The Gates of Morning and the Door of Night, Eä and the Void

Banner (Cosmology Arda)

[Highly complex illustration follows below]

The Silmarillion contains two obscure references to places or “structures” that seem to be the opposite of each other. Both are fascinating concepts but difficult to grasp given how little information we have access to. Continue reading

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Salmar: The Forgotten Maia

Salmar

Researching and Speculating on Tolkien

As I have often remarked on this blog, one of the great things about Tolkien’s works is the large number of mysteries and questions he has left unanswered; mysteries that can be picked up by any reader and researched to their heart’s content: looking for clues and cross-referencing over the thousands of pages of Middle-earth material, trying to dig up further information.

You may have read The Silmarillion numerous times and yet, with every new read, you discover something new. I know this because it happens to me. It has happened to me right now as I’m beginning my 10th or 11th re-read of the book and came across the oft forgotten character of Salmar. 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 – Chapter Twenty-Four

War of Wrath (header)

“We come to it at last … the Great War of our time”

Believe it or not, we’ve come to the end of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ account that brings with it the end of the First Age.

Cataclysmic events are about to unfold and one of the greatest characters in Middle-earth will make his introduction. Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-Three

The Fall of Gondolin (header)

The Third of the Great Tales

We’ve come to the climax of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ story. ‘Of the Ruin of Doriath’ started the ball rolling which led to the events in this coming chapter.

However, the seed had long been planted way back in ‘Of Maeglin’, the elf who was one of the causes of this disaster.

Through its vast geography, politics and characters, Tolkien manages to fuse one seemingly unrelated event a 100 pages earlier and expand on the consequences of that occurrence later on.

‘Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin’ marks the continuing tremendous decline of the Free Peoples in Beleriand. 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 – Chapter Nine

Kinslaying at Alqualonde (header)

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