Book Review 1: “The Silmarillion” by JRR Tolkien

silm2e2 I can’t believe it, but I’m actually finished! This book was a hard read, and it took me several weeks to get through it, but it was worth it. If you like Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy, than this book is one you might enjoy, too. I say “might” because I could see how it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. This is a book that Tolkien had been working on most of his life, and in fact, never did finish. His son, Christopher was able to put it together after Tolkien’s death.

It covers the mythology and legends of Middle-earth thousands of years before the events of the Lord of the Rings take place. It is primarily concerned with the elf Feanor creating 3 precious jewels called Silmarils, and the results of having created something so beautiful. Morgoth, middle-earth’s own version of Lucifer, steals them for his own, and there are several attempts to recover them. There are other stories and legends that interweave with this story that tells an overall story arc that leads directly into the events of The Lord of the Rings.

I picked up this book mostly because I couldn’t find anything else to read. It was a few days before Christmas, and I was just kind of bored with what I had been reading (too much of the same thing!). I had read The Lord of the Rings once a few years ago, but I didn’t approach it right, not knowing what to expect, so I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I could. I LOVE the movies however, and I recently read “The Hobbit” and loved that. And since my wife, my sister, her husband, and my father in law all love Tolkien, I already had a general idea about him and his works. So I thought I would give this book a go, just because it was something different than I usually read.

I was blown away by it. It was beautiful, tragic, and epic. Much of it reads like beautiful poetry. Tolkien created this masterful world, highly detailed, vividly real. I can’t think of another author writing today who even comes close to the way he created Middle Earth. One major theme of this book is to show how easily the best people are corrupted by power and greed. There was a chilling sentence in the book about Feanor, the elf who created the Silmarils. He used the light of the two White Trees, and contained it in a jewel. He became so obssessed with these jewels, and with the prestige that they brought him, Tolkien wrote something like, “Feanor forgot that the light was not his own.” (I couldn’t find the exact quote). It reminded me of people who are corrupted by power or fame. They take credit for things they didn’t do, they are impressed with power they have, but forget thatthey are in that position because of someone else’s help, or the votes of the nation.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely, it was by far the best book I read all year. However, I will say, I don’t think it’s for everyone. But give it a try like I did, and who knows, you might like it. The first two little sections are the hardest reading, but once you get into the major section, entitled “Quenta Silmarillion” it will have been worth the trip. Now, my biggest problem? What do I read next! Help! I’m between books!!!

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One Comment on “Book Review 1: “The Silmarillion” by JRR Tolkien”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    You might want to pick up Robert Foster’s The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth: From The Hobbit to The Silmarillion … I just noticed it’s available, along with a couple of copies of Silmarillion, at my favorite book-swapping site, http://www.bookins.com. I prefer having the option of putting a book aside and returning to it when I’m mentally ready, so the library doesn’t work well for me. At only $4.49 per book or DVD delivered, bookins is a great solution for me. I encourage you to visit bookins.com. If you decide to join, you’ll start off with enough points to get a hardback, a couple of paperbacks or a DVD or two and I’ll get points, too, if you use this link: http://www.bookins.com/index.php?p1=1c_0cq0cA


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