The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Title: The Silmarillion.
Writer(s): J.R.R. Tolkien.
Publisher: Folio Society.
Format: Slipcase – Hardcover.
Release Date: January 1st, 1997.
Original Release Date: September 15th, 1977.
Pages: 424.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Other Middle-Earth-Related books by J.R.R. Tolkien:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien.


Published four years after the death of writer J.R.R. Tolkien, his son Christopher Tolkien, with the assistance of fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay, went into meticulous editing to publish posthumously the mythological writings by the maestro behind Middle-earth that was thought out before The Lord of the Rings ever saw the day. Striving to establish the most coherent and internally self-consistent narrative of tales of the past, with only unedited drafts of mythological stories, The Silmarillion serves as a compendium of legends spanning countless centuries, recounting an unforgettable history of a treacherous yet whimsical world, disclosing the events that shape its fate as an evil far more powerful than Sauron himself faces the revolt of the High Elves who wish only to recover the precious Silmarils. Published in 1977, best read after The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, this collection of poetic and mythological works unveils the threads of destiny, of an eternal battle between good and evil, and the foundation behind a beloved epic fantasy world.

What is The Silmarillion about? Collected within this book is an account of the Elder Days, from the First to the Third Age, chronologically presenting the beginning of the World with the Music of the Ainur all the way to the passing of the Ring-bearers from the Havens of Mithlond. It is split into five parts, starting with Ainulindalë which covers the creation of Eä and followed by Valaquenta which unveils Melkor, the Valar, and the Maiar. The following section titled Quenta Silmarillion contains the heart of the collection and begins the foray into the First Age with the war for the powerful Silmarils, jewels containing the pure light of Valinor. Afterward, chronicling the Second Age, especially the history behind the Downfall of Númenor, is the section titled Akallabêth. The final section summarizes the events that took place in The Lord of the Rings and is called Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. Similar to most of Tolkien’s work, this edition also contains tables, genealogies, notes on pronunciation, an index, an appendix, and a quintessential map of Belerian and the Lands of the North.

“All have their worth and each contributes to the worth of the others.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Fully enamoured by the endeavours of halflings into the ruthless lands of Middle-earth, it is beyond my own understanding how one man was able to conjure such an enthralling fantasy world, organically self-sustained by its own traditions, history, legends, and people, fully expanded upon through this book alone. Read like chapters within a novel that serves as a cross between a history book and a mythology collection, these tales relate events on an unimaginable epic scale, often portraying catastrophic tragedies resulting in the reorganization of landscapes and slaughter of a myriad of lives. Cemented within an endless cycle of peace and war, these tales capture the fabled lives of heroes and enemies, shining a light upon their plight and motives, either focused on defending the sacred and the beautiful or obsessed with a desire to strip it all away from others in a quest for absolute dominion over all that breathes and lives.

The rich profusion of names of individuals, creatures, and places, makes the genealogy trees, the index, and the map at the end of the book impossible to leave untouched. These fascinating tales continuously demystify legendary events of an ungraspable magnitude and gravitas, unveiling a truly absorbing and immersive form of descriptive storytelling. As readers progress through these tales, numerous calamities will be shared, while also introducing terrifying new creatures born and empowered by the evil of Melkor/Morgoth. Whether it would be the creation of orcs as a form of mockery of elves, the horrid arachnoid Ungoliant and its hunger for the light, the legions of Balrogs and their lord Gothmog, the very first fire-drake Glaurung, or even the feral werewolf Carcharoth, known as the Red Maw, it is to discover these unexpected and grim lifeforms that once roamed this world, what the past heroes of these tales had to confront to give the world hope, valour, and strength is what makes these stories all the more hair-raising and spectacular.

The Silmarillion is a visionary collection of mythological tales exemplifying the sublime pinnacle of mythology-building as it covers the First to the Third Age of Tolkien’s spellbinding epic fantasy world.

Thank you to my girlfriend for gifting me this stunning edition for Christmas 2022! ❤


36 thoughts on “The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. I am really happy to see you had such a fantastic time with this. Because this means chances are pretty good you’re going to enjoy Christopher’s other stuff too. And boy howdy, did he put out a lot. I mean, there’s a 12 book history 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was more than certain that you would enjoy the Silmarillion, but the sheer intensity of your love for this book surpasses my anticipation! It’s a pity that the Tolkien Estate did not give the rights to use the Silmarillion in the recent Amazon series The Rings of Power: the stories collected here would have offered a better material….
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Maddalena. As I read this, I kept on thinking how absolutely mind-boggling it would have been if we could have had a live-action adaptation featuring all the wars, settings, and creatures featured in this. There are plans for new movies to come out in the near future so I’m going to pray that they get it right and don’t embark on these projects with only money in sight! Thanks for reading. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was hoping you’d enjoy this one and I’m very glad to see you did. One of these days I hope to reread it, possibly while following along some lectures by Corey Olsen. And then on to starting the histories again, though I suspect you’ll get through them long before I do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of Corey Olsen but looked up his podcasts (wow at the sheer number of episodes he’s got) and would definitely love to test some of those out in the future just to see what’s up! I do hope you’ll get around to diving into that Tolkien pool of wonderful tales in the near future. I definitely plan on getting through those history books this year and I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn from those!


  4. I’m happy to see you enjoyed The Silmarillion! The history of Middle-earth is just amazing, and you can really tell that the professor spent nearly sixty years working on the histories and stories. His extensive work on Middle-earth is unrivaled in the fantasy genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really can’t wait to dive into those history books later this year! They really do sound fantastic. I don’t think I know any other fantasy series with this much mythology-building content. I guess GRRM is getting around to it with all the Fire and Blood stuff he dishes out instead of finishing the main series hahah


      1. Martin has nothing on Tolkien…… Be warned, the history books are much different from LotR or The Silmarillion. They’re comprised of many drafts of the stories and so many notes from Christopher. I need to finish them up…. I bought a gorgeous boxed set back in 2020, I think, and I have about four books to go.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful edition indeed.
    Makes me wonder… Would anyone in my life go through the trouble of putting my writing together after my death? Would I have to be famous first? I often wished I would find something like that when going through the stuff of related to me deceased people. No luck. Or maybe I didn’t look properly? Maybe for Tolkien Sr the stories were nothing special, but the son saw something more. Maybe the opposite is often true, too. We see something special, but those that come after us don’t…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I tried to get into this a long time ago, but never quite finished it. Lately, I’ve been strongly considering giving this book a second go. Because as deep as the Lord of the Rings books are, the Silmarillion is intentionally a mythological book. That and the War of Wrath makes the War of the Ring look like two 5-year-olds slapping each other in a playground by comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaahah that made me laugh out loud but yes, that’s a good way to summarize it! I definitely recommend The Silmarillion as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into. It has so many wonderful stories that you can only pray that we’ll also get on the big screen someday.


  7. A very tempting review since it’s making me want to give Tolkien another chance and actually complete the LOTR books and try this one as well. I loved the Hobbit but have only read the first book of the LOTR books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely worth diving back into the trilogy! The Silmarillion is a whole other beast compared to The Hobbit and The Silmarillion though. I’d only recommend it if, knowing what it’s like, you’re still curious. In fact, I recommend checking out the appendices in the final book of the LOTR and if you’re captivated by it, then check out Silmarillion. If not, be cautious hahah

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  8. Glad you liked it so much, so do I, and reading your review makes me wanna re-read again 🙂 Also – so envious you have this beautiful edition, I though about buying a set of Folio Tolkien books, but I already have several pricey editions 😉

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      1. I don’t have the Trilogy in Polish, as the only translation available in bookstores in the 90-ties was terrible, and I got rid of it as soon as my English improved… now the good translation is back in print, so I bought my nieces a copy, but I’m staying with the original 🙂

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  9. I was very curious to read your review about this one and it did not disappoint! I read the Silmarillion a few months ago and I have to admit that I wasn’t as enthusiastic as you are… I absolutely adored the first part, but I gradually got completely lost in all the names and genealogy by the middle of it so didn’t enjoy it as much… maybe I should give it a second chance one of these years though 😁 regardless, it’s impossible not to be amazed at Tolkien’s imagination and at how, from the languages he invented, this incredible world came to his mind! I remember reading the book A Secret Vice just about this link between his languages and world-building, it was fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand how it progressively lost you. It’s one of those books that could almost feel like you’re studying and that you need to almost do every day to be able to follow half of the things going on hahaha I know I’ll likely reread it in the future too and am also convinced I’ll probably notice new things and remember even more new things hahaha I saw A Secret Vice and plan on eventually check it out too! It sounded so fascinating and knew that you probably got through that for your studies and all hahah

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