Silmarillion Blues Update

Sometimes it’s just easy to have this stuff written down for later reference.

The big Tolkien reading project, aka Silmarillion Blues, is still going strong and will be for some time to come.  As such, decisions need to be made on the progress of some things going forward so that those reading along with me can keep up.

As of right now, we’re nearing the end of Book 5, which means we’ll soon start Book 6.  What needs to be tracked from there are the Appendices.  The breakdown I have is as follows, straight out of the book:

Appendix A: I. The Númenorean Kings
Appendix A: II. The House of Eorl
Appendix A: III. Durin’s Folk
Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands)
Appendix C: Family Trees (Hobbits)
Appendix D: Calendars
Appendix E: I. Pronunciation of Words and Names
Appendix E: II. Writing
Appendix F: I. The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age
Appendix F: II. On Translation

Going into this, I realize two things to be self-evident.  The first is that blog posts on these sections are probably going to be tiny if we choose not to regurgitate the immense amount of detail Tolkien puts in here.  If we did, odds are we’d simply be copying line by line, and that seems silly.  The second is that, accordingly, the reading will take far longer than the blogging on these sections.

For all parts listed above, I propose one week each, with the following exceptions that need to be discussed.

Appendix A:I. is by far the longest section in this, broken apart as follows:

(i) Númenor
(ii) The Realms in Exile
(iii) Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur
(iv) Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion
(v) Here Follows a Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Of these, (ii) is really  short and (iv) is easily the longest subchapter.  I’m not opposed to doing a week on each of the subchapters, breaking them into two weeks (between iii and iv), or just hitting it all in one fell swoop.  I’m personally inclined to one subchapter per week, perhaps combining (i) and (ii) in the first week, but if we want to move faster we can.  Thoughts?

Appendix C: Family Trees (Hobbits) isn’t so much the kind of thing we can really blog about at all, unless we want to get truly granular with the six trees offered and start looking up as many personal histories as we can.  I think that’s excessive at this stage in the game.  I think it’s important to look over it, of course, and give the work its due, but I’m at a bit of a loss on what to write about it.  That being the case, I think we’re probably looking at the obligatory week for this, but essentially marking time on the blog post that week.

For Appendix E, parts I and II, we may have a similar issue.  Part I is certainly useful information to read and to have, but blogging after the fact is problematic.  Part II may indeed be the same issue as Part I, but as Tolkien constructed Middle-Earth via language, it demands our attention.  The problem is you pretty much have to be a linguist to be able to blog about it on any effective level.  My inclination is to mark time on the blog so as to have time to actually see what it is Tolkien has offered.  As to doing so for one week or two, I’ve not yet decided and am open to suggestions.

Following the Appendices, we’ll spend a week on the short illustrated book Bilbo’s Last Song, which is largely considered to be the unofficial epilogue to The Lord of the Rings.

After that comes the big question…

The entire point of this quest was to build to The Silmarillion so we could proceed into it with as full an understanding as is possible.  I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps The Silmarillion should actually be next in line, which would actually complete the quest without fully exploring all Middle-Earth has to offer.  I’m looking specifically at these sites as a reference and would appreciate input from others still on the quest:

If we opt to hit The Silmarillion at this point, I think the Unfinished Tales should be after that, and whatever else happens, the mammoth History of Middle-Earth series is the big finish.  Let’s be honest, that’s a quest in itself that will revisit much of the ground we’ll have already covered in potentially greater detail as much as it will offer us new paths.

Again, if you’re on this quest, please comment here, shoot me an email, or discuss on the private questing board.  Accordingly, I’ll be leaving a link to this post over at the board.  As soon as we finalize things, I’ll blog again here to set the record into digital stone.

Thanks, everyone.

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