Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main:
Tips for reading The Silmarillion?
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All

DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 10:30pm

Post #1 of 75 (635 views)
Shortcut
Tips for reading The Silmarillion? Can't Post

Oh boy, I feel really stupid for even having to ask this. But everyone here seems so nice and so knowledgeable, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Even though I've read TH and LotR dozens of times, I've never been able to make it straight through The Silmarillion. And I really want to! Not having read it in its entirety makes me fee like a bad Tolkien fan.

I've dipped into it quite a bit and read some parts (well, mostly Beren and Luthien) several times, but never the entire book.

Would anyone have any tips? I think the problem I'm having is that there is no Hobbit/everyman character to identify with. When reading, is it best to look at it as a collection of myths? Or a history book?

Thank you in advance for any help. I feel like I should go hide under the virtual couch now.


Gorbag
Rivendell


Jul 25 2012, 10:35pm

Post #2 of 75 (321 views)
Shortcut
Take your time with it, it is a tough read. [In reply to] Can't Post

You should try and take your time with it, read it in chapters, or small bursts. I spent a long time reading it, taking my time, trying to digest it all.

There is alot of history in there, and it can get a bit 'Much' at points, and i can see why people are put off by it sometimes. Its kind of like a history book for Middle Earth, rather than the adventure tales in the other books, and after reading it, you will have a better idea about Middle Earth as a whole.

So just take your time with it, and you will enjoy it alot more.

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 10:40pm

Post #3 of 75 (350 views)
Shortcut
I dived straight in after finishing LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

When I got to the end of the chapter "Of the Beginning of Days" I *literally* had no idea what I had just read. While my mind was blown away in amazement, at the same time, my mind was blown away with confusion. I had to re-read it all over again before I could continue.

My advice would be to take it slow. You can read LOTR and TH at a fast pace. While I can now do it with the Silmarillion, the first couple of times I couldn't. I often got confused with character names and places - who was who etc. Keep a copy of a Beleriand map and family trees close by (or if they are in the back of the book even better), to refresh your memory.

I would view it as any other type of book. Just be aware that it doesn't follow a linear path, and will jump from one character to another within and between chapters. As long as you can remember who is who, who is related to who, where everyone lives, and where they are off to, you'll be fine!

Hmmm ... I hope I haven't put you off!


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 10:46pm

Post #4 of 75 (299 views)
Shortcut
Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

This sounds like a much better approach than the one I've been taking - I've been assuming I could marathon-read it the way I do with the other books, but reading a little bit every day sounds like it would be more manageable for me. :)


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 10:50pm

Post #5 of 75 (295 views)
Shortcut
No, you haven't put me off! [In reply to] Can't Post

and thank you so much for the advice! It's actually reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who is having to (or had to) approach it differently from the other books.

My copy does have the maps and the family trees included, so I am lucky there. I'm glad about that because I still refer to the map even when re-reading the trilogy, just out of habit.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 10:54pm

Post #6 of 75 (299 views)
Shortcut
The maps and family trees are essential [In reply to] Can't Post

The Silmarillion is even more descriptive than LOTR. Expect to use the map a lot Wink. In fact, they're probably in every edition!

I'm glad I haven't put you off. Have you started reading it then, or just the first couple of pages? Smile


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 10:58pm

Post #7 of 75 (292 views)
Shortcut
The introduction and the first few pages, yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was all psyched up and then I thought, "Oh no! Not again! What am I doing wrong? This should be like reading LotR."

So it's a great relief that it's actually NOT supposed to be like that. I really appreciate you and Gorbag responding! I shall shoulder my pack with renewed vigor and prepare for a long and steady march (hopefully) rather than a sprint.


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:02pm

Post #8 of 75 (336 views)
Shortcut
backwards tip? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if these will help you read it... but it will tap into your sense of humor while you try. :-)

I liked these lists by Smeagirl/Girllum so much I saved them to my harddrive.

Why it is taking me years to read the Silmarillion


I'm up to p. 145 of the Sil! More reasons this is taking me years


And while grabbing the links for the humor threads, I found a link to a helpful discussion on the old boards- courtesy of N.E. Brigand: The Silmarillion – For Dummies?

.
.
.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Magpie
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:11pm

Post #9 of 75 (297 views)
Shortcut
I kind of had a haphazard, four tier approach to it [In reply to] Can't Post

...which has allowed me to progress in terms of comprehension.

1: read it - more than once. I don't know if many of us get it all the first time (I would wager none do but some have claimed to). But everytime you read it, you will get more. Especially in combination with the next tiers I'll suggest.

2: listen to it - it varies the routine. Martin Shaw (who is an British actor) has a mesmerizing voice. It's sometimes hard to attend to with all the archaic syntax, non-familiar words, and the sonorous voice. It kind of puts me to sleep. But I think, with every exposure to the text I get, I take in more and more.
http://www.amazon.com/...olkien/dp/0553456067
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yyEz_cRGb8

3: read related texts - Unfinished Tales and Children of Hurin overlap with stories in the Sil. I liked UT much better than the Sil. It's more in the style of writing I relate to. But again, it's another exposure to the stories that deepens comprehension.

4: discuss it - I was in a 'reading group' that tackled portions of it. One doesn't realize what one thinks, sometimes, until one tries to write it down to discuss with others. I've discussed books with just one other person and found it helpful. And I actually think writing (on a forum or by email) is more beneficial than talking would be. I have to come at the material and what I'm thinking about it in a way that makes me spend more time with it while I'm writing. For example, if I don't remember a point while I'm talking... I'm not likely to look it up. We don't like dead air while in conversation and tend to just keep going. But while writing, if I don't remember a point, I am very likely to look it up.

good luck.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide

(This post was edited by Magpie on Jul 25 2012, 11:13pm)


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:13pm

Post #10 of 75 (301 views)
Shortcut
These are WONDERFUL! I literally laughed out loud. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much! The first two are hilarious. And the link in the last one I think I will understand better once I've actually read the book. (Fingers crossed!)

But I now have a goal. I absolutely, positively must read on until I encounter Mickleburg, which is one of the best place names ever.

...and now I want to name the carrots in my refrigerator, too. ;)

(I am so glad you linked to these! Thank you again.)



Magpie
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:15pm

Post #11 of 75 (267 views)
Shortcut
I'm glad you enjoyed it - I did too. :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:16pm

Post #12 of 75 (270 views)
Shortcut
Me too! [In reply to] Can't Post

And I've done the majority of the points the user makes Laugh


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:17pm

Post #13 of 75 (281 views)
Shortcut
I have to admit [In reply to] Can't Post

that the Sil is not my favourite Tolkien book ;) It's a collection of stories that, I find, you glean more from the more you read it. Beren and Luthien is one story I'm drawn to the most often, and the Rings of Power and the Third Age towards the end of the book.

My advice is to read this with a light approach. You're not going to be tested on it, so there's no pressure to perform. Take your time, don't try to remember every character/event/location, and think of it as a collection of moments in Middle-earth history that ultimately leads us to the stories about a Wizard, a little people and a little Ring ;)


sample

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.




TORn's Observations Lists
Unused Scenes



Magpie
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:18pm

Post #14 of 75 (293 views)
Shortcut
I also used Encyclopedia of Arda a lot while I read [In reply to] Can't Post

It was a handy reference about *who* that person was again... or *where* that place was.

Especially since Tolkien likes to provide every name for a person or place that was ever used across all time by all people and some names of places refer to the region and some to a city and some to a building!

I suppose Wikipedia is more complete but it's almost overkill at a point for a quick reference. And Encyclopedia of Arda is an 'old friend' I made back in the day so I have some loyalty toward it.

http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:21pm

Post #15 of 75 (267 views)
Shortcut
These are very helpful, thank you again! [In reply to] Can't Post

I did like Unfinished Tales and I've only recently acquired a copy of Children of Hurin. I'm glad to hear that they might help a bit. I don't think I had either the last time I tackled Silmarillion.

I like the idea about listening to it as well as reading it.

And I'm also a bit relieved to hear that not everyone understands it perfectly on the first reading. I get a few pages in, start wondering why everyone has three names (for some reason, this doesn't take me out of the story at all in LotR), and then I put the book down and start thinking about Quenya vs. Sindarin or something and my mind rabbits off from there.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:22pm

Post #16 of 75 (279 views)
Shortcut
Oh yes, I recommend that too! [In reply to] Can't Post

I still today use it over wikipedia. The entries in the encylopedia give enough detail to understand the person/place/thing your looking at. Wikipedia (and other wiki pages) can add more detail if required.

Another piece of advice: you will never pronounce names/place the same as you did the first time round Wink


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:23pm

Post #17 of 75 (276 views)
Shortcut
Bookmarked! [In reply to] Can't Post

This looks like a WONDERFUL reference. I'm getting all excited now. Maybe this time I'll actually manage to do it.


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:26pm

Post #18 of 75 (270 views)
Shortcut
Oh, now you are trying to confuse me! ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

I do refer to the pronunciation guides a lot, and if I really can't get something, I call it by the first three letters and then a mutter in my head until I run into another name that starts with the same three letters. Then I stop. Again. :/


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:28pm

Post #19 of 75 (265 views)
Shortcut
Don't let me confuse you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Crazy
I still to this day pronounce Ilúvatar wrong. And I always will. I just can't do it! Laugh


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:29pm

Post #20 of 75 (261 views)
Shortcut
Thank you very much! [In reply to] Can't Post

I really like the idea of looking at the book as background / leading up to the stories I know and love. That makes it seem a little less intimidating somehow. :)


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:31pm

Post #21 of 75 (262 views)
Shortcut
No worries [In reply to] Can't Post

...I was sort of half-kidding. I mean, yes I do find it all confusing, but you have all made it seem less daunting and given me some really good advice, so I am excited to have another go. :)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 25 2012, 11:32pm

Post #22 of 75 (258 views)
Shortcut
Let us know how you get on and what you think [In reply to] Can't Post

The Silmarillion is my favourite of Tolkien's pieces of work.

I have far more attachment to it than LOTR and TH. Smile


DesiringDragons
Lorien


Jul 25 2012, 11:36pm

Post #23 of 75 (265 views)
Shortcut
Will do [In reply to] Can't Post

...in fact, I'm going offline now to read. :)

(Oh gosh, that's wonderful that it's your favorite. I hope I haven't insulted it. I didn't mean to.)

Thank you all again!


acheron
Gondor


Jul 26 2012, 12:01am

Post #24 of 75 (279 views)
Shortcut
One thing that helped me [In reply to] Can't Post

was Karen Fonstead's _Atlas of Middle-earth_. I always had trouble visualizing certain parts, and seeing her maps really helped.

The only other part I had trouble with was keeping track of which F-named elf is which -- Fingolfin vs Finarfin vs Finrod (who is also Felagund), etc. I still have to flip back to the index/glossary sometimes. Wink

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Jul 26 2012, 12:07am

Post #25 of 75 (270 views)
Shortcut
The Silmarillion [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are novels, whereas The Silmarillion is more like a collection of tales. There is no specific plot, and doesn't follow a linear structure, so I can see why it was off-putting at first. I've read it three times, and while I enjoyed, I was still confused, and I still haven't learned all of the characters, and it did feel like I was trudging through it at times. Like others have said, read The Silmarillion at a slow pace. Take your time. Funny this should come up, because I plan on reading The Silmarillion again, after I finish reading Dracula.

"It's okay, I feel like getting up and screaming every time you walk into a room." -Lestrade, Sherlock S2,ep3.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.