El Anillo de Morgoth by J.R.R. Tolkien

lightning_revolver's review against another edition

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challenging dark informative mysterious reflective slow-paced


An intensive look at ‘what might have been’ in the Silmarillion, if Tolkien’s later metaphysical wrestling had been implemented (the difficulty of such a task notwithstanding).

There are intriguing passages throughout and many essays that shed light on the depth of Tolkien’s commitment to his sub-creation.

At the end, however, one can’t help feeling a wistfulness and longing (very Elvish, perhaps!) for the Silmarillion that never quite came together in Tolkien’s lifetime.

neilrcoulter's review against another edition

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When I started [b:Morgoth's Ring|18963|Morgoth's Ring The Later Silmarillion, Part One The Legends of Aman (The History of Middle-earth #10)|J.R.R. Tolkien||4992849], I thought it was going to be one of the dullest and least interesting of the History of Middle-Earth series. But by the time I finished it, I regarded it as one of the most fascinating volumes yet--one of my favorites in the series. The opening section of the book concerns times and dates, and while it's tangentially interesting, I struggled to do more than skim it. Though [a:Tolkien|9533|Christopher Tolkien|] was jubilant about the significant changes his father was introducing, I honestly couldn't see huge significance in many of them. This was also true of many of the changes and minutiae discussed in the following section, from "the later Silmarillion."

But then came the story of the debate of Finrod and Andreth. Wow. This was one of the most interesting sections yet presented in the History series. I loved reading [a:Tolkien|656983|J.R.R. Tolkien|]'s working out of the philosophy and structure of the mythology that he had spent most of his life creating. The very Christian ideas that are starting to come to the surface were fascinating, as Tolkien delved further into his idea of Elvish immortality and Eru's "gift" to men of short lives in this world but no-one-in-Arda-knows what part in the next world. And there is a poignance to Tolkien's reflections, as he wrestles with issues of life and death. I enjoyed this section more now that I'm entering mid-life myself than I would have when I was younger. The fears and doubts Tolkien expresses resonate with anyone who is looking at half (or less) of life in this world yet to live.

Two major themes emerge from this volume. One is the conflict between the perfect, unfallen world ("Arda Unmarred") and the world as it now is ("Arda Marred")--with the possibility that the end of time will see not a simple return to Arda Unmarred, but a new, third kind of Arda of perfection. The words of Manwë, in the decision about the remarriage of Finwë, are especially powerful:

'In this matter you must not forget that you deal with Arda Marred--out of which ye brought the Eldar. Neither must ye forget that in Arda Marred Justice is not Healing. Healing cometh only by suffering and patience, and maketh no demand, not even for Justice. Justice worketh only within the bonds of things as they are, accepting the marring of Arda, and therefore though Justice is itself good and desireth no further evil, it can but perpetuate the evil that was, and doth not prevent it from the bearing of fruit in sorrow.' (239)

The second theme of the writings in this book is the idea that Morgoth's power is an inseparable part of the material fabric of Middle Earth. The extent of his evil taint on the world is beginning to seem overwhelming. In the later Silmarillion, Tolkien writes:

[The Valar] perceived now more clearly how great was the hurt that Melkor of old had done to the substance of Arda, so that all those who were incarnate and drew the sustenance of their bodies from Arda Marred, must ever be liable to grief, to do or to suffer things unnatural in Arda Marred. And this marring could not now be wholly undone, not even by Melkor repentant; for power had gone forth from him and could not be recalled, but would continue to work according to the will that had set it in motion. And with this thought a shadow passed over the hearts of the Valar, presage of the sorrows which the Children should bring into the world." (258-59)
And so Tolkien supposes that all of Arda is like "Morgoth's ring," the location of his evil power, in the same way that Sauron's ring contained Sauron's (lesser) power in one specific location. The inevitability of evil and hurt as long as the world endures is a burden that weighs down the thoughts and conversations in a number of the stories and writings in Morgoth's Ring.

The final section of writings in this book continue to look at these issues, as well as the origin of the orcs (which Tolkien is clearly struggling with--what are they and where did they come from? Every possible answer carries a number of difficult implications) and the physical origins of Arda. It's interesting to see Tolkien struggling to figure out if his mythology should continue with its first origin stories, or if he should re-work the creation account to be more in line with scientific observation of our own world. This especially raises problems for the beginning of the Sun and Moon. I understand Tolkien's doubts, but it made me sad to think he would try to fit his mythology into the real-world cosmology.

And having completed this volume, I now have only two more to go in the History of Middle-Earth! It's quite a journey, and I'm enjoying almost every part.

Side note: Christopher Tolkien is a very capable academic writer, so it's rare to catch a typo in his books. That made this little one all the more enjoyable: ". . . and some sentences do not seems to be correct" (350).

dorynickel's review against another edition

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Parts 4 and 5 of this book are excellent. After reading the same stories over and over, it's nice to read some fresh material.

Even though by the time you get to this book you've read the Silmarillion stories 100 times over, in this book you start getting some interesting revisions and some of the author's comparisons to LOTR, so all in all I still enjoyed Parts 1 through 3.

nonabgo's review against another edition

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After the account of the development of The Lord of the Rings, book 10 of the series goes back to the early mythology and gives the later versions of the Ainulindale, the Later Quenta and some quite interesting essays about eldar mythology. Of particular interest is "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth", which is a discussion between the elf and a human woman regarding the fate of men and their short lifespan. It's a reinterpretation of the myth of the fall of man. And while I'm not a fan of these religious reinterpretations, these essays offer an insight into what Tolkien imagined the lives of elves, men and orcs beyond what escapes from the published books. I recommend this one especially for the second half, which is all new material.

mimirtells's review against another edition

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5/5 Stars. (%92/100)

The History of Middle-Earth is a 12 book series I really need to collect. Sadly, I have the physical copy of this book only even though I've read the others or at least checked them out. However, this is probably my favourite out of all. "Just as Sauron concentrated his power in the One Ring, Morgoth dispersed his power into the very matter of Arda, thus the whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring" (One of my favourite quotations from the book)

The book is split into six parts:
1) 1951 revisions of Tolkien about The Silmarillion. You can compare and contrast with the earlier versions.

2)Annals of Aman: The detailed explanation of the creation of the world. There are also a great deal of information about the First Age and the concept of time in Valian Years.

3)Laws and Customs among the Eldar: As it can be understood from the title it talks about the customs of the elves especially about the names and how they breed. Tolkien also talks about the idea of soul and body here.

4)Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: One of my favourite chapters in the book. Finrod Felagund and a mortal woman Andreth talk about the issue of immortality by comparing the lives of Elves and Men.

5)Tale of Adanel: This is Tolkien's version of the original sin. (Adam and Eve) Andreth is the one who tells the story to Felagund.

6)Myths Transformed: My favourite chapter of the book because it deals with Morgoth (Melkor), Sauron, and the origin of the Orcs. There are lots of useful and important information in this chapter.

Overall, it is a brilliant book and as I said before, it is my favourite in The History of Middle-Earth.

avalydia's review against another edition

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I made the mistake of reading this after rereading The Silmarillion, so unfortunately it felt like I was reading multiple versions of the same thing with only slight variations. There were some interesting sections, especially Finrod and Andreth's debate over the lifespan of Men, as well as the fragments from Tolkien's later thoughts concerning the mythology of Middle-earth and his writings on the evil of Morgoth, but overall not the most captivating of reads.

alifanr's review against another edition

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"Do candles pity moths? ' 'Or moths candles, when the wind blows them out?'", the only book i've read in History of Middle-earth series for it has Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth in it, my all-time favorite side-story in any Tolkien's works.

jeremie_p's review against another edition

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informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A


slferg's review against another edition

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Fascinating look at the thoughts and evolving ideas of the author.

pennwing's review against another edition

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challenging informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A