 99.9% of the rest of the world. So, perhaps, we can relax when telling people that their opinions are invalid.

Anyway, if someone here says they like The Silmarillion the best it only makes me think that I need to go back to it. I went back to LOTR a year and a half ago and still found it wonderful. Revisiting works is important, especially works we haven't looked at in our adult lives.

Jul 26, 2015, 6:55 pm

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Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 7:04 pm

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Jul 26, 2015, 7:04 pm

>47 JeromeJ:

I'm pleased that you have gotten that out of your system.

Now, where is my copy of "The Beano"?

Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 2:16 am

>48 JeromeJ:

Studedoo is the only one in these threads who expresses his opinions with false confidence and I wanted to point it out.

Well, I think the only opinions I have ever expressed are "I don't like David Day's books", "it isn't worth getting upset about the Inquisition", and "I don't think the Sil is awesome (but I enjoyed it anyway)". I'm OK with my position on those subjects.

Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 8:41 pm

I had to look up "The Beano" :)


Jul 26, 2015, 8:51 pm

>48 JeromeJ:

My, you are awfully testy. There is a good deal in LOTR that won't be understood by 12 or 13 year olds. it's filled with symbolism, for instance. And as someone who teaches well-read 17 and 18 year olds for a living, I can tell you that many of them struggle with symbolism. And then there are the themes dealing with the conflict between and industrial society and pastoral society that I promise you 12 and 13 year olds don't get.

Browsing back through your posts, you seem very wrapped up in Tolkien's writing which is closest to "the old sagas." None of the very old literature fits the lofty requirements you hold for "adult work" (something you have yet to define, btw). Rather, it's mostly a bunch of episodic adventure stories often(but not always) with fairly obvious morals. Which isn't to say they aren't wonderful or worthwhile, but they certainly aren't nuanced.

I would love to hear you define what constitutes literary merit, since you seem so very sure of your own definition. I'd even wager, I could go toe to toe with you pretty well in a debate about the subject as teaching creative writing for half a dozen years, among other things, means I've spent a fair bit of time thinking on the subject.

But this has turned into an extremely nasty thread where it had been lighthearted and fun before. I think we are all taking ourselves a bit too seriously.

Jul 26, 2015, 9:26 pm

>44 JeromeJ: >47 JeromeJ:
Woah. It's ok to disagree with someone's views, but please don't use these boards for personal attacks. What a waste of time it was to scroll through this nonsense. And this is at least the second time you're doing it. If you feel an urge to flame, go comment on youtube posts or something. Or better yet - grow up. Seriously. Chill.
Now back to Tolkien.

Jul 26, 2015, 9:29 pm

I read LoTR when I was 10, Silmarillion when I was 15, I think. I did enjoy Sillmarillion greatly from the entertainment perspective, perhaps except the very beginning. Not as much as I enjoyed LoTR, but enjoyed it nevertheless, and they're very different works, really. I thought it was great from the world-building perspective, with pretty comprehensive mythology developed. Also enjoyed recognizing references to sources like Kalevala.

To be honest, I haven't re-read Tolkien since, so can't say for sure what 30-something me would say, but based on the memories of my impressions from 20 years ago, I'd say if you like LoTR and you like reading myths (Ancient Greek, Norse, etc.) - go for it. If you like LoTR but not really into mythology - skip it.

Jul 26, 2015, 9:37 pm

>54 elladan0891:

I think you just convinced me to give Silmarillion a shot, given my love of Graeco-Roman mythology, as well as Celtic and Norse mythology. Won't say no to a good medieval myth or epic, either!

I just need to get around to finishing reading Thucydides first.... ;) (Tim - BINDINGSTHATLAST - will get the joke.)

Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 9:56 pm

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Jul 26, 2015, 10:04 pm

>36 BINDINGSTHATLAST: Personally I found the majority of the Silmarillion entertaining enough that I did not have to force myself to continue reading. Try it out for a bit; no shame in quitting.

Jul 26, 2015, 10:07 pm

The moment when someone moves the goal posts and fails to address an argument, is the moment when I walk away from the discussion.

On a lighter note, I will likely try the Silmarillion again sometime soon. Which, for me, probably means next year, if I'm being honest. Still, I'll try it again and see.

Jul 26, 2015, 10:37 pm

>54 elladan0891: convinced and ordered from FS along with the Barzun, incidentally and completely unrelated. Thanks.

>55 scholasticus: amen, brother. Thucydides rocks though and is easy for me to get through. Currently splitting my time between Thucydides and Erasmus.


Jul 26, 2015, 11:56 pm

When I was ten years old, many decades ago, a very wise teacher who knew my love of reading, suggested that I try reading this brand new book called Lord of the Rings over the Christmas holiday.
I requested a copy for Christmas, and received three beautiful hard bound volumes with massive fold out maps.
I read it and loved it.
I have now read LotR at least ten times over the years, and still own my grey covered first edition set that I received so long ago.
Unfortunately, having been read so many times, they could only be described as being in fair condition.

Jul 27, 2015, 2:32 am

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Edited: Jul 31, 2015, 3:50 am

Apologies to everyone for my part in turning this thread into the nasty mean-spirited thing it has needlessly become. Hopefully it will improve going forward if the squabblers (myself included) can show a bit more maturity. I don't hold out a lot of hope, given JeromeJ's track record of being pointlessly obnoxious (self-esteem issues, methinks), but I have discovered "Block Member" and have applied it judiciously.

But as JeromeJ correctly pointed out, teenage pursuits are more at my level than big, complicated books. And to that end, I recently implemented a port of the old 1982 ZX Spectrum Text Adventure, "The Hobbit" to Mac OSX.

It was a lot of fun to write, albeit fairly time consuming. I think anyone who had a Spectrum in the early 80s is familiar with the phrase "Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold". And there are a good few who - like myself - got damn sick of being killed in the forest by those blummin' bulbous eyes on the way back after killing Smaug.

Americans that remember it would probably have seen it on the Timex Sinclair 2068 (but there were also versions for lots of other platforms of the day)

In the UK, the game was supplied with the 1981 Unwin Paperbacks edition of The Hobbit (which is why it is a favourite version).

Jul 27, 2015, 7:14 am

Well I must say that this ongoing Tolkien thread, being a second continuation of the original, was one of my favourites on FSD and I rather suspect that it has taken a turn for the worst, by needless subjective bluster on the part of some who would take the thread purposefully away from an appreciation of Tolkien editions, to one of attacking his work.

As Quicksilver66 said at the very start of the first Tolkien thread...

As there are so many Tolkien lovers here I thought I should start this thread so that we can be contained and quarantined from the non-Tolkien lovers and stop infecting the Travels in Arabia Deserta thread with our obsession.

I would hate to see these fine threads deteriorate into childish squabbles by those who are intent on deriding JRRT's canon as facile pulp fiction.

Jul 27, 2015, 9:33 am

>55 scholasticus: and especially >59 BINDINGSTHATLAST:
You guys didn't need much enablement, did you? )

Jul 27, 2015, 9:40 am

>62 Studedoo:

Somewhat related, I spent many hours playing "Lords of Midnight" on the Spectrum. Another Tolkien inspired game. 30 years ago or so.

Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 10:04 am

>64 elladan0891: no. I can't speak for Scholasticus, but my acquisition disorder is running smack into my problem of a lack of shelf space. I committed to myself to only buy LEs from now on...but so far I am failing. I should have collected stamps...

I also picked up a couple of the Seward volumes too :)


Jul 27, 2015, 10:05 am

>65 SimB: hmmm, I might have been too young for those, but I remember King's Quest and Quest for Glory. The latter certainly drew some influence from JRR, also from Ibsen as I remember.

Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 10:11 am


No kidding!

>64 elladan0891:

No, no, I certainly didn't need much! :) Though I admit that I'll be content with the Kindle edition for now; if I like it, I may consider purchasing a hardcover edition (either FS or HaperCollins).


Oh, KQ. I adored these games growing up, and still do. Every once in a while, I fire up the PC with the express purpose of playing either KQ V or VI (the best of the series, no question), though lately I've been puzzling my way on and off through KQ IX.

Jul 27, 2015, 12:57 pm

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Jul 27, 2015, 12:59 pm

>69 EclecticIndulgence:

Count me in! I presume that we'd start reading in late August on your schedule? Well, I guess it doesn't matter as long as we've read something by mid- to late September.

Jul 27, 2015, 1:05 pm

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Jul 27, 2015, 1:07 pm

>71 JeromeJ:

Why should the Ainulindale be skipped? Just curious. I presume it can be read after the Quenta in your estimation, yes?

Jul 27, 2015, 1:17 pm

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Jul 27, 2015, 1:27 pm

>69 EclecticIndulgence: I am in!

>68 scholasticus: I guess you won't want to know then that Sierra is relaunching KQ tomorrow!

Jul 27, 2015, 1:40 pm

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Edited: Jul 27, 2015, 4:40 pm

>72 scholasticus:
When I wrote earlier that I enjoyed Silmarillion from the entertainment perspective "perhaps except the very beginning", I had Ainulindalë in mind. That, of course, was 15-year-old me; still don't think there is much entertainment value there (as was originally asked), but maybe I'll find it beautiful if I read it now, who knows.

I wouldn't recommend skipping it though, it's Tolkien's world creation myth, after all. If you're not enjoying it, just keep in mind that it's the dullest part of the work, most of Silmarillion is different, and power through. I wouldn't skip Valaquenta either. Think of it as being a bit like most of the mythological canons, including Greek and Norse - you got some weird and not very exciting creation myths, then you get to know about the gods, and the most exciting parts are usually the epic heroic adventures.

As I said earlier, you will probably like Silmarillion if you enjoy mythology, and then it makes sense to read the whole thing starting with the creation myth, which you probably don't expect to be very exciting anyways. And if mythology is not your sort of thing, I don't think there is much point in reading the Sil, and the likelihood of dropping it would be extremely high with Ainulindale or not.

These are my thoughts for the first reading. Re-reading the Sil on a regular basis for fun is a different story though - I can easily imagine skipping Ainulindalë altogether and going straight to the action.

Jul 27, 2015, 3:28 pm

The Ainulindalë is the only part I've read multiple times. That its short gives me that sense of accomplishment ;) The creation aspect is a bit dull but I always liked the metaphor of music to describe Melkor's earliest doings.

Jul 27, 2015, 3:42 pm


I disagree. Those sections are the equivalent of Genesis and are fundamental to Tolkien's creation.

Jul 27, 2015, 4:06 pm

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Edited: Jul 28, 2015, 1:03 am

>65 SimB:

Yes, Lords of Midnight was also quite revolutionary back then, especially the way the graphics were layered. It was an interesting time, as a lot of things that we now take for granted (such as rudimentary AI and simple but effective graphics) had started to become possible (albeit difficult with only 48K and an assembler to work with). Building the rules of a little universe and letting it play out is a lot of fun. On my first drafts of The Hobbit remake, before I had tuned it properly, I had problems with characters stealing items of the scenery (such as doors) and throwing them in the dungeon. Goblins would often throw each other into dungeons. There is a lot that goes on in the background in what appears to be a simple text adventure -- which is what made it unique at the time (along with the provision of a language parser that was way beyond anything else available). And unlike the movies (which I do not personally value), the game actually got kids to read the book, as they were distributed as a package.


Sadly, I didn't get to play any of the Sierra games as they were PC-based and I only had the Spectrum. I do remember thinking they looked rather good, though.

Jul 29, 2015, 6:49 am

Took some time to look through my new LOTR edition. Lovely Alan Lee illustrations. Remarkable painting of Treebeard.

Aug 4, 2015, 11:11 am

I think I'm going to have a go with The Silmarillion. The reviews I've seen are mixed so I'm curious on what I'll think of it.

Aug 7, 2015, 2:24 pm

They've dug out another unfinished draft to publish:

Aug 7, 2015, 3:04 pm

Meh. Sounds simply like an unfinished retelling or an attempt at translation of a few chapters from Kalevala.

Aug 7, 2015, 3:27 pm

>84 elladan0891: I concur. Of course, that's not unlike most of what's been published in the last 20 years.

Aug 7, 2015, 6:16 pm

It was already published with commentary in Tolkien Studies Vol. 7. I'm not sure why HarperCollins are claiming it is previously unpublished (other than to sell more copies). I do believe that volume is OOP, though (and the digital version is expensive).

No idea how well it was received when published by 2010. I guess the audience for journals is fairly small.

Aug 7, 2015, 6:25 pm

>86 Studedoo:

Interesting. Still, if you only want this story, Harper's £16.99 is rather cheaper than the £125 being asked on Abe for the Tolkien Studies volume.

Aug 7, 2015, 7:33 pm

>87 boldface:

Agreed. I couldn't bring myself to stump up the money for it (and the digital price being the same as the print price irks me), so the 16.99 version is welcome.

Aug 12, 2015, 7:34 pm

So we are on page 3 of this thread and I never really considered the actual books we are supposed to be discussing: the Folio Society Tolkien offerings. This is mostly because I don't find them attractive at all. Now other FS editions of other books look very nice. So my question as per the original topic is whether the FS books in general are worth the money. I am particular fond of some of the ancient peoples and "great explorers" titles.

Aug 13, 2015, 12:39 am

>89 cstojano: In fairness, the original topic was actually an "off-topic" one specifically started to consider, and show pictures of, Tolkien publications from non-FS publishers (a previous thread on an unrelated topic had veered off course, and therefore a separate topic was set up to contain the discussion). It has, of course, become one of the most popular FSD threads of all time!

Aug 13, 2015, 11:26 am

Little did I know as this is the only thread I have ever looked at on here.

Aug 18, 2015, 12:07 pm

I've just recently acquired the Latin version of The Hobbit, ISBN 978-0-00-744521-9, published in 2012:

This, I feel, is essential for completists!

Aug 18, 2015, 12:11 pm

>93 boldface:

It's wonderful, isn't it? I particularly like how elegant the Latin is, though non-Latinists may find the lack of capitalisation disconcerting!

I also own Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, and the first two Harry Potter books in the language of the old Romans.

Aug 18, 2015, 3:57 pm


Brilliant. I must have it.

Aug 18, 2015, 4:00 pm

Seems you can access it here on pdf. Not sure of the legality?

Aug 18, 2015, 4:08 pm

>96 LesMiserables:

Oh, those links go to torrent sites. Very much not legal, but that doesn't stop people from using torrent sites for everything under the sun (and usually as far away from the light of day as possible!).

Just buy the book. You'll be happier.

Aug 18, 2015, 4:24 pm


Oh, definitely. I'm very much a hands on spendthrift :-)

Aug 18, 2015, 4:46 pm

I really like the mosaic style cover on this one as well.

Aug 18, 2015, 5:20 pm

>94 scholasticus:

Oh, right. I forgot I have some 'Asterix and Obelix' volumes in Latin as well - quite apropos, if one ignores the fact that Asterix probably wouldn't have been speaking Latin anyways! :)

Aug 20, 2015, 11:48 am

>93 boldface: That is awesome.

Aug 20, 2015, 11:59 am

>101 mujahid7ia:

Yes. Now we really need an Elvish translation.

Aug 20, 2015, 4:41 pm

>102 boldface:

But Quenya or Sindarin?

Aug 20, 2015, 10:10 pm

>103 mujahid7ia:

Both—on facing pages!

Sep 6, 2015, 3:59 am

Is the whole of the Silmarillon available in the third Volume of the Harper Collins XII Bk 'History of the Middle earth?

Edited: Sep 13, 2015, 7:43 am

This may well be of Interest to someone on here:

(Lay of Aotrou and Itroun with commentary in both English and Serbian)

Picture courtesy of member Onónion on the tolkienguide website.

The actual Lay can be read at

Sep 11, 2015, 6:31 pm

>106 Studedoo:

Thanks. Ordered!

Sep 11, 2015, 6:45 pm

>105 LesMiserables:

In broad terms, material connected with the Silmarillion is contained in volumes 1-5, 10 and 11 of the 12-volume History of Middle-Earth. Think of it, perhaps, as the raw material from which Christopher Tolkien edited his edition of the Silmarillion.

Sep 11, 2015, 7:55 pm


Thanks Boldface. I am going through a bout of influenza (Warwick, what is going on in Brisbane at this moment?!) so I have not had the energy or time to explore my set, but I had thought that in the final book, Christopher Tolkien, had set out the revisions and settled on a final version. I think now, muddled mind that I have, it is more like a compendium of examples of revisions than anything complete.

Sep 11, 2015, 8:56 pm

>109 LesMiserables:

I wish you a speedy recovery. As it happens, my son and family were over from Perth during August and gave both my wife and I very nasty sore throats and a cough which is still with us! (We don't blame them, though - it was lovely to see them, of course!). My wife, who's a teacher, is now back at school after the "Summer" holidays and tells me today she has another sore throat. End of health report.

Part One of volume 12 of History of Middle-Earth contains source material for the appendices to Lord of the Rings, including (chapter 5) a commentary on The History of the Akallabêth. Material on this and the related Fall of Númenor also appears scattered through volume 5. To be honest, Tolkien's working notes are so complicated and stretched across so many decades of time that it really isn't easy to keep track of them. The History of Middle-Earth is a very complicated document!

Sep 11, 2015, 10:02 pm

>109 LesMiserables:
Unfortunately the influenza vaccine in Australia this year did not cover all the strains of influenza that eventuated, and we are suffering the worst influenza epidemic in many years. On the (slightly) bright side, once symptoms start to ease, it gives patients extra time to catch up on reading before returning to work.

Sep 11, 2015, 11:20 pm


Well I'm staying in bed (from Friday after work) until Monday morning when I have to go back to work - Verification time for OP students.

I'm busy reading the Silmarillion which is very enjoyable.

I also have Adler's How to Read a Book and St Alphonsus' Uniformity with God's Will to break things up.

Unless I get a very high temperature i'm not going to overburden the doctors here more than necessary.

Sep 12, 2015, 3:09 am

>107 boldface:

Glad the info was useful. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy. I like the poem, if a little bleak in content!

Sep 24, 2015, 6:18 pm

Just in case you missed it, the Tolkien books fall under the Mythology 20% off sale now on, and you can still use the G20PFM on top of that!

Sep 24, 2015, 7:35 pm

>106 Studedoo:, 113

My copy of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun arrived today. It's bound in laminated boards and nicely printed on what looks like good-quality paper. There are decorative maps on the endpapers and I was pleasantly surprised to see also eight colour plates on glossy paper, two each by Aleksandar Mikić (who is also the translator) and Ruth Lacon, one by Anke Eissmann, and three by Ted Nasmith. All in all a valuable addition to the Tolkien canon (ISBN 978-86-918845-0-5).

I see from the publication info that only 500 copies have been printed, so hurry up if you want one (details on the Studedoo's link in post 106 above). However, as it's been printed by a firm in Novi Sad called Abraka Dabra, no doubt they'll be able to rustle up a second edition if you ask them to wave their magic wand.

Sep 25, 2015, 12:51 am

>115 boldface:

Still waiting for my copy. Hopefully hasn't fallen victim to the postal gremlins and will arrive soon!

Sep 25, 2015, 6:32 am

Is it numbered?

Sep 25, 2015, 7:56 am

Just ordered The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion taking advantage of the 20% Myths discount combined with the 20% off voucher. I have the Hobbit in these editions so it's now complete.

Sep 25, 2015, 2:03 pm

>116 Studedoo:

I'm sure you'll get it very soon. Throughout the transaction Aleksandar was very anxious that the book should arrive safely and asked me to email him when I received it, which I did. He replied saying he hoped I would enjoy reading it and would I let him have any feedback.

>117 JerryMmm:

The book isn't numbered - it just states that 500 copies have been printed.

Edited: Sep 25, 2015, 4:31 pm


In case anyone hasn't got it yet, The Atlas of Middle earth is indispensable for reading The Silmarillion which I currently am in the midst of.

Sep 25, 2015, 6:23 pm

>120 LesMiserables:

I agree. The Atlas of Middle Earth is a very useful resource and a beautiful book in its own right.

Edited: Sep 25, 2015, 6:43 pm

From where did you order these with the discount? Is this Folio Society or something else? Thanks

Sep 25, 2015, 6:47 pm


Yes these are FS Editions which are currently on sale with a 20% discount as part of the Myths deal.

I used G20PFM for the added 20%

A great deal :-)

Edited: Sep 25, 2015, 9:41 pm

>121 boldface:

"Thirded". The Atlas really is a fantastic book (and created by a professional cartographer). No one who likes Tolkien's ME stuff should be without a copy.

Sep 25, 2015, 9:58 pm

>124 Studedoo: and others:

What edition of the Atlas do you recommend? I would certainly be interested in picking up a copy at some point, as I really enjoyed Silmarillion.

Edited: Sep 26, 2015, 12:39 am

>125 scholasticus:

I've got the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt softcover edition and the Easton Press edition. I'm not aware of any specific differences between the two (and there probably aren't any as EP just seems to reprint what is already there most of the time). I tend to use the softcover.

Sep 26, 2015, 9:51 am

After previously reading The Hobbit, I have just started the LOTR trilogy started The Fellowship of the Rings last night and couldn't put it down. What a fantastic read so far. I was not blow away by The Hobbit, but I find myself really enjoying the first part of the trilogy.

Sep 27, 2015, 4:41 am


I'm very happy for you. What a wonderful creation you are entering.

On another note: after Mass today, we got home, opened a nice Red from the Barossa and watched the extended edition of Peter Jackson's LOTR I.

I've begun to appreciate how much PJ has given us in these films, rather than what is botched. I can fully appreciate Christopher Tolkien's feeling of betrayal of course, given his complete immergence in his father's work, but I wonder how many folk would have missed Tolkien's world and reading these works, had it not been for these films.

Naturally, I withdraw all words of kindness and endearment for the subsequent heretical Hobbit film farce.

Sep 27, 2015, 10:19 pm

>119 boldface:

Arrived today. Nice little book - I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.

Oct 15, 2015, 11:59 am

Anyone read The Story of Kullervo yet? I bought my HarperCollins copy last month and need to finish reading it. I have enjoyed what I read so far and look forward to finishing it soon.

Oct 16, 2015, 5:23 am

Jonathan, did you contact Aleksandar Mikić by email and ordered it?

Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 6:06 am

>131 ironjaw:

I ordered the Lay of Aotrou and Itroun dirtectly from Aleksander (as did Boldface/Jonathan). The price I paid was 20 Euro + 10 Euro shipping. I'm still reading through the commentary, but have enjoyed it so far. There is the odd typo and the occasional bit of unwieldy English, but it is definitely a very worthwhile addition, and it was nice to have the lay in printed form. It is well worth the money, IMHO.

Aleksandar's email address is

Oct 16, 2015, 7:10 am

>132 Studedoo:

Thanks, I've just contacted Aleksander.

Oct 16, 2015, 11:08 am

>131 ironjaw:

Studedoo has said it all. I hope you enjoy it, Faisel.

Oct 18, 2015, 6:33 pm

>135 Jason461:

That's very interesting, Jason. This looks like a successor to Pictures by J. R. R. Tolkien, first published in 1979. A while ago, I posted a few pics from it here:

The new book is in a similar format but slightly smaller overall, though, with more than twice the number of pages there must be lots more goodies to explore. Mind you, both the 'Gates of Moria' pictures featured in the article have already been reproduced in the earlier book and, before that, in the Tolkien Calendar for 1973. The first Moria picture shown in the article was also featured in the calendars for 1974 and (slightly truncated) 1977.

It's good to see the variant Balin tomb inscriptions. Christopher Tolkien has quite a lot on them in The History of Middle Earth, vols. 6 & 7, particularly 7: The Treason of Isengard, p.186 and pp. 464-5, where in both places there are yet more examples of the inscription reproduced.

Edited: Oct 18, 2015, 6:44 pm

>136 boldface:

By all accounts it is a nice book. I really wanted it, but decided to stick to my principles and not order it, due to it being printed in China. It makes no difference (HarperCollins will no doubt move all their printing to China in due course), but no point in making a stand if I just roll over the first time there is something I want!

Oct 18, 2015, 7:40 pm

>137 Studedoo:

Are your principles related to politics or quality? I've got several books printed in China which don't seem much different from those printed anywhere else.

Edited: Oct 18, 2015, 8:04 pm

>138 boldface:

It is just down to the fact that as we move all western production to China, (a) we end up with an unemployment crisis (whilst enriching certain corporations in both the west and China), and (b) by enriching China, they then use those US Dollars to buy up western assets (despite it being pretty much impossible for western entities to do the same in China). This is a huge problem in the antipodes at the moment. (c), for anything that needs to work for an extended period, Chinese stuff is mostly crap.

I won't buy Chinese unless there is no other choice (which sadly is the case quite often). It is already too late, but at least I can put my hand on my heart and say "I'm not part of the problem".

Oct 18, 2015, 9:43 pm

Just breezed through the trilogy because I couldn't put it down. I can't believe I waited so long to read it.

Oct 18, 2015, 10:17 pm

I just finished reading The Art of The Lord of the Rings by the redoubtable Hammond-Scully team. As a devotee of the novel, I found much to enjoy--most importantly, the Professor's artistry itself, as well as the investigation of the relationship of Tolkien's pictorial imagination (both through illustration and cartography) to the evolution of the text. In this sense the book is a happy companion to the History of Middle-Earth volumes dealing with the novel. However, I would bet that a non-fanatic would find the book pretty shallow. Every little sketch--and I mean even the tiniest, substance-less scrawl--is faithfully reproduced and described. I'm not sure that such a catalogue raisonnee could have any appeal to the casual fan of the novel.

Edited: Oct 18, 2015, 11:49 pm

>141 jfclark: jfclark: I received the Book The Art of the Lord of The Rings. Is a beautiful book, many sketches and maps. I am enjoying reading the commentary about the sketches and maps.

Oct 19, 2015, 11:35 am

I had The Art of the Lord of The Rings on my wishlist and totally forgot about the release date. Thanks for the reminder!

Oct 23, 2015, 3:49 pm

Adherents of this thread may wish to check their piggy banks:

Oct 23, 2015, 6:04 pm

>144 affle:

How very interesting. Why don't I ever find things like this in the numerous secondhand books I buy!! Anyhow, it would seem, then, that my newly-acquired The Art of the Lord of the Rings, just published, has gone out of date overnight! I would add, though, that it does contain some beautiful reproductions of the original hand-drawn map.

I ought also to add, now that I have seen the new book, that I was wrong in my post >136 boldface:. It is actually the equivalent (and I should have realised this at once) of Hammond and Scull's The Art of The Hobbit, published in 2011. Rather than being essentially a picture-book like the one I mentioned above, this is a fully-written account, with accompanying illustrations, of Tolkien's pictorial work on The Lord of the Rings and how he wanted his art presented in the final published volumes, even down to the dust jacket designs. Needless to say, economic constraints robbed us of many of his ideas for illustration - at least until now.

Oct 24, 2015, 12:39 am

Oct 24, 2015, 2:05 am

>146 LesMiserables:

Some strong opinions there from Joseph Pearce, whose book, Tolkien: Man and Myth, I mentioned in an earlier "Tolkien Thread". I shall be checking out the two books reviewed in the not-too-distant future, I hope.

Oct 24, 2015, 2:17 am


Yes, he is pretty much of the opinion that Carpernter's works are not up to it. I have read Carpenter's 'Tolkien' and his 'Inklings" so I'm looking forward to reading these two. I'm pretty much convinced that Pearce knows his stuff, but I'll reserve judgement until I have gnawed over the bones of both of these at Christmas.

Oct 24, 2015, 2:30 am

>146 LesMiserables:

This has just reminded me to mention that Charles Williams: The Third Inkling by Grevel Lindop has just this week been published by OUP. There's an interesting review and comments on it at

For those of a nervous disposition, it has to be said that Williams was a very strange person indeed!

Oct 24, 2015, 3:11 am

>149 boldface:

For those of a nervous disposition, it has to be said that Williams was a very strange person indeed!

All the Inklings were pretty strange to a lesser or (mostly) greater extent, IMHO...

Oct 24, 2015, 7:25 am

Another new biography I recommend is The Fellowship, by Philip and Carol Zaleski:

Williams's strangeness was of a particularly unsavory variety. Yet at the same time he was highly attractive and influential to those around him. The group biography helps to bring out these relationships.

Oct 26, 2015, 5:00 am


Yes, see #146 for review

Oct 26, 2015, 6:13 am

>146 LesMiserables:
Very interesting review. In the Zaleskis' book the Williams story is somewhat broken off so it's good to know more -- if rather stomach-turning.

Oct 26, 2015, 7:01 am

I've got no idea about Williams. What was so bad about him?

Edited: Oct 27, 2015, 12:11 am

>154 JerryMmm:

I haven't read the books. There may be more to know, but my understanding is that he was into (fairly mild) sexual sadism, but that also that his partners were willing and adult. It also appears he was somewhat nuts theologically speaking, but then religion always seems nuts to me, even when more "mainstream". What is truly "stomach-turning" to one person may not be that much of a big deal to another. Certainly not my cup-of-tea, and I wouldn't have been wanting him as a houseguest, but if only consenting and otherwise non-vulnerable adults are involved in such matters, what people do in private is largely their own business.

Maybe there is more deviant/unpleasant stuff covered in the biographies, but not really someone I'd have that much interest in knowing more about (not being interested in his work or religion).

Oct 26, 2015, 2:44 pm

Oct 26, 2015, 4:51 pm

the synopses of his novels there make me interested. I didn't read anything unseemly on the wiki, perhaps the master/disciple with younger women part? Oh well, like you say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

On the one hand we miss characters like that these days, society's duller for it. On the other hand, much progress has been made when it comes to equality despite of characters like that.

Edited: Oct 27, 2015, 12:31 pm

For all you Tolkien fans out there, Folio's latest batch of buy-ins includes a four-volume 'Tolkien Treasury', consisting of Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major. Folio's price is £2 more than Amazon's, but then of course with Amazon you don't get a free Folio 2016 diary, the opportunity of getting £10 off if your total basket comes to £75, and FS Customer Services!

Regrettably, Folio's website doesn't recognize the set as four volumes, so the very unslipcased Slightly Foxed volume isn't automatically added to the basket.

(edited to spell Tolkien correctly, showing that I'm not quite a JRRT Devotee!)

Oct 27, 2015, 3:12 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 27, 2015, 4:12 pm

Drat, I had desensitized myself until I had seen the Tolkien set. Any valid coupons current?

Edited: Oct 29, 2015, 12:17 am

>159 EclecticIndulgence:

These are the pocket editions that have been released over the last 3 years or so. They actually match pretty well, IMHO. The spines aren't identical because each book has different wraparound artwork (except Roverandom, which has a separate image on the rear board) and the spine-titling corresponds with the titling on the front boards. To have made them identical would have made each book worse for the sake of uniformity.

They are a re-packaged slap-together, in terms that the books were individually released over period of a couple of years, but they are all of corresponding format (HC calls it "pocket" format), including positioning of logos, author name, etc. These, of course, won't be first printings thus (or probably aren't) of these particular editions.

They aren't my favourite editions (too small), and I'm not buying them again just to get the box, but equally they aren't bad. There is also a matching Pocket Hobbit (which matches Roverandom more than the other three).

Oct 27, 2015, 7:03 pm

>161 Studedoo:

Hopefully, they all feature the latest corrected texts. I think the Hammond/Scull duo have re-edited and corrected all these in the last ten years.

Edited: Oct 27, 2015, 7:17 pm

>162 boldface:

Yes, they are definitely the latest updated versions. Can't remember the specific details pertaining to updated commentary, etc., but so far as I am aware they were all updated in one way or another.

(NB. Wootton Major is edited by Verlyn Flieger, rather than Hammond and Scull).

Oct 29, 2015, 10:08 am

Could one of you Tolkien experts please recommend the edition of LotR you'd choose if you could keep only one, from the point of view of content? I'm not thinking of deluxe and limited edition bindings (as beautiful as some are) so much as page paper quality and content, including supplementary material such as introduction/foreward, glossary and annotations, maps and illustrations. I'd be especially interested to know what you think of the standard Allen&Unwin or later Harper Collins editions compared to Folio's. Many thanks!

Edited: Oct 29, 2015, 2:29 pm

>164 cronshaw:

I can't go into a lot of detail at the moment as I'm away from home and typing on a tiny phone with slow internet, but personally I would go with the 3-volume LOTR plus LOTR Companion hardbacks in a single slipcase - 50th (possibly now 60th) Anniversary Edition. These are printed on decent paper, have the latest text and all the maps and appendices. They are the same format as the original Allen & Unwin editions, although my 1966 Second Editions (then the latest text) have red-stained tpps, sligjtly thicker paper and fold-out maps, rather than the songle-page maps of the latest version. The latter does have all the red printing of the original where called for.

Apologies for the typos!

Edited: Oct 29, 2015, 4:04 pm

Thanks Jonathan, that's very useful to know. I'm torn between the set with the LOTR Companion and one of the earlier sets with the larger fold-out maps. I take it there's no loss of detail in the single-page maps, that they're exactly the same but reduced in size? The latest Folio binding looks very smart, but I understand there's no fold-out map with the Folios, and of course no companion volume.

Enjoy your trip away wherever you are!

Oct 29, 2015, 5:41 pm

>166 cronshaw:

The single page maps are indeed the same as the fold-outs - just reduced in size. The resolution is very good, however, and perfectly clear with reasonable eyesight. If you go with the fold-outs just be careful that they are not torn or misfolded when you look for secondhand copies

(I'm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, returning home via Somerset at the weekend.)

Edited: Oct 30, 2015, 12:44 am

I'd second Boldface's suggestion of the 60th anniversary set. Unless I desperately wanted the Alan Lee illustrations, this would be the set I would go for in terms of best textual revision, and still available new.

If I wasn't fussed about having the most perfect text (realistically the differences are always minor enough as to be pretty much unimportant beyond being a sales tool for HarperCollins), and was happy to go used, I'd go for the 1987 Unwin Hyman hardbacks (which are easy to get on eBay cheaply so long as you aren't after the slipcased variant). I personally like the Dust Jacket art, plus these have the large fold out maps and were the last regular editions to be printed on quite decent paper (the subsequent HarperCollins standard edition is printed on toilet paper).

Oct 30, 2015, 6:36 am

>168 Studedoo: Thanks! I was wondering about paper quality. When you refer to the 'standard' HC edition, does that include the slipcased anniversary set that includes the LotR Companion?

Oct 30, 2015, 7:08 am

>169 cronshaw:

The paper quality on the slipcased 60th anniversary set is decent enough (or it is on the impression I have, anyway). The not so good "standard" edition I was referring to was the 1991 set ( that bridged the gap from the final Unwin Hyman release until the 50th anniversary edition was released. Also avoid the 2013 "Collectors Edition boxed set with the Hobbit and LOTR - that is really rubbish!

Edited: Oct 30, 2015, 3:04 pm

Thanks boldface and Studedoo for your helpful advice. I've decided to order the four-volume 60th anniversary slipcased set. The attractive original Tolkien-designed dustjackets and substantial fold-out maps I saw on a YouTube review, together with the impressive Reader's Companion volume have won me over. There are still new sets available from abe for £56, including P&P, not cheap but not excessively expensive either considering the substantial research presented in the Companion Volume.

If either of you, or anyone else, would be kind enough to allow me to mine your expertise once more, this time regarding The Hobbit, could you please tell me the main differences between Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit, and Radecliff's The History of the Hobbit? Also any preference between the 50th and 70th anniversary hardback editions of The Hobbit itself? I gather some of the black-and-white illustrations may be poorly reproduced in the 70th anniversary edition, though the dustjacket looks by far the most beautiful I've seen with its nuanced watercolour tones.

Oct 30, 2015, 6:12 pm

For those who have read the Silmarillion, isn't Of Maeglin a great chapter? Red this last night, accompanied with a nice glass of Brands Laira (CabSav 2013 Coonawarra)
These are tales that the average, even enthusiastic, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit reader would be unaware of and indeed shocked by. Elves killing Elves. Hatred amongst Elves. Edge of the seat stuff my friends. I feel as if I'm exploring a whole new world that I thought I was familiar with.

Oct 31, 2015, 10:44 am

I happened to pass by a Waterstones today so popped in to see what Hobbit editions they had. They had the HarperCollins 70th anniversary reprint in stock, now called the 'classic hardback' with its attractive Tolkien watercolour dustjacket (showing a red sun above a grey-blue and green mountain landscape). However, I was dismayed to find the paper quality atrocious, the sort of rough beige paper you get in the cheapest paperbacks. Studedoo's description of 'toilet paper' above is spot on. It ruins the whole feel of the book, and I'm amazed HarperCollins have a RRP of £20 for such a poor quality production. I've decided to go for Unwin&Hyman's last edition, before HC took over, since reasonable quality paper is essential to me for an enjoyable reading experience. I've become spoilt over the years with Folio.

Edited: Oct 31, 2015, 6:19 pm

>173 cronshaw:

Worth noting that the last of the GA&U Hobbit 4th Editions (1985) has a green top-stain to the page block, whereas the subsequent Unwin Hyman ones don't. Not terribly important, but makes for a very slightly better looking book (IMHO) if you happen to have the choice of one vs the other.

The great thing with second-hand Tolkien books is that no one has ever actually read them (!), so it is perfectly possible to get them in very nice condition, and usually cheaper than buying the lastest rubbish copy from HarperCollins!

Nov 1, 2015, 1:19 pm

Folks in the UK have little appreciation for the utter garbage we get offered "off the shelf" here in the US.

Edited: Nov 1, 2015, 4:57 pm

>175 cstojano:

Have lived in the US, so well aware of the quality of "standard" books in the US (was shocked when I first picked up a paperback there, and the text ran to within about a mm of the edge of the page!). Commonwealth countries have typically had much better quality books (physically), but at a somewhat higher price. Sadly the quality has generally dropped over the years (with notable exceptions). My view with Tolkien, is that - with the exception of newly released material - there isn't really much point in buying new, as the quality is (almost) always worse than what went before. That even goes for things like Deluxe Editions, where the copies from a decade ago are better than the copies being printed today.

The standard HarperCollins pricing formula involves thinking of a price that is slightly unreasonable and then doubling it...

Nov 7, 2015, 5:03 am

I finished the Silmarillion tonight and I now view JRR Tolkien with more reverence than I had done so previously. Alike, Christopher Tolkien must have praise lavished upon his shoulders for his indefatigable quest to bring cohesion to his father's scattered brilliance.
First of all, I would lend some advice to those who have tried and failed to finish the Silmarillion, along with those who have yet to take up this masterpiece. As it is a tale in whole, yet divided in parts, one sometimes fails to discern the greater connecting continuum that takes us from Tolkien's Genesis to the Resurrection. More than anything, I have found that you must stick with it in the early chapters, certainly until the Eldar return to Middle Earth; some in treachery and some in grim despair. From then on it cannot be put down: Tolkien's War of the Ring is revealed in its true context and the old fables and poetry sung by the Dunedin and the Halfings come to life and enrich our understanding of Tolkien's creation.
Within the Silmarillion there are stories and legends in themselves mighty and dreadful, full of love and charity, vengeance and lust, despair and hopelessness and good and evil wrestle in a constant contest that enthralls the reader.
I could not recommend this highly enough. It is a fantastic and glorious work that yet humbles us imparting quite keenly, the struggles with virtue and vice that Man forever endures.

Nov 7, 2015, 6:12 am

Hands up if you're in the Tolkien Society?

I am considering membership. My gut feeling tells me that Tolkien's rigour will endure within it as it is his son's site, but can anyone confirm this?

Nov 7, 2015, 7:36 am

>177 LesMiserables:
Is Tolkein the Shakespeare of the 20th. Century?

Nov 7, 2015, 10:37 am

>177 LesMiserables: De-lurking to agree with LesMiserables. The Silmarillion is probably my favorite of the middle earth series in and of itself and also for how it colors all the books that follows. I'll spare everyone the long list of favorite moments.

Edited: Nov 7, 2015, 2:56 pm

>179 wcarter:

Possibly; their tools were different for the most part but their raw material was identical. A clue to this is how academic snobbery especially towards the late 20th Century - early 21st has scoffed at the notion that Tolkien is naught more than a story teller for children. The popularity of Tolkien especially across all sections of society since the PJ Films irks them and is submittted as evidence that Tolkien is another also ran Fantasy writer. the Folio Society poll, the BBC Big Read poll enrages them of how stupid everyone is apart from them. But the plain truth is that the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, masterpieces in themselves, only scratch the surface of Tolkien's world.

Edited: Nov 7, 2015, 2:58 pm

>180 yolana:

No please; share with us one or two!

Edited: Nov 7, 2015, 4:26 pm

>178 LesMiserables:

Hands up if you're in the Tolkien Society?

I am considering membership. My gut feeling tells me that Tolkien's rigour will endure within it as it is his son's site, but can anyone confirm this?

I don't think it has anything officially to do with Christopher Tolkien or the Tolkien Estate. Priscilla is still the president, I think (albeit, this is probably honorary).

I've never been a member, as no longer being in the UK, there doesn't seem to be much point (plus it isn't really my "bag"). I guess the value outside of the UK would depend on your local smial, and what meetings and events they hold. I suspect it is one of those things where you would need to go along and see if you like the specific people.

Nov 7, 2015, 4:52 pm

I'm a sucker for all the hopeless cases, Fingolfin vs Morgoth, the Dwarves of Belegost vs Glaurong sp?) the dragon, the last stand of Hurin and Huor. Also the great friendships like that of Maedros and Fingon andTurin and Beleg.

Nov 7, 2015, 10:47 pm

>184 yolana:

Yes, I hear hear you. Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.

Nov 8, 2015, 9:34 am

I feel a re-read coming on, it's been a couple years since the last one.

Nov 17, 2015, 3:17 pm

Geez, I go to Europe for a month, get a scare at the end of it, and come home to massive Tolkien enablement. Not to mention the about 40lbs(!) of books that I shipped home from Paris. Oops?

Oh, and an order with Jean de Bonnot, though I, sadly, didn't make it to Diane de Selliers. :(

A true bibliophile, indeed...(!)

Anyone recommend a good edition of History of Middle-Earth? I think that's my next Tolkien purchase, as I already own the 4-vol Diamond Edition of LOTR and have the HarperCollins Silmarillion, though I'm not sure if I have Hobbit. I blame the jet lag. Will confirm tonight. Or this weekend. Or next week. Whenever the jet lag resolves!

Edited: Nov 17, 2015, 7:04 pm

>187 scholasticus:

Hope that the European holiday met expectations!!

Probably the best HoME set is the 3 volume hardback, available individually or as a somewhat flimsily slipcased set. All still available new, but prices can be very variable (from less than 100 pounds to silly money for the three).

I got mine for about 80 pounds (delivered to Australia) from book depository, but that was a few years back before Amazon bought BD and they ceased to be good value.

Paperbacks (and hardback reprints) of each of the 12 volumes are commonly available cheaply, also. If you are happy with mismatched books, you could definitely buy them as you go. Only a madman would sit down and read them en-masse.

Edited: Jan 5, 2016, 2:58 pm

>133 ironjaw:
>134 boldface:

Well, this Saturday, I received Lay of Aotrou and Itroun from Aleksander and while I was so thrilled to open the package envelope, I was dismayed and saddened to see that book took quite a beating under its shipment.

I was really looking forward to receiving this book and would've paid extra to have had the book properly packed to have avoided damage and bumps.

I am quite disappointed that they did not chose pack the book properly to protect it. Being so heavy the book moved freely inside the thin envelope and could easily have been padded for extra support.

I need to make an assessment on whether I need to ask for a replacement or what other option I need to pursue.

Nov 24, 2015, 12:35 pm

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Nov 24, 2015, 1:41 pm

Mine came similarly wrapped, but I was lucky and it only sustained the tiniest of bumps to one of the corners, which I was happy enough to live with.That one looks a bit beaten. I did think I should email Aleksandar at the time and suggest better wrapping, but I completely forgot.

Nov 24, 2015, 3:42 pm

>189 ironjaw:

That's terrible, Faisel. Like Studedoo, I remember when I received mine in September thinking how poor the packaging was. However, I was incredibly lucky that mine arrived without a dent or mark on it. It seemed rather churlish under these circumstances to have complained. Your situation, though, is entirely different. If mine had arrived like that I would certainly have complained and asked for a well-wrapped replacement.

Edited: Nov 24, 2015, 5:46 pm

It is a shame to see books ruined for the sake of a few cents of bubblewrap. I purchased an unwin hardback LOTR boxed set a little while back, which got sent in a plastic bag (!). The slipcase was destroyed. I got a refund, but I would rather have had the intact set (albeit I reasembled it as a placeholder as the seller didn't want it back)

Nov 27, 2015, 4:18 am

I'm glad to announce that I got a kind reply from Aleksander's wife. She was sad to hear about the situation and offered to rectify it with sending me a replacement. Unfortunately I am made aware that Aleksander is in hospital and I have offered my get well wishes.

Nov 27, 2015, 10:25 am

Harper Collins is doing a Black Friday sale on several titles including the Super Deluxe Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. This one doesn't appear on ebay secondhand often (or ever) it seems so 175 pounds seems like a decent deals vs Amazon resellers.

Nov 27, 2015, 11:21 am

>195 cstojano: Even if it does come up, for whatever reason they are not able to ship to Canada. I will most likely go for this as weak as the Canadian dollar is right now. Code is TKBFDL3 for those that want to use it. Limit is 10 per household lol.

Edited: Nov 27, 2015, 2:18 pm

>195 cstojano:

This is as good a price as it has ever been, I think. When it first came out, it was discounted to GBP 250 and I got two for the price of one (so GBP 125), but that was a fluke...

I always suspected they would have to do some real discounting to shift these. I bet they have a few hundred left (which is why you don't see them on eBay -- no one bought it).

Nov 27, 2015, 2:51 pm

>196 JuliusC:

They are shipping to Canada under "ROW" category.

Nov 27, 2015, 3:08 pm

>198 Neil77: I know they can but other stores for whatever reason, I guess due to restrictions were not able to ship before. I've seen it go for less than $300. EP as an example are not able to ship the lotr to Canada.

Nov 27, 2015, 3:09 pm

Well, this fellow bought it at least:

Nov 27, 2015, 4:00 pm

>198 Neil77:

HarperCollins do have rights to sell this and the SD CoH in the US and Canada. When the SD CoH first came out they weren't able to sell it in the USA (although that was eventually rectified), but the S&G has always available worldwide.

Edited: Nov 27, 2015, 4:03 pm

>200 Pellias:

I didn't say they didn't sell any! Just probably not very many. CoH was a much better seller (based on forum activity at the time), and that still isn't sold out after 8 years (and I have three of the damn things)! They are lovely books, just ordinarily priced too high.

Nov 27, 2015, 4:06 pm

I noticed in this video review that the book was signed by CT but this isn't mentioned on the HC website. Are these all signed?

Edited: Nov 27, 2015, 4:35 pm

>203 cstojano:

Yep, all signed to a limitation page (500 copies). There are pictures of the books at Post 98 here

Nov 27, 2015, 4:42 pm

Thanks for confirming. For US customers shipping comes in at just under 20 pounds, so we are looking at around 293 (call it 300) US for this book. Still a hard pill to swallow...

Edited: Nov 27, 2015, 5:12 pm

>205 cstojano:

Yeah, they aren't cheap, but at 50% off RRP, they are competitive with (i.e. cheaper than) leather-bound limited editions from the likes of Easton Press -- and, IMHO, *much* better made. I don't think a better "new" price is going to come along (although I could be wrong, of course). I wouldn't buy it for the sake of it, though. There will always be plentiful supply of these, and CTs signature is neither prolific nor rare.

Nov 27, 2015, 5:09 pm

>205 cstojano: I hear you, $400 cad when it's all said and done. Could've been low $300 years ago but what was once a great deal not so much anymore.

Nov 28, 2015, 10:44 am

Well I resisted all day yesterday and they extended the sale all weekend ;) I have yet to even unwrap the COH I bought last year...

Nov 28, 2015, 3:12 pm

>208 cstojano:

If you haven't unwrapped the CoH, then I probably wouldn't bother with the S&G! They aren't worth holding onto as investments.

Nov 28, 2015, 11:24 pm

Yeah I got a great deal on the COH but left it in the mailing box ultimately as I don't have room for it. Something tells me S&G will be around for many more black fridays to come.

Nov 29, 2015, 1:47 am

>210 cstojano:

Yep, I don't think there will be a sudden rush on 'em!

Nov 29, 2015, 9:31 pm

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Nov 29, 2015, 11:50 pm

>212 EclecticIndulgence:

D'oh. Hopefully they haven't sent out too many that need replacing, and will learn from the mistake and package better going forward. I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were damaged in some way, mind, given the flimsy envelope.

Nov 30, 2015, 2:22 am

If they just had taken some newspapers and wrapped it around the book, at least that would've helped.

Dec 7, 2015, 5:16 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 13, 2015, 4:35 pm

This user has been removed as spam.

Dec 13, 2015, 7:09 pm

If anyone is interested in the first 10 jackets of The Hobbit, and how all the textual blurb changed from print to print, I knocked up recreations of them (I started because I wanted a facsimile jacket for my 4th, and then I just carried on, for no really good reason). They aren't scans (although there are some scanned components -- including the three paragraphs from the front flap of the 4th), and most of text has been typeset manually, but to be as close to the originals as possible (working from photos).

Post #20 in the linked thread:

Dec 13, 2015, 11:08 pm

>216 wochniat:

The Silmarillion was £110, but I've lost track of the price of the others although I have them. So if anyone else can fill in the gaps I too would be interested to know.

Dec 14, 2015, 2:48 pm

>216 wochniat:
I paid £95 for The Hobbit & £275 for The Lord of the Rings.

Dec 15, 2015, 7:40 am

This user has been removed as spam.

Dec 15, 2015, 2:30 pm

>220 wochniat:
Yes, that was direct from Folio.

Edited: Jan 5, 2016, 3:05 pm

>189 ironjaw:
>214 ironjaw:

I'm glad to announce that I received Lay of Aotrou and Itroun from Snoviđenja Publishing House
as I wished (see >214 ironjaw:) wrapped in a Serbian newspaper (with a wonderful picture of a Serbian pageant beauty contest).

I am very happy with the kind correspondence and understanding Aleksandar and his wife showed. Don't hesitate to order from him.

Jan 6, 2016, 2:26 am

>222 ironjaw:

That's good to hear. I'm not at all surprised that he set things right for you - he seemed like a nice chap, based on my limited correspondence with him.

Jan 6, 2016, 4:16 pm

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Jan 24, 2016, 4:21 pm

Anyone have a good opinion on the current value of the 1997 signed Alan Lee The Hobbit (the red one with slipcase). Two copies online for 760 US and 650 GBP so I was figuring a value of around 400 or so. But I don't see any recorded sales on eBay. Thanks

Edited: Jan 25, 2016, 12:29 am

>225 cstojano:

Probably less than that. Those copies online (if they are the tolkienbookshelf / tolkienlibrary ones) have been up for sale for a long time, if I'm not mistaken.

I'd say 300 pounds, maybe (although I personally wouldn't pay that much). Does no harm to ask for more and if you get no offers lower the price. All down to luck and whether someone happens to be looking on the day.

I'd get rid of it sooner rather than later, though, as prices appear to be rapidly dropping on deluxe editions (a full set of the three-volume deluxe quarter-leather HoME got passed in with zero bids for 280 pounds the other day. A couple of years ago, would have sold like a shot).

Even though prices are falling, supply is still pretty low, so you could get lucky. It is a nice book, so you will certainly find a buyer if your price is right.

Jan 25, 2016, 5:39 am

>226 Studedoo:

I see they're asking £1445 for the similar-style 1998 Silmarillion (500 copies), signed by Ted Nasmith and Christopher Tolkien! Likewise, grossly inflated presumably?

Edited: Jan 25, 2016, 9:48 am

To confirm, I am looking to buy one of these not sell. I offered 215 based on the going rate of the Silmarillion (circa 400-450 GBP) and he countered with 350 GBP.

Where did these HOME volumes go unsold? Wow. (edit: I see it now, the listing says it closed because it was no longer available which usually means the seller took an offer off eBay so no idea how to tell the actual price).

Edited: Jan 25, 2016, 9:17 pm

>228 cstojano:

Yes, you are correct. Seems like the GBP 280 set got pulled. I believe it was listed earlier in the 500 pounds BIN (?) range, but did not sell (haven't looked again to confirm numbers, though). I saw a first or second volume fail to sell for 80 pounds a couple of months ago (sold on second listing). I've noticed a couple of black deluxe LOTRs sold in the 30-pounds range within the last couple of months.

>227 boldface:

Yep, *grossly* inflated. A similar signed Sil. sold for 430 pounds on eBay a couple of weeks ago. They used to sell for up to 600 pounds-ish, but 400-450 seems to be the current norm.

>228 cstojano:

If you you are in no desperate hurry, just wait another year. Prices are going nowhere but down, and there is nothing specifically unique about this edition. Alan Lee's signature is absolutely worthless (he has signed everything he could lay hands on), so it is just another quarter-bound deluxe edition, based on a page-block that retailed for 15 quid. I think the Silmarillions will be more stable (value-wise), due to the CT signature, but even those have probably dropped by 25% in the last three years.

Now is a good time to just watch and wait, and there will probably be some good buying in a couple of years. I can't see any reason why these books would go back up in value, now the movie bubble is deflating. Remember that they retailed for 100 pounds when they came out, and the publisher couldn't shift them without discounting!

Feb 23, 2016, 9:37 am

I have some Tolkien purchase advice questions for the lot of you; hopefully you can help.

A bit about me:

I first read The Hobbit & LOTR around 30 years ago (I'm 46 now) and re-read them last year. My current reading copies are the red "HMCO" leather-looking slipcased single-volume LOTR and a green leather-looking slipcased Houghton Mifflin Hobbit - not terribly rare or expensive, but nice (I like them). I also own a paperback of The Silmarillion, which I have not read, unless you count my initial "not for me" skim.

Since discovering LT a few months back, I've read any number of interesting and informative old threads, on several topics (translation, epics, Folio, Easton, history) and recently came across the 3 Tolkien threads. I read through those, learning much about the written product I hadn't known existed (before reading these threads, I couldn't have named anything other than LOTR/Hobbit/Silmarillion), which helped, because over the years, I've had a vague, frustrating "there has to be more" feeling in the back of my mind re: Tolkien. I knew he wasn't the type of writer who cranked out novel after novel, but I wanted more. For years, I just kind of let it go, but over the last year or so I've developed a different attitude about reading.

I used to expect a rollercoaster/candy bar type experience from each book I read, by which I mean, if I don't consciously know I like it and am enjoying it that means I'm not enjoying it, and time to find something else that is fun. From my teens through my early 30s, this worked fine - as a fan of Stephen King, he kept me supplied with dependable material, and I just read a few other things. But as I tired of his writing (sadly), I started looking around, and realized that some things have a different type of value that can only be accessed by putting effort ahead of instant gratification.

I'm not talking about forcing myself to read things in which I truly have no interest; there were things I'd purchased or received as gifts that I'd never got around to reading (a Thoreau set, Anne Frank's diary, collections of Poe and Lovecraft) as well as things family members had (Dracula, Frankenstein, some Washington Irving, a bit of Oscar Wilde) that I knew I should get around to reading some time, so I made now the time. The Thoreau set was a good example of what I mean by "putting effort ahead of instant gratification" - this was pretty dry much of the time, with much of the content being wilderness descriptions and ruminations on various topics (of course, with Thoreau, this is the point; I'm not complaining nor was I surprised). But sticking with it for 3+ books (3 books + a short piece) when I normally wouldn't read things quite like this at all definitely had a particular cumulative reward. The Poe and Lovecraft reads (long!) have similar cumulative effects, despite the material being quite different (Lovecraft in particular being more immediate and accessible).

Back to the 3 Tolkien threads: it was encouraging to learn of things like The Children of Hurin and Unfinished Tales, but the photos of the HarperCollins deluxe editions are what really stoked my bibliolust - suddenly I was willing to consider all of it. I consciously wondered about The Silmarillion for the first time in decades - but now I realized I was willing to drill through it all no matter how it hit me, candy bars be damned. Not to mention that, since attending a life-changing (I wish this were hyperbole) book fair last May, I've also become a bit interested in things like epic tales/poems etc., so The Fall of Arthur and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun also appeal to me now. Now it comes down to which volumes/editions to buy.

After looking around a bit at what's out there, I realized that the edition comparison on the Tolkien threads that had gone over my head the first time around would now mean something to me, so I read the 3 threads (in full) again - to learn and to avoid asking too many questions of you that I could've answered on my own (and I'm sure this will happen anyway).

But because this post is already pretty long, I'm going to put the questions in their own posts...coming soon.

Feb 23, 2016, 9:39 am

Are there any illustrated editions of Unfinished Tales?

Feb 23, 2016, 9:40 am

If any of you have read both, please compare/contrast Karen Wynn Fonstad’s “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” and Brian Sibley’s “The Maps of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth” (apologies for the fact that this sounds like an essay question).

Feb 23, 2016, 9:42 am

Does the HarperCollins 3-volume set of The History of Middle Earth contain the index that is available as a separate paperback akin to the 12 individual volumes? Perhaps the three volumes are configured in such a way as to render this unnecessary.

Feb 23, 2016, 9:49 am

Are there any substantive differences between the HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin deluxes? For me, "substantive" would be visibly different/absent/additional designs, illustrations, text etc.; I don't much care about differences you have to seek out on a title pages and I'm not bothered about runs printed in China (although I understand why some are); for me, such a volume would be good enough, unless one had really nasty gray or transparent paper and another had nice paper (part of the point of these editions).

Related HC/HM question:

HC has their own special site for this material (the "official online Tolkien bookshop") but I don't think HM does - or do they? Is there a specific site on which to find the HM versions of these deluxes? I don't specifically prefer HM to HC, but since I'm shopping around I would like to know.

Feb 23, 2016, 10:05 am

I'm seeking a new edition of LOTR and I would like it to have two things that my current edition lacks: illustrations and the Book of Mazarbul material.

Two 60th anniversary editions caught my eye; the problem is, one mentions the BoM, the other mentions illustrations, but neither mentions both (I'm going by the descriptions on the "official" HarperCollins Tolkien site).

The £90 4-volume (LOTR + Readers Companion), black-boxed, “Diamond Anniversary” edition featuring JRRT’s original dust jacket designs explicitly mentions the Book of Mazarbul material, but not illustrations.

The £60 blue-spined, transparent-slipcased, single-volume edition has the Alan Lee illustrations but does not mention the BoM material.

Does any edition of LOTR (one of these or some other) have both? I'm not such a collector that I'd buy both; I want one edition with everything I want blended in as I go along (I can hear your laughter; go right ahead, let it out).

Related side question: how does this illustrated single-volume edition stack up against the 1991 (I think) centenary edition? I think the illustrations may be the same.

Random side question: when was the “Book of Mazarbul” material first made available?

Feb 23, 2016, 10:12 am

Any thoughts on the illustrated (Ted Nasmith) hardback edition of The Silmarillion? I may pick up a nice edition (either this or the HC deluxe) of The Silmarillion to read and leave my current paperback out of it.

The HC deluxe is one fine-looking volume that will do the shelf pround, but I generally like illustrated editions when I can find them. I don't need the illustrated Silmarillion to be "fine press beautiful," but would like to know people's impressions of it before buying.

I think the illustrated edition predates the current HC deluxe by a few years (2004 v 2007); are there any substantive differences between the two text-wise? The HC deluxe's description mentions an explanatory letter from Tolkien in 1951; I expect the illustrated edition lacks this.

Feb 23, 2016, 10:13 am

Why is Tales From the Perilous Realm so named? I've read the descriptions of the enclosed tales, and the realm doesn't seem too perilous to me.

Edited: Feb 23, 2016, 10:16 am

Is Mr. Bliss included in any collections (by which I mean common ones; I'm not asking anyone to look up obscure mid-20th century university publications etc.)? If so, I didn't see it among my search.

...and so concludes the barrage.

Feb 23, 2016, 10:20 am

Got the Tolkien bug, right?

Feb 23, 2016, 10:25 am



Feb 23, 2016, 12:23 pm

Follow up on the Book of Mazarbul material - is that just a picture(s) of the leaves of the book (which I can't read, of course), or is there a translation? I'd been assuming that it was something I could read, but if this is not the case, then it's not nearly as important to me to have.

Feb 23, 2016, 1:39 pm

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Feb 23, 2016, 2:19 pm

>242 EclecticIndulgence: Thanks. Every listing for the Nasmith illustrated Silmarillion seems to be a kind of "static" shot of artwork, not a picture of a physical book, so I can't tell if that's a dust jacket etc. Is that (the illustration of boats with backdrop of mountains) the dust jacket?

Feb 23, 2016, 4:23 pm

>238 St._Troy:

Not published in any compilations, so far as I am aware. Published several times, in various formats, though -- and cheap/easy to acquire.

>241 St._Troy:

The book does not contain a translation alongside the text.

>243 St._Troy:


Feb 23, 2016, 4:46 pm

Feb 23, 2016, 5:47 pm

I see that the illustrations in my posts in thread 1 have disappeared. I'll try to get them back in the next day or two. Some of them show the Nasmith illustrations inside the book, for example.

Feb 25, 2016, 11:59 am

Feb 26, 2016, 2:17 pm

>230 St._Troy:
>246 boldface:

I have now restored the missing pictures in my posts on Tolkien Thread (1). These illustrate many Tolkien books (including the two Nasmith volumes) and might be useful or of interest. The posts begin at #86:

and continue in posts 89, 100, 126, 138, 147, 152, and 156.

Feb 26, 2016, 9:10 pm

Most thing Tolkien related if find enjoyable and interesting. I have however found an exception

Feb 26, 2016, 10:14 pm

>250 LesMiserables:

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it."

Feb 26, 2016, 10:29 pm

>250 LesMiserables:
Its from a parallel universe of some sort.

Feb 26, 2016, 11:37 pm

>252 wcarter:
A pointed remark or two.

Feb 27, 2016, 12:50 am

>247 LesMiserables:

Thank you for sharing that

>250 LesMiserables:

One cultural touchstone to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Feb 27, 2016, 2:26 am

I once respected Spock.

Feb 29, 2016, 9:18 am

>250 LesMiserables:
Is this really the first time you folks have become aware of The Ballad? Seems strange that this is news, but ok.

Feb 29, 2016, 9:30 am

Thanks everyone (particularly boldface) for the responses to my questions.

I've ruled out the 60th anniversary 4-volume LOTR set (due to lack of illustrations) and am seeking multivolume (usually 3, but 4 when The Hobbit or Reader's Companion are included) LOTR sets illustrated by Alan Lee. I found such a set (at that looks mighty nice, but in my searches I found a description of this (on the page of a fellow that owns 21 - yes, only 21 - copies of LOTR) that says TFOTR is missing a paragraph, which takes it out of the running for me (unless someone out there knows that A) this isn't true or B) the set was reprinted later with the paragraph added back - it seems like every edition has something different that shouldn't be, as well as later printings with emendations etc. up the old wazoo - the search process has been interesting, exciting, puzzling and frustrating).

So, new question: is anyone aware of a multivolume LOTR illustrated by Alan Lee that ISN'T missing a paragraph (or anything else that shouldn't be missing)?

Feb 29, 2016, 9:39 am


Your post #89 on the first "Tolkien Thread" includes a red HarperCollins/Hatchards 1997 60th anniversary edition of The Hobbit. I think this edition was very limited (to 600?), but I don't know if that was just the signed edition and if there might be more unsigned versions of this edition floating around out there. Do you know if there was a larger, unsigned run of the same red H/HC edition?

I'm looking for an illustrated (Alan Lee) Hobbit and although I'm happy to go with the standard (, I would be interested if something a bit nicer (like your red Hatchards/HC one) if it can be had for under $100.

Feb 29, 2016, 12:23 pm

Another question, for those in the know: since publishers seem to miss no opportunity to fire up the presses, any word on whether 2017 might bring an 80th anniversary Hobbit?

Feb 29, 2016, 12:43 pm

>258 St._Troy:

Is this what you had in mind?

>259 St._Troy:

I'm not aware of any particular forthcoming edition, but rest assured, if there is an excuse out there to issue a new Tolkien edition Harper Collins will have identified it!

Feb 29, 2016, 12:54 pm

>260 boldface:
I was thinking of one that would look like your 1997 red one, with a slipcase but without the signature and limitation - if that exists (it may well not exist). Of course, the cover of the one you linked to may be a dust jacket, and perhaps beneath that it resembles yours. For that matter, perhaps the one I linked to (at does as well.

The more I learn, the less I know!


Feb 29, 2016, 1:00 pm

>260 boldface:
After a small amount of research, the abebooks one you linked to is indeed the closest thing to a "standard issue" of the slipcased 1997 red one I asked about (I'm befuddled no longer).

Thanks again.

Edited: Mar 12, 2016, 6:16 pm

My goodness, this is right on my doorstep and I wasn't aware!

Mar 13, 2016, 1:15 am

Is anyone reading anything Tolkien at the moment? I am coming to the end of book two of the Lord of the Rings, The Great River, prior to the Breaking of the Fellowship. You may tire of hearing me say so, but I never tire of reading the Lord of the Rings. There is always the excitement, suspense, joy, sadness, new insight, rediscovered that which was forgotten trivia etc.

I'm using the Houghton Mifflin 50th Anniversary ed. for this read. ISBN 0618517650

Mar 13, 2016, 1:29 pm

>264 LesMiserables:

I'm hoping to read the Lord of the Rings again later this year. I haven't re-read it since seeing the films, so I'm really looking forward to engaging with the real thing once more.

I've just been reading some Amazon reviews to get me into the mood. I have to say I love this one, particularly the last sentence, which, I believe, gets to the very heart of the matter:

". . . Sorry guys, but my god it was boring. I mean I usually read a fair bit, but I found myself unable to read more than a page a night without wanting to gouge my eyes out for an excuse to stop reading it.

The work that JRR Tolkien put into his masterpiece is staggering - the man was undeniably a genius, but his prose is overly discriptive and the whole thing is far too long. I found I was skipping pages at a time and still being more or less at the same point in the story. I do understand why it is so popular, but personally I think even die hard fans will admit that it is a labourious read at times. PG Wodehouse it most certainly is not."

Edited: Mar 17, 2016, 1:09 am

>265 boldface:

You can't legislate for bad taste :-)

Mar 20, 2016, 2:29 am

I was trying to work out how many times i have read the Lord of the Rings. I just cannot be sure but I think I'm on my sixth reading at the moment. I'm utterly engrossed with it (again).

Mar 24, 2016, 7:14 pm

March 25th - a very important day in Tolkien world. It is International Tolkien Reading Day when no one has an excuse not to read some Tolkien today :-) The 25th of March is the date of the downfall of the Lord of the Rings (Sauron) and the fall of Barad-dûr.

Apr 3, 2016, 9:32 am

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Apr 3, 2016, 9:44 pm

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May 13, 2016, 7:18 pm

>271 LesMiserables:
Steve, knowing you and your love of LOTR, and the reasonable price, I assume you have already bought it!
LOTR in seven volumes must be rare.

May 13, 2016, 8:54 pm

>272 wcarter:
At $250 inc shipping, I'm not tempted. Perhaps if I were in the UK...

Edited: May 17, 2016, 7:09 am

Very excited to be starting the sixth book of The Lord of the Rings on my sixth read by my memory's reckoning. I know the end but nonetheless the writing of old JRRT is so vibrant, it's difficult to put down at this juncture.

May 17, 2016, 7:19 pm

For the Tolkien nuts out there... Conference Proceedings

“Return of the Ring: Celebrating Tolkien in 2012” was a five-day conference organised by the Tolkien Society to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. Held at Loughborough University 16–20 August 2012, it brought together a unique mixture of fun, fandom and scholarship. In addition to the excellent selection of scholars featured in these proceedings, there were singers, re-enactors, artists, performers, figures from fandom and Tolkien’s grandson. With around 500 delegates from across the globe, Return of the Ring was one of the largest Tolkien-specific events ever held and followed on from the Tolkien Society’s earlier conferences in 1992 and 2005, which respectively marked the centenary of Tolkien’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings.


Volume 1

Return of the Ring Volume 1

“Foreword” – Shaun Gunner
“Introduction” – Lynn Forest-Hill
“Tolkien’s Birmingham” – Robert S. Blackham
“J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘second father’ Fr. Francis Morgan and other non-canonical influences” – José Manuel Ferrández Bru
“Tolkien’s Oxford” – Robert S. Blackham
“J.R.R. Tolkien and the origins of the Inklings” – Colin Duriez
“Robert Quilter Gilson, T.C.B.S.: A brief life in letters” – John Garth
“Tolkien: the War Years” – Robert S. Blackham
“Sauron Revealed” – LeiLani Hinds
“Clean Earth to Till:A Tolkienian Vision of War” – Anna E. Thayer (née Slack)
“The Importance of Home in the Middle-earth Legendarium” – Sara Brown
“Tolkien versus the history of philosophy” – Franco Manni
“Tolkien’s Boethius, Alfred’s Boethius” – Gerard Hynes
“Teaching Leadership and Ethics through Tolkien” – Laura Miller-Purrenhage
“Tolkien – Pagan or Christian? A proposal for a ‘new’ synthetic approach” – Claudio A. Testi
“A Latter-day Saint reading of Tolkien” – James D. Holt
“Tolkien’s Magic” – Ronald Hutton
“Cyclic cataclysms, Semitic stereotypes and religious reforms: a classicist’s Númenor” – Pamina Fernández Camacho
“From 2012 AD to Atlantis and Back Again – Tolkien’s Circular Journey in Time” – Xavier de la Huerga
“The Notion Club Papers: A Summary” – David Doughan
“Myth-Making: How J. R. R. Tolkien Adapted Mythopoeia from Old English” – Zachary A. Rhone
“J.R.R. Tolkien’s Mythopoeia and Familiarisation of Myth: Hobbits as Mediators of Myth in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings” – Jyrki Korpua
“White riders and new world orders: Nature and technology in Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings” – Larissa Budde

Volume 2

“Introduction” – Lynn Forest-Hill
“Tolkienesque Transformations: Post-Celticism and Possessiveness in ‘The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun’” – Yoko Hemmi
“Tolkien’s Devices: The Heraldry of Middle-earth” – Jamie McGregor
“Tolkien and the Gothic” – Nick Groom
“Frodo and Faramir: Mirrors of Chivalry” – Constance G.J. Wagner
“An Old Light Rekindled: Tolkien’s Influence on Fantasy” – Anna E. Thayer (née Slack)
“‘In the memory of old wives’: Old Tales and Fairy-stories in Middle-earth” – Troels Forchhammer
“Tolkien and Nonsense” – Maureen F. Mann
“Stars Above a Dark Tor: Tolkien and Romanticism” – Anna E. Thayer (née Slack)
“The Ainulindale and Tolkien’s Approach to Modernity” – Reuven Naveh
“Tolkien, the Russians and Industrialisation” – Jim Clarke
“Legal bother: Law and related matters in The Hobbit – Murray Smith
“Tolkien’s Faërian Drama: Origins and Valedictions” – Janet Brennan Croft
“Tolkien’s women of Middle-earth” – Chris Barclay
“Colours in Tolkien” – Christopher Kreuzer
“Thirty Years of Tolkien Fandom” – Nancy Martsch

Edited: May 19, 2016, 8:49 pm

>272 wcarter:
>271 LesMiserables:

Not rare. RRP was £39.99 and they are regularly available for sub- £50 on Fleabay (and getting cheaper). IMHO splitting into 7 volumes was just a typical HarperCollins gimmick (like the paperback of The Hobbit in two volumes). They are basically just small hardcover paperbacks. Paper quality is poor and the bindings are glued (with that nice paperback odour). I'd recommend saving one's money for something better. I bought this set a few years ago and wished I hadn't.

May 19, 2016, 8:45 pm

>276 stubedoo:

Thanks for the info.

Edited: May 19, 2016, 8:53 pm

>277 LesMiserables:

No problem - I still think you can't go past the Mid-80s Unwin Hyman editions. Very cheap on eBay in nice condition, lovely jackets, decent enough paper and the last ones to have the big fold out maps. Everything was better in the 80s. Sigh :)

May 19, 2016, 10:35 pm

This may be the ultimate collector's edition of the LoTR:-

Edited: May 20, 2016, 12:04 am

Ah! Just across a variety of pipeweed I had not picked up on before: Southlinch (from Bree) How can I have missed this through all these years? Perhaps because I now smoke the stuff myself, I have an eye out for all matters concerning herblore.

When Butterbur came back he brought them enough to last them for a day or two, a wad of uncut leaf. 'Southlinch,' he said, 'and the best we have; but not the match of Southfarthing, as I've always said though I'm all for Bree in most matters, begging your pardon.'

The Return of the King, Bk 6, Ch 5, Homeward Bound

Edited: May 20, 2016, 6:50 pm

Well I have to say that I have not enjoyed such a read as I've had with this outing with The Lord of The Rings, in many years. Perhaps this read was long overdue, but after slow headway through The Fellowship, I cut through The Two Towers and The Return of the King in short time. On this occasion I delighted in the final chapters, The Scourging of the Shire being a good example. I think all the little bits of trivia enthralled me that had not done so previously.
At rough guess I reckon that this was my sixth reading and give or take a year or so, I would have completed these in 1977, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2013, 2016. I know that I am preaching to the converted, but pick it up again if it's been a while, you won't regret it.

May 20, 2016, 6:43 pm

I have always liked seeing these custom bindings but find their uniqueness very difficult to price, not like I have that kind of money anyway.

Edited: May 21, 2016, 1:26 am

>282 cstojano:

I think their price is basically the raw price of the jacketless books with poor condition boards (but hopefully sound pages) + cost of custom binding. You would have to be nuts to custom bind a really good set.

May 21, 2016, 2:34 am

Many of you will have heard of the BBC Big Read. The Lord of The Rings justly received the accolades. One of the highlights of the BBC Big Read was the promotion of the Lord of The Rings by Ray Mears. Enjoy The Lord of The Rings reviewed by Ray Mears:

Jun 20, 2016, 7:37 pm

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Edited: Jun 21, 2016, 2:47 am

Yes, I have a rough photocopy and high-res copies of some of the pages. Based on that, I actually completely re-typeset it in facsimile (at 600dpi) with a rather laboriously produced custom-made font as well. I had intended to print myself an as-close-to-perfect facsimile of the original as possible, without having a high-resolution scan of the original ( I did the many, many hours of work, but have yet to purchase the right A3 paper to print it on. It is saddle-stitched, so cut-down A3 is required to get the correct size). I have, however, printed a couple of slightly-sub-scale versions as tests, and I even got as far as buying the A3 printer....

I also started writing a guide to "Songs" with translations and commentary for all the non-Tolkien stuff. I got about 20 pages into writing that before it also got back-burnered. The Tolkien material is all within copyright, it should be noted. Much of the other material, however, comes from older sources -- and is not. That was the material I focussed on. The Estate does not allow translations to be published of the Tolkien material (except that which it has allowed, such as in the Road to Middle Earth).

One word of caution is that I found quite a lot of versions of the raw text on the internet, and they are *all* transcribed incorrectly (and I don't think any include the first song, Grace (which is taken from a book by Thomas Love Peacock). Due to the original typesetting by students, the original text has many oddities and inconsistencies of layout -- and a lot of errors (which Tolkien corrected in pen on two copies). Mine isn't pixel perfect to the original (warts left intact), but it is very close and 100% complete (damn that lack of suitable paper!).

I have no intention of ever buying one of the surviving 14 copies :)

Some re-typeset pages (not final -- was playing to get an idea of what would look like printed)

A re-typeset pair of pages (the full booklet is 20 such pairs, including the cover):

An original page:

Jun 20, 2016, 9:45 pm

>285 EclecticIndulgence:
An extraordinary find, and at less than $30,000 too!
>286 stubedoo:
A very worthy project, and one you should attempt to complete for the benefit of other Tolkien lovers.
This is a publication that only a minute fraction of Tolkien lovers would know about.

Edited: Jun 21, 2016, 1:05 am

>287 wcarter:

There was a also copy up on Abe for GBP 12,000 (?) a few months back. I think it was G. Tillotson or A.H. Smith's copy from memory (name was hand written in the corner). I assume it sold. The copy currently on Abe has been up for sale for a long time, as it is - I believe - rather overpriced. Remember that we are only talking about a 30 page pamphlet!

Jun 25, 2016, 1:18 pm

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Jun 28, 2016, 8:40 am

I wonder if there are notable changes from the first printing of these?

Edited: Jun 30, 2016, 3:33 am

>290 cstojano: I imagine, along similar lines to the changes we have seen on the other volumes, but I suppose until we see one in the wild, it is anyone's guess. I'm assuming Chinese printing until I see otherwise.

Jul 16, 2016, 10:49 am

It looks like HarperCollins is going to publish 'The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun' this November.

Jul 16, 2016, 11:34 am

>292 yolana:

This edition, by Tolkien expert Verlyn Flieger, will be most welcome, although it isn't the first edition for 70 years, as is claimed: see >106 Studedoo: ff., above.

Jul 18, 2016, 2:19 pm

>293 boldface: I'd like to have both, though it might be a pain to order the first one. I'll have to look into it. I'm hoping the HarperCollins will be a decent edition though. How did you order it? I went to pm Studedoo for info and it said that he'd been removed, though I can't believe he violated any rules.

Edited: Jul 18, 2016, 6:08 pm

>294 yolana:

Follow the link given by Studedoo in >106 Studedoo: above and scroll down to Jason Fisher's comment at the bottom of the page. If you click on the "Send him an email" link there, the address will be inserted in a new email automatically. Or, to save you the trouble, the email address is:

Jul 18, 2016, 6:49 pm

>294 yolana:

Hi Yolana, no rules were violated - I actually removed my own original account as it always bugged me that I had mistyped my id as "studedoo" when I set it up. That first "d" was really meant to be a "b"! Not that either spelling makes any sense, of course.

I'd definitely recommend ordering the Serbian/English edition. If you flick Aleksandar Micić an email at the address boldface listed, he will let you know the cost. Payment was via paypal, so easy enough.

Jul 18, 2016, 8:18 pm

You actually created a new account? Did you know you could rename your account these days?

Edited: Jul 18, 2016, 8:54 pm

>297 JerryMmm:

There is a "request a username change" feature, but was as easy just to delete/re-create. I don't use LT for cataloguing my books, so there was really no data (other than forum posts) associated with my account, anyway. Nothing of value was lost.

Jul 22, 2016, 1:41 pm

>296 stubedoo: Thank you. good to know you're still here. I will email about the serbian edition.

Jul 26, 2016, 2:01 pm

I ordered the serbian edition today. Much, much easier than I thought it would be.

Edited: Sep 6, 2016, 2:34 am

A reminder to anyone who has forgotten (due to the 5 year delay!) about the facsimile first edition Hobbit, which should be coming out in the next few weeks.

Sep 6, 2016, 1:53 am

>301 stubedoo: More detail please!!!

Edited: Sep 6, 2016, 2:30 am

Don't worry, the dust jacket isn't going to look like that; That is a pre-production version and the actual jacket should look fairly close to the original 1937 edition. I don't know what materials are being used in for the boards, etc, but it isn't an expensive book, so I'm not necessarily expecting amazing materials. Looking forward to it coming out.

Sep 9, 2016, 2:39 pm

Regarding the release of another printing of Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, I may just take the Eastern inferior plunge and buy the missing Deluxe editions from my collection. I'm having a hell of a time finding the slightly better first printings. And new printings will make it harder to identify firsts online.

Looking forward to The Hobbit facsimile, though.

Sep 9, 2016, 6:22 pm

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Edited: Sep 26, 2016, 11:38 pm

Facsimile first Hobbit has arrived! I think they will start shipping from the online retailers in the next day or two.

Sep 27, 2016, 1:07 am

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Edited: Sep 27, 2016, 1:53 pm

Yes, is 978-0-00-744083-2

Book depository is currently the cheapest by a long way for international orders. I don't think anyone has them in stock yet (although I did when I first posted), but I guess they will start dispatching pretty soon. I believe the first print is 4,000 copies.

Sep 27, 2016, 1:14 pm

Thanks for the tip about Book Depository, I just placed my order.

Edited: Sep 27, 2016, 2:06 pm

>309 yolana:

HarperCollins have done a good job with this, especially for the price-point. I am normally a grumpy pedant, but I was really pleasantly suprised how well the book has come together. The slipcase, for example, is much better than I was expecting, as - to be honest - is the book itself. I hope they sell well, as it will encourage publishers to continue to get involved with these more challenging projects. I can't imagine anyone buying a copy and being unhappy with their purchase -- and it is printed in the EU, which is a big tick for me.

Edited: Sep 27, 2016, 4:52 pm

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Edited: Sep 27, 2016, 5:28 pm

The text is actually very different, particularly Riddles in The Dark, which was re-written in 1947 to synchronise it with LOTR, which was in the process of being written. The facsimile text is a scan of the first impression held by the Bodleian and includes the original adverts in the back of the book, etc.

The jacket is broadly similar to the later single-volume Hobbits. The text on the flaps changed dramatically over the years (on each impression), but the first two impressions were sized differently, so the rune border is visible at the sides of the front and back covers, rather than being folded around. Much of the minor differences from impression to impression come about due to the mis-registration of the colour layers, so the first two are quite similar, and then the third/fourth are quite different (and got the slight size reduction that followed on until the end of the third edition). Same basic picture, just differences in the way it came out of the printers. The fourth edition (1978) saw GA&U make a bit of a mess of the jacket when they moved the "THE", "HOBBIT" and "JRR Tolkien" around on the front cover when they resized the book again (taller and narrower). The jackets switched to a laminated variety in the fourth edition.

Some people will care about these things, more than others, I suspect, but it is - to my mind - one of the more worthy releases.

Edited: Sep 27, 2016, 7:42 pm

>310 stubedoo: And now I'm impatient to get my hands on it. That's good to hear about the printing and slip case. I'm also looking forward to reading "Riddles in the Dark" in its original context as well. It's reprinted in Masterpieces of terror and the supernatural : a treasury of spellbinding tales old & new which is the reason I bought the book in the first place, but it's not the same.

Sep 27, 2016, 8:14 pm

I'm in!

Sep 27, 2016, 9:10 pm

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Sep 27, 2016, 11:38 pm

>315 EclecticIndulgence:

High praise indeed, but a bit misplaced, I fear! I have done facsimiles of the several of the jackets (the first 15, actually), though, and it has been a bit of an OCD thing for me. It all started when I needed a 4th impression jacket for my own copy. 40 hours later, I had one, produced from the part of the jacket I had (front flap), a 4th edition scan (bad idea -- so many changes) and lots and lots of photos. :)

Sep 28, 2016, 12:09 am

I'm looking forward to receiving my copy. In the time since I first pre-ordered it (in 2011, I think), I have actually been crazy enough to purchase two real first editions (a 1st U.S., sans jacket, and a UK 4th printing with jacket). But it's good that this project is finally being realized.

Edited: Sep 28, 2016, 12:14 am

>317 jfclark:

Welcome to the 4th impression club! I was lucky enough to find one for $50 a couple of years ago (sadly without jacket), otherwise I don't think my budget would have stretched!

Sep 28, 2016, 6:10 am


Is this what you are referring to : The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition : Boxed Set ( ISBN10 0007440839) with a colour booklet and a CD ?

> 309 >310 stubedoo:

The description mentions a boxed set, but from your comments does the book have a (sturdy?) slipcase as well, separate from the booklet and CD ? (looking/buying at Bookdepository, which describes it as a box with included CD and comparing with photographs on tolkienguide )

Any thoughts on the contents of the CD ?


Edited: Sep 28, 2016, 5:59 pm

The CD doesn't exist. Originally (5+ years ago when it was announced), it was going to include one and a booklet (and was going to be 50 pounds). Now it is just the book and slipcase and half the price. Some retailers didn't update their description of the product. I should have mentioned that; BD is one of the retailers that don't seem to be able to get their product description correct. I read somewhere that HC are going to do a separate release with the CD at some point, possibly next year.

Sep 29, 2016, 6:11 am

>320 stubedoo:

thanks for the reply

after reading all this, I'm also looking at 'The Atlas of Middle Earth' by Karen Fonstad as mentioned previously as well

Would probably prefer a hardcover but Houghton Mifflin paperback is available on Book Depository. However there is also 'The Atlas of Tolkien's Middle-Earth' /Harper Collins available in Jan 2017.
Is this the same book or an updated version ? Same pages and seems slightly larger and lighter(?!) On price the Houghton Mifflin may be the better option as no hardcover available within reason.


Sep 29, 2016, 6:23 am

>321 peto11:
Fonstad's book is a compulsory part of all Tolkien libraries.

Sep 30, 2016, 9:49 pm

I'd just buy whatever is cheapest for The Atlas. I can't imagine it has any updates, due to Fonstad's unfortunate state of deceasedness (although this hasn't stopped about 40 years of Tolkien book updates, so....).

It is a great book, which KWF really did a good job on.

Oct 6, 2016, 10:36 pm

My Hobbit Facsimile First Edition arrived today :-)

Oct 6, 2016, 10:57 pm

Interested in your opinions. Obviously, it isn't an expensive book (glued binding, somewhat average paper), but I thought overall it was a pretty good result for the money (16-17 pounds-ish)

Oct 6, 2016, 11:42 pm

I like the slipcase too.

Edited: Oct 7, 2016, 12:27 am

Yes, the slipcase is really well done. I was really pleased how the dustjacket turned out in the end, as well. There are definitely things I would have tweaked on it, given a bit more time, but I doubt anyone will ever really notice them unless they go hunting around with a magnifying glass, and it isn't a several hundred dollars facsimile where perfection is mandatory.

Oct 7, 2016, 3:53 am

A glued binding feels disappointing for a facsimile when the original edition had a sewn binding.

Edited: Oct 7, 2016, 4:08 am

>328 cronshaw:

I Don't disagree. I would personally have preferred a higher RRP and a sewn binding. These books are pretty cheap (£16 on Amazon), and I think it would have - perhaps - been better to pitch it at a higher price point. I can only assume they didn't feel there would be enough interest in a more expensive edition. I think that might have been a miscalculation.

Edited: Oct 19, 2016, 4:01 pm

Some conflicting info about what this will be so far (seems like a repackaging of material from Silmarillion and HoME with illustrations, most likely), but..

Oct 21, 2016, 5:46 am

I've gotten the Hobbit fascimile, basically because I didn't own an English Hobbit yet. I agree it would have been more desirable with a sewn binding, and I would have gladly paid 10e more for it. As is it's a nice 20e (inc p&p) book I will eventually come round to reading, and won't be too scared to hand off to my kids once they are ready to read it in English.

They're not touching my Pratchett's until they've shown they can handle their own babies without breaking them..

Oct 21, 2016, 5:29 pm

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Oct 28, 2016, 10:55 am

Looks like there's another "deluxe" slipcase edition to add to our collection. Just bought The Story of Kullervo for $55cad through Bookdepository.
Chapters will not have it in stock until December and selling for $125!

Oct 28, 2016, 12:26 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Oct 28, 2016, 5:01 pm

>334 EclecticIndulgence:

It is not the cheapest if you are in the UK, but for international orders it definitely seems to be the cheapest source for this title at the moment. Book depository price-discriminates based on your location/IP address, so the 'free shipping' thing is rather dishonest. They just up the price of the book if you live somewhere that is expensive to shop to.

As long as you aware of that, BD can be good for some titles, but is very inconsistent. The RRPs that they display are completely made up numbers that have no bearing on the actual publisher RRPs.

Note that this Deluxe Kullervo is printed in China, unlike the first impression of all previous deluxes. There are some small issues with consistency and quality, relative to the first prints of the other books. I guess if you are used to the horrible later Chinese prints of these editions, you will probably be OK with it. If not, you may be a tiny bit disappointed.

Oct 28, 2016, 4:57 pm

>333 JuliusC:
Enabled. Purchased.

Oct 28, 2016, 10:39 pm

Well that's disappointing to know that it is now printed in China. I have LotR, Hobbit & Silmarillion printed in China that I'm trying to replace with first printing while not horrible in quality they're not as good as L.E.G.O & Clays. I still remember The Silmarillion having an unnatural smell when I opened it. It's still a great book but I would've preferred they used L.E.G.O as their printer.

Edited: Nov 27, 2016, 12:01 am

>337 JuliusC:

The biggest problem with this title is that the slipcase does not have a smooth curve, but has 4 connected straight lines approcimating a curve. It is a small detail, but looks a bit rubbish (I haven't purchased it myself -- as I avoid Chinese printed titles, but have seen photos).

Edit: I did end up buying it, and had to reject the first copy, as it had so many defects. Second copy was just slightly bad (and no way will I be purchasing any more Chinese printed "deluxe" editions).

Edited: Jan 23, 2017, 1:22 am

January 23rd

At the end of the third age of his Chaining, Melkor put a fair countenance and deceived Manwë into freeing him. oced to remain in Valimar, Melkor envied the Silmarils and the light of the Two Trees. Fiercely jealous of Elder Children of Iluvatar, he kindled dissension within House of Finwë, but he could not seduce Fëanor, although his lies did make the Noldor distrust the Valar. When Fëanor perceived his purposes Melkor fled from Valinor. Assuming permanently his old fana of the Dark Lord, Melkor came to Avathar, where he was aided by Ungoliant to obtain the Silmarils and deprive all others of their light. Melkor and Ungoliant poisoned the Two Trees, stole the Silmarils, and slew Finwë. They fled to Middle-earth, where they quarreled over the spoils which led to violence; Melkor's cry gave summoned his Balrogs, with whose aid he escaped Ungoliant and came to Angband.

I thought the use of the word fana was linked to the Sufi term as it arguably fits in with Tolkien's theological Catholic worldview and the evil of Melkor, but I think Tolkien had invented this quite independently as part of his Middle Earth languages.

Jan 23, 2017, 7:10 am

>339 LesMiserables:

Is this summary in the appendices of LotR?

Jan 23, 2017, 4:08 pm

>340 boldface:

I'm not sure if it's there: I retrieved this from Warwick's throw out pile at the Antipodean Faddict Knees-Up in December. It's from a desk calendar identical to this

Jan 24, 2017, 9:22 am

>339 LesMiserables:

That is badly written. I doubt Tolkien is responsible for it.

Jan 24, 2017, 11:12 am

>341 LesMiserables:
>342 howpim:

A google search reveals this website:

under the "Persons" entry for Melkor:

Whether he has lifted the text from somewhere else is not clear.

Jan 24, 2017, 3:42 pm

For those disappointed with the Facsimile First Edition of the Hobbit the original 1937 edition is up for grabs at an upcoming PBA auction. Starting at $25,000 I don't get it...

Feb 13, 2017, 5:20 pm

What's wrong with the Hobbit Facsimile? I don't have it yet. But from what I can see the parts in the original first edition where the designs are embossed, it is now just printed on the new Facsimile. And I believe the pages are glued and not sewn?

Is there any other quality issues I'm missing on the new Facsimile?

Feb 13, 2017, 5:23 pm

I'm looking for a nice, 3 volume hardcover edition of Lord of the Rings for reading. Right now I'm down to two options. The Folio Society 3 volume set, and also the Harper Collins 3 volume set (or 4 if it comes with the companion), this is the hardcover set with Tolkien's original dust cover designs.

Does anyone happen to have both editions of these sets? Was wondering if anyone has any input on the difference in quality of these sets? I'm pretty sure the folio society set would have better paper and binding quality?

My biggest concern is the size of the font/text. As the Folio edition are smaller than their usual offerings I know the font is also smaller as a result. Does anyone know which set has the larger font among these two sets?

Thanks very much.

Feb 14, 2017, 12:59 am

>346 eric923:

I have both. The dimensions are the same except for thickness. Looking at Fellowship, the HC is a bit over an inch thick and the FS about 1.5". HC has xxiii plus 407 pages (430); FS has 459. So obviously FS has thicker paper (Abbey Wove). Font size seems the same, but I find the PostScript Monotype Plantin in the HC slightly more readable than the Barbou of the FS. HC has 44 lines/pg; FS has 39 lines/pg. HC paper, though thinner, has a pleasing cream color vs. the white of the FS. HC has fold-out map and extra preliminary material; FS has endpaper maps and illustrations. Corrected text of the newer HC is more authoritative. As for binding quality, FS is actually not better. Quite equal. The HC is bound by L.E.G.O. who have bound several great FS editions. FS is bound by Grafos S.A. Both editions are nice, though I favor the HC.

Feb 14, 2017, 1:08 am

Wow, that's some awesome info. Thanks very much Kronnevik! So it looks like the font size is the same between them. That was my biggest concern.

I flipped through a used copy of the FS version in a book store recently and found something about it not as good for reading. It also be the type of font they used like you mentioned. But i'm just being picky here. I'm sure it'll still read well.

Which version would you say uses the higher quality paper and has better printing clarity for the text? I know u mentioned the FS version has noticably thicker paper? That's a nice place for me. But then I tend to like cream colored paper more, especially for classics or fantasy novels.

I'm guessing your edition of the HC is one of the early prints? Because I heard the newer prints now for the HC ones are actually bound and made in China. Heard there's a noticable reduction in both binding and paper quality as a result? Wonder if anyone can verify this?

Although the FS version has illustrations.. i'm not too fond of the illustration style in it. And I do like the original Tolkien dust jacket design of the HC.

Thanks again for your help!

Feb 14, 2017, 9:06 am

>348 eric923:

My HC Fellowship is a 2005 6th printing from the recent 60th Anniversary set with the updated Hammond & Scull Companion. While it's true HC have printed many books in China, including printings of Tolkien editions earlier printed in Europe (the ongoing deluxe set comes to mind and I can verify the reduction in quality), I don't know if that's the case for these editions or not. My guess is not, but I could easily be proved wrong.

Both are printed very clearly. No complaints. The FS paper is stiffer. The HC lays open nicely in one hand with its supple pages and not-too-stiff binding. Bleed-through is minimal with the thinner HC pages. I forgot to mention that the HC has the Book of Mazarbul leaves in a fold-out.

As I said before, I favor the HC in this case. The Tolkien-designed dust jackets, as you mention, are a plus, as are the additional notes and corrected text. I don't have any of the earlier FS LotR editions, including the LE, but comparing the versions you've asked about, I think - a bit surprisingly - that the HC is superior. Or just get both!

Feb 14, 2017, 10:02 am

From a features standpoint I too would agree that the Harper Collins is better with the fold-out Book of Mazarbul, updated corrected text, and the original tolkien dust jacket. The extra companion volume is nice as well.

I do like thicker paper though. It would be awesome if Folio decides to do a new version of Lord of the Rings with the new corrected texts.

Thanks again very much Kronnevik. Now I just need to verify whether the newer prints of the HC set were switched over to China... I remember reading somewhere that it did. But I'm not certain.

Feb 14, 2017, 8:37 pm

==I'm looking for a nice, 3 volume hardcover edition of Lord of the Rings for reading. Right now I'm down to two options. The Folio Society 3 volume set, and also the Harper Collins 3 volume set (or 4 if it comes with the companion), this is the hardcover set with Tolkien's original dust cover designs.

I have the HC set and it is a lovely set except for one flaw which is egregious, the pages are not opaque, you can read the obverse text through the pages. It took me a while to notice this but once I did I could not get it out my mind.

The best 3 volume edition balancing price and quality is the edition from the late 1960s in my view.

Feb 14, 2017, 9:48 pm

>350 eric923:

I have the two HarperCollins printings you refer to. I bought the later one because the Companion volume to the Lord of the Rings, included in the boxed set, had been further revised by then. The earlier one is the "Fiftieth Anniversary Edition" text (originally issued in 2004), as reissued in the boxed set in 2005 (first impression), printed by L.E.G.O. SpA, Italy; the later printing is the 9th impression, "Printed in China". I refer to them below as (1) and (9) respectively. There are a few differences between them:

Dust jackets
∙ The words "50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION" appear below the title of each volume of (1) on the front of the dust covers. This is omitted in (9).

∙ All titles in (1), on the front and on the spine are printed in raised gold foil. They are printed in a colour, and flat, on the dust jackets of (9).

∙ Apart from the differences mentioned above, all other design features and motifs are the same and in the same colours in both printings.

∙ The bindings are virtually identical in both printings and of similar (decent) quality. Both have headbands.

∙ Both printings have gilt titles on the spine, those of (1) being of a slightly coppery hue, while those of (9) are more golden in colour.

Paper and Printing
∙ Both printings have fairly thin, smoothish cream paper. (1) is a slightly stronger cream colour than (9), but the latter is definitely cream, not brilliant white, when compared to the white of the dust jacket flaps.

∙ There is moderate translucency in both printings and the print on the other side of the page shows through to the same extent in each. (The FS editions score higher here: they are printed on thicker, more opaque paper. Nevertheless, given its weight, the HC paper is still of good quality in both printings.)

∙ The quality of printing is good in both (1) and (9) when seen in isolation, but when compared directly that of (1) is slightly thicker/weightier and better defined. The difference, however is slight.

∙ While both (1) and (9) contain an identical “Note on the Text” dated May 2004, this is followed, in (1) by “Note on the 50th Anniversary Edition”, also dated May 2004, and in (9) by “Note on the Revised Text”, dated January 2014. The wording in the latter is largely similar to the former; where there is a difference this mostly reflects the context of having appeared nine years later than the first. In fact, it’s not clear if there have been any or many further revisions since 2005. If there are any it’s not obvious on a casual comparison between the two. The type settings on the face of it appear identical.

Illustrations and Decorations
∙ As noted by others, the HC printings contain a fold-out colour illustration in The Fellowship of the Ring of “Leaves from the Book of Mazarbul. There is also a map of the Shire printed in black and red at the end of the Prologue and all three volumes contain fold-out maps in black and red at the end.

∙ Both printings have a couple of runes printed in red on page 25 of Fellowship.

∙ Also in Fellowship, chapter 2, there is an illustration of the ring inscription in the text (page 50), printed in red. And here, there is a very interesting difference between (1) and (9). Apparently, Tolkien struggled to find a satisfactory style for these Elvish letters and produced several versions which, on being returned from the printers in proof, he found to be unsatisfactory. The version he finally settled on was reproduced (printed in black) in the first edition, in my 1966 second edition, in the FS edition, etc. It is also reproduced in (9), printed in red as Tolkien originally wanted it to be. In this style the letters have long “tails”, or “descenders”, below the line. However, (1), in error, reproduces an earlier, rejected version in which the descenders are balanced with “ascenders”. As printed, these letters are slimmer and finer than the final version.* In the Companion, page 51, Hammond and Scull explain that the error arose when the wrong original art in the Bodleian Library was re-photographed especially for the 50th Anniversary Edition. Apparently, there is a spelling mistake in the second line – another reason why Tolkien rejected it!

* All the versions are illustrated and discussed at length in The Art of The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollins, 2015, pp. 20-25. The anomalous version in (1) is reproduced in figure 9 and the final approved version in figure 10.


In conclusion, although the FS edition has many fine qualities, not least its unique illustrations by “Ingahild Grathmer” (Queen Margarethe II of Denmark), the HarperCollins editions boxed with the Companion volume contain the latest corrected text, have various features printed in red, and have the three pages from the Book of Marzabul. Ideally, you would have both, but if you have to settle for one edition, I would marginally prefer HC. The differences noted above between the Italian and Chinese printings are not great. It really comes down to matters of detail.

Feb 15, 2017, 2:38 am

Thanks so much for the awesome info bud.

I'm very tempted to just get the HC edition. I'm glad to know the made in China copies aren't that much worse in quality if any. The information you gave regarding the writing on the ring is particularly interesting.

Right now it's the thicker paper quality and maybe better print quality of Folio vs HC's book of Mazarbul, companion book and updated text. Or maybe I should just get the HC one first....and maybe in the future hope that Folio releases a new updated edition with new illustrations and the corrected text. haha.....

Is there a big difference in corrections with the updated text? I have it in the Alan Lee version of the book, but haven't read through it yet. Only read my super old paperback copies from ages ago, which were the old non-corrected texts.

Thanks again!

Feb 15, 2017, 6:25 am

>353 eric923: "Is there a big difference in corrections with the updated text?"

There is a list of corrections, I think in the Companion. Most of them are corrected spellings of names and most of those are changes in the accents over some of the letters. To the general reader they don't amount to much.

The chief aim of the 50th Anniversary Text was, I think, to try to eliminate as many of the minor typos that have crept in with each edition. The editors acknowledge that there are probably one or two they missed, but it's probably fair to say there are far fewer in this edition than in any previous one.

Feb 15, 2017, 11:35 pm

>352 boldface:

So I guess the switch from Italy to China happened between the 7th and 9th impressions. It would be interesting to know just which one. I'm actually trying to find a 50th anniversary boxed set (ISBN 0007203578) - I wonder how many were printed because I rarely see them on the secondary market.

Feb 16, 2017, 10:47 pm

Man... i kind of lucked out today. Was at a local bookstore and landed a second hand copy of Children of Hurin Deluxe edition early print. It's the early prints that were made in Italy.

For Lord of the Rings I'm thinking if I should maybe wait for some new, more definitive copy from Folio Society if that ever happens. But I'm still tempted to get the current HC ones...

Feb 17, 2017, 3:40 am

So I was checking out the Children of Hurin Deluxe edition I got yesterday that was made in Italy LEGO. The quality is quite outstanding. Paper quality is great. Cream color paper and thick. Thicker and nicer i'd say than even Folio paper, which is already very nice. Very generous margins and spacing too. Good print quality. Binding is also well done.

I was wondering, for those who have these early deluxe Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, etc deluxe editions in both the early prints made in Italy and the later ones made in China.. has the quality really dropped off that much? Do they still at least use the same quality paper inside? Or has the quality of paper used inside also decreased for the China made ones? I really like how thick the paper is in this Italian made one I got. It's got little to no bleed through from the other side.

This is getting me really tempted to get The Lord of the Rings deluxe edition just to collect if the paper quality is anything similar. But right now all the ones I order online would be made in China. So worried about if the paper is still just as nice and thick.

Thanks guys.

Feb 17, 2017, 10:10 am

>357 eric923:

CoH is nicely done. HC printed a ton of them, so I'm not sure that there are even Chinese reprints of CoH (anyone seen one?). I bought the boxed set of the first 4 deluxe editions (Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion, CoH) along with the later 5-book boxed set (adds Tales from the Perilous Realm). In the set of 5, the first three are Chinese reprints. I don't have the books in front of me so I can't speak to the paper, but the bindings are most definitely worse. The Hobbit changed color from a rich dark green to a lighter, brighter, sickly green. The spines became flat rather than nicely rounded. The slipcases became thinner. They feel lower quality. Those are the differences that come immediately to mind.

Keep in mind that LotR is a long book. Any 1-volume edition is going to have thinner paper to keep it from being ridiculously huge. Even the early L.E.G.O.-printed impressions have some bleed-through. The paper is white (as in all the deluxe editions), but otherwise quite similar to the paper in the HC editions recently discussed.

The deluxe series now contains 10 books (more will come). All were originally printed at L.E.G.O. or Clays until the most recent The Story of Kullervo, which was printed in China. The first printing was plagued by off-center spine titling and other defects. The slipcase opening, rather than being a smooth curve as in all previous slipcases, is "curved" with four straight cuts. On the bright side, the paper is thick - it has to be given the small page count (as in many of the recent Christopher Tolkien-compiled publications).

You may want to explore the discussions over at the Tolkien Collector's Guide forum to learn more about these and other Tolkien editions.

Feb 17, 2017, 6:14 pm

Thanks for the input. You made a very good point about Lord of the Rings being a much thicker book so the paper may be thinner to keep it manageable. If the paper really is indeed a bit thinner for LOTR then I might as well just get a 3 volume set. As I believe the Folio set uses the standard abbey wove paper?

But yeah, love the paper quality and thickness of the paper used for the Deluxe Children of Hurin. Makes me kind of wish Folio would experiment with different quality paper too sometimes just to keep it interesting. Like different shades, textures and thicknesses.

Mar 14, 2017, 5:54 am

A couple of things for Tolkien fans to look forward to:

Jun 1, 2017, 2:02 pm

Beren and Lúthien published after 100 years:

Edited: Jun 1, 2017, 5:29 pm

>361 HuxleyTheCat:

I received my copy today. As Christopher Tolkien acknowledges in the Preface, this may well be his last editorial work, as he is now 93! He also points out that there is nothing new in the content that hasn't already been published elsewhere, mainly in the earlier volumes of the History of Middle Earth. What this edition does is to gather together disparate elements in the development of the tale, presenting a reader's edition of the earliest completed version. The second part of the book covers subsequent developments in the tale. There are 9 attractive colour plates and quite a few black and white sketches as head and tail pieces by Alan Lee. The jacket bears another colour illustration not repeated inside. The usual deluxe edition is also in the pipeline.

(Slightly edited to improve English)

Jun 1, 2017, 3:21 pm

>362 boldface: To your knowledge, are the deluxe editions of the Tolkien series printed on 'good' paper? I have very nice Harper Collins editions of LOTR etc, but the paper in all of them is beginning to fox, and I would like to replace them. The FS editions would be one option, but I have a preference for editions illustrated by Alan Lee.

Jun 1, 2017, 4:54 pm

>362 boldface:

The usual deluxe edition is also in the pipeline.

As will be the Big Screen Trilogy and no doubt old PJ will sneak Ian McKellan into it somehow :-)

Jun 1, 2017, 6:14 pm

>363 HuxleyTheCat:

If you really want the Alan Lee illustrated LotR, then I would probably recommend one of the older printings of the one-volume edition, the one with an illustrated paper dust jacket. With all single-volume editions the danger is rather thin paper, but my copy has not foxed or toned. That said, I prefer the three £20 hardbacks below:

A good option is to get the slipcased edition which comes with the Lord of the Rings Companion:

I don't think the paper these are printed on will deteriorate any time soon, although, despite being in three volumes, it's still a little thin. Nevertheless, it does seem better than the cheaper hardbacks. (There are also matching editions of Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.)

I marginally prefer the "50th Anniversary" printings of 2004/5 because I think the printing is a tad sharper than the later "60th Anniversary" printings.

Needless to say you can get new copies more cheaply elsewhere than the RRP prices quoted in my links.

Jun 1, 2017, 6:15 pm

>364 LesMiserables:

Nothing would surprise me!

Jun 1, 2017, 6:31 pm

>363 HuxleyTheCat:
>365 boldface:

Sorry, Fiona. You asked about the deluxe editions. They are printed on superior paper that appears not to brown with age, but there are other issues with them. For a start, they may be called "deluxe", but they still have paper-covered spines and sides, even if they are embossed with fancy gilt designs. Some people don't like the later printings done in Hong Kong which they think are inferior to the earlier UK printings. And some of the later bindings are very tight which makes them awkward to hold open when reading. The deluxe LotR, by the way, does NOT contain the Alan Lee illustrations but follows the traditional format of the hardbacks I recommended in my previous post.

Jun 2, 2017, 11:30 am

Thank you, Jonathan, for this informative post. Always love to hear about Tolkien.

Jun 4, 2017, 9:52 am

> 367

Just a couple of points to add about the "deluxe" edition of Beren and Luthien, which I received today:

1. This first impression, at least, is printed by L.E.G.O. S.p.A., Italy on the usual smooth cream paper.

2. The regular edition jacket illustration is reproduced as an extra colour plate at the beginning.

Jun 5, 2017, 12:22 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jun 7, 2017, 8:31 am

>365 boldface:, 367

Many thanks, Jonathan. I reread LOTR more frequently than most other books, so I would love to get an edition which completely works for me, but alas neither the FS nor HC has provided one as yet.

Jun 8, 2017, 10:26 pm

The standard edition of Beren and Luthien is printed by Clays, in case anyone is interested.

Edited: Jun 19, 2017, 6:01 pm

I got the deluxe edition today. On the plus side, printed by LEGO (as boldface mentioned), on the negative side,.... meh. I would be unhappy if I had paid anything remotely close to £75 and if I hadn't had free shipping courtesy of my wife's suitcase. The quality is better than The deluxe Kullervo (which was awful), but I don't think it is quite up to LEGO's usual standard (that said, my copy might just be a bit "off" as that does happen -- the quarter binding is a fraction off). I think the logo is much too large. The slipcase is very good, mind (more solid than LEGO's recent efforts, such as Beowulf), and fits the book well. Paper quality is also excellent.

I think part of the problem is that the material itself is all a bit unnecessary (as it is essentially all just reprinted), and "deluxe" editions seem increasingly unnecessary. Some of the Alan Lee illustrations are OK (in fact they are all at least OK), but they aren't his best work, IMHO. That's very much a personal taste thing, I guess. There is nothing bad here, I'm just not remotely wowed by any of it. I guess for people that don't have HoME, it is worthwhile. For anyone else, if you can buy at the £40 sort of price-point, which is what I paid, it isn't bad.

Jul 9, 2017, 7:21 am

I don't know about anyone else but I've been experiencing the expected annual itch of reading The Lord of the Rings. I soothed myself a little by reading the chapter A Journey in the Dark but I expect that I'll have to succumb to another full read very soon.

Jul 9, 2017, 12:10 pm

I'm working up to (possibly in 2018) a longer (but definitely not all-encompassing) JRRT read, probably including The Hobbit, The Art of The Hobbit, The Annotated Hobbit, The History of The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Silmarillion.

Jul 9, 2017, 6:15 pm

>374 LesMiserables:

I hope to get LotR on my (re-)reading list before the end of the year. It's quite a long time since I last read it - certainly long before any of the films came out. I feel I need to return to the UR-text as soon as possible.

Jul 9, 2017, 10:08 pm

>376 boldface:

That's what happened to me. I had this Tolkien hiatus from before the films until the final LOTR release. When I reread it I realised that many falsehoods had slipped into my recollection of the novel.

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 2:15 am

For anyone who doesn't have time to read the books, but has been contaminated by the PJ movies, the BBC Radio adaptation is a fantastic alternative to refresh one's mind with a decent version of the story.

Jul 10, 2017, 2:58 am

>378 stubedoo: I'm not sure if even the brilliant BBC Radio recreation of Helm's Deep can ever erase PJ's Olympic torch wielding sequence.

Jul 10, 2017, 3:22 am

Which LoTR audiobook version would you recommend?

Jul 10, 2017, 4:54 am

>379 HuxleyTheCat:

You make a very valid point!

Edited: Jul 10, 2017, 10:18 am

>380 gmurphy:

I really like the unabridged reading by Rob Inglis from Recorded Books. He also does The Hobbit (and Wizard of Earthsea).

I also like the Silmarillion done by Martin Shaw.

Jul 12, 2017, 2:48 am

I must admit, I have never listened to any of the Tolkien audiobooks. I suppose I should at some point, but I think I either like reading a book myself or listening to a dramatisation. Audiobooks have never really appealed.

Jul 12, 2017, 5:14 am

>383 stubedoo:

The BBC LOTR is very good.

Jul 13, 2017, 1:44 am

>384 LesMiserables:

Oh, absiolutely - it is one of my favourite dramatisations of anything (and has been since 1982).

Aug 14, 2017, 7:02 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 14, 2017, 10:31 pm

>386 EclecticIndulgence:
Aotrou and Itroun and A Secret Vice have not gotten the deluxe treatment, nor have I heard of any plans for them. You would almost need to combine them to get a book sufficiently thick without using really thick paper. The three-volume HoME will be released this year in the deluxe format, apparently in matching black spines and housed in a single slipcase. This is a disappointment to many who have been collecting the series, with all books individually slipcased and uniquely colored.

Aug 15, 2017, 2:53 pm

For those in the UK, BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a new radio play 'Tolkien in love', Saturday 19 August at 2.30pm, about Tolkien and the love of his life, Edith Bratt (the inspiration for the Beren and Luthien story in The Silmarillion).

Edited: Aug 15, 2017, 5:12 pm

>388 Rembetis:

Thanks! (and thanks to Hola VPN) :-) So that's Saturday night sorted! (Brisbane time 11.30pm)

Aug 22, 2017, 4:04 pm

interesting, love the BBC

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 3:13 am

Thoroughly enjoyed that dramatisation. Great hour well spent.

PS You don't need to be in the UK to listen to it using the BBC app.

Sep 2, 2017, 6:35 am

In fact I encourage you all to install the BBC iPlayer app

Today, on my sick bed (poor me), I listened to...

Tolkien in Love
Tolkien the Lost Recordings
Beyond Belief - Tolkien's theology
When Tolkien stole Wagner's Ring
Meridian - Tolkien inc 1964 interview

All excellent, free and well produced.

Sep 16, 2017, 7:20 pm

Silmarillion 40

Edited: Oct 25, 2017, 6:10 pm

Just in case anyone needs assistance with the decision to buy the Middle-Earth Treasury boxed set. It doesn't appear to be very good. Considering the £50 RRP, there are probably better things to spend the money on. Nice idea, poorly executed. Again.

Oct 28, 2017, 4:09 pm

>394 stubedoo:

Thanks for the info. They are probably good enough for a one off read, but for someone who wishes to read them often, they wouldn't stand up.

Edited: Nov 2, 2017, 11:42 pm

This might be of interest so some on here (I have pre-ordered, as looks like will be the best Tolkien publication in years). Regular hardback edition also available.

Deluxe Edition, with facsimiles:

Hardback Edition:

Companion edition to the exhibition:

Nov 3, 2017, 9:07 am

>396 stubedoo:

As your first link is dead, I assume the deluxe edition is sold out already?

Nov 3, 2017, 9:30 am

Fwiw, it worked Thurs a.m.

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 3:34 pm

>396 stubedoo:

No, apparently the link was put up prematurely, but there have been some changes to the book (they uploaded an earlier description of the book by accident, apparently). It will be 600 copies, not 500 and is not signed. I've cancelled my order for the time-being, but will see what the final description of the product is and might jump back in. I'll certainly be buying the regular edition, but I don't feel the need to preorder that.

Nov 3, 2017, 7:29 pm

>399 stubedoo:

Thanks for clearing that up. I'll watch for developments.

Nov 4, 2017, 10:03 am

(FWIW) I got a mailing by Folio with a folder on the discounted LE of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by Harper Collins. I made pictures, which I will now post:

Nov 4, 2017, 4:10 pm

>401 NLNils:

Thanks for posting that up. Not that I'm looking to get another copy, but whenever I look at it on the Folio website, it shows the price as £350, not the £250 on the flyer (i.e. no saving from RRP), £330 if I use a UK proxy.

Nov 13, 2017, 4:30 pm

(Reuters) - Inc has bought the global television rights to “The Lord of the Rings,” the company said on Monday, in what may be its biggest and most expensive move yet to draw viewers to its streaming and shopping club Prime.

Nov 13, 2017, 4:35 pm

>403 dfmorgan:

I don't think I could bear to bring myself to watch whatever it is they are going to serve up.

The PJ LOTR was good with large reservations.
The PJ Hobbit was terrible.
A TV series will no doubt, eradicate any sense of Tolkien from the production.

Nov 13, 2017, 4:37 pm

Interesting society based in the US

Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 1:24 am

Amazing how the Estate changes its tune, when $250M is on the table ;-) Can't say I blame them, mind.

Nov 15, 2017, 11:24 am

Speaking of the estate, Christopher Tolkien has just resigned:

Nov 15, 2017, 11:54 am

>407 chrisrsprague:

It's amazing he's lasted this long, really. Christopher's contribution to Tolkien studies, incorporating, as it does, as much "inside knowledge" as it's possible to get, leaves us all in his debt. I do hope the serious study of Tolkien and his works in the future won't get completely overwhelmed by "Disneyfication" and the rush for profit. Maybe it's time for Gandalf to pay another visit to the Shire. . . .

Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 5:45 pm

>407 chrisrsprague: >408 boldface:

His contribution to Tolkien's work is quite unfathomable. I fear that it is the end of the scholarly output that we will see from the family. I know Adam Tolkien is a bit of a writer, but I do not think anyone stands out as to take up Christopher's work, has the capacity to or would want to.

He is akin to St Paul, the great evangeliser of his Master's work.

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 2:26 am

>409 LesMiserables:

The quality of the work has diminished a bit over the years, and I tend to think the worthwhile material (and some less so) has already been published. I'm not sure there is much left for anyone to do.

Nov 16, 2017, 12:09 pm

The thought of Amazon having rights to the Tolkien legacy makes me nauseous. I think of when the Ar-Pharazôn brought Sauron back to Númenor. The end of a beautiful world. Amazon buys everything I love. One company to rule them all.

Nov 16, 2017, 1:14 pm

>410 stubedoo:

They could do a three-volume expanded Silmarillion (as Tolkien originally intended). A partial road-map for that can be found in this book

Nov 16, 2017, 2:10 pm

I don't think Amazon has the rights to publish new books. So far as we are aware, I believe it is only the TV series. Hopefully we won't see a Middle-Earth Expanded Universe just yet...

Nov 16, 2017, 2:50 pm

>413 stubedoo:

Ah, but I believe >412 Crypto-Willobie: is in response to the subthread on Christopher Tolkien's retirement and the "work left to do" for anyone attempting to fill his shoes, e.g. Adam Tolkien. Not in response to the Tolkien Estate's deal with Amazon, at all.

Nov 16, 2017, 3:16 pm

>414 elenchus:
Yes, thanks, I meant re Christopher's retirement...

Nov 16, 2017, 3:45 pm

>409 LesMiserables: 'He is akin to St Paul, the great evangeliser of his Master's work.'

Aren't you tempting fate there? In the 2001 England & Wales census, 0.8% of the population claimed to be Jedi.

Mind you, I'm not quite sure what a Tolkien faith would involve. Handing out lots of mathoms? Smoking pipeweed at certain times? The really devout ones might bite their own ring fingers off. And then there would be convocations and schisms and, well, it could turn very nasty indeed. ;-)

(I'm for the Ents, myself.)

More seriously, I am in two minds about opening the world of Middle Earth up to new authors.

It's a rich, deep world full of potential but, well, it wouldn't be Tolkien any more. On the other hand, is there any really good reason to deny anyone else the opportunity to exercise their creative muscles? Classical music (loosely-speaking) developed through the creative use of predecessors' work adopted and modified into the youngbloods' own statements. For example, Mahler turned Frere Jaque into a grim funereal march, expressing his own compelling vision of our sometimes joyous/sometimes tortuous existence.

I guess it depends on the quality of artist you have available. Mark Twain said something to the effect of: good authors borrow but great writers steal. (At which point I think I should probably have stuck with my law studies - ah, well.)

The six-legged population of the planet know none of this (as far as we know) and carry on doing their own thing.

The single-celled population of the planet also continue in blissful unawareness of our existence (as far as we know).

I'm betting they'll outlive us all :-)

Nov 16, 2017, 4:26 pm

>416 Cat_of_Ulthar:

It was an analogy. They all limp.

Nov 17, 2017, 12:18 am

>416 Cat_of_Ulthar:

I tend to think that if you have creative talent, it is best to create something new. Middle-Earth is done, and has already been mined beyond any reasonable level. It has, of course, inspired many authors and will continue to do so.

Edited: Nov 17, 2017, 7:54 am

Just to clarify, the 'expanded Silmarillion' would not (or only minimally) be 'new' creation by outside hands, It would be fulfilling JRR Tolkien's original intention using his own material. He had originally envisioned the Silmarillion as a multi volume work. But when the existing published Silmarillion was produced Christopher Tolkien trimmed and compressed a world of material into a single volume, and he has said that he probably went too far in that process. The book Arda Reconstructed examines CT's editing decisions and makes suggestions for a maximal rather than a minimal Silmarillion. Contrast the stand-alone volume The Children of Hurin with the much more compressed Hurin tale as found in the published Silmarillion. Then imagine all the JRRT archival Legendarium material given a similar treatment. Something like that is what I mean, not a fanfic reboot.

But it's unlikely this will ever happen. Just wishful thinking...

Nov 17, 2017, 10:08 am

>419 Crypto-Willobie:

The Arda Reconstructed argument looks interesting, though I don't think I'll read it anytime soon. Just knowing that stories like the Fall of Gondolin could have a treatment akin to The Children of Hurin, though, is an enticing thought!

Edited: Nov 22, 2017, 3:12 pm

>416 Cat_of_Ulthar:
'It was an analogy.'

I thought as much and I wasn't having a go at you personally, just poking a bit of fun at the human race as a whole.

Arguably all human language is analogy but 'evangelise' is a bit of a loaded word and I have spent much of my life being bemused by the bizarre things many humans believe and, perhaps more importantly, their conviction that they, and only they, are right.

(Only yesterday, the Washington Post published this strange meeting of Wallace and Gromit and the Illuminatus trilogy:

Douglas Adams spent much of his time popping that particular balloon:
Zaphod Beeblebrox: Do you rule the universe?
Ruler of the Universe: I try not to.

And Tolkein does it too: his characters, even the God-like, semi-divine, Gandalf, are all fallible creatures prone to error. Like the Greek gods, they are really just humans writ large.

'They all limp.'

Personally, I think we all limp through existence with our own meager understandings of what the great scheme (if any) of things might be. I just don't think we humans are anything particularly special.
Tardigrades, on the other hand ... :-)

Nov 22, 2017, 3:32 pm

>418 stubedoo:
You're probably right. The authors we remember tend to be the ones who created their own worlds or characters, who had their own distinctive style or voice: Tolkein, Peake, Conan Doyle, Austen, Dickens. It's certainly possible to do something within an established format/franchise but will your skill be appreciated outside it?

Nov 22, 2017, 4:11 pm

Nov 22, 2017, 5:10 pm

>421 Cat_of_Ulthar:


Not really loaded when you think past the last 100 years of hubris. My paltry knowledge of Attic greek reminds me that it means carrying good news good+news (by messenger).

Christopher Tolkien has indeed brought that to the world through the continuation of his father's work and we are blessed for it. Tolkien's work may be fictitious but they are quite true in the sense they carry 'truths'. Very much like the parables of the Four Gospels may not be factual, but are nonetheless vehicles of truth.

So I think to use the word evangelise, as I did, only supports the view that Christopher Tolkien continued to spread good news, truth, through the publication of his father's work.

Nov 23, 2017, 2:55 am

>424 LesMiserables: "the last 100 years"

Make it a thousand and I fully agree with you on the hubris. From the conception of the word - 14th century AD according to my dictionaries - it was a heavily loaded word ("I'm right and everyone who doesn't agree with me must be convinced to follow me anyway").

You're right about the ancient Greek meaning. The word does not even remotely have the same meaning afterwards, nor does it carry the same weight or connotations. This happens with a lot of Greek and Latin words, where the original meaning in ancient Greece or Rome does not match with the meaning Christianity has given the word afterwards. The English word evangelise has been used almost exclusively for either 'to spread the word of Christ' or 'to attempt to convert others to Christianity'. The root meaning of the word has disappeared completely from the connotations the word now has. Using the term as if it still retains the old meaning and implications leads to a whole lot of confusion, apparently...

Nov 23, 2017, 11:51 am

>424 LesMiserables:
>425 Fierylunar:
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.' (Through the Looking-Glass, as I'm sure you know well.)

Tricky things, words, as Johnson makes clear in the introduction to his dictionary.

Using 'evangelise' in your sense, LesMis, I absolutely agree with you: stories reveal deep truths to us about ourselves. In Cerebus, Dave Sim quoted a line which I think he attributed to Alan Moore: 'All stories are true.' Not literally, of course, but they explore emotions and spiritual experiences and express things which we know to be true in our own personal lives.

On the other hand, my trusty old Chambers dictionary supports Fierylunar's point that the modern sense of 'evangelise' is very much connected to religious proselytisation (and there's a word I don't get to use every day). Language evolves, annoyingly or delightfully, or perhaps a bit of both.

Nov 23, 2017, 12:12 pm

>423 wcarter:
Aren't they brilliant? I love tardigrades :-)

Aug 1, 2018, 3:37 pm

Aug 1, 2018, 4:38 pm

Went to Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth at the Bodleian Library in Oxford last week, and it is well worth a visit if you are able. Fascinating to see the actual maps that Tolkien worked and reworked whilst writing LotR.

Edited: Aug 1, 2018, 6:55 pm

>428 dfmorgan:
Can't spring for it yet, but just a matter of time. I like that its design complements that of The Children of Hurin.
ETA And Beren and Luthien, I need to get that, too! Maybe at the same time ....

>429 CarltonC:
The maps! That would be the chief attraction for me, though I imagine there's other interesting bits, too. Was there anything from his Father Christmas books, made for his children?

Aug 1, 2018, 5:21 pm

>430 elenchus: There were a couple of the Father Christmas letters I recall, but I have not read and so passed them over.

Aug 2, 2018, 3:51 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Aug 11, 2018, 8:47 pm

The deluxe edition appears to be hideous. Hopefully the picture is doing it a disservice.

Aug 26, 2018, 8:02 am

Just purchased Tolkien and the Great war. Reviews seem favourable.

Sep 7, 2018, 8:16 am

The limited edition Maker of Middle Earth plus some other assorted goodies from Bodleian shop just showed up. Quite nice, although the father Christmas stuff wasn't what I figured it would be. The book itself is gorgeous.

Sep 7, 2018, 10:04 am

Does anyone know if the second printing of the quarter leather lord of the rings set from 1979 is also letterpress printed like the 1977 first FS edition of the book?

Feb 13, 2019, 1:37 pm

Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I'm considering updating a few of my favorite titles, and I'm looking into what I hope would be an upgrade of my copies of The Hobbit, LOTR, and perhaps The Silmarillion.

I currently own Houghton Mifflin Harcourt editions of these books. For The Hobbit, I have the 50th Anniversary gold bound slipcased edition, as well as the nearly identical non-anniversary edition in green. For LOTR, I have the big red leather-bound collector's slipcase edition. As for the Silmarillion, I have the original old hardcover sans dust jacket.

It boggles the mind a bit, all of the different editions. I like the look of the Harper Collins deluxe volumes. The 4-volume boxed set (Hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion, and Children of Hurin) looks quite nice, but is long sold out.

I also like the look of the 50th Anniversary LOTR from Houghton Mifflin.

I was thinking of perhaps springing for the Harper Collins Deluxe Hobbit, LOTR, and Silmarillion separately, since the set is long gone, but earlier in the thread someone pointed out that in later editions of the boxed set (the one that added Tales of the Perilous Realm), Hobbit, LOTR, and Silmarillion were now being printed at a different printers, and a decrease in quality occurred. The bindings are worse, the spines became flat rather than rounded, and the Hobbit's nice dark green color was changed to a brighter, sickly green. Thus, I'm fearful that if I bought Hobbit, LOTR, and Silmarillion now as individual deluxe editions, I'd get stuck with the inferior versions. (On a side note, I think it's a bit funny to house a bunch of slipcased books within a larger box. But I would have sprung for that earlier 4-volume set just for the sake of convenience.)

Anyway, sorry to be so long-winded, but if anyone has any opinion on this, I'd enjoy hearing their take. Perhaps there are new editions forthcoming, or maybe I'm overlooking some superior choices. It's not a huge deal if I don't upgrade, but those Harper Collins deluxe editions look quite nice all together., and that 50th Anniversary Houghton Mifflin Harcourt LOTR also looks pretty sweet.


Feb 13, 2019, 3:15 pm

The HC Deluxe do look quite nice. There are now 12 volumes plus the 3-vol. HoME. The Father Christmas Letters are forthcoming. As you say, the superior early printings of Tolkien's major works are harder to come by and may cost you a pretty penny. The Chinese reprints are rather disappointing in my opinion for the reasons you mention.

The 50th Anniversary LoTR from HM was the first "deluxe" Tolkien I bought and I do still like it. It's faux leather, but much better than the bindings on the gold and green Hobbits and the red LotR. The pages are a pleasing ivory.

A couple others to consider:

For sheer readability, I like the HC hardbacks from the early 2000s as discussed beginning >346 eric923: . The three LotR volumes were originally published for the 50th anniversary along with the Hammond/Scull Companion. They were re-released for the 60th anniversary with a revised Companion. The Hobbit (along with Rateliff's History of the Hobbit in 2 vols.), Silmarillion, and Unfinished Tales were all offered "in series."

Since this is FSD, I'd be remiss not to mention the current Folio Society set. It's very nice, though I prefer the HC hardbacks mentioned above.

For larger illustrated volumes I like the Alan Lee-illustrated hardbacks from HC (or HM). You can find matching LotR (3 volumes), Hobbit, Silmarillion, and Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-earth (HC only). The last two are illustrated by Ted Nasmith. There was also a more recent 1-vol. LotR that used new, superior scans of Alan Lee's artwork. This was from HC with quarter blue cloth and a plastic slipcase.

The variety of editions over the years is a bit mind-boggling. There are more experienced collectors who have much more knowledge than me. As for well-made hardbacks of recent years, I think these are your best bets.

Feb 13, 2019, 4:49 pm

>439 kronnevik: I hadn't heard about the upcoming deluxe edition of the Father Christmas Letters. I'll be curious to see what they do with that.

Feb 13, 2019, 5:54 pm

I would recommend getting a set of rebound folios from Lyra books. Facebook and eBay search should bring him up. He does amazing work.

Feb 13, 2019, 5:57 pm

Edited: Feb 13, 2019, 6:34 pm

>439 kronnevik:

Thanks for all of that!

So it comes down to three contenders, I think. The HC Deluxe volumes, the HC Anniversary set w/dust jackets and the Companion, and the HM 50th Anniversary set.

Hmm... This is tough. If I had my druthers, I'd go with the HC Deluxe volumes (individual Hobbit, LOTR, and Silmarillion), or the 4-volume set with the Children of Hurin, but I don't know how in the world I would be able to ascertain if I'd be getting the superior editions. (Well, it would be easy if I came across the 4-volume set, because I'm pretty sure that that didn't get printed in China until the 5th book was added.). But I see neither hide nor hair of that one anywhere online.

While I like the look of the LOTR in three dust-jacketed volumes, the Companion isn't that appealing. I'd be more tempted to go for it if it had The Hobbit with it instead.

I do love the look of that HM 50th Anniversary LOTR. But which Hobbit (and Silmarillion, perhaps) to go with that one, if I did go for the HM black faux leather-bound tome?

It's so disappointing that the HC Deluxe editions had to go the cheaper production route, blast it.

Feb 13, 2019, 6:10 pm

>441 Roccosem:

I would recommend me winning the lottery for that to happen.

If only! :)

Edited: Feb 13, 2019, 10:49 pm

>439 kronnevik:

Sorry to pester you, kronnevik, but along with what I wrote above in post 443, I had a few other thoughts/questions.

First, the three separate Harper Collins volumes that come with the Companion are also available separately, correct? That's something to consider, perhaps. I'm sure there are suitable Hobbit and Silmarillion volumes available separately to go with those three.

Also, I've come across reference to the older Allan and Unwin LOTR editions. Are those superior to what we've discussed (the Harper Collins and Houghton Mifflin editions)?

Lastly, there's another Harper Collins one-volume edition from 2004 (all black)? It's ISBN 9780261103207. It looks similar to the HM 50th Anniversary edition, but without a slipcase.

EDITED TO ADD: After some more sleuthing, I read that the three separate LOTR hard covers (the volumes to be found either indiviudally or in the box set along with the Companion) are also now printed in China, and they are of inferior quality.

"Out of the standard versions, the current 4-book set on is printed in China and the quality is disappointing. I can confirm the odd smell issue. I do not recommend you spend money on this. For the purpose of collecting, The Deluxe Slipcased versions look best on the shelve and there are 8 other matching deluxe books by Tolkien. However, same issue as with the standard version. What's currently on sale is printed in China and is of mediocre quality compared to the superb first prints made in Italy - so you'd have to go on the expensive second-hand market to get a copy that's worthy of your money."

I fear this quest stands on the edge of a knife, and I'm losing my balance big time! Aargh! :)

Feb 13, 2019, 11:57 pm

Some great resources:

For UK editions:
For US editions:
For all kinds of great discussions and info:

Edited: Feb 14, 2019, 7:11 am

>446 kronnevik:

Thanks for those links, and also for taking the time to help out via wall messaging.

And if anyone else would like to chime in here, that would be great.

Edited: Mar 3, 2019, 2:38 am

Hi, this is a bit random but I am looking at getting an edition of the Lord of the Rings and possibly The Hobbit and The Silmarillion too and had taken a look at the posts but I'm still not sure.

What I want is a 3 volume hardback edition of LotR with the Alan Lee illustrations and perhaps some maps too. Many of the ‘deluxe’ editions I can find online however are 1 volume editions with few, if any, illustrations.

From what I can find, the trade hardbacks by Houghton Mifflin seem to fit my requirements best but I'm not too sure how the quality will be like. There are also some standard hardbacks by HarperCollins which are somewhat similar to the Houghton Mifflin trade hardbacks. Does anyone know if they will fit together on the shelves? I am talking about these,

I had also read about a 3 volume Harpercollins set but I'm not too sure which is it (many of the photos on these threads are not loading for me).

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Mar 3, 2019, 4:02 am

>448 Lim_See_Min:

I've got these and I think they're quite beautiful. I like Lee's illustrations and they're well printed in these books. They are pretty large, but they do fit on one of my (higher) shelves. I'm happy with the quality, they seem solid to me. (Not Folio Society, but fine quality for a 'regular' publisher.) They are a bit large when it comes to reading comfort, but then the illustrations look a lot better than they would in a smaller book. I should mention that I bought mine about 8 years ago, so if the quality has changed since then I wouldn't know. This seems to have been a problem with some other Tolkien editions, where the printing was moved to China and quality decreased as a result.

By the way: There's also a Silmarillion edition in series with these, though with a different illustrator (Ted Nasmith). That one's also beautiful, though the style is a bit different, naturally. I think it should be this one here:

Mar 3, 2019, 6:06 pm

>449 SF-72:

Thanks for the reply! Just ordered it off of Bookdepository

Mar 4, 2019, 3:38 am

>449 SF-72:

That edition of LoTR has never been printed anywhere other than China.

Mar 4, 2019, 8:29 am

>451 stubedoo:

Good to know. I just mentioned it because I didn't want there to be a nasty surprise if the quality has changed since I bought the books. You never know.

Oct 27, 2019, 2:51 pm

Jumping in to revive this thread by seeking some input:

My kids have recently gotten into LotR (much to the enjoyment of their father) and that's gotten me to looking at the various editions I have. None of which I find exactly satisfactory. I'm curious what opinions people have about the best editions. There are so many, but they're mostly not available in your typical bookstore.

I don't have the Folio editions, but I find myself suddenly considering them. In my ideal world, there would be an edition with Folio-level binding and paper quality with Alan Lee's illustrations. As far as I can tell, that doesn't exist, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 5:23 pm

ISBN 0618260587 is a large format edition with Alan Lee illustrations.

Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 7:03 pm

>453 Jason461: I have the 1991 deluxe edition which might indeed prove you wrong. However I wouldn't recommend it: it's too large to read comfortably (and also out of print). Another single volume edition - but one that is still in print - is this version (cheaper on Amazon). I don't own this but judging by the description it's close to Folio quality. Finally, if I needed a set right now I would probably just buy a standard 2002 illustrated 3 volume edition on the second hand market (either the Harper Collins or the Houghton Mifflin edition.)

Nov 28, 2019, 4:08 pm

>456 Pellias:

I pre-ordered The Hobbit Sketchbook & The Lord of the Rings Sketchbook as a set the other day, which contains the sketchbook you mention.

Also bought Letters from Father Christmas in the new deluxe format:

Nov 28, 2019, 10:05 pm

Would very much recommend waiting for a Folio rebind from Lyra's books. Simply amazing. He has a first edition set right now, but the the folio rebinds are very reasonable for the incredible workmanship.

Nov 29, 2019, 5:53 am

>458 Roccosem: ‘Reasonable’ in this case will cost you at least a £1000. To put it in perspective.

Nov 29, 2019, 10:37 am

That's true. A set goes for 800-1000 pounds, but he does have individuals from time to time like the hobbit for less. Reasonable in relation to the linked first editions, but agreed, more than the current folio set, and from the eBay prices I've seen, less than the original folio quarter leather limiteds.

Mar 3, 2020, 2:51 pm

Due at the end of April 2020 is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: with Pearl and Sir Orfeo (Old English) Hardcover – Special Edition, 30 Apr 2020

Mar 12, 2021, 11:33 am

For anyone interested, I received this book today and it was printed in Italy. Very nice book!

Mar 30, 2021, 3:19 pm

Does anyone know if FS have commented on the possibility of Folio editions of any other Tolkien books, or will we be forever limited to the big three? I'm thinking of titles such as Unfinished Tales, The Book of Lost Tales etc.

Apr 1, 2021, 4:05 am

Oh I just can't help myself

Apr 1, 2021, 11:31 am

>464 LesMiserables:

Absolutely loved watching that episode of The Big Read. Wish they all were available

Edited: Apr 8, 2021, 5:00 am

>465 ironjaw: None of the other ones are important Fasel. 😉

Apr 7, 2021, 10:11 am

Has anyone picked up on the new 70th anniversary edition of LOTR to be published in the autumn by Harper Collins?

There is going to be a slipcased de luxe which looks very attractive, quarter bound in leather. There will also be a standard edition hardback which looks interesting but has, to my eyes, rather garish red edges with the Ring Tengwar.

For the first time the book will contain Tolkien’s illustrations. There are also over 100 additional pages which will apparently contain additional material. It’s a mystery to me what this additional material will be - essays from the HOME or Unfinished Tales, perhaps?

Being a rabid Tolkien collector I have pre-ordered both the de luxe and standard editions from Amazon.

Apr 7, 2021, 10:33 am

>467 Quicksilver66:

David, so good to see you here. I'm excited as well and have pre-ordered the leather special edition.

Apr 7, 2021, 10:58 am

>468 ironjaw: Thanks Faisel. I hope you are well.

Apr 7, 2021, 11:29 am

>467 Quicksilver66:

Let me welcome you back, also. Being a Tolkien fan scarcely less rabid than you I too have ordered both editions. I keep telling myself not to succumb to the marketing hype but then this one's different ... isn't it? I don't suppose there'll be much that hasn't already been published in other places, but having the material all together in one book will give added value. Big book, though!

Apr 7, 2021, 11:36 am

>470 boldface: Thanks boldface. Happy to see all my old friends are still here.

I totally understand the symptoms you describe. That never ending quest for the perfect edition of LOTR. Will it ever be achieved?

Apr 7, 2021, 7:41 pm

>467 Quicksilver66: Hi David, welcome back. Hope you have been well.
I think I will succumb to this edition and at to my others. I'm a sucker for LOTR.

Apr 8, 2021, 2:02 am

>472 LesMiserables: Hi Steve. I’m well thanks and hope you are also.

Apr 8, 2021, 2:43 am

I too have taken the plunge on the leather edition and can’t wait to see it in person.

Apr 8, 2021, 6:33 am

I have purchased this too. It will be my first collectable LOTR edition. I only owned a paperback till now, since I never found an edition which was special enough and within my budget. This one does look amazing and I can't wait to reread the book in this version.

Apr 8, 2021, 3:04 pm

A little OT in that it's not a book but, if you haven't already heard:

I don't speak Russian so it was like the strangest episode of Jackanory I have ever seen.

Apr 8, 2021, 4:32 pm

>476 Cat_of_Ulthar: come back Peter Jackson. All is forgiven.

Apr 8, 2021, 4:50 pm

An interesting publication for Tolkien enthusiasts is the George Allen and Unwin Remembrancer by Rayner Unwin. Long out of print, it’s a history of Tolkien’s publisher and includes two lengthy chapters on publishing Tolkien. But it’s more than that, being the history of this distinguished and, alas now extinct, publishing house. It’s a fascinating account in its own right. It’s just been republished in a trade hardback and limited edition version by Merlin Unwin (grandson of the legendary Sir Stanley Unwin and son of Rayner who, as a child, convinced his father to publish The Hobbit by writing a positive review on it).

My George Allen and Unwin hardbacks are still my favourites Tolkien editions. They were such nice quality with strong bindings and stained top edges. Very classy books.

Apr 8, 2021, 5:14 pm

>478 Quicksilver66: I have always yearned for the one volume india-paper edition in a box, that I remember from my youth. Do you have that one? Very expensive on Abe, and I really can't justify it ...

Apr 8, 2021, 5:25 pm

>479 red_guy: I do have that one and it’s a lovely edition with its speckled page edges and stunning cover design. It was in print through to the 80’s I believe and the latter editions are a little more reasonably priced. Certainly worth acquiring if you can find it for an acceptable price.

Apr 8, 2021, 5:42 pm

>479 red_guy: I'm jealous! I do keep half an eye out for it, and I wouldn't mind an 80s one. I should do a proper Abe saved search.

Apr 8, 2021, 7:17 pm

>480 Quicksilver66: would you mind sharing a picture? I was looking at the older Tolkien thread but the pictures have all disappeared, hence the reason why I always upload the ones I use here on LT to my Member Gallery and post here

Apr 9, 2021, 3:38 am

>482 ironjaw: Here you are Faisel. The last photo shows the companion volumes of the Hobbit and Poems and Stories. I have the boxes but I display the books without them, otherwise all you end up displaying are rather boring cardboard boxes instead of the beautiful books.

Apr 9, 2021, 3:40 am

Oopps. The pictures have come out rather funny for some reason. Not sure why. But if you click on them it takes you to the links.

Apr 12, 2021, 6:20 pm

aim new to this but i have a folio society copy of lord of the rings trilogy in a sort os sleeve that is still in the shrink wrapped plastic
i think the reference number is 417 plus silmarillion ( ref 914)
can you tell me the best place to sell these.

Apr 12, 2021, 11:59 pm

>485 favkeith:

Not sure where the shrink-wrapped plastic has come from. No. 417 (Folio 60) dates from 1977, decades before Folio wrapped books in plastic.

Apr 13, 2021, 4:59 am

Apr 14, 2021, 7:03 am

I'm trying to decide if I want to buy the illustrated edition of LOTR and the Hobbit:

Does anyone know how this compares, art wise, to the sketchbooks of LOTR and the Hobbit:

Is this the artwork in the sketchbooks the same as in the illustrated edition or is there other/more artwork in the illustrated edition then in the sketchbooks?

Edited: Apr 14, 2021, 7:39 am

>488 Xaris84:

The illustrations in the Hobbit and the LOTR are fully completed paintings. The sketchbooks are just that - pencil sketches and drafts which were used in the creation of the finished paintings. You get a lot more detail in the sketchbooks and some good narrative on the creative process. They compliment the Hobbit and the LOTR but do not replace the finished paintings. A handful of the completed paintings are included in the sketchbooks but by no means all of them.

Another great book of sketches to consider is the Middle Earth Traveller by John Howe.

Edited: Apr 14, 2021, 2:46 pm

>488 Xaris84: I highly recommend the Hobbit illustrated by Jemima Catlin...

Mar 30, 2022, 10:55 pm

A new Silmarillion with 49 color plates, by Tolkien, is coming out in October,
and I’m on the fence about whether to order the British or American edition, in general which has the higher production values?

Mar 30, 2022, 11:10 pm

>491 yolana: Is there a difference between the versions? The versions I can find on US and UK sites look identical. Typically, the UK versions of the Tolkien books have been better looking and higher quality.

Mar 31, 2022, 3:52 am

>491 yolana: I assume that the text which is closest to what Tolkien actually wrote will be (when he is not using some other language) in English English, rather than American English.

The general principle I suppose is that one wants to read an author's works if you can in their native tongue.

Mar 31, 2022, 4:07 am

>491 yolana:

Could well be identical in this case. My general rule when buying trade hardbacks since the 1980s has been to seek the US edition (I'm in the UK) whenever there was a choice. The UK trade has taken much longer to adopt acid-free paper, hence many UK hardbacks from toward the end of the last century are seriously yellowed by now: and very often a UK edition would be bound in paper masquerading as bookcloth while its US counterpart would be, sometimes in full cloth, sometimes cloth spine and paper boards.

Mar 31, 2022, 6:58 am

>494 terebinth: thank you, that’s interesting about differences in paper quality and exactly the kind of info I was seeking. I did get the last LOTR in the UK edition, I’m in the US, since that was the only deluxe.

>493 English-bookseller: I imagine that the texts are identical in this case

Mar 31, 2022, 11:15 am

>491 yolana:

It seems that all the links I can find point to the William Morrow imprint. Morrow is now part of HarperCollins, but no previous Tolkien editions have had the Morrow imprint and I wonder why the change. Or is there a UK HarperCollins edition I've failed to find?

Mar 31, 2022, 12:37 pm

Mar 31, 2022, 9:02 pm

For those in the US like me who missed out on the quarter bound leather edition of LOTR that was only available in the UK last year, Amazon US now has that edition for an October 2022 release. Don't know why it took so long.

May 18, 2022, 3:52 pm

Here is a piece of history in the form of a letter to the editor of The Times newspaper by John Letts - erstwhile Director of The Folio Society Ltd., setting the record straight wrt the illustrator of TLOTR-1977 while also bemoaning the loss of anonymity for Ingahild Grathmer. As you can see, his letter dated 06 Oct and published 08 Oct (per handwritten note) was in response to a captioned illustration printed on 06 Oct, 1977.

Note 1: Photos belong to this eBay listing:, as does credit to the seller and original owner(s) for preserving an interesting piece of the past.

Note 2: This thread seemed the most appropriate for this post, till the day wcarter does a review of the 1977 TLOTR for his Folio Archives series!

May 18, 2022, 5:18 pm

>500 mr.philistine: Thank you for posting that. Completely fascinating ... I remember being baffled by the idea of illustrations being by one person yet drawn by another.

May 18, 2022, 5:34 pm

>499 amp123:

The existing UK variant has been available for international order pretty much continuously since release (other than for a short period). They printed a lot of 'em. You just couldn't order from US based outlets.

Hopefully the US edition may address the quality problems with the UK one (about 40% defective). This may explain the delay in the US release. More likely they wanted to time it around the new Amazon TV show.

May 18, 2022, 5:49 pm

>500 mr.philistine:
Fascinating indeed!
Thanks for posting.

May 18, 2022, 9:46 pm

>500 mr.philistine: Very cool, thanks for sharing! And I like how Grathmer is an anagram of Margreth.

May 19, 2022, 1:23 am

>504 Shadekeep: Good one. The first few posts from this thread on reddit ( also attempt to decipher her pseudonym. However, I believe they fall short while trying to assign meaning to Ingahild. For a head of state who wears so many hats - not least among them commander-in-chief of the Danish Defence and also the attention to detail in her TLOTR illustrations, I would expect a more accurate and precise approach.

More on Margrethe II of Denmark:

While I might be treading deep in 'hindsight bias' territory, I think we owe our bygone co-conspirators this effort.
Per Wikipedia, HRM The Queen of Denmark's full name is:

Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid

Ingahild = Ing+A+hild

Grathmer = gr+a+th+M+e+r

Note: I would have preferred to use coloured font, but I think this is not possible on LT.
This topic was continued by The Tolkien Thread (4).