It wasn't as hard to read as I recalled

Discussion in '"The Silmarillion"' started by Rileysan, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. Rileysan

    Rileysan New Member

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    I tried reading The Silmarillion roughly 24 years ago. At that time, I fancied myself something more than a casual Tolkien fan, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried reading other writings by Tolkien. Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wooten Major were fun, but not as in-depth as I thought I wanted, so I bought The Silmarillion. I skipped around but never read it cover to cover.

    This year, however, I turned over a new leaf (no, not by Niggle). I re-read the trilogy for the first time in 20 years. I followed that up by reading 'A Tolkien Miscellany' which contains Farmer Giles, Smith, Leaf by Niggle, Bombadil, Sir Gawain, Pearl, Sir Orpheus, and a very hard-to-read essay on the history of Faery. Then I read it again - hoping to avoid The Silmarillion.

    And so I gave in and read The Silmarillion, and become enamored. I am now reading it through a second time and am already planning to purchase the HoME series.

    Any recommendations on where to go from here?

    Brian
     
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  2. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    I am currently working my way through Unfinished Tales and the first five Histories for the first time, jumping around topically. I have found this approach really rewarding! Depending on your intention, you can figure out the different types of material in each of the different volumes, and spend weeks on a single topic. For example, I have been fascinated by Númenor, and immediately jumped to the tale of Aldarion and Erendis in Unfinished Tales and the other Númenor material, and have basically worked from there until the Third Age. Next, I'm going to read more First-age material about the elves. This is how I would recommend to others to approach the material, instead of trying to just read it all cover to cover!
     

  3. Rileysan

    Rileysan New Member

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    I love your approach but since I'm unfamiliar with the contents of those books, I wouldn't know where to begin.

    The Silmarillion is more-or-less chronological, but if you're unfamiliar with the characters, you either have to dive right in, or research the contents online before reading.

    My interest lies in the stories of Thingol & Melian and the rest of the Sindarin elves. After that, I'm hoping for more on the City of Gondolin and it's fall.

    Cheers!

    Brian

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  4. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Christopher does a great job organizing it with introductions and outlines, so once you have the books, it's pretty easy to find material if you're looking for a specific topic. As he notes, all the material isn't even as coherent together as the Silmarillion, but that it is a compilation of finished and unfinished manuscripts at various stages of development.

    It appears that most of the best material to read first appears in Unfinished Tales and the first 5 books of the 12 volume series, which is good because I have yet to see how to track down the remaining 7 without paying an arm and a leg! I have the paperback boxset of the first 5.

    Actually, this is a really helpful way to find material, I've used this to just manually go through each volume to see if there's anything relevant:
    http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/The_History_of_Middle-earth
     

  5. Ingolmin

    Ingolmin Member

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    Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales are necessary so as to enhance your knowledge of Arda but for going further into deep middle earth, you can read 'The History of Middle Earth'.

    You can trust my advice since I am a young loremaster and claim my descent from Elrond Halfelven.
     
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  6. Rileysan

    Rileysan New Member

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    I re-read The Silmarillion and was glad I did. I often miss important details the first time I read something and this was no exception.

    I started re-reading LoTR for the second time this year and was especially interested in Bilbo's poem about Earendil in the house of Elrond, to which Aragorn commented "if you want to make poems about Earendil in the house of Elrond, that's your business". I chuckled at his statement now that I understand the relationship. Bilbo has brass ones!

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    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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