Tag Archives: Tolkien

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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Tolkien: A Biography by Michael White (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Tolkien: A BiographyTolkien: A Biography by Michael White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Michael White inserts his own interpretations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as he describes the life of their famed creator, J. R. R. Tolkien. From the death of his parents, to his distressing experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, to his tumultuous relationship with fellow author C. S. Lewis, Tolkien and his life are documented and analyzed in full in this biography. I found the explanation of Tolkien’s writing process, which he called “sub-creation,” particularly fascinating. Unfortunately, the author makes frequent references to his own opinions of certain events in Tolkien’s life, making the entire book seem slightly more subjective than one would expect of a work of nonfiction. Aspiring writers who wish to understand how Tolkien “sub-created” an entire new world may enjoy this biography, but devoted Middle-Earth enthusiasts who want to learn more about the fantasy realm itself may feel slightly disappointed. – Andrew R. ‘17

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