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You've wanted my
Member since Oct 2008
52547 posts

re: The Silmarillion
Tips for the new reader:

Silmarillion is the story of the Simarils, jewels that trapped the light of heaven, how they were stolen by the Evil One and the wars to get them back.

Don't get bogged down in the creation story. Just realize that the "Gods" are angels, each having a certain focus area like Greek Gods.

Melkor/Morgoth is just like Lucifer. Fallen angel, powerful, evil. Twists God's creatures into evil beasts. Most evil creatures have a good counterpart. Orcs and elves. Trolls and Ents. Dragons and Eagles.

Keep up with who is in what family. Use family trees. This also helps to keep straight who is an elf and who is a man later on.

West = good, East = evil or unknown

Takes place in the NW of Middle Earth in an area called Beleriand that is now mostly under water.


There are almost always multiple names of places and battles. Several characters have multiple names as well.

Common tongues:
Elvish - Quenyan (high elves) and Sindar (Low elves)
Men and Hobbits - Common Speech (Westron)
Dwarvish - bunch of K's, H's and Z's
None of the others matter

The closer elves are to the Gods, the more powerful/skilled they become as a people. High elves were plain until they followed a god back to the Undying Lands (heaven on earth). The same goes for men except that they learn from being near elves.

Eru Illuvatar (God)
Ainur - all angels
Valar - Angels that went to Earth
--- Lords
- Manwë - King of Valar, husband to Varda
- Ulmo - Oceans, unmarried
- Aulë - Crafting, screwed up and created Dwarves, husband of Yavanna
- Oromë - Forests and Hunting, husband to Nessa, brought some of the elves to meet the Gods
- Mandos (Namo)- Judge of the dead, Master of foretelling
- Lórien (Irmo) - Dreams, husband to Este
- Tulkas - Strongest, husband of Nessa

--- Queens
- Varda - Queen of the Stars, spouse of Manwë
- Yavanna - Queen of the Earth and Giver of Fruits, spouse of Aulë
- Nienna - Mercy, trained Gandalf, always crying
- Estë - Rest and Healing, wife of Lorien
- Vairë - Weaves the story of the world, wife of Mandos
- Vána - Flowers, wife of Orome
- Nessa - Dancer, wife of Tulkas


- Melkor (Morgoth) - basically Satan

Maiar - Lesser angels that went to Earth (Sauron, Balrogs, 5 Wizards)

Arda - Earth/the universe
Valinor/The Undying Lands - heaven on earth, an island in the west, you can no longer sail there
Istari - the 5 wizards (lesser angels)

Ungoliant - Giant Spider, helped Melkor destroy the Two Trees that lit the world and steal the Silmarils

Numenor (Westernesse) - island given to Men (Atani), became the greatest realm of men ever, Melkor made them prideful, gods sunk the island a la Atlantis, Aragorn descended from these people, very confusing line of kings/stewards

Elves (Quendi) -
the Eldar (high) and the Avari (dark)

Eldar -
--Vanyar (Fair)- stayed in Undying Lands, boring
--Noldor (Deep)- most numerous and most powerful, craftsmen, left Undying Lands to fight Melkor for the Simarils
--Teleri (Sea)- stayed in Undying Lands, ship/sea elves, betrayed by Noldor, Mainly Gray and Green elves

Avari -
"The Unwilling" or Dark elves - Refused to go to the Undying Lands with Orome
Became wild folk
Taught early Men basic skills civilization
Believed that many of these were twisted into the orcs by Melkor


Music of the Ainur - Melkor warps God's plan

Kinslaying - 3 battles in which the Noldor fight other elves in an attempt to get the Simarils back from Melkor

War of the Jewels -

1. First Battle of Beleriand - King Thingol leads Sindar (gray elves) and Laiquendi (green elves) holding back Melkor's orcs from spreading over elvish lands, fought before the Noldor arrived back in Middle Earth

2. Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle-under-Stars) - Noldor following Fëanor and his Seven Sons, in which the Noldor were victorious but Fëanor was slain by Balrogs. During this, the Battle of Lhammoth was fought by Fingolfin

3. Dagor Aglareb (Glorious Battle) - Siege of Angband

4. Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame) - Siege was broken, Fingolfin was slain by Melkor

5. Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Unnumbered Tears) - Noldor were utterly defeated

Battle of Tumhalad - elven forces under Orodreth and Túrin were defeated by Angband forces under Glaurung, sack of Nargothrond

Last Battle of Beleriand (the Great Battle and the War of Wrath) - Ended the First Age, Valar sunk Beleriand

The Last Alliance of Elves and Men - Numenoreans Elendil and sons Isildur and Anarion (Men) with Gil-Galad and Elrond (Elves) and even some dwarves fight Sauron and his orcs in Mordor. hundreds of thousands of elves and men at the height of their power fought for weeks, Gil-galad dies, Elendil dies, Isildur cuts the ring from Sauron's hand ending his physical form and power, Sauron's spirit lives on in the One Ring, Isildur won't destroy the ring in Mount Doom (volcano), ring gets Isildur killed on the way home, ring gets lost in a river until it's found by Gollum
2500 yrs later


Feanor - Noldor, badass, made the Simarils, would ruin the earth to get them back
Galadriel - Lady of Light, has a ring of power Nenya (Water/Concealment/Preservation), settled in Lothlorien
Cirdan - Shipwright, gave Gandalf his ring of power Narya (Fire/Inspiration) in secret
Glorfindel - badass, fought for kingdom of Gondolin, battled balrogs and dragons
Fingolfin - badass, went head to head with Melkor, lost
Elrond - half elf, chose to be an elf over being a man, settled in Rivendell, has a ring of power Vilya(Air/Healing)
Gil-Galad - high king of the Noldor and Sindar elves after his father Fingon, has a cool spear, settled in Lindon, fought with Elrond at the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, death marked the end of the Noldor
Luthien - princess, daughter of King Thingol, hooked up with a mortal man, Beren.


Beren - to marry an elf princess, he stole a Silmaril from Melkor's crown, lost a hand to a giant wolf, died, was reborn with his elf maiden to live another quiet life with her
Elendil - loyal to the Valar, escaped with sons Isildur and Anarion to form Arnor in Middle Earth, sons formed Gondor, killed by Sauron during the Last Alliance, ancestor of Aragorn
Isildur - son of Elendil, founded Gondor with his brother, one of the guys on the Argonath (giant statues guarding the river Anduin), cut the One Ring off Sauron's hand with his father's sword, refused to destroy the ring, died because of it
Earendil - The Mariner, married Elwing - an elf maid, Elrond's father, attached a Silmaril to the front of his ship, led his people to Numenor, killed a badass dragon, became a star
Túrin Turambar - Unlucky, Melkor cursed his whole family, he accidentally killed a friend of the king, became an outlaw, he killed one friend, let another one die,
got hypnotized by a dragon, another friend's wife burnt herself alive because of him, was too late to save the king's daughter,
unknowingly banged and married his sister, killed a badass dragon but as he was weakened from the fight she realized he was her brother and killed herself,
he killed another friend that tried to tell him about her, he finally committed suicide

This post was edited on 1/2 at 4:36 pm

You've wanted my
Member since Oct 2008
52547 posts

re: The Silmarillion
Per some guy on Reddit:


The Silmarillion is a pretty cool book. It reads like the Bible, with huge eons being spanned in a paragraph, then sudden zoom-ins to watch the life of a single character play out.

In short, though, Eru (God) sang a song with his choir of angels (Ainur) which described the nature of reality through its time stream. At some point one of the angels, Melkor (Lucifer), decides that he wants to sing his own song, and some of the other Ainur follow him. Eru works the dissonance into his song, creating even greater beauty out of the conflicting melodies.

When the song ends, Eru says, "Nice work, gang. Now here's what that looks like!" and creates the universe, using the song as a template. Then he says, "Why don't some of you Ainur head on down to Earth and make sure everything goes according to plan? It'll be fun!"

So a bunch of Ainur go down to Earth and become Valar, basically manifested gods who are still answerable to Eru the Almighty. These are the Middle Earth pantheon, like Mount Olympus's cast or the Norse gods. They help guide the first Elves and then direct the Elves to help the first humans. (One of the Valar creates the Dwarves because he wants to be all creative like his daddy, and when he screws them up, Eru reprimands him for getting above his station but grants the Dwarves life because he was doing it with good intentions.)

Meanwhile, Melkor goes down to Earth to crap all over everything because he's become a giant jerky jerkface. His physical manifestation is called Morgoth, and he's basically Satan with a giant flail that opens lava pits. He takes his evil Valar and causes all sorts of havoc, messing with the Elves and trying to destroy the humans because screw everything.

So the Ainur are angels, and the Valar are Ainur who came down to Earth. Among those Valar are another tier of dudes called the Maiar. They're basically the bottom rung of angels, the least powerful of them. They tend to be about as powerful as the most powerful Elves. (In fact, one of the Elven kings gets super-pissed and challenges Morgoth to a one-on-one, and he damn near wins. The Elves used to hulk out and rock faces.) Among the Maiar are the Wizards (Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and the Blue Twins), Sauron, and the Balrogs.

Sauron was actually one of the dagnasty evil Maiar that followed Melkor down. That's right, the great evil of Lord of the Rings was actually a lackey for the big guy.

The big guy fought with the Elves who, at the time, were actually so hard-core that they could challenge him. Eventually the good Valar were like, "Screw it," and beat the piss out of Melkor and his armies of Balrogs. That's right. Armies. Of. Balrogs.

Once that was done, they kinda retired back and let humanity and Elfanity and Dwarfanity take care of themselves. They sent in a handful of Maiar, though, as special agents to make sure everything runs smoothly. Those Maiar became the Wizards (or Istari if your'e a filthy Elf). Once again, Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, and the two Blue Wizards are immortal lesser angels.

So the Valar retire back to Valinor (their little paradise that only Elves can find) and let everything play out. Yadda yadda, the Elves start waning in power until they're the flaky little wisps we see in the movies, humanity waxes and wanes, OMG Sauron!, One Ring crap, Hobbit is Super Effective!, hooray the world is saved, Elves get bored being not-awesome and go back home to Valinor where they originally lived among the Valar.

There's a lot more to it than that, and it's really worth a read. But that's a quick brief, and I think that knowing the spiritual side really helps you understand where everything stands in the world.

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Member since Nov 2010
10284 posts

re: The Silmarillion

Houma Louisiana
Member since Jun 2009
2470 posts

re: The Silmarillion

One of the hardest reads I can think of.

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You've wanted my
Member since Oct 2008
52547 posts

re: The Silmarillion
i love having a cheat sheet. a friend of mine said she was going to try reading it so i figured what better place to store a cheat sheet than here?

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