The Silmarillion

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Houghton Mifflin, 2001 - Fiction - 365 pages
163 Reviews
A number-one New York Times bestseller when it was originally published, THE SILMARILLION is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing, a work that he could not publish in his lifetime because it grew with him. Its origins stretch back to a time long before THE HOBBIT. But THE HOBBIT was caught up in what Tolkien called "the branching acquisitive theme" he began in THE SILMARILLION, and eventually THE LORD OF THE RINGS emerged from this as well.
Tolkien considered THE SILMARILLION his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other works. This is the story of the creation of the world and the happenings of the First Age, 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, the 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.
The book includes several other, shorter works in addition to THE SILMARILLION. Preceding it are "The Ainulindale," a myth of the Creation, and "The Valaquenta," in which the nature and power of the gods is set forth. After THE SILMARILLION comes "The Akallabeth," a tale of the downfall of the kingdom of Numeno, and finally "Of the Rings of Power," the connecting link to THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
This second edition features a number of minor textual corrections along with a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his intentions for the work, written more than twenty-five years before its eventual publication. As described by Christopher Tolkien in the preface, it serves as a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth.

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A great introduction to the world of Middle Earth. - Goodreads
The Silmarillion's plot is not from beginning to end. - Goodreads
But this is the very pinnacle of fantasy writing. - Goodreads
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This book is difficult, but the real fun of J.R.R.Tolkien should read it. It is different from "The Lord of the Rings" and most readers find it boring, but in fact the end of this book is more dynamic.

Review: The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)

User Review  - Werner - Goodreads

Note, July 1, 2014: I edited this review just now to correct a typo; I'd written "Gondor" when I meant "Gondolin" in one place. (Pretty big geographical and chronological difference, despite the ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword page
vii
Preface to the Second Edition
x
AINULINDALE
13
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

A writer of fantasies, Tolkien, a professor of language and literature at Oxford University, was always intrigued by early English and the imaginative use of language. In his greatest story, the trilogy The Lord of the Rings (1954--56), Tolkien invented a language with vocabulary, grammar, syntax, even poetry of its own. Though readers have created various possible allegorical interpretations, Tolkien has said: "It is not about anything but itself. (Certainly it has no allegorical intentions, general, particular or topical, moral, religious or political.)" In The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962), Tolkien tells the story of the "master of wood, water, and hill," a jolly teller of tales and singer of songs, one of the multitude of characters in his romance, saga, epic, or fairy tales about his country of the Hobbits. Tolkien was also a formidable medieval scholar, as evidenced by his work, Beowulf: The Monster and the Critics (1936) and his edition of Anciene Wisse: English Text of the Anciene Riwle. Among his works published posthumously, are The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and The Fall of Arthur, which was edited by his son, Christopher. In 2013, his title, The Hobbit (Movie Tie-In) made The New York Times Best Seller List.

Christopher Reuel Tolkien was born on November 21, 1924 in Leeds, England. He is author J.R.R. Tolkien's youngest son and is known for having edited and published much of his father's work posthumously, including The Children of Húrin.

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