Francis's Reviews > The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
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it was amazing

The first fantasy book I ever read and still my all-time favorite. That said, it's not for everybody. It's been compared to the Old Testament, and that's still the best analogy; if you think that Moses leading his people out of Egypt is the stuff of grand drama, then this is the book for you, Tolkien fan or not. If you don't, then you probably ought to give The Silmarillion a pass, no matter how much you liked Tolkien's other work. This is not Lord of the Rings Plus; it's quite literally the Old Testament for Middle Earth, beginning with the creation of the world and ending just before the War of the Ring, which forms little more than a footnote in the more-than-epic sweep of time portrayed.

If you're excited rather than put off by the above, then what a ride you're in for. This is high fantasy on the grandest of scales: the song of creation, by which the gods call the world into existence; the first rising of the sun, sowing panic among the many dark creatures of Middle-Earth; the first dwarves, emerging blinking and wondering from their underground birthplace; and the great kingdoms of the Elves, at the height of their power, locked in war with Sauron's master. There are some slow parts: the beginning in particular features an overlong description of Middle-Earth's imaginary pantheon that almost made me put down the book the first time, and the ending seems tacked-on, a half-hearted attempt to extend the Silmarillion's timeline to that of the Rings trilogy. But the middle is golden. For those who are into this sort of thing, it'll be some of the best fiction you've ever read. Just know what you're getting into beforehand: I'm sure the spirit of J.R.R. will forgive you for skipping it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 1980 – Finished Reading
May 11, 2007 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Duncan You might find Hesiod interesting (it has an authenticity that Edith Hamilton's Mythology lacks while retaining the gloss). He wrote a book of stories about the Greek Pantheon, and that's where most western mythology that you learn in middle school comes from. In many ways it very similar--stories about the origin of man, prometheus, the competitions between gods and titans...

Aeli I think you hit the nail on the head with your review. I LOVE the old testament (to the constant irritation of my friends) and I love the Simarillion (to the constant irritation of my friends). The Simarillion is the olld testament of Middle Earth.

Tonee Yeah that's what I kind of get from it too that it's like the bible of Middle Earth.

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