View Poll Results: Which is your favourite Silmarillion story?

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  • The song of Ainur and the making of the world

    4 7.84%
  • The Darkening of Valinor and the flight of the Noldor

    3 5.88%
  • The siege of Angband and the coming of Men

    5 9.80%
  • Beren and Lķthien

    2 3.92%
  • Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the battle of unnumbered tears

    6 11.76%
  • The Children of Hurin

    13 25.49%
  • Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin

    14 27.45%
  • Ešrendil and the War of Wrath

    1 1.96%
  • AkallabÍth, the downfall of Nķmenor

    2 3.92%
  • Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

    1 1.96%
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Thread: The best Silmarillion stories

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  1. #1
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    The best Silmarillion stories

    If you have read Silmarillion, please take a moment to vote in the poll.



    Still, a lot of people have read and liked the book, and some have also read the books of unfinished tales and the like which the Tolkien estate have continued to publish. If we with a pinch of salt and tounge in cheek allow ourselves to take such more fleshed-out tales as Gondolin's fall as part of the Silmarillion's stories, which one is your favourite? If you feel like it, please explain why in this thread.

    :cheese:

    For myself, that's the Darknening of Valinor and the flight of the Noldor, with Gondolin's fall right behind it. Even the ace story with mustering houses and battle desriptions on par with those in The Return of the King cannot beat FŽanor's rage and destructive thirst for vengeance, or his death at the hands of a whole squadron of Balrogs. Way to go.

  2. #2
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Hmm.... actually I usually find the Bible a little easier to read... except maybe Numbers and Leviticus.

  3. #3
    Banned Verm1s's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Straight from post #1 this topic has gone down a path that I don't see ending well, or ending without the mods chopping bits out of it.

    I voted Children of Hurin. I would gush a bit more about it, but, well...

  4. #4
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    @ Verm1s: I understand why. As a real-world mythological footnote, Turin Turambar's story is of course heavily based on traditional stories such as Sigurd the dragonslayer and Beowulf, with Turin's unintended marriage with his own sister and its suicidal outcome as an upbringing element which was common in old stories.

    I notice now when I look at the poll that I've missed EŲl the dark elf's story. It never stuck with me as some other tales did.

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    Chapter Master Polaria's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    As a real-world mythological footnote, Turin Turambar's story is of course heavily based on traditional stories such as Sigurd the dragonslayer and Beowulf, with Turin's unintended marriage with his own sister and its suicidal outcome as an upbringing element which was common in old stories.
    Turin Turambars story is one of those where -Tolkien didn't really bother to invent anything own. He basically carbon-copied much of it from The Kullervo Cycle of Kalevala.
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  6. #6
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    I always did like the fall of numenor. dratted valar keeping immortality just for the elves, that was never going to end well.

  7. #7
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Ended well enough for them....

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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Why couldn't they just share the immortality around? to me that seems like something that Morgoth or Sauron would do, control the ultimate flow of power for them selves and their chosen. I am sure if the power had been shared, Numenor would not of rebelled, now that would of helped later on down the road I am sure. This thread has reminded me that I really cant remember much of the stories, must re read them.

  9. #9
    Chapter Master static grass's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    I voted Children of Hurin. Utterly depressing. Its an extremely well written tale. Only the dead win glory the rest are just survivors.

  10. #10
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    It's grander than that. Elves have their season and their place, while men have theirs.
    In one sense both men and elves have their version of an afterlife and immortality, but there's a season when all of the elves are pulled out of the world and into that afterlife, while men are left to continue Middle Earth's history. As well, Elves seem to have a serious breeding issue. With lives as long as theirs they should be overrunning the world, but instead you never hear about elf children. It's like their ability to produce gets taken away at some point, unless they mix with humans. It's never mentioned, but you have to wonder....

    Edit:
    But honestly, if it weren't immortality, Sauron would have found something else to make the Numenoreans jealous. They grasped for something (the lands even more than the immortality) that wasn't theirs and tried to take it by force.
    Last edited by Peregrin; 16-08-2012 at 12:28.

  11. #11
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    The Valar also had nothing to do with the mortality of Men and the immortality of Elves (except maybe for foreboding it in the Song of Ainur), since these two sapient species were the children of the creator (Illuvatar), not the gods (Valar).

    I did not get the impression Elves have a serious breeding issue. J.R.R. Tolkien never finished his masterwork and for this reason even seem to have wished for others to expand on it as long as this was made according to the spirit of the Lotr world. For this reason we do not even see the genealogy of the House of FinwŽ fully fleshed out. Hints of this include the F.o.t.R. glimpse of Gildor Inglorion, a minor noble of the House of Finrod, and Celebrimbor, grandson of FŽanor. In Silmarillion, Finrod Felagund tells Galadhriel he won't marry and have children (as other Elves) because there will be no kingdom left to inherit. Yet Tolkien seem to have changed his mind for the trilogy and let Finrod have children despite his gloomy outlook, since there was a House of Finrod to begin with.

    Celebrimbor in turn was the son of Curufin and parted ways with his father in Nargothrond, but we never learn about his mother. This might have something to do with the use of the sons of FŽanor as villains, and probably for this reason Tolkien did not write anything about the families of the seven sons of FŽanor, or hardly anything about their doings besides keeping watch in eastern Beleriand, having their various realms, hunting in the wild, taking up customs fees from dwarves, striking alliances, waging war and pursuing the Oath of FŽanor. Perhaps Tolkien intended to flesh out details about the wives, children and descendants of the sons of FŽanor, perhaps Tolkien intended to carry the FŽanorian heritage through by writing something on the sons' mastery of crafts and some making of great artefacts, but this did not happen. It is probably safe to say there were still descendants of FŽanor in the Third Age.

    As we see, even the high nobility's family trees were not fully fleshed out, and this might have been intentional. Perhaps Cirdan the Shipwright was married and had a a small army of descendants. Perhaps not. Furthermore, we learn of several large population growth periods amongst the Elves in Middle-Earth, namely during the Siege of Angband and during the Second Age before Sauron waged war against the Elves (and even then Elven populations might have regained numbers, as they might have done to a lesser degree after the murderous War of the Last Alliance). In the end, however, the Elves became weary of the world and as a result of this set sail for Valinor, regardless of how large their various populations might have grown. Perhaps there are Elven couples who have sired over a hundred children over the Ages. Probably not. Since Elves are immortal and immune to diseases, it is probably safe to say that it is biologically sound of them to have a relatively low or slow breeding rate, if they want to avoid drenching the entire world in hordes of Elves. That might have been a serious obstacle against that blasted fading of the Elves thing.

  12. #12
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    ... Perhaps there are Elven couples who have sired over a hundred children over the Ages. Probably not. Since Elves are immortal and immune to diseases, it is probably safe to say that it is biologically sound of them to have a relatively low or slow breeding rate, if they want to avoid drenching the entire world in hordes of Elves. That might have been a serious obstacle against that blasted fading of the Elves thing.
    Sorry. I didn't elaborate. I know there are pleanty of geneologies and such in the time of the Silmarillion, fleshed out or otherwise. I was refering to the era from the Last Alliance until the end of the LotR books. I realize it's an argument from silence regarding the masses of elves, but the ones that Tolkien focuses on seem to have had their children thousands of years before. I suppose it's possible that regardless of their 'immortality' that they come to an age where they no longer concieve. Taking Arwen as an example, though, she was over 2000 years old in the LotR and was able to concieve with Aragorn, yet she was Elrond's youngest child.

    Another argument from silence, Tolkien expressly mentions Hobbit, Human, and Dwarf children but no mention of Elf children in the LotR narrative, that I recall. (Dwarves don't have many children because there are less women than men, generally, and not all of those women choose to marry).

    So what I meant by 'serious breeding problem' is only in relation to men, who seem to have as many or more children in a lot shorter span of time.
    Last edited by Peregrin; 16-08-2012 at 17:56.

  13. #13
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrin View Post
    Sorry. I didn't elaborate. I know there are pleanty of geneologies and such in the time of the Silmarillion, fleshed out or otherwise. I was refering to the era from the Last Alliance until the end of the LotR books. I realize it's an argument from silence regarding the masses of elves, but the ones that Tolkien focuses on seem to have had their children thousands of years before. I suppose it's possible that regardless of their 'immortality' that they come to an age where they no longer concieve. Taking Arwen as an example, she was over 2000 years old in the LotR.

    Another argument from silence, Tolkien expressly mentions Hobbit, Human, and Dwarf children but no mention of Elf children in the LotR narrative, that I recall. (Dwarves don't have many children because there are less women than men, generally, and not all of those women choose to marry).

    So what I meant by 'serious breeding problem' is only in relation to men, who seem to have as many or more children in a lot shorter span of time.
    I understand, and compared to Humans, Elves might very well have a problem in the area. This could account for the driving-out of Avari Elves in the east during the first age, since they seem mainly to have lived as nomads who were quite content with their lives until Men showed up and overrun the place. (The decline of Elves in the west seem to have been due to war and no-return voyages to Valinor, whereas the decline of Elves in the east was due to the expansion of Humans.)

    Personally I think most Elves in Tolkien's universe tend to be content with their lives once the family have been established (probably with decades or centuries between the births) and generally do not see the need for more offspring. For Elves, time pass by in another tempo than for Humans, and as long as their lives are not upset by bloody upheaval (such as the killing of one's children or the slaughter of a great many kinsmen in times of great war) there is rarely reason for them to have more children. As such, Elves and Men would be biologically geared for different life cycles, which would indeed be a problem and a disadvantage for the Elves when contest of lands arose in Middle-Earth during the First Age and beyond.

    I also got the impression that there were Elf children in the late Third Age when reading the Hobbit, where Elf youngsters vex the Dwarves as they arrive to Imladris.

  14. #14
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    ...I also got the impression that there were Elf children in the late Third Age when reading the Hobbit, where Elf youngsters vex the Dwarves as they arrive to Imladris.
    I haven't read the Hobbit in a while.... I never thought of them as youngsters, just as trying their best to irritate the Dwarves. Tolkien definitely establishes a different view of the elves between the Hobbit and LotR, though Elrond is the noble host to Gandalf and company in both.

  15. #15
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrin View Post
    I haven't read the Hobbit in a while.... I never thought of them as youngsters, just as trying their best to irritate the Dwarves. Tolkien definitely establishes a different view of the elves between the Hobbit and LotR, though Elrond is the noble host to Gandalf and company in both.
    In The Hobbit, Gandalf remarked on how some young Elves had all too sharp tounges after the vexing songs. The impression of Elves differ a lot from The Hobbit and the Lotr trilogy, but hardly at all between the Lotr trilogy and those works of Tolkien which were not published before his death (in effect Silmarillion et al). The Hobbit was of course written so as to be available for younger readers, but actually the arrival to Rivendell scene made a lot of sense when viewing Middle-Earth from a wider perspective.

    For one thing, the irritating youngsters in the book brought the Elves a lot closer to appear as creatures who, despite immortality, superior senses and other high-tailed peculiarities, are real, living beings. Most of Tolkien's work is filled with a strive for something high, and tragedies and deadly seriousness are part of this. The lack of humour and more down-to-earth elements is both an obstacle for the reader's attempt to plow through the volume, and a dampener on the value of realism conveyed by the story.

    In a children's book, Tolkien allowed himself to let good humour show in his writing, and however shallow the Hobbit is, it really is one of his stories which feels the most alive. In Sil we have the high and sublime side of the Elves (including a fall from these heights of grace and the sorrow this cause), but in the Hobbit we encounter the other side of the medallion, with Elves who vex dwarves and appear more grounded in the world. The Silvan Elven barrel raftsmen certainly added to this down-to-earth impression, as did the Elf who drank 'til he dropped in Thranduil's halls. To me, these are exactly the kind of things which the First Age stories needed. The high and grand cannot come through as such without something humorous and less high beside it; it is all a relative matter.

    Thranduil's less than perfect doings in the Hobbit, such as the imprisonment of the dwarves, does however not seem to differ with the impression we get of Elves in Tolkien's other works. Example given: Beren's treatment in Doriath seems like a precedent. Tolkien might have writ the Elves as higher beings, but not as perfect ones.

  16. #16
    Chapter Master Whitwort Stormbringer's Avatar
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    I voted Children of Hurin, but there are a lot of pretty good stories in there - Beren and Luthien is probably a close second. Honestly I'm less interested in the more mythological tales like the Music of the Ainur, it's more the interactions of elves, men, and orcs that I find interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
    Personally I think most Elves in Tolkien's universe tend to be content with their lives once the family have been established (probably with decades or centuries between the births) and generally do not see the need for more offspring. For Elves, time pass by in another tempo than for Humans, and as long as their lives are not upset by bloody upheaval (such as the killing of one's children or the slaughter of a great many kinsmen in times of great war) there is rarely reason for them to have more children. As such, Elves and Men would be biologically geared for different life cycles
    Agreed - if you're immortal, there's not necessarily a strong imperative to have children who can carry on your legacy. While many elves do have children, they seem not to have many or have them very often. Conversely, we mostly hear about their sons as we discuss royal lineages, and it's not unreasonable to suspect that some elves had unnamed daughters as well.

    And as Peregrin points out, elven "youngsters" could still be fairly old by human or dwarf standards, and just have led very sheltered lives. IIRC, we don't know exactly how old Legolas is, but he could well be several hundred years old and until the Council of Elrond he had never left Mirkwood. He certainly seems fairly young, even if not as impetuous as the elves from The Hobbit. Of course, it's been some time since I've read the books so the movie version of the character may be tainting my memory.
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  17. #17
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    I really should of looked at the bigger picture, at the time I forgot about the elves traveling west I was under the impression that over time the Elves just have not been able to keep up with the losses they have suffered, ironically turning their ageless state in to a curse, thus there departing from middle earth. I cant really envision an Elven family having legions of children, I assumed it was part of Elven culture to have a smallish family, and as such an ancient race, they would never change.

  18. #18
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Hmmm... definitely understand what you're saying... 'young elves' may be relative, of course. I don't think any of us would get the impression that Arwen is 2500 yrs old, for instance. (Edit: I'll have to reread that, but much of what was written in the Hobbit was 'retconned' in later published works, so it's hard to tell if Tolkien's own intention towards his created universe is actually conveyed in parts of the Hobbit.)

    I find the silly elements, like the trolls and some of the actions of the Dwarves, etc., throw off the reality of the Hobbit, but I agree with you about Silmarillion. It reads like a history book rather than a narrative which takes away the sense of being right in the story from the reader. There is just enough 'reality' and humour in LotR to bridge the two, IMO, but some modern authors have definitely managed to take the genre created by Tolkien and inject that almost first person experience into the narrative.

  19. #19
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    Some circumstancial evidence mentioned at http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/l/legolas.html:
    Though Legolas' age is never established with certainty, he hints several times that he has lived for a very long time indeed. For example, pondering the building of Meduseld in Edoras, he said 'Five hundred times have the red leaves fallen in Mirkwood in my home since then ... and but a little while does that seem to us' (The Two Towers III 6, The King of the Golden Hall). If he really sees five hundred years as 'a little while', then he would appear to be several thousand years old.

  20. #20
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    Re: The best Silmarillion stories

    I voted fall of Gondolin, because Balrogs on dragons!
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