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El Silmarillion

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Edición revisada del clásico Silmarillion del gran J. R. R. Tolkien.

El Silmarillion cuenta la historia de la Primera Edad, el antiguo drama del que hablan los personajes de El Señor de los Anillos, y en cuyos acontecimientos algunos de ellos tomaron parte, como Elrond y Galadriel… Una obra de auténtica imaginación, una visión inspirada, legendaria o mítica, del interminable conflicto entre el deseo de poder y la capacidad de crear.

552 pages, Paperback

First published September 15, 1977

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About the author

J.R.R. Tolkien

516 books68.9k followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: writer, artist, scholar, linguist. Known to millions around the world as the author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spent most of his life teaching at the University of Oxford where he was a distinguished academic in the fields of Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His creativity, confined to his spare time, found its outlet in fantasy works, stories for children, poetry, illustration and invented languages and alphabets.

Tolkien’s most popular works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set in Middle-earth, an imagined world with strangely familiar settings inhabited by ancient and extraordinary peoples. Through this secondary world Tolkien writes perceptively of universal human concerns – love and loss, courage and betrayal, humility and pride – giving his books a wide and enduring appeal.

Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure and relaxation. He excelled at landscapes and often drew inspiration from his own stories. He illustrated many scenes from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sometimes drawing or painting as he was writing in order to visualize the imagined scene more clearly.

Tolkien was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford for almost forty years, teaching Old and Middle English, as well as Old Norse and Gothic. His illuminating lectures on works such as the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, illustrate his deep knowledge of ancient languages and at the same time provide new insights into peoples and legends from a remote past.

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1892 to English parents. He came to England aged three and was brought up in and around Birmingham. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1915 and saw active service in France during the First World War before being invalided home. After the war he pursued an academic career teaching Old and Middle English. Alongside his professional work, he invented his own languages and began to create what he called a mythology for England; it was this ‘legendarium’ that he would work on throughout his life. But his literary work did not start and end with Middle-earth, he also wrote poetry, children’s stories and fairy tales for adults. He died in 1973 and is buried in Oxford where he spent most of his adult life.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,220 reviews
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,211 reviews104 followers
May 5, 2023
I had tried to read J.R.R. Tolkien' The Silamarillion multiple times in the past (and always unsuccessfully) and had basically given up, but I finally did manage to realise that I was attempting to read it the wrong way; I was trying to read The Silmarillion like I have read and with pleasure reread LOTR, as a story, an epic story, of course, but still first and foremost as a story. Now while The Silmarillion is of course also partially a story, it is (at least for me) first and foremost a religious type document, a biblical, mythological account of the Elder Days of Middle Earth. So this time, I read The Silmarillion the way I used to read my Bible and how I have also approached Hesiod's Theogony and other tomes on Greek, Roman and Norse mythology (perusing small bits and pieces as needed and desired and following along via audiobook at the same time if possible). And I do know this might indeed and in fact sound a bit strange, I actually tried singing some of the parts to myself. And yes, I will likely have to reread The Simarillion sometime soon, because there is just no way I am going to be able to keep all of the different names etc. clear in my head (and I kind of also wish I had taken notes). But for a first full and complete read, I can only say, wow. As good as LOTR, but also very very different, and I honestly and strongly do believe that in order to truly appreciate, savour and enjoy what J.R.R. Tolkien has created with and in The Silmarillion a totally different and novel approach and method of reading are necessary and required (for The Silmarillion just does not work as a typical novel, since it is not in any manner a typical novel, and heck, it is not even a typical epic for that matter either).
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,856 followers
February 7, 2021
That´s how worldbuilding has to be done the ultimate overachiever way. The only true one, the writing a life long on it mode, the one narrative style to rule them all.

Don´t expect anything similar to Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, this is Tolkiens´s self made manual, the extreme, pedantic, perfected expansion of the wonderful addendums that make general high fantasy with all its maps and sci-fi timelines and tech trees with astronomical maps so amazing.

But, as said, be aware, these stories are disguised nerdgasms so full of the language Tolkien adapted from originals and invented himself, such a celebrating of OCD perfectionism, a planning close to no modern nowadays author would invest in her/ his work, the work of a lifetime, that it´s truly no easy read.

But some of the best and most successful fantasy and sci-fi writers do it in a similar way, invent extremely detailed universes with cultures, fractions, detailed geography, etc. often inspired by the behemoths that came before them or mythology. It seems to be the necessary and intelligent effort to be able to live in these worlds and thereby describe them in a way impossible for the ones who just write without true passion and obsession. It must be a kind of wonderful fusion of learning the self made theory, internalizing the world, fusing protagonists, worldbuilding, and plot, and in this way intensifying the flow and pleasure of creation. Just as I do it with my deeply disturbing cosmic body horror extreme terror sci fi nightmare fuel visions, sigh.

Speech is a mighty tool and how Tolkien used his expertise and knowledge to pimp the old originals, that inspired his work, and created new combinations and own languages, is how it has to be done. Whoever is into linguistics and language in general, or simply wants to know what the deeper meanings and ideological and magical backgrounds of LotR are, can dive deep into the immense detail of this aspect.

Tolkienoholics, people with no real life or no interest in one like me, aspiring dark overlords and writers, etc. should watch this in awe and especially remember and appreciate that he used his academic knowledge; not to bore the heck out of poor students in the all perpetrating combination of anachronistic teaching methods still used nowadays everywhere in soft humanities; to create something worthy of being called magic, maybe even holy, because of its positive influence on the world by founding the genre of high fantasy. So one should do research, know the originals, and study the tropes and how they evolve. It´s all about these tropes, humans themselves are a combination of epigenetic memes gone bonkers in their parents, just created like new subgenres out of the old ones.
Back to the show: If one is into playing with language, cool names, loads of mythology, and of course LotR backstory, this is the perfect, fine brew to consume in small doses and, for best results, contrast and compare with the original in addition. Might also be a good idea to combine it with a real rereading or first time reading (shame on you) LotR, because it gives the extra info to better fully dive into the world.

I will probably do it that way, just as I like to read my sci-fi and fantasy extra, outsourced exposition explanations about characters, chronological timelines, maps, fandom, etc., to get the flow better started.

Don´t expect an average short story collection, this is far beyond what one is used to see as a prequel, sequel, extra short story collections, or whatever else is nowaday instrumentalized in the mainstream fantasy sci-fi industrial complex to boost the sales.

Might also be handy if one is into LARPG and wants to impress the hot elves with nerdiness so concentrated that it takes control over the brain applying it, whispering to the mind about seductive levels of fandom indistinguishable from complete loss of perception of reality.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
130 reviews186 followers
November 1, 2009
Ever since I joined GR I’ve been putting off the writing of this book’s review… but since I’m high as fuck on cold medicine I feel like I can do it so here suffer thru it!:

Along long time ago a little 3rd world kid with an afro became fascinated of what he read on the internet about some British writer named Tolkien… he wanted his books… it became his obsession… so he embarked on a quest to find his books and read the shit out of them… but alas! The book was no where to be found on his dumb little island… but that wasn’t going to stop our little afro hero… he looked and looked, he went to used bookstores, he ordered 5 times in the expensive ones, he looked online, on the streets, even on the flea markets… but they were not to be found… one day after wating for 2 hours for his translator to finish translating and E-copy of The Lord of The Ring: The Fellowship of The Ring. Into Spanish and realizing that it made no fucking sense once translated… our little afro hero went into the internet and founded the only bookstore with most of Tolkien’s work on stock… in Spanish! But there was only one problem… the fucking bookstore was in freaking Spain… the cost of the books + S&H was way more of what our hairy friend had on his piggy bank… so he did the unthinkable… his parents had been bitching about his afro for months…. So he proposed to them that in exchange of his fro they should give him the books he wanted… and they accepted… in an act of self mutilation* our fuzzy friend shaved his head to show his parent’s his anger over making him lose his fro… after that the money was given to him… he could order now (his parents weren’t as stupid as he always thought) and that day.. That day the curse was born!!! It was like the curse of Feanor… but lame, the books took an entire year to arrive… now imagine our froless hero waiting and waiting and calling and emailing and checking and re checking for a whole mother fucking year with his shaved head… (for those of you who wonder this is why I will never again buy a book from the internet, I’m fucking traumatized) but when they got there… how to put it into words… I read the first book (600 pages) in one day… the second in 3 days, the third in 2 days, the fourth on a day and a half… and then it was time for the Silmarillion…

I didn’t know nothing about the Silmarillion… I left it for last cuz I thought it would be the most boring one… and boy was I wrong! The first part The Music of the Ainur was such a mind blowing experience to me to the point of I cannot talk about anything else but how metal it sounded that my friends started complaining (somebody got to the point of threaten me that if said something else about Melkor being the coolest I was going to get punch in the balls) I mean if you ever read this book you should know how Melkor invented heavy metal on it… then it was the lamps and all the gay stuff that I didn’t like… that’s when I used to think Melkor was the coolest… then came The Trees… and I was just fascinated of how beautiful everything was… I know it sounds mad gay! But it was!!! And then Melkor did something that made me stop thinking of him as the coolest… he killed The Trees… is not like I cried or anything like that… but you know that was fuck up! The guy is cool and all but I know it sounds stupid… but I did like those Trees man… =( by this time I was so lost in this book that one could actually call it an obsession… I was walking while reading, talking to the characters… (if I were to get a penny for every time I told a character on this book “turn back you fool” I’d be rich by now!)… look I don’t wanna ruin anything to anybody I could honestly talk for hours about how fucking awesome Feanor is…. Or how big Fingolfin’s balls are (bigger than Steven’s) or how beautiful Luthien was and how I wished she never met Beren, or how fucking sick and twisted Morgoth gets… I mean the man was sick! But I need to stop! Cuz if I don’t I’ma be here for ever… I wanna say is that Tolkien was the mother fucking greatest of all times man… this is just such a beautiful book…

*:(even tho the paper don’t agree with me on this… it was self mutilation!!! She has no idea how “attached”
I was to that fro!!!!)

Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 13, 2020
Writing a review of the Silmarillion is like trying to review the Bible. Where do you even start? There’s just so much story in here. Any attempt to convey it in a review would be to do the book a massive disservice. There would only ever be enough space to talk about one or a few elements of the work.

So instead I thought I’d give my reasoning as to why every Tolkien enthusiast needs to read this in order to fully understand Tolkien: the sheer depth of the work.

“It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.”


The history of middle-earth is very rich, and it stretches a very long way. Much further than the time of Sauron and the Ring. And this sense of history is only very briefly glimpsed within The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit if at all. The Silmarillion is the entire picture; it is the entire vison of Tolkien’s fantasy world. It’s a huge piece of world building, and there really is nothing else quite like it. In here he relays a huge amount of history, a truly staggering amount for a fictional world to possess.

I often talk about the need for world building in fantasy, and here it is in full force. It’s astonishing. It’s beyond imaginative. It goes further than anything before it and since. And this is why Tolkien is the master of the genre. He wasn’t the first, and he certainly won't be the last to write such fiction, but he was the best writer to ever attempt it. He more than set the benchmark when he wrote this. So if you’re thinking about reading this, but find the task at hand a little bit too daunting, then stop thinking. Pick this book and lose yourself in the history of the greatest fantasy universe ever created. You won't regret it.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
August 5, 2021
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Silmarillion is a collection of mythopoeic works by English writer J.R.R. Tolkien, edited and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay.

The Silmarillion, along with J.R.R. Tolkien's other works, forms an extensive, though incomplete, narrative that describes the universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth, within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.

This book is the first and last book of Tolkien, the story of the first period, from the imaginary world of Tolkien, the "old drama" in which the characters of "Lord of the Rings" can also find their roots.

Other well-known names of "Lord of the Rings", such as "Elrond" and "Galadriel" are also heroes of part of a short story in this book.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و یکم ماه سپتامبر سال 2009 میلادی

عنوان: سیلماریلیون؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر (جان رونالد روئل) تالکین؛ ویرایش: کریستوفر تالکین؛

مترجم: مریم واثقی پناه؛ تهران، سبزان، 1385؛ در 455ص؛ شابک 9648249407؛

مترجم: رضا علیزاده؛ تهران، روزنه، 1386؛ در 624ص، نقشه؛ شابک 9643342662؛

مترجم: حسین ترکمن نژاد؛ تهران، غنچه، 1393؛ در دو جلد، شابک دوره 9786007721070؛

این کتاب، نخستین و آخرین کتاب «تالکین» بزرگوار است، داستان دوران نخست، از جهان خیال انگیز «تالکین»، «درام کهنی» که شخصیتهای «ارباب حلقه ها» نیز، رگ و ریشه ی خود را، در آن میتوانند بیابند؛ برخی دیگر از نام آشنایان «ارباب حلقه ها»، همچون: «الروند» و «گالادریل» نیز از قهرمانان بخشی از یک داستان کوچکش هستند؛ برای فهمیدنش شاید کتاب را، بارها خوانده باشم؛ انگار دیگر پیر شده ام، اما هربار که خوانده ام، نکته ای بر دانسته های پیشینم از جهان خیالی که ایشان برساخته، افزون گشته است؛ دایرة المعارف نامهای کتاب نیز، که در اوراق و بخشهای انتهایی از کتاب آرمیده، بی نظیر است، ریشه ی بیشتر کلماتش انگار آشناست، البته اگر نیک بنگرید

کتاب «سیلماریلیون»، داستان‌ دوران دو درخت، و دوره ی نخست جهان «تالکین» است؛ داستان «ایلوواتار» و «ملکور»، تا پدیدار شدن «اِلف»ها و انسان‌هاست.؛ کتاب «سیلماریلیون» از داستانهای روزگاران پیشین، دوره ی نخست، داستان «آردا»، و از دنیا و نیروهایی میگوید، که آن دنیا را ساختند.؛ داستان نبرد خیر و شر، در سرزمین میانه است، و جنگ با لرد سیاه «مورگوت»، کسی که «سارون»، تنها یکی از خدمتکارانش بود.؛ داستان آمدن «الف»ها، و ساخته شدن جواهرات مقدسشان، «سیلماریل»ها، که «مورگوت» آنها را دزدید، و به دنبال آن، مجموعه ای از تراژدیها رخ داد؛ که «مرگ و نیستی»، «خیانت»، «پیروزی»، «امید و یاس»، به همراه داشت.؛ از تراژدی عاشقانه ی «برن» و «لوتین»، داستان فرزندان نفرین شده ی «هورین»، خیانت «مائگلین»، و سقوط شهر صخره های پنهان «گوندولین» نیز سخن میگوید.؛ داستان آمدن آدمیان را نیز بازمیگوید، و رزمهاشان را، و اینکه چگونه سرنوشت آدمیان، و «الف»ها به هم گره خورد، و «نومه نوری»ها را پدیدار کرد؛ نتیجه ی این داستانها، هم در لحن و هم در سبک نگارش، بسیار متفاوت از «هابیت»، یا «ارباب حلقه ها»ست، تا جاییکه، برخی از طرفداران «تال��ین» خوانش آنرا دشوار مییابند، اما کسانی که به درکی ژرف از آن دست یابند؛ میدانند که ارزش اش بسیار فراتر از «ارباب حلقه ها»ست؛ و بستری ست برای آفرینش آن داستانها.؛

کتاب در پنج بخش آراسته شده است: بخش نخست: «آینولینداله» همان «آهنگ آینور» - داستان آفرینش جهان توسط «اِرو»؛ بخش دوم: «والاکوئنتا» «حکایت والار»، حکایت «والار» و «مایار» بنا به روایت «اِلدار»؛ بخش سوم: کوئنتا سیلماریلیون «تاریخچهٔ سیلماریل‌ها» - داستان اصلی «سیلماریلیون» که شامل داستان‌های دوران دو درخت «والینور» و دوره اول می‌شود.؛ بخش چهارم: «آکالابت» «سقوط نومه نور» - داستان سقوط «نومه نور» و مردمانش، و دوره دوم؛ بخش پنجم: حدیث حلقه های قدرت است، و دوره سوم - که با پایان آن این حکایت‌ها نیز به پایان می‌رسد

داستان «سیلماریلیون»: «فیانور» بزرگترین «اِلف» زمانه در هنر و معرفت بود.؛ همو بود که «سیلماریلها» یا همان جواهرات مقدس را ساخت و آنها را با پرتو دو درخت «والینور» آکند.؛ دو درختی که میوه و شکوفه شان خورشید و ماه شد.؛ اما «ملکور»، نخستین فرمانروای تاریکی، آنها را دزدید و به دنبال آن مجموعه ای از تراژدیها رخ داد.؛ محور اصلی داستان بخش سوم کتاب «سیلماریلیون»، حول سه «سیلماریل» میگردد.؛ داستان «سیلماریلیون» گاه به گذشته ی دنیا نیز میرود، به همان دوران نخست! و آن تاریخچه را نیز در جاهایی باز میکند.؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Persephone's Pomegranate.
56 reviews168 followers
June 11, 2023
(Credit goes to Elena Kukanova. Check out her Tolkien art, it's amazing)

She went then to the gardens of Lórien and lay down to sleep; but though she seemed to sleep, her spirit indeed departed from her body, and passed in silence to the halls of Mandos. The maidens of Estë tended the body of Míriel, and it remained unwithered; but she did not return. Then Finwë lived in sorrow; and he went often to the gardens of Lórien, and sitting beneath the silver willows beside the body of his wife he called her by her names. But it was unavailing; and alone in all the Blessed Realm he was deprived of joy. After a while he went to Lórien no more.

To be honest, The Silmarillion is not an easy read. There's Valinor, Númenor, Middle-earth, creation of the world, music battles (I am not joking), the Valar, the Maiar; Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri elves, men, orcs, beasts, wizards, dragons, and jewels.

At one point my brain almost malfunctioned.


But it was worth it. I am all for rich lore, doomed romances, and scheming dark lords.

If you're a fan of the Lord of the Rings books and/or movies and wish to delve deeper into the lore, this is the perfect book for you. Tolkien takes us back to the very beginning. We learn about the creation of the world. He writes about The Ainur (also called The Valar). These beings were above everyone, second only to the Ilúvatar. We travel through the Years of the Lamps, Years of the Trees, the First Age, and the Sixth Age.


We meet Tolkien's most powerful villain. No, not Sauron. Morgoth (also called Melkor). The most powerful Ainur/Valar. We learn more about Valinor (Valinor is where Frodo and Bilbo depart at the end of the Lord of the Rings). Valinor is the home of the Valar (Ainur). We learn about the destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor by Morgoth and Ungoliant.

We follow the fates of The Children of Ilúvatar - Elves and Men. We witness the kinslaying between the Noldor and the Teleri elves. We travel to Númenor, the greatest kingdom of men. For those that don't know- the first king of Númenor was Elros, the twin brother of Elrond. Unlike his brother Elrond, Elros chose to be mortal. He became a great king of men, and it was through his line that Aragorn was born, 62 generations later. Much like Atlantis, Númenor was destroyed and sunk beneath the ocean.

At the heart of the book is the story of the Silmarils. The Silmarils were crafted by Fëanor, the Elven King of the Noldor. These magical jewels contained the essence of the Two Trees of Valinor. Fëanor asked Galadriel, the princess of Noldor and his niece, for a few strands of hair to put in The Silmarils. She refused him. If you remember, she granted the request to Gimli in the Fellowship of the Ring.

The Silmarils, beautiful as they were, were the cause of all the drama in the book. Morgoth stole the jewels and placed them in his crown. They would dictate the fate of numerous heroes for thousands of years.

Of all the stories, my favorite were the ones involving Beren, Lúthien, Melian and Thingol. And, of course, my fictional husbands - Glorfindel and Finrod Felagund. Yes, I am allowed to have more than one fictional husband. How could Tolkien create Aragorn, Faramir, Legolas, Éomer, Beren, Glorfindel, and Finrod and not expect his readers to fall in love? Glorfindel was a powerful elf from Gondolin. He appeared in the Silmarillion and the Fellowship of the Ring (some of his scenes in the movie version were given to Arwen). Glorfindel was killed fighting a Balrog but was later reincarnated and sent back to Middle-earth. Finrod Felagund was an Elven king and brother of Galadriel. Finrod was known for being honorable and was often called 'Friend of Men.' He agreed to help the mortal Beren in his quest, even though he knew it meant certain death. He was killed by Sauron's werewolves.

Beren, Lúthien, and Huan by Alan Lee

Farewell sweet earth and northern sky,
for ever blest, since here did lie
and here with lissom limbs did run
beneath the Moon, beneath the Sun,
Lúthien Tinúviel
more fair than mortal tongue can tell.
Though all to ruin fell the world
and were dissolved and backward hurled
unmade into the old abyss,
yet were its making good, for this—
the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea—
that Lúthien for a time should be.

Beren and Lúthien's love story is the heart of the book. But first, a little background on Lúthien's parents. Like Sauron, Melian was a powerful Maia. To put it into perspective, the Maiar are more powerful than Elves, but weaker than the Valar. Thingol, also known as Elwë, was a Sindar elf. One day, while traveling through the forest, he encountered Melian and fell madly in love with her. Melian reciprocated his feelings. Never before had a Maia fallen in love with an elf, and never will it happen again. Together they would rule the kingdom of Doriath. They had a daughter, Lúthien Tinúviel, the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar. Lúthien fell in love with a mortal man named Beren. Thingol was furious and forbade his daughter to marry him. He would eventually relent, however under one condition. Beren would have to complete an impossible task - he would have to bring him a Silmaril.

Beren would go on the dangerous journey with Galadriel's brother, Finrod Felagund. Sauron and his servants capture them and kill Finrod. Lúthien, who followed them with her faithful wolfhound Huan, confronts Sauron. She and Huan kick his evil ass and take one of the Silmarils. Beren dies of his wounds and Lúthien dies of grief. Ilúvatar takes pity on her and gives her a choice - she and Beren could be revived and return to Middle-earth. There is, however, a condition - she would have to give up her immortality. Lúthien accepts to return to Middle-earth as a mortal. Lúthien and Beren were the great-grandparents of Elrond and Elros and the great-great-grandparents of Arwen. Arwen shared Lúthien's physical appearance as well as her fate. She, too, would choose a mortal life and marry a man.

King Thingol was murdered. Melian returned to Valinor without her husband and daughter. Tolkien's grave has 'Beren' inscribed on it, while his wife Edith's has 'Lúthien.'

Thingol and Melian
(credit to whoever made the beautiful artwork)

I hope we get a movie or tv series adaption someday. As of now, no one has managed to procure the rights to the book. I hope that changes. Imagine watching this incredible lore play out before your eyes. But then again, maybe not. Major film studios tend to ruin every book they get their hands on.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
September 24, 2014
How To Build A Truly Convincing Fantasy World

1. It's all about the language. Make sure your world's language is convincing, and you're pretty much there. Conversely, if your language sucks then everything else will.

2. Your book can't include more than a few sentences in your invented language without losing your audience. But it can include plenty of names. So what people will really judge you on is the quality of the names.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,562 followers
September 11, 2015
Buddy re-read with Shii!

I’ve been contemplating whether or not to tackle the challenge of actually reviewing this masterpiece for quite some time now. In the end, after having finished reading it for the second time, I realised that I should at least throw out my thoughts on it. So here we go…

This is in my eyes the most impressive book ever written.

Notice how I did not say “best”. That was completely intentional. I do not believe it is the best book ever written, even though I know others think so, and I understand their opinions. I also know people who have given up on reading this book, or been baffled by the thought of even attempting it. And I understand them too. This is not the most exciting fantasy book you’ll find. But I stand by it being the most impressive one.

After almost reluctantly publishing The Hobbit and very reluctantly writing and publishing its sequel The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien could finally concentrate on what he actually wanted to do: to complete his collection of tales on the mythology and origins of Arda, often just referred to as Middle-Earth. The result, though published after the great man himself had passed away, became The Silmarillion

On the back of my little blue timeworn paperback, which is almost twice as old as I am, I read a little quote from the Guardian review of the original release. It says “How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?” And the question more or less summarises my own feelings on this book and Tolkien’s other works. These three hundred pages have given life to the most impressive achievement of human creativity ever. No fantasy author has ever done anything matching this, and it is my firm belief that no one ever will. The only book The Silmarillion can be compared to is the Bible and (I hope I do not offend anyone by saying this) even it does not come close to this.

The creation of the World by the songs of the Ainur… the schemes of Morgoth Bauglir for dominion over the world… the making of the wondrous Silmarils… the breeding of great Dragons in the firepits of Angband… the story of Beren and Lúthien… tales of war and betrayal and love and loss and joy and grief and everything you could possibly imagine in a tale of fantasy. All of it can be found within the pages of this little book.

This book is not for everyone. In fact, I would only recommend it to those who have read and loved both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the greatest masterpiece of worldbuilding the fantasy genre has ever had.

All that remains is to refer you to my little collection of quotes and artwork from the most important scenes of the book. Most of you have already seen it, but for those who haven’t, please have a look:


When the Valar entered into Eä they were at first astounded and at a loss, for it was as if naught was yet made which they had seen in vision, and all was but on point to begin and yet unshaped, and it was dark. For the Great Music had been but the growth and flowering of thought in the Timeless Halls, and the Vision only a foreshowing; but now they had entered in at the beginning of Time, and the Valar perceived that the World had been but foreshadowed and foresung, and they must achieve it. So began their great labours in wastes unmeasured and unexplored, and in ages uncounted and forgotten, until in the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the vast halls of Eä there came to be that hour and that place where was made the habitation of the Children of Ilúvatar.


Dark now fell the shadow on Beleriand, as is told hereafter, but in Angband Morgoth forged for himself a great crown of iron, and he called himself King of the World. In token of this he set the Silmarils in his crown. His hands were burned black by the touch of those hallowed jewels, and black they remained ever after; nor was he ever free from the pain of the burning, and the anger of the pain.


The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining as silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadows of his fluttering leaves. The other bore leaves of a young green like the new-opened beech; their edges were of glittering gold. Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground; and from the blossom of that tree there came forth warmth and a great light.


So in that place which was called Losgar at the outlet of the Firth of Drengist ended the fairest vessels that ever sailed the sea, in a great burning, bright and terrible. And Fingolfin and his people saw the light afar off, red beneath the clouds; and they knew that they were betrayed.


In the front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never seen or imagined.


He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar. Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.


Blue was her raiment as the unclouded heaven, but her eyes were grey as the starlit evening; her mantle was sewn with golden flowers, but her hair was dark as the shadows of twilight. As the light upon the leaves of trees, as the voice of clear waters, as the stars above the mists of the world, such was her glory and her loveliness; and in her face was a shining light.


Before the rising of the sun Earendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of the dragon-host, and cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin.


And thus it came to pass that the Silmarils found their long homes: one in the airs of heaven, and one in the fires of the heart of the world, and one in the deep waters.


Ever they dwindled with the years, until their glory passed, leaving only green mounds in the grass. At length naught was left of them but a strange people wandering secretly in the wild, and other men knew not their homes nor the purpose of their journeys, and save in Imladris, in the house of Elrond, their ancestry was forgotten.


Then the name of the forest was changed and Mirkwood it was called, for the nightshade lay deep there, and few dared to pass through, save only in the north where Thranduil's people still held the evil at bay.


In the twilight of autumn it sailed out of Mithlond, until the seas of of the Bent World fell away beneath it, and the winds of the round sky troubled it no more, and borne upon the high airs above the mists of the world it passed into the Ancient West, and an end was come for the Eldar of story and of song.

Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,116 followers
September 6, 2017
"Oh woe-begotten spirit, fall now into dark oblivion, and forget for a while the dreadful doom of life."

I must admit. I struggled.

Though I love the Lord of the Rings and the Middle Earth Universe with all of my heart, tackling a large part of its history in this manner was tough going.
The world Tolkien created is absolutely extraordinary, without a doubt. Unfortunately The Silmarillion is written as a long history or mythology of biblical proportions. Name after name, battle after battle, son after son. It was hard to follow.
I can respect how wonderfully intricate and detailed the world is - but with that many characters and no straight story to follow through.... I'm pleased to be able to say I've done it, but I don't think it's one I'll be able to come back to time and again. I'll stick to LOTR I think. Though I will read Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin when I can. Tolkien truly is a master. 3.5 stars.

"Help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the wise falter."
Profile Image for Forrest.
Author 43 books738 followers
August 24, 2012
Though I had many near-misses with The Silmarillion throughout the years (having been introduced to Tolkien's universe by discovering The Hobbit in my school's library in 5th grade), I finally slogged my way through it during the summer after my sophomore year of college. The first two years of my undergraduate degree were rather gruelling, and I wanted, more than anything else at that time, to just read a bunch of books I wasn't required to read. After making my way through The Complete Sherlock Holmes, I decided to revisit Tolkien.

I had read The Hobbit twice before and the Lord of the Rings once (and a half). As I've stated, I dipped my toes in The Silmarillion, but never let myself dive in. This time, in the interest of reading something other than required reading, I jumped in with both feet.

It was cold. And deep. And dark. It took a while to feel my limbs. It took even longer to get my arms and legs moving, but I soon found I was OK: Still breathing and able to dog paddle.

As I worked my way into it (and it was work!), I discovered that certain tidbits in the myths and legends of middle earth rang familiar. I knew that much of The Silmarillion had been "back-written" after the fact, which might strike people as some sort of disingenuous act on the part of the Tolkiens. I was thrilled. Here I learned who Elrond was, the significance of the fall of Saruman, and the true nature of and relationship between Gandalf and the Balrog. This was a revelation.

I plugged my way through and finished. No, I didn't remember everything and I probably never will. That summer was a unique opportunity for me, to read almost interrupted for such a long stretch. I followed up by reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in succession, immediately after finishing The Silmarillion. Then, and only then, did I appreciate the full magnitude of Tolkien's brilliance. It was a whole new world. I had already visited it, but now the scales fell from my eyes and I saw it in a whole new light. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were transformed, for me, from great books to epic.

Rather than being caught up in complaining about how difficult The Silmarillion was, I felt richly rewarded. I had worked for the glittering prize and it was even more beautiful than the time when I first laid eyes on it in that musty school library in Nebraska. Can nostalgia be forward-looking? It was for me that summer. I was caught in some sort of blissful time-loop that only released me when the urgency of school set upon me again that fall. But something joyful was sparked in me that hasn't ever fully left, thanks to The Silmarillion.
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46k followers
December 18, 2018
3.5/5 stars

With a new interest and determination, I have finally finished reading The Silmarillion.

I have failed this book twice and I was so sure that I won’t attempt reading it again. However, I have just finished re-watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy extended editions and reading the Three Great Tales of Middle-Earth that’s edited by Christopher Tolkien. I know this is not the recommended reading order but it's only because of doing these two activities that I found a new interest, knowledge, and motivation to actually persevere and finish this book.

Picture: Fingolfin versus Morgoth by Art-Calavera

Finishing The Silmarillion for the first time was one of the most difficult reads I’ve ever attempted in my life. It was so difficult that in my opinion, reading this book alone was harder than reading the entirety of Malazan Book of the Fallen. My main problem with it was that that I found it the first half of this book to be extremely boring. I’m talking about hundreds of names (characters, places, events) being fired non-stop at readers, monumental events happening in two sentences, and the extreme difficulty in caring with the characters because there was close to zero character’s thoughts exploration due to the biblical style of writing. However, after reading the three Great Tales of Middle-Earth, these names started to become more familiar and much easier to remember. In fact, when I got back to it, I found the second half to be so full of engaging and epic events.

“All have their worth and each contributes to the worth of the others.”

I won’t be reviewing each story in this book, there are way too many of them and I genuinely think a lot of Tolkienist can do a much better job in explaining the greatness of this book. Instead, I’ll say this. The First Age of Middle-Earth makes the event of the Third Age (events in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) looks like a normal skirmish. There were so many incredible and epic battle waged; tons of tragedy and loss; unmeasurable evil of Morgoth that makes Sauron looks like a brat. Out of all the stories included in this book, there were two that stands out the most to me. One is obviously the story of Turin Turambar that has already been told in full details on The Children of Hurin. I have done a full review on this story but to summarize it, I absolutely loved it and I have no doubt it will be even better upon a reread one day.

Picture: The Sack of Nargothrond by Donato Giancola

The other favorite story was definitely the War of Wrath which depicts the final battle of colossal proportion that ended the First Age of Middle-Earth. It’s such a shame though that this chapter was super short. Like many of the stories contained in this book, I genuinely think that if the right author re-wrote these stories with multi-characters POV to follow instead of an omniscient biblical style of writing, War of Wrath would definitely be one of the most epic fantasy war to be written. It’s seriously hard to explain the scope of this battle, instead, I’ll show you an image of the battle between Earendil (the tiny blue light in the picture) and Ancalagon the Black.

Picture: The Dragon and the Star by Manuel Castañón

The Silmarillion was not an easy read and the first half of the book was completely not fun at all to read. Due to the nature of writing style, there were also a lot of events that could’ve worked so much better rather than making me feel so distant. However, this book clearly shows Tolkien’s capability as a pioneer in fantasy world-building. I didn’t even know how rich the lore and history behind Middle-Earth was until I’ve read this one. I highly recommend this book for patient readers and obviously, fans of Tolkien. If you’re not a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I really think that it’s not mandatory for you to push through this book if it’s not working for you. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of great scenes that really shows Tolkien's imagination at its highest level. But overall, I think I'm left wanting more out of the stories than feeling completely satisfied.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Szplug.
467 reviews1,259 followers
May 10, 2011
Sauron was become now a sorceror of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, lord of werewolves; his dominion was torment.
Ah, Sauron, Maia of Aulë—beyond doubt the singularly most enthralling antagonist whom I encountered as a young reader, possessing all of the malevolence and dark charisma and naked power of Satan, but unhobbled by the multi-aspectual morphology of Christian theology and popular culture that far too often rendered the Devil a ridiculous figure: a wild-eyed and beastly fornication ringmaster cavorting with naked acolytes; a scarlet-skinned, pitchfork-wielding fashion model for forked-tails and forehead horns; or slyly smiling traveling salesman, pitching his gimcrack wares backed by loosely-enforced contracts claiming lien upon some drink-tossed wastrel's dubiously-valuable soul. But Sauron—the dude fell, the dude schemed, the dude was scary, whether donning the raiments of a beautiful, translucent ring-wise man or an unbearably, searingly abhorrent humanoid vessel of the void.

There exists no other book that I've read as many times as The Silmarillion. Much more than the questing, heroic storyline of The Lord of the Rings was I drawn to the background of all those tumultuous events, the grand personages and royal lineages that stretched back into the mists of primordial time. Where did Sauron come from? From what pit originally arose the Balrog? What order was Gandalf exactly a member of? Who were Beren and Luthien, and what relevance did their own story have to this ultimate chapter of the War of the Rings playing out on the pages before me? Immediately that I finished the trilogy I rushed into the Silmarillion; and though at that time I was still too young to appreciate the allusions to other great mythologies, to the wonderful intricacies of the languages that Tolkien had constructed for his Middle-Earth races, to the powerful theme of tragedy—always linked with a hubris of the striving spirit—that was enjoined to the Noldorin rebellion against the Valar and their heroic-but-doomed struggle against Melkor, He Who Arises in Might, Morgoth Bauglir the Black Enemy—Radical Valar Renegade, Spawner of the Orcs, Dark Lord of the Balrogs, Tutoring Patron of Sauron; in toto, Supreme Badass Motherfucker of all Middle-Earth—still I was held spellbound by these glimpses into the Great Creation, the Dawn of Elves and Men, the Noldorin Exile and the fate of the Silmarils, which ended with such a perfect balance, the priceless jewels at rest at the bottom of the sea, the deepest of earthen chasms, and the highest heights of the heavens. What's more, after the breaking of Beleriand the reader is presented with the awesome arc of the founding and the doom of Númenor, in which Sauron gloatingly laughed atop the Island's mountain temple and lustfully defied the punishing lighting strokes that sizzled through the nighttime air; and the concluding overview of the War of the Rings, in which much is explained that makes The Lord of the Rings even more enjoyably complete than when the trilogy—and its prequel The Hobbit—were the only source for the incredibly deep history that Tolkien had woven from his lifelong love of language.

These annals, with their brilliantly-etched admixtures of beauty and short-lived heroic triumphs set against an overpowering sense of futility and tragic defeat at the hands of an enemy whose cunning is as deep as the infernal pits of his cavernous dungeons and whose malice engirds the star-kissed world, whose very corruption has been bled into the core of creation itself, were just what were needed to spark a young imagination; Tolkien's private amusements and delights mirrored my own in their fledgling form, and inspired me to tributary tasks of creation that nobody else could understand or appreciate but which gave me immense personal satisfaction. They awoke within me the powerful demiurgical desire to craft worlds, populate them, endow them with their own gods and mythologies, formulate a history, laden it with political systems, the whole works, all in the service of a time-bound fate that culminates in an apocalyptic showdown betwixt the dark and the light. At that point in a person's life, when the complex and inscrutable mathematical rituals and hierarchical causality of all-powerful modern science have immense appeal but few handholds, the prismatic and primal allure of myth and magic, the intuitive interconnectedness of nature with the sorcerously creative will of man, even at that tender age a force struggling to avoid restraint and desperately endeavoring to draw power from those spiritual furnaces deep within, the font of dreams, such tales of heroism and fortitude in the face of the supernatural are, for many, very hard to resist. What's more, the channeling of natural phenomenon into organic spirits with anthropomorphic features and forms offers another intuitively-appealing means to understanding a vast material world that otherwise seems awesomely inexplicable and frighteningly unpredictable. Stories that tap into our innate desire both to be entertained and be edified by human theatre set within the panoramic vistas of a horizon-hid past—Tolkien delivered in spades.

I don't care that it was edited by Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay and, thus, can't be declared canonical. Who gives a shit? Some complain that it reads like a Middle-Earth bible, that its archaic style and portentous prose are a labor to struggle through, and provide nothing as satisfying as the great trilogy he had wrought. Ah, tell it to the judge. They read like the annals composed from the mythological strains that wend across a mysterious, fate-bound history that they, in fact, are: it's just that this particular history was played out solely within the mental confines—a rich cerebral theatre—of the author, and possessed a coherence and potency to rival the mythologies of the Greeks or the Northmen. What more could a reader want? If Tolkien's labour of love, crafted and edited, reworked and rewritten, was of such an amazing expressiveness and beauty and power that it both upheld the Ring Trilogy and lit its mythological intimations with a fulgent blaze that only served to augment one's appreciation of the latter's depths, then why not put it out there for that multitude of fans who were dying to sample more of the mystical marvels from one of the greatest and most uniquely imaginative minds of the past century?
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
February 28, 2022
*** 2022 Reread

I reread this wonderful book in anticipation of the upcoming Prime Video series. Still as good as ever.

Tolkien tells the story of the beginning of Middle Earth and has provided us with a very cool mythology for his creation. We learn about the Valar, the Maiar (of whom Gandolf and Suaron are both members) the tribes of the elves and the fall of the great cities of the Elves in Middle Earth.

The closing chapters also talks about Numenor and the rise and fall of the that great island nation and how this society led to the line of kings of whom Aragorn was one.

For Tolkien fans this is a MUST read and a great book of fantasy for SF/F aficionados.

*** 2020 reread

I first read this back in HS, more than 30 years ago. I recall being amazed at the magnificent world building and likened this to “Old Testament” Tolkien.

I must admit that one reason why it’s taken me so long to revisit was my memory of the etymology and I was hesitant to jump back into stilted language and a litany of begats and whose father was who in the time of this or that.

Tolkien is too good for that and modern readers should not at all be intimidated by a stuffy origin story. This reads like a cool mythology and each vignette is a page turning story on its own. Apparently this was actually first begun soon after The Hobbit in the late 1930s but publishers were none too keen. Christopher Tolkien collected his father’s notes and stories and put all this together for a 1977 publication, posthumous to JRR’s 1973 death.

BTW – 1973
1 ring to rule them all
9 rings for men
7 rings for the dwarves
3 for elves

The first part, of Eru Iluvatar (God) is clearly inspired by the Christian Old Testament. The music of the Ainur (angels) has one Ainur who thought his voice was better than the rest – Melkor (Satan) and so Eru made the music into the world and fifteen Ainur came to reside in the world, including the troublemaker.

From here we have a pantheistic legendarium of the Valar (the Ainur who stayed) and of their conflict with Melkor and of the coming of the elves and of men. One of the Ainu formed the dwarves and had to petition Eru for this transgression.

The legends of the tribes of the elves and of their great migrations and of fantastic cities and of the wars against Melkor and his lieutenant Sauron fills this mythology with a richness that is for more than just for LOTR fans, this is good reading for any fantasy genre aficionado.

Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
458 reviews4,464 followers
May 24, 2023
2023 review

So I was asking myself - Jen, how do you review the Silmarillion? How do you review the events of thousands of years of heavily condensed material and make it palatable that this is in fact, a classic and a must for all Tolkien fans?

Well I've thought about that. I'm not going to review the material itself, or I'd just end up rewriting the book. But what I can say about this is that reading the Silmarillion, although incredibly challenging to keep up with all the names, battles and the second names Tolkien gives to characters and battles ("It was known as X in the tongue of the Elves, but Y in the tongues of men, but the dwarves called it Z" - if you know you know), is a fantastic experience in terms of what I'd like to call a taste of Tolkien. There are so many stories squished into this epic that just as you get invested into one, a new one starts. But if you find a story that resonates with you, there is a small possibility that Christopher Tolkien has adapted this in a more narrative and expanded form. Case in point - The Fall of Gondolin, Beren and Lúthien, The Children of Húrin or The Fall of Númenor: and Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth. It is a likelihood, considering the Fall of Numenor was published after Christopher's death, that the Tolkien estate will continue to find writers to expand upon the genius material that Tolkien has given to us. So if you want a taste of Tolkien, read the Silmarillion and choose from there.

And if the Silmarillion wasn't enough, jump straight into the History of Middle Earth series. A massive undertaking but one I recommend if you couldn't get enough.

In the end, it's incredibly sad to me that we never got to read Tolkien's own expanded version of these stories. It's one of the great tragedies of classic writers, though I may be biased. I totally am. Enjoy what was, what is and what has not yet come to pass.

Image result for silmarillion deviantart
Profile Image for John Mauro.
Author 5 books516 followers
April 8, 2023
J.R.R. Tolkien turns the world-building knob all the way up to 11 in The Silmarillion, which is a masterclass in high fantasy.

This book is Biblical is scope and also Biblical in its writing style. It's not for the casual reader, but it is a goldmine for the Tolkien enthusiast.

This particular edition of The Silmarillion is gorgeous. It is published on high-quality paper and features 45 pages of beautiful artwork. The artwork truly enhances the reading experience.

This edition also includes a foldout National Geographic-style map and a comprehensive glossary of characters, locations, and languages. Relevant family trees are also included.

This is a beautiful volume and deserves a prominent place on the bookshelves (or coffee tables) of Tolkien enthusiasts everywhere.
Profile Image for Brett C.
805 reviews181 followers
May 16, 2021
This is an epic masterpiece. This is the cosmology and history of Middle-earth. It starts with the creation of the world by the god-like being, Iluvatar. From there He creates angelic beings called Valar and Maiar. These beings interact with each other, create things, and the story perpetually unfolds. We learn of the creation of Elves, of Men, of Dwarves, and lots of other entities. There is Fëanor and the creation of the Silmarils, wars fought, and much more. Then there's Melkor: the angelic being who turns bad and falls from grace. He remains the antagonist throughout the narrative. All of it sets the stage for The Lord of the Rings timeframe.

This was very new and different to me because my only Middle-earth exposure is the Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit book. There are a lot of charters, places, and concepts that I was unfamiliar with: so I resorted to Youtube videos and Wikipedia to help me along the way.

Its a little minblowing to think J.R.R. Tolkien came up with all of this. I would recommend this to fans of LOTR, The Hobbit, and the whole Middle-earth scene. Thanks!
Profile Image for Annemarie.
250 reviews698 followers
July 8, 2018
The whole day, I have been trying to find the best words to use in this review, but how can you find the right words to describe perfection? This book was just a delight to read, from start to finish. The fact that a single man was able to create a fictional world with so much detail absolutely blows my mind. You can feel the love Tolkien had for Middle-earth in every word he writes. The way everything comes together makes it hard to believe that all of this is truly just fictional. There is so much information loaded in these few hundred pages; I already know that I will reread this book many, many times throughout the rest of my life, just so that I might be able to some day understand and remember everything.

As wonderful and dear as this book is to me, I also want to say that:

1. You probably shouldn't read this before reading The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. I think it would be too confusing and just a bit too much as a starter to this world.
2. You also probably shouldn't read this if you didn't like either of the aforementioned books. You need to care for Middle-earth and its history to properly enjoy and appreciate this one.
3. If you did enjoy the aforementioned books, do NOT go into this one thinking that you're going to get a similar adventurous story. This isn't exactly what I would describe as a "novel". The description it probably fits the best is "bible of a fictitious world".
Profile Image for William Gwynne.
376 reviews1,706 followers
September 12, 2022
A video discussing why you should read The Silmarillion. Many have said it better than myself, but I hope my passion for this collection of wonderful stories can be seen. Why You Should Read The Silmarillion

The Silmarillion just strikes a chord within me. Whilst I understand how much of the beginning can be seen as dry, I love how this world is constructed, and then so many of the latter stories apart such emotion within me. Beren & Luthien, The Children of Hurin and more! I must admit that I love stats and family trees, so the amount of detail seems like ti was made for me!

Full Review to Come
Profile Image for James Trevino.
68 reviews35.7k followers
September 24, 2017
Time for James’s unpopular opinion: I liked this better than The Lord of the Rings!

Before saying I am crazy, hear me out (actually, if you have nothing better to do, then read this review; if you have, then I gave this 5 stars, so you know my opinion anyway! See, you can’t say I don’t care for your time!).

Silmarillion tells the tale of the making of the world by Eru, the God of Middle-Earth and all that followed through the first two ages of creation, up until the events described in The Hobbit and LOTR. Christopher Tolkien did a great job of connecting his father’s writings on the subject, so we have a nice and chronological story. But it is not a novel exactly, for it covers countless years.

Eru and his Valar, spirits of great power, create Arda, which is the Earth that is seen and there they make the world ready for the coming of the First Born, the Elves. The Second Born, Men, come too at some point. Silmarillion is broken into 4 parts:

1. Ainulindale (the creation part)
2. Valaquenta (the bulk of the story, chronicling the rise of the Elves and then their fall from grace, the deeds of Melkor (or Morgoth), the greatest of the Valar that fell to darkness, also the master of Sauron (how awesome is that?!); and there’s also the coming of men and their part in the war that followed)
3. Akallabeth (of the great kings of Numenor, the ancestors of Aragorn from LOTR)
4. Of the Rings of Power and The Third Age (basically a summary of what happened in The Hobbit, LOTR and a bit before that)

Now, I said it is not exactly a novel. Silmarillion is written as a combination between The Bible and a history/mythology book. It has a huge number of characters, with some of them being very prevalent. You learn here of a lot of the things only mentioned in LOTR: like Galadriel and Elrond’s origins, Earendil, Gil-Galad, Hurin, Turin, the fall of Gondolin, the great city of the Elves, the Silmarils, the most beautiful jewels ever created, the great love story of Beren and Luthien, the archetype for the fate of Aragorn and Arwen.

I said I prefer this to LOTR and that is because the scope of Silmarillion is unimaginably huge. Next to it, the events in LOTR seem like child’s play. It is much more epic than LOTR and some of the characters really stick with you. The archaic style is also something I loved, unlike many people reviewing this book.

Actually, I am surprised at the low grade this has here on Goodreads. The only explanation I have for it is the fact that a lot of readers search for instant gratification these days. Sad really. It is true though that if you want to read this Tolkien epic, you need patience and attention. But it is soooooo worth it!

Now, I hope that some movie studio will adapt this one day (in a series of 10 movies or so that would be needed to fit all the story).

All in all, it is by far the best book I (re)read this year!
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
701 reviews3,355 followers
December 18, 2018
In terms of reading interest, this oscillated between three and five stars, but with respect to what Tolkien accomplished here, The Silmarillion deserves nothing less than five stars.
Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews92 followers
July 28, 2021
Maybe I shouldn't have read this before The Lord of the Rings or maybe I just don't like this type of narration ('ancient myths and legends' type), but I didn't enjoy it all. Way too boring for my taste. Although Tolkien showed himself as a brilliant linguist and myth-maker it was completely impossible to follow dozens various plot lines. The amount of names (people, places, nations and events) is overwhelming and tiresome.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,178 followers
August 8, 2019
This is the epic backstory and mythology of Middle Earth. The grandeur and beauty of the language, and indeed the content, is reminiscent of the King James edition of the Bible, beloved by Tolkien.

Its beauty is sometimes counterbalanced by its opacity. My child was keen to read it, but aged only 7 or 8, struggled, so I read it aloud, which was quite a challenge: convoluted sentences half a page long, and complex genealogy, exacerbated by characters and places referred to by two or more names from different mythical languages (“There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar.”). Sometimes I had to go back to the start of a sentence or paragraph because I’d forgotten how it started. My child, blessed with an incredible memory for matters of interest, took in more than I did.

Ultimately, the important thing is the majesty of immersion and the feelings that instils, rather than conscious understanding of detail (like the Bible?!).

Image: The 1657 Polyglot Bible, at the Chained Library, Wells Cathedral (Source.)

If you're expecting something like The Hobbit (or even LotR), this will be a surprise - but an enriching one, I hope.

What’s Missing?

Reading this clarified two aspects of Middle Earth I’d vaguely pondered in The Hobbit and LotR:

Tolkien devised the history, mythology, culture, and languages (he was an early conlanger) of the many races of Middle Earth in intricate detail, and he was a devout Catholic. There is often a sense of the sacred and profane (“The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light.”), but there’s not even passing mention of temples, priests, prayers, rituals, sacraments, or holy texts. The elves come closest, but even so, I find it odd that there are no invocations in the darkest times - on the eve of battle or beside the dying - or thanksgiving at the happiest.

Where are the women and children (other than the entwives, which Treebeard explains)? Obviously, they’re unlikely to go on a dangerous quest, let alone to battle, so wouldn’t be major characters, but it’s strange that there’s so little mention of longing for them or just moaning and gossiping about them. I think there are two related reasons. The families are mostly back in the Shire, because that’s the happy, heavenly safe place (until it isn’t), as well as in the elven forests, and dwarf communities. Perhaps because Tolkien attended a single-sex day school and then a singe-sex Oxford college, that felt like the natural order of things.


• “Now the Elves made many rings; but secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others, and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only so long as it too should last. And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring; for the power of the Elven-rings was very great, and that which should govern them must be a thing of surpassing potency; and Sauron forged it in the Mountain of Fire in the Land of Shadow. And while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them.”

• “Shall we mourn here deedless forever a shadow-folk mist-haunting dropping vain tears in the thankless sea?”

• “It is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.”

My Other Tolkien Reviews

The Hobbit HERE.
Letters from Father Christmas HERE.

Although I’ve read the three volumes of Lord of the Rings, I’ve not done so recently, and there are plenty of excellent reviews of them on GR already.

This Silmarillion review is totally new (except for a couple of sentences), August 2019.
Profile Image for Lily - Books by Starlight.
451 reviews198 followers
October 6, 2022
Convincing you to read The Silmarillion based on its aesthetic:

((with tips for reading The Silm in progress!))

𝒮𝑜 𝑒𝓃𝒹𝓈 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝒮𝒾𝓁𝓂𝒶𝓇𝒾𝓁𝓁𝒾𝑜𝓃. 𝐼𝒻 𝒾𝓉 𝒽𝒶𝓈 𝓅𝒶𝓈𝓈𝑒𝒹 𝒻𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒽𝒾𝑔𝒽 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒷𝑒𝒶𝓊𝓉𝒾𝒻𝓊𝓁 𝓉𝑜 𝒹𝒶𝓇𝓀𝓃𝑒𝓈𝓈 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓇𝓊𝒾𝓃, 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝑜𝓁𝒹 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒻𝒶𝓉𝑒 𝑜𝒻 𝒜𝓇𝒹𝒶 𝑀𝒶𝓇𝓇𝑒𝒹...
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,654 reviews383 followers
September 14, 2020
I think of all the worlds I've visited in books, that created by Tolkien will always be my favourite.

The detail is so rich and its history so compelling that it so easily comes alive for me. If you want to know more about Middle Earth, the info is there. You just have to find the book that tells it. If you're looking for more beyond The Lord of the Rings, this is that book.

Now, I'm not going to lie - the first 150-or-so pages are a bit of a slog. This could be retitled "A Condensed History of Middle Earth" and it begins with the world's very creation. It's basically the Bible of Tolkien's world. Don't look for any mention of familiar names too soon. (This is also very likely the reason I gave up about a third of the way in when I first read it, back when I was 17 or so.)

First, there's The Big Guy, Illuvatar, who brings into being the Ainur, who essentially end up being the gods of this world (The Valar). Then there's the creation of the physical world, and the people destined to inhabit it. It's all described in rather complex detail, so this is not light reading, my friends.

From the very beginning, one of the Ainur has evil intentions, and Melkor (aka Morgoth) swiftly becomes the Big Bad who lurks throughout this entire history, darkening all that the others create. His presence sows the seed of good vs evil, and suddenly this fancy new world is marred into something tragically more recognisable and honestly far more interesting.

So the first half of the book is all about who creates what, who descends from who, what the land looks like, and who ends up in which lands. We know the elves are quick to inhabit, so then we must learn all of the elves of importance, and how they come to scatter throughout the lands of Middle Earth.

It gets incredibly confusing, not least because of the multitude of characters but additionally because each character tends to come with several names, and reference to them is not consistent.

Thankfully, there's an index and a few family trees at the back to assist, though it's not really until great deeds are done that the characters become somewhat familiar.

But, man, when those deeds begin, things start to get really interesting.

The underlying story is about the creation of three jewels, the silmaril, and the quest to reclaim them, yet this actually composes very little of the stories within these pages. It's more about the various fates of all those affected by the existence of the jewels, and the endless feud with Morgoth. The fates are many and varied, and I ended up sticking post-it notes throughout my book to remind myself of some of the most epic occurences within these pages:

We have people chained to mountains, limbs hacked off, people crushed by boulders and thrown from cliffs, destroyed by monstrous creatures, betrayal, murder, incest, lies, greed, arrogance, jealousy, veangeance ... there were actually so many moments in this book where I felt the need to cover my gaping mouth in horror.


Eventually I found my favourites among the stories, and characters I got to know and love - Turgon, Maedhros, Thingol and Melian, Hurin, Beren and Luthien and Huan the hound ... and so many others whose parts I loved but then forgot in favour of the next great hero to arise. That's another thing - you hear about the deeds of one, then they disappear from the story for a time, only to reappear later when you've all but forgotten them. It was confusing but it was also kind of fun to have friends coming back into the story.

There are also a lot of echoes of other myths and legends, and of deeds made familiar through The Lord of the Rings. There's definitely a sense that life is circular, and history often repeats.

I loved the complexity of it, but it doesn't make for easy reading. You really have to concentrate on every word of every sentence, so this is only for those fully committed to learning the lore of Tolkien's world. It's told more than shown so it can feel a little tedious at times, but if you stick with it you'll be rewarded by fantastic stories rich in detail. Consider the fact that within 366 pages we have centuries of history and lore - Tolkien actually does pretty well to keep it entertaining.

Truth is, I still managed to feel so much for some of these characters. I loved Thingol so his fate really affected me, and I was bemused to learn that the true hero of the story of Beren and Luthien was actually a dog. I loved that damn dog so much. The story of Turin Turambar horrified me so many times, and Maehdros was one I felt loyalty to without really remembering why. I loved the friendships and loathed the actions of those lacking honour and generally ended up being fully invested in everything. There are also little gems of information that will spark the memory of things read about elsewhere, or embellish a little. For example, one fun fact I learnt is that dwarves apparently went into battle wearing these terrifying masks. Oh if only those masks had appeared in Peter Jackson's imaginings.

Then of course as time draws closer to the Third Age, learning about Aragorn's ancestors was a real treat. Although working out that he was kiiiiinda related to Elrond made things a bit weird, if you follow me.


This just ended up being so rewarding to read and I'm really glad for that. It's definitely reignited my love for this world, which never dies but does sleep from time to time as I immerse myself in other worlds.

This is probably only for the hardcore Tolkien junkies, but if you make the effort it will be well rewarded. I know I was.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,103 followers
June 7, 2019
This is actually my third time reading and I feel kinda bad because I keep picking up big new details I missed the first couple of times I read it.

Well, maybe I don't feel *THAT* bad. I mean, it is DAMN full of names and genealogies and it's probably a bit worse than having to slog through the Iliad for all that.

BUT. And here comes the huge, fire-belching butt of Melkor...

The Silmarillion is likely the best book of mythology I've ever read.
Better than any rendition of the Greeks or the Nordic... or anything.

I get the MOST out of this, get the most thrilled by this, and become an utter, raving fanboy. The more I learn, the more I imagine, and the more I imagine, the better the HUGE FREAKING EPIC BATTLES of the First Age of Arda (Also known as our Earth, with us living during the Fourth Age).

I mean, come on. Gods, all the creation myths, Melkor the corruptor, the jealous, among them. Epic battles that change whole lands, erupting volcanoes, armies full of balrogs and dragons and orcs. The full might of the Valar (gods tied to Arda) arrayed with the first Elves in the height of their craftsmanship, battling, and sometimes being defeated by, the dark god.

Let's not forget the glittering lamps that reach up like space elevators bathing the whole flat earth in light or their destruction. Or the gigantic trees that took their place, or the fruit and leaf of the destroyed trees that later became the sun and the moon, finally out of reach of the great corruptor.

Come on! This is GREAT stuff. :) And we even get to the ending of the First age, the ending of the Second age, getting the full story of Sauron's corrupting the Kings of Men, inflaming their desire to be immortal just like the Elves and ending with the utter destruction of their kingdom, their island, their Atlantis. :)

So much glory. So much tragedy. So much power, magic, and TIME. It's the full history of Earth, after all. And even the LoTR is encapsulated in a very cool cliff-notes version, no more than 30 or so pages out of all the other, even more glorious past. :)

Am I wrong to want such a full history to arrive on the big screen, or even on the little screen? Am I wrong to hope and NOT be disappointed in the new TV series coming up, Middle-Earth? AM I WRONG NOT TO WANT BEREN AND LUTHIEN trick and ensorcell a GOD in his own fortress of Angmar, cutting the jewel that houses the very spirit of Arda's FIRE from his crown? Doing what no other immortal or mortal had been able to do for hundreds upon hundreds of years of strife? Out of love??? :)


I can only hope and pray and pray and hope to Illuvatar that they do it right.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
506 reviews90 followers
June 11, 2021
سیلماریون شامل پنج بخش است:
۱. آینولینداله «آهنگ آینور» - داستان آفرینش جهان توسط اِرو [آواز آینور اسطورهٔ آفرینش آردا توسط ارو ایلوواتار روایت می‌شود. داستان با توصیف آینور به عنوان فرزندان ایلوواتار آغاز می‌شود. به آنها هنر موسیقی آموخته شده و منجر به زندگی جاودانه برای آن‌ها می‌شود. آینور در دسته‌های کوچک و بزرگ دربارهٔ تم‌هایی که ایلوواتار به هر یک از آنها داده آواز می‌خوانند. ایلوواتار برای تک تک آنها تصمیم‌های بزرگی دارد. یک سمفونی باشکوه که با همکاری همهٔ آنها به انتها می‌رسد و همه با هم در هارمونی آواز می‌خوانند.
ملکور قوی‌ترین آینور است و با بلندی بیش از حد، هارمونی موسیقی را برهم می‌زند. ایلوواتار می‌ایستد لبخند می‌زند و دست چپش را بالا می‌برد و یک تم تازه را آغاز می‌کند. ملکور دوباره تلاش می‌کند تم را برهم زند. ایلوواتار این بار دست راستش را بالا می‌برد و برای بار سوم آغاز می‌کند. ملکور دوباره تلاش می‌کند موسیقی را برهم زند اما این بار آنقدر بلند است که نمی‌تواند. ایلوواتار، موسیقی را به اتمام می‌رساند، ملکور را سرزنش می‌کند و آینور را تنها می‌گذارد.
مقام خدایی کاری می‌کند تا آینور ببینند که او چگونه از نیستی، آردا را آفرید . هنگامی که تم آخر منجر به آمدن فرزندان ایلوواتار، الف‌ها و انسان‌ها شد بسیاری از آینور خواستند تا به جهان روند و آنها را ببینند آنها به عنوان والا و مایا به آردا رفتند. اما برخی در تالار بدون زمان با ایلوواتار ماندند. در این میان ملکور بارها تلاش می‌کند فرمانروایی آردا را در دست بگیرد.]

۲. والاکوئنتا «حکایت والار [والار چهارده روح قدرتمند از نژاد آینور می‌باشند که پس از خلق آردا وارد آن شدند و از سوی ایلوواتار آن یگانه خالق هستی دستور یافتند که با روح پلید ملکور به مبارزه بپردازند] و حکایت  مایار [ مایار (مفرد: مایا) موجوداتی از رشته‌افسانه‌های تالکین می‌باشند. آنها نیز مانند والاها از تبار آینور، ولی از والاها ضعیف تر هستند. نام مایار در زبان کوئنیایی و از ریشه الفی، مایا به معنی «بسیار عالی، قابل تحسین» است] بنا به روایت اِلدار.

۳. کوئنتا سیلماریون «تاریخچهٔ سیلماریل‌ها» - داستان اصلی سیلماریون که شامل داستان‌های دوران دو درخت والینور و دوره اول می‌شود.
[والینور (سرزمین والار یا سرزمین والاها) یک سرزمین خیالی در رشته‌افسانه‌های تالکین است که در تصرف والاها در امان است.]

۴. آکالابت «سقوط نومه نور» - داستان سقوط نومه نور و مردمانش و دوره دوم.
[نومه‌نور (به انگلیسی: Númenor) یک جزیره تخیّلی در داستان‌های تالکین است. این جزیره از قلمروهای انسانها در دوران دوم بود. نومه‌نور هدیه‌ای از طرف والار به اداین (کسانی که در کنار الفها ضدّ مورگوت جنگیدند) بود. نومه‌نور دارای تمدّن بزرگی بود اما با گذشت زمان، طمع نومه‌نوریان به نامیرا شدن شروع شد. به اصرار سائورون، آر-فارازون سعی کرد که سرزمین‌های نامیرا را تسخیر کند اما نومه‌نور نابود شد و زیر دریا فرورفت. در این بین یاوران‌الف (مؤمنان به والار و ایلوواتار) زنده ماندند و با رهبری الندیل به سرزمین میانه رفتند و قلمروهای گاندور و آرنور را پایه‌گذاری کردند.]

۵. حدیث حلقه‌های قدرت و دوره سوم - که با آن این حکایت‌ها به پایان می‌رسد و راهنمایی است بر ارباب حلقه‌ها. [حلقه‌های قدرت در رشته‌افسانه‌های جی. آر. آر. تالکین عبارت است از حلقه‌های جادویی که توسط سائورون یا الف‌های هولین زیر نظر سائورون ساخته شده است. سائورون می‌خواست در حالی که خودش حلقه یگانه را بدست می‌کند، الف‌ها، کوتوله‌ها و انسان‌ها این حلقه‌ها را بدست کنند. او با این کار می‌توانست سرنوشت سه نژاد ساکن در سرزمین میانی را بدست گیرد چون حلقهٔ یگانه که حلقه‌های دیگر را کنترل می‌کرد بدست خودش بود.
نقشهٔ سائورون عملی نشد چون الف‌ها حلقه‌های خود را در دست نکردند و تا هنگامی که سائورون حلقهٔ یگانه را داشت حلقه‌های خود را پنهان کردند؛ کوتوله‌ها نیز آنچنان که سائورون انتظار داشت به فرمان حلقهٔ یگانه درنیامدند تنها انسان‌ها بردهٔ او شدند و به نازگول تبدیل شدند.]
سخت ترین، عجیب ترین و جذاب ترین کتابی که تا امروز خوندم.
مجموعه یادداشتهای تالکین که شامل تاریخ آفرینش اردا، درخت های زندگی، خلقت الف ها و انسانها و داستان حلقه های قدرت ان
موقع خوندنش تخیلم به دورترین نقطه های تصور پر میکشید و قلب و مغزم از هیجان لبریز میشدن.
تجربه نابی بود برای منکه فانتزی خوان نیستم/نبودم.
گمونم این کتاب مقدس فانتزی خونها و علاقمندان مجموعه ارباب حلقه ها و بقیه کتابهای تالکین باید باشه. که به حق انتخاب شایسته ایه.
ممنون از سینا برای هدیه دادن این کتاب شگفت انگیز به من.
در حد پرستش عاشقش شدم ♡
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews489 followers
February 13, 2022
The Silmarillion gives a clear and comprehensive history of the mythological world Tolkien created to set his Lord of Rings trilogy. In five parts, he describes the world of which Middle Earth is a part, the spirits who rule the world (who the Men called gods), the making of Elves, Men, and Dwarfs, and the events that took place in the world, especially on Middle Earth from the First Age to the Third Age. In short, The Silmarillion can be safely described as a forerunner to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Amidst the history, The Silmarillion also tells the dark story in the First Age, where Elves and Men in league battle with the First Dark Lord, Morgoth, to recover the "Silmarili" (three perfect jewels) which he has stolen from the High Elves. The bulk of the story (Quenta Silmarillion) is devoted to the heroism and valour of the Elves and Men in their terrible war against Morgoth, in the absence of the support of the ruling spirits (gods). Although I say there is a story (for there is), it is not a continuous and smoothly flowing story; in fact, the story is continued in detached episodes. Yet there is a sort of connectivity between the chapters to keep the readers on track with the story.

There are a huge number of characters, both Elves, and Men, without proper notes or charts that you cannot keep track of. The same can be said to places and battles. There were some helpful charts and maps in the edition I read which made the read a little easy. But I should have taken notes as I read along. That is something to remember when I return to it again (for I do plan to reread).

This was an interesting read, though I admit that it was one of the most difficult books that I read. What is amazing is the thoroughness that is displayed by Tolkien in creating this mythological world, the characters - Elves, Men, Dwarfs, Gods, Dark lord, and his creatures. The main characters being Elves and Men are described to the minutest detail including their different races and their descendants. It is really impressive. I have read that Tolkien always felt the absence of British lore and had felt the need to remedy the defect. I think his works quite compensate for that absence.

I did enjoy the read but I think I would have enjoyed it more had I given my full reading attention without other books getting in the way. So when I do return to this, I want to take proper time and space to read it.
Profile Image for Celia🪐.
552 reviews1 follower
September 22, 2022
Cierro este libro con una única pregunta en la cabeza, sobre como ha sido posible que no lo haya leído hasta ahora. Ha sido necesario que Amazon vaya a sacar una serie (que solo puede ser un autentico bombazo o un autentico desastre. El termino medio no lo concibo) sobre la Segunda Edad de la Tierra Media para animarme a leerla. Y no entiendo como ha podido pasar esto por varias razones, y no solo porque me haya encantado, que también. Como generaciones de lectores, la saga de “El Señor De Los Anillos” y “El Hobbit” es muy importante y querida para mi en muchos niveles. Son algunos de los libros que más he releído en mi vida y por los que más cariño siento. De hecho, la idea inicial era superar el mono que me ha dado últimamente de Tolkien releyéndolos (que ocurrirá, dadme tiempo). Pero me sentía un poco culpable por no haber leído algún otro de los muchos libros que Tolkien escribió sobre su creación más conocida, La Tierra Media. Así que entre eso y lo de la serie fue que me anime a quitarme esa espinita literaria.

Al final la mejor forma de comprobar las cosas es por uno mismo. De “El Silmarillion” había oído y leído, tanto en reseñas por Internet como de gente que lo había leído, que era un libro muy aburrido, denso y pesado, plagado de nombres y de hechos en el cual era muy difícil ubicarte. Conozco más de uno ya más de dos que han sido incapaces de acabarlo. Y en cierto sentido puedo entender el porqué: no se trata de una novela de fantasía y acción propiamente dicha, sino de una crónica mítica e histórica que abarca miles de años y a centenares de personajes y de hechos. Un ejemplo más (seguramente él más paradigmático) de la genialidad y minuciosidad de Tolkien como creador de mundos en todas y cada una de sus vertientes. Poco puedo decir más al respecto que ya se haya dicho . Solo que lo que este hombre creo y como lo hizo paso a paso, sin dejar nada al azar, nunca dejara de maravillarme y sorprenderme. El trabajo de toda una vida nunca a justificado mejor la misma.

Todo empieza con una canción, la de Ilúvatar, por medio de la cual se crea Eä (el universo) y, con ella Arda (la tierra). Y el resto de historias y cuentos se encadenan como notas de una larga y hermosa canción que se da durante siglos. La canción de como la Tierra Media se convirtió en el escenario de las aventuras de Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn y el resto de la Compañía del Anillo y demás personajes de ESDLA, punto al que termina por desembocar en su final. Y es más que eso. Es la canción de un mundo entero, y en ella tienen cabida todo tipo de notas y acordes. La lucha eterna de las fuerzas del bien contra el mal, de la luz contra la oscuridad; se alterna con historias sobre guerras y luchas, ambiciones, muerte, amores más fuertes que la muerte, amistades, perdidas, sagas familiares malditas, traiciones y heroísmo. Y todo esto tiene algo tanto de épico como de humano que logra conectar con el lector. Más allá de que las páginas de “El Silmarillion” estén pobladas de héroes, dioses, magos y elfos, hay en todos estos personajes y en sus vivencias algo profundamente reconocible y que forma parte de lo más hondo del bagaje humano y de su forma de ser.

Y es que la influencia de lo religioso y de la Biblia es innegable en este computo de leyendas al igual que la de otras mitologías como la nórdica. Pero creo que una de las cosas más interesantes en Tolkien es la forma en que, de alguna manera, humaniza a sus seres más poderosos. Sus errores o los pecados que cometen no se deben tanto a un error de cálculos o a que algo más poderoso que se interponga en sus planes (que también) como a la forma en que caen en algunos de los defectos más intrínsicamente humanos. Porque los dioses en Tolkien tienen sus propias personalidades, perfectamente diferenciadas de las del resto. Los elfos, a los que tan sabios y poderosos tenemos en nuestras cabezas, fácilmente podrían ser humanos, ya que se equivocan muchas veces y son presas del odio y las ambiciones humanas como cualquier otro de los terceros hijos. Y también son capaces de conocer el amor y la amistad, y de valorarlos en su justa medida. Los magos, enviados para proteger a la humanidad de la llegada de la oscuridad, pueden acabar siendo partícipes de la misma. Los héroes no son infalibles. Hay en todo esto algo más grande que todos estos personajes, un destino que les mueve a actuar y les supera, pero que aún así les de margen para ser ellos mismos, un libre albedrío que les hace profundamente cercanos para el lector.

En esto creo que también tiene mucho que ver el transfondo social, histórico y moral del propio Tolkien, del cual toda su obra es también deudora, bebiendo ampliamente de estas circunstancias. Nada del otro mundo, estos contextos influyen, para bien o para mal, en todos los escritores. La gracia está en ver en cómo lo hace. En el caso de Tolkien no solo vemos una historia que habla sobre la humanidad. También podemos comprobar la forma en que la Primera Guerra Mundial influyó en él, ya que de joven estuvo en el frente (Por cierto, hay un libro que habla de las experiencias en este conflicto junto a las de su amigo C. S. Lewis, creador de “Las Crónicas de Narnia”, y de como les influyo a ambos en sus celebres obras. Libro que tengo, desde hace mucho, ganas de leer también, como no). El sinsentido de la guerra y la capacidad inherente de las personas para realizarla a sangre fría, y para matar a sus semejantes es algo muy presente en todo este libro de una forma descorazonadora. Otro aspecto que también me ha parecido muy interesante es la preocupación del escritor por la ecología y el medio ambiente, la forma en que habla de cómo la industrialización y la falta de cuidado están destrozando los espacios naturales y la tierra. Ideas muy avanzadas para la época en que Tolkien vivió y que demuestran la gran sensibilidad y perspicacia de este autor.

Y como el universo y la humanidad, “El Silmarillion” es inabarcable en cuanto a la cantidad de temas y tipos de historia que tratan sus 24 historias. Quien lo lea encontrará que es un compendio en el que tienen cabida una gran cantidad de géneros. Encontramos desde la cosmología hasta la épica, pasando por la novela de aventuras e incluso la romántica. En este sentido tengo que decir que hay dos historias que me han gustado especialmente (aunque por supuesto todas las que he leído en este tomo me han encantado). Por un lado tenemos la de “Los hijos de Húrin “, que me ha recordado mucho a las grandes tragedias de la literatura griega (además que por causas obvias) por su sentido del destino, la tragedia y el pathos. Pero la palma es para la historia de “Beren y Lúthien”. No en pocas ocasiones había leído que era una de las más hermosas historias de amor que nos había legado en la literatura. Y ahora entiendo porque. Los hermanos Grimm cuentan el mito de Orfeo, protagonizado por una pareja de amantes prohibidos que se ponen el mundo por montera y desafían hasta la misma muerte por estar juntos. Es una historia desgarradoramente poética y que enternece. Tanto en contenido como por la forma en que está escrito me parece una de las cosas más preciosas que escribió Tolkien. No en vano, la relación entre la elfa y el humano está basada en su propia historia de amor con su esposa, Edith. De hecho, en las tumbas del matrimonio, bajo sus nombres y la fecha de su nacimiento y defunción aparecen los nombres de los amantes protagonistas. Un guiño de lo más entrañable que si ya me pareció encantador antes de leer este romance, ahora me lo parece infinitamente más.

“El Silmarillion”, al igual que el resto de obras de Tolkien, no es un libro para leer con prisas. Y no solo por la forma de narrar de su autor, plácida y lenta, con ritmo pausado y recreándose en los detalles y en las descripciones. También porque en la obra se encadenan muchos episodios de todo tipo y condición, protagonizados por toda una horda de personajes de diferentes razas. Creo que nunca he agradecido más en mi vida que en la parte de atrás de un libro hubiera árboles genealógicos y listados de personajes, ya que me he pasado toda la lectura consultándolos. Y también la existencia de wikias hechas por los fans en las que se explicaba más detenidamente que era cada lugar, cada objeto o cual era la historia de cada uno de los personajes.

Y por supuesto, mención al estilo narrativo de Tolkien, que es muy delicado y meticuloso. La mejor forma para describirlo es como si este autor tuviera delante una lámpara hecha de cristales y dedicara todos sus esfuerzos a describir cada uno de sus cristales y la forma en que la luz juega con ellos, como son prismas de colores que van creándose en este baile, recreándose en cada uno de sus tonalidades y matices. O como si estuviera hablando de una hermosa cascada y cada uno de sus gotas de agua mereciera su plena y total atención. Hoy esto se ve perfectamente en los primeros capítulos, donde se crea la tierra y conocemos a los dioses. Están escritos con una belleza y una narrativa sin parangón, de una forma poéticamente sutil y preciosista que impacta y es imposible de definir de una manera que le haga justicia. Tanto énfasis en el detalle podría ser soporífero y pesado en cualquier otro autor. Pero en el caso de Tolkien la experiencia resulta de una belleza abrumadora y cantarina, otro motivo más para adorar esta lectura.

Tolkien fue un genial filólogo y escritor. Pero también fue un humanista y filosofo de primera. Todo esto desemboco en que su romanticismo innato se contrapusiera a la dureza del mundo en el que le toco vivir, del cual no podía escapar. Esta lucha interna se dió de la mano con su gran capacidad creadora para crear uno de los mundos y legados fantásticos y ficticios más hermosos y mejor construidos de toda la historia. Un mundo que a día de hoy sorprende, sobrecoge y enamora a partes iguales a todos sus lectores. Incluso aquellos que ya lo conocen de antes no pueden dejar de enamorarse de la Tierra Media cada vez que vuelven a Tolkien. Ahora tengo muchas ganas de seguir con este autor, especialmente de leer los libros a mayores sobre (como no) “Los hijos de Húrin “y “Beren y Lúthien”.

En lo que llevo de 2022 he dicho en varias reseñas que una lectura es de las mejores de lo que llevamos de año o, directamente, la mejor del año. Pero ya os digo desde aquí que a todas estas las ha superado “El Silmarillion”. Muy bueno tiene que ser lo que venga hasta diciembre para poder sobrepasarlo.
Profile Image for Edward.
377 reviews1,012 followers
July 28, 2022
I have now finished the fantasy bible and now I can rest.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,116 reviews3,033 followers
August 30, 2020

This is my favorite work of Tolkien so far... I have only read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings BUT WHILST THESE ARE FANTASTIC ALREADY, THE SILMARILLION IS 10 TIMES BETTER!

In my opinion Tolkien is really brilliant at shaping a world and creating cool concepts and story arcs... He is just not the best in writing these down... What I mean with that is that he is not the best at writing characters and their feelings and making me connect with these characters on a very emotional and personal level BUT he is the best at putting characters in certain situations and creating a plot and their surroundings. That's why I loved the Silmarillion. Each chapter was basically a finished story (even though all stories go hand in hand and can be put in a timeline). Almost every new chapter focused on a new person. Meaning Tolkien could do what Tolkien can do best AKA exposing a lot of brilliant concepts and plots without having to write a lot about the characters as people with feelings...

I have to say that I am a big fan of Feanor because I kinda loathed Iluvatar and the Maia (because they were so useless at times) and I loved Feanor for fucking shit up and getting the Noldor to Middle-Earth with a big fat FUCK U to Iluvatar.

The story of Turin Turumbar was so very tragic and really made me want to read the Children of Hurin soon! (I'm not sure if it will happen this year thoo... so many books on the TBR left)
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