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Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  7,217 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
Two bewitching fantasies by J.R.R. Tolkien, beloved author of THE HOBBIT. In SMITH OF WOOTTON MAJOR, Tolkien explores the gift of fantasy, and what it means to the life and character of the man who receives it. And FARMER GILES OF HAM tells a delightfully ribald mock-heroic tale, where a dragon who invades a town refuses to fight, and a farmer is chosen to slay him.
Mass Market Paperback, 156 pages
Published January 12th 1986 by Del Rey (first published 1949)
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Wild-Rogue-Rose
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
This is my second time wrestle-I-mean-reading! something by Tolkien. I will openly admit, I slept-read The Hobbit. *gasp*
I know, I know...how can someone do that? Like I have a clue, I was a freshman in high school - that on a whole is an unsolved mystery in itself.

So, as I helped my Mum put books away, this fell from a stack and hit me.
In the face.
I took it as a sign to get back on the horse and charge headlong back into Tolkien's imaginative writing. My steed was derailed a few pages later. A
...more
Carl
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Tolkien and thoughtful fantasy
Shelves: fantasysci-fi
My favorite in this book is Smith of Wooten Major, though Farmer Giles of Ham is a fun romp in its own right. "Smith" is in fact probably my favorite of Tolkien's short works. Leaf by Niggle was also very enjoyable, and if we take the portions of the Silmarillion as individual pieces I might revise my opinon, but there is just something about "Smith" which is not only enjoyable, but which speaks to something in the heart of anyone drawn to something "beyond", to the fantastic, the mythic, to ano ...more
Pablo
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
An anthology of Tolkien's short stories that sheds some light into Tolkien's thoughts regarding Faerie and the value of Fantasy. As usual, Tolkien's prose shines through his capacity of creating natural landscapes of intense wonder and delight. Worth it if you're into his work.
Justin
May 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two short stories/novellas by the master of fantasy fiction.

"Farmer Giles of Ham" is a very amusing story of a farmer in an ancient and fantastic England who surprisingly succeeds in stopping a dragon from destroying his homeland. A little bit of a parody of fantasy and myth with an unlikely (and sometimes hilarious) hero.

"Smith of Wootton Major" is my favorite of the two and indeed probably my favorite short story of any kind. It has the flavor of a story passed down through the ages from some
...more
Andy
Oct 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I am by no means a Tolkien afficianado, this book was in fact, the first Tolkien I've ever read, so please keep that in mind as you read this review. I'm sure other Tolkien-ites would review this book differently.

Smith of Wootton Major: It wasn't that great. It's more of an allegory than anything else. Tolkien uses the short story format to explain what happens to men when they embrace, or shun, Faerie. It's and interesting idea, but a lifeless story. I was bored throughout.

Farmer Giles of Ham:
...more
Ben Goodridge
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was never quite sure where "Smith of Wootton Major" was going, so I'll stick to "Farmer Giles of Ham." I've seen the story of the brave knight vs. the evil dragon subverted more often than I've seen it played straight, but there's something very modern about the uneasy alliance between Giles and Chrysophylax that shows that there's always room for a new wrinkle. Maybe they could make a movie of this one. Just don't let Peter Jackson anywhere near it; it'll be nine hours long.

My father is a cer
...more
Bob H
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Two lesser-known but lovable works from the master, J.R.R. Tolkien. Farmer Giles of Ham is a hilarous romp through ancient Britain, in which a humble peasant must master a giant, a dragon and then a foolish king. This would be a wonderful film (note to Peter Jackson: one film only, please). Smith of Wootton Major is a deeper story, with Tolkien's darker views of fantasy in a gentle telling: "the elves have left us, and we have not mourned their passing," a critic tells us (no spoiler) and this i ...more
Robin Hobb
In these two tales, we see Tolkien in two story-telling modes. Farmer Giles of Ham is playful, while Smith of Wooten Major does exactly what fantasy does best: it examines a larger question and wakes a sense of wonder. If you have only seen the movies, or if you've never read Tolkien or seen the movies, I'd recommend Smith of Wooten Major as a wonderful place to sample his story telling. I've read this aloud to children and they loved it.
Mark
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While not as heavy a read as The Lord of the Rings it was still a pair of good short stories that show his literary talents even outside of Middle-Earth.
Brittany ♥♥~Proud Hufflepuff and supporter of S.P.E.W. ~♥♥
If you love J.R.R. Tolkien, you need to read this book. It's short and amazing. That's all there is to it really. Stop reading this review, go out buy the book, and read it. NOW!
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of
Smith of Wootton Major is unquestionably my favorite work by J.R.R. Tolkien.

No, the last name has nothing to do with it.
Phillip
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A vet good book.
Sara
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What wonderful short stories! This is the first Tolkien I've read that is set outside of the Middle-Earth universe, and I loved every minute of it! I listened to both of these stories on audio as read by Derek Jacobi and I highly recommend them. He is a phenomenal narrator and really brings these tales to life! I especially liked Farmer Giles of Ham because of the dragon. Chrysophylax is really a great character. Both of these stories are certainly appropriate for children, and would be a great ...more
Claire
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely. Farmer Giles of Ham was decent and may deserve another reading. Smith of Wooten Major has positively enchanted me. I think I've gone through it 5 times now and am ready for a 6th. It's story is simple and magical and has everything a story should - cake, silver stars, cloaked figures, faery, traveling through distant lands, jokes, underestimated heroes, a crotchety village curmudgeon, and endearing fathers and sons. A gem in Tolkien's crown.
Anne-Laure
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable, especially Farmer Giles of Ham. It has all the charms that one can find in Tolkien's more well known works, but lacks in deeper and more meaningful themes. They are both children's tales with a gentle aesthetic, and the illustrations by Pauline Baynes were of especially great addition.
Jessica Dutcher
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved both stories, but I found Smith of Wootton Major to be more charming, and more easily read.
Maggie
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
i listened to derek jacobi reading this story ... i wonder if there is any tolkein writing that i wouldn't enjoy
Anastasia Ramsey
SO GOOD!! Charming short stories with the humor and imagination only Tolkien can offer.
Meg
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I am more partial to the Smith, Giles makes an excellent heroic character as well. Both stories are such treats.
Anneke W
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute wee read, both stories are typical Tolkien. Think I liked Farmer Giles best!
Gary
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And Smith of Wooten Major, I do believe, is an early version of The Lord of the Rings.
Ben Haavisto
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tolkien
Love Tolkien's writing and these two stories were great! Two short little stories that are childish in a fun way and leave you happy after reading them.
Will Boncher
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Smith of Wootton Major was weird and boring.

Farmer Giles of Ham was cheesy but entertaining.
Dave Donahoe
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smith Of Wootton Major - 4 stars
Farmer Giles Of Ham - 4.5 stars

Two very enjoyable quick reads from the master of modern fantasy
Kevin Jonker
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, literature
"Smith of Wooton Major," as a title, doesn't even begin to hint at the beauty of this Tolkien short story. Both it and "Farmer Giles of Ham" exist outside of his Middle Earth universe, so here he is unbound by the constraints that he helped to create. While "Farmer Giles" is whimsical and as close to humorous as Tolkien is prone to getting, "Smith" is poignant, sweeping, bitter, and sweet. It deals with the denizens of Faerie, and a man who is gifted--for a while--with the license to walk among ...more
Olivia
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've said this about at least one other book on goodreads, but this felt like it was written for me. Charming mid 20th century style, fairy tale influence, humor, just the right amount of sincerity, etc. Much more along the lines of The Hobbit than Lord of the Rings, and I know there are people who prefer the former. I may be one of them.
Michelle Rogers
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun, quick and easy read.
I have yet to meet a book by Tolkien that I didn't like!
Kari Jean
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Smith is my favorite of the two stories, but Farmer is still fun.
Ea Solinas
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
While most of his genius went into the world of Middle-Earth and its fantastical history, JRR Tolkien produced a number of smaller stories during his life.

Two of the best-known examples: "Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham," which pairs together a beautifully fantastical fable that drips with Tolkien's love of fairy tales.... and a wacky story about a not-very-frightening dragon and the hapless hero who is after him. While these two novellas are very different in style, they have T
...more
Todd
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short stories. Lots of fun.
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  • The History of the Hobbit, Part Two: Return to Bag-End
  • The Tolkien Companion
  • Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
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  • Master of Middle-Earth: The Fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-Earth
  • Mere Humanity: G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien on the Human Condition
  • The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
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  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth
49,802 followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE, was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English lan
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