Why You Probably Shouldn’t Read The Silmarillion (Part II)

Hi, guys!  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to read, share and comment on Part I of this series.

I’m planning on covering Quenta Silmarillion in this post, but it’s the longest part of the book so I may divide it up into two parts before moving on to Akallabêth.  Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Quenta Silmarillion

(the Tale of the Silmarils)

Okay, that map I showed you of Arda before the first age the last time?  That wasn’t its original shape.  Originally it was one huge continent, lit not by sunlight, but these two lamps the Valar smithy, Aulë, had created.  Melkor destroyed them.  Cos he was a jerk, I already told you.  Didn’t I mention you needed to pay attention?  When the lamps fell, the land was torn asunder, and the two continents you saw previously were created.  One of those continents became Middle-Earth, the other contained Valinor (which later became known as The Undying Lands [more on that later]).

Melkor kept tearing ish down.  He was a right bastard and problems with him continued, but he wasn’t the only one causing trouble.  Nope.   Aulë got tired of waiting for the elves to show up, so he took matters into his own hands.  He was so desperate for someone to pass on his smithy knowledge to that he created his own damn race.  He made them super strong and stubborn because Melkor was still highly influential.  Unfortunately, he didn’t really know what he was doing, so his people (the dwarves, yay!) were only able to, y’know, do stuff when he was thinking about them.

So, he’s trying to teach them how to speak this language he invented for them and Ilúvatar shows up.  He’s all “Whoa, now Aulë.  WTS is going on here?  This is supposed to be the world we created for MY CHILDREN, not yours.  Who the hell do you think you are?”  Aulë was sad.  He wept and made to smite them with his massive hammer, but Ilúvatar was all “DUDE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?!  I didn’t say KILL them!  Look, I thought we all agreed that the elves would be first, yeah?  They’re kind of my pet project and my favourites, so let’s just put your clearly inferior species to sleep until the awesome people I created show up, ‘kay?”

(I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about this picture. Why does he have such a giant belt buckle? Is that a mullet? It looks like a mullet. Seriously, look at it again. Also, some of these dwarves look a little feminine. Aulë created the 7 FATHERS, so I’m not sure what’s up with the girly dwarves.)

Also, my awesome friend Em made this for me, which shows WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED and it makes me laugh SO HARD I had to share it with you guys:

THENNNNNNNNN, Melkor runs off to hide in his fortress in Middle-Earth and all of the Valar hang out in Valinor, only occasionally heading over to M-E to spy on his nefarious doings.  Honestly, this part has always kind of confused me.  There weren’t any PEOPLE there yet for Melkor and his Balrogs to mess around with, so I’m not sure what they were doing other than destroying stuff.  Really, how much was there to destroy?

Anyway.

The Valar are mostly living it up all happy-like in Valinor, under the light of the glorious Two Trees.  The Vala of the Hunt/Trees, Oromë, was hanging around in Middle-Earth one day (probably spying on Melkor’s shenanigans) when he realized ZOMG, THE ELVES HAVE COME!

Since Ilúvatar has made it clear that these are his chosen people (although, he’s been kind of MIA – WTS is up with that, Ilúvatar?  <.<) the Valar descend upon Utumno (Melkor’s fortress [with blackjack and hookers]) and take him back to be held in Valinor for “three ages.”  Oromë goes to visit the elves.  “Hey, guys!  Look, I’m not really God, but you can kind of think of me as one.  How’s about you all come live with us in the Undying Lands?”  Some of the elves did a fistpump and said “EFF YEAH!” but others were distracted by shiny things and had to stay in Middle-Earth.  This is referred to as the sundering.

Oi.  Here’s where things get complicated.  Even though they’re a newish species, the elves are already broken up into tribes.  The following tribes took off to Valinor:

  • Noldor
  • Vanyar
  • SOME of the Teleri

Also, the Sindar probably would have gone, but their king (Thingol) was lost in a forest at the time.  What?  It’s not like they had compasses or GPS, I’m sure this kind of thing happened all the time.

I think my favourite part of all this section was that the elves were transported across the seas on a floating island.  A FLOATING ISLAND, YOU GUYS!  THAT IS AMAZINGBALLS!

‘kay, so the elves that were going to Valinor went to live with the Valar under the light of the Two Trees (sidenote:  because of Kate, I’m now calling them the Poo Trees of Valinor.  How were they lit?  We don’t know, but maybe it was something like this.) and the Prince of the Noldor (Fëanor) created the Silmarils (HA, SEE?), jewels which glowed with the light of the Poo Two Trees.  The Silmarils were blessed and would burn any mortal (or evil) creature that dared to touch them.

Melkor’s sentence was up and he convinced everyone he was repentant.  He then proceeded to plant notions in the King’s (Finwë) head – pitting him against his OTHER son (Fingolfin)-  and convinced the rest of the Noldor that the only reason the elves had been brought to Valinor was so that the Valar could keep an eye on them.  REVOLT!  No, seriously, Fëanor drew his sword against Fingolfin and was cast out.  He took Finwë with him and built a new, better stronghold and took his Silmarils with him.

Melkor was a big fat liar and soon returned to destroy the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant.  Who/what is Ungoliant?  Let me tell you!  She was an evil spirit that took the form of a GIANT SPIDER.  So, she sucked all the magic juice out of the Two Trees AND THEN they travelled to the fortress to steal the jewels!  DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN!

Yeah, this is a good place to stop.  Cliffhangers rule, right?

Related Reading

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Read the Silmarillion

28 thoughts on “Why You Probably Shouldn’t Read The Silmarillion (Part II)

      • OK, one thing that I have always enjoyed about the Preface is that Christopher Tolkien personally thanks Guy Kay for his assistance in prepping The Silmarillion for publication. This couldn’t have been more fortuitous — Guy Gavriel Kay (a former Winnipegger — huzzah!) went on to write many acclaimed fantasy novels, most if not all of which show a great attention to historic and cultural detail. This is a fantasy writer who really gets the flow of history and how it affects a world; and he cut his teeth working on the history of one of the greatest fantasy worlds out there.

  1. First, I am so sorry that I am JUST now getting her to comment, but *both* my kids had graduation today, so this is the first moment I’ve had, despite my big plans to be all over this like white on rice.

    Second, the third paragraph is my favorite. :-) (Funny, I have this weird sense of deja vu…) But the whole thing: AWESOME. How do I know? Well, because I’ve actually tried to follow stuff other people wrote attempting to summarize the Silmarillion, and it made my twitchy or stabby or bored. There was no giggling involved. Funny + I Totally Get It = WINNER!

    Finally, I second David: “ZOMG THE ELVES HAVE COME!” is the now the answer to sooooo many questions.

    I’m going back to Middle-Earth now.

    • I’m kind of happy you started ahead of time. On the one hand, I wanted everyone to start at the same time, but on the other I realize everyone has different reading paces.

      • I will behave with the schedule on the other books, I promise. But I knew if I didn’t get a jump on “The Hobbit,” I would be screwed and never catch up, because the kids are making my life Crazy Town for the next two weeks? And while I am normally nothing if not a procrastinator, I truly am looking forward to this. I already have notes. :-)

  2. I am soooo glad you’re writing these, because I just don’t have the time to read this book right now. I mean, I’m too busy catching up on those OTHER books we’ve been discussing. *SNORT*

    Plus, you make it funny. Humor rocks.

    (The literal reader in me just thought, “Humor rocks? That’s probably a good idea. If you don’t humor them, they might get angry and bash you.” Yeah.)

    • I am glad people seem to be enjoying them. They’re fun to write, but I’m trying to figure out how many more posts I have to write before next Saturday (eep! Only a little over a week left!) to make sure we finish in time.

      I ELL OH ELLED at humouring rocks. I’m sure they’re quite pretentious and self-assured, so if we DON’T humour them, they’d be more apt to throw themselves at us (and not in a sexy way, either).

      • Makes me think of the Buffy episode where all the adults are suddenly reliving their teen years (disastrously) and Xander can’t make heads or tails of an earlier generation’s graffiti: “”Kiss rocks’? Why would anybody wanna kiss rocks?”

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