Wednesday, 15 June 2016

An artist's storybook of Tolkien

Finarfin's farewell to his children
From left to right:  Finarfin, Orodreth, Galadriel, Finrod, Aegnor, Angrod
Finrod. First, encounter with Edain
Andreth and Aegnor- the first encounter
inspired by "Atrabeth Finrod ah Andreth"
Something of Manwe and Ulmo
Celegorm, Curufin, Luthien and Huan
After seeing all of this beautiful art I must pick up and read the Silmarillion soon. I did start it but sadly didn't have the time to really get into it. From these images, I think I've fallen in love with the characters already. :o) 

The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's mythopoeic works, edited and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien, in 1977, with assistance from Guy Gavriel Kay, who later became a noted fantasy writer. The Silmarillion, along with J. R. R. Tolkien's other works, forms an extensive, though incomplete, narrative that describes the universe of Eä in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth within which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.

The Silmarillion comprises five parts. The first part, Ainulindalë, tells of the creation of Eä, the "world that is". Valaquenta, the second part, gives a description of the Valar and Maiar, the supernatural powers in 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. 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 in order to resolve gaps and inconsistencies in the narrative.
Ainulindalë and Valaquenta

The first section of The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë ("The Music of the Ainur"), takes the form of a primary creation narrative. Eru ("The One"), 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 thrice, 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 after a while, and Ilúvatar offered the Ainur a chance to enter into Arda and govern over the new world.

Many Ainur descended, taking physical form and becoming bound to that world. The greater Ainur became known as the Valar, while the lesser Ainur were called 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 until, through waves of destruction and creation, the world took shape.

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

Quenta Silmarillion

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

The Valar had 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 called Valinor, illuminated by Two Trees, and left Middle-earth to darkness and Melkor. When stars began to shine and the Elves awoke, the Valar fought Melkor to keep the Elves safe, defeated and captured Melkor and then invited the Elves to live in Aman. Many Elves travelled to Aman, while others refused and still others stopped along the way, including the Elves who later became the Sindar, ruled by the Elf King Thingol and Melian, a Maia. Of the three tribes that set out, 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 light of the Two Trees. Melkor, released after feigning repentance, destroyed the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant, killed Finwë, stole the Silmarils, and fled to Middle-earth, where he attacked the Elvish kingdom of Doriath. He was defeated in the first of five battles of Beleriand, however, and barricaded himself in his northern fortress of Angband.

Fëanor and his sons swore an oath of vengeance against Melkor – and against anyone who withheld the Silmarils from them, even the Valar. Fëanor persuaded most of the Noldor to pursue Melkor, whom Fëanor renamed as Morgoth, into Middle-earth. Fëanor's sons seized ships from the Teleri, attacking and killing many of them, and left the other Noldor to make the voyage by foot. Upon arriving in Middle-earth, the Noldor under Fëanor attacked Melkor and defeated his host, though Fëanor was slain by Balrogs. After a period of peace, Melkor attacked the Noldor but was again defeated and besieged. Nearly 400 years later, he broke the siege and drove the Noldor back.

After the destruction of the Trees and the theft of the Silmarils, the Valar had created the moon and the sun. At the same time, Men awoke, some of whom later arrived in Beleriand and allied themselves with the Elves. Beren, a man who had survived the latest battle, wandered to Doriath, where he fell in love with the elf Lúthien, the king's daughter.
Read more HERE
At the time of release, reviews of The Silmarillion were generally mixed to negative. The Silmarillion was criticised for being too serious, lacking the light-hearted moments that were found in The Lord of the Rings and especially The Hobbit.TIME lamented that there was "no single, unifying quest and, above all, no band of brothers for the reader to identify with". Other criticisms included difficult-to-read archaic language and many difficult and hard-to-remember names.
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. The School Library Journal called it "only a stillborn postscript" to Tolkien's earlier works. Peter Conrad of the New Statesman even went so far as to say that "Tolkien can't actually write".
Despite these shortcomings, 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".TIME described The Silmarillion as "majestic, a work held so long and so powerfully in the writer's imagination that it overwhelms the reader". The Horn Book Magazine even lauded the "remarkable set of legends conceived with imaginative might and told in beautiful language". 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".
Love and light,

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