Date Published: September 15, 1977

The Silmarillion: Summary

Where dragons roam and elf-lords hold their court, there lies a saga that birthed a legend—The Silmarillion.

This masterpiece by J. R. R. Tolkien unravels in the grand landscapes of Arda, the world before Middle-Earth. The saga takes us from the birth of the cosmos, sculpted by the majestic Ainur, to the marring of the world by Melkor, the rebellious Valar. It recounts the creation of the Silmarils, gems of untold beauty, by the gifted Elf-lord Fëanor, and the cataclysmic wars that ensue when Melkor—now named Morgoth—steals them.

The narrative unfolds like a tapestry of heroic legends and tragic epics, from the joyous awakening of the Elves in the tranquil starlight of Cuiviénen, to their migration to the blessed realm of Aman, where they flourished in the shadow of the Two Trees. Yet it was in these hallowed grounds where the seed of discord was sown. Fëanor’s creation and Morgoth’s betrayal brought about the First Kinslaying, forcing the Noldor Elves into a grim exile and sparking the doom-laden War of the Jewels.

The Silmarillion also chronicles the rise and fall of great kingdoms, the plight of Men—favored yet doomed by the creator, Eru Ilúvatar—and the steadfast resistance of the beleaguered Elven realms against the dark power of Morgoth. Yet amid the heartache, hope springs forth, hinting at the dawn of a new era, setting the stage for the world we've come to know in The Lord of The Rings.

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The Silmarillion

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Date Published: September 15, 1977

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The Silmarillion: Genres

High Fantasy
Epic Fantasy
Creation Myth
Heroic Romance

The Silmarillion: Main Characters

Fëanor: The mightiest of the Elves, skilled in crafts, and creator of the Silmarils. He values pride, individualism, and loyalty to his kin, demonstrated when he leads the Noldor Elves on a bitter quest for vengeance against Morgoth.

Morgoth (Melkor): Originally the most powerful of the Ainur, his ambition leads him to evil. He values power and dominion, shown when he steals the Silmarils, sparking the Wars of Beleriand.

Beren and Lúthien: Two lovers from the races of Men and Elves respectively. They value love and courage, displayed in their daring quest to retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown.

Eru Ilúvatar: The creator of all existence, he values harmony and free will, demonstrated when he allows his creations to shape their own destinies, even in the face of Morgoth’s rebellion.

The Silmarillion: Themes

The Cycle of Creation and Destruction: Seen through the recurrent marring and healing of Arda, such as the theft and recovery of the Silmarils.

Free Will and Fate: Exhibited by the actions of Fëanor, who, despite the prophecy of Mandos, chooses to rebel against the Valar.

The Power of Love and Sacrifice: Manifested in the tale of Beren and Lúthien, who, driven by love, defy the might of Morgoth.

The Transience of Beauty and Power: Portrayed by the rise and fall of the great Elven kingdoms, the waning of the Elves, and the ascension of Men.

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