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I didn't like the Silmarillion

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by ckelly06, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. ckelly06

    ckelly06 Acolyte

    There, I said it. It's not flame bait or anything, I just thought it was too dense and frankly boring.

    I liked The Hobbit and LOTR, maybe it's time to read some of the other Middle Earth books. Some of them look pretty promising.
  2. Dense? Certainly. That's one of the reasons I love it: it isn't obvious. Tolkien was a philologist, he created Middle-earth merely as a playground for the languages he created. Commercial considerations played no part in the act of creation, something he sadly failed to pass on to his son. I love the Lord of the Rings, but the Silmarillion will always occupy a higher shelf in the bookcase of my heart.*

    * Too wet? Oh well, I'm in that kind of mood...
  3. Behelit

    Behelit Troubadour

    I just so happen to be reading The Silmarillion. Roughly 5 chapters in and I feel like I'm reading the book of Genesis (closer to that of Norse mythology though.) That isn't to dish any dirt; it is difficult to take in so many names and associations in such a short span. I have felt the need to re-read it in hopes of better retaining or understand but have yet to do so. I'd prefer to complete the book, I think it will sink in better once I have the big picture.

    I agree with the usage of the word 'dense', bearing little to no negative connotation in mind.

    I went into the book not expecting a story that of the likes of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings but more of a mythological background or a companion to the previously mentioned titles. I think if you were expecting or wanting it to be a prequel, then you probably will be disappointed.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  4. It's dense, I don't deny it. But bearing in mind that Tolkien was hoping to create a mythology for the English, that's no real surprise. It's certainly a less enjoyable read than Lord of the Rings, and maybe it only has relevance to those who want to know what came before the events of LotR, but (however perversely) I quite enjoyed it. Maybe I just need to get out in the fresh air a bit more.:)
  5. Behelit

    Behelit Troubadour

    I'd say I'm more in the same ship as you, Dusk. I am enjoying it so far, but I am also noting the fact that I am having difficult digesting it properly due to the density of information involved.
  6. If it ain't floating your boat, Behelit, throw it to one side. We've got a limited span on this planet and I doubt anyone's ever thought in their dying moments: 'I really wish I'd carried on reading that book.' Dump it. Find something that'll give you real pleasure. Regardless of what old coves like me might say, Tolkien isn't the be-all and end-all. Have fun while you can.:D
  7. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

    The three major works in the Middle-earth legendarium are each written in completely different ways. The Hobbit is written as a classic children's fairy tale. LotR as a standard fantasy epic. The Silmarillion however is basically written as a history book, which is definitely not for everyone. I enjoyed it quite a bit but then I am a total LotR nerd and plan on being a history major.
  8. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    I love it myself, but I can easily see where it would fail to appeal to others. It is often dry and much is left to the reader to try and imagine to any detail.
  9. Amorus

    Amorus Dreamer

    I really enjoyed it because it provides a history of how everything came to be. References are made in both the book and the movies regarding the ancient days of ME. What is a Balrog and who is Morgoth? It helps to answers these questions. Tolkien was a huge fan of Norse mythology. I found his creation of Middle Earth to be extremely interesting, especially to see how much this influenced his thinking. I agree that some will love it and some will not.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  10. Digital_Fey

    Digital_Fey Troubadour

    Even at the peak of my LotR mania, I couldn't finish the Silmarillion. All attempts to do so since have failed; I bought my own copy recently and it's still sitting unopened on the shelf. The style is indeed very dense and imitates that of many ancient texts, being more focused on imparting a sequence of events than describing fight scenes and using dialogue. However, since this is exactly what Tolkien intended - creating a sort of simulation mythology - it's a very impressive body of work. It's just not awfully accessible for modern readers >.>
  11. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    Well, I prefer real history books where I can get inspiration from ;) to those of made-up worlds.
    Therefore I've never tried to read it. If I were an absolute fan of Tolkien's work and world I probably would, but I don't care about it enough. I think that he was a very good writer and LotR is a very well-done story in many aspects but it has never touched me emotionally at least not much. I have no idea why that is, though.
  12. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    For the exact same reasons you have for hating it, I happen to quite like The Silmarillion. I think Tolkien is a bit of a shite storyteller, using characters and storylines as an excuse to show off his languages and showcase his world. The Hobbit was far better, perhaps because it was far less his intention, but it is a bit weak perhaps simply due to the lack of substance. The Silmarillion, in its bulk, does not hide what it truly is: a history textbook.
  13. Gustopher

    Gustopher Acolyte

    I love the Silmarillion because it has so much of a re read value. The first time I got it from the library and couldn't get through it before I had to take it back. The second time I finished it and really enjoyed it, and every time since I've read and captured a lot that I missed the earlier times around. I've read a lot of excellent novels and stories and textbooks and myths and there are very few that are worth reading a second time, much less a third or fourth and beyond.

    I love mythology and history and I love fantasy and the Silmarillion blends so many wonderful things that I love together in a really meaningful way. That's why I love it.

    P.S. I have the hardback version with the art by Ted Nasmith and it is a wonderful addition to the text. Simply beautiful.
  14. Dude, I didn't ever really like Lord of the Rings. I just read it because apparently you're supposed to. I haven't even considered reading Silmarillion. (Which as I understand it isn't so much a book as Tolkien's extended story bible.)
  15. Gustopher

    Gustopher Acolyte

    Its more than a story bible, and it definitely isn't a novel, but something sort of in between. More like a fictional, fantastical narrative history.
  16. To me, the Silmarillion isn't a story; it's history (albeit a fictional one). I don't expect it to serve the same function as a story. I wouldn't complain that a book on Russian history is boring; it's supposed to inform, not entertain.

    This isn't to say that everyone should crave that same information, but anyone reading the Silmarillion and expecting a story is going to be disappointed.
  17. Cleio

    Cleio Dreamer

    I think the Silmarillion is probably not meant to be read cover to cover, although there are certainly people that enjoy it that way. I'm fascinated with the great detail Tolkien managed in developing all aspects of Middle Earth, and I've enjoyed picking and choosing bits of the Silmarillion to learn more about those things that interest me.
  18. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    I found it did help in explaining some of the references made by several characters in LOTR that I was left confused and thinking about.

    But on a note, and I'd like to point out that The Silmarillion was put together by JRRT's son (CT) after his death as a compilation of JRRT's ideas, musings, and histories of LOTR. CT also edited the Children of Hurin into a full length novel based on his father's framework.

    I sort of think of The Silmarillion as the equivalent of my guide notes and notebook, rather than as a novel in itself.
  19. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

    I enjoyed the Silmarillion last I read it. And I can see where people are coming from with it being "dense" and a "history book". The style of writing felt very King James Bible to me, so somewhat familiar. I still think of it as a story though. It just requires more from the reader. You have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps.
  20. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

    I didn't like it either. It felt like one giant infodump, which got old real fast.

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