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I didn't like the Silmarillion

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

  1. I agree with master Clayborne. The sleevenotes of the book read as follows:

    That is not to say you have to like it, I'm just pointing out that it is not meant as a consistent, continuous narrative story, and so it should not be read as such. You either like it for what it is or you don't. Personally I like it. I agree that it can be difficult to keep track of everyone and it is dense by nature, but I find it interesting. The story of the creation at the start I think is really cool, and the way the valar interact with the elves, and how we get an overview of everything panning out according to the designs of Iluvatar (and sometimes not). It feels like I'm delving into an ancient, fabled tome. Thats just my view on the matter.
     
    BronzeOracle likes this.
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    ^ This. Though, while not primarily romantic in tone, there is definitely romance in there, and it is very important. Beren and Luthien are among the most important couples, along with Thingol and Melian. Even the Valar and Maiar get a bit of romantic action -- check out Tulkas and Nessa's wedding, and the unrequited love story of Tilion and Arien.
     
  3. Bluesboy

    Bluesboy Dreamer

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    Some people here said that Silmarillion is a history book for the world of Tolkien. I'd actually say it's kind of a Bible, rather than a history book (and considering how many people actually read the Bible, I'm not surprised Silmarillion doesn't get read that much). The writing style is very 16th century English, which I adore, but it can be rather confusing at times (English is not my first language). As people pointed out, it's not a story book, it's more of an explanation of what happened before LotR. Informative, not engaging.
     
    Ireth likes this.
  4. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

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    It's better to think of the Silmarillion as a collection of short stories than one novel. I liked it. I didn't find it that dense.
     
  5. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

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    Well, In Tolkien's defense, it was written about 100 years ago.

    The use of names is overwhelming, but if you can get past that and focus on the story there is an innocent beauty that is captivating.

    I am always drawn to the battle between Luthien and Sauron. Even though much is left to the imagination, I love how she brings him out of Tol-in-Gaurhoth with her power.

    The imagery of Sauron beguiling the Numenoreans, building a huge furnace and sacrificing men is a terrifying image.

    One of the strangest things to me was the fact that the elves were always so petty. Even Galadriel was among the group guilty of murder, when her people stole the boats to go after the silmarils.

    Can you imagine Melkor feeding Ungoliat the gems and his horrid cry of pain?

    The imagery is stark and forever imbedded in my brain.
     
  6. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

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    That's one version. In another, Tolkien says she crossed the ice. In a third, she cross in a small boat with Celeborn at that time, and so, fell under the Ban.
     
  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I've never heard that third version. From what I know, Celeborn was one of those who never saw Aman. He lived in Doriath with Thingol and Melian, and that's where he met Galadriel after the Noldor returned to Arda.
     
  8. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Just because Tolkien's early drafts happen to have been published, I don't think it's fair to consider them actual version of his stories. Just like every writer ever, Tolkien rewrote his stories multiple times and made different choices each time. Past choices aren't legitimate alternate versions of his stories any more than any author's early drafts would be considered a legitimate version of the published story. They can be enjoyed for what they are, but shouldn't be confused with the most finished and polished version that was actually published as The Silmarillion.

    Only the very earliest versions of his stories, which you can read in HOME, were written about 100 years ago. The finally published version of The Silmarillion was still being rewritten right up until his death, which is why Christopher had to finish the job. That's significantly less than 100 years ago.

    The Silmarillion reads like a mythological cycle, which is exactly what it was intended to be like. If you enjoy mythological literature, you should enjoy The Sil. Personally, mythology has been one of my great loves since elementary school so The Sil is my favorite by far of Tolkien's writings.
     
  9. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

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    Tolkien never considered his work finished. He viewed his stories as a tool to study his languages. And tools can be changed.
     
  10. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I don't agree with that assessment. If the stories were just tools, there would have been no need to radically rewrite them so many times over the years. Tolkien had a true love of story as is clearly shown in On Fairy Stories. There's no doubt his love of languages and stories went hand in hand, but the stories were far more than tools.
     
  11. goldhawk

    goldhawk Troubadour

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    I'm not talking about how most people view stories; I'm talking about Tolkien's view. For Tolkien, stories were a way to explore language.
     
  12. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I'm sure it started out that way, but it's entirely possible his views changed as he kept writing, so the stories became more than just tools. Why else would he spend half a century fleshing out the world of Arda with so many revisions that had little if anything to do with the elvish languages he originally wrote the trilogy for?
     
  13. acapes

    acapes Sage

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    For me I find the Sim more successful as a reference guide rather than a fictional narrative.
     
  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I'm talking about Tolkien's view as well. It's very clear from his writings that his stories were much more than just a way to explore language to him from quite early on.
     

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