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on 18 August 2017
perfect thanks a million
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on 12 August 2017
Remarkable!
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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. Hard to get into, but stunning in its scope and beauty.

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; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, 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.

And there is the demonic Morgoth and Sauron; 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; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, and the final destruction of the one Ring.

Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Fans of Elves will find plenty to feed their hunger; fans of Hobbits or Dwarves will not find as much here. It will also answer some questions that "Hobbit" and LOTR may raise, when references to long-ago incidents and people are made -- what is Numenor? Who are the Valar? This includes those things, and much more.

The writing style of Silmarillion is more akin to the Eddas, the Bible, or the Mabinogian than to "Lord of the Rings." It's more formal and archaic in tone; Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in LOTR, and there is no central character.

Needless to say, this is necessary as a more in-depth approach would have taken centuries to write, let alone perfect. If readers can bypass the automatic dislike of more formal prose, they will find enchanting stories and a less evocative but very intriguing writing style. This style strongly leans on the Eddas, collections of story and song that were unearthed and translated long ago. Though obviously not as well-known as LOTR, it is clear that these collections helped influence the Silmarillion.

It's clear to see, while reading this, the extent of Tolkien's passion for his invented history. Someone who had a lack of enthusiasm could not have spent much of his adult life writing, revising, and polishing a history that never was. It's also almost frighteningly imaginative and real: It isn't too hard to imagine that these things could actually have happened. In a genre clogged with shallow sword'n'sorcery, Tolkien's coherent, carefully-written backstory is truly unique.

If you can take the formal prose and mythical style, this is a treasure, and a must-read for anyone who loved LOTR or "Hobbit." Only after reading "The Silmarillion" can readers truly appreciate Tolkien's literary accomplishments, and the full scope of the Middle-Earth that is glimpsed in his more famous books.
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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 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; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, 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 demonic Morgoth and Sauron; 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; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins.

Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Fans of Elves will find plenty to feed their hunger; fans of Hobbits or Dwarves will not find as much here. It will also answer some questions that "Hobbit" and LOTR may raise, when references to long-ago incidents and people are made -- what is Numenor? Who are the Valar? This includes those things, and much more.

The writing style of Silmarillion is more akin to the Eddas, the Bible, or the Mabinogian than to "Lord of the Rings." It's more formal and archaic in tone; Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in LOTR, and there is no central character. Needless to say, this is necessary as a more in-depth approach would have taken centuries to write, let alone perfect. If readers can bypass the automatic dislike of more formal prose, they will find enchanting stories and a less evocative but very intriguing writing style. This style strongly leans on the Eddas, collections of story and song that were unearthed and translated long ago. Though obviously not as well-known as LOTR, it is clear that these collections helped influence the Silmarillion.

It's clear to see, while reading this, the extent of Tolkien's passion for his invented history. Someone who had a lack of enthusiasm could not have spent much of his adult life writing, revising, and polishing a history that never was. It's also almost frighteningly imaginative and real: It isn't too hard to imagine that these things could actually have happened. In a genre clogged with shallow sword'n'sorcery, Tolkien's coherent, carefully-written backstory is truly unique.

If you can take the formal prose and mythical style, this is a treasure, and a must-read for anyone who loved LOTR or "Hobbit." Only after reading "The Silmarillion" can readers truly appreciate Tolkien's literary accomplishments, and the full scope of the Middle-Earth that is glimpsed in his more famous books.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
It's more than slightly staggering to consider: the epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" to be the tail end of J.R.R. Tolkien's invented history.

Yes, that's right -- the thousand-plus page trilogy was only a brief shred of Tolkien's invented history. For the rest of that, there's the "Silmarillion" -- it stretches from the beginning of time to the departure of the Elves from Middle-Earth. Hard to get into, but stunning in its scope and beauty.

A complete summary is impossible, because the book spans millennia and has one earth-shattering event after another, often with a domino effect on whatever comes after it. 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; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, 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.

And there is the demonic Morgoth and Sauron; 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; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, and the final destruction of the one Ring.

Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Not much is covered on the hobbits or Dwarves, but there's loads on the Elves and Men, and questions that his other books have raised are answered here -- what is Numenor? Who are the Valar? Why are Men and Elves so different?

And since covering all of this in detail would take hundreds of Books, Tolkien's writing here is extremely different -- think the Bible, the Eddas, or the Mabinogion. It's more formal and archaic in tone; Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in his other books, and there is no central character.

It takes a little while to really sink into Tolkien's prose, and appreciate the elaborate, formally-written legends for what they are. But one thing is certain -- Tolkien's writing is richly imagined, complicated, and full of striking characters that stick in your memory once it's all over. It's a testament to Tolkien's passion for Middle-Earth that he spent his entire adult life writing, revising and polishing it -- and the invented history he created is so full and complete that it can almost pass as as a real one.

It's heavy with formal prose and a mythical style, but Tolkien's literary accomplishments -- and the full scope of Middle-Earth -- are on full display in the glorious "Silmarillion." A must-read, if you can have the reading chops.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
It's more than slightly staggering to consider: the epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" to be the tail end of J.R.R. Tolkien's invented history.

Yes, that's right -- the thousand-plus page trilogy was only a brief shred of Tolkien's invented history. For the rest of that, there's the "Silmarillion" -- it stretches from the beginning of time to the departure of the Elves from Middle-Earth. Hard to get into, but stunning in its scope and beauty.

A complete summary is impossible, because the book spans millennia and has one earth-shattering event after another, often with a domino effect on whatever comes after it. 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; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, 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.

And there is the demonic Morgoth and Sauron; 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; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, and the final destruction of the one Ring.

Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Not much is covered on the hobbits or Dwarves, but there's loads on the Elves and Men, and questions that his other books have raised are answered here -- what is Numenor? Who are the Valar? Why are Men and Elves so different?

And since covering all of this in detail would take hundreds of Books, Tolkien's writing here is extremely different -- think the Bible, the Eddas, or the Mabinogion. It's more formal and archaic in tone; Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in his other books, and there is no central character.

It takes a little while to really sink into Tolkien's prose, and appreciate the elaborate, formally-written legends for what they are. But one thing is certain -- Tolkien's writing is richly imagined, complicated, and full of striking characters that stick in your memory once it's all over. It's a testament to Tolkien's passion for Middle-Earth that he spent his entire adult life writing, revising and polishing it -- and the invented history he created is so full and complete that it can almost pass as as a real one.

It's heavy with formal prose and a mythical style, but Tolkien's literary accomplishments -- and the full scope of Middle-Earth -- are on full display in the glorious "Silmarillion." A must-read, if you can have the reading chops.
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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 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; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, 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 demonic Morgoth and Sauron; 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; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins.

Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Fans of Elves will find plenty to feed their hunger; fans of Hobbits or Dwarves will not find as much here. It will also answer some questions that "Hobbit" and LOTR may raise, when references to long-ago incidents and people are made -- what is Numenor? Who are the Valar? This includes those things, and much more.

The writing style of Silmarillion is more akin to the Eddas, the Bible, or the Mabinogian than to "Lord of the Rings." It's more formal and archaic in tone; Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in LOTR, and there is no central character. Needless to say, this is necessary as a more in-depth approach would have taken centuries to write, let alone perfect. If readers can bypass the automatic dislike of more formal prose, they will find enchanting stories and a less evocative but very intriguing writing style. This style strongly leans on the Eddas, collections of story and song that were unearthed and translated long ago. Though obviously not as well-known as LOTR, it is clear that these collections helped influence the Silmarillion.

It's clear to see, while reading this, the extent of Tolkien's passion for his invented history. Someone who had a lack of enthusiasm could not have spent much of his adult life writing, revising, and polishing a history that never was. It's also almost frighteningly imaginative and real: It isn't too hard to imagine that these things could actually have happened. In a genre clogged with shallow sword'n'sorcery, Tolkien's coherent, carefully-written backstory is truly unique.

If you can take the formal prose and mythical style, this is a treasure, and a must-read for anyone who loved LOTR or "Hobbit." Only after reading "The Silmarillion" can readers truly appreciate Tolkien's literary accomplishments, and the full scope of the Middle-Earth that is glimpsed in his more famous books.
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2003
Excellent audio version of what many have found to be a difficult Tolkien masterpiece. Martin Shaw is an outstanding narrator. His tone, colour and dramatic ability give life to a literary form which could appear little more than a mystical reworking of the book of Deuteronomy.
No hesitation in recommending this. For all Tolkeenies, it gives wide and convincing backdrop to the events pre-dating the War of the Ring. If you have not read it before, I would suggest having a copy of the book to hand as well. The biblical lists of names can be baffling without such assistance- even with the best of storytellers .....
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on 18 July 2004
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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on 18 February 2006
This is NOT an easy read, and can seem a bit like a list of names or the old testament at times. You have to study this book - work at it, with the Return of the King's appendix and this books appendix at hand to constantly be refered to. It took me two attempts to get through it the first time, but now I honestly enjoy dusting this off at least as much as the lord of the rings. It's now impossible for me to read one without the other.
The sense of history, depth and grandeur that's apparent in the lord of the rings is so MUCH more convincing than any other fantasy novel for a reason. That history has been written. It's real (if you follow me!).
Tolkien created a series of languages, a world, all of its history, all of it's peoples, all of its geography, its gods, its conception, its weather, its plants, its trees, its animals, its seasons, its calendars etc etc. He created everything. The lord of the rings is not just a little fantasy story flung against some backdrop reminescent of medieval europe. Sadly most "epic fantasy" stories are just that.
However, the lord of the rings is really just a side track, and one that tolkien was loathe to take himself. As a story it's epic enough. It really only deals with a very short, fleeting piece of something so much larger. The Silimarillion is your first chance to appreciate this, and I suggest you enjoy it!
This book is flawed, Christopher Tolkien admits as much himself in the history of middle earth and the foreword to unfinished tales. CT indulged in some "editorial meddling" (his words) to make a coherent story from a collection of disparate, contradictory writings. The result is, in spite of this, still rather convoluted and taxing. For me, the need to keep your wits about you, cross check information and really work at reading this is part of the fun. Having done all this a few times over the years, now this is a gentle coffee table book.
The only real 'problem' with this work is that it just leaves you wanting more!
Luckily for you the history of middle earth and unfinished tales provide you with just that.
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