We’ve reached the end of the road for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion; can you believe it? Thirteen weeks have gone by faster than I thought they would, and I’m feeling glad that we took it so slow. If I would have to read more than 30 or so pages a week, I would have given up. Anyway, the end brings us into the Third Age and the story of the rings of power. In short: Sauron keeps on being a tool.
Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Remember the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring film adaptation? Of course you do because Cate Blanchett’s voice in the prologue was haunting. Anyway, that’s essentially the territory this final installment covered. We learned Sauron repented but eventually took up residence back in Mordor and forged the One Ring. He tricked as many of the new residents of Middle-earth as he could, and several fell for his folly.
Speaking of Middle-earth, this is where the land that we know really takes shape. The Grey Havens are built and so is Rivendell, Lothlórien, Gondor, Isengard, Moria, and more. Men, Elves, and Dwarves spread across the land and soak up peace for a time. However, Sauron exerted his control before long. Though I knew the basics of him forging the ring in order to control other ring-bearers, I didn’t realize quite how it worked until I read these pages. He could actually see into the thoughts of those wearing the rings and influence them. No wonder he got such a grip on Middle-earth. I also wasn’t aware the Elves were smart enough to sense Sauron and remove the rings.
Of the Rings of Power text art by Valentina
We jump into a recap of some of the events of Akallabêth and a review of the history of the One Ring. Elendil and Gil-galad set a seven year (!) siege upon Mordor, and it ended when Isildur picked up his father’s broken sword Narsil and hacked off the ring. We all know how that ends. And if you don’t know, spoilers: it’s not good.
I enjoyed diving deeper into the history and especially reading about Gandalf, Saruman, and the formation of the White Council. Gandalf begins to suspect something is amiss in Dol Guldur and specifically that Sauron is making a comeback after getting the ring hacked off. This is explored on screen in The Hobbit films, and it appears as though we’ll see the Council make an attack upon the dark place in the upcoming Battle of the Five Armies.
The remainder of the chapter skips through the highlights of the events of the Lord of the Rings all the way to Gandalf’s departure from Middle-earth from the Grey Havens.
Relevance to The Hobbit and/or Lord of the Rings
As you might have noticed, all of this chapter is relevant to the later Tolkien stories. It’s essentially a preamble to the Lord of the Rings and reviews some of the events we read about in that trilogy.
“… in which these tales come to their end.”
“Secretly Sauron made One Ring to rule all the others, and their power was bound up with it, to be subject wholly to it and to last only so long as it too should last.”
“But Sauron also was thrown down, and with the hilt-shard of Narsil Isildur cut the Ruling Ring from the hand of Sauron and took it for his own.”
“In the twilight of autumn it sailed out of Mithlond, until the seas of of the Bent World fell away beneath it, and the winds of the round sky troubled it no more, and borne upon the high airs above the mists of the world it passed into the Ancient West, and an end was come for the Eldar of story and of song.”
Of Gandalf and Saruman by Miri
– Sauron repented to Eönwë; do you think of any of that was genuine or was it just another trick?
– Why do you think none of the nine men who took the Rings of Power caught on to Sauron’s endgame like the Elves did?
– Why didn’t the Valar come to Middle-earth to help after Sauron took control with the One Ring?
– Do you think Gandalf knew all along that the Hobbits would play such an important role in the Third Age?
Can you believe we’re at the end? Guys! We read The Silmarillion, and it was surprisingly fun. Long and hard and sad but fun. And rewarding. Treat yourself today because you deserve it for both reading the book and all of our discussion posts. If you commented regularly, give yourself an extra pat on the back for participation. You all rock! Head to the comments one more time and tell me your overall impressions of the book, answer the discussion questions, share favorite quotes – whatever you feel like. As always, use the #NerdistBookClub hashtag on your social media posts about the book.
Thank you all for joining me on this grand adventure. It’s taken me way too long to finally start and finish The Silmarillion, and I don’t think I could have done it without this book club. I hope it helped you or that you liked reading the book again. I appreciate all of your comments and insight. Stay tuned for the next book on our agenda!
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