Second Breakfast: Akallabêth and the Third Age (The Silmarillion)
This week I finished reading the last two sections of the book that is - though these two parts are not directly part of the story of the jewels - The Silmarillion.
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
In Akallabêth we read about the creation of Númenór, a beautiful land created by the Valar (the Gods) in reward for the heroism of those great tribes of men in the War of Wrath. This is a line descended from Elros Tar-Minyatur, and in this naming we begin to see Tolkien linking his great work with our own myths. In the span of around thirty pages, we follow the arc of growth and power, knowledge, wisdom and beauty of this long-lived but mortal race of man (200-500 years), through to the greed and lust, corruption, cruelty and fear of death - inspired by Sauron - that leads to a desire for immortality and the final King of Númenór challenging the Gods. As a result of this challenge we learn at last why Sauron loses his ability to take on the form of beauty and charm, forever destined to take on an appearance of hatred and malice. Númenór is forever lost to man, and it creates a fascinating link of Middle Earth to our own world.
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age is a very short read. Indeed, the fact that the whole of Lord of the Rings is covered in no more than three or four sentences, gives a great indication of the scope of the Silmarillion and the host of equally exciting novels that might have fallen from it; so many amazing, exciting and wonderful side-characters - of the likes of Gimli and Legolas, Sam, Pippin, Merry, Treebeard, Gollum and more - forever unlocked, unknown, and unseen. I might cry. However we do learn of what becomes of the survivors of Númenór, of the great kingdoms they establish in Middle Earth, their downfall and the Rings of Power, and how it all relates to the bloodline of Aragorn and the Dúnedain. We also see, at the end, the coming of the Istar (Wizards), to combat the continued threat of Sauron. It is a simple read, but equally exciting knowing the greater story it conceals beneath.
For me, in these last two parts of the Silmarillion, Tolkien enables a better understanding of the history of Sauron and the Númenórean bloodline, and how that feeds into our interpretation of Lord of the Rings, whilst simultaneously referencing our own world's myths and linking Middle Earth to the planet we live on. It cements the Gods and demi-gods of his greater work, the elves and orcs, dwarf, dragon, hobbit and more, as part of our own universe, our own cosmos, and it's a fascinating read.
One I thoroughly enjoyed.
In hobbit terms...
A delightful dessert at the end of a meal.
The cheese and wine.
If there's a topic you'd like me to consider in a blog, a book you think I really need to read and review, or a TV Series you think I'd enjoy (and you'd like me to include it in my blog) drop me a line and let me know.
Finally. If you do buy my books. Thank you.
And let me know what you think. Get in touch on Twitter. I'm always there; a writer, you see...