Thread: Quick Question
Of course, the best explanations here are still those offered by Val, so I step back and let the master do the talking... hehe
As Bugfeanor suggested, HOME comes in groups dealing with different topics and are to an extent written in a similar order to which Tolkien wrote his notes in.
The first two, Book of Lost Tales I & II are based around some of JRR's very earliest transcripts and stories which would later become the Silmarillion. In many places these tales have been edited and changed so many times in later years that they bear very little resemblence to the final story.
The third book, The Lays of Beleriand, is basically three very long poems concerning Luthien and Beren and the story of Hurin and Turin, as well as a bit about the Flight of the Noldor and the Fall of Gondolin.
Books 4 and 5 are a revisit to the Silmarillion, The Shaping of Middle Earth being a re-write of the Quenta Silmarillion, and The Lost Road being concerned with the Fall of Numenor.
The Next four, The Return of the Shadow, The Treason at Isengard, The War of the Ring and Sauron Defeated are based around Lord of the Rings and show how Tolkien developed this story over a period of time.
Book 10 and 11, however, are my personal favourites. Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels are again a revisit to the Silmarillion, but are centered around Tolkien's later scripts which he wrote post Lord of the Rings. The reason I like these are because they are just about the finished product and contain a lot of material which Christopher Tolkien never got around to including in the Silmarillion. Unlike the earlier books, the character names and places are now easily recognisable as their finished forms, but the stories contain many missing details and little snippets of information not found anywhere else. They do not read like a novel, however. As someone suggested above, they should be read more as a reference book than a story.
I'm still waiting for the next one, The People's of Middle Earth, to come out in paper back so I cannot comment on it.
As a personal recommendation I would say the order to read Tolkien would be The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and then jump to Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels. Personally I find the first three books of HOME almost unreadable. Thay are a slog.
1. The Silmarillion
2. The Hobbit
3. LOTR series
The silmarillion is a great book that give you good knowledge of the First age. It covers important aspects of the Second Age, and has a chapter on "The Rings of Power" which include the making of The One Ring’.
The hobbit is a great read, although it doesn't give you too much knowledge of the history of middle earth. It is, however, the loosening of a few pebbles, which create the avalanche of the epic story we all know and love, LOTR...
Book 10 and 11, however, are my personal favourites. Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels are again a revisit to the Silmarillion, but are centered around Tolkien's later scripts which he wrote post Lord of the Rings. The reason I like these are because they are just about the finished product and contain a lot of material which Christopher Tolkien never got around to including in the Silmarillion.
Well I know which books to buy next (I am collecting the books as well) ! Thanks for the tip! I think Morgoth's Ring and the War of the Jewels will be next! And it is good to know that I am not the only one who had troubles reading book 1,2,3.
I am currently having loads of fun with The lost road and other writings. I have to admit that is because the main topic interests me the most: N’menor. That is the whole reason why I skipped buying books 6,7 and 8 and bought Sauron defeated because that book deals with the Fall of N’menor as well.
A very nice and useful page to bookmark:
What's in the History of Middle-earth? A detailed list of the contents of the 12 HoMe-volumes and Unfinished Tales By Ninni M. Pettersson
I will tell you which books i do recommend to read and in what order.
1. The Silmarillion
2. The Hobbit
3. LOTR series
Well, this is a good order for one who has already read all three before and wants to re-read it. But for a person who has recently dipped into Tolkien's world...I don't believe that Silmarillion is the one to begin with. It'll be too hard on what should I say...the "untrained" mind. Its a bit too complex to understand if you do not know Middle Earth as well from before itself.
So for a person who wants to enter the Middle-Earth for the first time...my recommended order is:
1. The Hobbit
2. The Lord of the Rings
3. The Silmarillion
4. The History of Middle Earth
5. Unfinished Tales.
You might want to skip The History of Middle Earth series since its more like an encyclopaedia on Middle-Earth which you refer to if you can't understand anything or have a question on Middle-Earth (although I recommend you come to PT here with the question). Well, anyways, go have fun!
but that's just my opinion....
I didn't say that your opinion is wrong or anything like that. I just wanted to post my own opinion and what I felt was best.