The Silmarillion (added material 17/5/02). How should it be approached?

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Postby Lady_Aredhel » Mon May 13, 2002 8:55 pm

Ok thanks :-)<BR><BR>I may wait and see what I actually am in need of when the time comes, although some of the HOME books aren't carried readily at even the larger bookstore <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Aredhel
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Postby scirocco » Mon May 13, 2002 8:56 pm

Lady_Aredhel, I bought the Atlas a couple of weeks ago. I found it useful, simply because I can often understand and remember things that I see in diagram form better than in words. The Atlas is particularly useful in the way that migrations of people and movements of troops in battles are shown; it also has some good representations of more difficult stuff like The Void, The Encircling Seas, Valinor, Angband, Thangorodrim (and even of Minas Tirith, which can be a bit tricky to figure out from LOTR.)<BR><BR>On the negative side, there are a lot of detailed sketches of towns, places like Nargothrond which I think must be taken with a grain of salt. Apparently the author did have access to the Tolkien Collection at Marquette University, which does contain some unpublished material, but I think some of the details shown must be a bit of a guess.<BR><BR>Quite expensive but I was pleased with it. I would recommend it to anyone who intends to participate in this virtual study group, unless you're completely confident in your understanding of the layout of ME in the First Age.
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Postby Mithfânion » Tue May 14, 2002 4:24 am

LA<BR><BR>If you're going to buy <b>HoMe</b> volumes I'd recommend volumes 10,11 and 12, not just because they incorperate Tolk's later writings but they're also the most interesting, by far. <BR><BR>The Atlas is worthwhile and very different from the HoMe books. It's not a necessary read of course, but it can help. I'd say buy it, after you've read books like Unfinished Tales and Morgoth's Ring.
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Postby scirocco » Tue May 14, 2002 7:31 am

wilko, would it be appropriate to provide some sort of link to or summary of Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-stories"? Even though JRRT was speaking of fairy-stories in general, not his own legendarium, I've always felt sure that he created M-E in accordance with the key issues of sub-creation, the Primary and Secondary Worlds, the relationship between myth and history, and all the other paraphenalia outlined in the paper. As such, it might help to shed light on the "technical" construction aspects of the Sil.<BR><BR>I'd cobble something together myself but I don't really know how to start, short of typing in great swathes of the essay. Any suggestions?
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Postby wilko185 » Tue May 14, 2002 10:38 am

Lady_Aredhel asked which HoME books she needs to buy. I don't think we will <u>need</u> to have any HoME volumes, will we? I agree Vols 10-12 would be useful to have around. Though personally, I'd rather have the more readable Unfinished Tales and HoME 1 and 2 (The Book of Lost Tales), than the more "useful" volumes, if I wasn't planning on buying them all. <BR><BR>As far as Atlases and Tolkien reference books, I've never owned any, but it seems there are online resources that are virtually as useful. (The maps in The Sil should contain all the necessary information, AFAIK.)<BR><BR>Scirocco, good idea re "On Fairy-stories". But I can't find the essay online, and I've never read it myself. Here are some pages discussing it:<BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.sff.net/people/Sherwood/reading/fairy.htm">http://www.sff.net/people/Sherwood/reading/fairy.htm</a><BR><a target=new href="http://www.mtio.com/articles/bissar77.htm">http://www.mtio.com/articles/bissar77.htm</a><BR><a target=new href="http://www.christians.org/manmyth/man04.html">http://www.christians.org/manmyth/man04.html</a><BR><a target=new href="http://www.angelfire.com/realm/library/subcreation.html">http://www.angelfire.com/realm/library/subcreation.html</a><BR><BR>If you, or anyone else, want to summarize the points I can add that to the first post. Perhaps just a concise explanation of Tolkien's ideas of sub-creation and eucatastrophe would be enough, along with these links? (does anyone have any more/better links?)
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Postby Novice » Tue May 14, 2002 5:46 pm

Wilko, I have touched on the essay 'On Fairystories' in the text I emailed to you.<BR><BR>I'm abit concerned that in providing all this background material, we may well be creating overload for some people. <BR><BR>After all, this thread is supposed to make it easier for people, helping them in their approach to the books. Too much information can be intimidating; many people have somehow got the idea that these opening posts are gospel, and that they MUST grasp all this material in order to keep up.<BR><BR>Maybe, rather than trying to cover everything, we should leave it at what we've got and provide links in the Library/Resources thread for all additional reference material.<BR><BR>That way people can choose what to read rather than wading through a huge (and just like the SIGN ON thread, it is getting huger) opening post of other people's interpretations of the original sources.<BR><BR>
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Postby wisteria » Tue May 14, 2002 7:05 pm

I've just finished the reading for the 27th -- and boy, have I got a list of questions for you-all! As a first time reader, might I say that I am quite overwhelmed at the moment, without adding in more. Milton was fine and the Bible -- they have provided an excellent backdrop for the reading. But I'm not really interested in ALL the versions of the story RIGHT NOW. I first need to understand the relationships that are in the Sil, then I can go explore the other texts later on when I'm more comfortable with the material.<BR><BR>Does that make sense? I realize there are several levels of readers here (thank goodness!), so those references need to exist for those who are ready for them. I am only concerned lest they become necessary reading in order to keep up with the discussion.
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Postby Lady_Aredhel » Tue May 14, 2002 7:28 pm

Wilko..<BR><BR>I have just bought Lost Tales 1 and 2. I am systematically reading Tolkien's books. I just finished UT, so that is my next step <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> <BR>Although, I am now wondering if I should skip from HOME 5 to HOME 10, as the middle books are about the War of the Ring. Something to think on I guess <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Aredhel/Robin
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Postby Inquisitor_Thrax » Tue May 14, 2002 9:03 pm

I would like to chime in. I think reading the HOME books before reading the version released by Chris. Tolkien could bring forth some problems to readers that have no experience with the Sil. I would think we should read the Ainulindale,Valaquenta, and the first 2 chptrs of the Sil then turn to the HOME series for a comparision.<BR>Plus I think anyone who reads the Sil should get the audio version..if not only to hear the names said and to help to keep following along. I believe the audio is abit pricey, so check into used tapes/cds,the library, or if you just can't find it...I have the first few chpters in mp3 format. Just email me (but only as a last ditch, I don't want everyone emailing me.)<BR><BR>Wisteria - yes,that does make sense.
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Postby Novice » Tue May 14, 2002 11:20 pm

If I may clarify:<BR><BR>We are reading the Ainulindale and Valaquenta in The Silm.<BR><BR>There are many resources that may (or may not) have a bearing on these stories; and those who wish to can provide links to them or full bibliographical references so that others can follow them up IF THEY WISH TO.<BR><BR>All links and paper references will be collected in the Virtual Library Thread (with thanks to Parador~J), so we all have easy access to these if we are so inclined.<BR><BR>How many of these references each individual wishes to chase up, if at all, is a completely personal decision. There is no obligation to read anything other than The Silm, although I think we are all aware that we only get out of this enterprise what we put in.<BR><BR>Those who HAVE read further and deeper will naturally want to share their knowledge with us, and hopefully they will do so in such a way as to help everyone involved to further understanding.<BR><BR>If anyone does not grasp what another poster is trying to express, then one can always ask for clarification, and fuller posting of relevant quotes.<BR><BR>The idea is that we try to help each other, and take into account that not everyone will have access to the vast range of background material, nor will everyone have the inclination or the time to delve into it.<BR><BR>So, that's how I see it. Other views?<BR>Actually, I think this discussion should go into the READ ME thread, so everyone can feedback, and I'll incorporate our conclusion in the guidelines (although I think I've already said something similar in that opening post)<BR>
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Postby Alexandros » Tue May 14, 2002 11:29 pm

So we will be discussing Ainu. & Vlquenta ONLY right?..because that is all I can afford to read right now..
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Postby wisteria » Wed May 15, 2002 5:36 am

Thanks for the clarification, Novice. I think I just panicked last night. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0> I had finished the reading, had multiple questions noted and then read here about all the other books and versions when I'm trying to get my mind around one of them at a time. Sorry. I'll keep my head from here on in! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Mithfânion » Thu May 16, 2002 4:04 am

Aredhel<BR><BR><i>Although, I am now wondering if I should skip from HOME 5 to HOME 10, as the middle books are about the War of the Ring</i><BR><BR>You may exclude vol. 5 to 9 for the time being, because those are the four "history of the LoTR" books. No. 10 however is perhaps the most interesting of all the volumes, Morgoth's Ring.
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Postby FrodoTook » Thu May 16, 2002 1:47 pm

Hello everyone.<BR><BR>I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your posts<BR>and am looking forward to the discussion of the Silmarillion.<BR><BR>I don't remember exactly where I read this or how it was worded<BR>but The Silmarillion was Tolkiens true love, way before and<BR>beyond LotR. He was so disappointed that he never saw it published.<BR>He wanted to get it published many times but was denied by the<BR>publishers. They wanted to see a sequel to the Hobbit and saw<BR>the Silm as an unprofitable venture. Therefore LotR , which<BR>they saw as profitable, was published and The Silm had to <BR>wait. Unfortunately for JRRT, it was released posthumously<BR>but fortunately for us it was finally released. From what I<BR>have read, JRRT was still revising the Silm in his last years<BR>of life. He kept going back to it trying to make it even better.<BR><BR>It was the love of his life as was Luthien (Edith, his wife)<BR><BR>I know there are many LotR fans who have not read the Silm yet<BR>and I just wanted to let them know just how much it meant to the author.<BR><BR>I am really looking forward to the discussions.<BR><BR>The Silm is my favorite also.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> <BR><BR>There is so much more to say, but I will <BR>hold off till the discussions begin.<BR><BR>Delightful.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>FT<BR><BR>ps: I do have the HOME series. They are great books<BR>for background and to see the evolution of JRRTs writings,<BR>but The Silmarillion remains my overall favorite book.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>LotR runs a close second.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR><b>wilko185</b><BR><BR>Sorry I got off topic a bit, but I am excited about this.<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby Alexandros » Sat May 18, 2002 1:22 am

hmm..<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-sad.gif"border=0>.. I only have Unfinished tales, TS, Th, LOTR..thats it..
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Postby ateelah » Sat May 18, 2002 11:31 pm

I just want to say that if you can get your hands on the audio version of the Sil it does make it much easier to get into the book. I have the tapes and have listened to the first two and it has made the reading easier.<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Breogan » Tue May 21, 2002 4:12 am

This is going to be great fun since The Silmarillion is my favourite Tolkien Book.<BR><BR>Breogán, an ainnir dhorchas.
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Postby Corfe » Sun May 26, 2002 4:28 am

Some great stuff here. I think the key feeling you get from the Silm is the sheer feeling of WASTE - the decimation of the elves and the elf-friends, the ruin of Beleriand. It's no coincidence that at the time Tolkien first started on the story of the fall of Gondolin (which was I think the beginning of the whole thing for him) he was in the middle of the first world war. By the war's end he says 'all but one of my close friends were dead.' When you think of the Silm in that kind of context it gives it an amazing resonance. The Lord of the Rings was more to do with the death of rural England (I know LOTR is not an allegory - I know Tolkien hated allegory, despite writing a couple himself - but the influence is still there) and also the Second World War. Writing LOTR Tolkien's inspiration failed him upon the finding of Balin's tomb in Moria, which happened coincidentally at the darkest part of the Second World War as far as Britain was concerned).
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Postby scirocco » Sun May 26, 2002 6:53 am

That's a brilliant point, Corfe. I knew about all but one of his close friends being dead, and you can hardly miss the devastation of the Elves in the SIL, but I'd never thought of the two together, until now.
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Postby babysue2004 » Tue May 28, 2002 10:26 am

I think you said it all in the Introduction. it should be a history book for Middle Earth, not a novel by a literary genius such as LoTR is. It should not be substituted for the Bible, or for LoTR. It should be taken as just another piece of information that can educate you on the background of LoTR. Studies should not revolve around the Silmarillion, but LoTR and possibly the Hobbit.
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Postby Novice » Tue Jun 18, 2002 5:22 am

bumping this so it doesn't disappear off the page.<BR>(apparently when threads get beyond a certain age, they get 'put to rest' and are not visible)<BR>
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Postby wilko185 » Thu Jun 20, 2002 11:31 am

This thread has probably served its purpose, since things are up and running, but does anyone think there's anything that I could edit in (or out) of the first post at this stage? If so, speak up now ....
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Postby Fingolfin_of_the_Noldor » Thu Jun 20, 2002 12:49 pm

Great to have you back Wilko! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> You have been sorely missed by all! Perhaps you'll be posting in the study group soon? <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> <BR><BR>In regard to the 1st post I do like it the way it is at present but I will think further on this
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Postby wilko185 » Thu Jun 20, 2002 1:58 pm

Thanks FotN <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> Tis good to be back. In fact, I've already done a drive-by posting in the discussion thread <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>.<BR><BR>I was wondering if anything had come out of the discussions thus far relating to how the Silm can best be understood, what puts some people off it etc. Of course, I should just read the threads myself....
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Postby jeanelf » Thu Jun 20, 2002 2:13 pm

Welcome back Wilko!!! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>So happy to see you. All is now going well, I think. For an answer to your question, please check out the "READ THIS FIRST THREAD." Great to have you back.
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Postby ArPharazon » Thu Jun 20, 2002 2:27 pm

Wilko <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> - what a wonderful surprise to find you back, dear friend. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> You have been SORELY missed.<BR><BR>By the way, we now not only have this study group - but thanks to Novice (as always) a nice chatty lounge in Bird and Baby that you might like to check out.<BR><BR>I look forward to reading your post on the main thread.<BR><BR>But basically I just hope you are well, have had a good time, and don't disapprove too strongly of what we have done in your absence. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Again welcome HOME!! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Thu Jun 20, 2002 2:52 pm

Welcome back Wilko!<BR>The thread in 'chat' that ArPharazon alludes to can be found at <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=80&catid=24&threadid=48072">A Word Aside - The Lounge for Bookworms </a><BR>Otherwise, I'll leave you to catch up with the backlog...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby PstTBG » Fri Jun 21, 2002 11:35 am

Glad you are back Wilko. I did read your drive by posting. Excellent thoughts. <BR><BR>No, we have not really discussed why some are put off by the Silm. perhaps you could startus down that line of thought.<BR><BR><BR>-----<BR>Too Big
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Postby wilko185 » Fri Jun 21, 2002 4:55 pm

Thanks Too Big <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>A couple of recent threads in Books <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=27&threadid=49539"> here</a> and <a target=new href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=27&threadid=5641">here</a> have discussed why The Silm can be difficult. It usually seems to boil down to the "high" style and the plethora of names to keep track of. I think I read it when I was too young to know what a novel "should" be like, so I wasn't thrown by the unusual structure. People have pointed out that it's useful to see the Silm as throwing light on LOTR. Glimpses of Olorin and Sauron should draw the reader in.
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Postby Preacherdude » Sun Jun 23, 2002 12:17 pm

Great Post Wilko! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>You must be a Tolkien philosopher. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR>
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