Farmer Giles of Ham

( 7 )


The editors of the best-selling rediscovered Tolkien novel Roverandom present an expanded edition of Tolkien's beloved classic Farmer Giles of Ham, complete with a map, the original story outline, the original first-edition illustrations by Pauline Baynes, and the author's notes for an unpublished sequel. Farmer Giles of Ham is a light-hearted satire for readers of all ages that tells the tale of a reluctant hero who must save his village from a dragon. It is a small gem of a ...

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The editors of the best-selling rediscovered Tolkien novel Roverandom present an expanded edition of Tolkien's beloved classic Farmer Giles of Ham, complete with a map, the original story outline, the original first-edition illustrations by Pauline Baynes, and the author's notes for an unpublished sequel. Farmer Giles of Ham is a light-hearted satire for readers of all ages that tells the tale of a reluctant hero who must save his village from a dragon. It is a small gem of a tale that grows more delightful with each rereading.

In this fiftieth anniversary edition of the Tolkien classic, Farmer Giles, his mare, and his talking dog go into the valley of the Thames to fight the dragon Chrysophylax. Includes the author's previously unpublished notes for a sequel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618009367
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 50
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 387,670
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.87 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion . His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.


is a leading expert on Tolkien and coauthor of the acclaimed The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion , and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide with

Christina Scull


CHRISTINA SCULL is a leading expert on Tolkien and coauthor of the acclaimed The Art of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion , and The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide with

Wayne G. Hammond.


John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January, 1892 at Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State, but at the age of four he and his brother were taken back to England by their mother. After his father's death the family moved to Sarehole, on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Tolkien spent a happy childhood in the countryside and his sensibility to the rural landscape can clearly be seen in his writing and his pictures.

His mother died when he was only twelve and both he and his brother were made wards of the local priest and sent to King Edward's School, Birmingham, where Tolkien shine in his classical work. After completing a First in English Language and Literature at Oxford, Tolkien married Edith Bratt. He was also commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the battle of the Somme. After the war, he obtained a post on the New English Dictionary and began to write the mythological and legendary cycle which he originally called "The Book of Lost Tales" but which eventually became known as The Silmarillion.

In 1920 Tolkien was appointed Reader in English Language at the University of Leeds which was the beginning of a distinguished academic career culminating with his election as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Meanwhile Tolkien wrote for his children and told them the story of The Hobbit. It was his publisher, Stanley Unwin, who asked for a sequel to The Hobbit and gradually Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, a huge story that took twelve years to complete and which was not published until Tolkien was approaching retirement. After retirement Tolkien and his wife lived near Oxford, but then moved to Bournemouth. Tolkien returned to Oxford after his wife's death in 1971. He died on 2 September 1973 leaving The Silmarillion to be edited for publication by his son, Christopher.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins (UK).

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 3, 1892
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)
    1. Date of Death:
      September 2, 1973
    2. Place of Death:
      Oxford, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2014

    Very good.

    Very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2002

    Interesting Read For A Younger Child

    Farmer Giles of Ham, another book by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a rather interesting read for a younger child. The book takes place in a medieval Europe, where dragons and giants still exist (not to mention talking dogs). The story centers around Farmer Giles, a rather pompous farmer, who drives a giant away from his town with an old blunderbuss. He is then honored by the king, and given a legendary sword called Tail Biter. Later, when a dragon is spotted near the town, the townspeople instantly recruit Farmer Giles. He finds the dragon, named Chrysophylax and chases it back to the town. The dragon then pleads for mercy, saying that if they let him go, he will bring them back great wealth. So the people foolishly send the dragon off, which of course has no plans of returning. After the people figure this out, the king has all ready heard about it, and has claimed the dragon¿s riches for himself. He then sends Farmer Giles and many knights on a quest to find the dragon! This book is a rather interesting read, all though it does not teach any life lessons. The main character mainly gets through his adventures on luck. This story is not quite one of your classic knight and dragon stories, though. There is witty humor mixed in with the adventures, and some interesting surprises as well. It is pure entertainment, nothing more and nothing less. At first this book was a bit of a disappointment, though, due to the fact that I was expecting another epic like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I don¿t think that this book has either the depth, or meaning of some of his other works. It is really written for the enjoyment of children. When saying children, I mean that I believe this book was written for children in about 4th to 7th grade, all though younger children would also probably enjoy it, but possibly not understanding it as well. It is actually a rather short book, less then 200 pages in fact, and could be read in one sitting by a faster reader. While the book is short, it does provide a lively story and keeps the readers interest throughout. In conclusion, while not quite as renowned as Tolkien¿s other works, the book is still interesting and keeps the attention of a young reader remarkably well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    Highly Recommended!!

    When a ¿cunning, inquisitive, greedy, well-armored but not overly bold¿ dragon invades the kingdom, a most unwilling Farmer Giles is chosen to slay the dragon...a dragon who refuses to fight! This is the tale of Farmer Giles of Ham. The story starts off with a simple farmer abiding in the midmost parts of the Island of Britain (a.k.a. Ham). A fantasy land ruled by a king. No danger ever lurked in this simple town and little troubled disturbed the people who populated it, `villages were proud and independent still in those days.¿ Like most farmers, Giles had a dog known as Garm. Garm was both proud and afraid of his master, who could bully and brag better than he could. This dog wasn¿t very loyal, when one night he wondered off into the night but, soon came running back in fear. For a giant was coming towards Farmer Giles¿s farm and Garm had to warn him. The dog barked and whined until his master came out, realizing the giant was about to trample his crops, the farmer got out a `gun¿ called a ¿blunderbuss.¿ On his way out he trips, falls, and triggers the ¿gun¿ sending the bullets at the giant. They strike him on the nose and he runs, thinking what hit him was a simple sting of a dragonfly. The town rejoices the farmer and holds him high in honors. While the giant runs back to his home and spreads word of a land far away that has no residence. This intrigues a rich dragon, Chrysophylax who travels toward the unsuspecting town. When the news spread (it was Garm¿s doing) that a dragon was attacking the town, all the town¿s people run for their hero Farmer Giles. The farmer really has no choice in the matter and is forced to take on the beast. But, what they did not know is the dragon had no idea there were people living in the village, otherwise he would have never come. From there the story goes on, Farmer Giles meets the dragon and they talk. The town and the dragon make an agreement. Chrysophylax must fly back to his cave (which is full of treasure) and return in eight days with all his money and hand it out to the people to pay for the damage he had done. During the wait of the arrival of the dragon the king is intrigued at the sound of money and also waits upon the arrival. They waited and the dragon never showed. Days and days passed before the king decided to take matters into his own hands. My opinion of this story ranges. The cover first attracted me into reading the book. I soon found out that my favorite author, J.R.R Tolkien, wrote the book. I immediately began reading. This novel is full of humor and adventure. I was in good-spirits the whole book. As you get more into the book, it got kind of boring, as the author explained different cultures. For example, ¿it was still the custom for Dragon¿s Tail to be served up at the King¿s Christmas Feast; and each year a knight was chosen for the duty of hunting He was supposed to set out upon St. Nicholas¿ Day and come home with a dragon¿s tail not later than the eve of the feast.¿ That certain example confused me, what did that have to do with the dragon rampaging the town? Once you pass that section the book becomes very enjoyable. The ending of the story, was surprising and in a way did not make since to me. I will spare you the details of that matter and let you read the book for yourself and let you In conclusion, this book overall is very well written and earns the name of a classic. It is a delightfully ribald mock-heroic tale. I strongly recommend this novel for all ages. It should be at the top of every ones `must-read¿ list.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2002

    Short, Action, Fantasy, Hero vs. Dragon Tale

    Farmer Giles of Ham is a humble chubby man that enjoys being unnoticed and comfortable. He soon finds himself battling giants of great magnitude and dragons by misfortune but will that bring him fortune in the end? This book has shown me what a small, country farmer could do with a little luck and wit. Although, this was not the greatest book I¿ve ever read, it is a good book for younger kids to help them start reading longer sentences and bigger words. Out of the J.R.R. Tolkien books it is a lot like the hobbit except less in detail. I would not call it one of his best books but still it had a lot of mysterious creatures and devastating beasts. I think what the author was trying to do was to create a book for all ages that is not all that lengthy but would increase the readers imagination. This book is a fantasy\adventure because Giles works his way through battling and outwitting the mischievous Chrysophylax (the dragon). Giles must avoid the dragon¿s tricks to get the best of him but with his great and legendary sword, Tailbiter, he¿s unstoppable. For example when Chrysophylax tries tricking Giles into taking his attention off him and on to some unrelated matter, the massive dragon thrusts his body, as if he were a cannon ball, to devour Giles. As if Tailbiter has a mind of it¿s own, it forces Giles to swing with great speed at the dragon. The dragon, startled, stumbles backwards to avoid being swiped with Tailbiter. The book contained a series of moments when Giles overcomes the dragon. If you are looking for a book like the hobbit for your children, this is the book because, like the hobbit, Giles is a chubby man that has short spurts of daring courage and goes head on to achieve his goal. During the climax there is a great amount of intensity where the book takes an unexpected turn for the better and Giles has the odds and evens at his back when he commits his courageous defiance and takes what he has earned. J.R.R. Tolkien enjoys telling stories during the medieval times with an abundance of adventure and fantasy. He has a writing style that captures the reader with foreign words and bursts of excitement and action. Even though this book is mostly for younger children of age, if you are looking for a short story on a rainy day this is a good book because it is brief, exciting, and filled with noble knights, terrifying beasts, powerful kings, and one bold amazingly lucky hero, Farmer Giles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2002

    A great book.

    This book has it all; giants, dragons, magical swords, and¿ a farmer? Farmer Aegidius Ahenobarbus Julius Agricola de Hammo, to be exact, or know by most folk around as Giles. This book follows the adventures and misadventures that follow this unfortunate man after a rather deaf and blind giant stumbles onto his land, and by more luck than skill, farmer Giles manages to drive away. Farmer Giles was named a hero after this incident and lived quite happily until a hungry dragon, who had heard of a great land full of sheep and cows for the taking from the giant, came to Ham. Naturally, Giles is expected to do battle with the dragon, and does. But I won¿t tell you what happens. If you want to know, you will have to read it yourself. There were two things in particular that I liked about this book. First was how the story was told. In the beginning it is started as if ¿Daddy¿ is telling the story. (This is according to the first version.) Throughout the story ¿Daddy¿ will ask questions of his audience and make remarks about things that happen. I think Tolkien did this because originally this story was one he made up to tell to his children, as he did most of his tales, when they were waiting out a storm under a bridge. I think this provides a more unique telling of the story. Second, I liked the fact that he gave the animals the ability to talk, (except for the cow), and to have personalities. Having the dog, Garm, yelling for help and imploring his master to save him, is a lot better than saying, simply, ¿the dog barked¿. I think that this book would be better suited, in its style and length, as a read aloud for children 6-12. The only difficulty with this would be that it uses a lot of old English, and parents might spend a lot of time explaining what words mean. I found this book to be well written, and worth reading, but a little short and simple. I found it tricky to locate a lesson that the book teaches, since it appears that the main character gets by on luck, but finally came to the conclusion that, ¿one should never trust a deaf and blind giant.¿ I still hope that other readers find this book as pleasant, fresh, and humorous as I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2001

    a joy to read

    This book is an excellent example of the high quality fantasy coming from England in the victorian and post victorian period. Farmer Giles will give you a good idea of the tradtion that Harry Potter draws from, although this book is likely a farce for older readers more familiar with englishisms and rare or obscure vocabulary. The balance of the story is in standard fairy tale three part form, which does not detract from it whatsoever and enhances the charm of the story. As such the story is a better example of older, formalized types of story telling, than an example of modern, sword and sorcery fantasy. My favorite character is Garm, the talking dog.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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