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9780261102736

The Silmarillion

Tolkien, J. R. R.

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9780261102736: The Silmarillion

Designed to take fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings deeper into the myths and legends of Middle-earth

The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.

Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.

This pivotal work features the revised, corrected text and includes, by way of an introduction, a fascinating letter written by Tolkien in 1951 in which he gives a full explanation of how he conceived the early Ages of Middle-earth.

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Review:

Although The Silmarillion takes place in the same imaginary world as J.J.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and was originally published four years after the author's death and over two decades after the former book, it is set much earlier, in the First Age of the World. The tales and the book which reads as a fusion between a story collection and historical chronicle, are a matter of legend even to the characters of The Lord of the Rings:

In the beginning Eru, the One, who in the Elvish tongue is named Ilúvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him
Tolkien wrote the heart of this material very early in his career, and continued to work on it throughout his life. It fell to his son, Christopher Tolkien, to edit it into book form, and such proved the unquenchable public appetite that he subsequently oversaw 12 volumes of The History of Middle-Earth. This edition features 20 highly evocative colour plates by Ted Nasmith, themselves worth the price of admission, while reinforcing the sense of a historical work are genealogical tables, an extensive index, appendix and colour map. Far removed from the genial style of The Hobbit, this is Tolkien at his most formal, his prose austere, poetically beautiful, his storytelling capturing the epic scale, high drama and melancholy wonder of myth. These stories of elves and heroes and old gods are quite literally the foundation of the entire modern fantasy-publishing revival, and are therefore essential reading. -- Gary S. Dalkin

Review:

‘How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?’ The Guardian

‘Demanding to be compared with English mythologies… at times rises to the greatness of true myth.’ Financial Times

‘A creation of singular beauty… magnificent.’ Washington Post

‘A grim, tragic, brooding and beautiful book, shot through with heroism and hope… its power is almost that of mysticism.’ Toronto Globe & Mail

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