The Silmarillion J. R. R. Tolkien Paperback
"Majestic!...readers of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS...will find THE SILMARILLION a cosmology to call their own...medieval romances, fierce fairy tales and fiercer wars that ring with heraldic fury...it overwhelms the reader." TIME Those interested in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth should not be without this grand volume that tells the tragic tale of the struggle for control of the Silmarils, a struggle that would determine the history of the world long before the War of the Ring.
About The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who later became a noted fantasy writer. The Silmarillion, along with J. R. R. Tolkien's other works, forms a comprehensive, yet incomplete, narrative that describes the universe of Middle-earth within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.After the success of The Hobbit, and prior to the publication of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's publisher requested a sequel to The Hobbit, and Tolkien sent them an early draft of The Silmarillion. But through a misunderstanding, the publisher rejected the draft without fully reading it, with the result that Tolkien began work on "A Long Expected Party", the first chapter of what he described at the time as "a new story about Hobbits", which became The Lord of the Rings.
The Silmarillion comprises five parts. The first part, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of Eä, the "world that is". Valaquenta, the second part, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers in Eä. The next section, Quenta Silmarillion, which forms the bulk of the collection, chronicles the history of the events before and during the First Age, including the wars over the Silmarils which gave the book its title. The fourth part, Akallabêth, relates the history of the Downfall of Númenor and its people, which takes place in the Second Age. The final part, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, is a brief account of the circumstances which led to and were presented in The Lord of the Rings.The five parts were initially separate works, but it was the elder Tolkien's express wish that they be published together. Because J. R. R. Tolkien died before he finished revising the various legends, Christopher gathered material from his father's older writings to fill out the book. In a few cases, this meant that he had to devise completely new material in order to resolve gaps and inconsistencies in the narrative.
Quenta Silmarillion ("The History of the Silmarils"), which makes up the bulk of the book, is a series of interconnected tales set in the First Age that make up the tragic saga of the three jewels, the Silmarils.The Valar had attempted to fashion the world for Elves and Men, but Melkor continually destroyed their handiwork. After he destroyed the two lights that illuminated the world, the Valar removed to Aman, a continent to the west of Middle-earth, where they established their home called Valinor, illuminated by Two Trees, and left Middle-Earth to darkness and Melkor. When stars began to shine and the Elves awoke, the Valar fought Melkor to keep the Elves safe, defeated and captured Melkor and then invited the Elves to live in Aman. Many Elves travelled to Aman, while others refused and still others stopped along the way. Of the three tribes that set out, all of the Vanyar and Noldor, and many of the Teleri reached Aman.
In Aman, Fëanor, son of Finwë, King of the Noldor, created the Silmarils, jewels which glowed with the light of the Two Trees. Melkor, released after feigning repentance, destroyed the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant, killed Fëanor's father Finwë, stole the Silmarils, and fled to Middle-earth, where he attacked the Elvish kingdom of Doriath but was repulsed in the first of five battles of Beleriand. Melkor barricaded himself in his northern fortress of Angband.Fëanor and his sons swore an oath of vengeance against Melkor — and against anyone who withheld the Silmarils from them, even the Valar. Fëanor persuaded most of the Noldor to pursue Melkor, whom Fëanor renamed as Morgoth, into Middle-earth. Fëanor's sons seized ships from the Teleri, attacking and killing many of them, and left the other Noldor to make the voyage by foot. Upon arriving in Middle-earth, the Noldor under Fëanor attacked Melkor and defeated his host, though Fëanor was slain by Balrogs. After a period of peace, Melkor attacked the Noldor but was again defeated and besieged. Nearly four hundred years later, he broke the siege and drove the Noldor back.
After the destruction of the Trees and the theft of the Silmaril, the Valar had created moon and sun, thereby also causing the awakening of Men, some of which later arrive in Beleriand and allied themselves to the Elves. Beren, a man who had survived the latest battle, wandered to Doriath, where he fell in love with the elf Lúthien, the king's daughter. The king sought to prevent their marriage by imposing what he believed an impossible task: retrieving one of the Silmarils from Melkor. But together, Beren and Lúthien embarked on this quest. Sauron, a powerful servant of Melkor, imprisoned them along the way; but they escaped, crept into Melkor's fortress, and stole a Silmaril from Melkor's crown. Having achieved the task, the first union of man and elf was formed, though Beren was soon mortally wounded and Lúthien also died of grief.The Noldor, seeing that a mortal and an elf-woman could infiltrate Angband, perceived that Melkor was not invincible. They attacked again with a great army of Elves, Dwarves and Men. But they were deceived by Melkor, who had secretly darkened the hearts of many of the men. Thus it was that the Elvish host were utterly defeated, due in part to the treachery of some Men. However, many Men remained loyal to the Elves and were honoured thereafter.
None received more honour than the brothers Húrin and Huor. Melkor captured Húrin, and cursed him to watch the downfall of his kin. Húrin's son, Túrin Turambar, was sent to Doriath, leaving his mother and unborn sister behind in his father's kingdom (which had been overrun by the enemy). Túrin achieved many great deeds of valour, the greatest being the defeat of the dragon Glaurung. But Túrin was always plagued by the curse of Melkor, which led him unwittingly to murder his friend Beleg and to marry and impregnate his sister Nienor, whom he had never met, and who had lost her memory through Glaurung's enchantment. But before their child was born, the bewitchment was lifted as the dragon lay dying. Nienor, realizing what grew within her, took her own life. Túrin upon learning the truth, threw himself on his sword.
Huor's son, Tuor became involved in the fate of the hidden Noldorin kingdom of Gondolin. He married the elf Idril, daughter of Turgon, Lord of Gondolin (the second union between Elves and Men). When Gondolin fell, betrayed from within by Maeglin, Tuor saved many of its inhabitants from destruction. All of the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand eventually fell, and the refugees fled to a haven by the sea created by Tuor. The son of Tuor and Idril, Eärendil the half-Elven, was betrothed to Elwing, herself descended from Beren and Lúthien. Elwing brought Eärendil the Silmaril of Beren and Lúthien, and using its light Eärendil travelled across the sea to Aman to seek help from the Valar. The Valar obliged; they attacked and defeated Melkor, completely destroying his fortress Angband and sinking most of Beleriand; and they expelled Melkor from Arda. This ended the First Age of Middle-earth.
The children of Eärendil and Elwing were Elrond and Elros. As descendants of immortal elves and mortal men, they were given the choice of which lineage to belong to: Elrond chose to belong to the Elves, his brother to Men. Elros became the first king of Númenor.
About the Author J.R.R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis – they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings.
While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy. Tolkien's writings have inspired many other works of fantasy and have had a lasting effect on the entire field. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of 'The 50 greatest British writers since 1945'. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic, and in his religious and political views he was mostly conservative, in the sense of favouring established conventions and orthodoxies over innovation and modernization; in 1943 he wrote, "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood to mean abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs)—or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy." Tolkien had an intense dislike for the side effects of industrialization, which he considered to be devouring the English countryside. For most of his adult life, he was disdainful of automobiles, preferring to ride a bicycle. This attitude can be seen in his work, most famously in the portrayal of the forced "industrialization" of The Shire in The Lord of the Rings. Many have commented on a number of potential parallels between the Middle-earth saga and events in Tolkien's lifetime. The Lord of the Rings is often thought to represent England during and immediately after World War II. Tolkien ardently rejected this opinion in the foreword to the second edition of the novel, stating he preferred applicability to allegory. This theme is taken up in greater length in his essay "On Fairy-Stories", where he argues fairy-stories are so apt because they are consistent with themselves and some truths about reality. He concludes that Christianity itself follows this pattern of inner consistency and external truth. His belief in the fundamental truths of Christianity and their place in mythology leads commentators to find Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings, despite its noticeable lack of overt religious references, religious ceremony or appeals to God. This is not surprising, since the phenomena which in our real world give rise to religious impulses are, in Middle-earth, an ordinary and expected part of the natural world. Use of religious references was frequently a subject of disagreement between Tolkien and C.S. Lewis,whose work is often overtly allegorical. However, Tolkien wrote that the Mount Doom scene exemplified lines from the Lord's Prayer. His love of myths and devout faith came together in his assertion that he believed that mythology is the divine echo of "the Truth". This view was expressed in his poem Mythopoeia, and his idea that myths held "fundamental truths" became a central theme of the Inklings in general.
The Silmarillion J. R. R. Tolkien Paperback
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