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Old 09-11-2021, 05:51 AM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
I understand both sides in this discussion. As I discussed in the Pre-1977 thread (and elsewhere), I first began reading The Hobbit and LoTR around 1971. By the time I started the Silmarillion, I had read The Hobbit and LoTR several times and expected the Silmarillion to be written in a similar manner; as a coherent and detailed narrative, with significant dialogue and detailed descriptions of the events and their settings. I was initially disappointed. I also found the Silmarillion to be too mythical and far more of a summary than a narrative. It was a couple of years before I gave it another try. I enjoyed it more with each subsequent read, particularly after Unfinished Tales was published. The longer versions in UT of the Children of Hurin and the fragment of what would have been the Fall of Gondolin were what I expected the Silmarillion to be. I later rode the elevator back down and was initially disappointed with the Lost Tales. In fact I did not begin reading other volumes of HoME until several years later, which reignited my interest in both the Silmarillion (and its various incarnations) as well as Lost Tales.

I would never recommend that anyone begin with the Silmarillion before undertaking The Hobbit and LoTR. You have to love the latter to appreciate the former. In fact, if you dropped me back in 1977 and handed me, as a teenager, the Silmarillion, I might agree with Galadriel55. Skip the Ainulindale and the Valaquenta and start with the Silmarillion proper, using the index as a guide. Of course, there was no one to give me such advice back then.

So I entirely understand those who enjoy LoTR and The Hobbit but not the Silmarillion. I also understand those who are fascinated by the Silmarillion (and HoME). The difference is between those who enjoy a wonderful tale with glimpses of a deep and broad past but do not feel compelled to explore that past, and those who want more than a story and crave details and a deeper understanding. One is not necessarily better than the other. In fact, for some the background detail might affect the appreciation of the story.

Regarding a serialization of the Silmarillion on video, I have have serious reservations because it is not a story; it is a history that has stories lodged in it. I hope that such a production does not destroy interest in JRRT's writings. I had the same reservations about New Line's LoTR. While I enjoyed the movies, they did not usurp my interest in the books because the boks were something dear to me. I remain concerned that there are those who did not read the books before seeing the movies and may now never do so, or did not enjoy them as they might have.

Regarding the series portraying only the "Great Tales," I question how accessible those stories would be without context? What are the Silmarils? Why are the good guys always losing?
This was pretty much my experience with the books in the 70's as well. I remember going to a 'line party' at the local mall when the Silmarillion was being released, as the Wadden bookstore manager was a Tolkien fan and he made arrangements to open the bllkstore at midnight of the official release day. Got a copy and tried to read it, and I had a *** moment. I read the 'Rings' bit at the back of the book, and then the Numenorean chapter, then managed to reaad through the book. it was hard work at first, but did enjoy it overall.
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