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The Silmarillion Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1985
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The Silmarillion is J.R.R. Tolkien's tragic, operatic history of the First Age of Middle-Earth, essential background material for serious readers of the classic Lord of the Rings saga. Tolkien's work sets the standard for fantasy, and this audio version of the "Bible of Middle-Earth" does The Silmarillion justice. Martin Shaw's reading is grave and resonant, conveying all the powerful events and emotions that shaped elven and human history long before Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and all the rest embarked on their quests. Beginning with the Music of the Ainur, The Silmarillion tells a tale of the Elder Days, when Elves and Men became estranged by the Dark Lord Morgoth's lust for the Silmarils, pure and powerful magic jewels. Even the love between a human warrior and the daughter of the Elven king cannot defeat Morgoth, but the War of Wrath finally brings down the Dark Lord. Peace reigns until the evil Sauron recovers the Rings of Power and sets the stage for the events told in the Lord of the Rings. This is epic fantasy at its finest, thrillingly read and gloriously unabridged. (Running time: 14 hours, 6 CDs)
From Library Journal
The action of this volume predates even the above History titles as it relates the creation of Middle-earth, its beings and the coming of evil. Tolkien's Paradise Lost.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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First, I'm not what people call a "Tolkien purist" or a "Tolkien fanatic" or whatever. I read "Lord Of The Rings" only once (liked it a lot), "The Hobbit" only once (liked it, but less than "Lord Of The Rings"), watched the movies, and, only now, I stared "The Silmarillion" in the eye!
And I loved it. With all my heart. The book is majestic, breathtaking, excting. Let me get to some points:
a. I completely understand those who not enjoy the writing style or the book itself, even thoso who KNOW that this is not a novel, but almost a history book of a fictional mythology.
b. There is violence. A lot. A lot of violence. It's tragedy after tragedy after tragedy, after betrayal, etc. But there is no gore. There are no cheap George R.R. Martin moments here.
c. The Glossary is amazing. All one needs to do, in order to rembember all the names that appear in the book, is to consult the glossary at the end of the book.
d. I think one should understand the following, about the writer's writing style: for Tolkien, EVERY WORD COUNTS. There's no verborragia, no filler. He is set on a mission to tell a fable, and he does so with economy of word, but with deep impact.
The negative aspect of reading this book is that, day after day, I enjoy LESS the movies!
I personally have no problem with the enormous amount of personal or geological names presented here, altho it did take me at least two false starts to finally read this. I've read the Bible from front to back many times, also, and if you can keep up with that pace, the Silmarillion won't hold any special challenge.
With the spate of interest in JRR Tolkien, especially regarding the movies, I figure a lot of people may pick this up and hope to find more about hobbits and Gandalf. I think those casual readers may be disillusioned.
But I hope that even those who are casually intereted in the Hobbits will find press on and read this book in it's entirety, and learn what sheer brilliance lays beyond Peter Jackson's cimematic interpetation.
This is an entire mythos of creation, mainly as seen from the Elves perspective, from the beginning of the world to the end of the War of the Rings.
I could go on and on, about the lingustical matters, and the author's denial of allegory, but other reviews and other books will talk about those...
It's just as important to note that this was edited by his son, after his death, and a question often occurs to me - which is pure JRRT and which is CJRT? CJRT was working with a huge amount of materials and did the best he could with what he had. If you'd like to see the real-life cronological creation, the "History of Middle-earth" volumes are a good place to start. But you still need to read this book first, as the HoME series are the (unedited) versions of the "final" stories in the Sil...
This book is enourmous. he text looks great and I bet your eyes will not get tired, it also contains some illustrations of some places, I guess that will help you imagine and put yourself more accurately in the story.
FIVE STARS ALL THE WAY
Do be aware that "The Silmarillion" is NOT "Lord of the Rings". It reads more like the Old Testament, with stories that are fully described without being fully fleshed in the way a novel might treat them. It is the mythological underpinning of Middle-earth, and the style will not be to everyone's taste. You don't need a Masters in Education to appreciate it, mind you, but it remains a challenging read... and vastly rewarding. (The excerpt available here would not have been my first choice. It's from what is essentially the Silmarillion's Book of Genesis, to continue the comparison to the Old Testament. I'd judge it more daunting than the balance of the book, where the Elves and Men and Dwarves take center stage.) Anyone entranced by "The Silmarillion" would do well to read "Unfinished Tales", which includes expanded portions of the stories of Tuor and of the Children of Hurin, as well as other short pieces that complement the mythology pre-dating LotR.