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'The Silmarillion was always his heart'


Jan 28, 4:51pm

Post #1 of 15 (5841 views)
'The Silmarillion was always his heart' Can't Post


"He wrote: 'I don't much approve of The Hobbit myself, prefering my own mythology (which is just touched on) with its consistent nomenclature ... and organized history, to this rabble of Eddaic-named dwarves out of Voluspa, newfangled hobbits and gollums (invented in an idle hour) and Anglo-Saxon runes.'

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jan 28, 4:52pm)


Jan 28, 7:22pm

Post #2 of 15 (5781 views)
"...newfangled hobbits and gollums (invented in an idle hour)..." [In reply to] Can't Post

What a great quote!

Poor Tolkien, turning an idle-hour's childrens story into a massive money-making machine while desperately thrashing about to sell the public something with a more consistent nomenclature.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Jan 28, 7:43pm

Post #3 of 15 (5766 views)
A providential hour for sure. [In reply to] Can't Post


Superuser / Moderator

Jan 28, 11:45pm

Post #4 of 15 (5741 views)
The horror, indeed. :D / [In reply to] Can't Post


Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Jan 29, 12:16am

Post #5 of 15 (5742 views)
At the end of the day, I think The Silmarillion benefited from not getting published with LotR at the time [In reply to] Can't Post

Despite the Sil's unfinished nature. Hobbits added a more "human" element to the high myth of the legendarium that also filters back to earlier ages, to a certain degree. For example, I don't think the Children of Hurin (in its mature form) or Aldarion and Erendis could have been written without Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam coming first.

(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jan 29, 12:24am)

Dunadan of North Arnor

Jan 29, 3:03am

Post #6 of 15 (5723 views)
pleased at the validation of Tolkien’s true ‘Magnum Opus’ [In reply to] Can't Post

rightly being the ‘Silmarillion’, and the acknowledgment of LOTR as a “side project”.

Damn shame the same curator scheduled the Symposium in NY for mid-March, and not for the May 11th weekend, when the curtain closes on the exhibit, the Tolkien Biopic is released, and the weather is actually tolerable for travel!


(This post was edited by Dunadan of North Arnor on Jan 29, 3:11am)


Jan 29, 4:19am

Post #7 of 15 (5687 views)
Next [In reply to] Can't Post

Definitely my next book. I've heard so much about the Silmarillion.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)


Jan 29, 4:20am

Post #8 of 15 (5683 views)
You have to read it differently than the other works. It more similar to reading the Old Testament, [In reply to] Can't Post

However, it has some fantastic scenes and plots.

Dunadan of North Arnor

Jan 29, 5:06am

Post #9 of 15 (5686 views)
I’ll suggest Unfinished Tales first, backwards [In reply to] Can't Post

From your threads in the RR, you seem to be appreciating the narrative style of LOTR, but with a self-confessed ‘character overload’. Rather than diving into the deep end of the pool with the Sil, maybe try wading into the shallow end with Unfinished Tales, reading the sub-sections from the back to the front - LOTR-age material back thru the 3rd Age to the 2nd to the 1st.

When you get through the first few paragraphs of the ‘History of Galadriel and Celeborn’ (last sub-section of the 2nd Age), you’ll know if you’re ready for the Sil, or want to keep reading UT to the finish with a keen eye for the ‘History of Middle-earth’ after the Sil, or just want to get out of the pool and towel off for a while.

No matter what, you have options, so keep reading!

(This post was edited by Dunadan of North Arnor on Jan 29, 5:12am)


Jan 29, 12:23pm

Post #10 of 15 (5660 views)
That makes sense [In reply to] Can't Post

The Sil is his masterpiece while The Hobbit and LotR are his doodles. If I could grow doodle apples like those, I'd call myself a gardener ;)
That exhibit sounds so awesome!


We have been there and back again.

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Alassëa Eruvande

Jan 29, 3:14pm

Post #11 of 15 (5644 views)
I'd recommend [In reply to] Can't Post

getting a copy of The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad and keeping it next to you for reference as you read the Sil. It has maps of all the battles and journeys, among other things like major landmarks, buildings and populations. I never would have made it through reading the Sil without it.

But most of all: Maps!

I am SMAUG! I kill when I wish! I am strong, strong, STRONG!
My armor is like tenfold shields! My teeth like swords! My claws, spears!
The shock of my tail, a thunderbolt! My wings, a hurricane! And my breath, death!


Jan 30, 5:27pm

Post #12 of 15 (5570 views)
thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the advice!

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)

No One in Particular

Feb 1, 2:11am

Post #13 of 15 (5489 views)
Listening to the Silmarillion [In reply to] Can't Post

I enjoy reading the Silmarillion, but I almost enjoy listening to it more, the unabridged version. It works really well.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph

(This post was edited by No One in Particular on Feb 1, 2:12am)


Feb 1, 4:11am

Post #14 of 15 (5484 views)
Sorting things out [In reply to] Can't Post

So, after he wrote the Sil did he then get the inspiration for the Hobbit or is it way more complicated than that?

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf (movie quote)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 1, 5:33am

Post #15 of 15 (5484 views)
Definitely more complicated [In reply to] Can't Post

The Sil was not written in a linear way as a single story. It isn't a narrative book like The Hobbit or LOTR. It's more like an ancient chronicle and it contains quite a lot of different sorts of writing. Tolkien began writing snippets of stories based on his invented languages when he was quite young. And for the rest of his life he wrote new bits of it, re-shaping older stories, adding new ones, changing his mind, writing parts of narratives that were never completed (Unfinished Tales), etc. He was sort of hopeful after the unexpected success of The Hobbit that maybe people would be interested in his other saga if he worked it into shape, but it was not as accessible in nature as stories about hobbits, so he gave that up and wrote LOTR and set it in that larger world. And then that necessitated the tweaking of some of the older stories to match, and...

Tolkien wrote a short story called Leaf by Niggle about a man who worked his whole life on a grand painting. But he took such pains over all the small details that he feared it would never be done in his lifetime. This is pretty much how he felt about The Silmarillion. You also see echoes of it in Bilbo's longing to "find somewhere quiet where I can finish my book". And in fact, Tolkien never did finish The Sil. When he died, his son Christopher was made his Literary Executor. Christopher went through his father's writings and compiled some of the latest versions and most developed tales into what we know as The Silmarillion and published it. He then continued to organize and sort through, and produced the several volumes of the History of Middle-earth, in which you can see the evolution of various stories and ideas. And in recent years, he's taken a few of the most-finished tales and published them as separate novels (The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin).

Aside from his great epic endeavors, Tolkien wrote a number of other shorter, much more lighthearted stories, mostly for his children. Farmer Giles of Ham, The Father Christmas Letters, Roverandom, etc.. The Hobbit began as one of these, but became something that could be published, and caused demand for other stories, so after LOTR some of these other stories also began to be brought out and published.

He also wrote some literary criticism such as Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics, and Essay on Faerie Stories. Because, after all, he was also a Professor at Oxford and had a real job and a family as well. Author of fantasy novels was only a sideline, and one his colleagues often didn't think much of, at that.


Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Feb 1, 5:37am)


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