Book Review – Tales from the Perilous Realm

Tales from the Perilous Realm is a collection of short stories and poems by J.R.R. Tolkien. As suggested by The Tolkien Society, I opted to read this book after completing reading The Lord of the Rings.

One thing to keep in mind when buying this book is that not all of the stories/poems are directly related or take place in Tolkien’s legendarium (ie middle-earth, etc.) This book consists of the following short stories/poems:

  • Roverandom
  • Farmer Giles of Ham
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
  • Smith of Wootton Major
  • Leaf by Niggle

Just like The Hobbit, the story Roverandom was originally written for Tolkien’s children own private amusement. This short story follows the adventure of a dog who’s been enchanted by a wizard.

Farmer Giles of Ham is my favorite short story of this book. This story follows a simple farmer who because of certain heroic events his a part of, becomes a highly esteemed person within the kingdom he lives in. The cover of this book is an illustration related to one of Farmer Giles’ deeds.

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil are a handful of poems. Tom Bombadil is one of my favorite characters in the LOTR, and to be quite honest the primary reason why I bought this book. Unfortunately, I have to admit this portion of the book was my least favorite. I’ve never been a big fan of poetry, and this is not the exception.

The Smith of Wootton Major and Leaf by Niggle stories are somewhat kind of hard to describe with out spoiling them, which I refuse to do so.

The Appendix included in this book is really interesting. It’s a fairly lengthy lecture called “On Fairy-Stories”, which a long lecture on Tolkien’s methodologies and thoughts on fantasy. Though I’m not a writer, I actually found this text somewhat inspirational. Certainly a must read for any inspiring fantasy writer.

This book has some really nice illustrations by Alan Lee. Lee, who also has illustrations on Tolkien’s The Children of Húrin as well as a lead design artist on all LOTR and Hobbit films.

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