This is a book, like The Lord of the Rings, that I think I will appreciate more each time I read it. The only time I’d read it before this was my senior year of high school during the height of my LOTR fervor, and it entirely overwhelmed me. I remember I had to have a notebook near me while reading on which I drew a lot of family trees. I had a need to keep all the elves and endless descendants of Beor straight. That was a losing battle (for me, at least; not for Stephen Colbert, apparently). This time, I just embraced that I wasn’t going to be able to remember the difference between Finarfin and Fingolfin, and which one was Galadriel’s dad, and which one’s son ruled Gondolin and which one Nargothrond, etc. etc. It went much easier for me focusing on both the bigger picture and not worrying too much about keeping all of it in my head at the same time.
It also helped going into this with the mentality that this is not a novel but an entire world and creation myth and mythology that Tolkien was building. I love fictional worldbuilding, and fictional history, so with that mindset I had a great time with this book. It made me want to go back in to the Appendices in The Lord of the Rings for another re-read (they are a nerdy great time). I think it also helped that I wasn’t reading the tiny mass market paperback this time around, but a big beautiful illustrated hardcover edition with thick glossy pages and fancy font.
I’m really not going to say anything about the contents of this tome because a) There is too much of it, and b) I am inadequate to the task at present. This did its job of getting me pumped for the new TV show as well. I can’t wait to see some of this crap on screen. Into the re-read rotation goes The Silmarillion! A sentence I never thought I’d type. Glad I gave it a second shot. I might even try to dive into the hardcore Middle Earth histories after this. We’ll see!