BOOK REVIEW: THE HOBBIT LOCATION GUIDEBOOK / AUTHOR: IAN BRODIE / PUBLISHER: HARPER COLLINS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Let’s start this review with an honest statement: everyone that has seen The Lord of the Rings or any of The Hobbit franchise has thought about living in the Shire. The picturesque, rolling meadows of Hobbiton, Bag-End with its neatly tended garden and iconic round green door, plus who could forget The Green Dragon Inn, which according to Merry and Pippin serves “the only brew for the brave and true”? The Hobbit Location Guidebook is basically the essential map/guidebook if you’d want to take a personal quest to explore the Shire and Middle Earth- or, as some people call it, ‘New Zealand’.
Like many of us, Ian Brodie’s heart has been captured by Middle Earth and he has made it his personal task to record all of the iconic locations seen throughout Sir Peter Jackson’s film series. The Hobbit Location Guidebook is a follow-on work from Brodie’s successful guidebook that documented locations and gave erudite information on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the same vein as its predecessor, this guidebook not only gives pinpoint GPS locations coordinates and even nearby cafes, there is also detailed information on set design, production, and how difficult of a task it was to find the perfect locations to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s vivid world to life.
This book would perhaps be most useful if you were planning a trip to New Zealand and fancied visiting the real-life shooting sites seen in The Hobbit trilogy; however it is also a fascinating read for anyone interested in how the movies were crafted, as the book boasts informative interviews with integral contributor’s to the films such as Peter Jackson himself, Andy Serkis (also known as Gollum/Smeagol), and production designer Dan Hennah.
Not only does the book serve as the quintessential guide to exploring and learning about New Zealand for a Tolkien fan, it also does great justice to the sheer beauty and breadth of the country and what it has to offer - with stunning pictures and practical info (including tour package details). Add to that a profound knowledge of the Middle Earth canon and New Zealand itself, and Brodie’s guidebook is on par with anything the Lonely Planet or Eyewitness could write about NZ. As Andy Serkis states in the book, “New Zealand is one of the greatest characters in Middle Earth”. Why not let The Hobbit Location Guidebook tell you why.
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