|Submitted by Anonymous |
(Aug 01, 2003)
I think it is important to note that the Silmarillion has not come to us as a completed book of J.R.R. Tolkien's but as a collection of stories which have been pieced together in a time line after his death.
It is my understanding that Tolkien began writing down these stories while laid up in a WWI field hospital to keep himself busy.
I think that the Hobbit and to a greater degree The Lord of The Rings are the actual works that were birthed by these early writings which were never intended to be such works themselves.
The language of the Silmarillion is certainly other than that used in the later works and yet it draws you in until overtime your thoughts move along the same lines. While reading these tales, I would find myself thinking along the lines of "and so it came to pass as the light faded from the day that my Big Mac was no more, and yet the fries endured..." For a writer to create such "feelings / emotions" for lack of better words, is just amazing to me.
How fortunate are we Lord of Rings Fans to have these wonderful pieces of history to lend depth to the characters we know and love. You cannot understand the true sorrow of the elves without the Silmarrillion. Who would ever want to live forever with such an insight into what it would be like to be immortal. The Silmarillion reveals a majesty, power and age in Galadriel that is only hinted at in the LOTR. Who would know or understand the kinship between Elrond and Aragorn without this history? Without the tale of Beren and Luthien who would know why Elrond was "Half Elven"? Don't you imagine that before the Silmarillion was released and the LOTR's first came out back in the 50's that people were asking these things and had no resource for the answers? That there were "Silmarils" before "Rings of Power" or that Sauron was only a tenth part of the real dark lord Melkor who himself was a god, are only footnotes in the story we all know, and to learn what, and who, came before, only enriches the story we all love.
If you are going to approach the Silmarillion as a long lost book in the story of the LOTR's, then you may certainly be disappointed. If you approach it as a resource for the LOTR's and as more of a historical mythology, then I think that you will again enjoy traveling through Middle Earth with companions both old and new.
In closing I will say this, If you are going to attempt this great adventure, then stick with it once you start. I have given this book to many and only about half get past the first few chapters to their great enjoyment. The early stages of creation in the beginning of the Silmarillion can be difficult, and are only really appreciated as the history they begin unfolds later on. Be patient, be amazed.
I first read the Silmarillion when I was 17 and new then that if I ever had a son that I would name him Beren. Beren will be eight in August and has the soul of a hero...go figure.
|Submitted by Chaoldril |
(Apr 04, 2003)
First of all, the '3' rating needs be explained; you see, a small 1-10 number scale or the like has never seemed to me any sort of good way of judging anything, and, coincidentally, The Silmarillion is neither the 'best' book, nor the worst, but I give it a 3 to anyway state neutrality, neither bad nor good, which is my pitiable attempt to nullify the insipid number rating contraption.
Words are different, though...
Firstly, I must exclaim that in the end of all things, when history is summed up in some great conclusive universal inquisition into the past, it will be clearly seen that I was truly unfit to rate this book. How in our own history men have made terrible mistakes and fatal blunders at the bidding of their passions... yes, emotion is a strange and unreliable whip to crack the will of souls into action. Similarly, I am practically forfeit in my claim to be able to fairly rate this book, since that ability is lost on me, for my mind most certainly feels a great deal for its words.
Magic... it is something which dull entertainers and strange religionists seek to mimic with their tricks and their gospels, but nowhere is it really readably found anywhere. That is because magic, above all else, is really just a feeling, a mysterious inner glow of curiosity and awe which enraptures us, and it is an emotion not so easily rendered out. Perhaps it is this pure magic, this base emotion, which distorts my reviewing ability, since the story of this book alone out of much in this wide world, except for very few and personally sacred things, is able to instil in me like a ponderous silence, and even when the book is put away, if my mind is free from all else and it happens to stray itself there, the grand illusive magic to which I am but another of countless helpless dreamy victims begins to fill my mind, like a siren song. It is curious, but it is not far from the same feeling you might get when looking at deep space in clear pictures, since there also resides an inexplicable 'magic', but it must be said that while those pictures are sharp and eerily explosive inside our imaginations, the story of the silmarils moves the heart of the mind far more.
Pictures of space, no matter how much they cover, are bright little bits, minute parts of a massively glorious thing, and that feeling upon observing them can sometimes be like a floodlight of tingling and floating puzzlement, a great doubtful yet oddly fanciful griplessness, but it is abstract and distant, even though it is infinitely deep. Tolkien's story, in comparison, has beginnings and ends, and it does not stretch out in all directions forever. It is finite, though so are we, but it can be much richer while it lasts, for it is like a moving breathing image of a whole tiny universe, and upon seeing it all there is still hidden delight in the strange patterns which it forms in the mind and the dark areas it leaves behind as deep and consuming feelings like to an ethereal cosmic mystery, and unlike those photos of distant galaxies and nebulae, this different, warmer type of rare and valuable magic moves our hearts towards the most benevolent of sentiments, like empathy and patient sorrow, unspoiled awe as well as the calm of balance; yes, balance, for if you let it, it teaches beauty and a sensitive grace which is filled with light alongside the darkness of evil, destruction and hatred, and in the end a person is drawn to feel clear-headed, as if in thought they radiated like a soft simple light that under the prism shows a great majesty in rich yet subtle color. That is the color of the story's fabric, but moreover the way in which it was woven.
Such a feeling must be a crude and one-dimensional version, but a primitive descendant to it nonetheless, of what million-year-old aliens must feel, who have witnessed whole worlds unfold and fade before the vast coverless basins of their slowly observant minds.
In fact, I must say that I couldn't really judge The Silmarillion by itself either, since in my mind these are but the names of chapters, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and the rings, and it all falls under the single domain which is the Myth of Middle Earth, and I guess that would mean that I am already a condemned man in that future inquisition of the validity of things, but anyway, I hope that all does this book a little justice, amid the static of a world whose magic is dimmed to us by some dubiously veiling dark cloud...
I have written reviews for no other books, by the way, or things or products, ever, on the Internet or anywhere else, nor have I ever thought to, though from time to time I read the reviews of others... curious though, because upon given the chance to, and that in a chance meeting with the opportunity, wholly unlooked for, I felt compelled to honor the name of this story, and therefore indirectly its terribly powerful creator, by some odd impulse of passion... indeed, this magic is no idle fancy, it is a great mover of souls and driver of wills, it would seem. I suppose then we should be either very glad or grimly saddened that the man who wielded this power didn't really know how potent it was except for playful purposes...
'Tis awfully curious... no?