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The Silmarillion

Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 0
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,528 ratings)

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Summary

A thoroughly enchanting tale that sets the trajectory for the cosmos of J.R.R. Tolkien's magnificent fantasy series Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Like the dark matter at the centre of every origin story, this is a must-listen for fans who want to delve deeper into this mythical world.

The complete unabridged audiobook of J.R.R Tolkien's The Silmarillion.

The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.

Included in the book are several shorter works. 'The Ainulindale' is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. 'The Akallabeth' recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and 'Of the Rings of Power' tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.

©2015 The Tolkien Estate and CR Tolkien (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?" ( The Guardian)
"Demanding to be compared with English mythologies...at times rises to the greatness of true myth." ( Financial Times)
"A creation of singular beauty...magnificent in its best moments." ( Washington Post)
"A grim, tragic, brooding and beautiful book, shot through with heroism and hope... its power is almost that of mysticism." ( Toronto Globe & Mail)

What listeners say about The Silmarillion

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awesome

fantastic listen, only issue is that in one of the (luckily) more boring chapters, the title replays about 20 times

41 people found this helpful

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Great but with random audio glitches...

Great way to read the silmarillion as the book itself can be a bit impregnable to read. Great performance as well, but one thing that did start to get a bit annoying was the frequency of audio glitches throughout. Examples being:

- Chapter intro music playing randomly mid chapter
-The chapter title repeatedly being said over the top of the narrator.
- Audio jumping in the final few chapters.

27 people found this helpful

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Great book. Shameful production.

The stories were great, but that's to Tolkien's credit and not the creators of the audiobook. Numerous times throughout the audiobook I encountered glitches in the track where suddenly the narrator would be repeating the title of the chapter or other pieces of the story in the background, thus resulting in near gibberish as the doubled tracks made it impossible to hear what was being said. I went back a few times to check if it had simply been my phone that glitched out but found that each instance of this glitch occurred consistently at the same timestamp. In other words it's a production error. And considering how many times this occurred, the production company have no excuse not to be absolutely ashamed of their work. Had it happened once I would have shrugged it off as a simple mistake, but when it happens just about a dozen times it becomes negligence. I recommend Tolkien's The Silmarillion, but I can't say I recommend this particular edition of the audiobook.

101 people found this helpful

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Martin Shaw

... Is the best casting decision I've seen on Audible to date. Can't praise the narration enough. As a kid reading it and ever since, the inflection and cadance I had in my mind is served up wonderfully by Martin Shaw. Two thumbs up.

12 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Truly loved it, though it was a struggle to get into at first. Martin Shaw helps bring to life one of my most beloved epics in such an engaging and atmospheric way.

11 people found this helpful

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Only for Tolkein fans.

If you aren't really into middle earth, this isn't for you, but personally I enjoyed it, it's well performed and interesting.

22 people found this helpful

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Get yourself a map

Brilliant, the world from the begining of middle earth. Do have a map handy though and perhaps a pen and paper to write some family trees. It certianly fills in a few blanks from There and Back Again.

14 people found this helpful

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A Tale of Good, Evil , Gods and Men

I've always wanted to read The Silmarillion, but could never get past the first chapter as the story was so complicated. Listening to it via Martin Shaw's soothing tones enabled me to keep a grip on the characters and plot. I may even read the book, now!

14 people found this helpful

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Great retelling of a mode, courtesy of Martin Shaw

A very accessible audio experience of a book onerous to read. Highly recommended if you enjoyed Lord of the Rings, and wanted more of the rich world of Middle Earth.

5 people found this helpful

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AWESOME

fantastic. Tolkien at his best The world of middle earth and full history
I believe

5 people found this helpful

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  • Brian
  • 22-11-18

Finally!

I’ve been waiting for a good audiobook version of the Silmarillion for a while. Here it is, and it’s great! The narrator does a good job, I think. You could argue that his delivery is a tad too stentorian or declamatory, but the text is a hard one to read naturally, and this way of reading it is not inappropriate. As far as I know, he gets all the pronunciations right, which is nice. The music may not win an academy award, but it feels appropriate in tone. The Silmarillion is not for everyone. Even people who consider themselves fans of The Lord of the Rings may find it pretty off-putting, because it’s written in an extremely “high mythic” style. But if you want to understand all the obscure references in LOTR and The Hobbit to the elder days (Gondolin, Elbereth, Eärendel, Gil-galad, etc), then this is the place to come. There are a few small audio glitches as of this writing, although they don’t impact the overall experience significantly. I’ve notified Audible about them and they say they are looking into it. [UPDATE: The audio glitches have been fixed as of January 2019.]

262 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Scooter
  • 16-02-19

Ponderous

I’m a big Tolkien fan. I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many times over the years but never The Simarillion. I wanted to know the back story but had never gotten around to reading it. The narrator’s voice was perfect for the material but lacked inflection and I found myself zoning out. I had to go back several times and listen to the chapters again. It’s ok for a Tolkien fan but I would not recommend for the casual reader.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-10-18

Remarkable in it's epic form,it's depth and beauty

My favorite Tolkien book. Great story telling. great theological and mythical exploration. tackles everything from the meaning of life through the problem of evil to the problem of free will.

45 people found this helpful

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  • James W.
  • 27-09-19

A collection of appendices, not a story

I was torn between giving this 3 or 4 stars. On the one hand, this book is an incredible work of imagination by one of the greatest authors of all time. This book provides a lot of history and context to the LOTR story. On the other hand, this book is not a single unified story such as the LOTR or the Hobbit. Rather, it is a collection of appendices that aren't really very interesting unless you are a diehard Tolkien fan. And even then ,this book takes a lot of effort and concentration to get through. In the end I gave it three stars because I think that is the most fair to let other readers know what to expect here. I should have read other reviews more carefully before reading this and I would have known more what to expect. I was expecting this to be a story set in an earlier time in the LOTR universe, but that is not what The Silmarillion is. I think that a better, more accurate (but probably much more mundane) title would have been "The Prequel Appendices to the LOTR", because that is exactly what this book is. Some of the chapters are easier to read than others. My favorite part was at the very end with the post-Isildur material and the short historical context of the LOTR saga. Understand that the chapters read a lot like a combination of a King James version of Genesis 1 and 2 and an encyclopedia article. The accounts are always overviews of events, and even in the tales that contain some more detailed action, you still get a very distant view of things. Overall, my advice would be to NOT read The Silmarillion like a regular book. That's not what it is. Instead, treat it like background material, and read like I would read the World Book Encyclopedia when I was a kid - just crack it open now and again and read an article at a time.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Anna M. Boley
  • 14-07-19

I couldn't do it

I've been forcing myself to try to finish this for weeks, I finally give up. I was excited to read this, I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books and loved them. I've read tons of books in my life, I by no means am a light reader. But this book will drive me mad! It's almost impossible to follow, continuous repetition of so and so son of so and so. It reads like a textbook, I would have to take notes and cross reference just to get a grasp of the content. While I will eventually finish it only because it's a Tolkien I don't think I will ever revisit it as I have his other tales numerous times. I realize he never finished this story and it was released by his son, perhaps there's a reason he didn't release it? Die hard fans only.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Castellano
  • 22-10-18

One of the best readings I've ever heard

This is, by far, one of the best readings of the best books I've ever heard! If you're familiar with Tolkien and haven't read this book, look no further than this audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw. I've listen to over a dozen male narrators of fantasy books (Michael Kramer is a good one, particularly his Mistborn performance), and no one has topped Martin Shaw's performance with the Silmarillion. I definitely recommend listening to this book and then actually reading it (if you want to read the hard copy or Kindle editions), as Shaw gives you the proper pronunciations of the literally hundreds of names of people and places. Also it would be a good idea to have a map of Beleriand/pre-LOTR Middle-earth handy while listening, as on the first listen it can become difficult to keep places straight. Beyond the performance, this is my favorite work of Tolkiens' to date. It has so much packed in, particularly the Ainulidale ( the first part) that I have gone back and listened to the whole book three times now, and the first part eight times. I'm so glad they brought this to the US store, as before it was only available in the UK Audible store and had to jump through a few hoops to get at it. It's worth every penny (or credit) and more to add this title to your collection! I can't recommend this highly enough. Enjoy!

124 people found this helpful

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  • Kyle cacurak
  • 30-10-18

classic

at first this is a difficult book to grasp however, after the second or third time through it's awesome!! normally it's not available for purchase in the US and,I travel to California for work and lo and behold it was available to purchase on Audibe. that was a great day!

14 people found this helpful

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  • TheSuz
  • 01-11-18

Finally!!!

I’ve been waiting forever for an English version of The Silmarillion! I was so close to learning German just so I can listen to this amazing book. The wait was worth it. Martin Shaw did an amazing job narrating and I shall listen to this about ten more times before deciding to go onto another book. Beautiful performance for a beautifully written piece of work.

86 people found this helpful

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  • Red
  • 03-12-18

Some tech flaws, still awesome.

It had some glitches, but overall it's a great retelling of my favorite JRRT story! I took a star off only for the audio issues. 5 stars to the narrator (even though he occasionally said 'Angbang' instead of 'Angband' because hey, I do that too.)! The audio overlaps only last about 15-20sec max at the start of one of the middle chapters. Great stuff, I listened twice in a little over a week!

19 people found this helpful

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  • Cameron
  • 21-11-18

The Hype is real.

This book lives up to its legend. Do your life a favor and give it a listen.

59 people found this helpful