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The Silmarillion
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Previous BRs - Authors; Q - T > Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Silmarillion - Informal Buddy Read; Start: November 1, 2014

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Oct 28, 2014 12:56PM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30836 comments Mod
This topic is open for discussion of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien





Book Synopsis:
Designed to take fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings deeper into the myths and legends of Middle-Earth, The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien's world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor. Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Numenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings. This pivotal work features the revised, corrected text and includes, by way of an introduction, a fascinating letter written by Tolkien in 1951 in which he gives a full explanation of how he conceived the early Ages of Middle-Earth.


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message 4: by Lára (new) - added it

Lára umm, think I'll join, if that's fine?


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments Sure, no problem.


RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 4364 comments Me too. I'd like to join. :)


message 7: by Srividya (new) - added it

Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Am in for this as well.


message 8: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments I am going to try, but I will see how I get on - I have SO many books to read this month already! But I have never been brave enough to read this as it seemed so complex so a buddy read might be the best way...


message 9: by Sanskriti (new)

Sanskriti Nagar | 278 comments I'll join in too.


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments NancyHelen wrote: "But I have never been brave enough to read this as it seemed so complex so a buddy read might be th..."

I know, I've been planning to read this one for some time, but never brave enough to start it.


NancyHelen wrote: "...I have SO many books to read this month already!"

And that's the reason we are starting now. I know I'll have to go slowly since I insist on reading it in English. This way we have plenty of time to finish it before LotR. And read something else on the side. :D


message 11: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments @Tea - I'm glad we're going nice and slow. I get the sense it is a very dense read so taking it in nice, bite-sized chunks sounds manageable.

Bring it on...


message 12: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments I can't wait to start this one :). My dream is to be as knowledgeable of all things Tolkien as Stephen Colbert. lol

I also found my copy of The Complete Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler , which I think will come in handy here.


message 13: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (cynthiab) I'll take this one on too. I had planned read the whole LOTR next year, so I may as well start it out properly.

Bite-sized chunks sounds good. I have a lot of BRs going on in the beginning of November.


message 14: by Ari (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ari | 124 comments I'm in :)

I've been meaning to read this for years and never got around to it, so a buddy read would be perfect!


message 15: by ✿~Danielle~✿ (new)

✿~Danielle~✿ (dmh1) | 4282 comments I've got my copy, ready to take time reading.


message 16: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments It's the morning of the 1st here in the UK and I am looking at the book. I think I am going to break it down into 10 pages a day as my copy has 300 pages (not counting the glossary and family trees at the back) so that should get it finished by the end of the month.

Before I have started though, my first thought is that the pronunciations are really going to get to me! How do we know how to pronounce all of these words?

I am going to read with a notepad and pencil with me as I have a feeling it isn't going to take long to get lost.


RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 4364 comments Good question NancyHelen. I'm starting it today too.


message 18: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (cynthiab) I'm finding the pronunciations frustrating as well. That's ultimately why I gave up on Dune. The names were so out there that I couldn't organize them mentally. I hope this book doesn't go the same way.

I've made it through the stories before Chapter one starts. I'm planning to read a chapter per day, maybe more if it isn't so labor intensive later on. (That sounds strange to say about a book, but I get frustrated when I have to stop in the middle of a sentence to try to pronounce some name that may or may not be important later, knowing that I won't remember it anyway).

I feel so much better after that mini-rant.


message 19: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments Cynthia wrote: "I'm finding the pronunciations frustrating as well. That's ultimately why I gave up on Dune. The names were so out there that I couldn't organize them mentally. I hope this book doesn..."

I'm going a lot slower, so I am only halfway through the first story but the language is particularly difficult. My edition has a list of all of the names and who they are at the back which is sort of helpful, but I feel a little like I am reading in a foreign language! Also, the style was quite hard going. This definitely was never going to be a quick read.


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments NancyHelen wrote: "but I feel a little like I am reading in a foreign language!"

Well, I am :P

First I found pretty good reading on youtube. I'm still following text on screen, but no problem with pronunciation. ☺

So, I've read foreword and all that before actual book. Don't ask me why, but for some reason in LotR it was interesting. Here not that much. I got lost in that Tolkien's letter.

Also done with AINULINDALË. It's like reading a Bible. Story and style of writing. At the moment I'm little lost. I know what happened (I think :P) but I need to go back and at least check names (who is who). Only thing I know is (view spoiler).
I started scrolling to the end of the book to check each name as it show up, but gave up soon. Battery on reader is complaining. I think this would be good time to have paper book. :D I guess I'll have one screen with book and another with name index. :P

I agree with Cynthia. I hope it doesn't continue like that.


message 21: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments ❀Tea❀ wrote: "NancyHelen wrote: "but I feel a little like I am reading in a foreign language!"

Well, I am :P"


I take my hat off to you, Tea!

Your comment about how it reads like the Bible is exactly what I thought too. And the subject matter was a bit like that as well - with a 'god' and 'angels' and Melkor as a fallen angel...


message 22: by ✿~Danielle~✿ (new)

✿~Danielle~✿ (dmh1) | 4282 comments A brain fry, that's what this book is. You got to read it in small chunks or you literally fry you brain. I've read upto and including AINULINDALË.

I don't know you are reading it not in you own language, Tea. It's difficult enough reading when English is my first language, between the hard language and the pronunciations. It's hard going.

That's enough for today. Onto something a little easier


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments ✼Danielle wrote: "I don't know you are reading it not in you own language, Tea. It's difficult enough reading when English is my first language, between the hard language and the pronunciations. It's hard going. "

Because most translations lately are terrible. Maybe I'm too used to read in English, but now I struggle more when I read translated book. Of course, if book is translated at all. :P
I am thinking about borrowing Croatian version from library just in case.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I've read the introduction and the letter and feel it was enough info for one day. It's definitely going to take me awhile to read this one.


message 25: by Ari (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ari | 124 comments I've also just finished the introduction and the letter. I'll try for more tomorrow.

It was interesting that in the letter, Tolkien said the Necromancer mentioned in The Hobbit was actually Sauron. Now I want to go back through the Hobbit and see if I can find where the Necromancer is mentioned.


RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 4364 comments I finished the introduction and the letter. I'm going to try a little more today.


message 27: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (cynthiab) So I wasn't the only one to get the biblical vibe? Although I hate to limit it to the Bible, because so many creation myths are similar. I just don't know enough comparative religion to speak intelligently about most of them.

Some North American Indian tribes believe that the Gods sang the world into existence, and IIRC almost all of them believe that humans were not the first beings the gods created to live on earth. We're just the latest model.

Has everyone else read the other books? I'm just curious. I haven't, but I think enough of the LOTR story is 'common knowledge' that I'm not overly concerned with spoilers. I promise, by the time I get around to reading Th e Hobbit or FotR, I will have forgotten it anyway.


message 28: by Srividya (new) - added it

Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments Sorry everyone for not getting here earlier but just got free from all the festivities and other stuff back home. Will start reading this from today and will join in the discussions.


message 29: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments Cynthia wrote: "So I wasn't the only one to get the biblical vibe? Although I hate to limit it to the Bible, because so many creation myths are similar. I just don't know enough comparative religion to speak intel..."

I didn't know about the Indian myths - how interesting? I agree with you - most creation myths have many elements in common and this one feels no different.

I have read both LOTR (many times!) and The Hobbit but both of them felt like stories which could be read to children (in fact, that was how I 'read' them both the first time. My Dad read them to us as kids) but this certainly doesn't. To be fair, I haven't reached the main story yet though...


message 30: by Sanskriti (new)

Sanskriti Nagar | 278 comments NancyHelen wrote: "I have read both LOTR (many times!) and The Hobbit but both of them felt like stories which could be read to children (in fact, that was how I 'read' them both the first time. My Dad read them to us as kids) but this certainly doesn't. "

I agree with you. I wonder if Tolkien was being difficult in his language on purpose. Did he intend only serious readers/his fans to enjoy the history of Middle Earth? I have read both the Hobbit and LOTR and they seem easy enough to read. But I wonder if the rest of his works, that speak of earlier times, read in much the same vein as this book?


message 31: by Srividya (new) - added it

Srividya Vijapure (theinkedmermaid) | 1160 comments I just finished the introduction and the letter and started with Ainunlindale.

I agree with Tea. I was completely lost in the letter. In fact, I had to read the paragraphs a couple of times to get into it. Somehow I feel that I will have to read it again!

Also I have just started Ainunlindale and I am finding the language completely different from LOTR. I found LOTR to be an extremely easy read and I was expecting the same here but I guess Tolkien is being difficult on purpose, given that this book is about the earlier times. At least that is what I felt after reading a few pages of the book.

@Cynthia - that is an interesting piece of information about the Indian myths. Thanks for sharing.

I am going to take this really slow while adding some other books/reading in between.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

I've read The Hobbit several times (first time in an English class when I was about 12) and The Lord of the Rings once. I also have the 2 Hobbit films that have been released and the Rings films (extended editions). So I am a bit of a fan but not into it as much as other people who are well into the myths and languages, etc. This is my first try at The Silmarillion.

I've now read Ainulindale and Valaquenta. The first also struck me as being similar to the Bible and the list of all the Valar and Maiar in the second reminded me of the greek and roman gods.

The Melkor/Morgoth story reminds me of the stories of Satan where he was an angel and was not happy re the creation of mankind and how much God cared for them.


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments Pigletto wrote: "the list of all the Valar and Maiar in the second reminded me of the greek and roman gods. "

That's exactly what I though. I even tried to link them - Manwe=Zeus, Ulmo=Poseidon, Aule=Pluto


And another thing crossed my mind. Wasn't Narnia also created with music? I know Tolkien and Lewis were friend so maybe that's the link?


RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 4364 comments I too saw it first like the bible then there were lots of and I saw it more like Greek gods. I also saw the connection of Tolkien and Lewis. They were best friends.


message 35: by Sanskriti (new)

Sanskriti Nagar | 278 comments Tolkien and Lewis were best friends? How intriguing! So it isn't just a mere coincidence that two great works of fantasy were developed in the same time period? I wonder if the two writers ever sat together and compared notes, then one decided to weave his fantasy world for children while the other created fables for grown-ups?


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments Sanz wrote: "Tolkien and Lewis were best friends? How intriguing! So it isn't just a mere coincidence that two great works of fantasy were developed in the same time period? I wonder if the two writers ever sat..."

I think they did. Or if not sat down, it think there were letters involved. ☺


message 37: by Sanskriti (new)

Sanskriti Nagar | 278 comments Not strictly related to the book, but something to feed on about Tolkien: 10 Things You Might Not Know About J R R Tolkien


message 38: by ✿~Danielle~✿ (new)

✿~Danielle~✿ (dmh1) | 4282 comments Sanz wrote: "Tolkien and Lewis were best friends? How intriguing! So it isn't just a mere coincidence that two great works of fantasy were developed in the same time period? I wonder if the two writers ever sat..."

Interesting to know.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

❀Tea❀ wrote: "And another thing crossed my mind. Wasn't Narnia also created with music? I know Tolkien and Lewis were friend so maybe that's the link? "

Yes, it was created by Aslan singing.

A bit off topic but I just watched the Veronica Mars movie and there is a cameo with James Franco as himself. Veronica gets in to see him by pretending she has pages from Tolkien's original manuscript of The Silmarillion. I love weird coincidences like that.


message 40: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments I feel like I'm reading a different book than everyone else...
I love the first part so far. I wonder if it's because I enjoy reading mythology? My book also has an appendix, which really helps.

I liked reading the origins of the elves and men and the Melkor/Sauron connection. It's been a while since I've read LOTR, but I couldn't remember if it was ever explained where Sauron was from and how he got all of his power. He was just always there.


message 41: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments Amanda wrote: "I liked reading the origins of the elves and men and the Melkor/Sauron connection. It's been a while since I've read LOTR, but I couldn't remember if it was ever explained where Sauron was from and how he got all of his power. He was just always there.

..."


I think that's true, Amanda. You never really understood where Sauron came from.


message 42: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (cynthiab) I had no idea Tolkien and Lewis were close. I vaguely remember something about them both being in Inklings, which I'm sure was a reference in something I watched on television.

I did find an interesting link though - Lewis & Tolkien

I had to laugh when it said Tolkien thought Lewis's work had too many elements, and the Christian themes were too obvious. Pot, kettle?

I hope to get through a couple of chapers today. It shouldn't take a month to read a book!


RachelvlehcaR (charminggirl) | 4364 comments The whole thing about the two authors really got out when the Narnia movies were being made. I remember many churches would have reading discussions and pay for members to watch the movie as a group. so, it was drilled into the head these two were best mates. I wasn't pleased.


message 44: by Ari (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ari | 124 comments I just finished the Valaquenta. I've been reading slowly, because there are so many characters being introduced, it's the only way I can keep everyone straight. I can really see where Tolkien was building his own system of mythology, and I loved his imagery while he was doing it.

@Amanda Up until Tolkien explained it, I was assuming that Sauron was Melkor. I liked when Tolkien wrote Sauron "was only less evil than his master in that for a long time he served another and not himself." Though I'm still on the fence about whether selflessly serving evil is less evil than selfishly serving evil.


message 45: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments Ari wrote: "@Amanda Up until Tolkien explained it, I was assuming that Sauron was Melkor. I liked when Tolkien wrote Sauron "was only less evil than his master in that for a long time he served another and not himself." Though I'm still on the fence about whether selflessly serving evil is less evil than selfishly serving evil."

I thought the same thing at first. It's strange to see Sauron as a servant. It's like Tolkien drew back a curtain to show a hidden world. I'm a little fascinated :).

I don't remember any mention of Melkor or Morgoth in LOTR. Can you imagine how much worse everything would have been if Melkor were still around? Now I'm interested to see how he was vanquished from Middle Earth.


message 46: by Sanskriti (new)

Sanskriti Nagar | 278 comments Ari wrote: "...whether selflessly serving evil is less evil than selfishly serving evil"

That's an interesting thought!


❀Tea❀ (ttea) | 9471 comments Yeah, I thought Melkor is/was Sauron so I was surprised when he was 'only' servant. :P I think I remember one of those M names (Melkor or Morgoth) from Hobbit movie (view spoiler) I think some M-wizard was mentioned. Need to watch movies again :P

OK, I'm up to chapter 6.I'm actually managing to follow story but I'm lost with all the names. Gave up long time ago with checking them each time in appendix.
As far as I figured (view spoiler)

Oh, and finally some familiar names (view spoiler)


message 48: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments ❀Tea❀ wrote: "Yeah, I thought Melkor is/was Sauron so I was surprised when he was 'only' servant. :P I think I remember one of those M names (Melkor or Morgoth) from Hobbit movie [spoilers removed] I think some ..."

I remember Galdalf saying (view spoiler)


message 49: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (daughterofoak) | 3473 comments For anyone who is interested, I found this series of podcast discussions on The Silmarillion. It explains a lot about the world, pronunciation, etc., in a chapter by chapter format.
The Tolkien Professor


message 50: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy (nancyhelen) | 1469 comments Amanda wrote: "For anyone who is interested, I found this series of podcast discussions on The Silmarillion. It explains a lot about the world, pronunciation, etc., in a chapter by chapter format.
The Tolkien ..."


Amanda, this is brilliant. Thank you. I have stalled a little - finding it hard to motivate myself to read it when I have so many other things which are a little easier. But perhaps this will help.


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