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The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion. The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.


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The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion. The fourth volume that contains the early myths and legends which led to the writing of Tolkien's epic tale of war, The Silmarillion.

30 review for The Shaping of Middle-Earth

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-Earth #4), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Shaping of Middle-earth – The Quenta, The Ambarkanta and The Annals (1986) is the fourth volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. A collection of maps and diagrams of the world described by Tolkien; and the Annals of Valinor and Beleriand, chronological works which started The Shaping of Middle-Earth (The History of Middle-Earth #4), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Shaping of Middle-earth – The Quenta, The Ambarkanta and The Annals (1986) is the fourth volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth in which he analyses the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. A collection of maps and diagrams of the world described by Tolkien; and the Annals of Valinor and Beleriand, chronological works which started out as timelines but gradually turned into full narratives. 1 - Prose fragments following the Lost Tales — brief, uncompleted texts which continue on from The Book of Lost Tales. 2 - The earliest Silmarillion — also referred to as the Sketch of the Mythology, this is the start of the Silmarillion proper. 3 - The Quenta — a further developed version of the Sketch, the first full narrative since the Tales. 4 - The first Silmarillion map — a reproduction of the first map of Beleriand. 5 - The Ambarkanta — cosmological essays, maps, and diagrams. 6 - The earliest Annals of Valinor. 7 - The earliest Annals of Beleriand تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه آوریل سال 2010 میلادی عنوان: شکل دادن سرزمین میانه: کتاب چهارم از تاریخ سرزمین میانه؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر. تالکین؛ ادیتور: کریستوفر تالکین؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20 م چهارمین جلد از سری «تاریخ سرزمین میانه» به بیان نکات جغرافیایی، و جزئیات منطقه ای دنیای خیالی «تالکین»، از ابتدای طرح، تا شکل فعلی آنها میپردازد، همچنین نقشه های نخستین دورانهای مختلف و نمودارهایی، برای توضیحات بیشتر، در فصلهای مختلف این کتاب موجود بوده، که خوانشگر را با خامترین طرحهای «تالکین»، تا دلپذیرترین آنها آشنا میسازد. این مجلد نخستین بار، با عنوان: «شکل دادن سرزمین میانه»، در ماه آگوست سال 1986 میلادی در انگلستان، و در ماه نوامبر همانسال در آمریکا، منتشر شده است. ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    On to volume 4 of the History of Middle-earth series and we are now starting to come to something that appears, in both form and content, much closer to what we ended up receiving as the published Silmarillion. In the first two volumes we were given Tolkien’s earliest drafts of the tales that would (albeit in an often much transformed manner) ultimately become the main stories of the First Age of Middle-earth all joined together by a narrative framing conceit that tied it in explicitly to our ow On to volume 4 of the History of Middle-earth series and we are now starting to come to something that appears, in both form and content, much closer to what we ended up receiving as the published Silmarillion. In the first two volumes we were given Tolkien’s earliest drafts of the tales that would (albeit in an often much transformed manner) ultimately become the main stories of the First Age of Middle-earth all joined together by a narrative framing conceit that tied it in explicitly to our own world’s history (an element that never actually left the tales, but became much less apparent as time wore on). Then we saw Tolkien shift into the composition of several major narrative epic poems that tackled some of the tales that were to prove to be favourites of his (which were, if not complete, at least fairly well fleshed out), along with many poetic fragments of other tales that, as is sadly a common case with Tolkien, never got very far in their composition. Now in this volume we see Tolkien shifting gears and once again composing prose in several different texts, though in a completely new format. The first of these texts is what Christopher Tolkien calls ‘The Sketch of the Mythology’ which is truly a bare bones precis of the history of the First Age designed as an accompaniment to the long ‘Lay of the Children of Hurin’ poem from the previous volume. Tolkien apparently hoped to have the poem considered for publication and sent along the sketch in order to fill in necessary details of the context of the poem and give minimal explanation of the many events and persons to which it alludes for a prospective editorial reader. Readers of the published Silmarillion will already see something they can recognize here, albeit with much less literary flair: a high level overview of the many adventures, peoples, and events that occurred in what was to become the First Age of Middle-earth. The next section, called ‘The Quenta’, seems to have evolved almost directly from the Sketch, though it represents a much fuller and more literary detailing of the same events. Instead of simply giving bare bones facts Tolkien allows his poetic side much more freedom and fleshes out details to the point where the text moves from mere summary to something akin to story. As the Tolkien Professor notes in his podcast on this volume some key elements that emerge in the later Silmarillion seem to have their origin here in the Quenta: Beren & Luthien get their somewhat happy ending with Luthien fully embracing the life of mortality (and ultimate eternal union with Beren beyond the circles of the world); Gondolin shifts from being a beacon of hope and place of final refuge for elves fleeing the wrath of Morgoth to an inward looking isolationist community sowing the seeds of its own destruction; and Earendil finally seems to live up to the messianic foreshadowings that have surrounded his birth from the beginning and becomes a successful messenger to the Valar on behalf of the beleaguered peoples of Middle-earth. It is in the Quenta that we probably see the closest analogue in Tolkien’s early writings to what the published Silmarillion became. Next come a series of maps and accompanying text called the ‘Ambarkanta’ that attempt to delineate not only geographical elements of Middle-earth, but many of the cosmological elements of it as well. I will admit to be largely confused by many parts of this, especially the various types of ‘seas’ that seem to surround and encompass Arda (Tolkien’s created world as whole) and their various roles in the cosmology based on their elemental composition. Tolkien obviously loved both geographical and cosmological details and could seemingly lose himself endlessly in their implications and development, something that was a double-edged sword: it allowed him to return to texts and ideas and refine them to a point where the reality of his sub-creation became truly impressive (something that has been noted elsewhere as nearly the equivalent of one man creating a body of work analogous to the mythological beliefs of an entire people); but it also diverted his attention from actually writing down his stories as he could get caught into endless details and the need to constantly refine and work out fully any and all implications of a given idea or concept. Finally are the two sets of annals: the ‘Annals of Valinor’ and the ‘Annals of Beleriand’, which each give another precis of the major events that occurred in Valinor and the later Elven kingdoms of Beleriand respectively in a year-by-year summary format. One other aspect of this volume that is intriguing is the inclusion of several Anglo-Saxon translations of some of these texts, a nod to the fact that the overarching idea of the early Elvish histories as the source of a truly ‘English mythology’ transmitted to us by a lone Anglo-Saxon mariner was still an important part of Tolkien’s overall view of his work. These are not stories that are meant to have taken place in 'another world', but are the earliest and forgotten histories of our own. It also shows us that far from being a diversion from his professional life as a philologist and scholar of Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien’s writings on Middle-earth were intimately connected with his professional studies and it seems likely that both aspects of his life deeply informed each other. It is indisputably true that his love of language was the ultimate well-spring of his many tales and, in some sense at least, his contention that they existed 'merely' to give his invented languages a reason to exist and people to speak them is not without merit. Not my favourite in the series so far, but a truly necessary text (for the Tolkien enthusiast) when considering the ultimate development of the Silmarillion proper in both form and content.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dru

    This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to see the evolution of the story; for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as a Hobbit (one of This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to see the evolution of the story; for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as a Hobbit (one of those who "went off into the blue with Gandalf" as alluded to in The Hobbit). But the downside to this is that it isn't very fun to read. You can only read yet another version of Beren and Luthien so many times before you're tired of seeing the miniscule changes from one version to the next. So, overall, I slogged through this over about a year. I'd say it was worth it in the end for someone like me who loves Tolkien and his entire created world of Arda (and Ea in general). But I'll never re-read them. They come off too much as seeming like Christopher Tolkien just bundled every scrap of paper he could find, rather than thinning them down into a logical consistency.

  4. 5 out of 5

    X

    This made the overall history of Middle-Earth clearer than the previous volumes of The Histories of Middle-Earth, though that may have been in part because this is essentially the third time I've read the stories in their various incarnations. Tolkien's writing is beautiful even in its unfinished form, and Christopher Tolkien's comments are insightful and explanatory as in the previous books. The maps were delightful, drawn by the Professor himself, and even if they were not entirely accurate f This made the overall history of Middle-Earth clearer than the previous volumes of The Histories of Middle-Earth, though that may have been in part because this is essentially the third time I've read the stories in their various incarnations. Tolkien's writing is beautiful even in its unfinished form, and Christopher Tolkien's comments are insightful and explanatory as in the previous books. The maps were delightful, drawn by the Professor himself, and even if they were not entirely accurate for the "final" writing, were still helpful and interesting. It also included some pages written in Old English, which although I couldn't read them, were still neat for the fact that they were in Old English, and were not so long as to make me feel like I had wasted my money buying a book I couldn't read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Sadly the reviews are starting to sound the same at this point, Tolkien’s original attention to detail, and his son’s research exposing the creation and growth of the story through multiple revisions and discarded or enhanced paths continues to amaze.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Regitze

    Several different stories detailing the creation of Middle-Earth, as usual with Christopher Tolkien's many notes and insights on the manuscripts, how they differ and maybe even why. This series is so nerdy, I love it. Several different stories detailing the creation of Middle-Earth, as usual with Christopher Tolkien's many notes and insights on the manuscripts, how they differ and maybe even why. This series is so nerdy, I love it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    The first part of the book describes, in the scrap-book fashion form, sketches of the phases of the birth of the mythology; i.e. explanations and annotations are organized as re-told text of previous versions of the stories that are published in official version of "The Silmarillion", along with some versions from "The Book of Lost Tales 1&2". The second part was real chocolate muffin for me. I literally devoured those pages. And in the passages that are part of "The Ambarkanta" much is told abo The first part of the book describes, in the scrap-book fashion form, sketches of the phases of the birth of the mythology; i.e. explanations and annotations are organized as re-told text of previous versions of the stories that are published in official version of "The Silmarillion", along with some versions from "The Book of Lost Tales 1&2". The second part was real chocolate muffin for me. I literally devoured those pages. And in the passages that are part of "The Ambarkanta" much is told about the shaping and re-modeling of Arda (that, of course, official version of "The Silmarillion" is lacking of) along with explanations about the Circles of the World and with six by Tolkien's hand drawn draft maps. Also, first and emended versions about creation and purpose of the Walls of the World and The Door of the Night are presented, and now perplexity (due to lack of logical explanations and links in previous versions) about this structures that tormented me is finally solved. The third part are early annals of Valinor and Beleriand - useful and interesting data that explain the same events but from different Valar/Elves time counting manner.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    Once again I feel like I am rereading part of JRR Tolkien’s Silmarrillion for the umpteenth time. I read these books to get some stories that somehow never made it to publication. What I get are differing versions of the same stories sometimes with similar event and at other times with different event. Though the names may change the song remains the same. In this volume Christopher gives us a tales from the Early Silmarilion, the Quenta, Ambarkanta, Earliest annals of Valinor and the Earliest An Once again I feel like I am rereading part of JRR Tolkien’s Silmarrillion for the umpteenth time. I read these books to get some stories that somehow never made it to publication. What I get are differing versions of the same stories sometimes with similar event and at other times with different event. Though the names may change the song remains the same. In this volume Christopher gives us a tales from the Early Silmarilion, the Quenta, Ambarkanta, Earliest annals of Valinor and the Earliest Annals of Beleriend. This volume takes us all the way till the end of the first age. Starting with the Valar coming down to Arda and Melkor’s rebellion. We are taken through the capturing of Melkor by Tulkas and the awakening of the Elves an being lead to Valinor by Orome the Vala of the Hunt. We are told how when Melkor was released he deceives the Noldoli called Gnomes into turning against the Valar. Oh by the way there were three groups of elves that came to Valinor. The Quenda, who were lead by Ingwe, Teleri, and the Noldoli, who were lead by Finwe. By the way with the Noldoli there are enough names beginning with F to remember that it can get rather confusing. In any case after Melkor is freed he goes about destroying the two trees with the help of Ungoliant. From them the Silmarrion are created. He covets those as well and steals them. Later on when Ungoliant and Melkor feud over splitting the Silmarils, Melkor slays Ungoliant. Melkor holes up in Angaband creating Orcs, Balrogs and Dragon. Feanor who crafted the Jewels wants them back so he and his Noldoli steal ships from the Teleri and go there. The Gods try to stop them and make them ask for pardon but to no avail. They reach the northern wastelands and wage war against Angaband. Gothmog the head Balrog clays Feanor and Maidros his eldest son his hung suspended by his wrist only to be rescued later on. Manwe in the mean time send Throndor the Eagle to keep an eye on things. The Valar have disavowed the Noldoli who went to the Earth. Aule is especially upset with them. Over the years there will be many battle/ The tale of Beren and Luthien is retold as is the Lay of Hurin’s Chikldren. The Fall of Gondolin is reiterated once again as well. At least this time we are treated to a conclusion. Beren and Luthien gave birth to Elwing , while Tuor and Idril would give birth to Earedel. Survivors of Gondolin and Thingols realm would marry and from that birth Dior would be born. Maidros a son of feanor vows to ge the Silmarils back and there is a fight. Elwing takes off in the flight of a bird while Earedel builds Wingalot, a swan shaped boat. Earedel will contact the Valar on behalf of man and elf and Manwe’s son will take on Melkor. We all know the end that evil loses and good wins but there is a prophecy that the light of the two tree Silpion and Laurelin will return, the Gods will reign over all and man and elf shall dwell side by in the end of days. All this happens after Melkor’s return and a final battle. Until then Melkor is locked beyond the doors of time bound by hand and foot.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Pryor

    Magisterial, profound, important.

  10. 4 out of 5

    D-day

    Volume 4 of the History of Middle Earth comes with the usual disclaimer for this series- this is for Tolkien enthusiast only. The Shaping Of Middle-Earth still has some fascinating insights but the reader is definitely treading familiar ground here. We have three more iterations of the Silmarillion stories, each time getting closer to their final form. However going through the same material again with only slight differences can get a little dry even for devotees. Beyond that there is a section Volume 4 of the History of Middle Earth comes with the usual disclaimer for this series- this is for Tolkien enthusiast only. The Shaping Of Middle-Earth still has some fascinating insights but the reader is definitely treading familiar ground here. We have three more iterations of the Silmarillion stories, each time getting closer to their final form. However going through the same material again with only slight differences can get a little dry even for devotees. Beyond that there is a section on the earliest maps of Beleriand. I love maps, but this proved disappointing as my edition seemed to be missing two of the maps. Grrr! There is also included some translations of portions of the stories into Anglo-Saxon, and although I am a hardcore fan, I am not that hardcore to learn to read Anglo Saxon! There will be some new material next time though as Tolkien expands his legendarium into the second age!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nonethousand Oberrhein

    Sketches and Annals of the First Age Once again (after Vol.1 , Vol.2 and Vol.3 ), Christopher Tolkien transports us in the First Age, sifting through the mare magnum of his father's notes. Far from being redundant, the new documents from which The Silmarillion derived, elucidate some of the obscure points in the originally published mythology, while at the same time unveiling the huge creative work behind the creation of the fantastic world of Middle-Earth. A special treat for the O Sketches and Annals of the First Age Once again (after Vol.1 , Vol.2 and Vol.3 ), Christopher Tolkien transports us in the First Age, sifting through the mare magnum of his father's notes. Far from being redundant, the new documents from which The Silmarillion derived, elucidate some of the obscure points in the originally published mythology, while at the same time unveiling the huge creative work behind the creation of the fantastic world of Middle-Earth. A special treat for the Old-English enthusiasts: to fuel the Ælfwine of England narrative, small parts of the Annals were translated in Old-English!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    The Shaping of Middle-Earth is second only to the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien for the purpose of explaining the science (social, political, psychological) behind the evolution of Tolkien's ficticious world. It also contains flat out statements by Tolkien as to much of his imagery, statements which quickly end the majority of ill-conceived concepts proposed by armchair philosopher's. The Shaping of Middle-Earth is second only to the Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien for the purpose of explaining the science (social, political, psychological) behind the evolution of Tolkien's ficticious world. It also contains flat out statements by Tolkien as to much of his imagery, statements which quickly end the majority of ill-conceived concepts proposed by armchair philosopher's.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shaene Ragan

    If you love the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and are able to read Old English, this reveals an interesting identity for the Arkenstone of Thror. Tolkien uses the crafting of the Silmarillion in Old English to make a connection only a few readers might have stumbled across before.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Breana Melvin

    Good like the others but since I'm marathoning these this one felt repetitive and didn't deliever as much on geography as I had hoped it would. Good like the others but since I'm marathoning these this one felt repetitive and didn't deliever as much on geography as I had hoped it would.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Phew, tough cookie to chew. But I did, and swallowed it too. Very interesting, but intense.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    The book was a slog even for a J.R.R. Tolkien fan. And I wonder if I would have liked it more had I not already read the first three volumes of the series his son Christopher edited, The History of Middle-Earth. Basically, these are just various drafts of what would become perhaps my favorite Tolkien book, The Silmarillion. So it is interesting to see how that story evolved over time--and even to see how the master wrote some of his notes and annals in the language of the greatest poem of the Fir The book was a slog even for a J.R.R. Tolkien fan. And I wonder if I would have liked it more had I not already read the first three volumes of the series his son Christopher edited, The History of Middle-Earth. Basically, these are just various drafts of what would become perhaps my favorite Tolkien book, The Silmarillion. So it is interesting to see how that story evolved over time--and even to see how the master wrote some of his notes and annals in the language of the greatest poem of the First Millennium, Beowulf. Yup, he wrote in an older version of a great language, one that has not been spoken for maybe eight hundred years. We have also his son Christopher's notes where he basically notes the changes from one draft to another. It seems more as if he is sharing with his his thought process as he himself shaped his father's unfinished draft(s) of The Silmarillion into their final marvelous form. An interesting book, but not nearly as fascinating as the first three volumes in this series. And maybe that is because, as I said at the outset, I had already read those book. A window into the evolution of a mythology which feels as real (in The Silmarillion) as do many of the great legends this doctor of mythology (yes, I have a PhD in Mythological Studies) has read over the years. There is a reason Tolkien's tales resonate with so many.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Octavia Cade

    I read this with mild enjoyment and some interest. At this point I've almost stopped caring about the narrative itself (although, reading through these histories, I'm so bombarded with repetition that even Fucking Turin comes to be slightly affecting, which at this point I can only put down to Stockholm Syndrome). No such sympathy for the house of Fucking Fëanor, though, who should have been drowned at birth, the whole wretched clan of them, obsessed with their own bling as they are. Say it with I read this with mild enjoyment and some interest. At this point I've almost stopped caring about the narrative itself (although, reading through these histories, I'm so bombarded with repetition that even Fucking Turin comes to be slightly affecting, which at this point I can only put down to Stockholm Syndrome). No such sympathy for the house of Fucking Fëanor, though, who should have been drowned at birth, the whole wretched clan of them, obsessed with their own bling as they are. Say it with me, people: lives are more important than jewellery. The interest here lies not so much in the characters, however, but in how Tolkien's perception of them changes (or doesn't) as the years go on. This book basically traces the evolution of the stories, from very early sketches to the most complete forms available, and as a writer myself - albeit not one at Tolkien's level - I do find that interesting. Also: he is more of a nerd than I ever thought, translating his own stories into Old English my God, man, just how much time did you have on your hands?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ulysses

    This volume of The History of Middle-Earth is of solely historical interest. Its main and perhaps only function is to illuminate the numerous slight incremental changes over time in the very earliest versions of the Tolkien legendarium that were later consolidated as The Silmarillion. However, the versions in this volume (which date to the 1930s, still well before the writing of The Lord of the Rings) are among the most primitive and underdeveloped; the versions described in volumes 10 (Morgoth' This volume of The History of Middle-Earth is of solely historical interest. Its main and perhaps only function is to illuminate the numerous slight incremental changes over time in the very earliest versions of the Tolkien legendarium that were later consolidated as The Silmarillion. However, the versions in this volume (which date to the 1930s, still well before the writing of The Lord of the Rings) are among the most primitive and underdeveloped; the versions described in volumes 10 (Morgoth's Ring) and 11 (The War of the Jewels) are more fleshed-out and readable for non-historians. Furthermore, this volume contains none of the "B-sides and rarities" (i.e. content previously unpublished in any form) that Christopher Tolkien included in HoME volumes 10 + 11, meaning that unless one has a burning need to know when and where the name of a given character or place in The Silmarillion evolved from its initial sketch version to the next version (which itself would evolve later into what we know from The Silmarillion), there is little to see here.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Viel Nast

    he shaping of middle earth have many interesting and never before seen features for the Tolkien fun. We are still in the first age reading many different versions of the Silmarillion but this book contains sketches of early maps made by the professor himself depicting arda before the cataclysm when it was flat! There is a huge section with poems in ancient English non readable by non-experts and of course there are many (really many) comments and explanations by the editor. The books contains de he shaping of middle earth have many interesting and never before seen features for the Tolkien fun. We are still in the first age reading many different versions of the Silmarillion but this book contains sketches of early maps made by the professor himself depicting arda before the cataclysm when it was flat! There is a huge section with poems in ancient English non readable by non-experts and of course there are many (really many) comments and explanations by the editor. The books contains descriptions of the lands of beleriand and valinor and some unknown facts and twists for the already known stories (beren and luthien, turin, tuor and earandel). Although not so difficult to read as previous tomes it is still focused on hard core funs who want to learn every bit of information available for their beloved middle earth despite the many hours of tedious reading. If you have just seen the movies stay away!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackson Compton

    I enjoyed parts of this book. The thing that dragged it down was the fact that I seemed to be rereading summaries of events in The Silmarillion over and over again. There was evidence of development of the mythology, as shown by Christopher Tolkien, but nothing really memorable or really interesting. Just a lot of name changes and date changes. The most interesting part for me was The Earliest Annals of Beleriand. This was interesting because it provided dates for all big events. This helped me I enjoyed parts of this book. The thing that dragged it down was the fact that I seemed to be rereading summaries of events in The Silmarillion over and over again. There was evidence of development of the mythology, as shown by Christopher Tolkien, but nothing really memorable or really interesting. Just a lot of name changes and date changes. The most interesting part for me was The Earliest Annals of Beleriand. This was interesting because it provided dates for all big events. This helped me to get a bigger picture of the First Age of Middle Earth. Overall, if you bought the History of Middle Earth Collection and are debating reading this one, just read through The Earliest Annals of Beleriand chapter and call it a day.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Warren Dunn

    As with the previous books in this series, this one takes the various drafts of The Silmarillion and shows its development towards the final form. This is the first time, however, that the book actually takes on the style that it would have when it was eventually published. In The Book of Lost Tales, these were stories told to a visitor to the island of the elves, far in the future. The Lays of Beleriand showed the tales of Beren and of Turin in poetic form. There was also a small fragment of la As with the previous books in this series, this one takes the various drafts of The Silmarillion and shows its development towards the final form. This is the first time, however, that the book actually takes on the style that it would have when it was eventually published. In The Book of Lost Tales, these were stories told to a visitor to the island of the elves, far in the future. The Lays of Beleriand showed the tales of Beren and of Turin in poetic form. There was also a small fragment of later tales such as Gondolin and Earendil. This book, however, shows us a couple of summaries of the whole story of the Silmarillion, and it brings the drafts to the form they were in when The Hobbit was written. http://ossuslibrary.tripod.com/Bk_Fan...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Redman

    The Shaping of Middle-Earth, Histories vol 4. Concentrates on the chronology and geographical structure of the legends of Middle-Earth. We get the earliest version of The Silmarillion, The Quenta and the first-ever Simarillion map. To finish off this volume, we get the earliest annals of Valinor and Beleriand. All of the above together makes for a fascinating insight into the development of Middle-Earth and the mind of professor Tolkien. On the downside, the early development of the Silmarillion The Shaping of Middle-Earth, Histories vol 4. Concentrates on the chronology and geographical structure of the legends of Middle-Earth. We get the earliest version of The Silmarillion, The Quenta and the first-ever Simarillion map. To finish off this volume, we get the earliest annals of Valinor and Beleriand. All of the above together makes for a fascinating insight into the development of Middle-Earth and the mind of professor Tolkien. On the downside, the early development of the Silmarillion does become a bit repetitive! What it does, is demonstrate the richness of Tolkien’s mythology. Not the easiest nor the best of The Histories volumes but worth tackling, if you're into the development of the mythology. 3.5 stars

  23. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

    Want to read 5+ summaries of the same stories that you've already read multiple full versions of? Then this is the book for you! Overall, it's very helpful for filling out the picture of the development of Tolkien's world-building, but the story isn't new and it's written as summary, not prose, so it loses all the charms of the previous books. I did enjoy the end sections of QII, and I thought ABII was an especially helpful bird's eye view of the story. Also, this book has the most interesting m Want to read 5+ summaries of the same stories that you've already read multiple full versions of? Then this is the book for you! Overall, it's very helpful for filling out the picture of the development of Tolkien's world-building, but the story isn't new and it's written as summary, not prose, so it loses all the charms of the previous books. I did enjoy the end sections of QII, and I thought ABII was an especially helpful bird's eye view of the story. Also, this book has the most interesting maps. Worth owning, and if you really want the full picture of the development of the legendarium, it's worth a one-time read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Thijs

    At the beginning of each of the volumes in the Complete History I am loathe to yet again tackle ANOTHER version of the Silmarillion. Yet again Christopher manages to arrange the material in such an interesting an different version that before long I am drawn into the story yet again, seeing what twists Tolkien devised this time and the insight into his mind. What especially stood out to me at this time was the maps, which shows his development as much as anything. And I love me a good map. Also be At the beginning of each of the volumes in the Complete History I am loathe to yet again tackle ANOTHER version of the Silmarillion. Yet again Christopher manages to arrange the material in such an interesting an different version that before long I am drawn into the story yet again, seeing what twists Tolkien devised this time and the insight into his mind. What especially stood out to me at this time was the maps, which shows his development as much as anything. And I love me a good map. Also be prepared to read Old English too (or in my case just skip over that part)

  25. 4 out of 5

    C.E.

    A fascinating look at how Middle-Earth came to be. I would recommend this for only the most ardent Tolkien fans, or writers looking for world-building inspiration. The book is fairly dry reading, as it's basically a collection of summaries/history. I'm a huge Tolkienite, but even I skimmed a lot of the notes. However, some of the content was truly mind-expanding. I appreciated the timelines for Tolkien's world, and I got to know more about Beleriand and how everything interconnected. Thus, "The A fascinating look at how Middle-Earth came to be. I would recommend this for only the most ardent Tolkien fans, or writers looking for world-building inspiration. The book is fairly dry reading, as it's basically a collection of summaries/history. I'm a huge Tolkienite, but even I skimmed a lot of the notes. However, some of the content was truly mind-expanding. I appreciated the timelines for Tolkien's world, and I got to know more about Beleriand and how everything interconnected. Thus, "The Shaping of Middle-Earth" is a great study in Tolkien's lore and world-building.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rossrn Nunamaker

    This volume of HoME covers the early part of the Silmarillion. In the preface Christopher Tolkien writes, "My object is to try to show, and not merely impressionistically, how Middle-Earth and its history was built up gradually and delicately, and how a long series of small shifts or combinations would often lead to the emergence of new and unforeseen structures..." I think he does a good job of this, and this take is what I enjoy about the entire series. This volume of HoME covers the early part of the Silmarillion. In the preface Christopher Tolkien writes, "My object is to try to show, and not merely impressionistically, how Middle-Earth and its history was built up gradually and delicately, and how a long series of small shifts or combinations would often lead to the emergence of new and unforeseen structures..." I think he does a good job of this, and this take is what I enjoy about the entire series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hew La France

    It's always difficult to rate these "History of Middle-Earth", primarily because it's all comprised of material which Tolkien either A. hadn't finished, or B. hadn't published for one reason or another. Regardless of one's opinion of the material, it is a fascinating look into Tolkien's mind, and the commentary provided by Christopher Tolkien is certainly fascinating. It's always difficult to rate these "History of Middle-Earth", primarily because it's all comprised of material which Tolkien either A. hadn't finished, or B. hadn't published for one reason or another. Regardless of one's opinion of the material, it is a fascinating look into Tolkien's mind, and the commentary provided by Christopher Tolkien is certainly fascinating.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marten

    Still incredibly interesting and insightful, this book however has a lot of boring crap. I mean at this point we’ve read the history of middle earth twice and this book has us read the history another 5 times. Along with a bunch of Old English crap you can’t even read. So, while it’s still ridiculously informative, at this point it’s like being on a hamster wheel.

  29. 5 out of 5

    William Cardini

    Reading the full text of two drafts of The Silmarillion in this book, the Sketch of the Mythology and the Quenta Noldorinwa, gives me a greater appreciation of what Christopher Tolkien has done for the separate books Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin, where he presents selections from these early drafts without showing all the layers of edits in footnotes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gergely

    Rather tedious reading and a lot of notes to keep track of, but fascinating if you get into the details, and the Old English annals are wonderful.

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