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The Silmarillion

Written by: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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Publisher's 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

What the critics say

"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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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One of the best books in the English cannon!

Thank you audible for finally offering one of the best books ever written! This book is always a delight, and the narrator is perfect for the text's mythic flavour.

I recommend listening to this with a list of names or appendix to hand, if you are new to the history of Tolkien's world.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A truly epic tale, just not good as an audiobook

I listen to audiobooks on my daily commute. The Silmarillion is a truly epic tale, and I have no complaints about the narrator, but this compendium of stories is simply too dense to really process as an audiobook while driving. There are so many characters and names of places that are constantly being added that it's nearly impossible to keep them all straight in my head. Add to that the fact that this book sometimes refers to the same character by different (i.e., dwarven, elvish, or common-tongue) names, and it gets even more confusing. The stories themselves are interesting and add a lot to the Tolkien universe, but I would recommend consuming this story in book form before listening to the audio, simply because of its complexity.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing.

A sorrowful tale spoken with majesty and skill by the narrator. Well worth the time.

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beaucoup de description

un peu trop long à mon goût et tu te perds un peu dans le nom des personnages et des endroits

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Pronunciation Issues Aside, a Brilliant Rendering

As narrator, Martin Shaw could make the Apple Terms of Agreement interesting - a crucial skill when tackling a text that at times reads more like a religious tome than a story. There are significant issues with the pronunciation of Quenya/Sindarin terms (Taniquetil, Iluvatar, Teleri, etc.), but this doesn't diminish the quality of the story itself, nor the accessibility it provides to this dense, complex and wondrous history of Tolkien's Middle-earth. Backstory at its very best.

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Silmarillion is the bomb.

It seems that the narrator's whole goal was to pronounce all the names very perfectly; it felt like the names were over-enunciated. I thought he could have brought a little more feeling to the climactic moments. But still, the Silmarillion is awesome.

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  • Pam
  • 2019-01-02

a story of woe and beauty

optional = mandatory? be consistent Amazon & Audible. so I days to Mayble I says.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Seattle, WA USA
  • 2018-11-22

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.]

90 of 94 people found this review helpful

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  • TheSuz
  • 2018-11-01

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.

68 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Castellano
  • 2018-10-22

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!

73 of 78 people found this review helpful

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  • Scooter
  • 2019-02-16

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-10-15

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Kyle cacurak
  • 2018-10-30

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!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Cameron
  • 2018-11-21

The Hype is real.

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

45 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Red
  • Turn Around
  • 2018-12-03

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!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-05-25

Awesome book

Sometimes I could hear the chapter name spoken in the middle of the chapter. Apart from this weird error, awesome book!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Soul
  • 2016-12-09

Pretty good

For some reason part of the audiobook is weird. in that it repeats the title of the chapter throughout the whole chapter. which is annoying. otherwise, great book!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Roel Vinckens
  • 2017-07-15

Masterfull

What the Old Testament is to the New, The Silmarillion is to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. From the making of the universe, Ea, and the world, Arda; true the history of Dwarfs and Elfs and Men and the various battles between good and evil in the first tree ages; to the dawn of the fourth age and the unexpected role of the Halflings: this is a must-read for all who love Middle Earth.
Martin Shaws performance is outstanding and more than just a great help in the lecture of this work. It brings this history to life. You can read along or close your eyes and watch the stories unfold in all their splendour. So great an experience that I will probably start anew tomorrow...
A sincere thank you to JRR and Christopher Tolkien and to Martin Shaw.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel Nichola
  • 2019-06-29

A Masterpiece of an audio book!

The Silmarillion, one of the greatest books ever written, is made more interesting thanks to the narration of Martin Shaw. A must have indeed!

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  • Onirik
  • 2017-09-21

bien

voix agréable. ton chantant. merci musique fin de chapitre inutile. car parfois elle y est parfois non.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful