Grondmaster says Valedhelgwath posted
Okay, all you wannabe and have been readers of the Silmarillion. Taz has kindly opened this slot for us, so let's proceed.
The aim of this topic is to be a reading/discussion group for the Silmarillion and as such will follow a fairly rigid structure based around the book and weekly reading assignments. The weekly assignments will cover about 25 - 30 pages at a time and will be covered by their own threads.
In order to keep this stucture in place, and to keep everything tidy and focused, I believe only Council Members can open new threads in here. Please help to keep everything focused by keeping to topic. If you feel the need to say, "hi," to a new member, please do it in another thread. Anything I feel to be off topic, I shall moderate out. Seems a little draconian of me, but the purpose of this thread is to run a reading group rather than a general chat. Saying that, I hope all participants will enjoy themselves in here.
As has been mentioned elsewhere, I will give a brief outline of each assignment at the beginning of each new thread, and I will attempt to provide a list of the names of the new characters and places contained within, as many people complain the number of names is something they find confusing at times.
The thread will then be thrown open to discussion and questions. I will leave this down to other readers as much as possible, but will attempt to answer any questions that may be raised. Once a particular thread has gone the distance, I think it would be nice if one of the other readers could attempt to summarise the chapters covered, as a way of closing the thread.
If there is anything I have missed, or you feel should be added, use this introduction thread to raise your points. This thread may also be used to cover more general issues that arise outside of the following threads.
Okay, I hope you all enjoy yourself here, and find this Reading Group useful. It will be aimed for the first time user, but help from past readers will be more than welcome.
Please remember to keep your posts on topic.
Most of us on this site have known each other for a while now, but for the purposes of this Group maybe another introduction to the Group would be apropriate. Tolkien's works are magnificant pieces of fantasy literature, and delve deeper than any other works that I know. From the Hobbit to the History of Middle Earth, there is something for everyone, whatever their age or reading ability.
Once someone has read any of Tolkien's works, they are almost always changed in some way. For myself, a whole new world opened up for me that I was unaware of before. Even people who have never read the books have often heared of them, particularly now that the film has been released.
For the purpose of this Group, therefore, I would like to know...
1) How often have you read the various works of Tolkien?
2) Briefly what you thought of each one?
3) Did you have any preconception before reading the books of what they would be like, and if so, how accurate was that preconception?
I am particularly interested in this third question with respect to people who have never read the Silmarillion before, because it is these people I am aiming this Group towards. Many people seem to have the preconception that the Silmarillion will be heavy going or boring, and often give up before they even buy it. If I can help just one such person enjoy the book by running this Group, I will feel my time has been justified.
Okay, to answer the above question myself.
My first introduction to Tolkien was twenty years ago when friends at University began talking about people I had never heard of, and calling their plants Boromir and Faramir. Feeling left out, one night I picked up a copy of UT that was lying around and read the opening piece about Tuor travelling through a tunnel alongside a stream. I was hooked. A few months earlier I had begun playing AD&D... The very next dungeon I wrote had to have a similar tunnel and stream, so impressed was I with Tolkien's descriptions.
On advice from friends, I gave them back UT and borrowed their copy of the Hobbit. To be honest, the opening paragraph almost put me off. I thought it was too child-like. Mid-way through the first chapter, however, I was engrossed. My next dungeon just had to have a Dwarven mine under a mountain containing a red dragon.
Within a few months I had read LOTR and the Silmarillion in quick succession, and in the space of a few months had become an "postAuthorIDity" on Tolkien among my circle of friends. To say I was hooked was an understatement. Between Middle Earth and Dungeans and Dragons, I had virtually ceased to exist in the real world. I had crossed realms and was living my life elsewhere (and the thought still scares me now).
Anyway, in total, I have read the Hobbit twice, LotR five times (the Fellowship eight times), The Silmarillion four times and UT just the once. In addition to this, however, I have used the books to research my AD&D and Rolemaster worlds. Doing so, they became well thumbed text books, and certain sections of each book I must have read dozens of times. rrIn addition to Tolkien's own works I have David Day's Tolkien Bestiary (which for a long time was my most valuable possession), David Day's Tolkien Ring, the essential Complete Guide to Middle Earth by Robert Foster, and (on Grondy's recommendation) The Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad. Also, which I have found very useful, are Iron Crown Enterprises' Middle Earth modules for their Middle Earth Roleplaying game. These modules, which cover most of the land have some beautiful colour maps, and are a wealth of information.
What I'd like to do now is read the HoME books. I was told by another Tolkien fan several years ago that they were as boring as Hell, and so never bothered with them. Now I wish I had because I am having a job finding them, and have very little time in which I can read them.rMy preconception of them? They will be a slog in places... I might skip chunks of them to find the areas I want to read, but I will be able to delve into a new level of Tolkien's writings and make exciting discoveries I was until then unaware of.
Okay... Over to the rest of you.