The Complete Guide to Middle-earth – Robert Foster (1971)


“The Complete Guide to Middle-earth is a reference book for the fictional universe of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Middle-earth, compiled and edited by Robert Foster. Originally published in 1971 as A Guide to Middle-Earth, before the publication of The Silmarillion, the first edition contained only information from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. In 1978, a new edition (The Complete Guide to Middle-earth: from The Hobbit to The Silmarillion), containing material from The Silmarillion, was published. … A typical entry of the encyclopedia contains: a name; the language it belongs to; its translation from Elvish, Adûnaic and sometimes Old English when known; and known dates when a character flourished; the first lines of the entry usually give a general definition of the topic, like race, heritage and role (in case of a character), leading to a chronological description or biography. The last paragraphs of the entry give a physical description or characteristics of the character with some speculations; the final paragraph gives the topic’s alternative names, epithets, translation to other languages, and/or redirects to other entries. The Guide is generally inclusive and there is no limitation to the topics it covers; it includes even obscure and little explored topics, like individual entries on each single Tengwar names. Many entries are simply epithets and only redirect to the names of their main entries. The book begins with an introduction, an abbreviations legend and concludes with two appendices. The first appendix is a chronology of the First Age in order to complement the Tale of Years, and contains a prologue on Foster’s reasoning and calculations based solely on descriptions in the Silmarillion; the second appendix is genealogical trees of the Three Houses of the Edain, the Kings of Númenor, the Kings of Gondor and Arnor, the House of Húrin and the Kings of Rohan. No edition of the book includes info on post-Silmarillion material (i.e. Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth series) and therefore in points it is outdated or in error. Introduction: It is explained that death dates of those who sailed to the West are not given in their characters’ entries “for they live still”. While this can be true for Gandalf and the Elves, this is also implied for Bilbo, Frodo, Sam and Gimli. This seems to contradict Tolkien’s concept that the Undying Lands don’t grant immortality. …”
Tolkien Gateway
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