The Silmarillion

Posted by on Monday, June 4th, 2007

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein

I’ve been reading and re-reading Tolkein since I was a little kid.  I grew up with The Hobbit and Roverandom.  I was glad to finally discover a cabal of academics who loved Tolkein like I did once I started grad school.  Celticists are required to like the man:  Tolkein was a philologist, and one of the professors who made sure that the work of the great Celticist Thurneysen made a mark on British academia, and thus made it into my skull.  So I love Tolkein, and everything he touched.

A lot of people have a hard time with the Silmarillion because of its length, and because it’s a bit less action-driven than most of Tolkein’s other work surrounding the Lord of the Rings.  Tolkein died before finishing the book, which he was cobbling together from notes and previous works.  His son took over, filled some of the gaps, and published the book a few years after his father died.

Anyway, I loved the book.  Of course I did.  For the average reader of myth and fantasy, it’s a bunch of good stories.  For a myth-obsessed amateur linguist with a decent familiarity with Welsh, Irish, and Old English, it’s a puzzle plus a novel plus a good pot of tea and a snuggly blanket. 

Filed in Books | 2 responses so far

2 Responses to “The Silmarillion”

  1. --Debon 04 Jun 2007 at 9:14 pm 1

    I’ve loved Tolkein since about 7th grade, and have read LOTR upward of 30 times. I also like myths, and have read my share of those (though nowhere near as many as you, of course). Still, I’ve only made it through the Silmarillion two and a half times. (Hey, for me, that’s paltry.)

  2. kon 05 Jun 2007 at 5:23 pm 2

    I finally read the Hobbit, in an annotated version, and I think I actually like it better than LotR. No, I take that back. Not enough elves. But I would like to find a group of kids to read it to. And so on to Silmarillion, which was on my list before you mentioned it.

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