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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Reading Order

ekrosell
Registered User

Jul 18 2013, 8:52pm

Post #1 of 22 (416 views)
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Reading Order Can't Post

Hey friends! :-) ...I confess that I am very much a novice here; I hope that I've posted this in the right category!

I'm hoping for some help from those who are familiar with Tolkien's posthumous books... That is to say, I need to know what order I should read them in. I've only read and reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings so far. I'd really like to read all the rest though... I purchased the following:

The Silmarillion,
Unfinished Tales,
Tales from the Perilous Realm
The Children of Hurin

Do I have all the stories I need or am I missing something? Because I heard that some were republished and added to other books; now I'm confused. Do you guys know what order I should read/buy them in?

Thanks in advance! :-)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 18 2013, 9:30pm

Post #2 of 22 (276 views)
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Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, welcome to the forum!

Just to pass on a lesson I've learned, there is usually a topic for EVERYTHING you can imagine on the forum. If you search for it, you can find a lot of resources quickly. It is OK to ask again though, but usually if you post to an old topic, you will get some discussion restarted.

Now, my thoughts.

TftPR(Tales from the Perlilous Realms) stands quite alone as non-ME(Middle-Earth) related, save a few references. You can read it anytime(I like Farmer Giles a lot), but it doesn't have to do with LotR(Lord of the Rings) or TH(The Hobbit).

The UT(Unfinished Tales) is a bit of a compilation of unfinished (wow!) stories, and other scraps of writings by Tolkien. Not really an easy to read narrative. I wouldn't start here.

The CoH(Children of Hurin) is an unfinished story, also featured in the UT and Sil(marillion), that has been completed by Tolkien's son ,Christopher. It really is the best option for a ME related narrative read.

The Sil is pretty heavy stuff, unless you like Mythology like me. I actually read it completely, cover to cover on my first try, and enjoyed it immensely. It gives a whole new perspective on the whole setting of ME, and it is safe to say that you will never read TH or LotR in the same manner again. Like I said, it can be a bit dry and light on narrative action, but it remains the most informative book on ME, besides the HoME(History of Middle-Earth 12-volume series). Take it in doses if it gets boring, and don't worry about keeping track of the MANY characters too much. Flip back to the appendix to brush up on them if you forget. You just want to get a general idea of the plot and history,on your first read through. After that you can reread your favorite parts, and brush up on the things you missed. I constantly refer to my copy when unsure, and I've read it about 16 times.

What are you looking for more ME, or more plain Tolkien?

Stick to the Sil, CoH, and UT for some ME, but I think you will enjoy TftPR too!


(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Jul 18 2013, 9:31pm)


ekrosell
Registered User

Jul 18 2013, 10:43pm

Post #3 of 22 (233 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much! :D

...I'm so sorry for repeating a post -- I knew I should have searched for it for it first, but I was a little post-happy. I feel rather silly for posting this now, because I found that it was fairly simple to research. ...I'm very sorry. (I wish i was able to delete it!)

Thank very much for your help though! I've just started reading Tales from the Perilous Realms, and I'm going to start reading The Silmarillion as soon as I get back to school (I left it there over the summer, unfortunately).

In answer to your question, I'm looking mainly for ME material. Eventually, I'd like to read everything by Tolkien, but for now I'd like to get more of Middle-earth. :-)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea

Jul 18 2013, 11:14pm

Post #4 of 22 (220 views)
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No problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

Once you exhaust the number of books ME related, you can head over to the Reading Room. We discuss different facets of Tolkien ,in detail. I was bored with my books until the discussions got me hounding them for little clues and theories.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 19 2013, 12:35am

Post #5 of 22 (225 views)
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There is nothing to apologise for! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's perfectly all right to post a topic that has been posted before. Heck, TORN has been running since the late '90s so I doubt there is an untouched topic of discussion relating to Tolkien by now!

As long as there isn't a thread on the topic you want to talk about on the first page of a discussion board, feel free to post away.

You have some great reading in front of you with those Tolkien books! Smile

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


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 19 2013, 2:52am

Post #6 of 22 (222 views)
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Welcome Ekrosell! [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting selection ...

I might advise you to start with CoH first - only because its very, very readable, has fabulous dialogue and details; it might serve as a nice bridge into the Silmarillion and it highlights details in one of the major tales, that of Turin (BTW you can have a peek at our discussion this week too, if you want some chapter info.) As Rembrethil says, Sil is a bit weighty - its better read chapter by chapter - but keep in mind you have a resource here on TORn in the RR. It may deepen your enjoyment if you would like to look up old chapter discussions. We have been doing Sil I think since Jan. or Feb. of this year.

UT is sort of piecemeal and choppy too, but it gives nice glimpses of things.

Happy reading! Hope to see you around! Smile

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 2:20pm

Post #7 of 22 (185 views)
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Hi Ekrosell [In reply to] Can't Post

and welcome! Don't feel silly about posting this topic- it's very valid and searching back isn't always easy and may not answer your exact question sometimes
I agree with the other regarding the order of reading the books you have. What I would say about UT is that you can dip in and out of that, rather than read it in one go. There are short chapters describing the origins of the Istari, origins of the palantiri, the Quest of Erebor, which elaborates on how Gandalf happened to meet Thorin and come up with the plan for the quest, for example, which give really good back story to the books you have already read. They can be read as stand-alone chapters any time you like. Some of the other tales in UT are best left until you have read the Sil IMO. The chapter on Celeborn and Galadriel talks a lot about the first and second ages as well as the War of the Ring etc, so likewise read it after the Sil- it will make more sense!. The Narn i Hin Hurin chapter in UT is like a precis of CoH, so you can read it first or second
Happy Reading and do feel free to join in any of the discussions, even if you think your question seems a bit obvious or simple- we always like a good chat- Balrog wings anybody?


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 3:42pm

Post #8 of 22 (177 views)
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I like mine with ranch dressing please - for dipping. (Unless they are chocolate) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Balrog wings anybody?




If they are chocolate I'd like a side of Thorin please.

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







(This post was edited by Brethil on Jul 20 2013, 3:43pm)


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 3:50pm

Post #9 of 22 (167 views)
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Behave yourself... [In reply to] Can't Post

or I'll set Fealoki on you! Where is that politest and hungriest of dragons btw?


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 4:08pm

Post #10 of 22 (165 views)
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I thought I WAS behaving...!!!! (it could be much worse you know)- as for our Dragon... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
or I'll set Fealoki on you! Where is that politest and hungriest of dragons btw?




...Hmm, maybe our Fealoki is polishing her lovely scales? Cool Or having a nap in some nice glittery gold.

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







fealoki
The Shire


Jul 20 2013, 4:50pm

Post #11 of 22 (163 views)
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Always [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Always this dragon is lurking
in shining mail ever-clinking.

And this Elaen is all politeness.
This dragon will eat her last.


Fealoki


Arandir
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 5:20pm

Post #12 of 22 (158 views)
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In case you're interested ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've recently started a blog for beginners in Tolkien here: http://atolkienistperspective.wordpress.com/ Smile

'A Tolkienist's Perspective' Blog


CuriousG
Valinor


Jul 20 2013, 5:26pm

Post #13 of 22 (155 views)
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Silly dragon [In reply to] Can't Post

That was Telain you were responding to, not Elaen.


fealoki
The Shire


Jul 20 2013, 5:38pm

Post #14 of 22 (150 views)
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Dorwinion [In reply to] Can't Post

 
The CuriousG displays much wit and sagacity;
in comparison, this dragon suffers a paucity.

This dragon will eat the CuriousG first
and pair him with a fine Dorwinion.


In contumacious servilitude,


Fealoki


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jul 20 2013, 6:20pm

Post #15 of 22 (157 views)
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I really don't thnk that the reading order matters much... [In reply to] Can't Post

However, I would recommend looking at Tolkien's published fiction and poetry before delving into the histories, collected letters, and post-mortem books.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 20 2013, 6:21pm)


elaen32
Gondor


Jul 20 2013, 6:55pm

Post #16 of 22 (141 views)
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Good Evening Fealoki [In reply to] Can't Post

Good to see you lurking deep in your hoard! And how is the most shiny-scaled of Wyrms today?


Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work



fealoki
The Shire


Jul 20 2013, 8:31pm

Post #17 of 22 (137 views)
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Most excellent [In reply to] Can't Post

 
O most sublime of Elaens, exalted in the arts of healing --

This dragon tonight does well. Amusements will be had by this dragon.
An uncle and cousin arrive to this bejeweled and gilded ruin
and three dragons the pinnochle will play tonight.

This dragon is fond of cards, and of the novels by the Jane Austen as well.
This dragon imagines playing cards in Bath, as the Miss Elliots play in "Persuasion."

This dragon thanks you for your courtesy of asking,
and wishes you a slumberous night.


Most sincere platitudes,

Fealoki


Brethil
Half-elven


Jul 21 2013, 2:23am

Post #18 of 22 (134 views)
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Wishing you excellent luck and fun Fealoki! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.







Dirhaval
The Shire

Jul 21 2013, 5:08am

Post #19 of 22 (130 views)
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reading order [In reply to] Can't Post

I have read the 12 volume History of Middle-Earth.
Keep in mind that Christopher Tolkien makes some corrections in later volumes.
So, if you read these volumes, then first please find Christopher's comments
on the set on the internet then glance at the beginning of each volume to know what is in error
in an earlier volume before you read it.

I recommend reading Tolkien Letters before Unfinished Tales.


One Ringer
Tol Eressea


Jul 22 2013, 9:45pm

Post #20 of 22 (106 views)
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What it really comes down to [In reply to] Can't Post

is what you want to do. But if I could add my opinion, I'd say start with Tales From the Perilous Realm. It has little to do with Middle-Earth, but is definitely a great showcase of Tolkien's work (I love Roverandom). Not to mention On Fairy Stories is a real treat (speaking as a writer). So that would be my choice. I find that Silmarillion and other such works are heavy reads for what they're worth, but are definitely fun and intriguing by their own merit. It's all up to you in the end, though.

Stigmata Script, a bastion for aspiring writers - http://stigmatascript.com/

"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


elostirion74
Rohan

Jul 28 2013, 2:09pm

Post #21 of 22 (101 views)
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recommendations [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome to the Reading Room! I hope you´ll find yourself at home here.

I think you should start by thinking about whether you want to start by reading shorter pieces that are not really part of his tales from Middle Earth or if you want to start reading stories or material related to the Middle Earth legendarium.

I think I would recommend starting with "Tales from the perilous realm", which mostly includes stories published before Tolkien´s death. Both Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wooton Major, who are both featured in "Tales from the perilous realm", are great stories on their own and easy to read.

Then I would continue with The Silmarillion. It has great themes and stories and adds a lot to one´s reading and understanding of LoTR. Bear in mind that it´s easier to enjoy it if you take your time with, reading one chapter at a time and not being worried about remembering all the names. Your first read should rather be about getting a general feel or idea about what kind of story it is and a basic overview of the structure of the story cycle. Later on you can dip into the parts you particularly enjoyed or would like to go more deeply into. If you´ve got questions while you´re reading, it´s a good idea to post about it here in the Reading Room.

Unfinished Tales is a mix of stories and essays/sections of comments, some related to the tales in The Silmarillion, others to those in The Lord of the Rings. You can go in and out of it at your leisure, but I would recommend starting with those parts of it which are actually unfinished stories and not just essays and comments about specific characters and events. These stories are: Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin + Narn i Hin Húrin, which are both excellent stories from the First Age, expanding on stories or elements of stories from The Silmarillion. Then you could continue with "The mariner´s wife" and "The Drúedain", the latter incorporating a story which genuinely resembles a folk tale.

Personally I would say you have all the stories you need now - the only other book I would recommend is "The letters of J.R.R. Tolkien", he was a superb writer of letters and many of them provide lots of fascinating insight on his thoughts about various themes from his Middle Earth legendarium.


Sam20
Lorien

Jul 28 2013, 7:23pm

Post #22 of 22 (102 views)
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Reading [In reply to] Can't Post

My reading order for all of Tolkien's Middle-Earth writtings is the following:

- The Hobbit
- Lord Of The Rings p.1,2&3
- The Silmarillion
-Unfinished tales
- The Children Of Hurin
- Tales For The Perilous Realm

But I heard that some people recommend and prefer reading CoH before Unfinished tales not to be spoiled of the whole story. But as for me I think the amount of informations we gather in Unfinished Tales bring us to an even better undertsand of CoH when we come back to the longer tale.


(This post was edited by sam90 on Jul 28 2013, 7:24pm)

 
 

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