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Old 08-06-2021, 06:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Could the archaically written Silmarillion keep the interest of those who regularly write nothing longer than "lolz", "BRB", and "TTYL"?
I think you are being a bit unfair to the non-Silm-fan audience here. I think for some people that is not a matter of language, as a matter of the content itself. Just recently I heard a Tolkien fan describe the beginning of the book as Biblical - and I had to agree. It's very much "and it was evening and it was morning". She left the book off because she never made it through the encyclopedic section to the action. For myself, I would say that "action" begins at The Ruin of Beleriand - which leaves half the book in a slightly encyclopedic format. I think that reading an encyclopedia might be enjoyable if there is a purpose behind it - you don't read them for their own sakes usually (or kudos if you do, but most people don't), you read them to find out about what interests you. I personally also found the first chapters of the Sil a bit of a drag the first time I read it, and what kept me going was exactly that I wanted to read this LOTR background encyclopedia even if it was just that. But for people looking for a stand-alone book, The Sil is not paced in a way that works to draw in the reader for the first several chapters at least; there are sparks of excitement, but it doesn't start to really flow until the second half. It's a bit like, I dunno, if the Iliad and Odyssey were prefaced by the entire Greek mythology about the origin of the gods and some of the better known myths. The context is necessary to understand it fully, but it is also not the exciting story but just the background. Language might certainly play a role to an extent, but I think that people who are dedicated enough to attempt it wouldn't be put off so much by the language as by the structure.

As such, my proposal for making The Sil more, hmm, what's the word... approachable? Less daunting? - is to just start it in the middle, with the first half condensed into a prologue. The result would be some confusion with names and places, but it would also be a bit like the references to Luthien and Feanor in LOTR - something that you just accept while you read, and if you want to learn more, well, here's the full version.

I love The Sil. I think the language is absolutely beautiful, and I love the little gems that are scattered in the slower chapters. But I can also very much see how it is a bit Biblical, and if you don't know that the Iliad is coming up ahead the scattered legends and myths might feel like a drag.
You passed from under darkened dome, you enter now the secret land. - Take me to Finrod's fabled home!... ~ Finrod: The Rock Opera
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