The Silmarillion turns 40 … [perhaps a pocket edition now?]

 

The Silmarillion_2

It was on 15 September 1977 when that J.R.R. Tolkien’s (possible) magnum opus was released. Christopher Tolkien’s laborious and successful attempts to bring his father’s complex and vast array of writings into a cohesive and readable format were achieved. Continue reading

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A Brief History of Himling

Himring

Reading The Silmarillion, you would be forgiven for thinking that Himring, where Maedhros sets up his fortress in the northeast of Beleriand, has nothing to do with the isle of Himling in The Lord of the Rings.

Before I knew much about Tolkien, looking at the map of Middle-earth, I was always intrigued by that lonely island just off the coast of Lindon. What was its meaning there? Why would the author give it a name and not mention it during the events of the War of the Ring? Continue reading

The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-Two

Thingol and the Dwarves (header)

The Downfall of the Sindar

Not that it was always going well for the good guys but, ever since the disaster of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the narrative has taken a turn for the worse; evil is allowed to reign supreme.

In addition, with Tolkien seemingly bent on revealing the progress of the story via the chapter titles, this next chapter promises another victory point for Morgoth and his minions. Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty

Nirnaeth Arnoediad (header)

The Near-Annihilation of Elves, Men and Dwarves

With a chapter whose Elvish title can be translated as “Unnumbered Tears”, a reader can only expect one outcome from the battle that unfolds.

The pages recounting the Nirnaeth Arnoediad have always been special to me. Finally, after the conflicts and bickering among Elves, Dwarves and Men, the three races join forces to repel Morgoth once and for all.

It’s undoubtedly a major moment in the history of the First Age, and a highlight in The Silmarillion. It also marks Tolkien’s acute sense of geography, scale and mayhem. Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Nineteen

Beren Steals a Silmaril (header)

O Beren, Beren, wherefore art thou Beren?

It’s a love story that transcends the physical world; a powerful narrative on the hopes and destinies of the two principal races in The Silmarillion.

The first of the three Great Tales from the First Age, ‘Of Beren and Lúthien’ highlights Tolkien’s mastery in balancing the vast and the epic, with the intricate and romantic.

Forget Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, or Dante’s Paolo e Francesca. The story of Beren and Lúthien may have been inspired by these older tales, but they are merely sketches that made way for the final masterpiece.

It’s impossible to summarise a chapter that runs over 20 pages and still do it justice. Therefore, I urge you to read through the book first (if you haven’t done so already) and then come back to these few meager lines that follow in this post … Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen

Fingolfin consulting a map (header)

I Love Maps!

The next two chapters in The Silmarillion – strategically placed in the middle of the book – offer a descriptive glimpse into the lands of Beleriand and the establishment of the Noldor and the other races.

They are not complex chapters to deal with, but the intricate details with which Tolkien describes every waterfall, shrub, lowland and grain of earth, might feel slightly overwhelming.

That’s where the maps come in …

Continue reading