February 2, 2023

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Review of the book “The Science of Middle-earth”

Much of the book is devoted to biological questions, especially the properties of Tolkien’s mythical creatures. What would the eyes of the elves be like to perform the work attributed to them in the books? Why do hobbits have big hairy feet? Were orcs bred by Saruman among the GMOs, are Ents that act like animals or animals that look like plants? How does the dragon Smaug fit in biologically, and what did Tolkien use as inspiration for the revolutions, orcs mounts?

Of course, much of the book, such as modeling climates, mapping vegetation zones in Middle-earth or reconstructing continental plates, is pure fiction. However, the authors always remain on the basis of the laws of nature and reliable knowledge in their guesses. In doing so, they discover that some of what Tolkien describes would not be possible without magic. For example, elves must have abnormally large heads and eyes in order to be able to clearly see a group of knights at a distance of 30 kilometers. While hobbits’ feet can result from changes in homobox genes, changes must also be expressed in the hands because they are under the control of the same genes.

The science of Middle-earth is not a book to be read casually. Certainly, a certain knowledge of Tolkien’s characters and stories is a prerequisite for enjoying reading. You should also take the time to engage in in-depth considerations sometimes. This makes this lovingly designed and illustrated high-quality book the right thing for anyone who wants to fully immerse themselves in Tolkien’s fantasy world.

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