The Silmarillion The Silmarillion discussion


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Do you think if LOTR were written in this type of narrative it would’ve been as successful?

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Michael Targaryen The different in the narratives between the Silmarillion, the hobbit, and LOTR intrigues me so...
I’m aware that Tolkien didn’t finish this, that it was edited by his son and Guy Kay, but the difference between how the two are written are striking.
I’m wondering is someone could give me an explanation?
Also, like the title asks, do you think LOTR would have been as successful with the general public had it been written this way instead of in traditional third person?


Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~ The Silmarillion is a collection of the mythologies of the forming of Eä and the history of the First Age of ME, then goes on to give brief synopsis on the Second and Third ages. It's not meant to be a traditional story, or it'd have been a thirty-book series. :P (The in-verse explanation is that Bilbo wrote it from translations of Elvish lore while staying in Rivendell.)

Considering that only the most dedicated Tolkien fans go on to read The Silm, and the publishers had no interest in it, I doubt LOTR would've been successful if it had been written in the same manner. Plus, it wouldn't have made sense for the story being told. The story would be no longer than the recount that's provided at the end in The Silm.


Michael Targaryen Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~ wrote: "The Silmarillion is a collection of the mythologies of the forming of Eä and the history of the First Age of ME, then goes on to give brief synopsis on the Second and Third ages. It's not meant to ..."

The vibe I had gotten from the Silmarillion’s writing style, is that it was akin to a collection of Grimes Fairy Tales, which has seen great success in popularity throughout hundreds of years. And i was curious if, as you mentioned, how Silmarillion is either loved or not by fans being from their expectation of how LOTR was a more traditional narrative.


message 4: by Michael Targaryen (last edited May 04, 2018 11:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Targaryen And I never knew that about Bilbo translating! Reminds me of how the supplementary ASOIAF histories are set up... Where did you hear that?


Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~ I think it was in one of the letters. Or maybe it's just widely accepted fan theory, lol, not sure which now.


Robert K. I avoided reading the Silmarillion for years because I'm not a hardcore Tolkien fan (though I love The Hobbit and LOTR) and I thought it was just a money grab.

To my surprise, I loved it! Its an epic poem that I would compare to the Bible for the elves. It even starts like the Christian Bible and fits quite nicely into verse-stanza format:

"In the beginning Eru, the One, who in
the Elvish tongue is named Ilúvatar,
made the Ainur of his thought, and they made..."

It's not light reading (and there're a lot of names to keep straight) but definitely rewarding.


Phillip Murrell Nope. Its success is due to people being familiar with and cherishing LOTR. Without that fanbase, The Silmarillion wouldn't have been published.


Bruno Stella Phillip wrote: "Nope. Its success is due to people being familiar with and cherishing LOTR. Without that fanbase, The Silmarillion wouldn't have been published."

Fully agree.

The Silmarillion was epic and I enjoyed it, but the LOTR was essential as a more 'ordinary' tale as a gateway to it. If the LOTR had been similarly written it not only would have been a quarter of the length (the Silmarillion reads almost like a synopsis in areas) but nobody would have read it.


Zofia Krawczyk-Bernotas If LOTR was written in this type of narrative it would have been about one chapter. I don't think that it would have worked because we wouldn't have gotten any of the day to day details of what the characters did.


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