The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies

The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies

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J.R.R. Tolkien's novels of Middle-earth
The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy
, and
The Silmarillian have become some of the most famous, and most beloved, literary works of the twentieth century. And the
Lord of the Rings films by director Peter Jackson have re-ignited interest in Tolkien and his works, as well as introduced his stories to a new generation of fans.
Even if you've never read the novels and have only seen the films, you know that the world of Middle-earth is a complicated one. Tolkien took great care in representing this world, from creating new languages to including very particular cultural details that add to the richness of the world's fabric. Many other books have been written about Tolkien and his works, but none have come close to providing the kind of reference needed to comprehend the world of Middle-earth. That's what veteran Dummies author and unabashed Tolkien fan Greg Harvey attempts to do in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies.
As the author says in his introduction to the book, this is not an encyclopedia or quick guide to all the diverse beings, languages, and history that make up Tolkien's Middle-earth. Nor is it a set of plot outlines for the novels. Rather, what you'll find in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies is a basic guide to some of the possible linguistic and mythological origins of Middle-earth, plus a rudimentary analysis of its many themes and lessons for our world. This book can help enrich your reading (or re-reading) of Tolkien's novels, and it will challenge you to think about the themes inherent in Tolkien's Middle-earth and their implications in your own life.
Here's just a sampling of the topics you'll find covered in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies:
Exploring the main themes in Tolkien's works, including immortality and death; the heroic quest; love; fate and free will; and faith and redemptionInvestigating the diverse lands of Middle-earth including the Shire, Gondor, and Mordor and their significanceExamining the different cultures of Middle-earth, such as Hobbits, Elves, Men, and those wily WizardsTouring the history of Middle-earthUnderstanding Tolkien's creation of new languages to enrich the story of Middle-earthTop Ten lists on the battles in the War of the Ring, online resources, and the ways the films differ from the novels
So, whether you're reading Tolkien's novels or watching the films for the first time, or you've been a fan for many years and are looking for a new take on Tolkien's works, The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies can help you enhance your reading or viewing experience for years to come.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 188 x 232 x 22mm | 580.6g
  • Hungry Minds Inc,U.S.
  • Foster City, United States
  • English
  • 0764541862
  • 9780764541865
  • 584,109

Back cover copy

Demystifies key players, their relationships, and their motivations

Understand the mythology, characters, and themes of Middle-earth

Don't know Gollum from Gandalf? This plain-English guide helps you make sense of the creatures, language, geography, and richly detailed history of the fascinating world of Middle-earth. From the Shire to Mount Doom, from the hobbits to the Ringwraiths, you'll discover the varied sources and inspirations behind Tolkien's stories and comprehend the meanings that lie beneath the surface.


The differences between the books and the movies The historical background of Middle-earth The origins of Tolkien's mythology in European folklore Middle-earth's diverse languages Why the Elves were Tolkien's favorites

The Dummies Way

Explanations in plain English "Get in, get out" information Icons and other navigational aids Tear-out cheat sheet Top ten lists A dash of humor and fun
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Table of contents

Part I: The Geography of Middle-earth.
Chapter 1: The Worlds of Middle-earth.
Chapter 2: The Lands of Middle-earth and Beyond.
Part II: The Beings of Middle-earth.
Chapter 3: The Divine Ainur.
Chapter 4: The Fair Race of Elves.
Chapter 5: The Mortal Race of Men.
Chapter 6: The Hardy Race of Dwarves.
Chapter 7: Those Homespun Hobbits.
Chapter 8: The Wily Wizards.
Chapter 9: Beorn, Tom Bombadil, and Treebeard.
Chapter 10: The Enemy and His Minions.
Part III: The History of Middle-earth.
Chapter 11: The Valarian Ages.
Chapter 12: The First Three Ages and Then Some.
Part IV: The Languages of Middle-earth.
Chapter 13: Tolkien and Language.
Chapter 14: The Tongues of Tolkien.
Part V: The Themes and Mythology of Middle-earth.
Chapter 15: The Struggle Between Good and Evil.
Chapter 16: Immortality and Death.
Chapter 17: The Heroic Quest.
Chapter 18: Chivalry and True Love.
Chapter 19: Fate and Free Will.
Chapter 20: Faith and Redemption.
Chapter 21: Ring-related Myths.
Chapter 22: Ecological Themes.
Chapter 23: Sex and Gender.
Part VI: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 24: Top Ten Battles in the War of the Ring.
Chapter 25: Top Ten Online Middle-earth Resources.
Chapter 26: Top Ten Ways the Lord of the Rings Books Differ from the Movies.
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Review quote

"...a great book...helps readers make sense of the creatures, language, geography and richly-detailed history of Middle earth..." (
Shields Gazette, Dec 03)
"...a mine of information?a must-have for anyone interested in exploring the epic tales of the four ages of Middle earth..." (Dundee Evening Telegraph and Post, Dec 03)
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About Greg Harvey

Greg Harvey is a language scholar who has traced the roots of Tolkien's work in European folklore and pre-Christian religious beliefs. He has studied 12 languages, including Elvish, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon.
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Rating details

638 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 48% (309)
4 25% (162)
3 14% (91)
2 6% (36)
1 6% (40)
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