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The Silmarillion (sort of a rant)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Echod16, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Echod16

    Echod16 IncGamers Member

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    The Silmarillion (sort of a rant)

    I've managed through half of it and just about did one of Maddox's 10 manly suicides.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the silmarillion (while informative of alot of the elven history and general beginnings of Middle Earth/Tolkien's universe) has very little in-detail descriptioning and there's so many elvenish names to follow...it's like 4 soap operas at once (without the emotion)

    Granted, the roots of evil that follow in this book are pretty good (Sauron is a follower of some greater being? omfgzorz), but it's just way too dull and monotonic

    informative rating: 8.5 out-of 10
    everything else rating: 2.5 out-of 10

    What're your thoughts on The Silmarillion?
     
  2. Drosselmeier

    Drosselmeier IncGamers Member

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    I thought it was both interesting and entertaining and I'm not even a Tolkien fan.

    It's a lot of fun when you recognize references to other mythologies and sagas. It might not be quite as fun if you have no interest in stuff like that and are looking for something more in the vein of LotR.
     
  3. Echod16

    Echod16 IncGamers Member

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    a typical thing in the silmarillion...

    "Sauron then hid himself in the eastern lands of Middle Earth, building a great underground fortress."

    it's just so disappointing how there's so little detail in it...but oh well

    also he dealt with emotions of characters like they were freakin popcorn...i swear all the characters were bipolar or something..
     
  4. Drosselmeier

    Drosselmeier IncGamers Member

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    They're Elves and Dwarves and stuff. Those guys don't think like you and me.
     
  5. Echod16

    Echod16 IncGamers Member

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    Tolkien wasn't an elf or a dwarf

    at least i don't think so..;p
     
  6. zarikdon

    zarikdon IncGamers Member

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    it's his mythology, literally, and it reads like it should. i'll grant you, however, that there are parts of it that could use more "filling." but also keep in mind that tolkien never really finished the silmarillion during his lifetime and that it was his son who sort of cobbled the whole thing together.
     
  7. Drosselmeier

    Drosselmeier IncGamers Member

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    OK. More correct reason they behave funny... Read a bunch of Icelandic sagas. People were different back then. They reacted to things in ways we think are crazy. That's one of the traditions he was inspired by. So, Elves and Dwarves act in ways we might think crazy.
     
  8. Peregrine

    Peregrine IncGamers Member

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    I think someone got it right when they called it "the bible of Middle Earth". Sure, it's great background information, but the writing style is just terrible. It's more of a chore to read to get the information you want than something you'd read just for fun.
     
  9. superdave

    superdave IncGamers Member

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    you have to remember that this was thrown together by his son christopher...he never meant for it to be publish this way.
     
  10. MixedVariety

    MixedVariety Banned

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    Yep, that's the way of it. His son put his father's notes together as best he could, but couldn't novelize it the way Dad did. So, it reads rather more like a dry history treatise than his famous novels.
    If you go into it with that understanding beforehand, you'll still get a lot out of it.
     
  11. cotton

    cotton IncGamers Member

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    There is a reason that Tolkein is best known for the Hobbit, then LotR. They are better. For those that like the geneology and "begats" style that the Silmarillion evokes in so many places, or has an undying curiosity as to the history of Tolkein's fantasy land, by all means read the book. That is not me, and I have never been able to finish it.
     
  12. Sokar Rostau

    Sokar Rostau IncGamers Member

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    The Silmarillion is part Bible, part Heroic Saga and it reads exactly as it should. If you ever have the time you should read some ancient mythology.

    Look at it this way - LotR takes up four books (including The Hobbit) and has it's roots in Silmarillion. If Tolkein were to treat each major event from the Silmarillion as he did the War of the Ring it would take up around fifty LotR size books. Christopher Tolkien has been (and still is so far as I know) compiling his father's notes for decades and has published at least 10 other books thus far that further serve to flesh out what was going on in the Silmarillion.

    One of the great things about mythology is that the more you know the more you understand (and the less you know the more you want to), each myth serves to complement another but we are missing a lot of those complementary myths and legends. We know so much about Greek mythology not because of what was written down (though a great deal has survived) but by piecing it together and filling in the blanks from sculpture and pottery decoration. Among the most alluring of cultures are those we know something about but not enough. We know a lot about the Sumerians, for example, and again a lot of their myths and legends have come down to us (via Akkadian and Babylonian sources - those peoples thought them so worthy that they meticulously copied the stories over thousands of years), but what we do know is tantalizing enough for us to want to know more and to spawn countless theories about the people that wrote them. The theories of Sitchen and von Daniken and others may seem outlandish but they really are nothing more than literal translations of ancient texts that do indeed speak of flight and great wars among the gods with powerful weapons described in the same language that we use to describe nuclear weapons, and the subsequent holocaust, and this is in translations published in the 19th century.
     
  13. cotton

    cotton IncGamers Member

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    Look, I'm not saying it doesn't have merit, just that I didn't care for the style or the depth. It is more a collection of brief histories than a complete work. Had Tolkein written 50 books similar to LotR, I would still be pouring through them. But the Silmarillion just doesn't have the character or plot development of the other 4.

    And I have read quite a bit of mythology, and my view holds here, as well. I would rather read the Odessy than 2,000 antecdotes about how gods interact with humans. The myths at their best have the things I find lacking in the Silmarillion: motivated, developed characters; linear story lines; universal themes. At their worst (IMO, as I can only say what does and doesn't appeal to me,) the myths glaze over motivations and character development and jumble facts together into a rather dry history.

    EDIT: I should say that I wrote the above post with Greek mythology in mind, although I have read the basics in Old & Middle English, Celtic, Roman, and Norse mythology.

    EDIT AGAIN: After re-reading that, I think I am getting a little testy, probably because my dinner sucked. I don't even know if the above post was in response to mine. Sokar, you like it and I don't and that's OK. Forgive me if I'm being a boar (or a bore.)
     
  14. Riegn

    Riegn IncGamers Member

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    I tried reading it. I got around 10 pages in before i had to stop for fear of my head exploding.
     
  15. Carnage-DVS

    Carnage-DVS IncGamers Member

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    I think Sauron was a lieutenant of the Greater Evil. That's scary.
     
  16. Usufruct

    Usufruct IncGamers Member

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    Although I really enjoyed it, I totally see where you're coming from. Based on the style, you're either going to enjoy it or not. It's complete personal preference, and in that respect no judgement can be made. It does not have the plot or character development of the other four, undoubtedly. I only enjoyed it because I was hungry for more information and history in the world he created. I find it fascinating that it's so involved.
     
  17. Necrolestes

    Necrolestes IncGamers Member

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    Morgoth, I quit! Regards, Sauron

    Morgoth must have been one scary dude, to have subverted Sauron to his will. That's about all I read in the book...it was so dry I had to get an IV just to keep myself alive. Anytime I need to learn something new about Tolkien, I go here: www.glyphweb.com/arda. It's not the end-all or be-all, but it does clarify quite a few things.
     
  18. Carnage-DVS

    Carnage-DVS IncGamers Member

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    The entire world history interests me. I've only persued the book at a bookstore once, quickly flipping through the pages. It seemed very interesting,but I never had the time or money to buy it after that. I should pick it up somewhere though.
     
  19. cotton

    cotton IncGamers Member

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    Stupid computer double reply. Sorry!
     
  20. cotton

    cotton IncGamers Member

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    Well, I enjoyed your poem about SuggestiveName killing somebody in the face. I would have told you in that thread, but it was locked for being drug induced pokemon spam :cool:
     

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