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The Silmarillion Hardcover – Illustrated, 2 Oct 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 451 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Illustrated, 2 Oct 2000
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Illustrated edition edition (2 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0261103679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261103672
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 945,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Although The Silmarillion takes place in the same imaginary world as J.J.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and was originally published four years after the author's death and over two decades after the former book, it is set much earlier, in the First Age of the World. The tales and the book which reads as a fusion between a story collection and historical chronicle, are a matter of legend even to the characters of The Lord of the Rings:

In the beginning Eru, the One, who in the Elvish tongue is named Ilúvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him
Tolkien wrote the heart of this material very early in his career, and continued to work on it throughout his life. It fell to his son, Christopher Tolkien, to edit it into book form, and such proved the unquenchable public appetite that he subsequently oversaw 12 volumes of The History of Middle-Earth. This edition features 20 highly evocative colour plates by Ted Nasmith, themselves worth the price of admission, while reinforcing the sense of a historical work are genealogical tables, an extensive index, appendix and colour map. Far removed from the genial style of The Hobbit, this is Tolkien at his most formal, his prose austere, poetically beautiful, his storytelling capturing the epic scale, high drama and melancholy wonder of myth. These stories of elves and heroes and old gods are quite literally the foundation of the entire modern fantasy-publishing revival, and are therefore essential reading. --Gary S. Dalkin

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 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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By E. A 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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Format: Paperback
It took me three attempts to get past the first chapter - the song of creation in which the world is formed - but it the effort was worth it.
The full majesty of Tolkien's vision unfolds in this book, which was only hinted at in Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion tells the history of the Elves, the Dwarfs and the Men - who were born into paradise only to see it spoiled by their own weaknesses and the machinations of The Enemy.
The Silmarillion explains the glory of the Elves, and why Tolkien loves them so much, but also allows for the triumph of Beren, a mere Man who achieves the greatest feat in Tolkien's history.
If you have read Lord of the Rings, you have to read the Silmarillion - and then read Lord of the Rings again!
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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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