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Tales from the Perilous Realm: Roverandom / Farmer Giles of Ham / The Adventures of Tom Bombadil / Smith of Wootton Major / Leaf by Niggle Hardcover – 1 Oct 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Oct 2008
£184.44 £2.95
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (1 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007257546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007257546
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.5 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Roverandom:
‘An old-fashioned story, yet it still speaks freshly today… would leap to life when read aloud to a child’ Independent

Farmer Giles of Ham:
‘A fabulous tale of the days when giants and dragons walked the kingdom’ Sunday Times

Leaf by Niggle:
‘A haunting and successful demonstration of the qualities of faerie’ New York Times

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil:
‘Something close to genius’ The Listener

Smith of Wootton Major:
‘Whoever reads it at eight will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty’ New Statesman

From the Back Cover

The definitive collection of J.R.R. Tolkien's four acclaimed modern classic fairy tales, finally together in a volume which reaffirms his place as a master storyteller for readers young and old.

The fat and unheroic 'Farmer Giles of Ham' is called upon to do battle with the dragon Chrysophylax; Niggle the painter sets out to paint the perfect tree in 'Leaf by Niggle'; hobbits, princesses, dwarves and trolls partake in 'The Adventures of Tom Bombadil'; and 'Smith of Wootten Major' journeys to the Land of Faery via the magical ingredients of a giant cake.

FARMER GILES OF HAM

"A fabulous tale of the days when giants and dragons walked the kingdom"
SUNDAY TIMES

LEAF BY NIGGLE

"A haunting and successful demonstration of the qualities of faerie"
NEW YORK TIMES

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BOMBADIL

"Something close to genius"
THE LISTENER

SMITH OF WOOTTON MAJOR

"Whoever reads it at eight will no doubt still be going back to it at eighty"
NEW STATESMAN

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This stuff goes under the listing of "things most people don't know Tolkien wrote," along with things like "On Fairy Stories," "Bilbo's Last Song" and the charming bedtime story "Roverandum." It's a good collection of Tolkien's lesser-known material, including some cute short stories and poems.
In this slim volume is: "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil," a collection of poems. Some focus on the weird and wonderful Tom himself, and some are poems that are (or might be) in Middle-Earth, like the creepy "Mewlips," the sweet "Princess Mee," and melancholy "Last Ship." There is "Leaf By Niggle," the tale of a painter straining to live up to his hopes. "Farmer Giles of Ham" is a delightful mock-hero tale about a farmer and a not-so-frightening dragon, while "Smith of Wootton Major" is a deeper, more subtle story about fantasy in a person's life.
As always, Tolkien's writing is entertaining and well-plotted if it's a story, just fantastic if it's a poem. (Although some of the poems have plots too). If you're expecting the depth or grimness of "Lord of the Rings," then you'll disappointed; these are more like "The Hobbit" or "Roverandum" in tone, although there are hints of "Rings" in some of the short stories like "Leaf" or "Farmer Giles."
Why four stars? Well, the cover is a bit odd-looking, a bit smudgy for my taste. And the paper felt a bit odd, as if it could have been better. And buyers should be forewarned: If you have purchased the "Tolkien Reader," then know that this book has some of the same stuff compiled in it. Specifically, "Father Giles" and "Adventures."
This is a good compilation of several of Tolkien's lesser, non-"Lord of the Rings" works, and fans shdould check them out. In fact, so should non-fans.
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Format: Paperback
"Leaf by Niggle" is the closest JRRT ever came to true allegory, and is something of a spiritual autobiography. The tree that Niggle tries to paint but keeps being distracted by details represents his Middle Earth Legendarium, particularly the Silmarillion; Mr. Parish represents his 'secular' responsibilities as a professor, husband, father, citizen, etc. The Journey is, of course Death. The Workhouse is Purgatory. The valley with the tree is the Earthly Paradise, and the land beyond the mountains is Heaven.

"Farmer Giles of Ham" on the surface seems to be a pleasant Midaeval adventure tale, but there are subversive elements to it. In this sort of story one expects the Brave Knight to be the hero; however, in dealing with the dragon the King and his Knights are worse than useless, and the person who is able to take care of the matter is a fat, redheaded farmer who doesn't like tresspassers.

"Smith of Wooton Major" is also semiallegorical, with smithcraft standing in for JRRT's professional obligations as a professor at Oxford (in which his son Christopher followed his father's footsteps, as Smith's son became a blacksmith, too.) Some of the images are odd and disturbing, but beautiful, too.

The miscellaneous poems are great fun. Some, of course, refer to his private mythology; many had appeared in different forms in various magazines and private printings over the years before they were assembled in this anthology. "Princess Mee" is a retelling of the Narcissus story; "The Shadow Bride" is evocative of several old myths, including Persephone, but doesn't quite fit with any of them.
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Format: Paperback
The four stories in the book are all different, but all classic Tolkien. Farmer Giles of Ham tells of the rise of an unassuming Farmer to become King through perilous bravery and valour. Filled with humour. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil are an excerpt from Book one of LotR. Leaf by Niggle is an enchanting tale, which leaves you wondering about many things. By far the shortest and best of the set. Simply Amazing. Smith of Wooton Major ultmiately is a story about respect, but is told by Tolkien in a most moving way. GO and buy it. Then tell all your friends.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a simply beautiful book, a wonderful collection of faery stories complemented by Alan Lee's sublime illustrations. In this collection of 'Tales from the Perilous Realm' you are treated to no less than five stories from the wonderful imagination of JRR Tolkien: Roverandom, Farmer Giles of Ham, Leaf by Niggle, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Smith of Wootton Major. All have something to say - whether it is about life in general, human nature, society or just plain wonderment...

I can heartily recommend to fans of Tolkien, of magic and of 'faery', of Alan Lee or to those wishing to explore Tolkien but who are not yet ready to tackle the mammoth mountain of literature that is The Lord Of The Rings! This collection is fun, at times frivilous and can be read fast. Perfect for relaxation when you don't want to be too taxed!

Try it...you may find you'll fall for it!
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I don't understand why the Tales has been called a collection of children's stories (as in alexcapel's review). As an adult - middle aged - and a voracious reader of anything to do with fantasy, these short stories had a sense of depth and perspective that I seldom find in children's books.
I have to say that my favorites were "Leaf by Niggle" and "Smith of Wotton Major". I was profoundly affected by both of them. Tolkien manages to insert moral points without seeming to preach from a pulpit.
"Farmer Giles of Ham" had an interesting twist to it. Here again Tolkien treads the fine line of morals superbly. I have to say that the poems on Tom Bombadil were disappointing. I was expecting something that went further back into history. Something that told me where he was from and what he was. But, then, that is how stories are. Authors often take me where I have not expected to go, and thank God for that.
A superb read.
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