silmarillion reader's guide

Celebrate Tolkien Reading Day 2014 by reading The Silmarillion! If you’re a first-timer, or you’ve struggled with the book before, you might want to consider checking out the Silmarillion Reader’s Guide, made by yours-truly. It includes summaries, maps, character guides, and a few handy appendices designed specifically to help make the Silmarillion as understandable and enjoyable as possible!


Okay, so for those who don’t know, this is from Part I of the Silmarillion Reader’s Guide (which you can find here.) Also, for those who do know, and are now wondering where in the world is that final version that I promised you all a couple weeks ago… yeah, sorry about that. It’s coming, very soon, I swear.

Anyway, here’s a re-work of the “narrative flow chart.” The basic idea that I had in making this was that, with all of the sub-plots running through the Silmarillion, some people might find it helpful to either read the book out of order, or at least have some idea of which chapters are following which, as far as the plots go. Obviously, Christopher Tolkien ordered the chapters like he did for a reason, and you’ll get the most fulfilling emotional experience reading them in the published order, but it’s always nice to have options, right?

The Valar and the Creation of Arda:

  • Ch. 1 “Of the Beginning of Days”
  • Ch. 2 “Of Aule and Yavanna”

The Main, Central Plot:

  • Ch. 3 “Of the Coming of the Elves”
  • Ch. 7 “Of the Silmarils”
  • Ch. 8 “Of the Darkening of Valinor”
  • Ch. 9 “Of the Flight of the Noldor”
  • Ch. 13 “Of the Return of the Noldor”
  • Ch. 18 “Of the Ruin of Beleriand”
  • Ch. 20 “Of the Fifth Battle”
  • Ch. 24 “Of the Voyage of Earendil”

The Noldorin Backstory:

  • Ch. 5 “Of Eldamar”
  • Ch. 6 “Of Feanor”

The Sindarin Backstory:

  • Ch. 3 “Of the Coming of the Elves”
  • Ch. 4 “Of Thingol and Melian”
  • Ch. 10 “Of the Sindar”
  • Ch. 14 “Of Beleriand and its Realms”

The Origin of Men:

  • Ch. 11 “Of the Sun and the Moon”
  • Ch. 12 “Of Men”
  • Ch. 17 “Of the Coming of Men into the West”

The Gondolin Sub-Plot:

  • Ch. 13 “Of the Return of the Noldor”
  • Ch. 14 “Of Beleriand and its Realms”
  • Ch. 15 “Of the Noldor in Beleriand”
  • Ch. 16 “Of Maeglin”
  • Ch. 22 “Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin”
  • Ch. 24 “Of the Voyage of Earendil”

The Doriath Sub-Plot:

  • (Best if read after the Sindarin Backstory, see above)
  • Ch. 18 “Of the Ruin of Beleriand”
  • Ch. 19 “Of Beren and Luthien”
  • Ch. 22 “Of the Ruin of Doriath”
  • Ch. 24 “Of the Voyage of Earendil”

The Children of Hurin:

  • Ch. 20 “Of the Fifth Battle”
  • Ch. 21 “Of Turin Turambar”

Hope this helps, let me know if it still doesn’t make sense. :)


Reposting my request for Silmarillion Reader’s Guide feedback!

Okay, folks. The day I warned you of has arrived. I am officially done with the first draft of the Silmarillion Reader’s Guide (see all the posts here.) Which is awesome, and I admit that I’m kind of proud of myself. But I know that I can make it better. My eventual plan is to post a complete and final Silmarillion Guide as one giant, awesome file (probably pdf, but possible ibook as well.)

The Guide has always been about you, about making The Silmarillion more accessible, about making it easier and more fun to read. So, having read the book several times already, I’m not the best judge of this guide. The best judge is you - anybody who actually used the guide to read the Silmarillion. (Also, since I made it in the first place, I’m hugely biased.)


  • Any feedback. Seriously, any at all. Good, bad, neutral, I’m happy to hear it all. No, seriously.
  • Details are much more helpful than general feedback (although general feedback is much more helpful than no feedback at all.)
  • What worked? What did I do well? Was there a particular section that really helped you understand something? Did you like the tone or style in one segment more than another? Did the layout of a particular page stand out to you?
  • What didn’t work? What did I do badly? Was there a particular section that is still really confusing, or did I actually make something more confusing? Did you not like the style, tone, or layout of a particular section?
  • What questions or concerns did you still have after reading The Silmarillion? Is there something I should have talked more about, or maybe added another appendix for?
  • Is there anything that you think I should change in order to make the Guide more useful and more enjoyable for new readers?
  • Seriously, any feedback guys. I’m dying here.


  • Reply to this post, I’ll be sure to keep checking it.
  • Send me a message (or even an ask) on my tumblr (
  • Send me an email (especially helpful for longer suggestions)
  • Shout your suggestions (in Quenya) to the stars, the Valar will deliver your message to me.

As a thank you for the huge help that I’ve no doubt your feedback will be, I’ll give you a shout-out in my Weekly Roundup here on the blog. There are over 2,100 people following now, so that’s a pretty decent bit of publicity, I think. (If you want, even include a sentence or two describing your blog, and I’ll include that with the shout-out.)

Also, I’ll be reposting this message several times over the next few weeks. If you didn’t read the Silmarillion, or are completely uninterested in helping with this, then go ahead and block the tag “sil guide help

Thank you all so much! I breathlessly await your feedback! And stay tuned for the upcoming Completely Awesome And Final Silmarillion Reader’s Guide.

artanisnerwen  asked:

Today I went to my local tolkien group for the first time, and one of the people there recommend your Silmarillion readers guide.

THAT IS SO COOL!!! The Silmarillion Reader’s Guide: taking over the world one small gathering of lovable nerds at at time. And, just to brag for a second, my latest check shows it’s been downloaded nearly 70,000 times (I mean, sure, some of that is the same people downloading it multiple times, but still!)

Anyway, for anyone who’s new and hasn’t heard of the reader’s guide, or is old and has forgotten where to find it, here you go.