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The Silmarillion Hardcover – Illustrated, 7 Sep 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 427 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Illustrated, 7 Sep 1998
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Illustrated edition edition (7 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0261103660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261103665
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (427 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

JRR Tolkien is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings but those who thought these two wonderful adventures marked the height of his imagination have many more delights to come. The Silmarillion represents the source of Tolkien's later work and follows the events of the First Age of Middle Earth. For information, The Lord Of The Rings concerns the end of the Third Age.

The Silmarillion is a gloriously realised story of rebellion, exile, war and the heroism of elves and men. But to gain an insight into the staggering complexity of Tolkien's world, however, the shorter works also included are must-reads. Dealing with the myth of creation, the nature of the Gods, the fall of Númenor and the Rings of Power, they paint a vivid picture not only of Middle Earth but also of the author's soaring imagination.

Tolkien was born of English parents in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1892 and died in England in 1973. He worked on The Silmarillion from as early as 1917 but the work was not published until after his death. This edition, richly illustrated by Ted Nasmith, is both collector's item and source of reference and fascination for every follower of Tolkien. --James Barclay

Review

‘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 in its best moments’
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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
Consider this -- J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical epic "Lord of the Rings" is only the tail end of his invented history.

Yes, Tolkien spent most of his adult life crafting the elaborate, rich world of Middle-Earth, and coming up with a fictional history that spanned millennia. And "The Silmarillion" was the culmination of that work -- a Biblesque epic of fantasy history, stretching from the creation of the universe to the final bittersweet departure of the Elves from Middle-Earth.

A complete summary is impossible, because the book spans millennia and has one earth-shattering event after another. But it includes:
*The creation of Tolkien's invented pantheons of angelic beings under Eru Iluvatar, also known as God.
*How they sang the world into being, and the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are not really covered).
*The legendary love story of Beren and Luthien, a mortal Man and an Elf maiden who gives up her immortality for the man she loves.
*The attempts of the demonic Morgoth and his servant Sauron (remember him?) to corrupt the world.
*Feanor and his sons, and the terrible oath that led to Elves slaying one another.
*The Silmarils, the glorious gems made from the the essence of the Two Trees that generated the world's light.
*Elves of just about any kind -- bad, mad, dangerous, good, sweet, brave, and so forth.
*The creation of the many Rings of Power -- and the One Ring of Sauron.
*And finally, the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, and the final battle that would decide the fate of Middle-Earth.

If you ever were confused by a reference or name mentioned in "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings," then chances are that "The Silmarillion" can enlighten you about what it meant. What is Numenor?
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By A Customer on 28 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
When you read Lord of the Rings there are innumerable references, some of them too puzzling and important to ignore, to events from the past; people, battles, places, names. It occurs in The Hobbit as well, but to a much lesser degree.
If you read either of those and don't like them, or found them hard going, so be it, and don't bother with this. But, if you read them and like them, you will be wanting to know what it was all about. Where did dragons come from? Who are Elrond and Gandalf? What is the Balrog? Where did Sauron come from? Who are the Men of Westernesse? What was the Last Alliance? Where did the One Ring come from?
Tolkien did that deliberately. He created a complete world, with a history from start to finish. Lord of the Rings is only the end of the tale that starts in the Silmarillion, with the beginning of Middle Earth. He wanted LotR to be the story, the compelling tale, but what happens in it, and the places it happens in, is all part of a great history.
That history is told in this book. From creation of Middle Earth to beyond the end of LotR, it covers everything that happened. It genuinely is a complete mythology.
For that reason, the Silmarillion is an inferior *story* to LotR, but tells you the *history*. It doesn't read like a story at all, but like a history, a bible of Middle Earth. Many, many happenings, places and especially names, will put off the casual reader, and rightly so. It is the stuff of legend, too dense for anyone without an interest in getting to the heart of Middle Earth and, therefore, LotR and the Hobbit.
One of the best things is the glossary in the back, which has in it every term, name, thing and place in Middle Earth, and what they are. Of course, even though it is technically a prequel to LotR, don't attempt reading it first. Like I say, it fills out the world that LotR and the Hobbit create.
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Format: Paperback
"The Silmarillion" is the book you should read AFTER having read "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit". It explains the entire history and mythology of Middle Earth, taking you right through from its creation to where "The Lord of the Rings" ends ... the middle section of "The Silmarillion" is, in my opinion, the best part. You find out why it is that Gandalf and Thorin Oakenshield are so pleased when they discover the swords Glamdring and Orcrist in the troll's lair. You find out more about Gondolin, the Elves, and why exactly it is that they act the way they do in "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings". You also find out more about the Men of Middle Earth, who Sauron is, who Elbereth is and other such elements which frequently obtain only a brief sketching in the other works.
"The Silmarillion" is a great read in itself, giving great extra evidence on how carefully thought out Tolkien's Middle Earth was. My advice is to re-read "The Lord of the Rings" after having read "The Silmarillion". It is at any rate definitely worth the investment!
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Format: Paperback
First things first, before you consider purchasing this book, it is of paramount importance that you are aware of the following. For the avoidance of doubt, this isn't really a literary novel in the way that LOTR is; you won't find the finely-hewn descriptions of the landscape or the close focus on characterisation. As others have indicated, its written in the archaic style of historical middle english legends or even that of a religious text i.e. lots of "...and lo, it came to pass", "...thus X begat Y, Y begat Z" etc, etc.

If that prospect doesn't appeal to you, even if you consider yourself a Tolkien fan - frankly, DO NOT buy this book! If on the other hand you can deal with the peculiarities of the narrative - perhaps you have an interest in myths and legends or want to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the concepts that underpin the LOTR universe - by all means dive in. You will be richly rewarded with a story of even greater scope and imagination than LOTR.

Essentially, The Silmarillion is to LOTR what the ancient greek myths are to the Illiad or The Odyssey, in that the events portrayed in LOTR are but the latest episode in a continuum of fictional history that stretches back eons. Where LOTR mainly concerns the Hobbits and Men, Silmarillion concentrates mainly on the Elves and goes someway to explain the lack of their presence in LOTR and the estrangement between them and the leaders of Men.

In these days of "universe building" stories ("Star Wars", "Star Trek" et al), its hard to appreciate the scale and majesty of what Tolkien achieved on his own (to the extent that even he couldn't fully complete it within his lifetime - his son Christopher had to finish it off).
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