Tell me about this book then!

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Tell me about this book then!

Post by Kafria on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:06 pm

Embarassed Time for the confession I suppose (and we can't leave this sub forum with no threads in it)

Although I love and re read TH and LOTR, I have never got past the first twenty pages of this (and I have tried repeatedly, I have both this and UT on the bookshelf and never seem to get into them!) Embarassed Embarassed

I know it's not good enough, so maybe if you tell me more I'll be able to get on a bit better! scratch

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Pettytyrant on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:11 pm

I'd be very surprised if anyone finished LotR picked up the Sil and jumped right in and felt at home. Personally it took a few goes and several years before I finally read it.
Perhaps try listening to it on audio tape first, Martin Shaw does a good reading.

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:14 pm

I've not read any of them either Embarassed I've only read "Of the rings of Power and The Third age" in Silmarillion, which is great reading. Try to read that part, I think you'll like it Wink

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Kafria on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:27 pm

That's not a bad idea - i just have to persuade myself that i don't need to start at the beginning and work my way through! Rolling Eyes

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:32 pm

UT and The Silmarillion are books that don't need to be read from the start to the end, they're excellent for "cherry-picking" as someone called it back on the old forum (was it Odo?) Smile

Edit: I cannot say this for sure, of course, I haven't read them, but I've looked at them and as far as I could tell, they looked very suited for cherry-picking Wink

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:07 am

The Silmarillion isn't a novel, it's a 300-page summary of an entire mythology that rivals the body of Greek myth handed down to us in scope. It would be intimidating and difficult to read in the best conditions, but it's also stitched together from incomplete works composed at various times over a span of 50+ years. I think Christopher Tolkien did a masterful job weaving his father's notes together, but he couldn't make it be truly complete.

With that in mind, I can totally understand how you can read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but be completely turned off by The Silmarillion. Personally I like it, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. If you do try to read it again, I recommend skipping the Ainulindale and the Valaquenta. The Ainulindale is a creation myth that roughly mirrors the plot of Paradise Lost, and can be summed up as follows. God (referred to as Eru Iluvatar) instructs the Valar (sub-gods, or perhaps angels) in how to create the world, which they do on their own, while Eru stays in his own place. However, the chief of the Valar, Melkor, rebels and tries to create things on his own. Melkor (later called Morgoth) fights the other Valar.

The Valaquenta is simply a list of the Valar, the chief Maiar (similar spirits but of lesser stature), and the chief enemies of the Valar and Maiar. You might want to refer back to it if you lose track of who is who, but I could see it being dull on a first read-through. At the beginning of the main 'Quenta Silmarillion' there are a couple of slow chapters full of very esoteric mythological stuff, but pretty quickly you get into the epic legendary history. Where the work truly shines, though, is the three Great Tales: Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin (also published as a stand-alone novel), and The Fall of Gondolin. This is where the characters come closest to the forefront and they can be quite moving stories. The rest of the book, while still good, is fairly impersonal in its recounting of myth.

If you get through that, reading the Akallabeth and 'Of the Rings of Power...' shouldn't be hard. However, as Ringdrotten mentions, it's not strictly speaking necessary to read it any one order, though it's probably good to have a basic sense of the context of the first few chapters (which are unfortunately some of the dullest) before going on. In any event, even if the main 'Quenta' is too complex, I highly recomment the Akallabeth, which is an excellent into the civilization of Numenor before its fall. Smile
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:09 am

Ringdrotten wrote:UT and The Silmarillion are books that don't need to be read from the start to the end, they're excellent for "cherry-picking" as someone called it back on the old forum (was it Odo?) Smile

I think I can claim credit for that one, though I was talking about LOTR. I actually find The Silmarillion easier to read because it's shorter, but that's probably just me. The Silmarillion does lend itself to cherry-picking far more than LOTR does though, for the aforementioned reason that it's not a single work but a compilation of myths.
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by odo banks on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:36 am

I enjoyed The Silmarillion, very much, but one needs to be in the mood. When you want Tolkien but are a little over-cooked with TH and LOTR, then try The Silmarillion --- but only when you've got time and space to enjoy it's slow moving beauty.
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:23 pm

I think that's some wise advice, Odo (shouldn't Wisey be dispensing that? Shocked ). It can be complicated, but I think it all comes together in the end, though you might need time to let it all soak in. It's not for speed-reading, definitely. Razz
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Wisey Banks on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:33 pm

There seem a lot of words in the Silmarillion,
At times it seems thereabouts ten million,
But if you just sit back and let it flow,
You'll sail all the way to Valinor, you know.


Tolkien: "Unheard of Digressions."

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Kafria on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:59 pm

must put this on my to read pile!

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:05 pm

So must I! After I've finished re-reading "Ringdrotten" again, of course (one of the Norwegian translations of The Lord of the Rings, for those who don't know Wink ). Like I said, though, try reading "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" first, a great chapter Smile

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ally on Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:01 pm

It's an arduous read, but I often reread my favourite chapters over and over again: Of Beren and Luthien, Of Turin Turambar both great chapters! Of the "Rings of Power and the Third Age" never really read this in detail, maybe because I was so pleaesd that I had nearly finished the book... Very Happy
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by odo banks on Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:20 am

Beren and Luthien is just a Great Story. Make a Great Movie in the Right Hands. Funny no one here has suggested it yet? Suspect
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:12 am

"Of the "Rings of Power and the Third Age" never really read this in detail"- Ally

One of my favourite parts- I think because I'm getting old and like watching history documentaries- I've often thought you could do the bit about the Gladden Fields as a mock history documentary, Tolkien is so detailed about battle formations and tactics.

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Eldorion on Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:31 pm

One of my favourite parts- I think because I'm getting old and like watching history documentaries- I've often thought you could do the bit about the Gladden Fields as a mock history documentary, Tolkien is so detailed about battle formations and tactics.

That is a nice part, but I think that "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" in Unfinished Tales does it even better. It combines the history with a personal touch and a fair bit of characterization that is admittedly somewhat lacking in some of Tolkien's older mythic stories. It's one of the most brilliant chapters in an already brilliant book. Very Happy And "The Battles of the Fords of Isen" goes into even greater detail with regards to military activities in Middle-earth.

Anyway, that's my plug for the day. Laughing UT pwns!
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:53 pm

I was in error Eldo. It was exactly that bit of UT I had in mind- perfect for making a mock documentary- I've often thought of it as finding somewhere suitable location wise round here is not too hard.

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Kafria on Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:32 pm

Well I've made a start, Skipped Ainulindale and Valaquenta and started at Quenta Simarillion, Got through the beggining days last night a little better so we'll see! Smile

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Eldorion on Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:44 pm

Good luck! Very Happy Aule and Yavanna and a few of the other early chapters are a bit dull to me but if you can plow through you'll get to the really neat bits with the Noldor and the Sindar soon. Cool
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by odo banks on Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:39 am

It's a mood thing. In the right mood, nothing is dull in the Silmarillion. It's like reading Wuthering Heights or Pride and Prejudice - it's all to do with your mood. You also need an attention span longer than a newt has (or a modern reader).
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Saradoc on Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:13 pm

A vague intrest in Tolkien helps too, I find! Very Happy
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Squach on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:18 pm

Well, i have not read TH yet but i am picky with books. if i read the first chapter and i know what will happen, i wont really want to read on. I am fussy. What a Face

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ally on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:40 pm

Saradoc wrote:A vague intrest in Tolkien helps too, I find! Very Happy

Wink

The Hobbit is a classic children's story, I proably read it about three times before I'd even heard of Lord of the Rings. While the two books are obviously connected, they remain classics as stand alone books, even if you haven't heard or read any other tolkien!

Very Happy
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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:23 pm

Even the pickiest would read The Hobbit with delight, so give it a go Smile

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Re: Tell me about this book then!

Post by odo banks on Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:39 pm

A picky person would pick The Hobbit before picking anything else! Mad
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