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Book Review: Reviewing the forgotten epic of the Tolkien legacy: The Silmarillion

Reviewing the forgotten epic of the Tolkien legacy:

The Silmarillion

The creation of Arda, Middle Earth and everything encompassed was said to be a poetic legend. A re-imagination of European history, stretched out into the eons of a fictitious universe. Oxford lecturer and co-founder of The Inklings, J. R. R. Tolkien made his mark on the literary world in 1937, and again in 1954, with the famed titles of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. After his passing, and in honour of his father's role as an author and scholar, Christopher Tolkien took it upon himself to compile and complete his unfinished work. Many sagas came to fruition because of this, however arguably the most pivotal being The Silmarillion; J. R. R. Tolkien's own creationist story. Comparable to a Biblical epic, and heavily inspired by archaic folklore from Scandinavia; it reads like documentation of real events.


While the language may not flow with the same melody of Shakespeare, or retain the symbolic structure of Jonathan Safran Foer, it is astounding that the use of imagery plays itself like a poem in such a lengthy series of events. There is a sense of fractured communication in the various chapters; unfortunately for those not familiar with the Tolkien saga, this makes the novel more difficult to digest. Due to the way it was pieced together, it does not carry the same gripping tone as its predecessors, as such, readers may find themselves losing interest when reading for entertainment.


If one does a close reading however, you can find a sort of integrity in its movement; refusing to contort itself into a comfortable read, or use literary acrobatics to create some sense of hidden symbolism. It may not roll off the tongue, but what you read is what you get. The straightforward nature of this text works to maintain J. R. R. Tolkien's original intention. The Silmarillion was his answer to an origin story; a song that lasted an eternity, breathing life into mysterious adventures of the many races that dwelled upon Middle Earth. While mystery may be enough for some, the publication of these lost fragments filled a curious gap, turning the novels into a canon. While the battles of The Lord of the Rings, and the magic of The Hobbit fuelled our day dreams; The Silmarillion made them real.



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L'Official, Peter. 'Tolkien’S Cosmological Vision'. Salon.com. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Tolkien, J. R. R, and Christopher Tolkien. The Silmarillion. Print.

Tolkiengateway.net,. 'The Silmarillion - Tolkien Gateway'. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

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