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Silmarillion, The by J R R Tolkien

Silmarillion, The (original 1977; edition 1979)

by J R R Tolkien

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21,14116867 (3.83)1 / 337
Title:Silmarillion, The
Authors:J R R Tolkien
Info:Unwin Pbs. (1979), Paperback, 448 pages
Tags:fiction, Fantasy, Tolkien

Work details

The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien (1977)

  1. 171
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast, Percevan)
  2. 150
    The Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien (Jitsusama)
    Jitsusama: The Silmarillion is an essential book to better understand the occurrences surrounding the Children of Hurin. It also contains a slightly shorter version of the tale.
  3. 130
    Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot (Torikton)
    Torikton: Tolkien (as a philologist) was familiar with the Finnish epic and if you liked "The Silmarillion", you'll certainly like "The Kalevala".
  4. 70
    The Poetic Edda by Anonymous (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Most likely an inspiration to Tolkien. Many parallels.
  5. 60
    The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast)
  6. 40
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part 1 by J. R. R. Tolkien (OscarWilde87)
  7. 40
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part 2 by J. R. R. Tolkien (OscarWilde87)
  8. 31
    Shadow & Claw: The First Half of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Equally (arguably supremely) high-brow fantasy.
  9. 10
    The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison (Sylak)
  10. 15
    The Rivan Codex: Ancient Texts of the Belgariad and the Malloreon by David Eddings (Ludi_Ling)
    Ludi_Ling: For those less interested in the narrative of epic fantasy fiction, and more in the mythology, history and construction of imaginary worlds, both books serve as interesting and instructive reads.

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English (146)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Though slightly less well-known than the other Middle-Earth books, The Silmarillion tells the history of the creation of Middle-Earth, great deeds of valor, and the fall of Elves and Men. Unlike The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion is not a traditional story. All of it is linked, yes, but in a sense of an overarching history; there is a reason that even people who enjoy The Lord of the Rings often find The Silmarillion intimidatingly dense.

That said, it is well worth reading. Tolkien here blends so many disparate themes and ideas into a seamless epic. The beginning tells how Middle-Earth was created, in the style of a traditional creation myth. One of the Ainur, Melkor, rebels against the creation song and thus brings discord and chaos into the world. Every culture has their creation myths, of course, and the tale of Melkor striving against Iluvatar has distinct shades of Christian theology and the rebellion of Lucifer against God.

Next are tales of the Valar - including stories, such as the creation of the Sun and the Moon, which are reminiscent of Greek and Roman myths.

The tale of the creation of the Silmarils by Feanor is finally given, and we learn of the downfall of the Elves, sworn by oath to recover the Silmarils, and sealing their own doom.

Chapter XIV "Beleriand and its Realms" is where the pacing slows and, honestly, drags a bit. The land and its masters are listed in sometimes excruciating detail, as well as an almost depressingly thorough detailing of the natural geography.

However, past that comes the true heart of the book, and where Tolkien most displays his brilliance. "Of Beren and Luthien" tells the story of a Man and Elf, star-crossed lovers who brave the darkest parts of Morgoth's realms to win the Silmaril - less important to them than being together. Their tale is an adventure in the style of Arthurian legend, and a love story greater than Romeo and Juliet.

Both "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin" and "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad" take on the style of a Viking saga. The great battles are told, including Fingolfin ablaze with fury, challenging Morgoth at his very gate in combat, and the heroic last stand of the brothers Hurin and Huor. Here are told great deeds of valor and treachery, the heroic lays of a true epic.

"Of Turin Turambar" is more than reminiscent of a Greek tragedy: it is one. Son of Hurin, Turin bears his father's curse, and Fate dogs his every action. Hurin and his house are damned, and for all Turin's great deeds, he is the son of Ill-Fate.

Finally, we reach the fall of Morgoth, which is no less satisfying and intense than the fall of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings.

What makes The Silmarillion work is that though elements of Christianity, Viking sagas, Greek tragedies, and Roman myths are intertwined, there is a cohesive story being told that stretches through the ages. Yes, it can be confusing keeping track of names and who is the son of whom, but the individual stories are all part of a much larger whole. While some fantasy novels feel like their worlds exist only for that story, or for this character, Tolkien envisaged the entire history of his world. The characters are each part of their own story, though they might intersect. Legolas and Gimli's argument over the divide between elves and dwarves traces back to the stories told of the First and Second Ages. Treebeard's search for the Entwives is a part of his story, though it might intersect with Merry and Pippin's. Aragorn can sing of Beren and Luthien because it's part of that world's history and culture. The astounding detail that Tolkien dedicated to Middle-Earth and its history is what makes it real and lasting. Tolkien's genius was not just that he knew how to write a good story, or even a grand epic, but that he envisioned a world so complete, so lovingly detailed, that fans of his are still reading about it and dwelling in Middle-Earth in the pages of his books years after they were written. ( )
1 vote kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
I almost gave this a four star but I had to really concentrate while listening to this book, otherwise I would start thinking of other things and miss great swaths of the book. However it has to be a high three star because while it's all tell and no show, the language is wonderful. Perhaps Martin Shaw reading this book aloud for me did the trick but I really enjoyed the sound of the reading - all those elven words sound so lyrical. It was probably a good thing I read The Origins of Tolkien's Middle Earth for Dummies book before reading this, because I feel I was able to take much more out of the stories due to knowing the overall plot-lines of each story. However, the Dummies book does have quote a few spoilers. I enjoyed the fact that this was like a bible for the Lord of the Rings series. And if you know your history, you can pull quite a bit of references out that may have inspired some stories. A lot was obviously taken from Christianity, but there's some Greek history there and Saxon, etc. Probably only for those big fans of Tolkien, but I enjoyed it more than anticipated. ( )
  Kassilem | Feb 6, 2015 |
I received this for Christmas the year it was published, and like so many, struggled to finish it. I did manage to fight my way through it a couple of times, but it didn't really stick with me. Recently, other Tolkien fans encouraged me to re-read it. They stated that it is often easier the second time, and recommended reading each section or chapter twice. I took their advice, and really enjoyed it.

Another bit of wisdom was that this is Elvish history, written by Elves, not particularly interested in non-Elves except when they interacted with Elves, and not really understanding them even then. This insight added a whole new layer to the fascinating text.

The only drawback was that the maps had long since been removed, hung on my bedroom wall and vanished many moves ago. This made following some of the action a bit difficult, but not impossible.

Highly recommended. ( )
  teckelvik | Jan 31, 2015 |
The Simarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien is a prequel to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In it, Dr. Tolkien has created an anthology of stories depicting the creation of the world, its shaping, the creation of elves and men, and the role of spirit beings called Valar and Mayar in the long struggle between God, call Eru, the One, or Iluvatar. and the chief created being Melkor. Melkor chose to go against Eru and recruited followers to hinder and hamper Eru's design. In response, Eru create Elves and Men to counter Melkor's plans. The book revolves around this struggle; first between the Valar and Melkor, then with Melkor and the Elves, and then with Men. Many sad tales are told, but surprising triumphs and twists bedeck these stories. In the Simarillion you will learn of the origins of Sauron as a lieutenant of Melkor, as well as the wanderings and trials of the various families of Elves and Men. You will also learn of the origin of Dwarves, and how their antipathy towards elves began.

I recommend this for any fan of the Lord of the Rings who cannot get enough of Tolkien's world and hungers for more. If you had no trouble reading through the appendices to the Return of the King, you should have no problem with the Simarillion. ( )
  jjvors | Jan 13, 2015 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
At its best Tolkien's posthumous revelation of his private mythology is majestic, a work held so long and so power fully in the writer's imagination that it overwhelms the reader. Like Tolkien's other books, The Silmarillion presents a doomed but heroic view of creation that may be one of the reasons why a generation growing up on the thin gruel of television drama, and the beardless cynicism of Mad magazine, first found J.R.R. Tolkien so rich and wonderful.
added by Shortride | editTime, Timothy Foote (Oct 24, 1977)
If "The Hobbit" is a lesser work that the Ring trilogy because it lacks the trilogy's high seriousness, the collection that makes up "The Silmarillion" stands below the trilogy because much of it contains only high seriousness; that is, here Tolkien cares much more about the meaning and coherence of his myth than he does about these glories of the trilogy: rich characterization, imagistic brilliance, powerfully imagined and detailed sense of place, and thrilling adventure. Not that these qualities are entirely lacking here.

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlerberth, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domènech, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masera, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nasmith, TedCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saba Sardi, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Silmarillion, now published four years after the death of its author, is an account of the Elder Days, or the First Age of the World.
There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.
"And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its utternmost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."
Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death life that endures.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT Work is for The Silmarillion, a posthumous publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's over-arching work on Middle-Earth, which includes episodes from its creation, through the First Age, and to the end of the Third Age. The Silmarillion is neither part of nor prequel to Tolkien's monumental The Lord of the Rings, which (together with The Hobbit; or, There and Back Again) tells in detail of events leading to the end of the Third Age. Please do not combine The Silmarillion with The Lord of the Rings, with any part(s) thereof, or with any other Tolkien work. Thank you.
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A number-one New York Times bestseller when it was originally published, "The Silmarillion" is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing [...] Tolkien considered "The Silmarillion" his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other writing. The story of the creation of the world and of the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in "The Lord of the Rings" look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. "The Silmarillion" is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against their gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618391118, Hardcover)

The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien's tragic, operatic history of the First Age of Middle-Earth, essential background material for serious readers of the classic Lord of the Rings saga. Tolkien's work sets the standard for fantasy, and this audio version of the "Bible of Middle-Earth" does The Silmarillion justice. Martin Shaw's reading is grave and resonant, conveying all the powerful events and emotions that shaped elven and human history long before Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and all the rest embarked on their quests. Beginning with the Music of the Ainur, The Silmarillion tells a tale of the Elder Days, when Elves and Men became estranged by the Dark Lord Morgoth's lust for the Silmarils, pure and powerful magic jewels. Even the love between a human warrior and the daughter of the Elven king cannot defeat Morgoth, but the War of Wrath finally brings down the Dark Lord. Peace reigns until the evil Sauron recovers the Rings of Power and sets the stage for the events told in the Lord of the Rings. This is epic fantasy at its finest, thrillingly read and gloriously unabridged. (Running time: 14 hours, 6 CDs)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:26 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A new edition of Tolkien's collection of tales and legends chronicling the world's beginnings and the happenings of the First Age focuses on the theft of the Simarils--the three jewels crafted by F?eanor--by Morgoth, first Dark Lord of Middle-earth, and has been revised and expanded to encompass forty-eight color paintings.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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