Many Ainur descended, taking physical form and becoming bound to that world. The greater Ainur became known as the Valar , while the lesser Ainur were called the Maiar. The Valar attempted to prepare the world for the coming inhabitants Elves and Men , while Melkor, who wanted Arda for himself, repeatedly destroyed their work; this went on for thousands of years until, through waves of destruction and creation, the world took shape.
Valaquenta "Account of the Valar"  describes Melkor and each of the 14 Valar in detail, as well as a few of the Maiar. It also reveals how Melkor seduced many Maiar — including those who would eventually become Sauron and the Balrogs — into his service.
Quenta Silmarillion Quenta Silmarillion "The History of the Silmarils "  , which makes up the bulk of the book, is a series of interconnected tales set in the First Age that make up the tragic saga of the three jewels, the Silmarils. The Valar had attempted to fashion the world for Elves and Men , but Melkor continually destroyed their handiwork. After he destroyed the two lamps that illuminated the world, the Valar moved to Aman , a continent to the west of Middle-earth, where they established their home called Valinor.
Soon after, stars created by Varda began to shine and the Elves awoke. The elves originally formed three groups: Knowing the danger the Elves were in, the Valar decided to fight Melkor to keep the Elves safe. After defeating and capturing Melkor, they invited the Elves to live in Aman. Many Elves travelled to Aman, while others refused and still others stopped along the way, including the Elves who later became the Sindar , ruled by the Elf King Thingol and Melian , a Maia.
Of the three tribes that set out, all of the Vanyar and Noldor , and many of the Teleri reached Aman. Melkor, who had been held in captivity by the Valar, was eventually released after feigning repentance.
While making amends, Melkor destroyed the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant , a dark spider spirit Melkor found in Avathar, on the Southeast side of Aman. He was defeated in the first of five battles of Beleriand , however, and barricaded himself in his northern fortress of Angband.
After a period of peace, Melkor attacked the Noldor but was again defeated and besieged. Nearly years later, he broke the siege and drove the Noldor back. After the destruction of the Trees and the theft of the Silmarils, the Valar created the moon and the sun. At the same time, Men awoke, some of whom later arrived in Beleriand and allied themselves with the Elves.
The king sought to prevent their marriage by imposing what he believed an impossible task: However she convinced the Vala Mandos to revive Beren and herself, though she had to renounce her immortality. The Noldor, seeing that a mortal and an elf-woman could infiltrate Angband, perceived that Melkor was not invincible. They attacked again with a great army of Elves, Dwarves and Men. But they were deceived by Melkor, who had secretly darkened the hearts of many of the men.
Thus it was that the Elvish host were utterly defeated, due in part to the treachery of some Men. However, many Men remained loyal to the Elves and were honoured thereafter. Before their child was born, the bewitchment was lifted as the dragon lay dying.
Nienor, realizing what grew within her, took her own life. Huor's son, Tuor , became involved in the fate of the hidden Noldorin kingdom of Gondolin. When Gondolin fell, betrayed from within by Maeglin , Tuor saved many of its inhabitants from destruction.
All of the Elvish kingdoms in Beleriand eventually fell, and the refugees fled to a haven by the sea created by Tuor. The Valar obliged; they attacked and defeated Melkor, completely destroying his fortress Angband and sinking most of Beleriand ; and they expelled Melkor from Arda. This ended the First Age of Middle-earth. However, Maedhros killed himself by leaping into a fiery chasm with a Silmaril while Maglor threw his into the sea and spent the rest of his days wandering along the shores of the world, singing his grief.
As descendants of immortal elves and mortal men, they were given the choice of which lineage to belong to: Elrond chose to belong to the Elves, his brother to Men. After the defeat of Melkor, the Valar gave the island to the three loyal houses of Men who had aided the Elves in the war against him. But their power lay in their bliss and their acceptance of mortality. Sauron urged them to wage war against the Valar themselves to win immortality, and to worship his master Melkor, whom he said could grant them their wish.
Arnor in the north and Gondor in the south. Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age The concluding section of the book, comprising about 20 pages, describes the events that take place in Middle-earth during the Second and Third Ages. This section also gives a brief overview of the events leading up to and taking place in The Lord of the Rings, including the waning of Gondor, the re-emergence of Sauron, the White Council , Saruman 's treachery, and Sauron's final destruction along with the One Ring, after which the ages of magic end.
Concept and creation[ edit ] Development of the text[ edit ] Tolkien first began working on the stories that would become The Silmarillion in ,  intending them to become an English mythology that would explain the origins of English history and culture.
Reynolds, a friend to whom Tolkien had sent several of the stories. By this time, he had doubts about fundamental aspects of the work that went back to the earliest versions of the stories, and it seems that he felt the need to resolve these problems before he could produce the "final" version of The Silmarillion.
Christopher's intentions seem to have been mostly to use the latest writings of his father's that he could,[ citation needed ] and to keep as much internal consistency and consistency with The Lord of the Rings as possible,  though he admitted that a complete consistency was impossible.
In one later chapter of Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath", which had not been touched since the early s, he had to construct a narrative practically from scratch. Because of Christopher's extensive explanations in The History of Middle-earth of how he compiled the published work, much of The Silmarillion has been debated by readers. Christopher's task is generally accepted as very difficult given the state of his father's texts at the time of his death: Christopher reveals in later volumes of The History of Middle-earth many divergent ideas which do not agree with the published version.
Christopher Tolkien has suggested that, had he taken more time and had access to all the texts, he might have produced a substantially different work. But he was compelled by considerable pressure and demand from his father's readers and publishers to produce something publishable as quickly as possible[ citation needed ]. In October , Christopher Tolkien commissioned illustrator Ted Nasmith to create full-page full-colour artwork for the first illustrated edition of The Silmarillion.
It was published in , and followed in by a second edition featuring corrections and additional artwork by Nasmith. During the s and s, Christopher Tolkien published most of his father's Middle-earth writings as the volume The History of Middle-earth series. In addition to the source material and earlier drafts of several portions of The Lord of the Rings, these books greatly expand on the original material published in The Silmarillion, and in many cases diverge from it.
There is much that Tolkien intended to revise but only sketched out in notes, and some new texts surfaced after the publication of The Silmarillion.
These books also make it clear just how unfinished the later parts of The Silmarillion really were: Tolkien's influences The Silmarillion is a complex work exhibiting the influence of many sources.
A major influence was the Finnish epic Kalevala , especially the tale of Kullervo. Influence from Greek mythology is also apparent. Greek mythology also colours the Valar , who borrow many attributes from the Olympian gods. Augustine's writings on music, as well as the extensive medieval tradition of the divine harmony—more familiar to us today in the notion of the " music of the spheres "—served as bases for this telling of creation.
The Silmarillion was criticized for being too serious, lacking the light-hearted moments that were found in The Lord of the Rings and especially The Hobbit. Adams of The New York Review of Books called The Silmarillion "an empty and pompous bore", "not a literary event of any magnitude", and even claimed that the main reason for its "enormous sales" was the "Tolkien cult" created by the popularity of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, predicting that more people would buy The Silmarillion than would ever read it.
The New York Times Book Review acknowledged that "what is finally most moving is … the eccentric heroism of Tolkien's attempt". The British neo-progressive rock band Marillion were formed in Aylesbury, England, in as Silmarillion but shortened their name in to avoid any copyright conflict. The Austrian black metal band Summoning formed in and have also released numerous concept albums based on this and other works by Tolkien.
The album contains not only songs but also spoken passages narrating parts of the story. The works were premiered by orchestras in Southern France between and