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

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

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 – 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 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 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

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters Seven and Eight

Ungoliath Destroys the Two Trees of Valinor (header)

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 Five and Six

Melkor bows before the Valar (header)

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 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

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapters One and Two

Reading stick figure man

How’s the reading going?

Welcome to the second week of the TTRT!

There were some very interesting points raised during last week’s discussion and I urge you to keep sharing your ideas and comments, even of past chapters.

In this week’s post we’ll be going through the first two chapters that make up the Quenta Silmarillion (the History of the Silmarils).

If you’ve done your Foreword and Preface reading, you will have realised that together with the main text of the Quenta Silmarillion, ‘The Silmarillion’ as a whole book also constitutes of 4 shorter works – the Ainulindalë and Valaquenta (already discussed last week), the Akallabêth and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age (to be tackled later on).

Now, once more unto the breach! Continue reading