Jan 16 2013, 11:36pm
And I was just a little lad then so it didn't all really sink in... Then I had my Tolkien-rediscovery about 18 months ago (strangely enough, begun by the purchase of the soundtracks to the LOTR films...!) and I decided to do what you're doing. Halfway through the Silmarillion I bought "Unfinished Tales" and I already had Children of Hurin.
I read the Silmarillion nearly 10 years ago
So, as has been suggested, I read Children of Hurin in place of the chapter "Of Turin Turambar".
As well as that, when I got to the chapter "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin," I read "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin" from Unfinished Tales which was an absolute blast and so demoralising when it finished after it had hardly begun! I then went and found where the story left off in the Silmarillion chapter and went on from there.
Now, the only other First Age stuff is in the Silmarillion, so I finished the First Age there. In terms of Second Age stuff, it's very difficult. I went through Unfinished Tales and so read "A Description of the Island of Numenor" - not hugely exciting but very interesting in terms of actually discovering what this legendary "Numenor" actually is. Then there was "Aldarion and Erendis", which as far as I recall was a good story (I think it was supposed to be the only proper piece of history that survived the downfall of Numenor or something like that?).
"The Line of Elros: Kings of Numenor" is (again, as far as I recall) simply a list of kings and summaries of their reigns... and as such, it pretty much overlaps with the whole timescale of "Akallabeth" from The Silmarillion, but the two focus on quite different details I believe. I would have to say that Akallabeth is the better one to read, though obviously you should read both at some point I think Akallabeth completely skips over the "Aldarion and Erendis" episode I mentioned earlier, but the former gives greater context to the latter, and I think the latter adds some very interesting details to the former.
The only other 2nd Age bit as far as I'm aware is all that stuff about Galadriel and Celeborn in Unfinished Tales. I couldn't bear to read all of that, probably because it was all simply speculation and various bits of writing that directly contradicted each other in one way or another
Following on from Akallabeth, "Of the Rings of Power" covers some stuff which you of course already know some things about, but it starts off on the 2nd Age stuff. I think when I did my Tolkien run-through I stopped after Sauron's first downfall and then went on to the pre-LOTR 3rd Age stuff in Unfinished Tales which again is fantastic (I'm talking here about Gladden Fields and Cirion and Eorl, the latter of which cuts off in the most awful part of the story but does at least tell you about the origins of Rohan)
Anyway, that's my take, I hope that's what you wanted
Then Manwë and Yavanna parted for that time, and Yavanna returned to Aulë; and he was in his smithy, pouring molten metal into a mould. 'Eru is bountiful,' she said. 'Now let thy children beware! For there shall walk a power in the forests whose wrath they will arouse at their peril.'
'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aulë, and he went on with his smith-work.
(This post was edited by FlyingSerkis on Jan 16 2013, 11:38pm)