Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Silmarillion

Well, I did the Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings (which I will re-read), but inbetween I read The Silmarillion. Well, I say read. I meant listened to.

So the bulk of the story is about the creation of Middle Earth, setting up the initial races and powers, and culminating in the creation and the story of the Silmarillion, gems what were made by the Elves. And many tales are told along the way. Many tales, with many names. Yeah, I'm going to complain about the names. This wasn't a final draft, and I wonder how much JRR intended to expand on entries and not just have lists? Because the lists don't come across well at all, it's when there's a fuller story that we get engaged.

And then, at the end, a few other stories, including a minor tale involving Sauron and the Istar. When we learnt that Peter Jackson incorporated The Silmarillion into The Hobbit, I was expecting there to be more than around 5% of the book! But we did get the scenes put into the movie and more. No wonder he got three movies out of it.

Still, there's plenty of material here for a Silmarillion trilogy... but we're not expecting that any time soon. And the beginning is very biblical anyway, so there'll be that overtones. Then it gets rather fractured, with lots of different narratives... which would be suitable for a Silmarillion mini-series? Either way, Jackson is unlikely to be involved any time soon.

Interesting material, but I do wonder what a finalised version would have been like?



Jet Simian said...

I don't think it's any surprise that when fans genrally talk about The Silmarillion - or indeed when they discuss possible adaptations, it's the long form stories insidethe work they see working best - the Lay of Hurin, Beren and Luthien are the two biggies. Evreything else does seem either too list-like or just unworkable as an overall narrative.

Jackson actually couldn't use The Silmarillion in his works at all, as this book (I think Christopher Tolkien retains the rights as co-author?) was never part of the original Saul Zaentz deal, but there was wiggle-room in LotR's appendices whic allowed SOME reworking of stories outside the Rings novels - hence the subplot of the Hobbit movies is based on The Quest of Erebor and so forth. But Silmarillion was right out - which is why we get cute lines in An Unexpected Journey about Gandalf not remembereing clearly whether there were other Wizards in his order ('cause they're not named outside of C Tolkien's research)

I haven't read The Silmarillion yet - perhaps this year I should do! But the idea of big scary proper Anglo Saxon dragons, petty warves, bloodthirsty elves gone bad, werewolves, vampires and such - yeah, sounds cool. But don't let PJ near them at all!

Jamas Enright said...

Ah, fair enough.

And hey, you can just listen to them if you want. The reader is decent enough.