I’ve always thought of The Silmarillion as one of my favourite books – although come to think of it, I don’t really remember it very well. I’m due a re-read.
But then I thought: how about, instead of waiting until the end and writing a review, I actually write up some thoughts as I go along? The Silmarillion should be uniquely well-suited to this sort of thing – I know the subject matter well enough that I don’t think I’ll mind pausing to write up my thoughts, and well enough that I may be able to have some insight, yet dustily enough that I might still be surprised along the way. And it’s conveniently divided into about thirty chapters – ideal for a month’s project!
Now, as some of the eagle-eyed will have noticed, it’s more than a quarter of the way through January and I’m only just starting. Part of this is the initial idea being too ambitious (a chapter a day, plus review? Unlikely), and part of it is real life getting in the way (the beginning of January is a bad time to start something…); part of it is also the shear interestingness of the Ainulindalë, about which so much could be written!
But I’m planning to go on with the project nonetheless, though I’m going to have to postpone some of what I want to say about the first chapter until later.
I’m hoping to try to be able to give my impressions of the writing, the story, and where appropriate also the themes and the ideas presented in the work (which is one reason the Ainulindalë is the worst place to start, because it’s very conceptual, and concepts take a lot of time to talk about).
I should say right from the beginning, however, that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m not a Tolkien expert. I’m not a literary expert, a historian, a student of mythology, a theologian, or anything like that. So please don’t get too annoyed if you think I’m talking nonsense – it probably wasn’t intentional.
LATER EDIT: unsurprisingly, project slippage has continued. I’ve been running into various distractions, both unavoidable and self-inflicted. I’m not sure how much I’m actually going to write about each chapter, or each block of chapters, and I’m not sure it’ll take me. But I’m going to carry on with it anyway. Hopefully something interesting will come out of it.