The Silmarillion is a slog.

leorising

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Jul 19, 2022
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I’ve been trying to finish it for three years now and at this point its basically moved from an ‘intellectual experience’ into a ‘for honor’ category. I’m this close to DNF’ing it. Honestly, gave me biblical Genesis vibes. Yes, I know, very interesting stuff but I just can’t get past the prose. With the LOTR and The Hobbit, character dev and plot kind of pushed me along but lord give me strength with the encyclopedic format.

What2do? Please advise or at least lets discuss so I feel a little bit towards this book lmao

Edit// mayhaps this thread should be moved to the Classic SF and F category? Mods feel free to move it if its in the wrong section.
 
I've been tempted to say that The Silmarillion is a book that can't be read, it can only be reread, as something that discloses its excellence with repeated acquaintance. Crazy to think it's 45 years old this year, if you are old enough to remember having been a seasoned reader of Tolkien when this book first came out in 1977. Tolkien felt that it needed a "frame," and I think that's right; it would gain if we knew these were indeed Bilbo's Translations from the Elvish.
 
I always felt like it was trying to read a history book.

However, I think it's worth sticking with because there are a couple of decent stories in there, one of which became the novel The Children of Hurin

Plus there's that quote from George Mallory when asked why climb Mount Everest? "Because it's there"
So why read The Silmarillion?
That's my reason, anyway. :)
 
It gets better the further along you get i.e. when the elves go back to Middle Earth.
If what you want is more hobbits and familiar territory, I suggest you give Unfinished Tales a try. You can skip Part 1 (the First Age). Part 2 deals with Numenor (Second Age). There is a tragic romance story as part of that too. Part 3 deals with the Third Age so stuff that probably wouldn't be amiss as extra appendices to LotR.
 
I’ve always thought it was the most readable, well realized and enjoyable work Tolkien wrote. I loved it the first time I read it as a teenager, and even more when I re-read it for perhaps the fourth time a year or so ago. So, I have no advice to offer I’m afraid, except perhaps chalk it up to ‘not your cup of tea’ and quit. No sense beating yourself up over it. :)
 
Leo I’m sure your opinion on it is a lot more common than Bick’s. If it is a pain rather than pleasure to read don’t spend your time on it. You won’t be getting a diploma for it!
 
The Silmarillion is my favourite Tolkien book (though I've only read that, LOTR, the Hobbit, and listened to the Children of Hurin). However, it's been a long time since I read Lord of the Rings, so I reserve the right to change my mind.
 
I read it to the end through seriously gritted teeth four or five years ago, having made brief attempts over the decades. However, I'm really glad I did as it put LOTR in a very different perspective and also gave me a better understanding of Tolkien himself.
 
I read it once , a long time ago and , it was a bit slow going but , quite good .
 
I read it quite recently, it starts with the heavy bits, then progresses into the interesting part. Be careful if you haven't read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, because there is summary of the plot. Read the other two first.
 
I read it when it was first published, after enjoying The Hobbit and LoTR. I couldn't get through the first chapter. I wasn't able to see the big picture; make the connections.
Fast forward to the late 90's when I reread the books, and then saw the first movie, which I loved. That made me hunger for more details, and I picked up the Silmarillion again. This time, I couldn't put it down. It had relevance now that I didn't appreciate before. I think I went back and started over as soon as I finished. It started a whole new Tolkien journey for me, including reading The History of Middle Earth.
I have read The Silmarillion multiple times since, and would say it is my favourite fantasy book.
 
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I enjoyed LOTR immensely although its been over a decade since I've read it. The Silmarillion seems so dense that I feel like I might be losing a ot of the references that might give me context for the other Tolkien stories. Either way, I'll give it another go and remind myself that there is no shame in shelving a book haha
 
Reading through this thread, I'm thinking I might have to give it another go.

I got a bit bogged down, about a third through, and set it aside "for later" and never picked it back up. For, like, 40 years. :cool:

I wonder if I still have my copy? Last seen in the auxiliary library up in the barn. Most of which was lost to mildew. Not sure if I rescued that one, or not.
 
I came to Silmarillion after reading The Hobbit and LOTR. My big mistake was thinking that this would be the next story along after the first two books, but it surprised (and somewhat disappointed me) that this was more of a combination of short stories and notations. I found it (at the time inaccessible) and even though I have it in my 'to read' pile, something always gets picked up first. I think that perhaps what we may be getting with the new tv series on Prime is a filmed version of parts of this story, and perhaps at some point we may have the book turned into a coherent story, which whilst it may not sit well with purists, may find that the 'novelisation' of Silmarillion may attract a wider audience.
 
I’ve been trying to finish it for three years now and at this point its basically moved from an ‘intellectual experience’ into a ‘for honor’ category. I’m this close to DNF’ing it. Honestly, gave me biblical Genesis vibes. Yes, I know, very interesting stuff but I just can’t get past the prose. With the LOTR and The Hobbit, character dev and plot kind of pushed me along but lord give me strength with the encyclopedic format.

What2do? Please advise or at least lets discuss so I feel a little bit towards this book lmao

Edit// mayhaps this thread should be moved to the Classic SF and F category? Mods feel free to move it if its in the wrong section.
Took me three or four tries to get through it (finally "won" when I was bed ridden after having my wisdom teeth removed XD ).
 

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