The Silmarillion, JRR Tolkien
After reading The Hobbit at the age of ten, I was endlessly surprised at the age of eleven to discover The Lord of the Rings. After reading the Lord of the Rings I was ecstatically surprised to discover The Silmarillion! My favourite work of all time, fiction or non-fiction, this book reads like a history, feels like an epic and is written in the most eloquent English I’ve ever come across, so that just reading the words of it seems relaxing. After a good think about how to describe the style of this book and the overwhelming impression it alone gives me out of all the fantasy I’ve read, is that it oozes integrity. Every word weighs a tonne: it reads with the integrity of the bible or a sutra (sorry to blaspheme).
Of course it helps when the book starts with Tolkien’s adaptation of creation through vibration- starting with Eru- Illuvatar- the “One”. What a simply fantastically… realistic… concept for someone in Tolkien’s time and place to have come up with. Favourites inside include the immortal romance of Beren and Luthien (there’s even a vegetarian hero, found in Beren, who befriends the animals and goes among them!), the beyond-archetypical tragedy Of Turin Turambar and the ongoing saga of Feanor’s siblings, who reject the source of light in favour of warring with darkness to save its reflection. The trickery and self-absorption of Melkor, the fallen Angel of Tolkien’s imaginary but surprising real spiritual hierarchy, delights us too. Through the ages, the Vala- elemental demi-Gods who sung the world into being at the request of the One- watch the children of the One, the mortals, strive against the marring of this world, suffering to win back righteousness and beauty.
If you’ve read Steiner’s Cosmic Memory, then you’ll note the many similarities between the history of our world that many psychics give and that Tolkien has related, revealing the true depths of the man’s creative source.
Every time I read this book I inadvertently start to write. Thanks Tolkien for the gift you’ve left humanity.