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Characters From Tolkien: A Bestiary
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Characters From Tolkien: A Bestiary

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  3,204 ratings  ·  70 reviews
This is a comprehensive, illustrated guide to all the living creatures, both flora and fauna, that inhabit J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and Undying Lands.
Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 17th 2001 by Bounty Books (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
In ye olden days of the mid-1980s books and bookstores focused on money and power. Finances and the law were hot topics...elves and magic, not so much. So when I, a humble Tolkien fan, discovered this brilliant tome of all things Tolkien I nearly cried.

A Tolkien Bestiary is an illustrated collection of Middle Earth creatures. The drawings are stark, they are beautiful, they evoke emotion and brought to life the author's work at a time when there was little else to go on visually aside from - tho
Nov 08, 2007 Kevin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien Enthusiasts
Shelves: fantasy
Although you will find many detractors from David Day's work, it has come to my attention that this book is 100% accurate.

Many people who claim that David Day's compilation is "trash", are those who insist that he makes up entries to satisfy white space.

This could not be further from the truth. Being a Tolkien enthusiast, I have done a great deal of searching throughout Tolkien's books, letters, and notations made by Christopher Tolkien. In my search, I have found evidence of direct citations us
Adrian Anderson
Thoroughly engaging and informative, this book is so, So, SO much more than a simple bestiary of Tolkien's worlds. It is almost a complete history from the Making of Arda ----> and beyond. Reading it one can see at a macro level all that has transpired of note.

It details races, animals, monsters, EVEN TREES! Major events are also prominently featured in beautifully rendered color artwork. It is truly a work that I believe Tolkien would have been proud to see affiliated with his universe. Exce
Crystal Puckett
Although there are movies to give visuals, and tons of books about Tolkien's beloved fantasy world, the Tolkien Bestiary stands out to me. It is definitely worth reading. I really love the artwork in this book; no, it's not by Alan Lee or John Howe, but the art is beautiful in its own right and doesn't need to be compared to them. I like the way the creatures are drawn; a bit more "medieval" in style, which I think adds to the overall feel of a fantasy world. The illustration of the "Thousand Ca ...more
Beau Johnston
I bought this book many years ago, mostly out of idle interest. I played D&D for a year or two before I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so my knowledge of fantasy critters was already well rounded.

This book is a great reference guide to all the creatures Tolkien writes bout in his stories, and the different folklore that inspired him. Some of the artwork is a little abstract for my taste, but it doesn't detract from the book.

Even all these years later, I still enjoy flipping throu
A sumptuous feast for the eyes to any lover of illustrations or fantasy art. Almost refined to a science, Day lists in logical order every beast, humanoid, age and other major Tolkien factoids.

But the illustrations, created by various artists from across the fantasy art spectrum, is what drew me in.
I came across an older version of this beautiful book in my high school library a few years ago. I'll admit, I would occasionally skip class sometimes just to go and read it. Though a lot of it covers what's already in Tolkien's Silmarillion, it is still a great source of knowledge. The pictures are beautiful, for all that they're strange and a little scary. They really capture the feel of Tolkien's creatures and world.

So when my 16th birthday came around, I asked my father to get it for me. He
That brief, shinning moment - when a neighbor gives permission for you to peruse their library, when you should be helping them dust and shift trash.
Always take it, never can tell what you may find on other's shelves that might interest you.

Much was the same with me, when this was pulled from a cramped shelf of Choral binders. To say I was surprised is an understatement; to say I was thrilled can be measure best by the richter scale.
I had never known of this book, I come from a long line of 'G
As with David Day's other book, 'A Guide to Tolkein', Characters of Tolkein is a comprehensive resource, listing the characters you are likely to come across during any exploration of the Tolkein mythos, be it reading the books, watching the films, or even playing Tolkein-based games. Excellent for those of us who want a better understanding of the subject material, whichever media you may choose to explore it in.
J. Aleksandr Wootton
More like an illustrated Middle-Earth encyclopedia inspired by the medieval bestiary tradition than a true bestiary. There's much more Tolkienic lore here in than just a guide to beasts, and the illustrations are hardly reminiscent of an Audubon guide - more often they depict scenes, events, and moods than field-guide art. A great resource despite the misleading title.
Beautiful book. Takes a longer and broader view of Middle Earth than one might expect in such a book (depicts a lot of non-Hobbit/LotR stuff), which lends it a certain freshness. As much as I like different takes on Gollum, Gandalf, and company (who are also in here), it's nice to see some other stuff for a change, especially if it's as well-done as it is here.
Interested in a broader background for Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? Tolkien wove other stories into his history of Middle-Earth. Day has done an excellent job of focusing on the creatures of that mythical world. His research is top-notch and the illustrations are also of high quality.

Nice to have near at hand when the urge manifests itself to delve into something Tolkien
Kevis Hendrickson
One of my personal favorite books based on Tolkien's work and ranks right up there with Letters and his biographies. The art style is nothing like what you would expect, especially if you saw the movies first. Thankfully, I didn't. So I have an increased appreciation for what Middle-Earth looks like in my mind, as opposed to Peter Jackson's. Highly recommended for the Tolkien enthusiast. But the purists may still want to stick with their own vision of Middle-Earth. Me? I say bring it on. You can ...more
This is a great companion reference book to Tolkien's books. It is informative and nicely illustrated.
I feel this book should have had a different title, especially after reading the introduction. It isn't really about the characters, but is a bestiary of the differrent species, races, plants and animals that are mentioned in Tolkein's great novels. Because of the nature of the book, there is a lot of repetition - different species can have many different names and are often listed individually. The stories of these people are also repeated many times, which can get a bit tiring if reading from ...more
C.C.R. Sorge
this book is accessible and informative alike for the uninitiated and the enthralled.
In 1982 it was possibly the best thing avaible "about" Tolkien.
Dan Buchness
If you've ready The Hobbit & LoTR, this will recap all of that, and introduce you to the entire Tolkien world (all Ages and all of the key players). It's written documentary style, but has all the iconic art you normally associate with Tolkien's work (and incidentally used in the movie). Just does a SUPER job of summarizing everything in terms of beasts and beings.

This is actually what got me more determined to continue reading the Silmarillion--just about the hardest read I've ever encounte
Feb 08, 2008 Antoine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien Fans and Collectors
This is a terrifically fun reference work on Tolkien's world, with some of the best illustrations of Tolkiens legendarium ever (I am not much of a fan of most Tolkien illustration, so I am saying something here). It includes the only satisfying representations of the elves, to my eye, that I have ever seen.

The text itself was composed after The Silmarillion, but before Unfinished Tales, so that many key ideas and much information revealed in the latter work are not reflected here.
Fu uno dei miei primi acquisti ai Remainders di Milano, nel lontano 89 o 90.
Un'enciclopedia tolkeniana, illustrata con uno stile particolare, molto lontano, per certi versi, da come mi immaginavo io la Terra di Mezzo all'epoca, quando praticamente solo il cartone animato era stato prodotto.
Ma il bello di esser vissuto e aver letto Tolkien prima dell'arrivo di Peter Jackson è anche questo: nona aver avuto la fantasia visiva condizionata dai film.
Josh Shearer
One of the most interesting books I've read, it's not quite a novel, but it does have a great deal of prose. David Day, an artist responsible for a great deal of art inspired by Tolkien's creatures, here gives us a book dedicated to them. Within are his own artistic interpretations of the beasts, along with in depth histories and descriptions of each species' specific qualities, from habitat to primary diet and so on.
Basically an encyclopedia of Middle Earth, in the form of a medieval bestiary. Worth the time for the illustrations alone, and also a handy reference for anyone who gets bogged down by all the races (there's about a million different types of Elves, and David Day handily gives the history of each group and their alternate names).
Taught me a lot! Plus wonderful illustrations.
Feb 25, 2012 Sylvia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who is a Tolkien fan
This is an awsome book about all the creatures living in Tolkien's Middle-Earth. I never really read it seriously, just flipped the pages.
The texts are very narrative and provide the Tolkien reader with a tremendous information and facts which give more understanding about certain events and stories in Tolkien's books.
Quinton Cole
i found this book to be chalk full of useful and cool things to know about the world of Middle earth. i feel like a pro on all things Tolkien now. it talks about histories and creatures and peoples that you might not get fully from the books and characters that you want to know more about.
Day does an excellent job of explicating some of the intricacies of Tolkien's world, particularly the convoluted mythology of The Silmarillion. I'm not a big fan of the artwork in this book, though, which makes the whole thing only halfway successful for me.
I received this as a gift a long time ago since I'm a well known Lord of the Rings fan but I can't say I really read it. I just looked a the pictures and I loved the pictures.

I wish I could say more than that. Not the author's fault. It's me.
While not a big fan of David Day's artwork, I have several of his illustrations of Tolkien related work. This one feels very reminiscent of the Tolkien Bestiary, with some of the artwork following over from that book too.
"An encyclopaedia for confirmed Tolkien enthusiasts - includes references to Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales as well as the better known trilogy. Many beautiful illustrations (not Tolkien's, though). "
Jun 26, 2012 Thorin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Thorin by: Ardhoniell
Shelves: owned-books
I enjoyed reading through this book. It didn't go into too much detail on any one subject, but covered the basics of just about everything to do with Tolkiens's characters, creatures, and races.
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  • Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • The Journeys Of Frodo
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
David Day (b. 14 October 1947 in Victoria, British Columbia) is a Canadian author of over forty books: poetry, natural history, ecology, mythology, fantasy, and children's literature. Internationally he is most notably known for his literary criticism on J. R. R. Tolkien and his works.

After finishing high school in Victoria, British Columbia, Day worked as a logger for five years on Vancouver Isla
More about David Day...
Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia Tolkien's Ring The "Hobbit" Companion The World of Tolkien Tolkien: A Dictionary

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