Product Added : February 3rd, 2013
Category : Books
"This Best Selling J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Movie Tie-in): The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
THE BOOKS THAT INSPIRED THE EPIC MOTION PICTURES
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
THE TWO TOWERS
THE RETURN OF THE KING
© New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. (s12)
Motion Picture Artwork © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
I first read the Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit in 1969 at age 21. It helped to form my pattern of basic reading interest for years; I’ve re-read it aloud to my teenage daughters & son. (I’ve since gone on to complete a Masters in Education, and still find it marvelous reading!) My children loved it, of course! In reviewing some other readers’ comments, I must say, it never occurred to me that Tolkien might be racist. I think THAT reader needs to get a grip and stop feeling sorry for him/herself because of his/her ethnicity! There are more races portrayed in the Trilogy than I believe that reader probably could conceive — many of them very positively represented. Sauron, himself, wasn’t human — and physically, not a LIVING being at all. The characters are VERY well developed, along with their histories, their cultural background and the World of Middle Earth, generally. The reader who cast aspertions on Tolkien, lumping him in with Eddings, etc., apparently doesn’t value fantasy writing as a genre. Eddings is a very fine writer also. I believe it helps to be in touch with your own youthful spirit, and have some inclination toward the pursuit of spiritual growth to appreciate to scope of this myth. Tolkien spoke to the heart, as much as, perhaps more than simply spinning a good adventure yarn — altho’ the Trilogy is certainly that, as well. To get at the kernal of Tolkien’s truth, you MUST read The Silmarllion, which contains the ontological basis of the entire Rings works. His creation myth in The Silmarillion clarifies the basis for the conflict between Sauron and Gandalf (who are, not surprisingly, equals of the same race of beings — not human at all), and the seeds for the entire epic battle. Some readers may feel the ending was inadequate, as if “They all lived happily ever after” is not an end worth striving for. I think Tolkien, like many of us, hoped for the triumph of Good over Evil — the hope of humankind. Evil is anti-life. The triumph of evil presupposes the end of all life. An epic myth such as Lord of the Rings can only stand for all time, as this one surely must, if it speaks to that glimmer of hope that Good (and Life generally) can and will triumph over Evil (and the grave). No sensible person, surely, would recommend all his children (much less his friends or other strangers) read a book which speaks only to the darkest side of ourselves, which concludes — as the sign over the door to Hell warns, “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here”. Tolkien’s trilogy is a timeless masterpiece. EVERYONE, I believe, can benefit by reading it, many times over (even those cynical or foolish enough to find its ending insipid, its characters inadequately developed and its development “racist”)!
This new box set by Houghton Mifflin is a beautiful addition to any Tolkien lovers bookshelf. The illustrations on the box and on the book covers themselves, are done by Alan Lee. One of the best Middle-earth artists, renown for his work on the hardcover editions of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.
In the box you get the cornerstones of Middle-earth, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.
In “The Hobbit” you’ll go along with Bilbo Baggins, twelve dwarves, and Gandalf the wizard on their quest to recover the dwarves gold and home from the dragon Smaug. A lighthearted and fun journey that sets the stage for what is to come….
Which leads us to “The Lord of the Rings”, the greatest fantasy epic of all time. Taking place years later than “The Hobbit”, this is the story of Frodo Baggins, Samwise, Merry and Pippin and their quest to save Middle-earth from the evil Sauron by destroying the One Ring. Bilbo is seen again and Gandalf is back too, helping the hobbits on their journey. You’ll meet a memorable group of characters, who come to life, with the touch of Tolkien.
In both books you’ll get maps to help you on your way, and in “The Lord of the Rings” there are extensive appendixes with a tale of years, calendars, family trees, notes about language and other good stuff.
Overall this one set of books you’ll probably end up replacing over the years as you wear them out from reading. You’ll smile everytime you open the covers, delving back into Middle-earth, to see old friends and make new ones, in the greatest stories ever told….
As there are already more than plenty of reviews to tell you about the story within, I will use my review to hopefully clear up some of the confusion related to what was thought to be printed (or misprinted) in certain editions of the boxed set – in particular, the Houghton-Mifflin edition with the Alan Lee cover art illustrations (ISBN 0618002251).
FACT 1: The sentence that reads, “The Breelanders locked their doors at night, which was also not unusual in the Shire,” does not exist in the Houghton-Mifflin edition. Or rather, the sentence that another reviewer quoted was a typographical error all on its own (aside from the word ‘unusual’).
The actual (and possibly revised) sentence reads (in the Houghton-Mifflin edition in The Fellowship of the Ring on page 97 in the Chapter of ‘A Conspiracy Unmasked’): “The BUCKLANDERS locked their doors at night, what was also not USUAL in the Shire.”
As I do not own the Ballantine version of the book that the other reviewer quoted from, I do not know if the quote was indeed a correct quote (in which both ‘Breelanders’ and ‘unusual’ were misprinted) or if the reviewer had meant to say ‘Bucklanders’ instead of ‘Breelanders’.
FACT 2: The artwork contained in this boxed set was drawn by/provided by: Alan Lee (cover art illustrations), Steven Cooley (cover design), and… J.R.R. Tolkien (illustrations in The Hobbit) himself, Christopher Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) himself, and a Mr. Stephen Raw (which I will explain further).
The Hobbit’s illustrations – save for the jacket cover design and artwork – all reflect the same artwork as was done by Tolkien in the older hardback editions (30th, 1966) where the inside cover page said ‘Illustrated by the Author’ as well. This also means that the map related to the story of The Hobbit is Tolkien’s as well.
For the Lord of the Rings, there is a note on the maps which says that Mr. Stephen Raw reproduced Christopher’s original maps to be as close as possible, but reduced in size so they could fit into the paperback version.
FACT 3: The Houghton-Mifflin boxed set edition books all say, “The text of this edition of (insert book title here) contains all corrections and revisions that have been made since the original publication.”
FACT 4: Douglas A. Anderson (with the guidance and supervision of Christopher Tolkien) oversaw the assembly of this boxed set edition and provided editorial notes related to various changes, revisions, additions, etc.
FACT 5: The text IS on the small side of things especially for the Lord of the Rings books. The Hobbit – being a shorter book and possibly also being geared towards younger readers – has a larger size font for the text.
FACT 6: The books are easy to read (save for the smaller font size in the LotR books) and easy to handle as the books easily fall open and without damage or incident to the spines.
FACT 7: The books are packed tightly and fit neatly into their box. There is nothing sloppy about the presentation.
These main points made, I will say that in my opinion, the Houghton-Mifflin edition is a wonderful addition to anyone’s reading collection… so long as the reader in question is interested in reading a most-current version of the story with all the revisions, corrections, and additions (post-3rd printing of 1966) more or less finalized.
The revisions are current and up-to-date and Douglas Anderson not only explains the publication history of The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) and its history of changes but also gives a list of references in his notations for those who wish to see what revisions, exactly, were made (and why).
As these revisions were all supervised and approved by Christopher Tolkien, I cannot see why anyone would find reason to argue the validity of this particular edition of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
The Houghton-Mifflin boxed set is comprehensive and ‘complete’ in both story and notations and appendices and the care that was taken in putting together this edition – paperback thought it is – is quite evident in the resulting product.
Everything said, I am happy to own a copy of my own – both for looks and for reading.
This is the ultimate fantasy epic. Though at times it can be a difficult read, it is well worth the effort. This is definitely an epic you will want to read more than once.
Many authors have tried to do fantasy epics, most noteably Terry Brooks. All fall far short of the accomplishment of Tolkien. With a Christian ideal and a brilliant mind, he took fantasy to a new level. There are definitely two separate major storylines, with at least a dozen or so subplots, none ever interfereing with each other, but in fact enhancing the main theme: the attempted destruction of the One Ring. Are they successful? Read the book!
The only other fantasy epic that comes even close is the Chronicals of Narnia from J.R.R. Tolkien’s friend, C.S. Lewis (Notice the use of initials again), another must read, though that is much easier reading (i.e. like the Hobbit).
Start with the Hobbit (the precurser to LOTR). It’s much lighter reading and gets you familiar with Middle Earth. If you are hooked for more after LOTR, finish with the Simarilion. It gives all the history before LOTR takes place and explains quite a bit that makes no immediate sense, but be warned: it reads like the King James Bible.
A brilliant series.
Modern fantasy readers beware: If you love DragonLance, Forgotten Realms and other fantasy hack-n-slash books you might want to skip this one. Tolkiens Middle Earth requires much more thought and devotion than most contemporary fantasy novels allow. However, if you (like me) have read The Wheel of Time (yuck), DragonLance Saga, Terry Brooks’ Shannara and Anthony’s Xanth books and yearned for something more, something deeper, then the Lord of the Rings might be what you’re looking for. No author, before or since, has created a world as complete as Middle Earth. With a landscape and a history so detailed, you can’t possibly comprehend that it exists only in the imagination.
And contemporary fantasy readers know this: In a hundred years, when The Wheel of Time fades into obscurity, when no one can tell you who Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman are, and when a new generation of fantasy authors take the place of the currently established ones, people will still be reading The Lord of the Rings and it will go down in history as one of the greatest literary works of mankind.