J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. & Christopher Tolkien

The Silmarillion is the book that J.R.R. Tolkien always wanted to publish but by the time he died in 1973 it was no closer to being ready for publication than it had been in 1956 after he finished publishing The Lord of the Rings. In The History of Middle-earth Tolkien's son Christopher explained in painstaking detail how his father had once created an Anglo-Saxon mythology for England called The Book of Lost Tales. This work, like The Silmarillion, was never finished but J.R.R. Tolkien adopted many of the stories in the original mythology for a new mythology that was set in a completely imaginary landscape.

From about 1925 to 1937 J.R.R. Tolkien wrote and rewrote his new mythology, adding new details and sub-stories, introducing new characters, and creating a rich framework of imaginary lands and peoples that would populate a long-forgotten landscape. But when his children's story The Hobbit was published in 1937 he was asked by his publisher to work on a sequel to that book. Tolkien dutifully undertook the task but at the same time he found himself rewriting the central themes of The Silmarillion once again.

After The Lord of the Rings was published Tolkien attempted to begin rewriting The Silmarillion. But the stories were now so old for him that he had to re-read them just to become fully immersed in their world once more. And as he went along he made notes and changes to the old manuscripts. But he did very little writing for he continued to write more stories about the world of Middle-earth.

Middle-earth borrowed extensively from the world of The Silmarillion and it was always Tolkien's intention to bring The Silmarillion into a form that was fully compatible with both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. However, he was never able to complete the work.

Here are a few questions about The Silmarillion:

Did Christopher Tolkien Write The Silmarillion?

ANSWER: Perhaps only the debate over Balrog Wings has inspired more toxic debate than this question. Many readers know a lot of the details about the construction of The Silmarillion but they cannot seem to form a united opinion on whether Christopher Tolkien actually wrote the published book. To be honest, I think Christopher Tolkien might be put off by such a question, or at least disappointed in the simplicity of thought it represents.

Read the full article here: Q: Did Christopher Tolkien Write The Silmarillion?

Why Isn't The Silmarillion Being Made Into a Movie or Radio Show?

ANSWER: J.R.R. Tolkien only sold the film and merchandising rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Since The Silmarillion was not published until 4 years after his death, he could not have negotiated any sort of rights release for that book.

Christopher Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate have steadfastly refused to sell film rights to The Silmarillion, which in my own opinion would probably not be adapted to film, stage, or radio as well as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been. UPDATE: Rumors of a Silmarillion movie have been circulating on the Web because of an old April Fool’s joke from the mid-2000s. Do not believe the rumors. There is NO "Silmarillion" movie on the way.

Read the full article here: Q: Why Isn't The Silmarillion Being Made Into a Movie or Radio Show?

What is J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium?

ANSWER: J.R.R. Tolkien used the word legendarium sparingly. He first used the word in late 1951 in Letter No. 131, which he wrote to Milton Waldman, a publisher who had expressed interest in working with Tolkien. Tolkien wrote a lengthy summary of the history he had contrived for middle-earth, covering events that he had both written about and imagined (without fully narrating them) in numerous essays and stories that both predated and were coeval with his then unpublished Lord of the Rings narrative. Tolkien touches upon many external topics, attempting to explain or justify or rationalize why he should have devoted so many years to making up stories in such depth and complexity.

Read the full article here: Q: What Is J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium?

How Reliable Are the Etymologies as an Authoritative Tolkien Source?

ANSWER: This kind of question is what the fictional Doctor Daniel Jackson might have equated with his archetypal "meaning of life stuff". That is, when you look at any specific Tolkien text and ask how authoritative it is you are really asking a much more complex question, one which is easier to recognize as complex than it is to explain the complexity thereof.

Read the full article here: Q: How Reliable Are the Etymologies as an Authoritative Tolkien Source?


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