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on 11 September 2012
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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on 13 July 2015
Great book and a great buy
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