WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SHAMELESS FANGIRLING. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I recently crossed an item off of my Life Goals Bucket List Of Doom.
Yes, people, I READ THE SILMARILLION BY J.R.R TOLKIEN! The whole thing. I know it’s only a 300-some page book, but let me tell you, it’s not always easy going. First there is the cast of about a billion characters, all with at least three different names in Elvish, and maybe a few in English for good measure, and also a bunch of places, again with the multiple names. Thankfully there is an index at the back, which I’ll admit I referred to at least every other minute for the first half of the book until I had everyone straight in my head.
Also, The Silmarillion reads like a history book. There is a lot of “They dwelt by the sea of [indistinct mumbling in elvish] for three hundred years until Morgoth sent orcs and killed most of them.” You’re not really *in* a character’s head as you read the stories. It’s like one massive, epic infodump. [Which makes it sound like I disliked this book. But before you all start thinking I’ve gone insane and didn’t like something written by Tolkien, let me clarify: Toliken can get away with a book that is an infodump, a) because he’s Tolkien, and b) because realistically you can’t be in a character’s head during the book because the book covers the history of Arda (the world) from its creation to the end of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and there is no character that is alive for that whole time (except Iluvatar, but he’s God, so he doesn’t count).]
Anyways, enough waffling bout how difficult this book was to read. It was every bit worth the time and effort. I am unsure how well I’ll be able to explain how I felt about this book without either spoiling the whole thing for those of you who live under rocks and have not yet read LOTR, or turning into a sad puddle of emotional pain. Because this book is painful. Consider yourselves warned.
I teared up several times when reading, and sometimes I just wanted to cuddle the poor little elves and tell them that it would all be ok in the end. Of course, cuddling an elf would probably be a great way to get stabbed, but hey. Maybe they’d re-name their sword after me and swear to start living a better life. There’s always a chance, right? When I wasn’t wanting to console the elves, I was wishing I could reach in to the book to smack a few key characters upside the head and tell them to get their act together. (This applies to all the Peoples in the book, not just the elves. Like Turin. I wanted to smack Turin so hard sometimes, but I digress.)
This is one of those books that changed the way I view the world. There are some incredible, and somewhat depressing, insights into human nature woven into the story. In fact, most of the plot points hinge on two great human flaws: pride and greed. The moral of the story is: don’t love things more than people, and certainly don’t kill people for said things. (Also don’t accidentally marry your amnesiac sister. Then everyone will be sad.)
Melkor, AKA Morgoth, is the ultimate evil character. He is incredibly powerful, and very good at corrupting good things and good people to his will. He spreads lies and discontent faster than wildfire. To put things in perspective, Sauron is only his lieutenant, and we all know how hard he was to get rid of. Everyone knows Morgoth is evil, and everyone wants him gone, but the different houses and groups don’t trust each other enough to properly band together and make war against him and his orcs and balrogs, mostly thanks to the lies he spread and the pride and greed in the leaders’ hearts.
I won’t be able to get away with not talking about Beren and Luthien. Basically the most epic couple ever.
(SPOILERS TO FOLLOW)
They literally walk through hell together so that they can get married, die saving the world, and then because they were so awesome the Valar let them come back to life and Luthien chooses mortality to be with Beren. My poor heart melted. I thought Arwen and Aragorn had a difficult long-term relationship and had to sacrifice a lot to be together, but compared to Beren and Luthien they had it easy. Also, slightly embarrassing admission: my favourite part of their story was Huan the hound. That dog was epic and I (nearly) cried when he died.
Excuse me while I get some paper towel to wipe all my mushy feelings off my computer…
So yes, all that overexcited rambling to say, I loved the Silmarillion to bits, will definitely be reading it again in the next few years, and am itching to re-read the Lord of The Rings with my newfound knowledge of the history of the world. Stuff makes so much more sense now. Like Aragorn’s whole backstory, and the orcs, and Sauron, and Galadriel.
Congratulations on reading to the end of this relatively incoherent post! Have you read the Silmarillion? Are going to? Are you a fellow Ring-nut like me? 😀