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"Farewell to Middle-Earth at last, I see the Star above your mast!"
on 12 May 2013
This exquisitely beautiful book is a real treasure, with such wonderful full-color illustrations by Pauline Baynes and sparkling silver lettering on the cover. Bilbo's Last Song is considered to be Tolkien's epilogue to his classic work `the Lord of the Rings' and closure on Bilbo's story. The jewel-like paintings by Pauline Baynes (Tolkien's favorite illustrator of his works), within this book tell two stories simultaneously ~ with the larger illustrations depicting the journey that brings the Ring-bearers and the company of Elves to the Grey Havens and the beginning of the final voyage across the sea. Running concurrently is a sequence of vignettes showing scenes from `The Hobbit' so Bilbo remembers his first journey, as he prepares for his last. This is an enchanting, supremely magical book filled with lyrical prose and fantastical adventure.
Bilbo Baggins, famous Hobbit adventurer and savior of the One Ring, arrives at the Grey Havens at the end of the Third Age to board the White Ship on its journey West. It is here that he composes his last song, reflecting on the leaving of Middle-Earth and the voyage that will take him to the Undying Lands at the end of the sunset. (This representation of JRR Tolkien's ideals on death and/ or immortality is pleasantly harmonius and it is nice that you are left in the unknown). Poignant and lyrical, the song is both a longing to set forth on his ultimate journey and a tender farewell to his friends left behind.
"Farewell friends! The sails are set, the wind is east, the moorings fret..."
Bilbo's last song is a must for all fans of Tolkien's vast, epic fantasy as it offers closure to one of the most significant character's stories. Alongside the stunning illustrations that adorn every single page, including the inner cover, is a section at the back containing more information on the pictures that convey Bilbo's stories and adventures. Although this is considered to be a children's book, similarly to `The Hobbit' I feel strongly that this is a book for all ages who love and cherish Tolkien's works, and who have read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and are interested in a sequel. Pauline Baynes artwork, (which also features in Farmer Giles of Ham, The adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith of Wotton Major and Tree and Leaf) is perfect and really adds to Bilbo's story; bringing clearly to life his adventures and last voyage across Middle-Earth.