Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad
I’ve waited for a bit before putting my thoughts down about this chapter. I’ve digested it, as well as my feelings, so here goes: I can see why you don’t want people to read the Silmarillion first. It’s a story that gets worse and worse. People may turn away from it early out of boredom, or turn away from it later out of disgust. The Silmarillion may be beautiful, well written, and intense, but it is also a horrible story. Up to the story of Beren and Luthien I had hopes that there would be some beautiful or adventurous stories with happier (even if just temporarily so) moments or endings in the midst of the devastation. As you know, I was heartily disappointed by the story of Beren and Luthien and upon returning to the mass destruction and slaughter of the story in the account of the Fifth Battle, I’m ready to put the Silmarillion down for good. I’m not going to–even though I suspect the story gets worse. It’s just overkill. Okay, Tolkien, we get it, the Elves are going to pay for the kin-slaying, the curse is going to work its way to the end, everyone (or nearly) is going to die, Belariand is going to be destroyed, the quest for the Silmarils will be the destruction of everyone. Thanks for the story of how justice and fate work hand in hand to make sure everyone pays for their sins in the end. Interesting? Yes. Well-written? Almost always. One of the worst stories I’ve ever read? You bet. I mean, didn’t Herman Melville write a story earlier this century (or was it last century?) about a man’s mad quest for a white whale and how that quest was his ruin? Sound familiar? It’s like Tolkien had to do the same thing, but on a grander scale. The Silmarils are the object that are being sought after and they are the ruin of everything. I’m sorry, I’m just not a masochist. I don’t take pleasure in this sort of thing. Help me out, all you Silmarillion lovers, what is it about the Silmarillion that draws you to it? Is it the Silmarillion in light of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Is the LOTR trilogy what makes it all seem okay, and even enjoyable? I’ll be checking the messageboard, so head over there and write down a few lines on why you like the Silmarillion. After the Fifth Battle, I need some encouragement to keep going.
till next time,