The Silmarillion


J. R. R. Tolkien

Publication date



High fantasy



Preceded by

The Lord of the Rings

Followed by

Unfinished Tales

Own and read once. General prequel to The Lord of the Rings.


248528 words according to this analysis, which would be 710 standard pages, but it doesn't give any detail. There are appendices, for example, that I wouldn't want to include in the count.

I analysed my copy and got 364 standard pages for the story part, with 26 extra for the forewords and Tolkien's interesting letter at the beginning. Apparently the above count, twice the size it should be, either went terribly wrong or includes more than my copy (maybe Unfinished Tales?).

First read (November-December 2012)Edit

12 12 13 The Silmarillion

Finished, December 13th 2012.

12 12 13 The Silmarillion

Progress graph, generated by Goodreads.


Beautiful 1999 Harper Collins paperback edition. 364 pages long, with 24 pages of foreword and introduction worth reading at the beginning, as well as appendices of course but not so readable. 27 blank pages. 37 lines per page, 56.2 characters per line [1], putting it at 700960 characters, for the story part itself. That's 364 standard pages (390 with the stuff at the beginning).


I bought this and Unfinished Tales shortly after first reading The Lord of the Rings I think (could have been a few years honestly), but although I read the first chapter I didn't get any further. After finishing Big Bang I wondered if I should concentrate on reading for the final year of my degree, but picked this up anyway, starting on November 19th with Tolkien's very interesting 20-page letter summarising and explaining many significant details of the saga.

I read it most days over the next few weeks, rather slowly since it's quite dense, finishing on December 13th 2012 (day that Peter Jackson's first Hobbit film was released!) on the (long) way to school during the serial days preceding placement.

It was very good. I flagged a bit towards the middle, struggling to keep up with all the names, but if you power on through you get the essence of what's going on and you do pick up more than you'd expect. I also got a bit tired of some of the hyperbole - every grief was the worst ever experienced on Middle-earth, until the next one. Every time something tragic happened the nearest waterfall was never again looked upon by mortals or something, which got a bit tiresome. I didn't really get the Children of Hurin chapter, apparently he was going for a reimagining of Wagner but it just seemed weird amidst the rest of it.

But anyway, overall it was super, I really enjoyed getting a greater familiarity with the 'verse of Middle-earth, and especially the Elven language and names for everything. I quite want to read The Lord of the Rings again now with it all in mind.



Reading recordEdit

Previous book: Simon Singh, Big Bang

Next book: Dan Simmons, Hyperion

Ratings, awards, mentions and recommendationsEdit

Links and referencesEdit

  1. 2080 characters on page xxv, according to Notepad++.

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