- Toy: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Gmc Crds/P edition (16 Nov. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1572810556
- ISBN-13: 978-1572810556
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 12.7 x 18.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Lord of the Rings Tarot Pack Toy – 16 Nov 1998
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More About the Author
From the Back Cover
The Lord of the Rings Tarot unites two great traditions: the spiritual, mystical tradition of the tarot, and the world of folklore and fairy tales that is most delightfully depicted in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The added factor of a card game summons you to travel through Middle-earth to reach Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring!
Fanciful characters and scenes from J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy and 'The Hobbit' appear on each of the 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana cards. Rules are included for a card game for 2-6 players, ages 10 to adult.
About the Author
Terry Donaldson is the author of The Lord of the Rings Oracle, Principles of Tarot and Step By Step Tarot (all Thorsons). He runs the London Tarot Centre, and is a practising magician and tarot reader.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am a 'new' Tolkien fan. After seeing the Lord of the Rings movie and loving it.. I decided I had to read the books. The characters / story just fascinates me. I also enjoy the Tarot quite a bit - so when I remembered that there was a Lord of the Rings Tarot - I got excited... Until I read the reviews. OUCH!
I am not in any way saying the reviews are wrong. From what I understand, there are a lot of "technical differences"... and ALOT of questioning of why certain people / things were chosen for the cards they depict. I understand and agree with most of this... which is why it took me a long time before I broke down and purchased the deck...
I realized the reason I like the deck is because I am approaching it differently. 1. I like the artwork. Some of the pictures are quite intuitive to me - irrespective of the story. 2. I find the sentences on the cards helpful in remembering some of the aspects of the card meaning. 3. I like seeing the characters I enjoy on the cards - It helps me relate better to the deck as a whole.
While I realize there is a lot wrong with this deck, personally, I find that if I approach it loosely, it can be fun and I can get a lot out of it. I find that I just enjoy using cards that remind me of a story I love - I read the cards as they make me feel when I look at them - and I don't take the rest of it too seriously.
This deck may or may not be for you. Take all of the reviews / information into consideration, look at the cards yourself, and then make your own decision.
As for the claims that Tolkien would not have approved "as a Christian" of the use of his works in a pagan context (Tarot), you only need to look at his works to know this is false. Tolkien's work was all about Norse mythology and fairy tales. The Silmarillion was all about a pantheon of gods very much in a pagan tradition. Not to say that Tolkien himself was Pagan, but he did very much celebrate pagan myths and legends.
The cards themselves are well done, and have a legend at the bottom to set the scene for each.
I'm very happy with the deck, and whether you buy it as a Tolkien fan as a collectible, or as a fan who's also a Tarot enthusiast, I think it's a good buy.
This deck probably would better have been called the "Tolkien Tarot" or something of that sort, as the creator draws many scenes from The Hobbit as well as from The Silmarillion. In addition to tarot readings, the deck can also be used to play a sort of card game that models the Ringbearer's quest. The deck comes with a book with detailed descriptions of the Major Arcana and one-page explanations of the Minor Arcana.
The artwork in this deck didn't appeal to me, although that is a matter of taste. I found it a bit too cartoony and somewhat medieval in style, and I don't think the author paid attention to most of the phsyical descriptions in the book. Since when did Gandalf wear a steel helmet, or Galadriel wear a winged hat, or Hobbits have un-hairy feet? Aside from this, the artwork from card to card is inconsistent, ranging from completely stylized to looking like your usual fantasy scenes. As if this wasn't enough, the pictures only take up about two-thirds of the card, the rest being dominated by the label, a rather wordy description of the scene, and the alignment symbol for the game. Essentially, you have bad, inconsistent artwork that can be barely made out.
After you get past the artwork, you still aren't going to be very pleased with this deck. I will give the creator credit for one thing: he knows his tarot interpretations. What he apparently doesn't know is his Tolkien interpretations. Now, of course he's welcome to own ideas about the works, but anyone who has read the Lord of the Rings and taken a little time to think about its meaning will find himself cringing at some of the things this guy missed.
An example or two would illustrate:
The Fool card in tarot is traditionally a symbol of new beginnings, but in this deck the card was assigned to Gollum. More than that, the book talks about how Gollum's "road is just beginning" when it's clear from Tolkien that Gollum was a wretched creature who had nothing to live for and basically no hope for redemption.
The Wheel of Fortune is pretty much what it sounds like: the idea that times can be good or bad, and all that goes around comes around. In this deck, it is the Ruling Ring. The book doesn't even make an attempt to explain why this time, it only goes on and on about the creation of the Rings of Power, as if the author is eager to show off how much he learned from reading The Silmarillion. I don't think there's anything clearer in the books than the fact that the Ring has absolutely no good in it (kind of like this deck). Even if you tried to use it for good purposes it would still end up being evil. Unless you're the ultimate pessimist, it doesn't sound like much of a Wheel.
I was delighted when I first heard of a Lord of the Rings tarot deck, and I promptly sought it out online and ordered it. I've had it for more than six years now, but I have never brought myself to do anything with it other than look through the cards, shaking my head in disgust. Spare yourself the agony, and don't buy this deck. There is nothing in it that connects to Tolkien save in name alone.