Review :: The Silmarillion
Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel 1978.
The tales of The Silmarillion were the underlying inspiration and source of J. R. R. Tolkien's imaginative writing; he worked on the book throughout his life but never brought it to a final form. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings, it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien's world, the ancient drama to which characters in The Lord of
the Rings look back and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part.
The title Silmarillion is shortened from Quenta Silmarillion, "The History of the Silmarils," the three great jewels created by Fëanor, most gifted of the Elves, in which he imprisoned the light of the Two Trees that illumined Valinor, the land of the gods. When Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, destroyed the Trees, that light lived on only in the Silmarils; Morgoth seized them and set them in his crown, guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. The Silmarillion is the history of the rebellion of Fëanor and his people against the gods, their exile in Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all the heroisim of Elves and Men, against the great Enemy.
The book includes several other, shorter works beside The Silmarillion proper. Preceding it are "Ainulindalë," the myth of Creation, and "Valaquenta," in which the nature and powers of each of the gods is set forth. After The
Silmarillion is "Akallabêth," the story of the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age; completing the volume is "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," in which the events of The Lord of the Rings are treated in the manner of The Silmarillion.
”Demanding to be compared with English mythologies... at times rises to the greatness of true myth.” – Financial Times
”A creation myth of singular beauty... magnifient.” – Washington Post
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. After serving in the First World War, he embarked upon academic career and was recognized as one of the finest philologists in the world. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959.
Tolkien is the creator of Middle-earth and author of the great modern classic, his epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien died in 1973 at the age of 81.