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.
Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.
‘How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?’
‘Demanding to be compared with English mythologies… at times rises to the greatness of true myth’
‘A creation of singular beauty… magnificent in its best moments’
‘A grim, tragic, brooding and beautiful book, shot through with heroism and hope… its power is almost that of mysticism’
Toronto Globe & Mail
About the author
J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
The Mythology of Middle-Earth
The Silmarillion is not an easy read nor does it follow a simple narrative. It spans thousands of years; it is weighed down with more names, places and history than The Lord of the Rings. However, for those who accept its challenge, The Silmarillion is a beautifully written masterpiece of mythology, rewarding the curiosity of every fan of The Lord of the Rings who thirsts for more. Nearly every thin reference to the history of Middle-Earth in The Lord of the Rings is here revealed in its full beauty or sorrow: of Gondolin, of Luthien, the Silmarils, of Sauron, Turin, and Ungoliant. I wholly recommend it to everyone, and recommend those who read it to next visit The Children of Hurin and then The Lost Tales.
Note: Unfortunately, the publisher does not include the Map of Beleriand included in the printed versions of this book. This map is essential to the reading of the Silmarillion and I beg them to update this edition to include it. The smaller map showing the regions of lordship of the Noldor in exile is included in Chapter 15. I withhold the fifth star for this book until the map is included.
A book worth reading twice.....
Found this book a challenge to read at first. The begining was slow, and one could get easily confused with hundreds and hundreds of names used for the Elves, Dwarves, Humans, the Valar, geography, etc., etc. Good thing there is an index and appendix at the end of the book, otherwise it would have been mindboggling and impossible to read. As you keep reading however, you will not be disapointed, for it is beautifully written . For all those who are interested in the origins of Sauron, the Elves , Human heroes that lead epic adventures, while sometimes tragic, this book is for you. I could see this becoming a movie trilogy in the near future...