I’ve tried to read Silmarillion several times in the past. But it felt too boring for me, something like a Bible (no offence, guys, but it’s boring 😀 ) So I’ve started and dropped it several times over past 20 years since I’ve become interested in Middle-Earth.
At the same time I’ve re-read Lord of The Rings something like 15 times; it’s one of my favorite books. So I had some knowledge about Middle-Earth anyway.
And now when I’ve started to work on my variant – and made a decision to make it about my vision on The Fourth Age (and to put together classic lore from Angband, which got a lot of DnD stuff in it) – I’ve written draft of the storyline.
But actually I’ve recognized that it’s the time. I need to read ‘Silmarillion’ to have proficiency in polishing my ideas.
So I’ve started to listen audiobook. Before that I’ve tried to read ‘Silmarillion’ from hard copy book and it was.. ok, as I said – boring.
But audiobook was alright actually. Maybe I’ve just finally matured to be able to enjoy ‘Silmarillion, don’t know.
Anyway, when it’s started it wasn’t too great, as I’ve read the beginning of ‘Silmarillion’ several times – and yes, it’s a Bible. BUT! When it came to the chapter ‘Of the Flight of the Noldor’ – I got hooked 🙂 It’s really awesome and interesting details which uncover a lot of stuff which I’ve read so many times in LoTR books. When you meet some similar names which you know from LotR books – you feel the depth and beauty of the Universe from a new angle. After ‘Silmarillion’ all parts of the puzzle starts to fits.
So instead of estimated ‘boring’ reading I’ve got great joy and desire to re-read ‘Silmarillion’ again.
And… I’ve understood Nick’s design on transforming Vanilla monsters to Tolkien lore. It actually makes sense. But to comprehend it you MUST read Silmarillion. Even if you know LotR by heart – a lot of stuff in new V will be just strange to you. As we all brought up by DnD setting and LotR become part of pop-culture already – we won’t get the meaning of Angband game without getting ‘soul’ of Tolkien lore – ‘Silmarillion’. Without completing this puzzle in our heads.
I don’t wanna go back to past V monster’s argument, it still ambiguous – should we change traditional stuff or not. But at least now I see the point. Why it was made. And I see the beauty of the result – to come closer to the Tolkien world. Without reading Silmarillion, new monsters from V just won’t touch any strings in your soul. But if you will read the book – you will understand and you would like these new monsters.
Some tips for people who didn’t read ‘Silmarillion’ yet:
1) to read ‘Silmarillion’ you should first read ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Then read ‘Hobbit’ (it make sense because LotR will make you hooked to the Universe, while Hobbit could look not too serious if you didn’t read LotR before it).
2) While reading LotR – always have Middle-Earth maps nearby, to ‘feel’ the world. Be calm and patient – even if you didn’t remember positions and geography – just try to look at it from time to time; and you will get it some parts of the puzzle eventually.
3) The best way to read ‘Silmarillion’ for the first time – is the audiobook. Also prepare some maps, especially Beleriand map. You will notice that it’s connected to the familiar (as you should have read LotR by far) land on the east. LOOK AT MAPS! With them it will be 100500 times easier to get into ‘Silmarillion’. My mistake in old times was that I didn’t had any maps and reading was somewhat pointless as it’s very hard to imagine positioning and moving characters – story goes through giant expanses of land and waters.
4) Be calm and prepare that the beginning of ‘Silmarillion’ could be boring. BUT at a certain moment you will be hooked, guaranteed! That’s why it’s better to listen audiobook – even if you are bored at the beginning (and may have lack of will to continue reading) – audiobook will make you through like a Great Eagle 🙂
‘Silmarillion’ is a preliminary requirement to play modern Angband, to be able to enjoy it. Maybe it’s a good idea to write about it somewhere at Angband website or in the guide. Without reading it, you won’t get the ‘feel’ of this game entirely. I’ve played TomeNET (based at V 3.x) for long years and for me Angband lore concentrated in that version (which had also Z&Cth stuff as it’s part of TomeNET). DnD is common and easy to understand; while to get ‘taste’ of recent Angband stuff you are obliged to make some effort and to read the Book (no worries, you will enjoy it eventually! 😀 )
That’s my story. I’m still didn’t finish with ‘Silmarillion’, a lot of joy ahead! This book gave me a lot of thoughts and it will help me to polish my variant story (it’s raw like a gollum’s fish).
Hope to see your feedback 🙂 Tell your story – when did you read ‘Silmarillion’ and how did you came to it? Did you make it from the first attempt? Do you plan to read it in future? Do you prefer a hard copy or audiobook?
I just thought that it will be fun to buy a map of Arda, to put it on the wall 😉