This is my first post in a series on the idea of a Silmarillion film series as well as other visual takes on Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
The Hobbit film trilogy is now behind us, and so it would seem are the days of Middle-earth on film. (*) Yet just as the reader who comes to the end of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will inevitably consider taking up The Silmarillion, so too will Hollywood consider taking up Tolkien’s tales concerning Middle-earth’s First Age, and many Tolkien fans will pine for them to do so. (**)
A few months back, The Tolkien Library asked “Will we ever see The Silmarillion on the big screen?” and basically answered the question “No way.” Citing Christopher Tolkien’s disgust with Peter Jackson’s adaptations and Jackson’s own admission that the Tolkien Estate seems to have no interest in discussing it, the cause does seem rather hopeless. Yet, at the same time, the potential for incredible financial gain from anything bearing Tolkien’s name (and most certainly anything taking place in Middle-earth) leaves me feeling the need to posit the following:
Christopher Tolkien must act before his death to ensure that the film rights for The Silmarillion fall into the most capable hands possible.
So…I know I promised a new series beginning this week, but I am postponing that until sometime in July while I revamp some things around here. In the meantime, you can count on new podcast episodes every Friday. A few quick things to share:
1. Simon Cook is a scholar of Intellectual History who has focused in on Tolkien and his “Lost English Mythology.” He has commented here a few times in the past, and I wanted to point out an article (“On the Shores of the Shoreless Sea“) that those of the “like to read Shippey” persuasion among us would probably appreciate greatly. When I read Cook here (and in his recent book J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lost English Mythology) I get the sense that Cook is thinking Tolkien’s thoughts after him, and perhaps even connecting the dots in a way that the professor himself wasn’t quite able to do in his lifetime. That’s one of the highest compliments I feel can be paid to any historian, and especially to one who focuses in a particular individual’s body of work. Check the article out, and if you enjoy it, check out his book as well.
2. A blogger named Ben, who recently commented here, has shared some criticisms over the last few months of The Tolkien Professor (TTP) which might be summarized as “Why aren’t more people critically interacting with TTP?” While I’m not one to buy an argument, I think that Ben makes some valid points (though I do disagree with him on some things), and, well, this isn’t the first time that the subject has come up around here. So I just want to ask: What does everyone think? As for me, I have made it clear elsewhere that I am grateful to Olsen for the podcast he started, which really opened up The Silmarillion for me several years back. For the person starting out, with a thirst to go deeper in Tolkien’s works, Olsen has provided an invaluable service in my view. However, there are a lot of issues below the surface here, so I’m just opening this up for people to share their own thoughts and criticisms (or criticisms of Ben’s criticisms). Please be respectful and considerate. Any comments approaching ad hominem will be deleted.
3. I am in the process of working on some different Tolkien-related projects which I hope to release later this summer. Among them are a paperback version of Tolkien’s Requiem, a new e-booklet, and a music project (based heavily in Tolkienian themes, not songs about hobbits and orcs). I’m also hoping to expand the scope of The Tolkien Road a bit, and perhaps even the frequency.
Thanks to all those who continue to visit! More to follow…
‘It will have to paid for,’ they said. ‘It isn’t natural, and trouble will come of it.’ (22)
‘Many are the strange chances of the world,’ said Mithrandir, ‘and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.’ (301)
This is the final post in my beginner’s guide to The Silmarillion. The Silmarillion proper (Quenta Silmarillion) comes to an end with the downfall of Morgoth which ends the First Age of Middle-earth. Following that, “Akallabêth” deals with the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the hands of Sauron. In the book’s final section, “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”, we hear a very familiar tale told in a vastly different way.
All tales may come true… (73)
Concerning Tolkien’s essay (and literary manifesto) On Fairy-Stories…
Then Ar-Pharazôn, being besotted, and walking under the shadow of death, for his span was drawing towards its end, hearkened to Sauron; and he began to ponder in his heart how he might make war upon the Valar. (275)
This is my final post on “Akallabêth”, the chronicle of Númenor and the Second Age. The Silmarillion proper comes to an end with the downfall of Morgoth which ends the First Age of Middle-earth. The Second Age immediately follows, the age of that great civilization of men, Númenor. It is also the age in which Sauron assumes the mantle of “chief bad guy” and in which the stage is set for much of the backstory of The Lord of the Rings.