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84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of Middle-Earth
It's more than slightly staggering to consider: the epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" to be the tail end of Tolkien's invented history. The "Bible" of Middle-Earth, the "Silmarillion" stretches from the beginning of time to the departure of the Elves from Middle-Earth.
A complete summary is impossible, because the book spans millennia and has one...
Published on 28 Feb 2006 by E. A Solinas

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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Deluxe edition
I have purchased the deluxe editions of the LOTR, and the three volumes of the History of Middle Earth. All of these books are superb and are printed on fine India paper. However unlike these books the Silmarillion deluxe which I bought is printed on much heavier, poorer quality paper. The print quality in the first few pages was also very dissapointing. Although...
Published on 6 Jan 2004 by MR S CONNOR


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The mythology needed for LOTR, 29 Sep 2001
By 
Normann Aaboe Nielsen (Odder Denmark) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
As any reader of LOTR and even The Hobbit know there is a whole world underlying the well-known stories. When somebody in the books for example refers to Elbereth or to the downcast of Numenor then the reader is not actually told what this is about - we must accept that there is a foundation of religion and history that we do not know about. Of course the appendices help - but even Tolkien was aware that they could only bring a little light. Actually he wanted to have both the LOTR and the Silmarilion as one publication.
For the reader that is seriously interrested in the mythology behind LOTR and some of the history, this is where to start looking. One must be aware however that the book is seeing the history from the Elvish point of view - there is not much about hobbits here, but quite a lot about how the world was created. The text is fragmented (no doubt by the author's purpose!) so that it looks quite in the same way as a REAL (i.e.: Our world) mythology. This makes it very hard to read and it cannot be digested in a week or two. But it is a MUST for the advanced Tolkien fan!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brief history of everything, 21 Jan 2004
By 
S. Polling (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
It is a testament to the Silmarillion that it makes the Lord of the Rings feel so small. The battle for the one ring forms little more than a footnote in the vast expanse of history that Tolkien has created here, and Sauron is a mere footsoldier in the armies of Morgoth (read Satan).
The Silmarillion reminded me of the early books of the bible, but fortunately without the "and Ahab begat Mephibeseth" etc. Tolkien has written a creation myth all his own, and were it not for that fact that he never published his work, it might seem as though the Silmarillion were a work of arrogance, simply a showcase for the staggering imaginative power of the writer.
As several reviewers have already commented, this is not story-telling in the Lord of the Rings genre, and it has little in the way of character development. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who is prepared to spend some time to understand their favourite childhood story a little more fully. This book will explain how wizards came into being, and will show why Aragorn is so important as the leader of men. Peter Jackson also borrowed from this work for his film, for example the very first scene in the Fellowship is nowhere to be found in the Lord of the Rings.
The book also stands alone as a work of great literary power. Although there is little room for character development, Tolkien refers to his protagonists with such awe and reverence throughout that this can be easily overlooked. To ask whether Feanor felt guilt at times, is like asking whether Nelson enjoyed sugar in his tea. In this account of great deeds, the smaller details are inconsequential.
In my personal opinion, this is a greater achievement than the Lord of the Rings, although I would not expect many to agree. It does take some patience initially, and many people will not have read anything like this before. However, those people are in for a treat.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Epic, 18 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
If you have read Lord Of The Rings, then you HAVE to read this book. It will make light of some of the almost "throw-away" references in LOTR's. For example Aragorn when he first met Arwen, was singing a song of "The Lay of Beren and Luthian" and thought that he had (like an elven musician) conjured up a vision of what he was singing about, and cried out, "Tinuviel, Tinuviel." If you wish to find out what this all means, the answer lies in The Silmarillion, that was written prior to LOTR and never published in Tolkiens lifetime. Chapter 19 is my favourite chapter.
A lot of people start reading The Silmarillion and never get past the first few chapters. I would urge anyone who is having trouble getting into this book to persevere because it does start off in a very strange manner, and it takes the reader a while to work out what is happening, but believe me, this book is a classic and it is well worth getting through the first few chapters.
LOTR deals with the end of "The Third Age" of Middle Earth. The Silmarillion deals with the creation and First Age of that World.
When you get past the creation phase of the book you get into the stories of the elves and an interesting people they are too! More than this though is the writing style Tolkien uses. It is achingly beautiful prose in a style that seems wholley "Tolkien". I have never read anyone writing such flowery but beautiful narrative.
Read this book, then go back and read LOTR and see how much more you understand it, how much deeper LOTR seems. It is a valuable thing to do.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book no Tolkien fan can live without, 24 Jan 2004
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
There are some things in life which you almost avoid, but when you finally get round to it, you wonder why it took you so long. The Shawshank Redemption springs to mind for me; I'm sure you have equivalents.
The Silmarillion may just be a book like that. I have seen my father's version on the shelf for years, but despite reading The Lord of the Rings several times, I just never got round to The Silmarillion - if this sounds like you, READ THIS BOOK!
Never before, nor again I imagine, have I been immersed in a world of such depth and imagination. It has been said this book is dry, this is somewhat true, but let your imagination run wild and the bare-bones structure which is laid out becomes colourful and entertaining.
If you are looking for a light, quick book then you should look elsewhere, but if you want a book to lift the spirit this is it. You will have to pay attention though; characters come and go frequently.
Tolkien's Catholicism is brought to the front several times, and many parallels can be drawn between traditional religion, mythology and his creations. However, everything is presented with Tolkien's usual genius, and it all seems fresh.
In summary, I would definitely try this book. You may find that it is 'not you', but the risk is definitely worth the rewards.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien products moves from strength to strength, 11 Sep 1999
By A Customer
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote this as a saga, and so the story should to be spoken as well as read. Martin Shaw allows you to close your eyes and a travel to Middle Earth. If you have read book and wish to vist it again from a diffrent angle then this is for you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly beautiful....., 13 July 2006
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
Few words can truely describe the complexity of the world that Tolkien created...only hinted at in the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. Even though this book goes into a far broader depth and narrative your still left with a feeling that this is but the tip of the iceberg; a sapling from which Tolkiens grandest creation only began to develop, and you want more by the end of it.

The Silmarillion is a book of eloquence and beauty; Truely epic on a scale that no other fictional book has and perhaps will achieve again in such short a number of pages. From the forming of the world by the music of the Ainur, to Beren's first awestruck glance at Luthien dancing in the moonlight. It's content is so broadly whispered, that it leaves nearly every character and story an element of mystery, deepening the wonder and leaving you eager to read more.

Creating such a detailed and believable mythology, it boggles the mind to think of Tolkien's genius considering that before this, there was nothing else to go by other then ancient mythology...which is exactly what he has created here - His own mythology. And it's always important to remember that every fantasy author out there does owe something to Tolkien, if only in the most subtle of ways.

The books plots are centred around races as a whole: primarily the Elves who are a wonder to read about. It's obvious from reading that they were Tolkien's foundation for the whole world; of which it's origins can be derived from a language - Elvish. A race grew around that language (Elves) and finally a world formed around the race...It's a perspective and angle of creation that I can't imagine anyone else ever pursuing. Tolkien being primarily a linguist at heart...the fact that he had an amazing imagination, a talent for writing and an ability to tell a damn good story aswell, simply makes this a one of a kind.

People have branded this a difficult read. My opinion is simply that if your interested in Tolkiens world and you appreciate and understand what he was trying to achieve here, then you'll find it hard to pull yourself away. Opening the pages of this book takes you somewhere else, where paradise, beauty, heroics, love, suffering and treachery all co-exist, spanning thousands of years. You'll know great happiness and bliss and then be taken into tragedy and despair.

I would certainly advise people to first read The Lord of The Rings once or more times and perhaps The Hobbit before attempting this. Of course with the great movies out now (though a shadow of the books glory) it's even easier to get some background on Tolkiens world, which you will certainly need if you do not want to be utterly confused by aspects of the book. You do certainly get used to the language of the book and names that at first sound very much alike do get easier to recall - and be warned...there are A LOT of names in this book.

One thing I will say regarding the book is the "Of Beleriand and its Realms" chapter detailing the vast and mind blowing geography of the land. As amazing as it is to think Tolkien had nearly every tree and hill visualised in his mind, it's difficult for us as readers to comprehend what the scene looked like on such a detailed level. Names of geographical features flood this chapter and all but a few have any relevance to the story...it does however add to the believable mythlogy.

A truely awe-inspiring book of epic proportions and a fascinating creation, born from the mind of just one man.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful History of Tolkein's World, 12 Feb 2004
By 
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Hardcover)
This is a truly beautiful book. I've read Lord of the Rings twice now, and I wanted to know more about the history of Tolkein's world, before the events of Lord of the Rings, and I wasn't disappointed! It starts of with the beginnings of the world, or Arda, and an account of the Valar and their different qualities and powers. Then there's the main Silmarillion which tells of the curse of the Silmarils and the Noldor division of the Elves, and their battle against Melkor, the Dark Enemy of the World.
It is quite heavy going, to start with, and it took me two tries to read the whole thing, but trust me, it is worth it. I particularly love the stories of the lives of Luthien Tinuviel and her lover Beren, and of the life of Turin.
After the Silmarillion, there is the history of the island of Numenor and the Dunedain, from whom Aragorn (in LOTR) is descended, and some background about the making of the One Ring and other events of that time.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the background to Tolkein's world, although it would probably be better to read the Lord of the Rings first, since then the events in the Silmarillion will make more sense to you.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Silmarillion" a must have for Tolkien fans, 6 Aug 2002
By 
John West (United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
I read The Silmarillion after watching the movie and reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The background to the epic tale is astounding. This book gives the reader more insight into the World of middle earth than any other written. Many people I know only know of the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. which only glances at the total scenario of Tolkiens' world.Many things that were mysteries to me from the other books are explained vividly. This book is one of the best Ive ever read. It is truly mesmerizing and egulfs the reader into a world that is on a biblical scale. any true Tolkien fan should read this book and I assure you that your whole thought and being for the J.R.R.Tolkien saga will be dramatically changed.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent tales, excellent story-teller, 20 Dec 2004
By 
Sally-Anne "mynameissally" (Leicestershire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
The Silmarillion is a collection of wonderful stories about the creation and history of Valinor and Middle Earth. I've enjoyed reading the book: borrowed copies, old copies with flies and earwigs preserved (probably mummified) between the pages and, most recently, my very own copy. Now I've also listened to the audiobook read by the very competent Martin Shaw. I've been trying to get hold of this audiobook for ages and finally I have it. And it's just as terrific as I hoped it would be. I'm not surprised that Martin Shaw reads it well. I've enjoyed his reading of The Hobbit, so knew what to expect.
I highly and whole-heartedly recommend this audiobook to all who love Tolkien's tales of Middle Earth - but with one small reservation. There are some very long descriptions of the lay-out of Valinor and Middle Earth. There are great lists of unfamiliar place names, described as being north of this place, south-west of that place, below this range of mountains, to the east of that river and so on. It can be very confusing when you have no map to refer to, as you can when reading the book. The book also provides graphic representations of the genealogies of the elves and men in the stories. The stories tell of many many characters, some with similar sounding names. It's easy to get confused. I had access to the maps and genealogies in my book and that was fortunate for me because I would find it difficult to keep track otherwise. Under the circumstances (there being so many descriptions of distance and location) it's surprising that there is not a map included with this audiobook. There are maps in the book because they are extremely useful - indispensable for people with little or no spatial ability, like me. The BBC's audiobook of Lord of the Rings includes a lovely big copy of the map of Middle Earth from the book. Unfortunately, that won't help you to find your way around the Middle Earth of The Silmarillion because great floods and upheavals have drowned and distorted the land by the end of the second age. If you have a good imagination for geographical data and a good memory for names (unlike me), none of this will seem to be a problem. Otherwise, you'll enjoy some parts of this audiobook more if you have access to the book with its maps and genealogies.
There are 13 CDs in the box and the reading time is about 14.75 hours.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice quality edition at a reasonable price, 8 Nov 2007
By 
Stephen B. Browning (Friendswood, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Hardcover)
I am assuming that most readers here will be Tolkien devotees interested in aspects of manufacturing quality. This edition matches the previous deluxe editions of The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Children of Hurin as it was printed and bound by the same Italian bindery (L.E.G.O. Spa.). The "heraldic device" of Luthien Tinuviel is embossed in gold foil on the front of the slip case and on the front board of the book. The J.R.R. Tolkien monogram is embossed in gold foil on the back. Professor Tolkien's watercolor, "The Halls of Manwe" is used for the frontispiece with the heraldic device of Luthien being printed, in color, on the back of the same page. The paper and printing quality are excellent. I can find no flaws in my copy. Like others, I would have preferred a leather binding, even at a higher cost. In spite of being rather carelessly packed, my copy arrived in pristine condition. As for the book itself: Tolkien spent his entire life working on this title and the quality of writing shows it. Tolkien's imagination and command of the English language place him a galaxy apart from most of his contemporaries. This is the work that he was most proud of, and, in my opinion, is his masterpiece. I was somewhat intimidated by the sheer profusion of names, places, and languages when I initially read it in 1977. After reading the Children of Hurin earlier this year, I rediscovered the Tolkien magic and then read LOTR again. Following that, I rescued my first printing of The Silmarillion from a closet and read it again - twice. This book is an absolute literary gem. This edition is a good value for the price at amazon.co.uk.
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The Silmarillion Gift Pack (Boxed Set)
The Silmarillion Gift Pack (Boxed Set) by J. R. R. Tolkien (Hardcover - 3 Sep 2001)
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