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Old 08-19-2007, 08:49 PM   #3
DMcCunney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWood View Post
A hex dump from a computer program error is more interesting than the Sillmarillion.
Speaking as a Silmarillion fan, I'm afraid I can't agree.

The problem the Silmarillion had was that readers came to it expecting a continuing narrative, similar to the Lord of the Rings, and it wasn't. We can only dream about what it might have been had Tolkien lived to complete his own version. What we have is the result of efforts by his son to compile and edit a book from an assortment of different drafts written by his father.

I've found it most helpful in reading the Silmarillion to imagine you are in the Hall of Fire in Elrond's house in Rivendell, listening to the lore masters recount tales of the Elder Days. The tales will vary in style and tone, depending upon the tale and the teller.

Personally, I loved it, but I've re-read LoTR at least once a year since I was first introduced to it, over 30 years ago, and I was one of the folks who spent as much time poring over the appendices for backstory hinted at in the books as he did reading the story. I was delighted to get more information on the First Age, and the events that led to LoTR. I was particularly tickled by Tolkien's version of the creation myth, with God as a composer/conductor, and the angels a heavenly orchestra, creating music which brought forth a vision of a world that so entranced some of the angels they begged God to make it real that they might live in it.

I'm also someone who bought the Unfinished Tales, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, and most of the collected editions of edited manuscripts Christopher Tolkien has been releasing. I find it fascinating to trace the development of Tolkien's vision through different drafts as he refined his vision of the world and the events he wrote of. The newest posthumous Tolkien release, _The Tale of Hurin_, is on my TBR stack.

Tolkien was attempting to create a specifically British flavor of fantasy, which for him meant Anglo-Saxon roots, and specifically excluded Celtic elements. The traces are clear if you know what you are looking at. For instance, Theoden's exhortation to the Riders of Rohan before they ride to the fields of the Pellanor to break the siege of Gondor by Sauron's forces is a straight transliteration from one of the Norse sagas.
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