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Book Review

Book Cover

The Hobbit
The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion (Hardback)


Author: Jude Fisher
Publisher: Harper Collins
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 00 754411 0
Publication Date: 20 November 2014

It is fair to say that a fantasy film like The Hobbit will have an audience which encompasses a wide age range, therefore tie-in books have to cater for this.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Visual Companion (2015. 87 Pages), written by Jude Fisher is obviously aimed at a younger audience. It’s about the same size as the yearly annuals, although the page length is significantly longer. The book has an introduction from Sir Ian McKellen. Not including the credits, the book is divided up into nineteen short chapters.

Each chapter takes an aspect of the film, although along with many other offerings there is a good deal of material from the first two films. What you get of the new one is mainly confined to character beauty shots, or close up shots from the film.

The amount of information in each individual chapter is quite wide ranging. The chapter devoted to the eagles has one small text window on a double page picture of the eagles in flight. Conversely, Thorin gets six pages, although only two of these have any text. Whilst the text is a little scant, Fisher has added in information, gleamed from the books, to add to the reader's knowledge of the films.

It is one thing to provide a book, full of glossy pictures, to relive the experience of watching the film as well as taking an opportunity to add a little more knowledge to the reader, such as who the wizards in Middle Earth really are, all these are nice addictions. However, the book also has a couple of mistakes. In the chapter, The Treachery of Sauron, Fisher states that Sauron ordered the one ring to be made, when in fact he forged it himself, in secret. The other rings of power were forged by the smiths of Eregion. Now this may all seem a little anal, but the fact that the ring and its connection to Sauron is so fundamental to the plots of both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that to get such a basic fact wrong is irksome.

In the end, it is what it is. Adult readers are likely to opt for one of the other offerings currently doing the rounds, but for the younger fan this is a nice, bright and light read.


Charles Packer

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