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Silmarillion, The (1977)
Fiction Review by The Undertaker

Silmarillion, The (1977) This epic book was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, naturally. If you like Lord of the Rings, books or the films, and The Hobbit, you owe it to yourself to pick this up and read as it lays the foundation for all of his mythos and the shape of middle-earth. For what I understand, Tolkien pretty much worked on the book his entire career and adult life. The word epic doesn't quite cover it; The Silmarillion has an almost biblical quality to it, especially in its themes of good and evil, right and wrong. Basically, the book presents the history, genealogy, and time-line of the elves of middle-earth. From the creation of all that is to the age leading into the War of the Rings, you get the whole story of the elves, and of men, and the many other things roaming during this time. What I enjoyed most about this book was the way it all comes together via different tales. I liked the creation beginning, the tale of Beren and Luthien, and the many tragedies that follow from the pride of one great elf Feanor, the creator of the Silmarils, the greatest jewels ever made. I found the character of Melkor, later only called Morgoth by the elves that hated him beyond all things, to be quite interesting. Similar to the Christian Satan, Melkor was once the most powerful of the beings who helped shape middle-earth, but his own ambition and pride soon lead to his downfall and his eventual hatred of all things, especially elves and men. Morgoth gets credit here for making all the black, evil things of middle-earth and helping in corrupting even the best of all races. His evil legacy manages to live on even after his banishment into nothingness, as the seeds he's sown are far reaching and his creations linger on, growing and waiting. My one gripe with this book (not really a gripe so much as my own small brain not being able to handle it all) is the huge amount of names and family trees to keep up with. So many characters come and go, related to this one and that one, that you really have to keep attention full-on, maybe even a couple readings are needed. The strength lies in the tales told, the way they are told, and the vastness of it all. The various battles sound pretty wild here, as do the powerful beings that take part. I honestly would have liked seeing more details about some of these great wars, but you get what you get here. The Silmarillion does give you the historical perspective intended, plus a whole lot more. I'm not sure that this would be a good read for casual Rings fans, but for those that seriously want explore that world, this is a must have book.
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