my random ramblings. for tonight.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I am reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien for the first time. I have always promised I would eventually pick this one up, but the thought of reading about the history of elves - and pretty much the entire, massive universe Tolkien created - intimidated me too much. Finally, I gave in and started reading it. I knew I had to someday. And I have to say, it's quite a challenge to do so. Reading it now, it truly does feel like reading a history textbook sometimes. Now that could either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you want to look at it. For me, I feel indifferent about it. Sometimes, it's refreshing and even relaxing. Sometimes, it's a pain.

Don't get me wrong; it's interesting, and complex and crazy awesome in so many ways. But... and this is a very big but; I am completely CONFUSED by it all! I don't know if it's because I'm sleepy, as I read it late at night and all, or I'm just a bit slow. I hope it's not the latter. (Surely, it's not? Haha) I even mentioned this problem I'm having on Twitter, asking why the book is so confusing, and Enbrethiliel suggested that it probably has a lot to do with the time line, or lack thereof. Well, that could be it.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my first impressions on it with you all, as I just finished a couple of chapters from it. I have to say though, while it's confusing most of the time, it's very promising. It's interesting, and for some reason, I just can't put it down. I'm drawn to it. So having said that... clearly, there's no stopping now.

Well... I guess that is all. I know this is somewhat of a pointless, rambly post, but might as well. Thanks for listening! And if you have ever read this book, please let me know what you thought of it.


  1. I agree, The Silmarillion is very confusing the first time because of all those names and complexity, but it is also fascinating - an invented world history of such grand proportions, that is - so, if you get to read it the second time around, when you already have the basic idea and without the confusion, it becomes enjoyable. So don't give up, keep reading, it's worth it!

  2. I've always wanted to read this, because I love LOTR, but I'm worried I'll have the same reaction. It's just a lot of information.

  3. I haven't read any of his work at all! *hangs head in shame* I hope that it really picks up for you soon missy :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I haven't tried this one.

  5. +JMJ+

    I've read it before, although I certainly didn't grasp all of it at the time. I just slogged on, optimistic that the millions of scattered pieces would soon form a comprehensible whole.

    When I tried to reread it last month, however, I gave up before I was even halfway through. I think I would have been able to concentrate better had there been more of a chronological order to the stories. There were times it felt like a whole string of flashbacks and no real moving forward. (Which is not to say that Tolkien should have written it differently, but that I know why I had a hard time with it.)

    After I gave up on The Silmarillion, I switched to The Hobbit. It was told in "hobbit-style" and was so much easier and fun to read. My favourite part of the experience was the passage in which the narrator explains the Mirkwood Elves and touches briefly on the big, dramatic "Sundering of the Elves" from The Silmarillion. But this time, instead of using terms like Vanyar, Noldor and Sindar, he wrote of High Elves, Deep Elves and Sea Elves. And what a huge difference that made! Suddenly, the history was so much clearer! I should really go back to The Silmarillion now . . . =P

  6. I haven't read the book, but I think I would be confused too. :)

  7. Pepca - Definitely confusing yet fascinating, like you said. I can't stop reading it but at the same time I feel like I'm going brain dead just trying to retain the information :) Haha

    Avid Reader - Yeah. It's so much info that I feel like I need to memorize the different names first before I can even begin to understand what's going on.

    Aly - Have you watched the LOTR movies? :)

    Juju - Thanks for reading as always.

    E - I think that's what I have been hoping for too; that things would make sense somehow. But I think the combination of too many different stories and different eras just make my life too complicated for my liking, haha. And I think it does have a lot to do with the various names. I just can't keep up with all of them!

    Nina - I'm still confused and I'm almost done with it!

  8. It is complex and fascinating like Pepca said. When I first read it, I wanted more LoTR but ended up loving it just as it was. I was a big mythology junkie-- worldwide myths--- and so much of the Silmarrillion seemed familiar.

    It was also editied and published by Tolkien's son who added stories from here and there to make up a whole book-- so it isn't exactly as intended.

  9. Lesa - It's definitely different from LOTR series, and like you said, I think it has a lot to do with his son's add ons and edit. I ended up liking The Silmarillion, but it wasn't an "enjoyable" read to me, but more of an informative and interesting one.