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Exactly how much does the reading order matter?

Mahaulendil

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Hello!! So, I only recently got into all this Tolkien stuff and so far I've gone through: The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit and the Silmarillion. I guess my family noticed how...uh....eagerly I was blowing through all the Tolkien books because they got me some very thoughtful gifts! I now have Sauron Defeated, and the Peoples of Middle-Earth, but apparently those would be volumes 9 and 12 from The History of Middle-Earth.

It was my understanding that the History of Middle-Earth wasn't a single chronological story and it tends to jump around and just give more detail and insight into events already covered in the Silm, Hobbit and LotR. So I guess I'm basically asking: should I read the books now, or is it better to wait until I can get a copy of the Book of Lost Tales pt.1?
 

user16578

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In my opinion you've read the core works of Tolkien already, for further/additional info and understanding all the other stuff is ok in no particular order :)
The more you read the more you want to know... you will devour all the information given by others... someday it will all fit together like a big puzzle... :)

p.s. do NOT forget "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" !
 

Fëanor_7

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As previously stated, it doesn't really matter which order you read The History of Middle Earth, though occasionally in the notes sections they will reference previous books, but it's nothing major as far as I remember.
 

Mahaulendil

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In my opinion you've read the core works of Tolkien already, for further/additional info and understanding all the other stuff is ok in no particular order :)
The more you read the more you want to know... you will devour all the information given by others... someday it will all fit together like a big puzzle... :)

p.s. do NOT forget "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" !
Thank you!! I'll make sure to look into it!

And I'm sure it'll all fit together to some degree some day, but I'm also looking forward to finding out the things that make no sense at all and don't fit whatsoever lol. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying all the threads with titles like, "Legolas of Mirkwood and Legolas of Gondolin—same person??" and "How could [X] have possibly happened in LotR if Tolkien wrote [Y] in the Histories!!!"
 

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