The Silmarillion (The Lord of the Rings Prequel) ★★★☆☆

silmarillion (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
The Silmarillion
Series: The Lord of the Rings Prequel
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy History
Pages: 367
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A book that outlines, briefly, the world of Middle Earth from before its inception up until the conclusion of Return of the King.

Iluvatar made the Valar but one, Morgoth, decided to do his own thing. This set him in defiance of Iluvatar and against the other Valar. Iluvatar made the world and the Valar and Morgoth had their way with it. Iluvatar created the Elves and Morgoth tried to become king of the world. Iluvatar made Men and the rest of the Valar chained Morgoth forever. Sauron, one of Morgoth’s most powerful underlyings, himself a lesser Valar, took up the cause of becoming King of the World in defiance of Iluvatar. He is destroyed by the last alliance of men, elves, dwarves and others and thus the history part of the book end.

There is another 60-70 pages of indexing where every name of every place and person mentioned is listed.

 

My Thoughts:

To be blunt, while I gave this 3stars, it was boring as all get out. It took me a bleeding week to power through this.

I gave it 3 stars because it is well written and gives the context for the story we know of as the Hobbit and then the trilogy named The Lord of the Rings. However, when I say it is well written, that is within the confines of it being a history book and nothing more.

I did not like this book. Being boring was its most egregious sin but I have to balance that statement with that this book was supposed to be this way. It is an oral history written down. If that kind of thing floats your boat, then dive on in and enjoy. Everyone else, don’t bother.

I did not like this book because it was nothing but a chronicle of failure and despair. Great men and women (applying to all races here) rose up and were either broken, destroyed or backstabbed. When they did, rarely, succeed, we are then given a timeline of how their descendants descended into destruction. No hope from Tolkien. Everything turns bad.

I was hoping that the end of the world would be described, to show Iluvatar triumphing and restoring all but no such luck.

I read this back in highschool before I knew better. Now that I’ve read it as a mature adult, never again. I don’t recommend this to the casual movie fan of the Lord of the Rings but only to diehard fans of Tolkien himself.

BORING

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

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41 thoughts on “The Silmarillion (The Lord of the Rings Prequel) ★★★☆☆

  1. salonimore1702 says:

    I’ve been avoiding this book like the plague. I know I should read it because I love LOTR but everyone says it’s quite bloody boring. So perhaps not. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I won’t call myself a die hard Tolkien fan so think I’ll skip this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Exactly my feelings about this book.Bloody boring. Interesting as a “history book” into Tolkien-lore and a kind of must-read for a Tolkien fan but…BORING!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s funny, I’m reading Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin at the moment. Silmarillion made a huge impression on me as a child but I must admit that it has some problems with its readability.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have read ‘The Hobbit’ & LOTR many times since I was a little fella, but was never interested in ‘The Sillyminion’, or whatever you call it, too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bkfrgr says:

    The Hobbit is one of my favourite childhood books. LOTR is a bit further down the list for me (it has its snooze-worthy moments, in my humble opinion), but Tolkien’s multiple volumes of Middle Earth history have never interested me. I can admire in the abstract that he created a fantasy world so thoroughly, but I can’t muster the same enthusiasm to read all about it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. piotrek says:

    Blasphemy 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I know Tolkien was deeply affected by WWI. Perhaps this story reflects those experiences. It sounds sadly like real life to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Joelendil says:

    Personally, I love the Silmarillion (Joelendil = Joel + Elendil)…but I also enjoy reading history and mythology, and it definitely has that vibe. I do think you’re missing the point a little bit if you see Tolkien’s theme as utter hopelessness. It does embrace a view of history described by C. S. Lewis’s as “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

    As long as the elves sense of purpose lies in the Silmarils & in glorious renown, there will be constant tragedy and falling short (check out the song “High Enough” by The Gray Havens for a similar thought)…but *SPOILERS*when they finally give up the Silmaril and send it away the gods (and ultimately God/Illuvitar) intervene. It isn’t a full intervenention to set all things right because this isn’t the end of the world yet…and humans have the same propensity to seek glory at the expense of defying God which sets up LOTR *END SPOILER*

    There’s also some serious theodicy going on where Manwe declares that the evil brought about by the elves leaving the undying lands will allow a sort of glory and beauty to exist that would not have otherwise been (without changing the fact that evil is evil).

    To me those two themes (the pursuits of glory/possessions leads to tragedy & God causes some sort of extra beauty/purpose to exist by allowing evil to exist) are the philosophical heart of the book…but I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bookstooge says:

      Not so much missing the point as I have a very real tendency to fall into the thought processes of Denethor all too easily. It was also eye opening just how easily the elves were corrupted so many times and committed so many rash acts.

      The theology behind the scenes was pretty glaring too, but once again, if there is one issue that I almost literally wrestle with, it is the very existence of evil and its workings in the world. I don’t see the glory that comes from it, I see the glory that doesn’t exist but should have.

      These very reasons are why I shy away from history so much. (besides being boring) I’m too easily overwhelmed by the sheer amount of evil in this world.

      Thanks for your comment. My little reply above took me almost 1/2hr to write, as I had to really dig. Helped me go from a general to a specific. So soapbox any time 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  10. The Silmarillion tends to divide its readers into haters and lovers, no middle ground. I belong to the latter, because the grimness of the tales – the chronicle of the Long Defeat – is balanced by the lyrical prose that’s one of the things I most love in Tolkien’s writings. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      So does that make you a
      ♪lover, ♪not a fighter? ♪
      ♪the rest of the song ♪lyrics ♪that I ♪have no clue about….♪

      I think I might have handled this better from an emotional standpoint if I’d been able to see the end of the story. But I’m not wading through his 12 books of history to get that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There is one thing to consider, that the Silmarillion is and will remain an unfinished work, created by more or less arbitrarily choosing between the collection of “origin stories” Tolkien wrote but never managed to fuse into a more cohesive whole. I’m grateful that his son gave us this much, but I still wonder what Tolkien himself would have managed to do if he ever completed it…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Bookstooge says:

          Good point. I never considered that aspect of it. Still, it goes to show he was more interested in the history than the future of his world. But him being an amateur historian, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  11. Ola G says:

    I love The Silmarillion, though I agree it is lengthy and written in a very non-action language, despite the fact that it tells about empires and people rising and falling down… And yet, it is beautifully written, deeply poignant, evocative and an everlasting testament to Tolkien’s wonderful imagination, ambition and skill 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Off The TBR says:

    I just can’t ever really get into LoTR.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sharon Barrow Wilfong says:

    Well, I like the Silmarillion. Not on the level of LOTR or the Hobbit. In fact, The Hobbit is my very favorite because it is so delightful and charming with an overall lighter-hearted tone than LOTR. However, I am grateful to read the genealogies and better understand the background of Tolkien’s other works.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My dad loved LOTR but just couldn’t get through this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. hehe I definitely found this boring at times- but was oddly entertained by parts! (I’d say I don’t know what that says about me- but I reckon it’s pretty clear I’m a diehard fan 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I find it cool that some authors take the time to profit on the success of their franchise to give fans history books on the mythology/world. It must however be quite boring to some extent, especially if you’re looking for something more action-oriented.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Well, technically it has been Christopher his son who has profited. I can’t imagine living in my father’s shadow like that but if it doesn’t bother him, hey, he literally had his work cut out for him for his whole life. Not many people get that.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. savageddt says:

    How have i seemed to missed reviews?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. […] world but does not hint in such a way as to distract from the main plotline. And since I know about The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, and Christopher Tolkien, if I […]

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