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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Many years later I decided I would try The Silmarillion again. This time I bought it in hardback, thinking that I could guilt myself into reading it as I'd paid so much for it. I knew I was having difficulty reading the first chapters so I forced myself to read two pages a day (not an ideal way to enjoy a book!). Then something magical happened. I found myself enjoying it. By the time I had reached chapter 6 "Of Feanor and the unchaining of Melkor" I was completely gripped and couldn't put the book down. I didn't want it to end. I actually felt quite bereft when I'd finished it. The stories of Feanor and his sons and the Silmarils, the fall of Gondolin, the love story of Beren and Luthien, the tragic story of Turin Turambar all completely enthralled me. It is difficult to put into words how completely captivating and engrossing these stories are. How one man had all this inside his head is beyond me.
I have one tiny gripe. Why on earth isn't Thangorodrim and Angband on the map included in the book? It's like leaving Mordor off the map of Middle Earth in LOTR. It's essential. In the end I bought Karen Wynn Fonstad's map book The Atlas of Tolkien’s Middle-earth so I could sort it out in my head.
So the moral of the story is if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If you persist with this book you will be very well rewarded. It's the sort of book that will stay with you for a lifetime.
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.
Although I barely read fiction these days, I thought it a great idea to bring the Silmarillion along on a holiday trip. That was a mistake. I was aware the book was never published during the author’s life and that it was completed and composed by his son. However it’s of much higher mythological content than for instance the start of the Lord of the Rings. To me the book just goes on and on about the Elderdays to which there are references in the Lord of the Rings. But the writing style is very different. And it reads more like a dry history text that heaps up exotic dwarf and elven names. To me it was all a bit incoherent or maybe I didn’t try hard enough to find the coherence. Yet I did make a serious effort!
Perhaps my setting wasn’t great as I like my holiday reading to be accompanied by a few beers or a good wine, but that doesn’t blend well with the nature of this book as it requires close attention. I never, ever do not finish a book. But the Silmarillion broke this rule, as I gave up after 1/3 and decide to leave it to the Middle Earth fanatics and started to enjoy my holiday.