Announcing the Silmarillion Slow Cooker

The more I study Lord of the Rings, the more I want to study the Silmarillion. That’s not to say that I want to put down LotR all together, just that I’d also like to pick up the Silmarillion along the way.

So let’s do that! On Wednesday, January 28, we’ll dig into this mysterious and weighty compilation. My goal is to take the Silmarillion slowly – a page each post. Those four or five paragraphs will be dissected, examined, wildly speculated upon, and digested. In addition to that, we’ll take a look at the writing history to discover just how Christopher Tolkien stitched together his father’s work, which spanned nearly all of his adult life.

Because we’ll be focusing on such short chunks of writing at a time, it would be great if you’d all read along with me. Tearing through a page takes all of five minutes. Toast takes longer (well, good toast).

Since 1977, when the Silmarillion was first published, there have been several different typesettings, making, for example, page 165 in one version might be completely different from page 165 in another. Through the help of readers, I’ve figured out that even through these changes and varying editions, there has actually been one of the typesettings that has remained true to the original.

The versions pictured below are all identical:

Buying any of these, either new or used, will match up with the version I’ll be using. There are definitely other editions that will match, both US and international, so if you’re wondering if yours will fit, here’s a handy checklist:

p108 – Now in Mithrim there dwelt Grey-elves, folk of Beleriand that had

p174 – Orcs did at time upon great wolves. Thus they made great speed,

p233 – about his neck; but the Dwarves in that moment withheld it from

p303 – to the land of the Periannath, the Little People, the Halflings, who

If these match up, then you’re in business!

The reason I’m using this version is because this is the same typesetting/pagination referenced in the History of Middle-earth series, as well as other various works.

Many of you, no doubt, have the small mass market paperbacks and ebooks. Due to this, I’ll also reference the first line and the last line of text we’ll be covering (as well as the number of paragraphs conquered) at the bottom of the post. That way, everyone can follow along without too many hassles and hang ups.

So come January 28, we’ll set aside Lord of the Rings, having just finished up Fellowship, and go through the first section of the Silmarillion, called the Ainulindalรซ. After that, I’ll reevaluate when and how to start Two Towers. After that’s started, I’ll probably do four or five posts a week, splitting my time between the Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings.

But first, back to the exciting conclusion of Fellowship of the Ring!


26 thoughts on “Announcing the Silmarillion Slow Cooker

  1. Do you (or somebody reading this) know how the 2006 HarperCollins hardback fits into this? It’s the one with Tolkien’s watercolour on the jacket. I’m not at home and can’t access my own books, so I’d maybe buy another one and this edition looks really beautiful.

      • Alright, I went to a bookstore and had a look at the 2006 hardcover – unfortunately I forgot to memorize the checklist, but here are the page numbers I checked. Can anyone compare them to one of the softcover editions from the list above?

        p. 25 “out over the earth. And the shape of Arda and the symmetry of its”
        p. 273 “But Isildur was overwhelmed by a host of Orcs that lay in wait in”

        • Sadly, no. Page 25 in my edition is the start of the Valaquenta. The bit about Isildur being overwhelmed by Orcs is in the middle of p295 in mine.

          • That’s too bad. Now I’m in the difficult situation of having found a reason to buy the edition, losing it again, and still wanting to get it. ๐Ÿ˜€ The black paperback seems mysteriously out of stock in all the bookstores I checked, too…

            • Hmm.. Try finding a used regular hardback and see if they match up. They should. Same with most trade paperbacks. The black one is out of stock over here too. Even Amazon.

              The larger hardback is really nice though. Maybe just treat yo’self!

            • What do you mean by regular? As far as I know the watercolour one is the regular edition here (Norway) – beside the large HoughtonMifflin hardcover with Ted Nasmith’s illustration on the cover. That’s the one I got at home. But the fact that the paperback is out of stock makes for a nice excuse…

              On that topic, does anybody know the difference between editions 9780261102736 and 9780007523221 and if they fit? From what I can see on Bookdepository, the latter has the same cover as your 9780544338012, while the former has the mountain in black and is currently sold out. Your ISBN leads to an edition by Mariner Books – a company I’ve never heard about, but whose editions look identical to those by HarperCollins. Is that maybe an American thing?

            • I meant regular size, not deluxe. I don’t think we have a regular sized hardback in the US – only the on with a bunch of Nasmith’s paintings. It’s a bit larger and the numbers don’t match up with the versions I’m using.

              Mariner is an American imprint. As for the isbns, I’ll get back to you soon. At work now. Fun!

            • OK! To hell with work. The first one (-2763) is a mass market paperback and definitely doesn’t match up. The second (-3221) is, I think, the same as the one that’s out of stock everywhere. No idea why they took this out of print, but I think it will work. My suspicion is that they’re taking the newer one out of print as well, which is why you can’t find it anywhere.

            • Thanks for clearing this up! This jungle of editions always comes back to bite you in the ass when you think you’ve found the one edition to rule them all. I suppose I’ll just get the one I manage to find and follow by comparing lines.

    • If they ever make a Silmarillion movie, I’m going to have to insist that they score it entirely with a mid to late 70s classic rock soundtrack. Alternatively, they could simply use the soundtrack to Freaks & Geeks.

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