When I was about twelve, I had a serious thing for The Lord of the Rings. It was, to be fair, exactly the right time to do so; Peter Jackson’s film adaptations were rumbling to a conclusion, and the world was basically saturated with Tolkeinalia.
One of my most prized possessions at this time was a copy of “Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare” by Chris Smith. It sadly fell apart — as, actually, many of my books did… — on a Cub Scout camp with a Lord of the Rings theme, a few years back.
Last weekend I decided to track down for myself a new copy, and midweek, as lunchtime was approaching at the office, I had a delivery.
It’s always hard to explain something which has a lot of sentimental value nestled snugly in nostalgia, but this is a beautiful book. Hardback, as opposed to the paperback version I owned as an adolescent, but with all of the same beautiful illustrations and the typos which become intimately familiar once the number of read-throughs wears on towards three figures.
What I always loved about this, which is essentially a behind the scenes of costume and prop, is that it treats it all as real. It weaves the designs from the films in with the mythology and lore which the Tolkein universe has in spades. Perfect imagination fodder, as a twenty-something as much as it was back then.
In short, it’s a treasure trove for a never-really-grown-up geek like me. And time, and nostalgia, have only intensified my fascination.