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Old 06-19-2002, 09:09 PM   #1
Ulairi
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Question Dazed and confused...

Did anyone else have trouble reading the Sil like I am? I thought it was interesting to learn the history and such. But...I feel like I am reading the Bible. I will get through like one or two chapters and then feel like smashing my face off a wall. Is it the book or do I have ADD?

[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Ulairi ]
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Old 06-19-2002, 09:22 PM   #2
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Tolkien

It's definitely a different style than LOTR and especially different from the Hobbit. Just hang in there. After the first read things generally become easier. Then you can re-read and find all sorts of things that you missed or misunderstood the first time through.

Then you can continue to re-read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read... [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

[ June 19, 2002: Message edited by: Kuruharan ]
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Old 06-19-2002, 09:24 PM   #3
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Sting

Not just you. I first read Tolkien about 7 years ago and still haven't gotten to it. I just haven't had the time, patience or motivation all at once. Soon hopefully. Goodluck with it.
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Old 06-19-2002, 09:32 PM   #4
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Oh.

This isn't what I thought it was about...

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You know, the Silm really picks up once you get to the story of Beren and the greatest babe of all time, Lúthien. I suggest you keep reading. Hell, I'm just now getting done with War and Peace. I know how you feel. But good literature is worth the patience.
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Old 06-19-2002, 09:42 PM   #5
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Sting

Here's something that might work for you - there is an @ 12 cd disc reading, word for word, of the Silmarillion. Sometimes it's easier to hear those stories in small bits rather than try to read and process them.

Let me know if you want any info on the recording.
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Old 06-19-2002, 10:20 PM   #6
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Sting

I'm reading it the second time through. It's not as hard as you think. The first time is a little difficult, but you'll make it.

Read it once, then re-read LotR, then go back to the Sil. It will seem easier then. Also, stay on this board. You'll learn a lot that will help you understand the Sil.

Hey, my first couple hundred posts, I bluffed my way through, because I had read the posts of others and rephrased some of their knowledge. It soon becomes second nature. The history will become part of you.

One last note, visit The Encyclopedia of Arda. This will help you understand time lines for things that happened, how characters are related, and more background on the characters. It has really helped me.

Enjoy your stay here at the Barrow Downs.
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Old 06-20-2002, 03:18 AM   #7
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Sting

When I saw the title of this thread i had a feeling it might be a first time Silm reader!

Quote:
I feel like I am reading the Bible. I will get through like one or two chapters and then feel like smashing my face off a wall. Is it the book or do I have ADD?
I found that I had to bulldoze my way through the first time , continually making use of the glossary and index of names in the back, the second time [not long after] was pure heaven.

Def. get a good grounding in the silm before going on to UT and HoME [ vols 10-12] recomended first, by some folks.

Of course one day maybe you wil be able to read an integrated Silm/UT/HoME 10-12! keep an eye on the Silm Forum.

also try not having any white flour /bread/sugar [ or computer games] within a few hours of reading, as for some folks this [ the food] tweaks the blood sugar and makes concentration and comprehension difficult.seriously.

[ June 20, 2002: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:45 AM   #8
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Silmaril

I'm reading it for the first time too. I agree totally, this is some funky Bible language, verily I read and reread said passages, but sense is made not often! Thanks for the tips everyone, I'll keep plugging along, Things are always hard the first time! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:51 AM   #9
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Sting

For me the biggest hurdle in first-time Silm comprehension was the sheer volume of names. It took me a while especially to get straight Fëanor, Fingolfin, Finarfin, and their respective children. I would echo what others have said: Read it once, then read it again.
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:04 AM   #10
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Sting

I agree, it is like reading the bible. I have only managed to read it once, but I am going to read it again as soon as all of my exams are over (Friday morning! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ) I read it by reading it like I read my bible. A little bit at a time. Make a goal for yourself, like, read 10 pages each day. Then comes the hard part. Then you have to have dicipline to keep to your goal. Don't miss a day! It does get easier once you get going. This is the kind of book that you kindof have to force yourself to read. Just do that at the beginning and you will soon get into it.

Good Luck all! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:14 AM   #11
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*saunters in humming to herself,
Been Dazed and Confused for so long it's not true.
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Lots of people talk and few of them know,
soul of a woman was created below.


Oh, I came in thinking this would be a discussion of Led Zep and Tolkien. *sheepish grin*

This might be heresy, but I don't read The Silm straight through as a narrative. It has the style of a history, so I use it sort of like an encyclopedia, dipping in and out for specific topics. This allows me to keep track of all the names. Much as the mythology is intriguing, it doesn't entrance me and capture my imagination the way LOTR does. Just MHO.

*dances off humming to herself,

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.
Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.
*

Bethberry

[ June 20, 2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:34 AM   #12
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Silmaril

Oh I know exactly how you feel! I'm diligently trying to plow through the Sil. but not really getting very far i'm afraid. It's so frustrating because I really want to read it, and I know it'll be easier once I've read it once, but my concentration just won't focus! Just hang in there.
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:51 AM   #13
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Silmaril

Color me as one of those unusual people who enjoy, even relish the elaborate complexity of the Silmarillion and happily accept it as being as much a part of Tolkien's subcreation as anything else. Eccentric as it may seem, I am eminently fascinated by such intricate details arising from the nuanced interplay of free will and destiny, such as when Túrin's path crosses Tuor's at Eithel Ivrin, and these two historical giants * Almost * have a chance meeting ... but not quite.

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Old 06-20-2002, 10:08 AM   #14
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Well, the Silm isn't of course as neatly ordered as the Hobbit and LotR, but it does get easier to understand as soon as you get all the Men, Elves, places, Valar, and so on and so forth figured out. Unfinished Tales is quite confusing too. I get Huo, Tuor, Hurin, and Turin mixed up still sometimes, but it gets easier. Hurin son of Huor, Turin son of Tuor, Hurin went to Gondolin after Easterlings took his home, and Turin became an outlaw after living with the Gray Elves, not to mention Turin married his youngest sister whom he'd never met, and his older sister that he'd known died of the Great Plague that struck Middle-earth in the Third Age. (Or was it Second?) I still get the dates mixed up, lol.
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Old 06-20-2002, 10:16 AM   #15
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I look forward to the time, Gandalf the Grey, when I am sufficiently comfortable with The Silm to be able to discuss it with you. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

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Old 06-20-2002, 10:31 AM   #16
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GreatWarg:

You've hit upon something by mentioning all those similar sounding familial names. The Silmarillion as ancient genealogy. Maybe one reason I have an easier time is that my IRL family history actually does bear some resemblance to the Silmarillion. (Descending directly from a relative of William the Conqueror, I'm fortunate that traceable records have been kept on my ancestors both forwards from that point, as well as far backwards.) When you go back far enough into the history of your ancestors, the lore tends to have been colored by legend, and indeed names and hereditary titles can be repeated across generations, rather than merely sound similar.

Bethberry:

Am mutually looking forward to our future Silmarillion discussions. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

~~ Gandalf the Grey
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Old 06-20-2002, 12:18 PM   #17
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Sting

I started reading the Sil earlier this year. At first it was really hard to read, but then things started getting easier and I was reading it all the time...and now I'm about halfway through it and I think I need a little break lol.

My brother's friend has read it 13 times, though, so I'm sure I can get through it eventually. There's just so many names to remember, that's my biggest problem!
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Old 06-20-2002, 12:51 PM   #18
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Sting

Hey, I am averaging 5 chapters a day in the Sil. After getting to the chatper "Of Fëanor" things seem to get easier.

And Gandalf, I'd love to dicuss the Sil with you anytime too.
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Old 06-20-2002, 01:13 PM   #19
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Silmaril

The first time I read the Sil, I stopped trying to keep track of the names and places about halfway through. However, I read UT and reread LOTR, then went back to the Sil, and understood everything. I still got some of the genealogies confused, but it was much easier the second time around. Hang in there and don't give up on an incredible piece of literature.

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Old 06-20-2002, 01:27 PM   #20
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Sting

i know exactly how you feel. i find it profoundly interesting, but i cant seem to focus, althogh, perhaps that is because i really do have ADD, so...
anyway, i dont think it's like the Bible, really. i find far more complicated and confusing, and i enjoy reading the Bible too... [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 06-20-2002, 08:52 PM   #21
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Sting

I personally found The Sil fascinating from the very start, right when i first opened to Ainulindalë. The mythological writing style captivated me. I agree that the hardest part of reading the Sil was keeping track of all the names and places. When i first read it, I had to go back to chapters and re-read them until i thoroughly absorbed them. The index of names in the back is immensely helpful. The most boring part is probably when Tolkien describes the geography of Beleriand and stuff...but you will realize how important that information is later on. After a while, the Sil really picks up and becomes even MORE fascinating. Especially after the story of Beren and Lúthien (my fave Sil story next to Akallabęth). All in all, it's an enchanting read. I definitely want to read it again. I'm hoping to also read UT and HoME, then read LOTR again and maybe see it in a whole new light. The Sil does a great job of giving you the "big picture"--and it's really amazing how small some things are in the grand scheme of things. Makes me feel kind of nostalgic. I feel like the ME people must feel in the Third Age...how no matter how great their world is, it could never measure up to the power and beauty of the ages gone past, like the Eldar days and the splendour of Númenor in the 2nd age. *sigh*.

Starting is too great a claim for any, and only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.
-Elrond

Couldn't be more true, as i realized after reading the Sil!
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:07 PM   #22
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Shield

I have already finished the Sil and reading it was a pain! The few beginning chapters were very confusing i had to read it at least 3 times!
But once i got to Beren and Luthien...i really got into it and started lovin it! Though i had to look at the index behind coz i couldn't remember all the names and places.
I'm going to read it a second time when i have the time!
Good luck in your readin,Ulairi!
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:25 PM   #23
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Sting

Wow, thanks for all the input. It is an extremely well written and in depth book. I just got through the darkening of Valinor which was a pretty good chapter. Yeah, the names and such are the biggest problem for me.

Would someone mind giving a quick summary of the very begining of the book. Involving Illuvatar, that really confused me too. It would make a lot more sense coming from a person than me re-reading another 30 or times more than I have. Don't have the book with me right now, but it was something about the Song or Music of Illuvatar or something like that.
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Old 06-21-2002, 09:11 AM   #24
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Iluvatar/Eru (God) created the Ainur (angels) which were the Valar and the Maiar. They sang about the world (which did not exist yet) to Eru and then Eru gave being to the things that the Ainur sang.

The greatest of the Ainur was Melkor, and he wanted to become even greater. He caused all sorts of havoc in the Music and eventually Eru had to step in and stop the Music and create his own theme. This theme is the Children of Iluvatar (Elves and Men).

Some of the greatest of the Ainur go into the world and become the Valar and they begin the process of actually making the things they sang. They are aided by lesser spirits that are known as Maiar.

Melkor was also in the world and he tried to ruin everything that the Valar did. The Valar did not like this and they fought against Melkor and through this struggle the world was created.

(There. That was the short, short, short, short version. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] )
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Old 06-21-2002, 09:54 AM   #25
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Sting

For those of you having problems with names, try to write down there names on a separate sheet of paper. Also write down some of there characteristics (what species they are, Which side they are on.. whatever). This will help you keep track of people. You can refer to this as much as you want. You can also refer to the index at the back. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Happy Reading! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 06-21-2002, 04:06 PM   #26
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Tolkien

That's exactly what I was trying to do. I mean, when I just started reading, I was absolutely enchanted by the style, so different from anything I had read before. But then, probably with the coming of elves, my problems started. I tried to write out names and make sort of charts, but it distracted me greatly from the book itself. So finally I gave up and started just reading without trying to establish any relations between characters and places. And I started enjoying it!!! By the end I didn't become any wiser, I just felt it was a great book. Reading it for the second time was much easier and sort of more informative. But since then, to tell the truth I never attempted to read it as a whole, but just as a reference book. Or when I'm in the right wood, I leaf through my favourite episodes.
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Old 06-27-2002, 08:04 PM   #27
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Sting

Funny, but I once looked at the prospect of reading The Silm with the same anticipation that people have towards the "Begats" in the Bible.

But after spending some time at the Downs, and reading the miscellaneous posts about various Silm legends, I almost feel like I'm ready to tackle the thing again.

The first time I tried to read it was back in the 70's, when I was still on a LOTR high, and wanted my next Tolkien fix. When I got "The Silm" for Christmas, and tried to read it, I was almost in tears! (OK, I was in tears.)

I think I've moved beyond that now. Bring it on.
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Old 06-27-2002, 09:41 PM   #28
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Sting

Birdland, me too. It baffled me the first time I tried it. Then I tried skimming what I felt like on a whim, and that was a little better. Then recently I read that thread on Who's your favorite Sil character and why-- and now I'm off to vacation tomorrow, and I'm bringing the Sil with me. Can't wait to read about Feanor. And it's all 'cause of the folks on the Barrrow Downs. Thanks, y'all.

Oh, and thanks Mith and Barrow-Wight for the quotes on the top of the page, by Feanor and his half-brothers, those got me curious again too.

===> ("go us", meaning The BarrowDowners!)
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Old 07-01-2002, 02:03 AM   #29
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Sting

I'm glad I'm not alone. I'm only on Chapter 2 and I already feel completely lost and confused. Perhaps I'll enjoy the later chapters more.

I took my brand new copy of the Sil to Florida with me and all it did was rain, rain, rain. So of course with my bad luck, my book got wet and stained. Grrrr [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img] I hate rain.
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