The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien


14 Critic Reviews

Turning back to the trilogy from this new prologue, one finds the intrinsic grandeur of Tolkien's design re-illuminated at every stage.


A number-one New York Times bestseller when it was originally published, THE SILMARILLION is the core of J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginative writing, a work whose origins stretch back to a time long before THE HOBBIT.
Tolkien considered THE SILMARILLION his most important work, and, though it was published last and posthumously, this great collection of tales and legends clearly sets the stage for all his other writing. The story of the creation of the world and of the the First Age, this is the ancient drama to which the characters in THE LORD OF THE RINGS look back and in whose events some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part. The three Silmarils were jewels created by Feanor, most gifted of the Elves. Within them was imprisoned the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor before the Trees themselves were destroyed by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord. Thereafter, the unsullied Light of Valinor lived on only in the Silmarils, but they were seized by Morgoth and set in his crown, which was guarded in the impenetrable fortress of Angband in the north of Middle-earth. THE SILMARILLION is the history of the rebellion of Feanor and his kindred against the gods, their exile from Valinor and return to Middle-earth, and their war, hopeless despite all their heroism, against the great Enemy.
This second edition features a letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien describing his intentions for the book, which serves as a brilliant exposition of his conception of the earlier Ages of Middle-earth.

About J.R.R. Tolkien

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J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
Published January 1, 1985 by Del Rey. 357 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Silmarillion
All: 14 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 2


on Sep 15 1980

Turning back to the trilogy from this new prologue, one finds the intrinsic grandeur of Tolkien's design re-illuminated at every stage.

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Reviewed by Miss elfgirl 11 on May 28 2014

I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who have or are planning to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on Apr 26 2009 fashioning the Silmarillion from those notes and jottings, Christopher Tolkien has given fans of The Lord of the Rings their inestimable second epic, and he’s to be thanked for that.

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Nights and Weekends

Above average
Reviewed by Deborah Leiter on Dec 10 2015

I don’t recommend this book for anyone who had the slightest difficulty getting through The Lord of the Rings books. And even though it tells about the beginning of the story of Middle Earth, it’s definitely one to save for last.

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The New Republic

Below average
Reviewed by L.J. DAVIS on Oct 01 1980

Its publication now, especially when accompanied by such unbridled enthusiasm on the part of the industry, is not only questionable but is bound to lead many of Tolkiens admirers to grave disappointment. Noble intentions do not necessarily produce a noble work. Perhaps the opposite is more often true than otherwise.

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Hollywood Jesus

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Anderson on Jan 01 2009

What I find most satisfying about The Silmarillion is that every possible emotion is packed into a 315-page book. There’s battle (of course), grief, anguish, triumph, utter ruin, joy, and lots and lots of love.

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Fantasy Book Review

Reviewed by Floresiensis on May 31 2015

...what we are given is a rich set of tales that explain in rich detail the mythology behind Tolkien’s fantasy world. This is a tough but worthwhile read...this reads like a history book...The Silmarillion is best read if you have already read, and enjoyed, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

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Parental Book Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Guernsey on Mar 10 2007

...Tolkien delves into philosophy, religious aspects, and essences of mortality, free will, creation and other qualities of man and reality intrinsic to his greatest literary work. Although published posthumously in 1977, parts of The Silmarillion go back to drafts he had written in 1917. The Silmarillion is Tolkien’s magnum opus...

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Fantasy Faction

Reviewed by A.E. Marling on Jan 31 2014

If you’re interested in the history of Middle-Earth then The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien will surprise and delight you...The Silmarillion tells many different tales, all weaving around the elves and paradise lost. I loved the one about the impenetrable elvish stronghold, The Fall of Gondolin.

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The Literary Omnivore

Reviewed by The Literary Omnivore on Sep 07 2011

Yes, The Silmarillion is hard going at first, with its high style, its lack of humor, and all those names! But something wonderful happens if you stick with it; you get enthralled. The stories in this collection are tragedies, but the kind of tragedies that reveal the best in human—and Elven—nature. Required reading for Tolkien fans.

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The Wertzone

Reviewed by Adam Whitehead on Feb 25 2009

The Silmarillion (*****) is unrelentingly grim, contains very few characters you'll recognise from the other Middle-earth books, has a rather unapproachable opening and doesn't have any Hobbits in it. On the other hand, it is also one of the most epic works of the imagination ever created, featuring moments of real beauty and gut-wrenching horror.

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Reviewed by Finchen on Jul 31 2011

The Silmarillion adds so much intricate depth to Middle Earth and its creation, so I would say anyone who has really enjoyed the more popular Middle Earth books but has maybe wondered at some things, not fully understanding them, should read The Silmarillion.

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Reviewed by Liz Milner on Jun 01 2015

The book abounds with striking descriptions...Poetic devices such as rhythm, alliteration, and repetition are used to hypnotize readers. Finally, Tolkien's minute descriptions of the world of Middle-Earth make it seem larger than life and twice as real as our own earth.

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DeFlip Side

Above average
on Jan 16 2011

The Silmarillion is nothing short of the bible of Middle Earth, starting with the beginning of the world and bringing the reader to the Third Age and the eve of the War of the Ring. It deals mainly with the history of the Elves, the birth of evil and the coming of men.

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