Once some fans encounter J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, they never truly leave it, choosing instead to keep exploring the myriad, mystical depths of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The rest of us though, could use some help staying in touch with the land of Frodo. The Guide to Middle Earth 2003 calendar does exactly that.’,NULL,8,NULL,’
- A Guide to Middle Earth 2003 Calendar
- Andrew McMeel Publishing
Once some fans encounter J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, they never truly leave it, choosing instead to keep exploring the myriad, mystical depths of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
The rest of us though, could use some help staying in touch with the land of Frodo. The “Guide to Middle Earth 2003” calendar does exactly that. It’s a “page-a-day” block calendar, like the old Far Side cartoon ones and each day it highlights some new fact about Middle-Earth .
The calendar’s good for someone like me, who has a casual interest in the Lord of the Rings, but often finds himself caught in the middle of a firestorm debate between Tolkien devotees arguing exactly what language Saruman spoke to his orcish legions.
For example, the calendar offers definitions of basic Tolkienesque races like “dwarf” and “elf” but it also lesser known entities such as the Valar (angelic creatures that assisted in the creation of the world) and Eru (which was the God of Middle-Earth, who actually created the land and its people. The elves and dwarves are easily recognizable by anyone who’s played D&D, but Valar and Eru are entities that only those who’ve braved the density of the Similarian usually understand.
The calendar covers every corner of Middle-Earth, offering details about its lands, people, monsters, magic and myths. Readers will learn that Middle-Earth’s other names are “The Great Lands”, the “Wide World” and the “Hither Shore”, that elves have no need for sleep, and instead spend their resting time contemplating beauty, and contemplate the dark power of the Nazgul (also known as Ring Wraiths). The depth of the calendar’s knowledge is impressive, and it makes for an enjoyable read. A word of warning though — with this calendar, it’s best not to skip ahead. Later entries often contain entries defined on earlier dates, so skipping ahead can wreck havoc with the uninformed. That said, not all of the later entries require such definitions, so it is browseable, but its probably not something that newbies will find themselves flipping through while on hold.
I have only one quibble about the calendar: its complete and utter lack of illustrations. The calendar is entirely text, and while this isn’t a problem for most entries, ones that refer to geography can be utterly confusing if you’re don’t have a map to visualize it. The addition of some simple black-and-white maps would have earned it at least one more point in my ranking.
Overall, this is a good calendar for those looking to add a little bit of Tolkien to their real-world desktop. It’s depth of trivia insures that diehard fans will learn something, while newbies will find it a useful primer.