Since the release of The Fellowship of the Ring in December, J.R.R Tolkien’s infamous Trilogy has had a resurgence in interest from non-fans, with both young and old picking up a copy of Lord of the Rings in their local bookshop after falling in love with characters such as Frodo Baggins, Gandalf and Strider on the silver screen. However, the Lord of the Rings trilogy goes hand-in-hand with two other pieces….The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. This weekend, the Hall of Fire crew invite you to join us as we discuss The Guide to Reading (and Enjoying) the Silmarilion.
Despite how much someone loves the Lord of the Rings, one cannot fully understand both the mystical world of Middle-Earth and some of the principle characters, such as Bilbo and Gandalf, without reading the texts based before it. Though The Hobbit is often dismissed as the most childish of the three, it was the precursor to LotR itself and does give valuable insight into both Bilbo Baggins in his glory days and Gandalf the Grey, with hints of the events leading up to the War of the Ring throughout the book.
However it is The Silmarillion that is often considered by Tolkien’s fans as one of the most inspired pieces of work he ever penned, making the world of Middle-Earth something real, with a plausible and incredibly fascinating history. Also, the book adds an extra dimension to the inhabitants of Middle-Earth, creating heroes and villains throughout the ages, from heroic dwarves to evil and twisted elves to easily manipulated humans. The Silmarillion is the canvas on which the world of Middle-Earth is painted.
However, The Silmarillion also has a sense of allegory about it, with many parallels between the history of Middle-Earth and religion in the beginning of the 21st Century. There is the Íluvatar, the creator of all life, there is Melkor, the source from which all evil existing in Middle-Earth once stemmed, and finally there are several beings in charge of Nature and the Elements. The world of Middle-Earth and the omnipotent beings that control it seems to be inspired by a mix of Roman religion and Christianity.
This weekend, we’re going to be discussing the best to both read and enjoy The Silmarillion, a book which by all accounts can be incredibly difficult to read, with hundreds of places and people packed into the space of four hundred pages. This is a discussion aimed for Tolkien fans young and old, so drop in and enjoy what will hopefully be one heck of a session!