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Thread: DAvid Day, Tolkien's Ring

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As Grondy has already stated, Tolkien referred to the Istari as wizards, using the terms interchangably. The Istari were Maiar. Tolkien's intended the Istari to be "messengers" somewhat like angels.
Tolkien refers to Sauron as a necromancer, which may be defined as a wizard but I think he uses this term for Sauron to mean sorcerer of the dark arts. Sauron is also a Maia, but not an Istari.
I will get back to this thread with some quotes from Tolkien, for that is my most reliable resource.
I have 2 of Day's books and while I find them very good for the most part,there are some things I don't quite agree on, keeping in mind that there is a certain level of interpretation.
I really like Tom Shippey, however, his works are more of a scholarly study (and very user friendly) then Day's guidebooks.

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Is this a good book? You recommend that I buy this book?there are better books to this topic. Is it based on good background information?
Hi Nessa. I've got the book, but until you just now mentioned it, I'd forgotten it was one of the ones in my collection.

Is it a good book? The description you have given is an accurate description of the book. In my opinion, it looks really nice, with some good pictures in it, and the bits that I have read have been interesting. Saying that, it's not a book that has engrossed me enough to read it cover to cover, which is a shame because it does look good.

All I can really say, is you will be getting pretty much what the description says. It is a book describing where Tolkien got his inspiration from, citing examples from ancient legends that compare with aspects of LOTR. If you like this sort of thing, then yes, it is a good book and you will enjoy it. If, however, you are expecting something more along the lines of a Tolkien encyclpedia, you'd be better off with another book by David Day called the Tolkien Bestiary.

You recommend that I buy this book? Without knowing what you like, Nessa, I wouldn't recommend anything. If you are interested in it having read the description, then yes, I'd say go ahead and purchase it.

Are there are better books on this topic? I'm not too sure on this one. For detailing comparisons between LoTR and ancient legends, I think it is probably one of the better looking ones. There are probably others out there that are more accurate or delve into deeper detail, but few of them look as good as this one.

Is it based on good background information? I've only partially read the book and am not an expert on ancient myths, so I'm not sure on its accuracy. The tales that I have recognised, however, do seem to be similar to how I remembered them.

Hope that is of some help to you Nessa. If you buy it, I hope you enjoy it.
I have this book you mention Nessa. I like it. In answer to your questions:
Is There Good Background Information: I would say, yes. There are some things however, little things, that are not correct, such as: Day states that Tolkien got all the names for the dwarves in the Hobbit from the Eddas and he then names all the names taken. All of them are correct except for the name Balin. This does not appear in the Eddas but in Arthurian legend.
So maybe it's just me being picky, but watch out for things like that.
Are There Any Better Books: I would reccomend the book Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey. It is engrossing (for me atleast) and well researched. I don't particularly think of it as a better book, but if you want more books on the subject, it is one of my favorites.
Hope that helps. Big Smile Smilie
Valedhelgwath and Samwisegamgee thanks very much, after I read your answers yesterday I was buying the book today and I could not resist to buy *The Atlas of Tolkiens Middel-Earth* and as well I was buying *Angela's Ashes* it is all your foult!!!! *g*


THANKS VERY MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!


Let us know what you think of it Nessa... I really hope you enjoy it. Read Smilie
I received Karen Wynn Fonstad's The Atlas of Middle Earth, and David Day's Tolkien The Illustrated Encyclopedia for my birthday about a month, and a half ago, and they are both excellent! I’m finding them to be extremely valuable reference tools, and I would highly recommend both to any devout Tolkien fan.
Elf Smilie

[Edited on 1/5/2003 by Elfstone]
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Let us know what you think of it Nessa... I really hope you enjoy it.

Yeah what can I tell you? Normaly I must look after my children, but yesterday I put them mostly in front of the TV and was reading *Tolkiens Ring* (I know ;-) not very nice to my children, but it was raining anyway)

In this way I love it. And The Atlas? Oh know I really understand how it looks! My picture over Helms Deep was mostly wrong befor I had the book ...........

Ahm I have as well a question
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There are some things however, little things, that are not correct, such as: Day states that Tolkien got all the names for the dwarves in the Hobbit from the Eddas and he then names all the names taken. All of them are correct except for the name Balin. This does not appear in the Eddas but in Arthurian legend.

Yeah I think I found one two, but I am not quite sure? David Day discribs Sauron as an Wizard??(In the second or third Chapter) THis must be a big mistake, or. Then I think he is only a Maia and not a wizard, Istari??

Or I am completly wrong? Sad Smilie
And I totaly agree:
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I think it is probably one of the better looking ones



I love the book *g* .




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David Day describes Sauron as an Wizard??(In the second or third Chapter) THis must be a big mistake, or. Then I think he is only a Maia and not a wizard, Istari??
I think by describing someone as being a wizard, he is describing their skills etc rather than trying to define their race. In the Silmarillion Sauron is frequently described as being a great and terrible Sorceror. I think someone could be a wizard without having to be an Istari (Galadriel for instance).
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Yeah I think I found one two, but I am not quite sure? David Day describes Sauron as an Wizard??(In the second or third Chapter) This must be a big mistake, or. Then I think he is only a Maia and not a wizard, Istari??
Well as the man said, that all depends on the definition of "wizard". As Tolkien used the term exclusively for the Istari, it would not apply to Sauron. Teacher Smilie

Day may have been thinking of one who used wiz-bang magic casting spells, enchantments, and such. I believe Sauron, and to a lesser extent the Istari, were capable of doing much greater feats than that. Calling Sauron a mere wizard reduces his power in my eyes and seems to add more confusion than clarity. Peter Jackson's silly "Wizard's Duel" in LotR: FotR only helped perpetuate this wiz-bang view. Such minor trickery was beneath them.

Radagast's strength was in studying animals, Saruman's in studying arcane knowledge, and Gandalf's in studying Men and most especially Hobbits. Sauron delved much deeper into the black arts of what makes things tick and how to change them to make them tick for him, he also had much longer to do so. In contrast, Saruman was a minor wan-a-be, while Gandalf and Radagast wouldn't even thought of doing so. What the two Blue Wizards were like we have no knowledge and I have yet to reach the Istari section of Unfinished Tales so I don't know if Tolkien gave us any more clues.

I may not have got my point across here, maybe some one else can say it better or refute me if I'm wrong. I'm still learning too. Happy Elf Smilie
I think that Day was using the word 'wizard' in a loose sense, as Tolkien used it in The Hobbit. In a way, I think the Istari/Maiar are Tolkien's way of giving the wizards that appear so often in traditional stories a history.
I also love The Atlas of Middle-Earth. I admire how detailed and correct everything is...it would take a much more skilled artist and much more devoted Tolkien fan than I will ever be to accomplish all that!
Grondy it doesn“t clear up alot in the UT!! I“ve read it!
Yes I love Tom Shippey. Besides Tolkien: Author of the Century, are there any more books by him? I'd like to get them if there are.
Yes Sam, Shippey does have other books out there.
He wrote "Road to Middle Earth" quite some time ago and it has been out of print, however, I have recently heard that it is to be re-published in a new and expanded edition. Look for this to be available soon. He has also published serveral papers/studies as he is a university professor: Studies in Medievalism and Studies in English Literature .
I like Shippey's works because they so "reader friendly" unlike many academic studies.
I will let you know when Road to Middle Earth is available as I am waiting with bated breath for its release. Read Smilie