Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book 1 of 2014 --The Silmarillion

AS I mentioned in the previous post, on the first Tuesday of this year I discovered a series of Webinars dealing with Unfinished Tales by JRR Tolkien.  AS I was watching the first one I thought to myself "it has been too long since I read those books".  And so one of my goals for the year was formed....

Where do you start when sitting down to read Tolkien?  THe order in which they were published?  (WHich would be The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and then the many volumes of the History of Middle Earth series).  There is a logic to that, and certainly Hobbit is the most accessible read of the bunch.  But of course I am not a newbie to Middle Earth (my introduction to Tolkien will be discussed in the next post).  And so the next logical choice is to read the books in "chronological" order (sort of like if I read the Narnia Chronicles now I start with The Magician's Nephew but for a newbie to Narnia I would always suggest they start with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe).

And so I went downstairs and grabbed my old, well-worn copy of The Silmarillion off the shelf.  It is the copy I received as a Christmas gift 30+ years ago.  I can not remember the last time I read the book....

For those who are less familiar, this book is the history of the First Ages of Middle Earth. It begins with Creation, and follows through the struggles of the Eldar and the Edain against Morgoth in the War of the Jewels.  Then there is an account of the downfall of Numenor, which leads directly to Elendil and his sons returning to middle-Earth and creating the realms of Gondor and Arnor.

For those who have only read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings this is a different book.  But I like it.  It is a quick read (I started Tuesday night and finished it by the end of that week -- although the challenge in reading a book I know so well is to take the time to find new insights in it), but you get to explore the grey-ness of an epic struggle between good and evil over a number of fields and ages.  And it sets the stage for what comes after...

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