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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!
This is definitely one of the best books in my posession. The Silmarillion is astonishing in its philosophical and theological depth. It should not be labeled as merely "phantasy".
While this book is about all kinds of creatures, it is definitely also a metaphor on the human condition, with all its highs and its many lows. One failure after another of the...
Published on Aug. 28 2004 by Michael Stolz

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great but only under the right circumstances
Most fantasy works can be read by the general populace, especially the genre specific populace and easily enjoyed. This is not true of "The Silmarillion"
"The Silmarillion" is one of those books that gains GREATLY from rereading - this cannot be said enough. At first read it is a confusing selection and notes and names with little real story...
Published on May 26 2001 by mearwhen


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!, Aug. 28 2004
By 
Michael Stolz (Buffalo, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
This is definitely one of the best books in my posession. The Silmarillion is astonishing in its philosophical and theological depth. It should not be labeled as merely "phantasy".
While this book is about all kinds of creatures, it is definitely also a metaphor on the human condition, with all its highs and its many lows. One failure after another of the elves and men trails through the history of middle earth, and once in a while, a hero redeems his or her race by a spectacular act of goodness. Important questions about our mortality and Tolkien's christian ideas about the meaning of our lives are woven into the stories without becoming a lecture.
This book is more than a "historical" background for the Lord of the Rings. It could stand alone as a collection of fables in which JRR Tolkien provides more than merely the mythology to the Lord of the Rings.
I do not recommend this book to the casual reader, for they will be dissappointed. I had to read this book twice to begin (!) to appreciate it, and as with the Lord of the Rings, I expect I will discover new things, whenever I re-read this book.
It should be noted that the Silmarillion is a collection of stories by J.R.R. Tokien, masterfully edited by his son Christopher Tolkien, to approach some semblance of continuity between chapters. As C. Tolkien writes in the foreword, however, the Silmarillion is not one cohesive story, but a collection of several stories, written by J.R.R. Tolkien over many years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great but only under the right circumstances, May 26 2001
By 
"mearwhen" (Gettysburg, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
Most fantasy works can be read by the general populace, especially the genre specific populace and easily enjoyed. This is not true of "The Silmarillion"
"The Silmarillion" is one of those books that gains GREATLY from rereading - this cannot be said enough. At first read it is a confusing selection and notes and names with little real story. Later sections (especially Beren and Luthien but also Turin) have a more connected story, are closer to the Tolkien we have all grown to love.
This disjointedness is the Silmarillion's greatest weakness and one of the reasons I cannot give it five stars (although I would rate it that way for myself). The other is that only true Tolkien afficando's are going to enjoy it. Anyone who loves Tolkien will probably love this - they will enjoy an opportunity to see the back history of Middle Earth, to some of the legends and Elder Days mentioned in the Lord of the Rings. Thus for those that have read Tolkien, this will be a great book.
My other complaint with this book is that I doubt Tolkien would have ever published it. He spent such effort polishing his work, I do not think he would have published something as disjointed as this. And although I am glad to see it, that also detracts from the pleasure.
Anyhow, the Silmarillion is an interesting collection of myths and legends of the Elder Days of Middle Earth - of the War of the Jewels. It is tragic and reminiscent of Norse mythology and great for those interested in the Lord of the Rings. For everyone else though I would say don't bother.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only a book, but a Piece of Art, Feb. 28 2005
By 
Gonzalo Morán (Havana City, Cuba) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Hardcover)
It is quite difficult to write something about "The Silmarillion" when there are already so many people that have read it. But to write something about this new illustrated edition is completely different.
The whole book is a work mayor fantasy, created by J.R.R. Tolkien and it has been for all of us possible to read it, thanks to his son Christopher. The book should be read after having been read "The Hobbit" and The Lord of the Rings in that order, because if not its reading it could a bit difficult. Doing it this way you can feel as if you live each one of the histories like something that was made for us to know, but somehow didn't fitted in the previous books.
Now let's take this classic book and let's add it illustrations... Can someone request for more? This edition overcomes the previous by arriving to 45 marvelously painted illustrations, made by Ted Nasmith. Some of the paintings are awesomely real. They caught my eyes from the very beginning. It's a pity that some paintings made by Nasmtih, like the ones entitled "Eärendil Searches Tirion" and "Luthien Escapes the Treehouse" haven't been included in the final edition. On the other hand it was a big surprise to see the high-scaled map of this one. Not even the illustrated edition of LOTR has such a big and wonderful map.
To tell the truth it's a privilege to have this book in my bookcase beside the illustrated editions of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings".
Once again thanks Tolkien for give us such a wonderful world to live in, and thanks Mr Nasmith for put it into images.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars most precioussssssssss!, Feb. 29 2004
By 
norin (Ateneo, Philippines) - See all my reviews
I was so lost for words the first time i ended reading this book. Close to tears, even. I actually highlighted all terms i found significant. Almost the entire book is actually highlighted! Read it, love it, read it again and so it will NEVER come to pass when you'll grow tired of such wonderful material...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Requires repeated reading, Dec 9 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Silmarillion (Hardcover)
This collection of lose knit tales of the history of Middle Earth and those that live there. We learn many things as what different names of beings and places mean. This helps add a dimension to the stories that take place there.

I would say that it would help to read Lord of the Rings first because it is more comfortable when getting to know the area and characters. Then we can see where they came form; relationships are better understood.

Much of The Silmarillion can be taken in small bits and then sit back and contemplate how it could have been.

One does not just cut through any cultural history book for light reading and just shelving it. This is a cultural history book and will require rereading.

When people talk about the war I think back to which one they are talking about. Or are they just referring to one of the many orc skirmishes.

You do not have to be a Tolkien fan to find interest in this collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Requires repeated reading, Sept. 24 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This collection of lose knit tales of the history of Middle Earth and those that live there. We learn many things as what different names of beings and places mean. This helps add a dimension to the stories that take place there.

I would say that it would help to read Lord of the Rings first because it is more comfortable when getting to know the area and characters. Then we can see where they came form; relationships are better understood.

Much of The Silmarillion can be taken in small bits and then sit back and contemplate how it could have been.

One does not just cut through any cultural history book for light reading and just shelving it. This is a cultural history book and will require rereading.

When people talk about the war I think back to which one they are talking about. Or are they just referring to one of the many orc skirmishes.

You do not have to be a Tolkien fan to find interest in this collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Requires repeated reading, Aug. 18 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Hardcover)
This collection of lose knit tales of the history of Middle Earth and those that live there. We learn many things as what different names of beings and places mean. This helps add a dimension to the stories that take place there.

I would say that it would help to read Lord of the Rings first because it is more comfortable when getting to know the area and characters. Then we can see where they came form; relationships are better understood.

Much of The Silmarillion can be taken in small bits and then sit back and contemplate how it could have been.

One does not just cut through any cultural history book for light reading and just shelving it. This is a cultural history book and will require rereading.

When people talk about the war I think back to which one they are talking about. Or are they just referring to one of the many orc skirmishes.

You do not have to be a Tolkien fan to find interest in this collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Testament of Middle-Earth, June 18 2003
Ok. For most people their opinion of The Silmarillion, I think, depends on one specific question. Do you like reading history? Now I'm not saying that you have to like history, but if you are a person who likes history you will love this book.
It begins with the creation of the world. Titled Ainulindale. It was very original for the time(and still is), and many writers have leaned heavily on it for their own creation stories.
It continues with the Valaquenta which is an account of the major gods and lesser gods of middle earth.
The book then proceeds with the Quenta Silmarillion. Now to me, the Quenta Silmarillion is the most original collection of essays/literary works that I have ever read. Except for a small portion, it covers the events of the first age. During which it concerns mostly the creation and history of the elves. I won't go into details because that would take up too much space. There is just too much knowledge in this book. If that is possible.
If you have read The Lord of the Rings and want to know more about the elves this book is for you, because this is their story. Later in the Silmarillion the race of men come into the picture. My personal fav is the essay on Turin Turambar.
In many ways these stories are very tragic, but that is what makes it all the more real. You become immersed in the story because the tragedy of it reminds you of your own lives and world.
The book ends with geneologies, an index of names, and an appendice on the different elements of Sindarin and Quenya names.
Of all the books I own. This is one that I read over and over again and never get tired of. It is a wonderful work of art. However, don't expect another Lord of the Rings. It is a work in its own class. Enjoy it as such.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SOME OF THE BEST READING THIS SIDE OF THE PELORI, June 8 2002
By 
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Hardcover)
This is an amazing story told in a grand and beautiful style. The lyric "Music of the Ainur", the painfully beautiful "Beren and Luthien" (my personal favorite-I'm sure I'm not alone) and the grand story of Numenor, hideously glorious, even in its fall are some-but not all-of the highlights. The geneologies are a bit confusing (I'm still not sure how Galadriel is related to Feanor, but I think she is his half-brother's daughter or something)but the characters- Valar, Maiar, Elves, Men, Dwarves, monsters, etc. are truly absorbing. From Feanor's challange in the royal square of Tirion to the fight of Huan and wolf-Sauron to the monumental voyage of Earendil to the awakening of elves at Ciuvienen to the enchantment of Thingol by Melian the Maia...This book is just absolutely full of grand and exciting moments. Don't be put off by the antique style, that is one of the beauties of the book. Also one last piece of advise-don't read about Ungoliant just before going to bed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien's Bible..., May 28 2002
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Silmarillion (Paperback)
It's more than slightly staggering to consider the epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" to be the tail end of Tolkien's invented history. The "Bible" of Middle-Earth, the "Silmarillion" stretches from the beginning of time to the departure of the Elves from Middle-Earth.
A complete summary is impossible, because the book spans millennia and has one earth-shattering event after another. But it includes the creation of Tolkien's invented pantheons of angelic beings under Eru Iluvatar, also known as God; how they sang the world into being; the creation of Elves, Men, and Dwarves (hobbits are, I think, not really covered); the legendary love story of Beren and Luthien, a mortal Man and an Elf maiden who gives up her immortality for the man she loves; the demonic Morgoth and Sauron; Elves of just about any kind -- bad, mad, dangerous, good, sweet, brave, and so forth; the Rings of Power; the Two Trees that made the sun and moon; and finally the quest of the Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins.
Many old favorites will pop up over the course of the book, such as Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and so on. Fans of Elves will find plenty to feed their hunger; if you are fond of Hobbits or Dwarves, you will not find as much here. For those, you should check some of the other "lost" books of prior writings. It will also answer some questions that "Hobbit" and LOTR may raise, when references to long-ago incidents and people are made.
Be forewarned: The writing style of Silmarillion is more akin to the Eddas, the Bible, or the Mabinogian than to LOTR. It's more formal and archaic in tone, Tolkien did not get as "into" the heads of his characters in Silmarillion as he did in LOTR, and there is no central character. Needless to say, this is necessary as a more in-depth approach would have taken centuries to write, let alone perfect. If readers can bypass the automatic dislike of more formal prose, they will find enchanting stories and a less evocative but very intriguing writing style. This style strongly leans on the Eddas, collections of story and song that were unearthed and translated long ago. Though obviously not as well-known as LOTR, it is clear that these collections helped influence the Silmarillion.
It's evident, while reading this, that Tolkien's passion for his invented history. Someone who had a lack of enthusiasm could not have spent much of his adult life writing, revising, and polishing a history that never was. It's also almost frighteningly imaginative and real: It isn't too hard to imagine that these things could actually have happened. And in an age of shallow, cliched fantasy, Tolkien's coherent, carefully-written backstory is truly unique.
If you can take the formal prose and mythical style, this is a treasure, and a must-read for anyone who loved LOTR or "Hobbit." Only after reading this can readers truly appreciate Tolkien's literary accomplishments, and the full scope of the Middle-Earth that we glimpse in his more famous books.
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Silmarillion
Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Paperback - Dec 15 2008)
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