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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Another reason

Gwenhwyfar
The Shire

Jan 16 2013, 11:48pm


Views: 144
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Another reason [In reply to] Can't Post

You would probably want to read The Silmarillion first because (in addition to what Ardamire said) it does not contain the extensive annotations and editorial commentary by Christopher Tolkien that are present in other books. The info he provides can be both fascinating and hard to digest. For instance, you may be reading a story in the History of Middle-Earth and find that it is interrupted by CT's note that an apparent logical contradiction with some other of JRRT's writings is due to one piece having been written after the other and version Z probably came before version X and he thinks so because he found it written on some undated papers in the bottom of his father's drawer that also contained some dated documents, so this one likely came from such-and-such range of possible dates. You may then return to the story only to find that -- where you expected an "ending" -- you instead have a note saying something to the effect of "here the lightly penciled handwriting becomes illegible."

That's just an approximation (not a quote from real notes), but I think it would be a very frustrating experience for a first-time reader to start anywhere other than The Silmarillion. Even if a part of a story gets fuller treatment in another book, the frequency and complexity of the notes can be off-putting to readers who feel that they make "reading" more like "studying." If you have a strong interest in Tolkien's world and a cast-iron faculty of patience, you will love the History books when you get to them, but I think they will be much more enjoyable if you read The Silmarillion first.

Happy reading!Smile

Subject User Time
Reading the Silmarillion - including longer versions of stories Nick Demus Send a private message to Nick Demus Jan 16 2013, 10:18pm
    The Children of Húrin Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Jan 16 2013, 10:28pm
        Thanks Nick Demus Send a private message to Nick Demus Jan 16 2013, 10:37pm
            You're welcome! Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Jan 16 2013, 11:09pm
            I read the Silmarillion nearly 10 years ago FlyingSerkis Send a private message to FlyingSerkis Jan 16 2013, 11:36pm
                Yup, that´s exactly what I was looking for... Nick Demus Send a private message to Nick Demus Jan 17 2013, 8:24am
            This is what I did. Kassandros Send a private message to Kassandros Jan 18 2013, 9:55pm
    Another reason Gwenhwyfar Send a private message to Gwenhwyfar Jan 16 2013, 11:48pm
        I can live with some comments and annotations... Nick Demus Send a private message to Nick Demus Jan 17 2013, 8:27am
    What I did Súlimë Send a private message to Súlimë Jan 17 2013, 4:07am
        I understand what you´re getting at Nick Demus Send a private message to Nick Demus Jan 17 2013, 8:38am

 
 
 

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