Dec 07

Reading Around: The Silmarillion


MMD-2016-Reading-ChallengeMy digital issues last month left me with a lot of time for reading. Thus, I completed the 2016 Reading Challenge. Anne launched this project at her Modern Mrs Darcy blog.



As I slowly clear my backlog, I can now discuss my eleventh challenge. This book qualified under number 9: a book you previously abandoned. The book was The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien. The version I own is a beautiful hardback from Allen & Unwin, published in 1977. The condition is pretty good for a book bought second-hand, and my copy retains the fold-out black and red map of Beleriand inside the back cover.


The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien, is currently published by Harper Collins. Their website describes the book as follows:


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.


Learn more at the Harper Collins website.


I have an amusing story to explain why this book qualifies as a book I previously abandoned. It was the early 1980s and I had just began playing Basic D&D. At this time, I had not read The Lord of the Rings, so visited my school library to find a copy. Sadly, the first book in the trilogy was not available, probably as it was so popular. Instead, there was a copy of The Silmarillion on the shelf.


I borrowed The Silmarillion, and quickly found myself overwhelmed. I had expected a fantasy novel, but found a dense text that made little sense. Or at least, that was how it seemed to me at the time. The Silmarillion is not an ideal book to start reading as a Tolkien novice. I quickly returned the book to the library, and found something else to read.


Now, however, I really enjoy The Silmarillion. Yes, it is dense, and the plot skips along pretty quickly. However, after the baroque style of The Worm Ouroboros, the prose in The Silmarillion felt relatively accessible. As a GM, I appreciate the depth of Tolkien’s setting. This is not a light book to read, but it reinforces my affection for Middle Earth.



Where next?

With eleven books completed for the Reading Challenge, I was down to the last option:


  1. A book you have already read at least once


This was going to be a real pleasure.



Happy Reading


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