Thread: Expanded Silmarillion
Let me be the first to welcome you to PT. Sadly, i have not read much of the Silmarillion, so i don't have any thoughts on your post.
Welcome, Brego! You'll find that both myself and many other PT users will be able to relate to your passion for The Silmarillion. Always good to find another.
I absolutely agree that just about everything in the Silmarillion could be expanded into its own novel. However, I think the only person I'd feel comfortable reading this from would be The Professor himself. It would be more like reading well written fan fiction than another Tolkien story, just wouldn't be the same.
I could see some sort of award being given for outstanding fan fiction, maybe a novel comprised of short stories from Tolkien fans around the world could be made...
I don't think copyright concerns would allow anyone to write fuller versions of any chapters of Quenta Silmarillion, at least as far as being published anyway. Of course Tolkien did plan to write long prose versions of the Great Tales at least, and started these (again) after The Lord of the Rings was 'finished'.
Have you read The History of Middle-Earth series, especially the Silmarillion related volumes? They provide a measure of Silmarillion related writing that can't be found elsewhere, though much of it will also be a presentation of various versions over the years, as Tolkien's subcreated world grew and developed.
In theory I agree that various Silmarillion chapters could be longer and more fleshed out, and in one sense more of Middle-earth is always good. But that said, it might also be noted that early on Quenta Silmarillion was essentially meant to be a 'short prose' version, or a brief history. In commentary to the only completed Silmarillion JRRT ever made (in 1930), Christopher Tolkien notes...
'The title makes it very plain that while Q was written in a finished manner, my father saw it as a compendium, a 'brief history' that was 'drawn from' a much longer work; and this aspect remained an important element in his conception of 'The Silmarillion' properly so called.' CJRT, commentary to Qenta Noldorinwa (Q)
This idea might have arisen because after The Book of Lost Tales was (basically) put aside for poetry, the 'second phase' of the mythological narrative began again with a condensed synopsis.
But again I take your point: one would love more Silmarillion related stuff in any case. I would love more too, generally speaking -- from JRRT anyway, but of course one must accept the unfinished nature of the legendarium.
Incidentally, I believe some do not enjoy The History of Middle-Earth volumes because they help illustrate that The Silmarillion, though amazing even as it exists, is truly an unfinished work in progress.
Could not agree more Galin. While reading HOME, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. In my opinion so far, HOME actually isn't really an "encyclopedia" of more detailed events (like many think), but rather in-depth ideas Tolkien had concerning events mostly from the Silmarillion. I would recommend it to you Brego, since the more you read the Silmarillion the more you can appreciate HOME. Like I said though....grain of salt. You'll get so absorbed that you sometimes forget it isn't technically part of the story, so when you come across inconsistencies it always takes you by surprise. And of course everything that had 2-3 names in the Sil now has 2-3 completely different names. Or at least for the most part.
But honestly, with CT's commentary, it's an excellent collection for Tolkien lovers. I have the 3 part collection right now, and each one is roughly 1500 pages with miniscule print....just to give you an idea of how much content is packed into these things.
It is terribly hard for me to say Silmarillion, I almost end of lisping. I hate that. Love the Silmarilion though.
To blather on a bit more: when one reads The History of Middle-Earth volumes one is reading the external history of Tolkien's creativity. Inconsistencies are not unexpected as the stories evolved and branched out over decades, but a given inconsistency is not necessarily internal of course, rather it could simply represent the variation one sees when a later idea is compared to an earlier, arguably abandoned idea.
If someone wanted to avoid the very early stories -- the early tales that held the 'germ' of what would become the Silmarillion -- he or she could maybe start with Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels, which (basically) represents the Silmarillion related texts as updated after Tolkien was 'finished' writing The Lord of the Rings (very basically, the Silmarillion from the early 1950s to the early 1970s).
The 'Sketch' and the 'Silmarillions' of the 1930s will not include ents or Galadriel for instance, as they were discovered later in the process of writing The Lord of the Rings. And as noted already, the nomenclature shifts around, the meanings of some terms get altered in sometimes confusing ways, details get revised, or 'large' ideas get abandoned as Tolkien constantly finds out not only more about Middle-Earth, but what was really 'true' all along.
And some questions simply can't be answered from the evidence, so to speak, as Tolkien didn't know how much scrutiny his draft papers would inspire.
Keep in mind that the 1977 Silmarillion is not the version but a version, and is no more finished or final than the new Children of Hurin (also compiled by Christopher Tolkien). These versions are intended to be one volume versions for readers -- and thus have a significantly different impact on the reader, not unexpectedly, compared to a scholarly presentation of disparate and sometimes confusing drafts spread out over decades.
But the extant Silmarillion is unfinished and disparate -- a draft in progress never to be completed by its creator -- some parts dating as early as 1930 because JRRT never really got to them later.
Welcome to PT, Brego!
And Silmarillion rulles ALL! It's the Bible of Arda. I don't think it to be possible now adays or anydays after for Tolkien's works to be somehow "extended" since the briliant mind that created them is no longer able to do so. We must be simply grateful for what we have, which is a lot, enough for one person to spend a lifetime reading and understanding and not to be able to get it all. Just like the real life!
I do not beleive the text should be tampered with, The Children of Húrin was thankfully, well written. Yet, should we chance a flub? No, it would be like altering religious texts, bad juju.
Thanks to all for your warm welcome, and for your thoughts on this thread. I guess, in response, I need to say that indeed I've read The Histories of Middle Earth and still want more please! I understand that it would be horrific for a dud novel to be released and that any further release/s, attached to JRRT's name would need to be carefully proofed/edited. I think there are currently many readers who consider themselves expert enough to fulfill an editors role in this, however any future project would need CT approval and/or that of the Tolkien Society. JRRT once said that he would love for future generations to expand on his universe, it would be nice for this to happen while (thankfully) his son is still with us. I will remain in hope!
Thanks again, Brego.
JRRT once said that he would love for future generations to expand on his universe, it would be nice for this to happen while (thankfully) his son is still with us. I will remain in hope!
Brego, did Tolkien say he desired other writers or authors to write about Middle-earth though? If he did I don't recall it at the moment.
There's a letter where Tolkien speaks of 'other minds and hands' wielding paint, music and drama, but even here (see letter 131 for full context) it's perhaps notable that 'pen', or something to indicate other writers, is not included.
Tolkien got annoyed at one person (at least -- possibly another is mentioned in the actual letter I'm thinking of, though I can't remember at the moment) who attempted to write a sequel to The Lord of the Rings -- which granted is a rather specific annoyance, but still.
Considering CJRT's conservative approach with The Children of Hurin (I have no problem with his approach here incidentally), I don't think it's likely that any more of the long prose tales will be compiled, as there just isn't enough 1950s (or later) material available. And for myself I would guess that Adam Tolkien basically agrees with his father in this matter.
That said, there are other texts outside of the Middle-earth sphere that might see publication. I really hope Sellic Spell and The Fall of Arthur are two of them.
In Russia there's at least one author (Kirill Yeskov) who published a 're-imagining' of Lord of the Rings, named "The Last Ringbearer" which inverses Tolkien's tale and makes Mordor the good guys. I haven't read it myself, but apparently an English translation has been available since the end of last year.
That said, though, I'm not sure whether any of this is legal.
For me the beauty of the silmarilion is that it leaves so much to the imagination, it can be informative in parts but also not to descriptive for me its actually a work of genius to able to write in a way that gives so much in outlines.
I think that magic would be diluted in a expanded version. I like fan-fiction stories from the silmarilion but any serious attempt to novelize would be a mountain to big to climb.
One of the things I can relate to is what someone wrote that you can literally flick through it and read bits and pieces I don't know of any other author that I can do that with their books. The closest would probably be the Edward Rutherfurd books Lonon and Russka.
Virumor I found and downloaded the PDF of the Russian story...
Its quite bizarre and I think it may suffer somewhat in translation. For those who have not read it (the name escapes me) it basically looks at The War Of The Ring through the eyes of Mordor and the Dark Lords politically.
Well that is terribly depressing to me. I am personally glad our professor did not live to know about this. To take all that he deemed evil and give the opposite slant to it, well it is just the worst in my opinion.
Brego, you have read the Silmarillion over twenty times. I can scarce take that in. That is so amazing, no beyond amazing.
Not that amazing Lee Lee, probably once a year, along with the other JRRT works. I find them extremely relaxing to read and actually each time I read them I pick up something new or an extra meaning which I missed in previous readings.
What another handy thread. I was just toying with the idea of some Silmarillion fan fic. It's been such a long time since I wrote anything just for fun!
I am toying with some personal level writing from the point of view of Tuor and his observations of Gondolin and its King's sad demise. Maybe if we get enough of this stuff going, PJ and co might be encouraged to make a series of films for our enjoyment.
Maybe if we get enough of this stuff going, PJ and co might be encouraged to make a series of films for our enjoyment.
No one can make Silmarillion-based films in any case -- or that is to say, the Tolkien Estate currently holds the rights to The Silmarillion and other works outside of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Aye Brego, you are and Elf after mine own heart. I too try to read Master Tolkien's works yearly, and I agree that there is something new to be gleaned from each re-reading. Although now, thanks to you and others on this site, I have learned of works I have never read before. I am a little embarassed that I had no inkling of the History of Middle Earth but am proud to say I have ordered the first volume and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.
Thank you friends and fellow wanderers!
While it was alright having the people that made all the movies to date, I would only want and I mean only, those with the same understanding as Tolkien, in religion, for it completely shaped what his works were, someone who had suffered loss and deep grief, and someone with an extensive knowledge(that could be someone different for each thing) in philology and several different, especially pertinent languages such as Cymru and Norwegian and such as well as having carefully read all his works, only such ones would be competent in my opinion to get the right feel, understanding and depth that every bit of the Silmarillion requires. But honestly I doubt it could ever be made, not even in increments without utterly losing something of the honor,integrit, purity and almost holiness of our professor. So I hope they dont sell the rights to anyone.
Brego, no matter what you say I think it is a big deal to read this once a year. A big deal.
And , Finrod, once again you impress me with your utter humble attitude. Wow is the only word I can come up with really,
I have to admit that as much as I would love to eventually see the Silmarillion on screen, I think that it is burden beyond the arts of anyone. Any film version would no doubt disappoint all Tolkien readers. I think Tolkien used all of his skill in conjuring visions in the readers head, with very few words, in the Sil-, more so than with any of his other works. Also the time period the work spans is so great that truly for non readers a film would simply be incredibly hard to follow. The formal language would be unintelligible, especially for the modern youth. I cant imagine that the droves would stick with it to the end, and it would have to be long, I reckon at least 6 films of 3 hours each.. at least to do the story justice.
I must agree with your assessment Brego. And regarding the language, Tolkien had the highest regard and esteem for great language, for brilliant usage of words. Just as words for a lawyer and his or her client are literally life or death, win or lose, so too words were everything with Tolkien. And when you have to speak in the manner that his characters spoke, very high in most cases with a touch of the divine majesty and correctness and dignity, you are right- in a world now where profanity seems to be in every other word in a sentence and words of lovely description are thought of as silly, nerdy, irrelevant except to those in the arts or higher learning such as Oxford uni , well how can you keep attention . No, pyro technology, digital arts, and fast fast fast moving pace only seem to keep the audience absorbed. There are indeed many who love the words of Shakespeare, but compared to the vast audience out there for televison and movies, it is really a tiny paying audience.
I would like to see the Lay of Luthien (or Lay of Leithian) included in the Silmarillion, since the published text often refers to it. "...as is told more in the Lay of Luthien", except we don't have it (unless you read the History books).
The Silmarillion could also do with the chronology (like in LotR appendices). There is some chronology in the History books (the annals of Beleriand, the Grey Annals, etc), but it would be nice to see the finished chronology to go with the published text.
As for publishing whole books from the Silmarillion tales, the Lay of Luthien would make a great epic on its own. I always loved that tale, because it has "fairytale" and "adventure" written all over it, in comparison to most of the Silmarillion, which often is a bit dry and academical.
Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin could be finished and would make a great story (because it IS one of the greatest stories in Tolkien universe).
Tolkien's own chronology begins well before the creation of the Sun and Moon, as the Annals of Aman begin with: 'The First Year of the Valar in Arda', and there are many chronicled events leading to the creation of the Sun and Moon.
One needs to keep in mind the ratio of Sun Years to Valian Years for example, but in doing so a little math can reveal how many Sun Years elapsed between certain events chronicled before the switch to Sun Year reckoning.
Time before this first noted 'year' of the Valar in Arda need only be dealt with as in The Annals of Aman in my opinion: 'After ages of labour beyond knowledge or reckoning in the great halls of Ea the Valar descended into Arda in the beginning off its being, and they began there their labour...'
And according to The Annals of Aman: 'Time indeed began with the beginning of Ea, and in that beginning the Valar came into the World.' JRRT, Of the Beginning of Time and its Reckoning -- or the 1977 Silmarillion: 'For the Great music had been but the growth and flowering of thought in the Timeless Halls, and the vision only a foreshowing; and now they had entered in at the beginning of Time...'
I just remembered that I haven't read Sil in a very long time. I've read some memorable and favorite parts every now and then, but it's been like 1-2 years, since I last time read it through.
Concerning this thread, I think I've expanded Sil, not sure though, but whether it is or is not, I shall read Silmarillion once more.
And I could also read my The Hobbit english version that I bought somewhere between 2007 and 2008, since release of the first movie draws nearer every day.