1. Beren and Luthien
In my humble opinion, easily one of the best love stories of all time is the story of Beren and Luthien. Beren and Luthien’s romance was used as a model for Aragorn and Arwen’s and, indeed, paved the way for Arwen to be able to give up her immortality for Aragorn. Beren was the last survivor of a group of Men who resisted Morgoth, the Dark Enemy, when he encountered Luthien and fell in love with her. Luthien’s father wasn’t too pleased with this, so he sent Beren to steal one of the Silmarils (more on that later) from Morgoth himself. Luthien followed and they teamed up against Morgoth and were able to complete their task. Finally, Luthien gave up her immortality to live and die with Beren. TELL ME THAT IS NOT AN EPIC LOVE STORY.
2. The Silmarils
The Silmarils were three brilliant jewels made by the Noldorin Elf Feanor with the unmarred light of the Two Trees of Valinor, which brought light to the land of the Valar in the times of old and were later destroyed by Morgoth (or Melkor, as he was called then). They were not, however, merely bright and pretty jewels; in a sense, they were alive and sacred. Indeed, they burned anyone who touched them without the right of possession and were at the center of all the war and conflict that raged throughout The Silmarillion.
3. The sons of Feanor
Maedhros the Tall. Maglor the Mighty Singer. Celegorm the Fair. Caranthir the Dark. Curufin the Crafty. Amrod and Amras, the Hunters. Feanor himself died in an early battle, so his sons were the real driving force behind the wars that ensued after Morgoth stole the Silmarils from the Elves. They were mighty foes of Morgoth, but because of their oath (The Oath of Feanor, which was sworn by Feanor and all his sons and said that none but Feanor or his sons may have the Silmarils) their actions were also sometimes evil in nature (which only makes them three-dimensional characters).
4. Turin Turambar
Turin Turambar is the main protagonist of other wonderful Tolkien work The Children of Hurin but is also important in The Silmarillion. He’s a wonderful, tragic character whose family was cursed by Morgoth and ruined by repeated attempts to defy said curse. His story alone could make an entire movie.
5. Ainulindale and Valaquenta
Gods. Creation. Music. The birth of evil. This is THE creation story, AND we get a lovely description of all of the Valar and a lot of the Maiar, which is awesome.
Morgoth is THE baddy of the Tolkien universe. No, children just now getting into Tolkien, it’s not Smaug. No, LOTR fans, it’s not Sauron. In fact, Sauron was a mere servant of Morgoth, and his power was a fraction of that of Morgoth. Morgoth is referenced in the Fellowship movie, when they encounter a “Balrog of Morgoth” in Moria. You know how that one Balrog managed to almost/kinda/basically kill Gandalf? Yep, Morgoth had those bad boys around errywhere. He was also one of the Valar, the gods, one of the originals, before he fell from grace for creating different music. (That’s what you get for displays of nonconformism.)
We see so much more of Sauron in The Silmarillion than in The Lord of the Rings, though in the former he is a lesser character than in the latter. In LOTR, Sauron is mostly a threat that is felt rather than seen or experienced; he even requires a Mouth to do his parleying. In The Silmarillion, however, Sauron is out there doing stuff and being the Necromancer. Possibly my favorite part with Sauron is when he and Finrod Felagund, King of Nargothrond and (incidentally) brother of Galadriel, have this epic singing/chanting contest to see who’s more powerful. The point is, Sauron is awesome in The Silmarillion.
8. Epic fights/wars
This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
9. Setting up The Hobbit and LOTR
Arguably the coolest thing about The Silmarillion is that the entire thing works to set up everything that happens in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Some of the characters you even get to see in action (pre War of the Rings), like Galadriel, Elrond, Sauron, and the wizards.
I neither own nor made the artwork featured in this post. All of it was obtained from Google Images.
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