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 “The Silmarillion turns 40 … [perhaps a pocket edition now?]”
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 “A Brief History of Himling”
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 – Akallabêth”
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 Sixteen and Seventeen”
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 Fourteen and Fifteen”
The Fall of Fëanor and the Rise of the Noldor
Remember last week we tackled 3 chapters? This week it’s just the one. Things are about to get intricate and personal…
Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Thirteen”
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 “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Ten, Eleven and Twelve!”
The Fall of Elvenkind
Since this chapter is quite long I decided to tackle it on its own for this week. As always, stick-figures make a persistent return.
Chapter 9 – Of The Flight of the Noldor
Melkor has wreaked havoc in Valinor. The Two Trees lie dead in the darkness of the world. As the Valar convene in Máhanaxar (“the Ring of Doom”), they mourn the staggering loss they have suffered and decide on what to do next. Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Nine”
Melkor’s Relentless Destruction Continues …
Chatper 7: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
Free from captivity, Melkor wanders Valinor among Elves and Ainur. His contributions of hidden knowledge help the Noldor to increase their skill in craftsmanship; and for a time Valinor is made more beautiful. Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Seven and Eight”
The Great Journey and the Return of Melkor
Chapter 5 – “Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië”
As the Eldalië’s (Elves) colossal march towards the western shores of Beleriand continues, the so-called Sundering of the Elves spreads throughout the Hither Lands.
The Teleri fall behind, whilst the Vanyar and Noldor proceed forward until they finally arrive on the coasts. Ulmo utilises an island in the sea to ferry the Elves across the Great Sea and onto Aman. Continue reading “TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Five and Six”