Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Encyclopedia of Tolkien” as Want to Read:
An Encyclopedia of Tolkien
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Encyclopedia of Tolkien

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A comprehensive, illustrated guide to the history, lands, and inhabitants of Middle-earth.

The fantasy world of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth contains a rich assortment of people, cities, and creatures—as well as a deep, intertwined history that spans thousands of years. In this beautifully illustrated, leather-bound volume, best-selling author and Tolkien scholar David
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Canterbury Classics (first published 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  130 ratings  ·  37 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of An Encyclopedia of Tolkien
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The encyclopedia of Tolkien David Day is a must read for any Tolkien fan. An insightful encyclopedia with beautiful illustrations and informative charts. I loved how the author included Tolkien’s inspiration for the characters and places instead of just information about them. Even though this is not in conjunction with the Tolkien Estate I still feel that David Day captured the essence of the Tolkien Legacy!
Thomas Chandler
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-have for anyone who loves The Lord of the Rings. This book is a collection of anything and everything that either informed, inspired, or was included in Tolkien’s world of Middle-Earth. Also, the illustrations are so beautiful and make the read even more enjoyable.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous book that is something that I will treasure always.  I was so excited to open this and page through quickly at first and then savor each page of character descriptions, family trees, the lists of related characters and their characteristics.  The illustrations are beautiful and every day I pick it up.  This is a book that you will reference every time you pick up a Tolkien book.

There is so much information and so many dots connected for me in ways that I didn't figure out myse
Jay Gabler
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An Encyclopedia of Tolkien doesn’t exactly sound like a page-turner. When you first lay hands on a copy of David Day’s new book, with its embossed leather binding, gold-leaf pages, lavish illustrations, and bookmark ribbon, you might imagine putting it on the shelf next to The Lord of the Rings, maybe dipping into it occasionally when you’re trying to remember what Meduseld or Umbar was.

Once you start paging through, though, you might just find yourself reading the 544-page volume cover to cover
Jessica Bronder
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the go to book for anything Tolkien. When I first received the book I instantly fell in love with the leather cover and gold edged pages. But I was completely blown away when I opened the book and started reading selections here and there. This is an extensive look into the world of Tolkien punctuated with beautiful artwork.

I am just an amateur when it comes to Tolkien, I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring series but that is where my knowledge ends. I started reading the encyc
Nicholas Kinney
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a Beautiful book in appearance—the binding is nice, the spine is elegant and fitting for the content, I like the gold-edged pages, and I especially loved the drawings which are interspersed throughout the book from a variety of artists. Undoubtedly this will look great on the shelf. The text is interesting enough, but it is clearly not meant to be read cover to cover; there is a lot of overlap in the dictionary portion, including several paragraphs which are repeated verbatim four or fiv ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Don't expect an exhaustive encyclopedia covering everything found in Tolkien's world. I still found this an invaluable resource for learning about the history of Tolkien's own scholarship and how he used that to create Middle Earth. It took away the mystique of the man, but also made me appreciate how the world of the Lord of the Rings was able to be thanks to a literal lifetime of study. Awesome resource! ...more
Tasha Van Kesteren
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you are someone that LOVES Tolkien and wants to know more about his lands and what's in them, this is the book for you! Very well written with a beautiful cover and illustrations. You can tell that it was written by someone who knows his stuff! ...more
Kristopher Aadahl
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings but was disappointed that I couldn't immerse myself into the full works that token had created but only hinted at in the Hobbit and scratched the surface of in LOTR. This encyclopedia takes Middle-Earth information from sources like The Silmarillon, Tolkien's notes, interviews & biographies, and also draws upon a general knowledge of Tolkien's education, background, etc. For me, the book serves as a portal to delve deeper into those books than would ...more
Carma Spence
Feb 28, 2020 marked it as to-read
“An Encyclopedia of Tolkien: the History and Mythology of Middle-earth has been compiled as an easily accessible compendium for general readers” of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy tales “who are interested in the mythological, literary, historical, and philological sources that inspired the author in his creation of Middle-earth and the Undying Lands.”

Thank you David Day, I don’t think I could have described this book much better myself.

Summary of An Encyclopedia of Tolkien
Author David Day is at i
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's not as you expect it but this book is rather enjoyable what I enjoy about it is it's extensive lists of information about my other favorite movies and books it's not just a encyclopedia it's a tale... A tale of TOLKIEN ...more
Tabitha Smith
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or a lover of all things Tolkien this is a MUST buy. It’s an extensive and illustrated guide to the history, lands, and inhabitants of Middle-earth. David Day has compiled a masterpiece of combined insights and knowledge from his forty-plus years of working on Tolkein books.

The book itself is beautiful. I was struck at once with how lovely it was when I received it in the mail. It’s leather-bound, has gold leaf edge pages, and over 100 illustrations.

This is no
Haley Needs a Life
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is curious about the background of LOTR. I adore picking fantasy apart for the inspirations and that was well done in this book. ...more
Tyler Shafer
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating and indispensable read for any Tolkien geek such as myself. Day states in his preface - as he did in his Dictionary of Tolkien - that the high epic romance and adventure of Lord of the Rings is on par with the Iliad and the Odyssey. This is quite an achievement. Yet what truly boggles the mind is that, while Homer set his epics in the established Greek cultural and mythological milieu, Tolkien had to create this mythological backdrop himself. After the fairy tale of The Hob ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First, let me describe the beauty of this book, for the picture does not do it justice. An Encyclopedia of Tolkien is bound in soft, brown leather embossed with gold letters and branded with a beautiful Tolkien image. The gilded book edges are in gold with a lovely green ribbon bookmark peeking out from the pages. This hardcover would make any book lover swoon. And we haven't even discussed the content yet.

An Encyclopedia of Tolkien: The History and Mythology That Inspired Tolkien's World by Dav
Library Queen
First off, this book cover is GORGEOUS. Carved leather with gold edges. It's fabulous.

So this encyclopedia covers not just Tolkien's world, but some of the stories and characters Tolkien was influenced by. Wanna know what people inspired the Southrons? It's here. Wanna know what Greek God inspired Yavanna? It's here too. Also, includes 3 ring stories - 1 Norse, 1 German, 1 opera- that definitely impacted Tolkien's writings.

Also, apparently Tolkien hated Shakespeare. Who knew? I now feel slightly
Kaleb B
Mar 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think this book was a very good book, this book really enlightened me into the world I love, fantasy books are my favorite type of books to read. This showed me the other side of the Fantasy world I didn't even know existed and some beasts that are replicated from something similar from the real world. I wouldn't mind reading this book over and over again. This book showed me many things I never knew existed in the Fantasy world. There were defiantly some things I would like to learn more abou ...more
Emily Griswold Bunty
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gorgeously bound and illustrated, and a fascinating insight into the other myths and legends that inspired Tolkien to incorporate certain elements and characters into his tales. Also includes entries for all key characters, locations and concepts in Tolkien’s tales.

Can be read straight through as an “interesting facts” compendium, or can be used as a reference guide when reading any of Tolkien’s works.

The only thing missing, and what cost it a star, is the lack of any sort of pronunciation guid
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For the Tolkien lover, a must-have. For anyone else, a mystery. This beautiful book lays out many (most?) of the connections leading back from Tolkien's world into the various sources in mythology from which he drew inspiration. You get a wide and varied picture of all the languages, myths, histories, geographies, and lore Tolkien had immersed himself in to create Middle Earth and its cultures, languages, chronologies, and tales. It's a labor of love for Mr. Day, and a wonderful source-book for ...more
Todd C
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Great encyclopedia on the world of Tolkien. The book looks nice and historic, with the leather binding. The author has included information on all of the major characters and locations in Tolkien's world. He also explains a lot about the origins of many of the things, whether from Norse, Greek or Roman mythology, or Arthurian legend. Great book to to add to the collection of any Lord of the Rings fan. ...more
McKenzie Brown
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
This book is perfect for any true hardcore Lord Of the Rings fans. David Day immerses himself into the legends that inspired Tolkien’s world. Personally I think it could of been more detailed instead of super short explanations which made the book a little boring. The illustrations are absolutely amazing and the book does give you enough information to understand the saga that is lord of the rings.
AE Corral
Although I don't believe this is authorized by the Tolkien Estate, i found it very informative for the person just starting to explore the history and basis of the LOTR and Hobbit. The illustrations are very good. There are diagrams showing various battles, genealogy and the history of the Rings of Power. I enjoyed reading it and plan to purchase a copy for my personal library. ...more
George Noland II
Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkien
An exceptional reference to all that is Middle-earth. I especially enjoyed Day’s well-researched comparisons to Tolkien’s likely creative influences. At the end are three primary legends that served as sources for Tolkien’s creations—the Volsunga saga, the Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, I would recommend it to someone that likes Myths or fantasy, because I like learning new stories I enjoyed it. In the first half of the book there was like a Glossary but paragraphs explain stories and key words.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful leather bound book with about 200 drawings, great work on defining much of histories legends, folklore, and the time fantasy for Tolkien’s mythic masterpieces. The idea of fiction time periods incorporated into a historical syage setting for a real earth is brilliant and well researched.
Feb 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
A beautiful tribute to the places and characters of Middle Earth as well as their influences in mythology and folklore. My only complaint is the layout. This could have benefited from sections instead of the alphabetical encyclopedia format because if you read each entry there is little continuity.
tris pasquale
May 08, 2021 rated it liked it
I think it’d be better if I used it as an encyclopedia while reading the books rather than just reading it, but it was still informative and accurate. I liked seeing how Tolkien used mythology for inspiration.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
a beautiful, comprehensive reference.
Gerard C. Klug
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Resource

As a ardent Tolkien fan, to find in one book these listings, all with appropriate detail, all in one place, was a joy. Wonderful book, highly recommended.
Abigail G
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
So much information to be read that it was a bit tedious. Definitely written to be a reference book, not one to be read straight through.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bilbo's Last Song
  • Me
  • The Book of Lost Tales, Part One (The History of Middle-Earth, #1)
  • Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life
  • The Hobbit Sketchbook
  • The Atlas of Middle-Earth
  • Supernova (Renegades, #3)
  • The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
  • Tolkien On Fairy-stories
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 4: The Heart's Desire
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 7: The Calm Before
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 8: Made to Suffer
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 6: This Sorrowful Life
  • The Secret of Skull Mountain (Hardy Boys, #27)
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 5: The Best Defense
  • Why Socialism Works
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked...
371 likes · 59 comments