Monday, December 10, 2012

"Book Review" of The Silmarillion

(Image:  Akallabeth, by Grrod)
This past weekend, my sister Rox of Spazhouse was visiting our mom.  During her visit, I called and spent a few moments talking to mom.  When my mom passed the phone to Rox, we ended up chatting about The Hobbit in all its past, present an impending future versions.  (Which were the subjects of my previous two blogposts).
Then our conversation turned to The Silmarillion.
"Oh, no one reads The Silmarillion," she said. 
Well, I don't mean to publicly contradict my sister but, according to, at least 792 actually read it.  While there are a lot of negative reviews, ranging down to 1-star ratings, most are in the 5-star winner's circle.  This gives the book a very respectable 4.4-star average rating.
Back in junior high school, I read The Hobbit and I loved it and have recently re-read it.
Then I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy--and loved it too--and re-read it again as the Peter Jackson movies were being released.
Seeing my interest in all things Tolkien, my mom gave me The Silmarillion for Christmas one year.

(Insert the sound of a car screeching to a halt).

Ugh!  I could not get into it at all.  I don't think I made it to the end of Chapter One.  Even the cool artwork made since my teen years, like the one above, hasn't inspired me to pick up Tolkien's tome a second time.

When I mentioned this to Rox, she suggested I read the synopsis on Wikipedia

The other day I did.  So here it is:  The on-line "Cliff Notes" version of The Silmarillion

If you're in league with the 560 5-star reviewers on Amazon, this may pique your interest and you'll want to immerse yourself into Middle Earth's backstory and all its epic glory. 

But if you're like me, you'll save a bunch of time and be able to pursue other vital interests (like trolling through Facebook, or watching cute animal videos on YouTube).

Just be sure to thank Rox of Spazhouse.

Seriously though, even after reading the Wikipedia synopsis, I not interested in delving into The Silmarillion much for the same reason I can't get into epic fantasy gaming (beyond 20th level in Dungeons & Dragons terms).  Instead, I prefer the "ordinary-people-in-extraordinary-circumstances" stories/games. Which is why The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings continue to appeal to me, whereas The Simarillion doesn't

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