Talk:The Silmarillion

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Untitled discussion[edit]

From "Comprise" entry at Usage Note: The traditional rule states that the whole comprises the parts and the parts compose the whole. In strict usage: The Union comprises 50 states. Fifty states compose (or constitute or make up) the Union. Even though careful writers often maintain this distinction, comprise is increasingly used in place of compose, especially in the passive: The Union is comprised of 50 states. Our surveys show that opposition to this usage is abating. In the 1960s, 53 percent of the Usage Panel found this usage unacceptable; in 1996, only 35 percent objected. -- User:Alcarillo 19:20 14 Apr 2004 UTC

How about ". . .comprises five parts"? Otherwise some (other) nitpicker will just change it again. —No-One Jones 18:26, 14 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I think that Iluvatar's name is not borrowed from Norse Mythology, but from Finnish Mythology. It is akin to Ilmatar. User:Matti 22:14 7 Mar 2005 EST

Etymology Query[edit]

I would like to question the text entry: Ilúvatar (Father of All) is clearly borrowed from Norse mythology. Comparing vatar with Norwegian fader may be okay (although vatar has commonalities - to a greater or lesser extent - with just about all the Indo European languages), but Ilu seems to come from a semetic root; compare Hebrew El, Aramaic Elou and Arabic Allahu.

Can anyone provide justification of the text entry? If not, I may change it..

--Philopedia 21:58, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Helge Fauskanger, who is probably the world's foremost expert on Quenya (after Christopher Tolkien), suggests that the Elven languages draw upon root words from many languages, including Hebrew, Finnish, Germanic, Norse, reconstructed Indo-European, Arabic, and others.

The original meaning of the name, 'Sky-father', was devised for the first mythology, The Book of Lost Tales, which was set in pre-Anglo-Saxon England. The concept of a "sky-father" is common to many mythologies throughout the world. Tolkien undoubtedly knew as much. This would be an early indication of his extensive (later) practice of utilizing words in very generic forms.

There is no authoritative reference for declaring the derivation of Iluvatar from any one language or mythology. Michael Martinez 05:03, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I am a little puzzled by this discussion of 'Iluvatar'. Tolkien was an expert in languages which were indo-european, although he was fond of (non indo-european) Finnish lore. Occam's rule suggests we take the simplest solution. "vatar" is obviously indo-european "Father". The comment at the top that vatar has "commonalities with (...) all the Indo European languages" is a gross understatement. 'Vater' (and its variations) is a core Indo-European word. If it is was not common the label Indo-European would be meaningless. The prefix "Il" in Irish means All- or Multi-, and is attested in very Old Irish legends so is essentially Indo-european. Iluvatar is simply All father in indo-european. No need to go wandering off to semitic languages. Pmurnion (talk) 00:29, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

We can speculate, we can argue about what's "obvious" or not, but surely the only thing we can document is the Elvish etymology (Quenya atar means 'father' and ilúve means 'the universe', according to The Etymologies). It's moot now; any mention of the etymology of Ilúvatar was cut from this article years ago, and properly so. —Tamfang (talk) 20:53, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Guy Gavriel Kay[edit]

Someone keeps indicating that Guy Kay had a significant hand in developing the published Silmarillion. That is simply not true. He worked with Christopher Tolkien through one summer and is credited by Christopher with discussing ideas on how to handle the chapter "The Ruin of Doriath".Michael Martinez 21:42, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Looking at the revision history I imagine you must be referring to my changes though your description of them bears little resemblance to the reality. As apparently preferred by you the passage would read;

"The Silmarillion is a collection of J. R. R. Tolkien's works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher R. Tolkien, with some minor assistance from fantasy fiction writer Guy Gavriel Kay."

My change was to remove the words, "some minor". Your description of that as "Someone keeps indicating that Guy Kay had a significant hand..." seems strained at best. The words 'some minor' are POV. Removing them leaves only that CJRT worked "with assistance" from Kay... with no claim as to whether that was "some minor assistance" (as you say), 'significant assistance' (as I did not say), or (as Christopher Tolkien says in the Foreword of The Silmarillion); "In the difficult and doubtful task of preparing the text of the book I was very greatly assisted by Guy Kay, who worked with me in 1974-1975." --CBDunkerson 22:59, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, let's document Guy Kay's exact contributions to The Silmarillion as mentioned by Christopher Tolkien and Guy Kay himself. I'm unable to find anything but this citation.

 "In the story that appears in THE SILMARILLION the outlaws 
 who went with Hurin to Nargothrond were removed, as also 
 was the curse of Mim; and the only treasure that Hurin took 
 from Nargothrond was the Nauglamir -- which was here supposed 
 to have been made by the Dwarves for Finrod Felagund, and 
 to have been the most prized by him of all the hoard of 
 Nargothrond.  Hurin was represented as being at last freed 
 from the delusions inspired by Morgoth in his encounter 
 with Melian in Menegroth.  The Dwarves who set the Silmaril 
 in the Nauglamir were already in Menegroth engaged on other 
 works, and it was they who slew Thingol; at that time 
 Melian's power was withdrawn from Neldoreth and Region, and 
 she vanished out of Middle-earth, leaving Doriath unprotected. 
 The ambush and destruction of the Dwarves at Sarn Athrad was 
 given again to Beren and the Green Elves (following my 
 father's letter of 1963 quoted on p. 353, where however 
 he said that 'Beren had no army'), and from the same source 
 the Ents, 'Shepherds of the Trees', were introduced. 

 "This story was not lightly or easily conceived, but was the 
 outcome of long experimentation among alternative conceptions. 
 In this work Guy Kay took a major part, and the chapter that 
 I finally wrote owes much to my discussions with him.  It is, 
 and was, obvious that a step was being taken of a different 
 order from any other 'manipulation' of my father's own writing 
 in the course of the book: even in the case of the story of 
 The Fall of Gondolin, to which my father had never returned, 
 something could be contrived without introducing radical 
 changes in the narrative.  It seemed at that time that there 
 were elemets inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as 
 it stood that were radically incompatible with 'The 
 Silmarillion' as projected, and that there was here an 
 inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else 
 to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, 
 and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and 
 should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping 
 the bounds of the editorial function." 

Source: The War of the Jewels, pages 346-7.

If you have anything else, please share it before vandalising the article any further.Michael Martinez 23:53, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

The passage you quote mentions Guy Kay only once... to say that he "took a major part" in the chapter discussed. Neither this nor CJRT's previous statement that he was "very greatly assisted" by Guy Kay seem to validate your insistence on "some minor assistance". It is clearly POV, if not simply inaccurate. --CBDunkerson 00:13, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Assisting with one chapter out of an entire book is hardly a substantial contribution.Michael Martinez 00:19, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Christopher does not say that was the only part Kay contributed to... only that he "took a major part" there and "very greatly assisted" in the completion of the whole. Your insistence on "with some minor assistance" is thus simply unfounded and "with assistance" clearly more neutral point of view. Frankly, it would not be unreasonable to say 'with great assistance', given that CJRT stated so himself, but I haven't done that... I have merely attempted to replace a POV statement with a neutral one. --CBDunkerson 00:40, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Michael, I'll wait until your block for 3RR (which you broke here too) expires before changing it, but I can't agree with your changes to this article. Christopher Tolkien says he was "very greatly assisted" by Kay and that Kay "took a major part" in the Ruin of Doriath chapter. Frankly, I think that evidence would make the wording, 'with a great deal of assistance' accurate... but I'm willing to forego that level of detail and just use the neutral, 'with assistance'. On what grounds do you insist on 'with some minor assistance'? It contradicts the available evidence and presents a point of view which cannot be verified.

Ditto on 'mythologies'. I think Tolkien's repeated statements that all his 'Middle-earth' texts belong to a single mythology would make 'mythology' the correct wording here... but again I'm willing to forego that level of detail and use the neutral term 'writings'... allowing the reader to assume that these writings belonged to either one mythology or several as they choose. Why do you insist on 'mythologies'? Again, there are no instances where Tolkien says the stories should be so divided... making it impossible to ever verify that 'mythologies' was his intent. Even if we assume you are right, despite what seems to me overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there is no way you can ever direct someone to a passage proving your position... because no such passage exists. Your view can never be verified, so it can't be stated as 'fact' in an encyclopedia. At best, it could be included as an opinion, but even that is a stretch as there aren't even any citations from established sources expressing that opinion.

I'd prefer to be precise, and I don't think you have any viable grounds for objecting to 'great assistance' or 'mythology', but these details are not essential to this article so I'm willing to compromise. Your 'some minor' and 'mythologies' forms seem to me to be simply false, but are at best POV and unverifiable. The forms 'with assistance' and 'writings' are clearly accurate (if imprecise) and thus should be uncontroversial. You can't provide any citations for the forms you prefer (nor refute the citations disproving them), so why are you fighting against neutral wording? --CBDunkerson 14:03, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Conrad, you might want to take a look at Amon Hen No 91, which contains Kay's brief account (actually Charles Noad's report of Kay's account) of his work on The Sil. Apparently Kay did have a very substantial role- especially in persuading CRT to make a 'unified' narrative, whereas what CRT originally had in mind was something more like Unfinished Tales (but 1300 pages long).Solicitr (talk) 02:29, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

What Does This Have to Do With the Silmarillion?[edit]

I cut out the following, which is long, rambling (apparently original research) and related to the Lord of the Rings and not Silmarillion. Seriously, what on Earth is this doing here: Elijahmeeks 09:39, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

On review, it looks like this was a recent edition which, along with the link, aren't in keeping with NPOV and other wikipedia standards. So I'll remove the link, too. Elijahmeeks 09:42, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Okay, so I removed the addition. Not because I think that racial themes are not present in the works of Tolkien but because the manner in which they were portrayed in this article was offhand and surreptitious. A seperate article or such information in the article on Tolkien himself would be the proper place for such arguments, I feel. Elijahmeeks 09:48, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
See the existing Tolkien and racism article. --CBDunkerson 11:41, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
I see that I left out a paragraph. Thanks for getting that. Elijahmeeks 15:33, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Having just read portions of Flieger's "Splintered Light", I have come up with some areas of interest, which seem not to be present in this article.

Coleridgian terms? Primary Imagination? Owen Barfield? Primary Light? The Cosmogonic account? The Silmarillion is labelled High Fantasy, yet it was an archetype, and really lacked the "sword of sorcery" that is invoked in that description. Shall not The Silmarillion be Cosmogonic Fantasy, in light of Barfield's theory of the fragmentation of meaning?


Having just read portions of Flieger's "Splintered Light", I have come up with some areas of interest, which seem not to be present in this article.

Coleridgian terms? Primary Imagination? Owen Barfield? Primary Light? The Cosmogonic account? The Silmarillion is labelled High Fantasy, yet it was an archetype, and really lacked the "sword of sorcery" that is invoked in that description. Shall not The Silmarillion be Cosmogonic Fantasy, in light of Barfield's theory of the fragmentation of meaning?


Shouldn't we have one. After all, i'm sure that's why come on here for Jammi568 11:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it should be fleshed out. I'll start on it once I get some time. Wrad 19:17, 11 April 2007 (UTC)


[[Quendi]] | ----------------- | | [[Eldar]] [[Avari]] | --------------- | | | [[Vanyar]] [[Noldor]] [[Teleri]] | ----------------------- | | | | [[Teleri]] [[Sindar]] [[Nandor]] [[Laiquendi]]

This needs to be fixed. I'm not sure who made it, but it could be useful. Check out the lineage of greek gods page for an example of a good tree. Wrad 19:24, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Tyler as source?[edit]

Psyche825's recent edit replaced Janet Croft as a reference with JEA Tyler's Tolkien Companion (1st ed, 1976), which is not I think a very solid reference anyway- but especially with reference to The Silmarillion, which hadn't even been published yet! I suggest we bring Croft back.Solicitr 15:48, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I put the wrong version of Tyler's book. The one I used was the 2004 The Complete Tolkien Companion: Totally Revised and Updated version. I'll correct the information in the article.
The reason I changed them is because I thought Tyler's book stated the fact more clearly (cf. Tyler: " the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (under the title Translations from the Elvish)" to Chance: "His own mythological stories are presented as texts, written accounts, translations, and redactions of other texts:... The Silmarillion as Bilbo's 'translations [sic] from the Elvish'"). If you still think that the other source is better, feel free to change it back, include both, or even find a different source altogether. Psyche825 (talk) 16:29, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
It might be best, instead of referencing secondary works by other authors, to use Christopher Tolkien's own comments- (I'll dig them out of HoME if this is promising): to the effect that his father clearly intended that the "three volumes bound in red leather" were indeed The Silmarillion, and that he should have gone ahead and said so in the 1977 edition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Solicitr (talkcontribs) 02:57, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, yes, that would be much better. I didn't think of looking through HoME. I looked through Letters and the Prologue and Appendices of LotR and couldn't find anything, so I resorted to other authors. Psyche825 (talk) 03:28, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Secondary and tertiary sources are desirable, numerous articles on Middle-earth have been recently tagged for 'notability requirements' because of their lack of third party source references.Tttom1 03:48, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
That's a little absurd- we're supposed to pass over what the author/editor himself said in favor of the notions of, say, David Day? Please. I'll dig up the cite, Psyche. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Solicitr (talkcontribs) 05:58, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Add all of them (except perhaps David Day, lol). No harm in that. Uthanc 15:06, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that the HoME ought to be put first, but I agree that there is no harm in putting them all, so I put the Jane Chance reference back in.– Psyche825 (talk) 06:55, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Christopher Tolkien[edit]

It says in the intro that Christopher Tolkien devised 'completely new material' in some cases. This is a very serious statement to make - what evidence is there to back it up? I'm not an expert on the detail, but my understanding is that his work involved compiling and editing only, perhaps to the extent of constructing a single narrative out of fragments, but he did not add to the work in any substantial way as 'completely new material' suggests. If there is no evidence of new material then that statement should be removed or amended as seriously misleading.Neelmack (talk) 13:42, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Because some of the stories were unfinished and hadn't been revised in some time, Christopher Tolkien occasionally had to act as more than an editor. The most cited example is Chapter 22, "Of the Ruin of Doriath", which Christopher says he wrote with help from Guy Kay (see the second quotation in the "Guy Gavriel Kay" section further up this talk page). – Psyche825 (talk) 21:55, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

OK, but if it's alright I will add the qualification 'to resolve gaps and inconsistencies' to remove the impression that he might have been inventing completely new characters and storylines, which is how it reads to me at the moment Neelmack (talk) 13:00, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


Is there any possibility of using material in The Silmarillion for a movie? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cousert (talkcontribs) 16:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Sure. Buy the rights and go for it!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Except that the film rights aren't for sale and are unlikely ever to be.--Solicitr (talk) 21:51, 14 November 2010 (UTC)


It is my firm belief that he shouldn't be named Melkor past his escape to Middle-earth. Seen as the histories of Middle-earth are the histories of Elves/Men, even though Valar would probably continue reffering to him as Melkor(at least, known to us, Sauron did, as shown in Akallabêth, he remained Morgoth forever since. --PrimEviL 06:43, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

English Language[edit]

I'm not a native speaker of English, and I certainly had a hard time reading this book in the original language. Isn't this book written in some kind of Early Modern English? -- (talk) 00:00, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

No! Str1977 (talk) 23:22, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
No, but it is written in perhaps a bold, heroic, old English "style" - and if one is not fluent in English, or somewhat familiar with epics like "Beowulf" it may make it difficult to read in places. If it has been published in German or a slavic language, I wonder if the editors took pains to try to capture the feel of the writing? HammerFilmFan (talk) 05:57, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Confusing language[edit]

However, Tolkien never completed The Book of Lost Tales before he left it to compose the poems "The Lay of Leithian" and "The Lay of the Children of Húrin".[4]

- v. confusing language and bad sentence structure. Just sayin' man. Please correct - I don't know enough about Tolkien and what he did to correct the sentence. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Different articles for each section?[edit]

Is it entirely necessary to have a separate article for each section of the Silmarillion? Especially when considering that each of these articles is nothing more than a summary of the content of each part I can't help but be tempted to quote - yet again - Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not:

"Wikipedia articles should not be:

Summary-only descriptions of works. Wikipedia treats fiction in an encyclopedic manner, discussing the reception and significance of notable works in addition to a concise summary. For more information regarding plot summaries, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)#Plot summaries. Similarly, articles on works of non-fiction, including documentaries, research books and papers, religious texts, and the like, should contain more than a recap or summary of the works' contents."

Frankly, I think the separate articles should be deleted - a merger is inappropriate since they're each covered in plenty of detail on The Silmarillion. --Bajazeth. And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege / Of the famous Grecian Constantinople 12:38, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

  • There may be some scope for merger but deletion would be quite inappropriate. WP:NBOOK states that we cover works when "The book's author is so historically significant that any of his or her written works may be considered notable" and Tolkien seems in that league. In any case, our editing policy is to retain what we can, not to delete everything. Warden (talk) 22:35, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I would have suggested mergers, but, as it is, the main Silmarillion article contains as much information as I would have thought appropriate to be carried across anyway. WP:NBOOK does say that, but I would use that to defend the existence of an article on Silmarillion itself, not articles on each of its sections. In any case, the part of WP:NBOOK you quote goes on to say "...the book's author is of exceptional significance and the author's life and body of work would be a common study subject in literature classes" - which is most certainly not a criterion that someone like Tolkien meets. Regardless, The articles in question are limited entirely to discussions of plot, which is something already achieved quite admirably by the main article. Each section is not by itself notable enough to warrant its own individual article. Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information, and these articles' excessive plot detail without any attention paid to its actual significance in the real world reeks of fancrust to me. Neither The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia nor The Waste Land (poss. not best example) - quite rightly - get articles devoted to each of their sections, and I think it self-evident that the latter especially is a work leagues more significant than Silmarillion.
I suppose my argument in a nutshell is that the separate articles are redundant. --Bajazeth. And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege / Of the famous Grecian Constantinople 23:22, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I think a more apt comparison would be to The Canterbury Tales, where you'll find an article on each of the individual stories and a summary in the main article. The parts of the Silmarillion are indeed independent works, composed across several decades and compiled into one volume. Tolkien is one of the most important authors (if not the most important author) in fantasy—he's right up near the top of our articles on both fantasy literature and high fantasy—and is studied in some literature classes (you'll find a list of some here). (I would have loved to take a class on Tolkien in college, but I had to settle for the occasional mention in literature and linguistics courses.) If you look at our works by JRRT template, you'll see we have articles on quite a few of Tolkien's minor works, which I personally feel is justified considering his status. Wyatt Riot (talk) 05:27, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, arguing for his significance on the basis that Tolkien is incredibly important in fantasy is somewhat disingenuous, considering the fringe nature of the genre. Absurdly enough, though, you are right that there are a number of classes on Tolkien, if as a bit of a niche topic. I suppose the distinction to be made here is whether or not the individual sections of Silmarillion constitute independent works by themselves. The impression I get is that Silmarillion is probably best thought of as being a collection of short stories. Tales of the Jazz Age - to grab an example - does get articles (or red links) devoted to each of its stories so I guess I'm in the wrong here. --Bajazeth. And think to rouse us from our dreadful siege / Of the famous Grecian Constantinople 12:20, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Can someone add pronunciation to lead?[edit]

It's not obvious. (talk) 17:13, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

An attempt has been made. -- Elphion (talk) 20:13, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. (talk) 18:04, 23 January 2013 (UTC)


Why was the reference to the review of The Silmarillion by the Village Voice deleted? (talk) 11:01, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't know. I've restored it for now, the User who removed has their reasons perhaps but hopefully they will bring them up here instead of just deleting cited material. GimliDotNet (Speak to me,Stuff I've done) 11:26, 14 March 2013 (UTC)