With the recent release of the second Hobbit film; The Desolation of Smaug, I thought I would check out some of the fan-based extras that were available. On my phone I came across two apps that I thought would be worth downloading, one was free, ‘Middle Earth Index’ and the other cost £0.94, ‘The Lord of the Rings Project’
I was first recommended The LOTR Project which I happily downloaded; it looked very neat but I was a bit disappointed with the lack of rustic charm that you would expect from such an app. Other than the map and small tree symbols, it contained no images to show off the fantastic world that Tolkien created. The family trees were large and contained all the information, but they were so big that it took ages to scroll to find the character you were looking for.
I found the timeline impressive, with a lot of the events there would be a small clip from the map to show where it happened, and it contained every event you’d be interested in knowing about, however, unless you already knew the timeline pretty well it could be quite difficult to find certain events. If you’re a true fan this might not be considered a problem, but for those just discovering Middle Earth and can seem like a lengthy and unnecessary process.
One thing this app did have was statistics regarding characters, including life span, sex, age distribution etc. I thought this was a good thing to include and I found it really interesting to see how numbers changed over the years. However I did get a little confused at some of the graphs, not being a ‘maths person’ I struggled to understand what some of them meant.
After doing some research I found another app called ‘Middle Earth Index’. Straight away I was more impressed by it, the first impression is so much better than the previous app; it provides a more visual aspect and gives a better Lord of the Rings vibe. It doesn’t contain as much information as LOTRP but the layout is much easier to navigate. Though it doesn’t include family trees or maps, it does include information on plants, animals, events, languages and tales. It works more like a dictionary or encyclopedia.
So it really depends on what you’re looking for in a Lord of the Rings app, if you’re a fan but don’t want to spend any money then the M.E. Index would work fine for you, however if you want that extra bit of information and don’t care about the appearance, LOTRP might be the one worth downloading.
Though these two aren’t perfect, I think it’s such a good idea to make books more interactive in this way; you could create an app for any book you wanted, they could then be used for study or recreational use depending on the user. I hope to see more like this over the coming years as the Digital Revolution gains momentum.
OTHER LOTR/HOBBIT APPS WORTH HAVING A LOOK AT