Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth (HarperCollins, 2003) Garth’s knowledge of Tolkien’s writings leads at times to an overwhelming focus on the minutiae of his invented languages and mythology. The strictly biographical aspects are more accessible, giving a good sense of (educated) life pre- and during the First World War.
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien (Allen & Unwin, 1977); audiobook read by Martin Shaw (HarperCollins, 2015) A posthumously compiled addendum to Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories, demonstrating the epic imagination that underpinned these works but none of their narrative pull. In essence: a vast and proclamatory, untethered bore, which not even Martin Shaw’s sonorous narration can make worth persisting with.…
42 Word Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies dir. Peter Jackson
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies dir. Peter Jackson (2014) Alternatively: There, a Feature-Length Fight Melange, and Back Again. Peter Jackson’s Gollum-esque craving to don the ring and turn New Zealand once again into Middle-earth gives Howard Shore’s impassioned score first billing while short-changing Martin Freeman. Too many armies, not enough hobbit.