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So which book should you read first.

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In which order would you read Tolkien's works?
Silmarillion, Hobbit, LOTR
20%
 20%  [ 5 ]
Hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion
45%
 45%  [ 11 ]
LOTR, Hobbit, Silmarillion
16%
 16%  [ 4 ]
Don't really care
16%
 16%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 24

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Sirannon



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: So which book should you read first. Reply with quote

I was inspired to write this topic by Inglor's post in this topic:


http://www.openscrolls.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2191

Where he suggests that you should read the Silmarillion before reading LOTR. I actually think that is a good idea. Though, I read the Hobbibt first, then LOTR, then Silm and finally UT.

I think one of the advantages of reading the stories in chronological order is that the experience will feel even more real, than if you read it out of order.

A disadvantage is of course that Silm isn't really all that friendly to the reader, so you might scare away potential new readers.

So if you had the choice to read the books anew, which would you start with?

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domeair



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would start with The Hobbit first then the triolgy. That's the order I would read them in.


domeair Very Happy

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Sirannon



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

domeair wrote:
I would start with The Hobbit first then the triolgy. That's the order I would read them in.


domeair Very Happy


oops forgot about that one! I guess I shouldn't make posts when I'm tired. Embarassed Embarassed

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Alassante
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't like the hobbit that much so I would read the LOTR then the Silmarillion then rent the Hobbit cartoon and laugh at the 70's style music LOL. Very Happy
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NeumeIndil



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the Hobbit when I was 12, then the Trilogy in the month or so after that. I didn't get to the Silmarillion until this summer, and after PJ's movies. I think if I'd read the Silmarillion first, my appreciation of M.E. would have been much deeper; it's not all about the cute little hobbits and the big bad lord Sauron, but you don't realize how much you don't know until you've finished the Silmarillion and had that moment you get at the end of most great stories where you feel somehow diminished because the story is done. Luckily, there are four more books after that.

We have to keep in mind too that Tolkien saw the Silmarillion as the greater work and it is the one that lays the groundwork for the Hobbit and the Trilogy. I think, ultimately, it's best to start at the beginning.

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Sirannon



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried to read the Silm at the age of 12 or 13, I just couldn't get through the first 75 pages. So I waited a couple of years before I read LOTR. I guess I would have read LOTR a lot sooner, if I hadn't tried to read Silm.
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SpaceWeavil



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read LotR first, then the Hobbit, then the Silmarillion. I think if you're more into history than plot, the Silmarillion is a good place to start, as it is more of a textbook of the history of Middle Earth, leaving most of the details of the story to the reader's imagination, whereas LotR and The Hobbit are more straightforward narrative.
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Yavanie



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hobbit is a great introduction to Tolkien's world if you have almost not familiarity with it. That said, The Lord of the Rings trilogy will endear you to the professor's way with words and the world that he created. True, The Silmarillion is not for the faint of heart.

If you, like me, read multiple books/story lines at once, then get into the trilogy but pick up the Silmarillion and just a piece at a time. Each of it's sections can stand alone. However, the creation story he weaves is fantastic. And yes, you will miss lots of details in the first reading because it is different than the trilogy. But subsequent readings, especially as you are crafting your own stories, are invaluable.

just my two cents.

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Rhapsody



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SpaceWeavil wrote:
I read LotR first, then the Hobbit, then the Silmarillion. I think if you're more into history than plot, the Silmarillion is a good place to start, as it is more of a textbook of the history of Middle Earth, leaving most of the details of the story to the reader's imagination, whereas LotR and The Hobbit are more straightforward narrative.


I completely agree with Space. I had the same reading order. I wouldn't advise to go for the Silm first because the writing style can put you off immensely. Chronically it should go first, but you don't want people to toss the books in the corner because, well Rolling Eyes it is a slow (but good) read. Just my 2 eurocents.

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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the Hobbit first, but then I was 9 or 10 so it's fairy-tale aspects were most appealing. Then I launched into the Trilogy - action, adventure, etc. I took a shot at the Silm without much luck, but am seriously thinking about trying to tackle it again given all the fans on this forum and my now advanced age and (hopefully) maturity level.

If I were to recommend a starting point to someone, it would definately depend on that person's age and reading tendencies.

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NancyBrooke
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry ... wasn't patient enough.
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Rhapsody



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
Sorry ... wasn't patient enough.


I can imagine that Nancy, so nothing to be sorry about. Where I would read one chapter of LOTR, I found myself just finishing two pages of the Silm. There is so much information in it, so I learnt to become patient while reading it. And all those names... I still confuse Finrod with Fingon from time to time.

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Alassante
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once you get past the beginning and the elves awake its much easier, IMO. I had a hard time with the whole "singing into being" of the Ainuer. By the time the elves were called to Valinor and the action with Finwe, Feanor, Morgoth, etc happened, I was hooked. I struggled with the chapter about the different lands because Tolkien named every blade of grass, some had two names.
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Elennare



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NancyBrooke wrote:
If I were to recommend a starting point to someone, it would definately depend on that person's age and reading tendencies.


I agree very much with this point. You have to start at a level of complexity that the reader will understand and be interested in.

I read Lord of the Rings first - at about 11 years old, I was already an avid fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern (I'd grown out of Dragonlance some years earlier), and one day in English class (in the school library) our teacher told us "enough reading kiddies books, go pick something from the adult section". My response was to pick up the whole trilogy and read them back to back. The most important thing I learned from that experience was that, being referred to as a 'Classic' didn't mean that a book was out-dated and boring, or neccessarily have any resmeblance to the set texts we studied in English (such delights as Pride and Prejudice and Sunset Song - which are not conducive to instilling a love of books in teenagers).
I read the Hobbit about a year later, and then had the misfortune of an encounter with The Books of Lost Tales - which was way out of my depth and put me off reading anything more of Tolkien's for a number of years.
I was about 20 before I read the Silmarillion. I had been possessed of a need to re-read LOTR and the Hobbit, and doing so I found that while LOTR showed a vast treasure-trove of details that my younger self had overlooked or not understood, the Hobbit was, well, a bit childish and embarrassing. I was not happy that my opinions were so changed that an old favourite no longer appealed to me, but it did make me realise that perhaps it was time to challenge that which had long-ago been beyond my understanding. A lot of people critisise the Silmarillion of being like the bible, or a history book, but for me that very style is part of it's appeal (in my family, history and archeaology are common hobbies...).

In final point, it is interesting for me to note that looking back, I have changed again in a few short years, and have re-learned the joy of less complex works (to see again with the eyes of a child and for a short time, set aside "serious", "critical" and "plausibility"). I no longer require to feel intellectually challenged by what I read (though I am having a great time as I begin to delve into HoME). I wonder how different my views will be many years from now when I watch my sister's children starting to read these books?
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inglor



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhapsody wrote:
I still confuse Finrod with Fingon from time to time.


I had that problem too. I always kept flipping back to the index to help keep the F's straight, and the A's, and the -we's, keeping the wives separate was a chore too. Bleh, took me several tries to get it all together. One thing that helped me was to find canonish pics of them off the -net, helped me keep them straight in my head.

Again, the Sil is a history text book or like reading the Bible for historical facts, once you get the stories in your head and recognize the stories, the names settle themselves.

Like now I could never confuse Finrod with Fingon, I identify Finrod with Nargothrond and Beren and Luthien more so than Finrarfin's first born. And Fingon as the shortest lived High King and getting mashed by Gothmog rather than Fingolfin's first born. Same goes for Indis' children, I know one was blond and gentle and wise and the other wasn't ( though the jury is still out on Fingolfin's hair...)

But knowing Arwen's lineage (All elves who had High King attached to their name and a Maia) makes Elrond's request that Aragorn be the King of Gondor and Arnor for her hand seem like not such a big request. And considering her greatx3granddad asked for a Silmaril from the Sauron's Boss's crown, it sounds down right reasonable. To put it in modern terms it would be like the Mayor of East Bumble, Alabama seeking the hand of the Princess of Wales. But unless you read the Silmarillion, Arwen and Aragorn doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

And then there is one of my favorites: Galadriel giving Gimli 3 hairs... Something she refused FEANOR...THREE TIMES. In light of that, her gift takes on an entirely differnent magnitude. But you won't know that without reading the Sil (or was that UT? oops... doesn't matter, your get the idea)

ok, I'm done

Inglor

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