- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (1 Aug. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0261102737
- ISBN-13: 978-0261102736
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 3.1 x 17.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 540 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Silmarillion Paperback – 1 Aug 2013
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‘How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?’ The Guardian
‘Demanding to be compared with English mythologies… at times rises to the greatness of true myth.’ Financial Times
‘A creation of singular beauty… magnificent.’ Washington Post
‘A grim, tragic, brooding and beautiful book, shot through with heroism and hope… its power is almost that of mysticism.’ Toronto Globe & Mail
The forerunner to The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion fills in the background which lies behind the more popular work, and gives the earlier history of Middle-earth, introducing some of the key characters. The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien's World. It 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 tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.See all Product description
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Would absolutely recommend to any Tolkien fan or fan of fantasy/literature in general.
It’s by far my favourite book of the year so far and I certainly look forward to rereading it in years to come.
The Silmarillion comprises five parts. The first part, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of Eä, the "world that is". Valaquenta, the second part, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers in Eä. The next section, Quenta Silmarillion, which forms the bulk of the collection, chronicles the history of the events before and during the First Age, including the wars over the Silmarils which gave the book its title. The fourth part, Akallabêth, relates the history of the Downfall of Númenor and its people, which takes place in the Second Age. The final part, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, is a brief account of the circumstances which led to and were presented in The Lord of the Rings.
The earliest drafts of The Silmarillion date back to as early as 1925, when Tolkien wrote a 'Sketch of the Mythology'. However, the concepts for characters, themes, and specific stories were developed starting in 1917 when Tolkien, then a British officer stationed in France during World War I was laid up in a military field hospital with trench fever. At the time, he called his collection of nascent stories The Book of Lost Tales Part One. These stories comprised an English mythology intended to explain the origins of English history and culture (as Greek mythology explains the origins of Greek history and culture).
Many years after the war, encouraged by the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien submitted an incomplete but more fully developed version of The Silmarillion to his publisher, but they rejected the work as being obscure and "too Celtic". The publisher, George Allen & Unwin, instead asked Tolkien to write a sequel to The Hobbit, which became his significant novel The Lord of the Rings.
But Tolkien never fully abandoned The Silmarillion. In fact, he regarded it as the most important of his works, seeing in its tales the genesis of Middle-earth and later events as told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He renewed work on The Silmarillion after completing The Lord of the Rings, when he greatly desired to publish the two works together. But when it became clear that would not be possible, Tolkien turned his full attention back to preparing The Lord of the Rings for publication.
In the late 1950s he again began work on The Silmarillion, but much of his writing from this time is concerned not as much with the narratives themselves as with the theological and philosophical underpinnings of the work. During this time he wrote extensively on such topics as the nature of evil in Arda, the origin of Orcs, the customs of the Elves, the nature and means of Elvish rebirth, and the "flat" world and the myth of the Sun. Serious doubts had entered about some of the fundamental aspects of the work that had gone back to the earliest versions of the stories, and it seems that he felt the need to solve these problems before he could produce the "final" version of The Silmarillion. In any event, with one or two exceptions, he never did much work on the narratives in the remaining years of his life.
Unfortunately, I feel rather let down by the actual physical product.
It describes itself as a 'Gift-set' but there is really nothing about it that sets it apart from a bog-standard Audio CD Set.
The item comes in a single, and rather plain, plastic case, and all 13 CDs sit in one spindle. And that's it. There is nothing else to it. No little booklet, no sleeve, no interesting art-work, nothing that really warrants this being labelled a 'Gift-set'.
I think that they could have made a little extra effort to embellish the finished product, but it's clear that no thought has gone into making this a 'gift' item.
Still, if you are buying this for yourself, or for a fan of Tolkein's work, the content is what matters most. The Silmarillion is a hard to follow at times, but is overall an excellent account of much of what happens long before The Lord of the Rings.
This particular audio version is well narrated with good audio quality.
If you are not new to Tolkien's legendarium ... if you've at least read "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings", then "The Silmarillion" seems like a next logical step (or possibly "Unfinished Tales").
It would do well to have the maps included at the front and possibly included in the Table of Contents as well for the Kindle edition. Maps are indispensable with Tolkien's works...so should be given their due importance in any edition. As it is, there is at least one map, but it's tucked away in the chapter concerning the Noldor in Beleriand. If you bookmark this map from the offset, it will make the read easier.
Better maps would increase this star-rating for the Kindle edition.
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