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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More eclectic and intriguing than its predecessor., November 23, 2004
The followup to TOLKIEN'S WORLD: IMAGES OF MIDDLE EARTH, REALMS OF TOLKIEN offers more artistic renditions of (primarily) THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The lion's share of illustrations go to the more famous artists (John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith), but there's enough odd detours to make this both a mainstream representation of Tolkien's Middle-earth and a delightfully...
Published on 24 Nov 2004 by Mike London

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sublime and ridiculous
Middle-Earth fan art is in general a mixed bag -- for every glorious painting by John Howe, there's another picture out there that makes Legolas look like a cross-dressing girl. So it's not a surprise that "Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-Earth" also has the good, the bad, and the really ugly.

First, let it be known that several pictures by Alan Lee and...
Published on 26 Feb 2007 by E. A Solinas


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sublime and ridiculous, 26 Feb 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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Middle-Earth fan art is in general a mixed bag -- for every glorious painting by John Howe, there's another picture out there that makes Legolas look like a cross-dressing girl. So it's not a surprise that "Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-Earth" also has the good, the bad, and the really ugly.

First, let it be known that several pictures by Alan Lee and John Howe are in here. Howe's breathtakingly vivid paintings rather like still photos, including the lovely picture that inspired Peter Jackson's Bag End. Moviegoers will also see other scenes from the films reflected in his pictures. Alan Lee, on the other hand, produces art that is more delicate and muted, relying on detail rather than a sense of action.

Several other artists back them up, and some are quite good -- Ted Nasmith creates colorful, vivid images; his exquisite "Grey Havens" picture is particularly lovely. Inger Enderfeldt's are delicate and classic-looking. Some do well on only some pictures, such as Tony Ide: his rendering of Theoden in battle is pretty good, but his Treebeard picture is bizarre. Same with Fletcher, who does a good job with Gandalf on Gwaihir the eagle, yet makes the fearsome Lord of the Nazgul look like a squat astronaut on a stone horse.

And then there's the really bad stuff. Alessandra Cimatoribus tries to render Treebeard as a sort of stained-glass window, and the result is just weird and squashed. Ita Muscad makes the hobbits look like tots, and Treebeard (see a trend here?) like a giant wrinkly turnip. And Cor Blok is the worst, making childish little sketches with dresses, moon-like faces and stick feet. Worst of all, he makes Gollum look like a duck.

"Realms of Tolkien" doesn't entirely restrain itself to "Lord of the Rings" -- there's also material from "The Hobbit" and "The Silmarillion" here as well. (Although strangely enough, the oliphaunt picture on the cover isn't inside). And along with each picture comes the text from the books that it illustrates, since some pictures (like Lode Claes's "Nazgul") are ambiguous just by themselves.

Starting the book is a one-page biography of J.R.R. Tolkien himself, along with the much-beloved picture of him laughing with pipe in mouth. Fans already acquainted with his life might as well skip it, since it tells nothing new. And at the end of the book are brief biographies of each artist. John Howe, Alan Lee, Timothy Ide, Tony Galuidi, Fletcher, Carol Emery Phenix and Inger Edelfeldt all provide their own anecdotes about why they created Tolkien art.

"Realms of Tolkien" is about two-thirds good or middling, and one third outright bad. And if it introduces individual visions of Tolkien's work, then it's definitely worth checking out.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More eclectic and intriguing than its predecessor., November 23, 2004, 24 Nov 2004
The followup to TOLKIEN'S WORLD: IMAGES OF MIDDLE EARTH, REALMS OF TOLKIEN offers more artistic renditions of (primarily) THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The lion's share of illustrations go to the more famous artists (John Howe, Alan Lee, Ted Nasmith), but there's enough odd detours to make this both a mainstream representation of Tolkien's Middle-earth and a delightfully eclectic collection of art. (Cor Blok's in particular are wonderfully odd, and Tolkien himself approved of Blok's paintings). There are 58 paintings total. Like the previous volume, Tolkien's text accompanies each illustration.

What steps this up above the previous collection is where that one only had 9 artists, and Howe, Lee, and Nasmith contributed 30 of the 60 paintings, REALMS OF MIDDLE EARTH have 20 artists. While the three aforementioned still contributed a lot, REALMS is a much more diverse collection than TOLKIEN'S WORLD, making it a more intriguing package overall. I still like Howe the best. He captures the dark and the light very well. Though I don't agree with all the visual interpretations, alternate points of view are what make books such as this so appealing. It's certainly quite a book.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS is the primary focus of this book. 44 of the 58 paintings come from LOTR, including Howe illustrating THE RETURN OF THE SHADOW, Vol VI of HISTORY OF MIDDLE EARTH, and MORGOTH'S RING. There are 12 illustrations depicting THE HOBBIT. There are 2 by Howe illustrating UNFINISHED TALES and MORGOTH'S RING. No other works are represented. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING has 18 paintings (including Howe's illustration from RETURN OF THE SHADOW). THE TWO TOWER has 18 paintings. THE RETURN OF THE KING has 8 paintings.

These are the illustrators, with the list of paintings and from which book they are illustrating. Most have biographical blurbs in the book's back; those that don't are noted.

Nicholas Bayrachny: 3 paintings from The Hobbit. "Gollum." "The Great Goblin." "Beorn."

Cor Blok: 4 paintings, three from LOTR and one from HOBBIT. "The Game of Riddles." The Hobbit.
"Frodo's Vision" The Fellowship of the Ring. "Battle of the Hornburg." "The Mumak of Harad." The Two Towers.

Maura Boldi (no biographical blurb): 1 painting from LOTR. "The Swan-ship of Lorien." The Fellowship of the Ring.

Alessandra Cimatoribus (no biographical blurb): 1 painting from LOTR. "Treebeard." The Two Towers.

Lode Claes: 3 paintings from LOTR. "The Mirror of Galadriel." "The Gates of Moria." The Fellowship of the Ring. "The Nazgul." The Return of the King.

Inger Edelfedlt: 2 paintings from LOTR. "Gollum Held Captive by the Elves." The Fellowship of the Ring. "Treebeard." The Two Towers.

Fletcher: 2 paintings from LOTR. "Gandalf's Escape from Orthanc." The Fellowship of the Ring. "The Lord of the Nazgul Enters the Gates of Gondor." The Return of the King.

Tony Galuidi: 2 paintings from LOTR. "Balin's Tomb in Moria." The Fellowship of the Ring. "Sam and Shelob." The Two Towers.

Stephen Hickman: 2 paintings from LOTR. "The Black Rider." The Fellowship of the Ring. "The Siege of Gondor." The Return of the King. "Siege" is notable because it's the only illustration that takes up two full pages, and is the last painting in the book.

John Howe: 8 paintings, 4 from LOTR, 1 from Unfinished Tales, 1 from The Return of the Shadow, 2 from Hobbit. The "A Hobbit Dwelling." "Smaug." The Hobbit. "Gandalf and the Balrog." "Galadriel." The Fellowship of the Ring.. "Gandalf Approaches the Guarded City." The Return of the King. "Ulmo, The Lord of the Waters." Unfinished Tales. "Ungoliante and Melkor." Morgoth's Ring. The only two paintings in this collection representing Silmarillion legendarium. "Gandalf Comes to Hobbiton." The Return of the Shadow (Volume VI in The History of Middle-earth. Rough drafts of The Lord of the Rings.)

Timothy Ide: 3 paintings from LOTR. "The Prancing Pony." The Fellowship of the Ring. "Theoden's Charge at Helms' Deep." "Treebeard and the Ents." The Two Towers. .

Michael Kaluta: 3 paintings from LOTR. "Legolas Draws the Bow of Galadriel." The Fellowship of the Ring. "The First Stroke of Lightning at Helm's Deep." The Two Towers. "Eowyn and the Lord of the Nazgul." The Return of the King.

Alan Lee: 7 paintings from LOTR. "The Black Riders." "Rivendell." The Fellowship of the Ring. "The Taming of Smeagol." "Theoden's Hall." "The Dead Marshes." "Two Orcs." "The Black Gate is Closed." The Two Towers.

Capucine Mazille: 3 paintings from The Hobbit. "Riddles in the Dark." "In the House of Beorn." "The Battle of Five Armies."

Luca Michelucci (no biographical blurb): 1 painting from LOTR. "Gandalf and Pippen." The Two Towers.

Eta Musciad (no biographical blurb): 1 painting from LOTR. "Treebeard, Merry, and Pippen." The Two Towers.

Ted Nasmith: 7 paintings from LOTR. "The Attack of the Wraiths." The Fellowship of the Ring. "Through the Marshes." "Pursuit in Rohan." "No Way Down." The Two Towers. "Across Gorgoroth." "The Nazgul." "Departure at the Grey Havens." The Return of the King.

Carol Emery Phenix: 3 paintings, two from LOTR, one from HOBBIT. . "Bilbo Came At It." The Hobbit. "A Conspiracy Unmasked." "A Pleasant Awakening." The Fellowship of the Ring

Gerd Renshof and Ron Ploeg: 1 from The Hobbit. "Bilbo Flies on Eagle's Wings."

Hopefully this has been an informative review. The only strange omission is the front cover art is not in the book. Overall, more eclectic and odd than its predcessor, helped by the fact that three artists did not contribute half the book this time. If you liked TOLKIEN'S WORLD, REALMS OF TOLKIEN is a logical buy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good collection, though not without flaws., 1 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This collection contains some fantastic art, but also some which will certainly not appeal to all tastes. I guess the beauty of this collection is that it contains such a diversity of art; so though it is probable that there will be some you don't like there should be more that you do. If you are a fan of fantasy art it should appeal, if you are a Tolkien fan with a minimal interest in Middle Earth art then it may still appeal, such is the quality of some of it, but may not appeal enough. Certainly worth considering though as it is well put together.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much food for the imagination, 27 May 2005
By 
K. Morrison "kirmildew" (Lincs, England) - See all my reviews
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This book is lovely; it would still be an interesting study for someone who had never read a sentence of Tolkien. It simply contains a collection of pictures from various artists, depicting scenes from Tolkien's books through their imaginations. It makes the reader look into their own imagination; thinking "Hey, that's just how I pictured that!" or "No, that's completely wrong- it should be like this!" is interesting. From the uber- detailed watercolour work of Alan Lee to the simplistic, almost cartoony creations of Cor Blok, every picture is different and makes the mind tick. Buy one for your coffee table!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great., 2 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This book is simply wonderful. The paintings are so inspiring, so wonderfully detailed and artistic (except for Cor Blok, but he makes up for that in style), and it's great to see what other people think of Tolkien's world and imagination.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realms of Tolkien : a very good book, 8 Jun 1997
By A Customer
This book puts together a most of the important paintings on Tolkien's world by artist's like Alan Lee or John Howe. The quality of the reproductions is quite high and the cover is very beautyful.
For all Tolkien and fine art lovers.
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Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-earth
Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-earth by Various (Paperback - 6 Oct 1997)
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