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

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Akallabêth

Numenor Map (header)

The Downfall of Númenor

As already stated at the beginning of the TTRT series, although the Akallabêth is a separate account from the History of the Silmarils, it is nonetheless part of The Silmarillion as a book: presenting us with the continuation of events at the end of the First Age, with a perspective on the island of Númenor.

It is a fact that from all the works related to Middle-earth, the Second Age is perhaps the least accessible due to the lack of any substantial information.

Our primary sources as to what happens during this 3000-year period consist of a timeline in Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, a brief account and story in Unfinished Tales, and the ‘Akallabêth’.

My view is that the ‘Akallabêth’ is our most comprehensive account we have available of the Second Age, and is the key to filling up the gap between the events at the end of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ and the earliest histories of the Third Age as recounted in The Lord of the Rings. Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen

Eol lures Ardhel in Nan Elmoth (header)

Not all Elves are Nice…

From this point onward, the narrative of The Silmarillion shifts into personal stories and specific events: of which their outcomes will somehow or other affect the whole balance of the story.

This is one of the alluring beauties of the book: Tolkien’s ability to shift between the grand-scale cosmological narratives to the intricate human (and elf) stories – weaved together as one interlocking tapestry. 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

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Ten, Eleven and Twelve!

First Battle of Beleriand (header)

Something Wicked this Way Comes

This week we’ll be dealing with the next three chapters.

As is the style of The Silmarillion, even short sentences pack a punch. A phrase can suddenly take a reader a thousand years forward into the narrative.

So whilst these chapters are short of pages, there’s much going on …

Continue reading