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nessa76
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Post The Silmarillion: Help!
on: July 13, 2003 03:06
Ok everybody!
I am about to start reading the book. Any suggestion to make it easier to understand. Should I buy the CD version to follow along to or should I just read it and see how it goes. Any suggestion. I have heard this book is very hard to understand and get into. But I am really anxious to get started any suggestions! Help!
AEvenstar
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: July 13, 2003 09:46
I suggest just reading it and seeing how you go. It's quite hard to begin with but just keep going and it will get easier - you'll grow to love it like the rest of us.:dizzy:
Corintur_Linyacelu
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: July 13, 2003 10:52
I think you only need a silent enviroment, a map of Beleriand (there is one in the book, I think) and the book itself.
There are many names in the book, so you will not always remember who is who, but with the help of the name index you will understand it. No need to be anxious.

You just have to know that this is unlike The Lord of the Rings not a prose story but a collection of myths.

And I didn't know that there is a CD version... ?

Saurid
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: July 14, 2003 12:42
I remember when I first read the Silmarillion I was taking notes. Seriously!! Hehe, I think I even still have them somewhere. But then again, I am quite obsessed with it
The map of Beleriand comes in handy, especially that people who have only read LotR tend to forget that things looked a bit different before the War of Wrath. A long term thing for you I would suggest to take a look at in order to understand the differences between Beleriand and Middle Earth is here. The link takes to the Encyclopedia of Arda, the section of FAQ with thecomparison of Beleriand and Middle Earth. Warning: contains a bit of spoiler, but since the Silmarillion is a set of myths, that should not be a problem. But then again, I warned Though this really proves useful to understand the difference

Ai, have a nice time reading!
Roheryn
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: July 14, 2003 05:23
There is a CD audio reading of the Silmarillion by Martin Shaw published by Random House, which I have read is Very Good. Don't have it yet myself though.

Also out are CDs of The Hobbit and LOTR read by Rob Inglis.
hobbithole_dweller
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 02, 2003 01:06
While I was reading the books, the family trees were a big help and eventually so was the index (always handy when there are 3 different names for the same person/place). I never really understood the map... x|

rhia
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 02, 2003 04:02
I won't say I didn't have difficulty with it but here are a few things that helped me out:

Checking the Maps every 5 minutes
Looking at the Family Trees about 100 times each
*The INDEX/GLOSSERY I din't find out about this until I was about halfway through the book. Reading it was a LOT! easier after that.
PotbellyHairyfoot
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 04, 2003 03:51
I can remember the first time I read the Silmarillion. I just hated the first bit about the Music of The Ainur etc.. Tolkien's creation myth was just too wierd for me. Once I got a few chapters in I enjoyed the stories but it was several years before I learned to appreciate the first few chapters.
Music and a bad harmony causing all the problems of the world? Glowing trees? Hollding light and releasing it somewhere else.? A flat Earth? It was all just too wierd for me then.
tani
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 07, 2003 12:51
The first time I read Sil I made the mistake of reading it like any other book... that is cover to cover... I wouldn't suggest that... read it slowly... your poor brain gets overloaded with so much info! The second time I read it I read a chapter, sometimes half a chapter a day until i finished it... and loved it so much more that time! :love: I just started re-reading it for what is about the 5th or 6th time now! Once you read it, i'm sure you'll love it too!:love:
falather
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 14, 2003 02:49
If you can get a copy of The Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad that really helps! It's a wonderful book with a ton of maps in it, and it makes The Silmarillion a lot easier to understand because there are battle maps and people's routes of travel, and you can look at it while you read. (It's got maps from LotR and The Hobbit, too!)
Caranaew
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 24, 2003 12:59
If you read the Sil, you must have a map! When I read it, there was no map and now I don't remember the places at all! And it is also good if you take a look at the family trees every time when you see a name. That's what I did and it helped a lot. And I also check the names at the Index (or whatever it is). That's how I learned the names.

I never knew that there was a cd of Sil! Here, in Finland, there are just cd:s of FotR and TTT.
Celeviel
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 25, 2003 10:16
don't worry about whether or not you will be able to understand the silmarillion right away, just start and try to comprehend it in your own way because i think that is part of the beauty of the experience... you will feel overwhelmed by the massive amounts of detail in such a seemingly short time of storytelling, and when everything falls into place, it's like pure magic...
Novalis
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: August 28, 2003 01:36
I think Celeviel is right. Don't try to "understand". The Silmarilion is one of the most poetical and beautiful books ever written. It is very different from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There are no hobbits, only Valar, men and Elves. What can be confusing is that each character or tribe has many names, so you can either make notes or consult an index. A chart of the different elvish clans could help also. But remember, it is not a novel. It has a grandeur of his own. When reading it, I felt as reading the sacred book of some ancient and forgotten religion. Don't fear and enjoy the poetry and the light!
Aradol_I_Galen
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: September 01, 2003 04:56
I put the SIL on my iPod and listened to it, twice. It is slow starting off, espeicially on the first listening. But to have someone such as Martin Shaw deliver the story with such power and command in his voice was a true delight.
I first listened to LOTR unabriged by Rob Ingles, and he magnificently did all of the voices, each with its own destinction. I love to load a bowl of my Long Bottom Pipe Weed, and close my eyes and listen, imaginging the views that PJ has given us all. I listened to it 4 times before I got the Sil on my iPod.
With The Sil, I think the first chapters would have bored the crap out of me had I been reading it. I would have continued, yet less eagerly. But I kept listening, and I loved it. The thing I really like about listening to it as opposed to reading it, is that I get a proper pronounciation of all of the many things and people in the vast realm of Arda. Being from Oklahoma, I would have no idea on how to prononce Earendil, for example, and thats fairly easy.

I do own all of the Tolkien books I've listened to, I really wish the people at audible.com would pick up on HoME.

That is my council, in case there are any who care.

[Edited on 9/2/2003 by GreenleafofThranduil]

[Edited on 9/4/2003 by GreenleafofThranduil]
Nanelleth
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: September 12, 2003 05:47
But at the last the King grew weary, and Morgoth bore down his shield upon him. Thrice he was crushed to his knees, and thrice arose again and bore up his broken shield and stricken helm. But the earth was all rent and pitted about him, and he stumbled and fell backward before the feet of Morgoth; and Morgoth set his left foot upon his neck, and the weight of it was like a fallen hill. Yet with his last and desperate stroke Fingolfin hewed the foot with Ringil, and the blood gashed forth black and smoking and filled the pits of Grond.
Thus died Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, most proud and valiant of the Elven-kings of old. The Orcs made no boast of that duel at the gate; neither do the Elves sing of it, for their sorrow is too deep.

That is one of my favorite passages from the Silmarillion. It is one of the 'tragic hero' stories. The_Last_Mariner_04 is right that the Silmarillion is not as optimistic as LoTR, but it has a lot of beautiful stories told from the point of view of the Elves in ME, which may be why they seem so tragic.

I resisted reading the Silmarillion for years after it was published (I could'nt make it past the first few chapters), but now wish I had stuck with it and read it earlier.

[Edited on 13/9/2003 by Nanelleth]
atalante_star
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: September 14, 2003 12:05
I *love* the Silmarillion. It's my favourite book ever - especially the Ainulindale. And now I know it pretty much off by heart, I don't really need any "helps" to read it. But when I first read it, the one thing that really helped me was drawing out the family trees onto separate bits of paper so I could look at them easily while reading the book. And also writing down the main elven races and which characters were connected with which races.

And the Martin Shaw version is *amazing*. His voice suits the book, making the recording as mystical and religious-sounding as the book is!
daffadowndilly
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: October 29, 2003 01:59
Well, it has stuff about the fourteen valar and some of the more important Elves. A lot of it has to do with Feanor (the maker of the silmarils and palantiri) and his sons. It sort of "tracks" the Silmarils until they got lost or whatever happened to them. I think the only part about men is about Turin. It has the story of Beren and Luthien. The events in the LOTR trilogy are summarized in around 2 or 4 pages (depending on if you count one page as both sides, or not.) Then it has a bunch of family trees. I combined them all into one big family tree, and it took several drafts before I got one without a lot of lines crossing each other.
drunken_elf
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: January 15, 2004 12:22
Ohhh thankyou! I'm currently about half way through Sil - I tried to read it last year, but then I had to stop halfway through to read some other required reading, and by the time I came back to it I'd forgotten what was happening...So I'm slowly making progress this time..The maps are very useful, (and I've finally understood how Beleriand and Middle Earth are linked! That was very confusing at first) as are the indexes and family trees...But I think I might take a few notes! I did find it a bit hard to get into at first, but slowly it does become a bit clearer...Thanks for all the help..
Lissiriel
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: January 19, 2004 04:52
Everyone here has posted really good recommendations, so I guess this would be for someone who really, really REALLY gets lost, but...

there is a "Middle-Earth for Dummies" book out there. yes, the same yellow paperback books with the funny cartoons in them that do more common things like "windows for dummies" and "fly fishing for dummies." I couldnt believe it, but I'd sure like to give it to some people out there... grrr... Anyways, a good portion of it goes into the history and things covered in the Silmarillion (including a funny cartoon of Celebrimbor). Its like cliffs notes for the Tolkien challenged... with funny cartoons.
Mithelril
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 01, 2004 11:19
I suggest just READING it! There is no one right way to read any book, but in this case, many have made several attempts before completing it (e.g. moi! :blush: )

Read it for the poetic flow and sweeping beauty of the time and places, if you can't understand the "plot" [there's a plot????] Dig into the parts you do understand and enjoy (how can you NOT want to learn the whole story of Beren & Luthien?)! Okay, there are a lot of elves with similar names... taking notes IS a great idea.

LotR is much more enjoyable when you know how Middle Earth came into being, how the orcs were created, WHY the dwarves & elves don't get along...
Go11um
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 05, 2004 03:54
In My "Precious" opinion, I really struggled with it the first time I read it, but enjoyed the Turin story and decided to read it again to try and understand the relationships better. This worked, but still - because of its inherent intricacy - required further reads and even now after probably 15 or so reads (I've not actually kept a count) I could still read it again and glean more from it. So, advice, read it (keep going if your struggling, it gets easier), read it again, and again, and again.......

Most of all enjoy and relish the great creativity and genius of this world constructed by the great JRR Tolkien.
drunken_elf
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 06, 2004 10:25
I posted here earlier when I was about half way through..Well after I finished it I wanted to just dive back in and read it again! It's really well worth it - it might seem like a struggle in the first few chapters, but once you start to get your head around it, you begin to really enjoy it. And I think it's one of those books that really lends itself to repeat readings, because each time you re-read it you discover something new, or you understand something a bit better. It's a wonderful book - but don't be afraid to use the indexes, family trees and maps!
BingoTook
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 10, 2004 05:46
I read the entire Silmarillion cover to cover (got this old, paperback cover printed in the '70s. Love it.) and it really is pretty overwhelming when you start.

It's imporatnt to understand that it doesn't read like a novel, and it's not *supposed* to read like a novel. It isn't one. The Silmarillion is basically the mythology that Britain never had. Well, they did have a mythology, but most of their stories were never preserved and were lost to time. That's why you'll notice a real parallel between the beginning creation-story with the story of creation as told in the Bible (remember, Tolkien was a Catholic), as well as a deliberate similarity between the Valar and the Greco/Roman deities.

Try to take one story at a time, and read at intervals, instead of deciding to sit down with the book for four hours straight. Overall, the Silmarillion is a work of veritiable genious. Think about it. One man creating a world and writing an entire, in-depth history for it. It's a very cool thing.
Earnur
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 17, 2004 06:56
When I read it for the first time, there were a lot of names I couldn't remember, but if you've got the map of Beleriand and a family tree you'll be quite OK, but in the beginning of the book, some names of people and places are mentioned that haven't been explained yet. One example is that Numenor is mentioned somewhere in the Quenta Silmarillion (which is in the first age) but you don't get to know what Numenor is before you've read the second last chapter of the book, Akkallabeth, the Downfall of Numenor. The reason for this is that the Sil. wasn't written as a book. It's just a collection of stories Tolkien wrote. But if you really want to understand everything in the book, read it twice or more! becasue then you'll know many things from the last time you read it, and you might understand some of the stories better if you've read all the stories before.

TIP: make your own family tree of the elves and men. I made one big family out of the family trees in the back of the book.

[Edited on 17/2/2004 by Eärnur]
Tcherepin
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: February 18, 2004 11:41
Yes, remember to read it as a collection of mysths/stories and not one continuous story. In fact, though it's nearly impossible to really do htis, you might try reading each single story in one sitting and then putting the book away until the next tim eyou have enough time to read a whole story. Just a thought.

Enjoy, they're wonderful stories.
Heart_of_a_Hobbit
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: March 29, 2004 05:57
When I started reading the book, it took me about two months to get through the first chapter. A friend suggested the Tolkien Companion. I've never heard of it, and I didn't get it. I'm now at Luthien's birth and the reading is getting easier as it goes. Another friend said that all the tears and frustration over reading it is worthwhile at the end. So I guess my advice would be to just plow through it (referring to the map) and see how it goes. Then, perhaps you could read it over again. That's what I'm going to do.
atalante_star
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 15, 2004 06:54
There are some maps of Beleriand in our maps section. Links to some good ones are here and here.

There is a map of Valinor here.

Hope that helps
ELBERTHGILTTHONIELIII
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 16, 2004 11:13
i read the hobbit then the trilogy then i read the silmarillion. it was a good book and i was able to understand it alright (at least compared to my friends). i eventually read it again and then it all kind of clicked into place and it was really clear. dont be disapionted if u dont get it, just re-read it!
Náredhil
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 18, 2004 05:42
just a useful little tidbit i'd like to say. If you like the idea of the Valar, Go to Elronds Library, the Middle Earth section, then the Ainur/Maiar. I created a family tree connection the Ainur to their corresponding Maiar if you were interested/confused at all. Haha, not that it matters, just wanted to let you guys know
atalante_star
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 18, 2004 06:09
If you go into Elrond's Library in the left hand menu, the Encyclopedia is in there, as well as a lot of other stuff on Tolkien's books

Middle-earth contains more detailed articles about Tolkien's world, and there are sections of weaponry, literature studies, Tolkien's poems, an interactive map of Middle-earth etc etc

Check it out
LadyEowyn_Of_Rohan
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 22, 2004 10:42
Especially if you're as visual as I, I wouldn't use a CD version the first time you read it, unless you plan to pause it every few minutes and look up names in the index.
I got through The Silmarillion without a problem, probably because you people scared me so much I read everything in the beginning two or three times. About a third of the way through, I stopped endlessly rereading and decided that when the onslaught of names came, I would start rereading again. It never came. However, rereading definitely helped, and I got through The Silmarillion without a problem, even though I have about the memory capacity of a goldfish - five minutes.
Heather_lotrfan
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: April 24, 2004 03:36
It's not the easiest book to read, but just relaxing with it and enjoying the story will help you get through it. A lot of people had told me that the names would confuse me and that the first couple chapters were dry so I kept notes and used my online contacts for assistance, but that really wasn't necessary. It's a great book. It's not as scary as it seems. Don't be intimidated by it!
arvegil
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: May 04, 2004 10:12
I have a beat-up old paperback First Edition. I found the map in the "Of the Realms of Belariand" chapter to be the most valuable, as it also indicates where all the princes wound up.
atalante_star
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: May 16, 2004 08:16
Thanks for all the tips you folks have given. I think they will help a lot as I move forward reading the SIL. I started it the end of last week. I looked at as if I were reading Genesis from the Bible, it really seems to help to look at it that light. I had tried to read it many times before, but just couldn't get into it. This time it is going well and I am truly enjoying the tales.

Taking note is a giant help. It not only gives me reference, but the writing seems to help imbed a little better in my mind. I also have the map of Belariand and it is a big help also. I didn't even think to look at it until I read the posts here. So, thanks!

It is so nice to have the support of fellow Tolkien lovers. We form a new Fellowship!

Blessings on your houses.

Lothien_Vilya



Please note, would you take further religious discussion to the LOTR Theological thread.

Atalante

[Edited on 17/5/2004 by atalante_star]
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Post RE: The Silmarillion: Help!
on: June 08, 2004 07:46
I'm working on reading The Silmarillion through for the second time, and it is DEFINITELY better the 2nd time around!! The first time, I just could not get into it, but this time, it's like, everything just clicks........ really a great book......... I would eventually like to read all of Tolkiens' books...........someday!!
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