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The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth (Middle-Earth Universe)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  10,672 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Now in a gorgeous new hardcover format with a four-color map of Middle-earth, this is the completely revised guide to every creature, place, and event fromthe great fantasy epic.
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Del Rey (first published July 12th 1974)
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Jason Koivu
Jul 03, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An oh-so very helpful reference book for those who want to become a Middle Earth historian or perhaps an etymologist focusing on the Undying Lands......maybe a specialist in Numenor studies?

Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle Earth: From The Hobbit to the Silmarillion will give you just that, a comprehensive compilation of the people, places, events, etc as created by J.R.R. Tolkien. This is very helpful for the reader who can't retain every single detail Tolkien packed into his books.
David Lynds
Jan 06, 2015 David Lynds rated it it was amazing
I keep this around any time I am reading something set in Middle Earth, which is much of the time. My dog-eared paperback copy is filled with notes, scribbled maps and bookmarks. Even avid readers of Tolkien's work sometimes have a hard time keeping track of the names, dates and places. Included are short descriptions of all the who's, the what's, the where's and the when's. This guide is a perfect reading companion.
Brian Greenlee
Apr 30, 2012 Brian Greenlee rated it it was amazing
I know it might seem strange but my wife and I used this as a "baby name book". all three of our kids can be found in this book. My original copy is falling apart at the seams, but I won't be getting rid of it any time soon.
Mar 28, 2015 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This, to me, is the definitive companion or reference guide to Tolkien's books, in addition to any indexes or appendices found at the back of the actual books themselves.

You get an A-Z encyclopedic concordance from pretty much anything in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.

The artwork, while not needed, is fantastic work by Ted Nasmith. [also: it matches the illustrated hardbacks of The Hobbit by Alan Lee, The Lord of the Rings by Alan Lee, and The Silmari
Nov 15, 2014 Athelstan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an exhaustive guide to everything in Tolkein's Lord of the Rings realm. I have found it indispensable over the years. I will remember something from the books and will consult this guide to be sure my recollection is correct. If you are new to the LOTR world, you will find this book to be very handy. I applaud Robert Foster's effort in compiling this information in one nifty volume.
Oct 12, 2012 Rozele rated it it was amazing
I like reading reference books for Tolkien's works, especially when they come in an encyclopedia-esque form. It's pretty easy to tell, but I'm fascinated by his work and the legacy Tolkien himself left behind. Thus, I like to skim through and find little passages within these reference books; they're not all the same, and so it's interesting to see how similar or different the interpretations may be from book to book.

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are better known as his most famous
Jun 28, 2012 Water rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Lord of the Rings
I absolutely adore this book. It's fantastic to have around whenever anyone happens to ask me something about Lord of the Rings that I don't actually know. I love having it on hand as reference material. Speaking as someone who has had great difficulty when trying to read The Silmarillion, it really helps explain how events which took place outside of The Lord of the Rings came to pass.

I've checked this book out of my local library so many times, and I was thrilled when I finally got my own pers
Ettore Pasquini
Sep 13, 2015 Ettore Pasquini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The structure is that of a dictionary, with entries for every single name, name variation, place, character, deity, war, sword, etc. There was never a time where I searched for something and I didn't find it here. It was useful while reading the Silmarillion and made it a whole lot more fun. I won't read Tolkien stuff without it.

There are also full genealogy trees for all the main dynasties: Elrond / Elros, Isildur / Aragorn, Hurin / Boromir / Faramir, et al. Very handy to understand who’s who.
Mar 09, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
This is certainly an indispensable companion when reading The Lord of the Rings. It is an alphabetically arranged reference guide to pretty much all of the characters, place names, and general subjects in Tolkien's Middle-Earth based books. It even has page number cross references to some of the more popular editions of the books. I reread The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit every year or two, and I find that I always get more enjoyment out of reading the books if I have this guide close by whi ...more
Charity U
Dec 31, 2011 Charity U rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It truly is set up as a dictionary! You can look up any word from LOTR, Hobbit, or Silmarillion, and it’s almost certain to be in here! I haven’t found any yet that aren’t, so. Names, locations, battles, objects, all categorized alphabetically. Page numbers for each item are also included, but even though my books are DelRey, same as this guide, the numbers don’t work – my books came out rather later, so. I have found it to be quite helpful, thought I still love the Atlas more – it would take an ...more
Diana (Bever) Barber
Aug 06, 2012 Diana (Bever) Barber rated it really liked it
This is a reference guide. It isn't really a cover-to-cover read, though, I suppose you could do it. I really enjoyed the thoroughness of this book. Mr. Foster covers his bases through the Hobbit to the Silmarilion (sp?) and beyond. I couldn't think of anything that was missing, and I learned a little about some people, places, and things that I was shocked I didn't already know. This is a handy guide to have when reading Tolkien's works.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I really enjoyed reading this glossary bit by bit. It's great to have something like this to pick up when I only have a minute or two to read. I think by now I have memorized nearly all the names of the Valar, and I can even tell the difference between most of the sons of Feanor! It's great to see all those little historical facts of Middle Earth laid out and explained. It's incredible how Tolkien kept it all so organized in his writings!
Apr 20, 2013 HBalikov rated it really liked it
From the First Era of Tolkien Rediscovery. Very comprehensive discussions of people, places and things. A bonus are the genealogical tables and Chronology of the First Age. Maps provide little detail beyond what Tolkien drew.

No speculation is both a virtue (straight Tolkien) and a loss (no attempt to draw on secondary sources). Highly useful whether reading the original works or reviewing Peter Jackson's efforts
Aug 02, 2007 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien Fans
Shelves: fantasy
While not a complete resource (some minor entries which could have been are overlooked, and in a couple of entries mild conjecture is made- but when it is made a notice is given by Robert Foster that they are conjectures), it remains an excellent resource for Tolkien Fans.

Having used all of Tolkien's works and private letters, Robert Foster does an excellent job of creating this encyclopedia of answers for those who have yet to read his private notes/letters or other works.
Jun 10, 2014 Line rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference, fantasy
I love dictionaries and encyclopedias, and this is an absolutely great reference guide. It is truly perfect when you want to get a quick overview of characters, artifacts, locations, epochs etc. from The Hobbit, LotT, or Silmarillion. The only thing that could make it any better in my eyes, would be the inclusion of maps.
Jun 18, 2007 Inara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for Tolkien lovers
Title in German:
Das große Mittelerde Lexikon

A "must have" for everybody who loves Middleearth. In alphabetical order are listed every person, scene, term and background to Tolkiens world. In the appendix can be found a chronology of the early period of Arda and the family trees of the most important elves and kings.

This review refers to the german edition revised by Helmut W. Pesch.
Since this is more of an encyclopedia than an actual "book", I only looked up the things relevant to my essay and found the information very.... informative? Idk, I think it will be useful at least and there is a lot of information in this book about almost everything pertaining to the world of Middle-Earth.
Apr 05, 2011 Briana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best source of all things Middle Earth. I used it extensively while I was reading the Lord of the Rings series. This very useful appendix even explains dates given during the First Age. It gives you just about everything except the temperature of the character's backsides. This is a must for a Tolkein reader/fan.
Jan 02, 2014 Benja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A guide both useful and valuable to keeping up with the tousands of characters, races, places, battles, events and thousands of years of history of Tolkien's Middle Earth. Particularly indispensable if you're planning on making your way through The Silmarillion or you simply want to go back on a fact-checking trip.
Jul 18, 2009 Bruce rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This little book was indispensable to my thorough digestion of Tolkien's famous books. While it isn't completely exhaustive, it does provide a comprehensive alphabetical dictionary-like reference to the many names, places and historical references Tolkien scatters throughout his works. A must-have for any big Tolkien fan.
Dan Glover
Jan 11, 2010 Dan Glover rated it liked it
This is a very helpful guide to the manifold names and places from Tolkien's total Middle-Earth corpus. I am pretty fair at keeping the Hobbit and LOTR straight but as I am not as familiar with the Silmarillion (only read one-and-a-half times) and other works, this is helpful.
Nov 13, 2016 Mj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great guide to the world of Middle Earth that has lost most of its value in a world post-Google. It features succinct explanations for pretty much any obscure location or character you may run across, and it's very easy to read.
Dec 28, 2012 Mawgojzeta marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-reread
Wow! I was not quite sure what to expect from this, but picked it up while waiting for a copy of The Hobbit from the library. Not doing me much good without one of the novels (or all). It needs to be returned before that, so I will have to reacquire later. Looks very helpful.
Oct 01, 2010 Carlesme rated it really liked it
I used this guide throughout reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy and watching the movie, as well as writing a recreational fan fiction. It has been very useful and I learned a whole lot of bizarre and interesting facts about the characters, places, and objects.
Walsh Tripon
Mar 07, 2011 Walsh Tripon rated it it was amazing
I've read this book after completely reading The Hobbit and the entire Trilogy. Came in handy when it came to recalling certain characters and places that were not stressed that much in the books. Very helpful book.
Jul 31, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is how I got through LotR. Seriously. I'll go back and re-read LotR one day, but at the time, I had trouble keeping track of the characters. Besides being a useful reference while reading the books, it was fun to read on its own!
Margaret Metz
Aug 15, 2011 Margaret Metz rated it really liked it
My whole family loves Lord of the Rings so this book was something that appealed to us all. I have to admit I used it more or less to look up things that interested me whereas my boys have read it cover to cover several times. lol
Jan 05, 2013 Voirrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be honest I can't really say I've started at the beginning and read tot he end - just as one wouldn't with a dictionary or an encyclopaedia. But this is my invaluable, at hand, reference work whenever I read, or write, anything Tolkien related.
May 18, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Worth owning if you're a LOTR fan. This reference is really well put together and very easy to use.
Jun 22, 2011 James rated it really liked it
Contains everything you need to know about Tolkiens universe. A must have companion to any Lord of the Rings fan.
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Typo? 2 9 Apr 08, 2013 10:47PM  
  • The Peoples of Middle-earth (The History of Middle-earth, #12)
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia
  • The Journeys of Frodo
  • The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator
  • The Road to Middle-Earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created A New Mythology
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-Earth for Dummies
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World

Other Books in the Series

Middle-Earth Universe (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
  • The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3)
  • The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth
  • The Children of Húrin
  • Beren and Lúthien
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two (The History of Middle-Earth, #2)

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