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Tolkien Companion Hardcover – Illustrated, 31 Dec 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publications; illustrated edition edition (31 Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517146487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517146484
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 988,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By susie on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As I am reading through virtually all that Tolkein has written at the moment this book is a good reference to refer to. It is informative and easy to read. I suppose you could read it as a book on its own but really it is handy to have near by so that when you are reading a particular Tolkein book you have it there to look up a name or place. Tolkien can be very difficult to understand at times and help is needed. This is not the best book to do this job but it is good enough for most readers needs. I combine it with maps and atlas's (sad I know) and have been able to get much more out of the books I am reading. I would say it is worth investing in and certainly not expensive - worth the money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
J.E.A. Tyler is one of the worst Tolkien commentators of all 15 Dec. 2000
By Michael Martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There are three names Tolkien experts will immediately tell you to avoid: Ruth Noel, David Day, and J.E.A. Tyler. Tyler's original Tolkien Companion was filled with so many errors of fact and blatant wild guesses he had to quickly rewrite almost the entire work after The Silmarillion was published.
Good Tolkien analysts don't reinvent Middle-earth the way Tyler, Noel, and Day are wont to do. Although his style may be pleasant to read his research is highly suspect and he will probably never recover from the embarrassment his original Companion caused him. Fans who want to know more about Middle-earth AS J.R.R. TOLKIEN ENVISIONED IT should stick to the Tolkien books.
Critical analyses which have been well-regarded (if not universally agreed with) come from more traditional commentators such as Carl Hostetter, Verlyn Fleiger, T.A. Shippey, Paul Kocher, Wayne Hammond, and Douglas Anderson. These are well-respected scholars and researchers who may have their own priorities but nonetheless treat Tolkien and his world with greater respect than many others.
Although it doesn't cover anything published after The Silmarillion, Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth remains one of the all-time best Tolkien references. You can find books by all these authors are still in print and available here on Amazon.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Far from "Complete" 24 Nov. 2004
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With a universe as complex and nuanced as Tolkien's Middle-Earth, a guide is invaluable. Unfortunately, J.E.A. Taylor's "Complete Tolkien Companion" is far from invaluable. With barely any details and seriously unbalanced data, Taylor's book is all right as a second or third choice, but a flop as a serious guide.

From A ("Accursed Years") to Z ("Zirak-Zigil"), this book covers people, places, battles, objects and events from all throughout Middle-Earth's history. Taylor includes information from Tolkien's famous "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings," as well as the Silmarillion, "Unfinished Tales," and some other books. (Unfortunately, he doesn't include all of the history books)

Is "The Complete Tolkien Companion" worthless as an encyclopedia? No, not at all -- it's useful for some quick glances, and Taylor has a pleasant if clumsy style. But as a serious source, it fails. It doesn't have enough information, and what it does have is unbalanced and weirdly conveyed.

One of the most annoying things is that while Tyler will tell some stuff about various characters, events, and items. But in most entries, he doesn't specify which books they appeared in, what pages, or much else. Where is "Khuzdul" revealed to be a secret language? He doesn't tell you. And his handling of the information is clumsy: readers are told that Arwen Evenstar shares the "Doom of Luthien." What does Luthien have to do with her descendent becoming a mortal? Taylor doesn't say.

What's more, Taylor demonstrates a weird tendency to act like the events of Tolkien's books are a 10,000-year-old history. He claims in his preciously-worded foreword that he's going to stop, but he doesn't -- a tendency that crosses the line from fervently geeky to unsettling. What is more, he has a tendency to interject his own opinions into the text: he spends a long time explaining how misunderstood Galadriel is, for example.

To very casual fans, "The Complete Tolkien Companion" might have some worth. But for those seeking more information about Tolkien's Middle-Earth, this is an unworthy choice, in the shadow of Robert Foster's accomplished "Complete Guide to Middle-Earth."
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An excellent resource 23 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
.... There have been two editions of this book released, the first before the Silmarillion had seen publication. This first edition did in fact contain some guess work (something "Tolkien Experts" know all about), but Mr. Tyler's book offers a more comprehensive list of entries (and better written ones) than Robert Foster's "Guide to Middle Earth". They are both valuable resources if you want a clearer visualization of Middle Earth.
25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
What and where is the Tower of Pearl?................ 13 Nov. 1998
By Gilraen1@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
and who is the sleeper in it? I originally checked this book out of the library with the intention of finding this out from it. Well, I didn't. In fact, in all the Tolkien books I have read, I have only come across one reference to it, and this, I think(I am not traipsing upstairs to my bookcase right this minute)was in Lost Tales 1(maybe 2). I think the Tower was on an island in the Shadowy Seas, and at the time of the Last Battle, the Sleeper in it will awake. However, is the Sleeper Ainu?, Maia?, Eldar?, Human???, how did the Tower get there in the first place, and what purpose did it serve? This is my only qualm with this book, but I cannot fault it any more than other Tolkien books, because no others elaborate on this subject either! Now, I am done nit-picking! This book was excellent in both the breadth and depth of its scope. Both the casual reader and the serious Tolkien lover will appreciate Mr. Tyler's fine research on this subject. It is as complete, if not more, in its listings than Mr. Foster's Guide, and on topics that require a second, deeper look, Mr. Tyler gives us more information, period, and does not hesitate to throw in some minor philosophizing that allows the mind to take what was simple and look at it in a more complex light. Also, Mr. Tyler includes some references to early European history that allow a creative mind to link past and present tales together in a way that shows how unique an author/chronicler Tolkien really was. The topics are clearly explained, cross-indexed, and the usual obscure but interesting information is there(the names of all twelve of Barahir's companions in Dorthonion, etc.). This book is well worth its price new but just as good used or on long loan from the library. Mr. Foster's Guide is an excellent and marvelously complete pocket reference, but to start philosophical discussions or to have as a desk reference, this volume will definitely add in positive ways to your collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Worthless!!! 19 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Do not waste your money on any version of JE Taylors Tolkien books. He hides his "references" at the back of the book instead of professionally citing them on the page for the entry you are reading. If you are a Tolkien purist you will find many fictional made up details in this book. Instead buy the book that Christopher Tolkien himself cites...
Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle Earth. This book is VERY accurate for your Hobbit,LOTR, Simarillion reference needs.
If you need a cross-reference for the 12 volumes of the History of Middle Earth buy Christopher Tolkiens Index to the History of Middle Earth. You can buy that at Amazon UK.
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