The one topic I love and haven’t yet addressed on this blog is Middle Earth. It’s one of my many
obsessions interests, and I know I’m not alone! I have compiled a list of must-haves for the die-hard Tolkien fan in your life (okay, maybe it’s YOU) for your shopping ease.
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First, the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These are the classics that most people are familiar with. These are the books that the popular movies are based on. Every fan needs these in their collection.
I also highly recommend The Annotated Hobbit. As with any annotated book, it is full of note and definitions, including expanded thoughts from Tolkien’s writings.
Speaking of the Hobbit, how about these? I first learned of them in an interview with Richard Armitage on the set of The Hobbit movie.
The story of Middle Earth begins in The Silmarillion. It’s a MUST for any Tolkien fan! While The Lord of the Rings takes place in the Third Age, The Silmarillion covers the First and Second Ages of this world. : ) It includes the origins of Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Wizards. Snippets of these tales show up in some of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as the movies.
Just as the title says, there is additional information about so many people and happenings, such as Galadriel, the Kings of Numenor, the Wizards, Gondor, Rohan, and the hunt for the Ring. It’s a great addition to a serious Tolkien fan’s library.
The Children of Hurin
This story originally takes place as part of The Silmarillion. It was later fully written as a stand-alone story by Christopher Tolkien (from his father’s notes). Alan Lee illustrates this book. (For you novices, Alan Lee is a renowned artist and was the conceptual designer for the Lord of the Rings movies.)
Beren and Luthien
A stand-alone version of one of the most beautiful and popular stories in The Silmarillion. Beren was a man who met and fell in love with the most beautiful Elf in Middle Earth, and they became the first union of Elf and Man. Their descendants later produced a similar union: Aragorn and Arwen.
Now, on to the extras!
The Tolkien Companion
This is a book I recommend to every Tolkien fan I meet. When I teach classes on these books, I insist that my students get a copy of this book. (Yes, I’ve been teaching classes to high schoolers for years, and my study guides are coming to this website soon!) It’s a literal encyclopedia of Middle Earth. It’s subtitle tells you everything you need to know: “The Indispensable Guide to the Wondrous Legends, History, Languages, and Peoples of Middle Earth.”
The Atlas of Middle Earth
My second-favorite resource for all things Middle Earth. There are maps for every age of Middle Earth. There are detailed drawings of major locations from the Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Each section has detailed descriptions by the author. They are painstakingly based on Tolkien’s own maps and descriptions. If you love Tolkien’s books and you love maps, you HAVE to have this book!
The J.R.R. Tokien Handbook
This is my other “encyclopedia” of Tolkien information. It’s smaller, but it has some info that is not in the Tolkien Companion. Add it to your library.
Other Fun Middle Earth books
The History of Middle Earth is a 12-volume set of exhaustive notes and expanded stories and explanations of everything you ever wanted to know about Middle Earth. Buy the whole set or pick and choose the topics you want to read first, such as The Treason of Isengard, or the Peoples of Middle Earth. There is no end to the incredible information in this set!
A student of British history will quickly recognize similarities in Tolkien’s stories and the real stories of England’s past. Languages, words, geography, and so much more; it was heavily influenced by Tolkien’s own English life. The Roots of Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a fascinating tour of England with a focus on its influence in Middle Earth, complete with maps and photographs.
Once you become a die-hard Tolkien nerd, you’ll have a desire to speak and write the many languages of Middle Earth. The resources are out there!
For fun and games, there is no end to the gift ideas! We have almost everything on the list below. You know what’s fun? The Risk game. If you know Middle Earth like you know your own town, you will conquer. There are art books, coloring books, puzzles, and board games.
My son loves to draw, and has spent hours watching the “extras” on the extended movie DVDs. He loves the descriptions of the design process, from movie sets to costumes, so we got him the Lord of the Rings Sketchbook for his birthday. It’s full of Alan Lee’s many sketches that inspired the movie set designs.
You’ve seen the movies, but have you seen all the extra stuff? It’s imperative that a true fan has a copy of all of the extended edition movies. Some DVDs were bonus gifts with the first release of the DVD movies. Others were created before or since. I’ve seen all of these. They are each fun in their own way and have a lot of cool information. My favorite is probably J.R.R. Tolkien: Master of the Rings.
And for the collector:
For the mature grown-ups who like to find the everyday wisdom in Tolkien’s writings, may I suggest these?
And, in case you haven’t seen all the wonderful options available, check out these:
Did you know Tolkien even released his own translation and commentary of Beowulf???
In all of my moving and decorating, I never once considered a Lord of the Rings shower curtain! Only because I didn’t know they existed! But don’t be like me; get yours NOW.
If you want to be as cool as me, you’ll need the collectible action figures from the movies. When these things came out with each movie, it was like the Cabbage Patch dolls! My family and I were so exited when a few figures would show up on the store shelves each Christmas. But there’s good news: many are available on eBay.
Okay, so now I’ve let the nerdy cat out of the bag, blogwise. (My real-life friends already knew of this
obsession interest.) So, I’ve shared all of my favorites with you. What would you add? Do you have a LOTR fan in your life that needs a gift from this list? I’m sure you do.
If you’ve read this far, I want to congratulate you. And I want to remind you that soon I will release a series of FREE study guides to the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion. I’ve taught classes on these books for close to 15 years, and I can’t wait to share them here!
If you want to get in on that, be sure to subscribe to my email list (below) for the announcement,
And check out my other Gift Guides while you’re here.
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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