The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (review by Andrew R. ’17)

The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There was a lady Inzilbêth, renowned for her beauty, and her mother was Lindórië, sister of Eärendur, the Lord of Andúnië in the days of Ar-Sakalthôr father of Ar-Gimilzôr.” That kind of sentence, supersaturated with unpronounceable fantasy names that make even the most hardened Tolkien fan shudder, fills the entirety of The Silmarillion. This history of Middle-Earth, which Tolkien conceived decades before publishing The Lord of the Rings, is dense—so dense that I’m surprised the story doesn’t explode from the 300-page volume—I doubt I could have survived the whole thing without the aid of the index to remind me the difference between, for instance, Elwë and Olwë or Finarfin and Fingolfin. But despite the obvious difficulties (and there are many), The Silmarillion is easily the finest and most defining example of epic fantasy I’ve ever read, resplendent with mighty gods and thunderous battles. Yes, it requires a measure of patience and plenty of free time, and, yes, its target demographic is so small you have to squint to see it, but I hope a few battle-tested Tolkien fans will still be willing to give The Silmarillion a chance. – Andrew R. ’17

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