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

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TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-One

Turin slays Beleg (header)

Tolkien as a “Dark Fantasy” Author

Way back in time, when this blog was but a few days old, I wrote a two-part post (Part I & Part II) on why I considered Tolkien might be categorised under the sub-literary branch of “dark fantasy”.

‘Of Túrin Turambar’ is the second of the Great Tales in The Silmarllion. Undoubtedly, it is also the greatest (both in terms of length and detailed narrative composition).

It’s a dark tale full of ups and downs (with certainly more downs than ups); where a glimmer of hope in the story turns out to be nothing more than an illusion.

It can also be a tough read at first. Thankfully, it’s a standalone story within The Silmarillion narrative and only a few past events and characters bear upon this chapter in any real way.

If you’ve read the previous chapter (‘Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad’) then you’re on the right track; the consequences of that battle are a direct influence on the successive events.

I’m sure you’re aware of the recent publication The Children of Húrin: a significantly expanded version of the chapter found in The Silmarillion. If you’re new to this story, I suggest you go through the chapter first and then proceed to reading the full tale once you’ve grasped the concept of the story.

In the meantime, here’s my own pitiful summary (spoilers ahead). 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

Middle-earth’s Best Mums

Morwen (TTT)

Celebrating Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day in this part of the world (and in many other parts), so it’s only natural to dedicate a nice post on the subject.

There are many strong female characters in the histories of Middle-earth who have given birth and raised equally important characters.

In honour of Mother’s Day, we will take a look at the finest examples of motherhood in Tolkien’s fantasy world (books only).

At the same time, I take this opportunity to wish all real-world mothers out there my best wishes and thumbs up for the awesome job you do 😉

Oh and now’s the time to put a -Spoiler Alert!- If you haven’t yet read The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales (The Lord of the Rings seems to lack in mothers) proceed with extra caution…

Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Three and Four

Melkor and his Orcs (banner)

The Elves have Awakened!

In this week’s TTRT post we’ll be looking at ‘Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor’ (spoilers!) and ‘Thingol and Melian’.

This is the appropriate time when you should start, frequently, browsing through the index of names and the family trees.

Things are about the get a little bit personal, and therefore, infinitely complex!

Continue reading

The Curious Case of Radagast the Brown

Radagast the Brown

Radagast the Brown is one of those mysteries left to us by Tolkien; but unlike many other unresolved issues, we do get hints of his character here and there. Perhaps, it’s one of the reasons why I find him so alluring and why I’ve avoided writing a “Character Profile” post on his character, since he technically isn’t in The Hobbit. Continue reading