Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

The story of the creation of the world and of the First Age, this 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 three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.
Review by Patrick:

Okay. I should start off by saying I am a big Lord of the Rings fan. I read The Hobbit when I was in the third grade and The Lord of the Rings while in fourth and fifth grades. These books are probably what inspired my love for reading, and everyone has that one book or series that you can look back to, and know it was the first book where it all began. All other books will probably be judged to those in the future, but they are what kindled the flame of desire to read.

With that being said, I was originally excited to read the Silmarillion. That was about seven years ago. I'm serious. I started reading this book before Rachel and I were married (five years ago). This book dragged on. I knew what I was getting myself into. My father warned me that this book was the history and mythology of Middle Earth, and that was partly why I wanted to read it. But I was also in college and got married and had a child... Plus this book reads like a Greek mythology: it is slow, dry, very detailed, and the action bits are scattered sparsely in the story.

Okay, so if brave this long story, here's what you would find. One of the first bits is probably my favorite. The creator and gods are hanging out in the heavens, and they start this song. What's cool about this song is that it basically tells the whole story in music; its premonitory. The good and the evil duel it out in this song, and the evil is almost prevalent through the whole thing, then the big guys come in and finally drown out the dissonance. What gets me is that they know this song is going to be how the world plays out, but the bad guys still go down there and try their hardest.

The other parts I really liked about this book was the last section, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age." This is the details that lead up to The Lord of the Rings, and it gives some background information, particularly who Gandalf is and how he came to be.

There were other parts that I enjoyed. Especially the trees, the Silmarils, and a few of the characters and their stories. I enjoyed the Black Sword, Beren and Lúthien, the tragedy of Húrin and his sons, oh, and how 'bout those dragons ... with magic!

Okay, so there was more about this book that I liked than what I didn't like, but I don't think I can rate it higher than a 2.5, because it took me seven years to read it. So I rate this book a 2.5. Maybe it would have been higher if I read it all in one sitting, and not have to choose between homework or reading. Maybe it would be higher if I knew a little bit of elvish. Although my copy did include a glossary, it was still tedious to look up every third word. It was great though. Any Tolkien fan must read it. And I would also suggest it to those who like the Greek, Roman, or Asian mythologies. I'm glad I read it.

Up Next:

I'm still reading Inkspell, and I will be starting Gideon the Cutpurse.

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