63

You should read The Silmarillion after reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. To start off with an analogy: The Silmarillion starts on such a gigantic scale that if you begin with it everything else is going to seem confusing, petty, or irrelevant. If you want to understand the history of the American Civil War, you don't start with the Big Bang. What'...


37

He's referring to Bilbo's retirement to Rivendell. Bilbo's plan was to relax, listen to the songs, translate some books, and work on his memoirs. As Gandalf put it in the next line: ‘He felt better at once'. I don't think Frodo had Bilbo's longer-term prospects in mind. He didn't know that a journey across the Sea was in the cards. All the rest Bilbo was ...


25

It was an allegory because, in spite of his dislike, Tolkien felt it was necessary and inevitable that it should be one. In several lesser-known quotes, the author freely admits that the tale is allegorical. Most clearly he states: "Of course my story is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power." The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien #186 He also ...


24

Tolkien answers these questions in the appendices of the physical copies of many of the original books. (Some editions of the books don't include the pronunciation guides, but most do.) A more detailed pronunciation guide, however, appears in the back of the Silmarillion, which was kindly reproduced by this blogger. You can also find some more details on the ...


24

Yes. When leaving the Shire, the hobbits disturbed a fox: A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed. 'Hobbits!' he thought. 'Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There's something mighty ...


23

Voronwë's answer is excellent, but I'm going to post the answer I was planning to anyway. LotR is a gripping tale; the Silmarillion is more like a textbook or encyclopedia. This is a slight exaggeration, but the Sil is definitely written in a much less engaging style; it describes the history of eons rather than the events of an exciting war. It focuses ...


17

We don't really know, as they're not mentioned. We don't know all of the rules, because they're never really mentioned - this is the only time AFAIK, and they don't really say much: "Both wrong," cried Bilbo very much relieved; and he jumped at once to his feet, put his back to the wall, and held out his little sword. He knew, of course, that the riddle-...


17

Tolkien started writing while on the Western Front. He wrote down his war experiences of the Great War down in Lost Tales according to his biography on the Tolkien Society. (Emphasis mine) During these last few months, all but one of his close friends of the “T. C. B. S.” had been killed in action. Partly as an act of piety to their memory, but also ...


16

For vowels the letters i, e, a, o, u are used, and (in Sindarin only) y. As far as can be determined the sounds represented by these letters (other than y) were of normal kind, though doubtless many local varieties escape detection. That is, the sounds were approximately those represented by i, e, a, o, u in English machine, were, farther, for, brute, ...


15

He wrote some (fiction) stories before LOTR, yes. The Father Christmas Letters were written for his children, he wrote them pretending to be Santa. Roverrandom, a children's book about a dog and a wizard. Farmer Giles of Ham, a comical fable about a farmer. He also wrote more stories after LOTR, in addition to a couple (non-fiction) research papers before ...


15

Another point that hasn't been mentioned. The Silmarillion has a summary of the Lord of the Rings as its final chapter, "Of the Rings of Power and The Third Age". It is a full summary of LoTR and would be a gigantic spoiler. Clearly the Silmarillion was meant to be read after LoTR. I realize you have already seen the movies, so a spoiler isn't that big ...


14

I would agree with the posters saying: first LotR (to enjoy it fully, and it is an easier read, and the huge scale of the Silmarillion events will not "dwarf it down"). But not in your specific case. In your case: you already know about (most of) the LotR events, through Jackson's filter (which discards some things, and changes some others, to make it more ...


13

Metafiction is self-conscious about language, literary form, storytelling, and directly or indirectly draw attention to their status as artefacts (From Wikipedia's description of metafiction.) I'd say Lord of the Rings fulfills this. Self consciousness about language: Tolkien was a philologist. His thing was constructing languages. To begin with, each ...


12

So...I'm going to say probably coincidence, though there is some evidence in your favor. Thus I'll present the evidence first and then my own conclusion; do with it what you will. Tolkien on Shakespeare The evidence here is mixed, but I'll give a brief summary. Tolkien referred to the shabby use made in Shakespeare of the coming of 'Great Birnam wood to ...


10

He might be addressing Frodo more as a generic hobbit than as himself. This is immediately after the following short speech from Frodo: "No, Sam!" said Frodo. "Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands ...


10

@Helmar is correct, but here it is from Gandalf's mouth in the Fellowship of the Ring Chapter 2: ‘But the Ring was lost. It fell into the Great River, Anduin, and vanished. For Isildur was marching north along the east banks of the River, and near the Gladden Fields he was waylaid by the Orcs of the Mountains, and almost all his folk were slain. He leaped ...


10

You are asking two different questions here, one in the title ("should I read the Silmarillion before or after LotR?") and one in the text ("what would be the upside to reading the Silmarillion before LotR?"). You have gotten very good answers to the first question, although there are some factual inaccuracies (e.g. if we're going for time-order, it turns ...


9

Yes From Appendix A, we get a description of dwarf-women from Gimli, also mentioning the rarity of them (only 1-in-3) and their unwillingness to go abroad. He also describes the with the following physical appearance (emphasis mine): They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ...


9

Bilbo picked up the ring, pocketed it, and forgot about it. He didn't really even spare a moment's thought to it. Quoting directly from the Hobbit: [Picking up the ring] was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment. He just ...


9

Tolkien never explained the choice to leave Sauron off-stage, or at least he did not do so in the published letters. But I can see three ways in which the decision makes sense. First, The Lord of the Rings is written largely from the down-to-earth point of view of the hobbit characters, a narrative strategy that Tolkien recognized was necessary to reach a ...


8

In the present day, when an author like J. K. Rowling uses initials in the author's name on books, it is plausible that this was an explicit choice / conscious decision, and the author had a special reason for doing so. (In Rowling's case, the reason was that the publishers thought young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman.) This ...


8

They probably had at least some contact with those lands. Dorwinion is a land adjacent to the Sea of Rhun, at least according to this map by Pauline Baynes: And the Elves of Mirkwood, at least, drank wine which came from Dorwinion. From The Hobbit, Chapter 9: "Now come with me," he said, "and taste the new wine that has just come in. I shall be hard at ...


8

Tolkien himself reflected on the original prices of his works, which was twenty-one shillings (one Guinea) each. The price seems to have been high for the times but set because that was the lowest amount for expenses to be paid. Very many thanks for remembering the ageing Professor, and bracing him up with your letter. I know 21/- is a frightful ...


7

If I understand what you are asking right... here is the answer - Tolkien was not the first to use a made up language and in fact making up languages was quite common. These are just the first two examples I found, I am sure there are more out there. In 1516 Thomas More made the Utopian language for his novel Utopia. He even gave a brief sample of this ...


7

I think you're reading too much into it. Gollum has the One Ring because the One Ring "wants to be found." It was at the bottom of a lake for a long time and wanted to get back to Sauron. Fantine gave Cosette to the Thénardiers so they could care for her, and regularly sent money for her care. This is why she sells her hair — money for the ...


7

These colours are generally considered 'evil' and frequently are associated with evil characters. Black is easy to explain. Humans have an instinctive fear of the dark, and blackness inbuilt since the time of the cavemen. Death can be found in the dark, so black is considered evil. For instance 'the dark side' Red is associated with danger or poison. It is ...


7

The website The Tolkien Bookshelf specialises in rare books by or about Tolkien. It has images of many older and original editions, for example: The Lord of the Rings, 1st UK Edition, 1st Impressions with Original Dustjackets (London: Allen & Unwin, 1954) and The Lord of the Rings, Comprised of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and the Return ...


7

She might, but she would not have used it. The spiders and spider-things we read about in Tolkien's work are all motivated primarily by the same thing: hunger. The spiders of Mirkwood capture Bilbo and the dwarves for food: the fact they're also foiling Gandalf's plan is merely a coincidence. So it is with Shelob. We read in the conversation between the ...


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