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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. This is a great stoty for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller. Tolkien is, of course, one of the great experts in Dark Ages history and tales and his wide knowledge is...
Published on 1 July 2000 by david@croucher.org.uk

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable short fable in the typical Tolkien style
This is in no way up to the standard of LOTR or the Hobbit, understandably as this story was originally intended as a short witty tale not for publication. BUT it is Tolkien and any true fan of the great author must read this book. A farmer, Giles, from the village of Ham, suffers great torment at the hands of his fellow villagers and countryfolk all because of a...
Published on 23 Mar 2001


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miniature gem, 1 July 2000
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. This is a great stoty for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller. Tolkien is, of course, one of the great experts in Dark Ages history and tales and his wide knowledge is reflected in the setting and background to the story. The characterisation is simple yet true to life and the plot twists in delightful ways. If you like historical novels, you will also enjoy the detail and the 'in jokes' in this short tale. Full of amusement yet so authentic in its feel, 'Farmer Giles of Ham' almost makes me wish that this story WAS dug up from among musty manuscripts in a forgotten archive to confound some dull scholar! I read it first in the original edition, again to my children some 15 years ago, to their great delight, and yet again recently; it remains as fresh as the first time. By the way, have you tried "Leaf by Niggle"? This is another little Tolkien beauty!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - with hidden depths, 9 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
I first read this book 32 years ago. Now I am buying it as a present for a teenager.
It was a delightful read the first time, full of gentle humour. However, I frequently re-read it, often finding something new. Having developed a passion for classical history, I discovered many lingustic and historical jokes, puns and allusions hidden in the text. For example, "Sunny Sam" the Blacksmith's true (Latin) name is Fabricius Cunctator - "Fabricius the delayer", a clear pun on the name of the famous Roman general Fabius Cunctator, who got his cognomen by delaying battle with Hannibal. There are many more absolute gems like this. If you don't recognise them it's still a charming story, but if you do, it enriches the experience even more and is potentially very educational. This book is a joy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good, children's story that the reader will also enjoy., 24 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
When his village is threatened by a giant, Farmer Giles acts out of fright and coincedentally the giant leaves. A gift from the King follows and when the village is threatened again, this time by a dragon, Farmer Giles is called upon to hunt it down. What happens next is unconventional yet amusing all the same, making Farmer Giles of Ham a quaint, traditional fairy tale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The light humour of a deep academic, 14 May 2013
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This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
Lewis Carroll played with his readers or audience in many ways, drawing on his own wide interests and intellectual background.
Tolkien does the same, here, telling a would-be medieval story of an unlikely hero and the giant and dragon he deals with.
Initially, amusing himself and his children with a spontaneously improvised tale, and later developing this further for an adult audience, and then polishing the results for eventual publication, this edition preserves the brilliant Pauline Baynes illustrations (that LOOK medieval) for the last-stage published book-version, while adding a light gloss of commentary, and providing the earlier drafts of this final version.
This is the PERFECT way to enjoy "Farmer Giles of Ham". You are free to read the story, as is, or go further into the otherwise subtle and secret humour Tolkien created as he told, wrote, and revised.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about 'Farmer Giles of Ham', 8 April 2011
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
This little jewel of a story could be seen as a slender, more humorous companion volume to 'The Hobbit'. Tolkien was at his slyest and most playful in this very English fairy story, where dragons and giants are anachronistically attacked with blunderbusses, and a craggy farmer outwits millers and kings.

The story follows the fortunes of one Ęgidius Agricola de Hammo (Farmer Giles of Ham), as he reluctantly battles a very sly and conniving dragon called Chrysophylax Dives. Tolkien, the philologist, brings his language skills subtly into play throughout the book, and we learn the 'true' origins of familiar place names like 'Thames'.

The book contains wonderful pseudo-medieval illustrations by Pauline Baynes, embellishing the good-humoured seriousness of this not-quite-mock heroic epic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Guardian of Gold, 17 Mar 2008
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
"Farmer Giles of Ham" was written by JRR Tolkien in 1937, and was first published in 1949. It's set in Ham, a small village in England - sometime after the arrival of the Romans, but before Arthur's time. The book was originally illustrated by Pauline Baynes, who also illustrated CS Lewis' Narnia books.

Giles in married to Agatha, has a dog called Garm and is fond of his ale. Nothing of note had happened in Ham for a long time, something that Giles was perfectly happy about - neither Giles, nor his dog had ever given any thought to life beyond their borders.

Unfortunately , there is a troublesome giant living nearby. He doesn't appear to be a deliberately malicious sort - but he is larger and ruder than most of his fellow giants, as well as being short-sighted and deaf. Unsurprisingly, he manages to cause a lot of - quite possibly inadvertent - damage when he goes out for a walk. One day, he gets lost when he goes out for a walk and finds himself in Ham - a trip that sees him accidentally squashing Giles' favourite cow, Galathea. The giant is first spotted by Garm, who naturally runs off to tell his master all about it. (Although somewhat lacking in courage, Garm can apparently talk). Giles luckily has a blunderbuss, a top-of-the-range weapon for the time - he loads it up and manages to shoot the giant in the face. It doesn't do the thick-skinned giant any great damage, but - thinking he's stumbled across an unhealthy area and that he's been stung by a nasty dragonfly - turns around and leaves.

Giles as a result becomes a bit of a celebrity and - when the King hears of it - he receives a regal letter, a belt and what turns out to be a very famous sword called Tailbiter. Initially, Giles enjoys his fame - though it later comes to rue it a little. Nevertheless, the sword comes in useful when a dragon called Chrysophylax arrives. The dragon's arrival had, in part, been caused by the giant's tales of the easy pickings there were in Ham. A hard winter led to a lot of hungry dragons...and Chrysophylax becomes hungry enough to put the stories to the test. With the King's Knights coming up with one excuse after another, the villagers inevitably look towards Giles...

A short and easily read book - it's one, I think, that will appeal to more than just the Middle-Earth fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MINIATURE GEM, 29 Jun 2006
By 
David Croucher "Davidinnotts" (Sherwood Forest) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
How a simple but cunning farmer got to be king of his world is told by Tolkien in classically simple style. So different to Tolkien's great works, this is nevertheless a miniature gem. It's a great story for telling to children, but, as always in the best childrens' tales, there are plenty of subtle jokes and sly digs to amuse the teller.

Tolkien was one of the great experts on Dark Ages history and tales -- especially English folktales -- and his wide knowledge is reflected in the setting and background to the story. The characterisation is simple yet true to life, and the plot twists in delightful ways. If you like historical novels, you will also enjoy the detail and the 'in jokes' in this short tale. Full of amusement yet so authentic in its feel, 'Farmer Giles of Ham' almost makes me wish that this story WAS dug up from among musty manuscripts in a forgotten archive to confound some dull scholar!

I read it first in the original edition, again to my children some 20 years ago, to their great delight, and yet again recently; it remains as fresh as the first time.

By the way, have you tried "Leaf by Niggle"? This is another little Tolkien beauty!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In the vulgar tongue, 28 Feb 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
"Farmer Giles of Ham" (in the vulgar tongue) is an entertaining little tale, maybe the first real comic fantasy novel (actually, more like novella). It's certainly not on par with his tales of hobbits and elves, but it's still cute, funny and very well-written.
Aegidius de Hammo (or in the "vulgar tongue," as Tolkien archly tells us, Farmer Giles of Ham) is a pleasant, not-too-bright farmer (a bit like Barliman Butterbur) who leads a fairly happy life. Until the day his excitable dog Garm warns him that a giant (deaf and very near-sighted) is stomping through and causing mayhem. Giles takes out his blunderbuss and takes a shot at the giant, and inadverantly drive him off.
Naturally, Giles is hailed as a hero. Even the King is impressed, and sends him the sword Caudimordax (vulgar name: Tailbiter), which belonged to a dragonslaying hero. By chance, the not-so-fierce dragon Chrysophylax Dives has started pillaging, destroying and attacking the nearby areas. Can a not-so-heroic farmer drive off a not-so-frightening dragon?
It's a fast, fun little adventure story with blundering giants, greedy dragons and unlikely heroes (the last one is what Tolkien always does best). It's not epic and it's not deep, but it is entertaining, especially for people who enjoy comic fantasies. You'll like this if you enjoyed the cuter moments of "The Hobbit" and stories like "Roverandum."
Tolkien's writing always seems to be winking at the reader. There are a lot of in-jokes for people who know Latin (the "vulgar tongue" comments) and a lot of cute moments, like the young dragons exclaiming that they always knew "knights were mythical!" And the illustrations resemble old tapestries and paintings, but they usually have a funny sort of twist to them.
"Farmer Giles" is not the deepest or most riveting of Tolkien's works, but it's a straightforward, cute little adventure that kids, adults, fans and non-fans of Tolkien will enjoy.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable short fable in the typical Tolkien style, 23 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
This is in no way up to the standard of LOTR or the Hobbit, understandably as this story was originally intended as a short witty tale not for publication. BUT it is Tolkien and any true fan of the great author must read this book. A farmer, Giles, from the village of Ham, suffers great torment at the hands of his fellow villagers and countryfolk all because of a cheating,irritable and hungry dragon. Along with his "trusty" dog he has to attempt to conquer this rather slovenly creature and live up to his unwanted title of hero. It is a short uncomplicated story to read and the detail given as to why and how the story came about is almost more interesting than the tale. It provides a great insight into how Tolkien formulated his other more famous books. Overall all an enjoyable read but probably appreciated more read as a bedtime story for a young child.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Farmer Giles of Ham (Paperback)
Great buy
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Farmer Giles of Ham
Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (Paperback - 6 Nov 2000)
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