J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Christopher Tolkien
“The Silmarillion, now published four years after the death of its author, is an account of the Elder Days, or the First Age of the World. In The Lord of the Rings were narrated the great events at the end of the Third Age;”
The Silmarillion was not an easy read for me, it might be one of the hardest books I have ever read. If you do not dive into high fantasy often or at all, I would not recommend this book to you.
The Silmarillion is a collection of shortish stories that build depth and lore into Middle Earth. You learn about the different ages of the land and the evil that has come to past. The Silmarillion is a historical account of Middle Earth, keep that in mind if you decide to read it. I knew what I was getting into yet had no idea. If you have read The World of Ice and Fire, it was very very inspired by The Silmarillion, but it is easily digestible. The Silmarillion is not.
The Silmarillion was all truly interesting but as a beginner in the Tolkien universe, I do not think I did myself a favor reading The Silmarillion before Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion is packed with information, names, events, literally building the backbone to the world many have come to love……but a beginner should not jump in as quickly as I did.
Included in The Silmarillion:
- A Letter by J. R. R. Tolkien– Do not skip this!
- The Ainulindalë
- The Valaquenta
- The Quenta Silmarillion
- The Akallabêth
- Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
My biggest complaint and challenge with reading The Silmarillion was the biblical style of the first half of the story. There were so many names and events happening with little to no explanation it was difficult to develop a relationship with the characters. To be honest, The Silmarillion I felt like I was reading another language. This is the nature of the book if you can get past that feeling it is a well-written piece of literature.
BUT The Silmarillion is just more proof that Tolkien is an amazing worldbuilder. He has developed a rich lore/history that one can only really appreciate after you’ve read this book. I am not a fan of the writing style but if you are die-hard Tolkien fan, trying to read the books in chronological order, read all of Tolkien’s work, or love high fantasy I would recommend The Silmarillion. If you dislike classical writing, fantasy, or elements of high fantasy do not read The Silmarillion.
You can safely read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings without ever reading The Silmarillion.
Have you read The Silmarillion or have plans to?