zaterdag 11 februari 2017

The Making of Middle-Earth - Christopher Snyder

A new look inside the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, as the subtitle reads, is a hefty 300+ high gloss hardback tome.

Cross the treshold to Middle-Earth in this work, which was written between the first and second movies of The Hobbit, and offers some unique looks on how the beloved franchise came to be.

There seems to be at least three worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien - the physical milieu in which he lived; the intellectual realm where he spend much of his time; and Middle-Earth, a land of Elves and Men, Hobbits and Dwarves, and ancient dark powers.

In The Making of Middle-Earth, Christopher Snyder masterfully weaves together the threads of these worlds - drawing on the historical background of the medieval cultures beloved by Tolkien, as well as archeology, art history, myth, and literature - and explores the fourth world of which Tolkien had only a glimpse: that of fandom and franchise, culminating in a series of some of the most succesful movies ever made.

The book as such looks first at the early life and writings of Tolkien, how his poems where influenced not only by old saga like Beowulf, but also examined by his close friends like C.S. Lewis (who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia) and how that shaped his work. 
It draws conenctions to which influences where in play as he wrote The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, while also taking a look at the how the movies of Peter Jackson have been modified from his source material.

A great read, this is no "light reading" novel but a true investigative piece of lecture, and one I really enjoyed! And all that illustrated with artwork, and entwined with a lot of ancient pictures and texts...

Rating: 9 / 10

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