Before the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit came The Silmarillion – a rich tapestry of tales and legends which tells the story of Middle Earth.
J. R. R. Tolkien began creating the mythology, traditions and language of ‘Middle-earth’ long before The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbitever found their way to the printed page. Known as The Silmarillion, it was a book Tolkien would add to throughout his life, a rich tapestry of tales which told of the creation of the world in the First Age, the coming of Elves and Men, the theft of the Silmarils – the jewels containing the pure light that illuminated ‘Middle-earth’ – and the wars between the first Dark Lord and the High Elves.
The events of The Silmarillion have a power and a symbolism all of their own, while also affording readers a deeper understanding of the later adventures of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. At the time of Tolkien’s death, in 1973, The Silmarillion remained unpublished. Tolkien’s son Christopher took on the momentous task of preparing a text from the masses of material to hand, with the first edition appearing in 1977.
The world of The Silmarillion is the world created out of the music of the angelic Ainur, before The Lord of the Rings, before even The Hobbit. The Silmarillion tells of the coming of the elves and men, and of Melkor, the greatest of the Ainur, who fell from grace and in doing so planted the seeds of evil. These are the stories by which the inhabitants of Middle-Earth live, offering the reader a deeper insight into Tolkien’s magical world.