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The Silmarillion (1999)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Other authors: Guy Kay (Editorial assistant), Christopher Tolkien (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Lord of the Rings (Mythology)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
35,04727274 (3.86)4 / 512
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 the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.… (more)
  1. 271
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast, Percevan)
  2. 200
    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. 120
    The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (PaulBerauer)
  4. 131
    The Fall of Gondolin by J. R. R. Tolkien (Michael.Rimmer)
  5. 121
    Beren and Lúthien by J. R. R. Tolkien (Michael.Rimmer)
  6. 100
    The Poetic Edda by Anonymous (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Most likely an inspiration to Tolkien. Many parallels.
  7. 80
    The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by J. R. R. Tolkien (guurtjesboekenkast)
  8. 70
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two by J. R. R. Tolkien (OscarWilde87)
  9. 70
    The Book of Lost Tales, Part One by J. R. R. Tolkien (OscarWilde87)
  10. 40
    Unfinished Tales Of Numenor And Middle-Earth by J. R. R. Tolkien (MissBrangwen)
  11. 42
    Shadow & Claw: The First Half of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: More high-brow fantasy.
  12. 20
    The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison (Sylak)
  13. 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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» See also 512 mentions

English (241)  Spanish (8)  Italian (5)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  French (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Hungarian (1)  Slovak (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
I believe this is my second re-read (three reads total). It can be hard going, but just let it wash over you. Tolkien's theology, it feels like an otherworldly retelling of the old testament. Occasionally a beautiful tale will jump out of the mirk, like that of Beren and Luthien. ( )
  Tytania | Apr 13, 2024 |
Finally finished this after quite some time. Even better than The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien creates his fantasy world interwoven with rich theological insights and the ever present victory of hope. ( )
  Brendon-Norton | Apr 9, 2024 |
If you’re a Tolkien fan, then you need to read this book. It recounts the history of the Tolkien World, from it’s first creation all the way up to the Third Age, outlining the Tolkien universe and filling in a lot of background to [b: The Hobbit|5907|The Hobbit|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1372847500s/5907.jpg|1540236] and [b: The Lord of the Rings|33|The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1411114164s/33.jpg|3462456]. I have to admit though, it’s not an easy read at first. Some chapters read like a genealogy from the Old Testament, with many names and places that can get confusing. That said, the included index of names is an excellent reference and eventually the reader begins to appreciate the sheer scope of this work. I would also recommend reading [b:The Atlas of Middle-Earth|92003|The Atlas of Middle-Earth|Karen Wynn Fonstad|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1452027305s/92003.jpg|1502479] as a companion to this book. It provides an excellent reference to the geography of the Tolkien universe and is a useful accompaniment.

Note on edition reviewed: I originally read the kindle edition of The Silmarillion. By the time I read it, I felt like I had to have a copy for my bookshelf so I purchased this Houghton Mifflin 2004 hardcover edition. It is printed on a nice glossy stock and beautifully bound with 45 color illustrations and a foldout map of Beleriand. I highly recommend this edition if you want something in your library to show off to your friends. ( )
  amurray914 | Feb 27, 2024 |
It is quite eerie to me, reading the Silmarillion at the age of 12, right after devouring Tolkien's Trilogy and the Hobbit that it is the only book that I have a vivid recollection of imaginings not stripped by the simulacra of the movies (fortunately, Silmarillion is too difficult to portray and hopefully it won't be touched). It is quite interesting that this book was the foundation for my later exploration's in gnostic movements at the age of 15 (Hans Jonas, Religion of Gnosis) that bloomed into broad interest in all mysteries and secrets of the ages - with an academic flair and a practical ardour of a practicioner of arts subtle and strange. ( )
  Saturnin.Ksawery | Jan 12, 2024 |
Third time reading, first time since high school. As my dad once told me, The Silmarillion is like the Bible- really, a collection of stories bound together with some contradicting each other, and starting off fairly dull with the Creation myths but if you go further you'll find exciting tales of daring, etc. In general, this is not an easy pleasure read unless you like reading in-world religious texts/epics but it is very worth your while for Arda worldbuilding.

Ainulindalë is the Creation mythos.

Valaquenta lists the Valar and Valie and introduces the Maiar. Also outlines the Enemies, Melchor-turned-Morgoth, and his maiar agent Sauron.

The bulk of The Silmarillion is the Quenta Silmarillion, which tells of the elves in the First Age, centering on Fëanor's creation of the Silmarils and his quest to destroy Morgoth/regain the Silmarils after he steals them away. There are a great many tragedies from this, but they're all an epic.

Akallabêth is about the fall of Numenor, where men grew jealous of their immortal friends and Sauron saw the opportunity to corrupt the line of kings.

Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age is essentially a prelude to and summary of the events of the [b:The Lord of the Rings|33|The Lord of the Rings|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1566425108l/33._SX50_.jpg|3462456] We learn more about who created the 3 elven rings and where they went, and Sauron's intent with the One ring to rule them all. A great section if you want to review without rereading the whole trilogy! ( )
  Daumari | Dec 28, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 241 (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 (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kay, GuyEditorial assistantsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlerberth, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Agøy, Nils IvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domènech, LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dringenberg, MikeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garland, Rogersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krege, WolfgangTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Masera, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mosley, FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nasmith, TedIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Respinti, MarcoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saba Sardi, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shaw, MartinNarratorsecondary 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.
Quotations
"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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT Work is for The Silmarillion, a posthumous and highly edited publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's over-arching work on Middle-earth.

Note "Middle-earth" is a word used for the central continent on Tolkien's fictional world, and also a word used for the whole of that world and its mythology.

The book has five chapters.

Chapter 1: Creation myth.
Chapter 2: Creation myth continued.
Chapter 3: The vast bulk of the book, legends of Mankind and the Elves from the First Age of the world.
Chapter 4: A story from the Second Age.
Chapter 5: The Third Age which includes the story of Isildur and the Ring, plus a very concise retelling of the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Please do not combine The Silmarillion with The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, or with any other Tolkien work.

Books with titles that include the words "The Later Silmarillion" (Morgoth's Ring, The War of the Jewels) are different works and should not be combined with this.

Unfinished Tales is a different work and should not be combined with this. The Book of Lost Tales is a different work and should not be combined with this. (Both are retellings of the same tales from The Silmarillion but are different works.)
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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 the 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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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
The bad Elves all die
Which is why all Elves are good
In the later books.
(hillaryrose7)
And Manwë was grieved
but he watched and said no word.
Goddamnit, Manwë.
(mirryi)

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