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Minas Tirith Forums » Silmarillion » Just finished The Hobbit
Author Topic: Just finished The Hobbit
Runestrel
Soldier of Gondor
Citizen # 11377
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Hey I'm new to the forums but I've been viewing the forums lately as a guest and wanted to sign up. I have the unfinished tales and the sim. At first I attempted to read the unfinished tales and didn't understand the first page [] and then The Hobbit came and then I was really enjoying it until Thorin died but anyways I just finished it and attempted to read the sim and I just can't read it, I keep trying to re-read over the first page and I still don't understand it? Anyone know what I could do, too many names and really confusing.

- Runestrel

From: London | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Aikanáro
Guard of the Citadel
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Hi Runestrel!

This might be a slightly unpopular opinion here, but my suggestion to you is to skip the Ainulindalë and Valaquenta on your first read, if you're having trouble. They're accounts of the created mythological background to Tolkien's fictional universe, and they're written in a style that reflects that, hence the large number of characters introduced very quickly.

Try starting with the Quenta Silmarillion, which is the beginning of the narrative proper and relatively easier reading.

Have you read Lord of the Rings? If you haven't, you might want to read that before the Silmarillion.

From: Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Varnafindë
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Citizen # 4097

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I support Aika there. And when you get to Quenta Silmarillion, make notes of the names, and read the family tree. Making lists of who's who and who are related how, may help.

And welcome to Minas Tirith!

From: Narnia, also connected with Norway | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nazgûl
Soldier of Gondor
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I for one think the beginning of The Silmarillion is essential to the rest of the book. Although it might be hard to follow at first, the idea of a reality being created through music is complex and it offers an insight to the amazing detail and complexity that make The Silmarillion what it is.
From: Boston | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Varnafindë
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It's essential to a full understanding of the book, but I find that such an understanding isn't required for a first reading, nor for enjoying that first reading.

But I do recommend that people come back to the introduction, on their second (or third or fourth or ...) reading of the book. I didn't fall for it straight away, but I love it now.

From: Narnia, also connected with Norway | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Miz Lobelia
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Read it backwards.

No, I am serious. The last section concerns the Lord of the Rings rather closely, and the section before that talks about the fall of Numenor. Then read the Silm proper, and then the Ainulindalë and Valaquenta.

Aikanáro is right about reading LOTR first. And hopefully once you have backed into the Silmarillion you will want to read it again forwards.

I also recommend the audio book, especially for those early chapters. I would say read them aloud to yourself but Christopher Tolkien is a tad more comfortable with the pronunciations.

From: Seattle, WA | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Numenorean Sword Trainer
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I for one don't recommend the audio book in lieu before reading the actual book, since the story is rather complex to the point that even I can't really listen to it and make sense of it, despite knowing the Silm fairly well. Meanwhile a book allows quick-indexing to provide context, along with looking at maps, in order to get it straight.

But as for the beginning, it's generally enough to know that "Eru made the Heaven and Arda, and Melkor rebelled" etc.

After that, the story is similar enough to Genesis IMHO to be familiar (i.e. with Melkor as Lucifer the upstart who created evil by bringing discord and (fear of) death, and was cast out; and Sauron as Satan the deceiver who lured Man into his own downfall, while the Istari are like the angels who were sent afterward to offer redemption).

Of course this isn't totally accurate, but you get the idea.

[ 10-10-2012, 08:57 PM: Message edited by: Numenorean Sword Trainer ]

From: The Island Previously Known as Numenor | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

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I've recently gotten into the Silm recordings. I've been trying to find time to read and failing, so I listen to them at work. Sometimes it's distracting when trying to program, but it's nice to have some occasional emotional uplift-ment at work sometimes. []
From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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