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Silmarillion, The by J R R Tolkien

Silmarillion, The (original 1977; edition 1979)

by J R R Tolkien

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,48116173 (3.83)1 / 321
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 (Author) (1977)

  1. 161
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast, Percevan)
  2. 140
    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
    The 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 (139)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (4)  German (4)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
I really wanted to love this. This should totally be in my wheelhouse, but I just could not get into it. It read more like an encyclopedia than a creation myth. Maybe I will try it again some time down the road. ( )
  sffstorm | Jul 2, 2014 |
I really, really wanted to "get" The Silmarillion.
Unfortunately, reading this is akin to pushing a boulder up a hill - very hard work.

After being on my reading shelf for 17 years (no lie), I finally took the plunge and sat down to read the Silmarillion.

It takes some concentration - that is for sure and you might want to take notes to keep track of who is who and when.
This book is the Middle-Earth version of the Bible, with arcane religion, myth and pre-history all mixed together. It is NOT light reading.

Love Tolkien's world, but I really wish that this book wasn't so damn high-valuting and was more approachable. ( )
1 vote johnny_merc | Jun 3, 2014 |
"The Silmarillion" is a very dense and very enlightening book. The book covers the first and second ages of the world in Tolkien's mythology, leading from creation all the way up to the time of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". So it covers a lot of ground and quite quickly. Quests that could fill a book in themselves are mentioned and ended in the space of a sentence. The pace is quickest in the first half of the book. The second half focuses on a number of key players in the battles between and against the forces of good and evil, and for that the pace slows down. It was fascinating to learn the origin or elves, dwarves, Men, orcs, Sauron, the white tree of Gondor, Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, etc, and how the larger story pieces together. The book answered all the questions that I had about the mythology after reading the stories of the third age. If you're a fan of Tolkien or his mythology, this book is a great read. Others might find the forced arcane style, the fast pace, and the need to keep cross-referencing genealogy charts, to be a bit off-putting. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
This is what Tolkien wanted to publish originally. When told "no" by his publisher, he proceed to write a marvelous trilogy in order to create a demand for this earlier work! ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
read The Silmarillion finally for the first time, and i liked it a lot. must have been some feat for Christopher Tolkien, assisted by Guy Gabriel Kay in the 1970s, to put it together, as there were multiple versions of each part in different styles, sometimes on single sheets of paper, written (and written over) over a timespan that began in the period of the First World War. just deciding what to use, how to reconcile various styles, and developing a clear timeline would be exceptionally difficult in dealing with so many bits of manuscript. and they did really well: can't really see the joins, the "Quenta Silmarillion" flows nicely, as though it was always of a piece, and the earlier and later chronicles considered as extant documents pertaining to the period do not seem out of place in the narrative.

the story would be somewhat more difficult to adapt for movies because it is told as a chronicle rather than an epic. but on the other hand, the stories in it are so gripping they would really come alive on the screen. and there is some continuity with the Third Age, of course, because of the elves: this is the origin story for both Galadriel and Elrond, after all, and the source material for many of the stories referred to as legend in the Third Age. including specifically the love stories between elves and men (notably Luthien and Beren in Elrond's line) and the tragic sagas of the children of Feonor, the line of Heor and Rian, and the children of Hurin, and each of those stories would themselves a movie make. so it would be possible to construct a throughline that would draw these stories together into a third trilogy, taking the narrative backwards into the events of the First Age. possibly told from Galadriel and/or Elrond's PoV - or from Sauron or Saruman's, but that's unlikely{g}.

also, the story of the Silmarillion stones is both powerful in itself and connected to most of these stories. and it's parallel both to the later history of the Rings and of the Arkenstone, so as a theme it runs right through the history of Middle Earth. though the Silmaril stones are good, not meant for evil, they are corrupted from outside by their bloody history, in which they serve as a corrupting influence for elves, dwarves, and men. and basically this leads to the destruction of the First Age, which was meant to be idyllic.

the very beginning is a slog: because the Ainur are static characters. too bad they're at the start, but then, where else would they be, so persevere. here's why: the Ainur seem to want to offer free will at the beginning, but the results are problematic and they eventually find they prefer blind obedience (not that they ever get it, from anyone, but that seems to surprise them too). yet they do come several times with armies to beat back Melkor, the original Big Evil, even though they don't seem to take responsibility for having let him run rampart as far back as the original creation of the world, when he was clearly already a disruptive and destructive force aimed squarely at tearing down their original creation. also interesting that the Ainur are not gods: they must marshal armies of their own, eliciting alliances with their own created races in order to effect change. they have many human flaws and failures to see both the big picture in advance and the potential consequences of what they make. so the matter of mortality, for instance, meant to be a gift, becomes a matter of envy that divides the races and creates enclaves in which only isolation allows any culture to survive.

beyond that, i kinda love the whole idea of creating a world by joint contribution to a piece of music, which then acts to translate itself, through themes and counterpoint, into a living and complex world: transforming nothing into everything as it sings. also i found the division of the Elves over time into various types, marred, enriched, and otherwise changed by the choices various factions make, quite fascinating. and the book is full of glorious cinematic images of ships and habitats long gone, strong and indelible characters, and haunting stories.

appended: maps of the First Age world (very different from the Third Age), some very useful genealogical charts of elves and men, a chart of the complicated sundering of the elves, and an annotated index. altogether the whole book is a lovely thing we only have because Christopher Tolkien took on the daunting task of putting it together for publication in a way his father never could. perhaps mostly because he could not stand to let it go: his own original act of making a world out of a stave of music. ( )
2 vote macha | Jan 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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 (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.Authorprimary 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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First words
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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