The Silmarillion

  (Redirected from Akallabêth)

The Silmarillion (Quenya[silmaˈrilliɔn]) is a collection of mythopoeic stories by the English writer J. R. R. Tolkien, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977 with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay.[T 1] The Silmarillion, along with many of J. R. R. Tolkien's other works, forms an extensive though incomplete narrative of , a fictional universe that includes the Blessed Realm of Valinor, the once-great region of Beleriand, the sunken island of Númenor, and the continent of Middle-earth, where Tolkien's most popular works—The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ringstake place.

The Silmarillion
1977 George Allen & Unwin hardback edition. The cover features Tolkien's drawing of Lúthien's emblem.
EditorChristopher Tolkien
with Guy Gavriel Kay
AuthorJ. R. R. Tolkien
IllustratorChristopher Tolkien (maps)
Cover artistJ. R. R. Tolkien (device)
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectTolkien's legendarium
PublisherGeorge Allen & Unwin (UK)
Publication date
15 September 1977[1]
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
AwardLocus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1978)
LC ClassPZ3.T576 Si PR6039.O32
Preceded byThe Father Christmas Letters 
Followed byUnfinished Tales 

After the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien's publisher Stanley Unwin requested a sequel, and Tolkien offered a draft of the stories that would later become The Silmarillion. Unwin rejected this proposal, calling the draft obscure and "too Celtic," so Tolkien began working on a completely new story, which would eventually become The Lord of the Rings.

The Silmarillion has five parts. The first, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of Eä, the "world that is." The second part, Valaquenta, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, supernatural powers of Eä. The next section, Quenta Silmarillion, which forms the bulk of the collection, chronicles the history of the events before and during the First Age, including the wars over the Silmarils that gave the book its title. The fourth part, Akallabêth, relates the history of the Downfall of Númenor and its people, which takes place in the Second Age. The final part, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, is a brief account of the circumstances which led to and were presented in The Lord of the Rings.

The five parts were initially separate works, but it was the elder Tolkien's express wish that they be published together.[T 1] Because J. R. R. Tolkien died before he finished revising the various legends, Christopher gathered material from his father's older writings to fill out the book. In a few cases, this meant that he had to devise completely new material, though within the tenor of his father's thought, in order to resolve gaps and inconsistencies in the narrative.[2]


The events described in The Silmarillion, as in Tolkien's other Middle-earth writings, were meant to have taken place at some time in Earth's past.[T 2] In keeping with this idea, The Silmarillion is meant to have been translated from Bilbo's three-volume Translations from the Elvish, which he wrote while at Rivendell.[T 3]

The book contains the following main sections:

  • Ainulindalë (The Music of the Ainur)
  • Valaquenta
  • Quenta Silmarillion
  • Akallabêth
  • Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

The 24 chapters in the Quenta Silmarillion (the history of the Silmarils and the war of the Noldor against Morgoth) include:

The inside title page contains an inscription written in Tengwar. In English it reads "The tales of the First Age when Morgoth dwelt in Middle-earth and the Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils to which are appended the downfall of Númenor and the history of the Rings of Power and the Third Age in which these tales come to their end."

Inside the back cover is a fold-out map of part of Middle-earth, Beleriand in the First Age.


Ainulindalë and ValaquentaEdit

Ainulindalë ("The Music of the Ainur"[T 4]), takes the form of a primary creation narrative. Eru ("The One"[T 5]), also called Ilúvatar ("Father of All"), first created the Ainur, a group of eternal spirits or demiurges, called "the offspring of his thought". Ilúvatar brought the Ainur together and showed them a theme, from which he bade them make a great music. Melkor – whom Ilúvatar had given the "greatest power and knowledge" of all the Ainur – broke from the harmony of the music to develop his own song. Some Ainur joined him, while others continued to follow Ilúvatar, causing discord in the music. This happened three times, with Eru Ilúvatar successfully overpowering his rebellious subordinate with a new theme each time. Ilúvatar then stopped the music and showed them a vision of Arda and its peoples. The vision disappeared, and Ilúvatar offered the Ainur the opportunity to enter into Arda and govern the new world.

Many Ainur accepted, taking physical form and becoming bound to that world. The greater Ainur became the Valar, while the lesser Ainur became the Maiar. The Valar attempted to prepare the world for the coming inhabitants (Elves and Men), while Melkor, who wanted Arda for himself, repeatedly destroyed their work; this went on for thousands of years and, through waves of destruction and creation, the world took shape.

Valaquenta ("Account of the Valar"[T 4]) describes Melkor and each of the 14 Valar in detail, and a few of the Maiar. It reveals how Melkor seduced many Maiar – including those who would eventually become Sauron and the Balrogs – into his service.

Quenta SilmarillionEdit

Quenta Silmarillion ("The History of the Silmarils"[T 4]), which makes up the bulk of the book, is a series of interconnected tales set in the First Age that narrate the tragic saga of the three forged jewels, the Silmarils.

The Valar attempted to fashion the world for Elves and Men, but Melkor continually destroyed their handiwork. After he destroyed the two lamps that illuminated the world, the Valar moved to Aman, a continent to the west of Middle-earth, where they established their home, Valinor. Yavanna created the Two Trees, which illuminated Valinor, leaving Middle-earth to darkness and Melkor. Soon, stars created by Varda began to shine, causing the awakening of the Elves. The elves originally formed three groups: the Vanyar, the Noldor, and the Teleri, though some were captured and enslaved by Melkor, eventually to be bred into orcs. Knowing the danger the Elves were in, the Valar decided to fight Melkor to keep the Elves safe. After defeating and capturing Melkor, they invited the Elves to live in Aman. Many Elves accepted while others refused, and still others started for Aman but stopped along the way, including the Elves who later become the Sindar, ruled by the Elf King Thingol and Melian, a Maia. All of the Vanyar and Noldor, and many of the Teleri, reached Aman.

In Aman, Fëanor, son of Finwë, King of the Noldor, created the Silmarils, jewels that glowed with the captured light of the Two Trees. Melkor, who had been held in captivity by the Valar, was eventually released after feigning repentance. Melkor deceived Fëanor into believing that his eldest half-brother Fingolfin was attempting a coup against Finwë. This rift led to the banishment of Fëanor from the Noldorin city Tirion. He created the fortress Formenos to the north of Tirion. Finwë moved there to live with his favourite son. After many years, Fëanor returned to Tirion to make amends with Fingolfin. Meanwhile, Melkor killed the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant, a dark spider spirit that Melkor found in Aman. Together, Melkor and Ungoliant escaped to Formenos, killed Finwë, stole the Silmarils, and fled to Middle-earth. Melkor kept the Silmarils and banished Ungoliant. He attacked the Elvish kingdom of Doriath, ruled by Thingol and his wife Melian. Melkor was defeated in the first of five battles of Beleriand, and barricaded himself in his northern fortress of Angband.

Fëanor swore an oath of vengeance against Melkor and anyone who withheld the Silmarils from him, even the Valar, and made his seven sons do the same. He persuaded most of the Noldor to pursue Melkor, whom Fëanor renamed Morgoth, to Middle-earth. Fëanor's sons seized ships from the Teleri, attacking and killing many of them, and betrayed many of the Noldor, leaving them to make a perilous passage on foot. Upon arriving in Middle-earth, the Noldor under Fëanor attacked Melkor and defeated his army, though Fëanor was killed by Balrogs. After a period of peace, Melkor attacked the Noldor, but was placed in a tight siege. Nearly 400 years later, he broke the siege and drove the Noldor back.

One by one, the Noldor built up kingdoms for themselves throughout Beleriand. Fëanor's firstborn Maedhros wisely chose for him and his brothers to live in the east away from the rest of their kin, knowing that they would easily be provoked into war with each other if they lived too close to their kinsmen. Fingolfin and his eldest son Fingon lived in the northwest. Fingolfin's second son Turgon and Turgon's cousin Finrod built hidden kingdoms after receiving visions from the Vala Ulmo. Finrod hewed cave dwellings which become the realm of Nargothrond, while Turgon discovered a hidden vale surrounded by mountains, and chose that place to build the city of Gondolin. Because of the secrecy of these places, they were more secure from Melkor's armies. Gondolin was especially secure, as Turgon took great care to keep it secret, and it was one of the last Elven strongholds to fall.

After the destruction of the Trees and the theft of the Silmarils, the Valar created the moon and the sun; they were carried across the sky in ships. At the same time, Men awoke; some later arrived in Beleriand and allied themselves to the Elves. Beren, a Man who survived the latest battle, wandered into Doriath, where he fell in love with the Elf maiden Lúthien, daughter of Thingol and Melian. Thingol believed no mere Man was worthy of his daughter, and set a seemingly impossible price for her hand: one of the Silmarils. Undaunted, Beren set out to obtain a jewel. Lúthien joined him, though he tried to dissuade her. Sauron, a powerful servant of Melkor, imprisoned Beren, but with Lúthien's help he escaped. Together they entered Melkor's fortress and stole a Silmaril from Melkor's crown. Amazed, Thingol accepted Beren, and the first union of Man and Elf occurred, though Beren was soon mortally wounded and Lúthien died of grief. Though the fates of Man and Elf after death would sunder the couple forever, she persuaded the Vala Mandos to make an exception for them. He gave Beren back his life and allowed Lúthien to renounce her immortality and live as a mortal in Middle-earth. Thus, after they died, they would share the same fate.

The Noldor were emboldened by the couple's feat and attacked Melkor again, with a great army of Elves, Dwarves and Men. But Melkor had secretly corrupted some of the Men. Thus it was that the Elvish host were utterly defeated. However, many Men remained loyal to the Elves.

None received more honour than the brothers Húrin and Huor. Huor died in battle, but Melkor captured Húrin, and cursed him to watch the downfall of his kin. Húrin's son, Túrin Turambar, was sent to Doriath, leaving his mother and unborn sister behind in his father's kingdom (which was overrun by the enemy). Túrin achieved many great deeds of valour, the greatest being the defeat of the dragon Glaurung. Despite his heroism, however, Túrin fell under the curse of Melkor, which led him to unwittingly murder his friend Beleg and to marry and impregnate his sister Nienor, who had lost her memory through Glaurung's enchantment. Before their child was born, the dragon lifted the enchantment. Nienor took her own life. Upon learning the truth, Túrin threw himself upon his sword.

The Destruction of Beleriand as told in Quenta Silmarillion, and the Downfall of Númenor and the Changing of the World, as told in Akallabêth

Huor's son, Tuor, became involved in the fate of the hidden Noldorin kingdom of Gondolin. He married Idril, daughter of Turgon, Lord of Gondolin (the second union between Elves and Men). When Gondolin fell, betrayed from within by the king's traitorous nephew Maeglin, Tuor saved many of its inhabitants. All the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand eventually fell, and the refugees fled to a haven by the sea created by Tuor. The son of Tuor and Idril Celebrindal, Eärendil the Half-elven, was betrothed to Elwing, herself descended from Beren and Lúthien. Elwing brought Eärendil the Silmaril of Beren and Lúthien; the jewel enabled Eärendil to cross the sea to Aman to seek help from the Valar. The Valar obliged, attacking and defeating Melkor and completely destroying Angband, though most of Beleriand sank into the sea, and expelled Melkor from Arda. This ended the First Age of Middle-earth. The last two Silmarils were seized by Fëanor's surviving sons, Maedhros and Maglor. However, because of all the evil deeds the brothers had committed in their quest to gain the Silmarils, they were no longer counted worthy to receive them, so the Silmarils burnt their hands. In anguish, Maedhros killed himself by leaping into a fiery chasm with his Silmaril, while Maglor threw his jewel into the sea and spent the rest of his days wandering along the shores of the world, singing his grief.

Eärendil and Elwing had two children: Elrond and Elros. As descendants of immortal elves and mortal men, they were given the choice of which lineage to belong to: Elrond chose to be an Elf, his brother a Man. Elros became the first king of Númenor and lived to be 500 years old.


Akallabêth ("The Downfallen"[T 4]) comprises about 30 pages, and recounts the rise and fall of the island kingdom of Númenor, inhabited by the Dúnedain. After the defeat of Melkor, the Valar gave the island to the three loyal houses of Men who had aided the Elves in the war against him. Through the favour of the Valar, the Dúnedain were granted wisdom and power and longer life, beyond that of other Men. Indeed, the isle of Númenor lay closer to Aman than to Middle-earth. The fall of Númenor came about through the influence of the corrupted Maia Sauron, the chief servant of Melkor, who arose during the Second Age and tried to conquer Middle-earth.

The Númenóreans moved against Sauron. They were so powerful that Sauron perceived that he could not defeat them by force. He surrendered himself to be taken as a prisoner to Númenor. There he quickly enthralled the king, Ar-Pharazôn, urging him to seek the immortality that the Valar had apparently denied him, fanning the envy that many of the Númenóreans had begun to hold against the Elves of the West and the Valar. The people of Númenor strove to avoid death, but this only weakened them and sped the gradual diminishing of their lifespans. Sauron urged them to wage war against the Valar to seize the immortality denied them. Ar-Pharazôn raised the mightiest army and fleet Númenor had ever seen, and sailed against Aman. The Valar and Elves of Aman, stricken with grief over their betrayal, called on Ilúvatar for help. When Ar-Pharazôn landed, Ilúvatar destroyed his forces and sent a great wave to submerge Númenor, killing all but those Númenóreans who had remained loyal to the Valar. The world was remade, and Aman was removed beyond the Uttermost West so that Men could not sail there to threaten it.

Sauron's physical manifestation was destroyed in the ruin of Númenor. As a Maia, his spirit returned to Middle-earth, though he was no longer able to take the fair form he had once had. The loyal Númenóreans reached the shores of Middle-earth. Among these survivors were Elendil, their leader and a descendant of Elros, and his sons Isildur and Anárion, who had saved a seedling from Númenor's white tree, the ancestor of that of Gondor. They founded two kingdoms: Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south. Elendil reigned as High King of both kingdoms, but committed the rule of Gondor jointly to Isildur and Anárion. The power of the kingdoms in exile was greatly diminished from that of Númenor, "yet very great it seemed to the wild men of Middle-earth".

Of the Rings of Power and the Third AgeEdit

The concluding section of the book, comprising about 20 pages, describes the events that take place in Middle-earth during the Second and Third Ages. In the Second Age, Sauron re-emerged in Middle-earth. The Rings of Power were forged by Elves led by Celebrimbor, but Sauron secretly forged One Ring to control the others. War broke out between the peoples of Middle-earth and Sauron, culminating in the War of the Last Alliance, in which Elves and the remaining Númenóreans united to defeat Sauron, bringing the Second Age to an end. The Third Age began with the claiming of the One Ring by Isildur after Sauron's overthrow. Isildur was ambushed by orcs and killed at the Gladden Fields shortly afterwards, and the One Ring was lost in the River Anduin.

This section also gives a brief overview of the events leading up to and taking place in The Lord of the Rings, including the waning of Gondor, the re-emergence of Sauron, the White Council, Saruman's treachery, and Sauron's final destruction along with the One Ring, which ends the Third Age.

Concept and creationEdit

Development of the textEdit

Tolkien first began working on the stories that would become The Silmarillion in 1914,[T 6] intending them to become an English mythology that would explain the origins of English history and culture.[T 7] Much of this early work was written while Tolkien, then a British officer returned from France during World War I, was in hospital and on sick leave.[T 8] He completed the first story, "The Fall of Gondolin", in late 1916.[T 9]

He called his collection of nascent stories The Book of Lost Tales.[T 3] This became the name for the first two volumes of The History of Middle-earth, which include these early texts. The stories employ the narrative device of a mariner named Eriol (in later versions, an Anglo-Saxon named Ælfwine) who finds the island of Tol Eressëa, where the Elves live; and the Elves tell him their history.[T 10] However, Tolkien never completed The Book of Lost Tales; he left it to compose the poems "The Lay of Leithian" and "The Lay of the Children of Húrin".[T 3]

The first complete version of The Silmarillion was the "Sketch of the Mythology" written in 1926[T 11] (later published in Volume IV of The History of Middle-earth). The "Sketch" was a 28-page synopsis written to explain the background of the story of Túrin to R. W. Reynolds, a friend to whom Tolkien had sent several of the stories.[T 11] From the "Sketch" Tolkien developed a fuller narrative version of The Silmarillion called Quenta Noldorinwa[T 12] (also included in Volume IV). The Quenta Noldorinwa was the last version of The Silmarillion that Tolkien completed.[T 12]

In 1937, encouraged by the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien submitted to his publisher George Allen & Unwin an incomplete but more fully developed version of The Silmarillion called Quenta Silmarillion,[T 3] but they rejected the work as being obscure and "too Celtic".[T 13] The publisher instead asked Tolkien to write a sequel to The Hobbit.[T 13] Tolkien began to revise The Silmarillion, but soon turned to the sequel, which became The Lord of the Rings.[T 14] He renewed work on The Silmarillion after completing The Lord of the Rings,[T 15] and he greatly desired to publish the two works together.[T 16] But when it became clear that would not be possible, Tolkien turned his full attention to preparing The Lord of the Rings for publication.[T 17][T 18]

In the late 1950s Tolkien returned to The Silmarillion, but much of his writing from this time was concerned more with the theological and philosophical underpinnings of the work than with the narratives themselves. By this time, he had doubts about fundamental aspects of the work that went back to the earliest versions of the stories, and it seems that he felt the need to resolve these problems before he could produce the "final" version of The Silmarillion.[T 15] During this time he wrote extensively on such topics as the nature of evil in Arda, the origin of Orcs, the customs of the Elves, the nature and means of Elvish rebirth, the flat world and the story of the Sun and Moon.[T 15] In any event, with one or two exceptions, he wrought little change to the narratives during the remaining years of his life.[T 15]

Posthumous publicationEdit

For several years after his father's death, Christopher Tolkien compiled a Silmarillion narrative. He tried to use the latest writings of his father's and to keep as much internal consistency (and consistency with The Lord of the Rings) as possible, given the many conflicting drafts.[T 19][T 1] As explained in The History of Middle-earth, he drew upon numerous sources for his narrative, relying on post-Lord of the Rings works where possible, but ultimately reaching back as far as the 1917 Book of Lost Tales to fill in portions of the narrative which his father had planned to write but never addressed. In one later chapter of Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath", which had not been touched since the early 1930s, he had to construct a narrative practically from scratch.[T 20] The final result, which included genealogies, maps, an index, and the first-ever released Elvish word list, was published in 1977. Because of Christopher's extensive explanations (in The History of Middle-earth) of how he compiled the published work, much of The Silmarillion has been debated by readers. Christopher's task is generally accepted as very difficult given the state of his father's texts at the time of his death: some critical texts were no longer in the Tolkien family's possession, and Christopher's task compelled him to rush through much of the material. Christopher reveals in later volumes of The History of Middle-earth many divergent ideas which do not agree with the published version.

Christopher Tolkien has suggested that, had he taken more time and had access to all the texts, he might have produced a substantially different work. In his foreword to The Book of Lost Tales 1 in 1983, he wrote that "by its posthumous publication nearly a quarter of a century later the natural order of presentation of the whole 'Matter of Middle-earth' was inverted; and it is certainly debatable whether it was wise to publish in 1977 a version of the primary 'legendarium' standing on its own and claiming, as it were, to be self-explanatory. The published work has no 'framework', no suggestion of what it is and how (within the imagined world) it came to be. This I now think to have been an error."[3]

In October 1996, Christopher Tolkien commissioned illustrator Ted Nasmith to create full-page full-colour artwork for the first illustrated edition of The Silmarillion. It was published in 1998, and followed in 2004 by a second edition featuring corrections and additional artwork by Nasmith.[4]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Christopher Tolkien published most of his father's Middle-earth writings as the 12-volume The History of Middle-earth series. In addition to the source material and earlier drafts of several portions of The Lord of the Rings, these books greatly expand on the original material published in The Silmarillion, and in many cases diverge from it. There is much that Tolkien intended to revise but only sketched out in notes, and some new texts surfaced after the publication of The Silmarillion. These books also make it clear just how unfinished the later parts of The Silmarillion really were: some parts were never rewritten after the early versions in Lost Tales.


The Silmarillion is a complex work exhibiting the influence of many sources. A major influence was the Finnish epic Kalevala, especially the tale of Kullervo. Influence from Greek mythology is also apparent. The island of Númenor, for example, recalls Atlantis.[T 21] This, however, Tolkien later described in a letter to Christopher Bretherton as merely a "curious chance".

Greek mythology also colours the Valar, who borrow many attributes from the Olympian gods.[5] The Valar, like the Olympians, live in the world, but on a high mountain, separated from mortals;[6] But the correspondences are only approximate; the Valar also contain elements of Norse mythology. Several of the Valar have characteristics resembling various Æsir, the gods of Asgard.[7] Thor, for example, physically the strongest of the gods, can be seen both in Oromë, who fights the monsters of Melkor, and in Tulkas, the physically strongest of the Valar.[8] Manwë, the head of the Valar, exhibits some similarities to Odin, the "Allfather".[8] Tolkien also said that he saw the Maia Olórin (Gandalf) as an "Odinic wanderer".[T 22]

Influence of the Bible and traditional Christian narrative are seen in The Silmarillion in the conflict between Melkor and Eru Ilúvatar, a parallel of the polarity of Lucifer and God.[9] Further, The Silmarillion tells of the creation and fall of the Elves, as Genesis tells of the creation and fall of Man.[10] As with all of Tolkien's works, The Silmarillion allows room for later Christian history, and one draft even has Finrod speculating on the necessity of Eru's (God's) eventual Incarnation to save mankind.[T 23]

Medieval Christian cosmology shows its influence especially in the account of the creation of the universe as the manifestation of a sort of song sung by God with which the angels harmonize until the fallen angel introduces discord. St. Augustine's writings on music, as well as the extensive medieval tradition of the divine harmony – more familiar to us today in the notion of the "music of the spheres" – served as bases for this telling of creation.

Celtic mythology show its influence in the exile of the Noldorin Elves, for example, that borrow elements from the story of Irish legends of the Tuatha Dé Danann.[11] Welsh influence is seen in the Elvish language Sindarin, that Tolkien gave "a linguistic character very like (though not identical with) British-Welsh ... because it seems to fit the rather 'Celtic' type of legends and stories told of its speakers".[T 24]


At the time of release, reviews of The Silmarillion were generally negative.[12] The Tolkien scholar Wayne G. Hammond records that the book's publisher, Rayner Unwin, called the reviews "among the most unfair he had ever seen".[13]

The Silmarillion was criticized for being too serious, lacking the light-hearted moments that were found in The Lord of the Rings and especially The Hobbit.[14][15][16] Time magazine lamented that there was "no single, unifying quest and, above all, no band of brothers for the reader to identify with".[14] Other criticisms included difficult-to-read archaic language[17][18][19] and many difficult and hard-to-remember names.[17][20] Robert M. Adams of The New York Review of Books called The Silmarillion "an empty and pompous bore", "not a literary event of any magnitude", and even claimed that the main reason for its "enormous sales" was the "Tolkien cult" created by the popularity of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, predicting that more people would buy The Silmarillion than would ever read it.[17][21] The School Library Journal called it "only a stillborn postscript" to Tolkien's earlier works.[16] Peter Conrad of the New Statesman even went so far as to say that "Tolkien can't actually write".[22][a]

Nonetheless, a few reviewers praised the scope of Tolkien's creation. The New York Times Book Review acknowledged that "what is finally most moving is … the eccentric heroism of Tolkien's attempt".[15] TIME described The Silmarillion as "majestic, a work held so long and so powerfully in the writer's imagination that it overwhelms the reader".[14] The Horn Book Magazine even lauded the "remarkable set of legends conceived with imaginative might and told in beautiful language".[23] John Calvin Batchelor, reviewing the book for The Village Voice, lauded the book as a "difficult but incontestable masterwork of fantasy" and praised the character of Melkor, describing him as "a stunning bad guy" whose "chief weapon against goodness is his ability to corrupt men by offering them trappings for their vanity".[24]

Academic criticism of the 1977 text, as selected by Christopher Tolkien, focused on his father's intention to complete the work: since he did not do so, his plans for the overall narrative, out of the large collection of draft texts, were not clearly discernible. That in turn meant, argued the Tolkien scholar Charles Noad, that Silmarillion criticism ought first to "evolve approaches to this textual complex as it [was], including Christopher Tolkien's 1977 Silmarillion".[25][26]

In a 2019 article, Le Monde called The Silmarillion a "cornerstone of Tolkien's imagination" and "the book by J. R. R. Tolkien that rules them all".[27]

Influence in musicEdit

The Norwegian classical composer Martin Romberg has written three full-scale symphonic poems, Quendi (2008), Telperion et Laurelin (2014), and Fëanor (2017), inspired by passages from The Silmarillion. The works were premiered by orchestras in Southern France between 2009 and 2017.[28][29] The British rock band Marillion took their name from the book.[30] The french black metal band Hirilorn (which later evolved into Deathspell Omega) also took its name from the book.[31]


  1. ^ Additional 1977 criticisms can be read in Wayne G. Hammond's summary "The Critical Response to Tolkien's Fiction".[13]



This list identifies each item's location in Tolkien's writings.
  1. ^ a b c Tolkien 1977, Foreword
  2. ^ Carpenter 1981, #165, 211
  3. ^ a b c d Tolkien, J. R. R. (1984), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales, 1, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Foreword, ISBN 0-395-35439-0
  4. ^ a b c d Tolkien 1977, Index of Names
  5. ^ Tolkien 1977, pp. 15, 329
  6. ^ Carpenter 1981, #115
  7. ^ Carpenter 1981, #131, 180
  8. ^ Carpenter 1981, #165, 180, 282
  9. ^ Carpenter 1981, #163, 165
  10. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1984), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales, 1, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter I, "The Cottage of Lost Play", ISBN 0-395-35439-0
  11. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1985), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter I, "The Lay of the Children of Húrin", ISBN 0-395-39429-5
  12. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1986), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Preface, ISBN 0-395-42501-8
  13. ^ a b Carpenter 1981, #19
  14. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1987), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Part II, Chapter VI, "Quenta Silmarillion", ISBN 0-395-45519-7
  15. ^ a b c d Tolkien, J. R. R. (1993), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Foreword, ISBN 0-395-68092-1
  16. ^ Carpenter 1981, #124
  17. ^ Carpenter 1981, #133
  18. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R., Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, Ballantine, pp. 433–4, ISBN 0-345-38818-6
  19. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Introduction, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
  20. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1994), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Part Three, Chapter V "The Tale of Years", ISBN 0-395-71041-3
  21. ^ Carpenter 1981, #154, 227
  22. ^ Carpenter 1981, #107
  23. ^ Morgoth's Ring, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, pp. 322, 335
  24. ^ Carpenter 1981, #144


  1. ^ Rayner Unwin (1978), in Amon Hen, bulletin of The Tolkien Society, no. 32 p. 13.
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  4. ^ "The Silmarillion". WorldCat. ISBN 9780007284245. Retrieved 14 May 2020. For the first time in paperback, a fully illustrated edition of The Silmarillion, with colour plates by the celebrated artist Ted Nasmith - designed to match the rest of the Tolkien series. Author: J R R Tolkien; Christopher Tolkien; Ted Nasmith Publisher: London : HarperCollins, 2008.
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  6. ^ Stanton, Michael (2001), Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards: Exploring the Wonders and Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 18, ISBN 1-4039-6025-9
  7. ^ Garth, John (2003), Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth, Houghton Mifflin Company, p. 86
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  9. ^ Chance 2001, p. 192
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  12. ^ Birzer, Bradley J. (2014). J. R. R. Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth. Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ORD). p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4976-4891-3. Christopher Tolkien did mention the negative criticism, though, in his foreword to The Book of Lost Tales
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  18. ^ Brookhiser, Richard (9 December 1977), "Kicking the Hobbit", National Review, vol. 29 no. 48, pp. 1439–1440
  19. ^ Jefferson, Margo (24 October 1977), "Fool's Gold", Newsweek, vol. 90, p. 114
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  21. ^ Adams, Robert M. "The Hobbit Habit". New York Review of Books, 24 November 1977. Quoted in Johnson J.R.R. Tolkien: six decades of criticism (1986), p. 162
  22. ^ Conrad, Peter (23 September 1977), "The Babbit", New Statesman, vol. 94, p. 408
  23. ^ Cosgrave, M. S. (April 1978), "The Silmarillion", The Horn Book Magazine, vol. 54, p. 196
  24. ^ Batchelor, John Calvin (10 October 1977). "Tolkien Again: Lord Foul and Friends Infest a Morbid but Moneyed Land". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  25. ^ Lee, Stuart D. (2020). A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien. John Wiley & Sons. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-119-65602-9.
  26. ^ Noad, Charles (2000). Verlyn Flieger (ed.). On the Construction of The Silmarillion. Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth. Greenwood Press. pp. 31–68. ISBN 0313305307.
  27. ^ Thévenet, Elisa (28 October 2019). "'Le Silmarillion' : aux origines du livre de J. R. R. Tolkien qui les gouverne tous ['The Silmarillion': On the origins of the book by J. R. R. Tolkien that rules them all]". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Concert Review Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice 2017, Fëanor". France 3.
  29. ^ "Martin Romberg at Orchestre régional Avignon-Provence". Orchestre régional Avignon-Provence.
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