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3.0 out of 5 stars27
3.0 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 11 July 2010
I have noticed that Amazon are crossing reviews on the calendars again - please don't hold that against me if this appears where it shouldn't.

Cor Blok has never been one favourite Tolkien illustrators, I much prefer the more traditional work of Ted Nasmith, Alan Lee and John Howe. When I saw the Tolkien calendar was available for preorder I did what I always do and preordered it - without knowing who the artist was.

I have always seen Cor Bloks work as ... shall we say abstract, and maybe a little child like in form when compared to the other artists. There are times, since I received this, when I have looked at the pictures in this calendar and been thankful for the quoted passage from Tolkien's work beneath, because without that quote from Lord of the Rings I would not have known what some of those images represented.

The calendar is in the usual format of picture at the top and squared calendar spaces at the bottom, including "special dates" and holidays.

I am sure that this calendar will grow on me over time, but at the moment I am in two minds as to whether or not I like it. It is, however, well made and of the usual high quality.

From a selfish point of view I hope they return to the usual artists, or maybe take a mixture of established and new artists for next years calendar.

*** UPDATE ***

Sadly, for me at least, the 2012 calendar will also be all Cor Blok's art work again - Tolkien Calendar 2012.
55 comments|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Out of all the esteemed artists who have created images of J.R.R. Tolkien's work, Ted Nasmith is probably in the top five somewhere.

Heck, he'd probably be higher on the list if it weren't for John Howe and Alan Lee, because his paintings of Middle Earth are lushly detailed, and rich with light and colour. And the "Tolkien Calendar 2009" has some of his lovelier pictures that were created for the illustrated "Silmarillion," full of ice and fire, light and shadow, and loads of orcs, Elves and ancient humans.

The cover obviously is a gorgeous picture of the Elves' white ships from Valinor, sailing into the bay of a white-and-gold city against a mountain. I don't know if that's supposed to be Valinor or not, but the whites and golds against the stone and grass is truly striking.

And inside, there are some far less pretty pictures -- though they're no less striking. We have a sky filled with smoke and flames as those same Valinor ships are burned, a winding phalanx marching across a snow-covered plain, a misty purplish forest where orcs are ambushed by an army of Men, and a woman weeping by a hillside covered in skulls, skeletons, half-rotted corpses, and rusted swords, shields and helmets. Lots of vultures and crows as well.

But it's not all doom'n'gloom in these pictures -- one picture shows a haunting forest with a shining river, while another has a river rushing out of three cavelike gates under a mountain. And there's a brief glimpse of the legendary Elf Luthien -- though you can't see much of her because she's wearing a big cloak -- riding a gigantic dog underneath a pale sun.

And the last three are the prettiest -- one has three figures congregating at a frozen waterfall, surrounded by the ruins of a burned forest. Another has a somber row of men walking alongside a river to a small bridge. And the last has Tuor on the side of a stormy sea with swans flying over him, and with dark clouds forming over a distant cliffside castle.

Ted Nasmith really outdid himself when he created these illustrations for a special illustrated edition of the "Silmarillion," and his love for Tolkien's original book is evident in every image he created. It just drips from the pages. There's no shying away from the darker facets of Tolkien's tales (Fire! Skulls! Swords! Battles!), but he doesn't let us forget that Middle-Earth is also a place of surpassing beauty.

This is partly conveyed by all the colours: blue skies, purple or blue mists, grey overhanging clouds, blindingly white snow, shockingly orange flames a bloody haze over the "Hill of the Slain," and a purplish sky over the escaping Luthien. And he makes great use of light and shadow -- there's always a dark edge to the more sinister pictures, and loads of warm light when there's a lack of overhanging doom. It really makes you feel what's going on.

But the best thing is the intricate, delicate details that Nasmith puts into it -- the individual boards on the White Ships, the stars above Luthien, the moss on river rocks, a series of waterfalls (seriously, every other picture seems to have a waterfall!), and the bare rafters of a ruined citadel. You can tell by looking how much love and attention was put into making them that good.

Ted Nasmith's "Tolkien Calendar 2009" gives us a few glimpses into the "Silmarillion," and fills these images with plenty of detail, shadow, light, and vibrant colour. Definitely a good way to spend the year.
44 comments|23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 August 1999
While this Tolkien Calendar is of high quality, it suffers from some design flaws enjoyed of Tolkien calendars of years past. The prints are too small and while a small inset at the bottom of each page is nice (especially since it often dipicts a different snapshot of the smae scene, enhancing the scene summary), it does not compare to the spiral bound calendars of the past with the large oversized drawings. The drawings suffer in quality, partly due to their size, partly due to their lack of creativity for the most part. But it is still a Tolkien calendar and should be enjoyed by most.
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on 2 January 2014
I have been an Tolkien Calendar lover for years, I gave my copy of this calendar to a friend who really fell in love with some of the illustrations, I was really pleased to find I could buy a replacement.
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on 2 September 2010
I have purchased a Tolkien calendar every year since they began and enjoyed every one, with Ted Naismith a firm favourite with the whole family. However, when I first saw the cover of the 2011 version alarm bells were ringing. I wish I had listened to them. To quote my 12 year old son, "Dad, I can do better than that". I'd like to warn anybody used to the high artistic standards of previous Tolkien calendars not to buy this one, as you will be hugely disappointed. I should have googled Cor Blok before buying, then I'd have known that his style is more suited to doing a Noggin the Nog calendar, or Ivor the Engine. This calendar is virtually sacrilegious to it's predecessors. My disappointment is bad enough now but I will be reminded of it throughout 2011, every time I look at whatever calendar we end up buying as a replacement for Tolkien - I have already passed on this one to somebody at work I don't like. Please, if whoever decides on the artists for Tolkien's calendars is reading this review, go on bended knee to Mr Naismith or Mr Lee and beg them to do the 2012 one. If it ain't broke, don't fix it !
55 comments|21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 April 2016
Not my style but can't break with tradition of collecting Tolkien calendar.
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on 6 February 2011
This calendar is so bad that I hummed and hawed into the month of february before deciding to hang it in a secluded corner!
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on 1 March 2012
Cor Blok's like Marmite.
I for one am so glad we're having yet another calendar of his. Extraordinarily intelligent paintings, which will keep you looking for hours, days and even years, should you want to look.
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on 4 January 2012
I am so disappointed that HarperCollins has published back-to-back Cor Blok illustrated calendars. I know he was Tolkien's favourite artist, but art is a matter of personal taste. This is the first year, for about two decades, that I will not be purchasing the Tolkien calendar, because I simply cannot bear to look at that rubbish for a second year in a row. I hope they have the sense to use a mix of artists next year.
11 comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 January 2015
great seller and product
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