Christopher H.'s Reviews > The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
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I originally read The Silmarillion shortly after it was first published in 1977, and while I remember enjoying it, I don't remember being terribly impressed. Clearly, I am a different reader now than I was then. This is an amazing book on so many levels, and I actually believe that I have read it at just the perfect time in my life. First, I have always enjoyed Tolkien-the-poet, and this extensive mythology that he has created with The Silmarillion just sheds ever so much light on his poetic influences, style, and his poetic voice. Second, I have come to very much appreciate and admire Tolkien-the-linguist, and The Silmarillion is a linguist's dream-come-true, as he brings the cultures of his world alive through his writing and careful attention to language(s). Finally, if you truly want to fully experience his monumental saga, The Lord of the Rings (LotR), then a close and careful reading of The Silmarillion is a prerequisite. Even after reading the LotR some half-a-dozen times over the course of my adult life, I was stunned at how many "ah, so that's what happened", or "oh, that's the back-story of so-and-so" moments I had as I read The Silmarillion. For the first time in my life, I think I can finally put the LotR in its proper context, as I am sure that J.R.R. Tolkien desired for his readers.

I have to say too, that I think my time spent reading much of the classic ancient Greek, Norse, and Celtic mythology and literature also lent itself to a more enjoyable experience for me as I read The Silmarillion. While certainly not required by any means, it made me very comfortable in allowing myself to effortlessly become completely immersed in the mythology and characters of Tolkien's world. Just as understanding the cosmogony and mythology of the ancient Greek world has illuminated my reading of the poetry of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, so has The Silmarillion illuminated and informed my reading of The Children of Hurin and the LotR. In fact, I realize that I now need to reread both of these works again in the near future. Finally, because of my reading of The Silmarillion, I became aware of and have just ordered a hard-bound copy of Tolkien's "History of Middle Earth--Volume 3", The Lays of Beleriand, as this volume contains his two long epic poems, the Lay of the Children of Hurin and the Lay of Leithian. These are both supposed to be simply brilliant poems.
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Reading Progress

12/02/2011 page 118
31.0% "This is seriously epic and incredibly beautiful and poetic prose. I haven't revisited "The Silmarillion" in something like 30+ years. It has been far, far too long. I am so glad to be rereading this again!"
12/31/2012 page 170
44.0% "This is seriously epic and incredibly beautiful and poetic prose. I haven't revisited "The Silmarillion" in something like 30+ years. It has been far, far too long. I am so glad to be rereading this again!"

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Amalie I'm busy these days really, I should spend less time here at GRs but I always have time for Tolkien


Christopher H. I just purchased this new hardcover edition that is profusely illustrated by Ted Nasmith. God, is it beautiful to sit down and read. I'm reading it again before I go see "The Hobbit". What a mythology Tolkien crafted! I highly recommend this edition--truly a beautiful book!


Eclectic Indulgence I purchased all 12 of the history volumes... But I think I must continue my journey through the Greeks and ancient epic poems before I get further into Tolkien.

Do you think I should re-read the hobbit and lotr before delving into the simarillion.


Eclectic Indulgence ...and I have a bunch of the Naismith as well as Alan Lee editions I have never read... So probably a good idea to read those editions for the first time.


Christopher H. Eclectic Indulgence wrote: "I purchased all 12 of the history volumes... But I think I must continue my journey through the Greeks and ancient epic poems before I get further into Tolkien.

Do you think I should re-read the ..."


Frankly, I would read The Silmarillion before rereading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. It really does lay out Tolkien's mythology, and puts the other two books in context. I also very much highly recommend Tolkien's The Children of Hurin, it is a beautiful, beautiful (and ever so sad) tale. Cheers!


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