Welcome, friends! We’re about to embark on one hell of an adventure. ICYMI, next month, while the Society is celebrating Tolkien month, I’ll be posting a four-week readalong of The Silmarillion in honor of one of my favorite authors of all-time (and one of my favorite books). This readalong was born from my endless love for The Silmarillion despite the fact that many find it difficult and tedious. And it is both of those things at times, but it’s also exceptional, and I want to try to break it down in a way that feels accessible and fun. My Tolkien reviews are usually chaotic and a bit over the top (A BIT, SHE SAYS!), but if you haven’t read any and you’re curious what we’re about to get down to, check out the An Adventure in Tolkien homepage, where everything is kept all neat and tidy.
For the next four weeks, we’re leaving behind the elevated language and highbrow nature of how academics talk about Tolkien, and instead, you get me, possibly a sociopath. There’s going to be a lot of fanart, several lengthy dissertations about my favorite characters, many of which are questionable in every single way and definitely villains, more BUT IT WAS GAY than you’re probably prepared for, and probably some music! I’ve been having a great time finding adaptations of the songs that Tolkien includes in his books, and though I can’t remember if there’s a lot of that in The Silmarillion, I’ll be looking for adaptations anytime there are and sharing them with you.
It’s a mighty task to embark on, which is why I’m happy to report that all four of the posts are already written and prescheduled. I read The Silmarillion in February to prepare, and so there’s no worry of a post going up late or me having to bow out halfway through. (I wouldn’t anyway, but just a promise that that’s definitely not going to happen.) Thus, while I won’t actually be reading along with you, it will look like it, and I’ll probably be rereading my own damn posts just to get a laugh in, so we’ll be on the same page for the most part!
Now, I’m under no impression that I’m anywhere close to a Tolkien scholar, and though I’ve been having a hell of a fun time the last couple of years winding my way through this read everything he’s ever written project that’ll probably still be unfinished when I’m dead, this is going to be as far from what you’d normally get out of a Silmarillion review as possible. I’m not going to wax poetic at you about the etymology of every damn name (only sometimes). Rather, this readalong was born because so many people have told me that they want to read The Silmarillion, but they’re afraid of the insane commitment that takes in trying to weed through all the lore, and those same people have also said how fun my Tolkien posts are in comparison to what’s usually written about him, so I thought I’d combine the two. And there’s nothing bad about the way people usually talk about Tolkien! Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of those, too. I’ve just gotten to a point where I am going to get on my soapbox about Morgoth every damn week, and I’d rather do it in a psycho way.
Anyway, I’ve been rambling for a while, and we need to cover the schedule of things! Already, this post is going up a day earlier than it was supposed to, but I like to keep Fridays open, so we’re switching the whole thing over to Thursdays. (It’s Thor’s Day, too, which makes it even better!) Thus, you’ll be seeing posts on 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, and 3/25. I was trying to figure out the best way to do this, and I think what makes most sense is that the first post in March, on 3/4, will be about what is intended to be read the following week. Thus, there’s no expectation to start reading on March 1 since the first chunk of reading will be covered on 3/4 so you’ve got the break down before you jump into the reading. Obviously, I’m not the boss of you, and I don’t care how you read this. You can read the entire thing in a single sitting (but dude, chill out, that’s nuts) and just take the weekly posts as they come. You can read Mon-Wed what’s being covered Thurs and just use the break down to figure out what the hell you just read. You can read it section-by-section and follow along with the break down each step of the way. It’s totally up to you! The sky is the limit! Even Morgoth will not stop you! (He might.)
Tudo bem, enough, here we go. I’m reading my first edition hardcover, but I’m breaking it up by chapters, and many of the paperbacks today are about the same length as the hardcover, so we should all be on the same page, or thereabouts:
- WEEK ONE (3/4-3/10)
- We’ll cover the first two short stories, as well as the opening chapters concerning the Valar & the ruin of Valinor via Morgoth, my boyyyyyy, plus our introduction to Finwë, who is the ancestor of Fëanor the Worst!
- Of the Beginning of Days
- Of Aulë and Yavanna
- Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
- Of Thingol and Melian
- Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
- WEEK TWO (3/11-3/17)
- This looks like it’s the longest, but we’ll speed right through chapters about all the bad shit that happens because of both Morgoth & Fëanor.
- Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
- Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
- Of the Darkening of Valinor
- Of the Flight of the Noldor
- Of the Sindar
- Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor
- Of Men
- Of the Return of the Noldor
- Of Beleriand and its Realms
- Of the Noldor in Beleriand
- Of Maeglin
- WEEK THREE (3/18-3/24)
- We’re splitting up the two biggest stories (Beren & Luthien and Túrin Turambar) because, otherwise, we’d be here for a while, but Beren means we get the best man of all time!
- Of the Coming of Men into the West
- Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
- Of Beren and Lúthien
- Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad
- WEEK FOUR (3/25-3/31)
- And that’ll wrap it up with the saddest death of all time (thanks, Túrin), the greatest city on Middle-earth, and my person fave, Eärendil! Plus, the most hilarious three-paragraph summary of the entire LOTR trilogy you’ll ever read.
- Of Túrin Turambar
- Of the Ruin of Doriath
- Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
- Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath
- Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
All told, there’s no way to really do it easily, but it breaks down to about 50-75ish pages per week (until the last one), which, I think, spreads it out pretty evenly. It’s going to be dense, I won’t lie to you, but hopefully, this’ll make it more fun, too!
And now, I’m curious.