Thursday, December 29, 2011
Before I go into some final thoughts on the last part of The Silmarillion, I want to exult in the fact that we made it through this monstrosity of a read-along! There were times when I got tired of reading my chapters each weekend and definitely some times when I was ready to throw in the towel (think all of the chapters describing the landscape of all the different kingdoms in The Silmarillion). However, revisiting The Lord of the Rings was really rewarding, especially since it has been almost ten years, and rereading The Silmarillion gave me some new perspective into the series that I really enjoyed.
The last few chapters of The Silmarillion were some of the most interesting, particularly those dealing with the children of Hurin. This makes me really excited for Tolkien's work The Children of Hurin, which is a more thorough, novelized version of the story presented in The Silmarillion. One of my main struggles with The Silmarillion was the lack of structure and the long, drawn-out explanations of the different types of elves and the lands where they lived. The stories about the children of Hurin were connected and more narrative oriented -- I felt like I was reading a story instead of a textbook. This is not to say that the interwoven and complex mythology and history that Tolkien has devised for Middle Earth and the lands surrounding it isn't impressive, because it is. And much of the mythology and history is interesting. However, at times it gets a little dry, and is often difficult to follow, mainly because so many of the names are similar (Finarfin, Fingolfin, Feanor... which one is Galadriel's father again?).
I don't know that I will read The Silmarillion a third time, although I might revisit parts of it, like the Lay of Beren and Luthien or the beginning when the Valar create the world. However, it was fascinating to revisit pieces of the story of Middle Earth beyond that of The Lord of the Rings, and I recommend it for any Tolkien lover.
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