Lord Of The Rings: 10 Important Facts From The Silmarillion Every LOTR Fan Should Know
Watching the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy is an absolute thrill. The epic fantasy films capture the heart of J.R.R. Tolkien's grand, written masterpiece perfectly. However, if you've only seen the movies and not read the books, you are missing out on a heap of information about Middle-Earth.
This is especially true if you haven't read The Silmarillion, a compilation of stories Tolkien wrote detailing how the world of The Lord of the Rings came to be. Not to worry LOTR fans! We've got you covered! Read on if you want to know the most important facts from The Silmarillion without having to read the entire thing.
10 Eru Ilúvatar Makes The World
Tolkien's world has its very own ultimate creator. Before anything ever existed, there was this being called Eru Ilúvatar. The first part of The Silmarillion is all about how this being decided to create the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything in between. It's very much akin to a biblical creation story. In addition to making the place that LOTR calls home, Ilúvatar also made a sort of pantheon under him, kind of like angels. These lesser-deity types were called the Ainur, but the greatest of the Ainur were called the Valar.
9 The Evil Melkor Creates Balrogs, Ungoliant, And Sauron
One of the Valar ended up being a pretty angry dude. His name was Melkor, but he's also known as Morgoth. He is the source of all evil in the world of LOTR. He rebelled against Eru Ilúvatar mostly because he was too proud to be considered beneath someone else, and also because he was jealous of the coming "Children of Ilúvatar." When Ilúvatar made the world, he told the Valar he wanted his "children" to inhabit it. These "children" were eventually going to be Elves and Men. Out of spite and a sense of discordance, Melkor created awful things to plague the Children of Ilúvatar, including Balrogs, Ungoliant (the predecessor of Shelob), and Sauron.
8 The Valar And The Maiar
Despite Melkor's terrible example, most of the Valar were kindly people/gods. There was Manwë, lord of the winds, and Yavanna, lady of the earth, to name just two. After Ilúvatar made the world, he kind of peaced out and left the running of things to the Valar. So they were like custodians of the world before the Children of Ilúvatar came to be.
Aside from making the Valar, Ilúvatar also made the Maiar, which were like a lesser kind of Valar. The Maiar served the Valar in prepping the world for Elves and Men.
7 The Hidden Creation Of The Dwarves
One of the Valar, Aulë, was so excited for the Children of Ilúvatar to arrive in the world that he just couldn't wait. He was excited to begin teaching them everything he knew. So he took it upon himself to make people to inhabit the world ahead of time. In secret, he created the Dwarves. Ilúvatar was not too happy that one of the Valar was trying to replace his intended Children, and Aulë felt bad that he had let down his creator. Aulë offered to destroy the Dwarves, but Ilúvatar settled for having them sleep underground for a long time, only to awake after Elves walked upon the earth.
6 All Hail The Coming Of Men
Each of Ilúvatar's Children were given "gifts" by him, and these gifts were wildly different. The Elves were granted immortality and were the first to walk upon the world their creator had made for them. Men came afterwards, and their gift was mortality. Elves were super confused how that could be a gift, but the brief lives of Men made their time alive sweeter. Unfortunately, Melkor messed with the second of Ilúvatar's Children, whispering words of fear into their hearts, making them afraid to die and jealous of the Elves' long lifespan.
5 Istari (Wizards) Created To Help The People Of Middle-Earth
Remember how we talked about the Maiar earlier? Well, would it surprise you to learn that Gandalf is one of their number? All of the wizards we meet on Middle-Earth were once part of the Maiar that served the Valar. However, wizards are a special kind of Maiar called Istari. They were sent specifically to Middle-Earth to protect the people who lived their from the dark forces of Sauron.
4 Fëanor Makes The Silmarils
In the LOTR movies, the Elves seem like a really wise people, but they were a fickle and passionate race once. Melkor worked his darkness on them as much as he messed with Men later on. Fëanor was a skilled craftsman among the Elves way back when. He was so skilled he made these jewels by harnessing the light from within these two special trees (both grown by Yavanna, Valar and lady of the earth).
These three gems were called the Simarils. (Yup, this is where the book got its title from.) But even though Fëanor was extremely talented, he was cursed with that terrible flaw known as pride. He adored the gems he created and guarded them jealously.
3 Melkor Steals The Silmarils And The Elves' Oath
The Silmarils were so beautiful, they caught the eye of Melkor. He wanted them badly. One night, when Fëanor was elsewhere, Melkor and Ungoliant, his spider-like creation, stole them. Not only that, but they also destroyed the two trees where the light of the Silmarils came from. The rest of the Valar found out the trees were dead and asked Fëanor if he could use the Silmarils to give them back their light. This fool Elf was so greedy, he refused. Not that it mattered anyway, because Melkor had stolen the precious gems. When Fëanor found out, he was steamed as heck. He made what is now known as the Oath of Fëanor, swearing his seven sons to it, that no one else should ever possess a Silmaril except one of their line. They then departed from the land of the Valar to seek out Melkor and reclaim the Silmarils.
2 Beren And Lúthien
Of all the tales in The Silmarillion, this is the one that is most digestible. It doesn't deal with creation and gem-making. It's a love story. Beren, a Man, fell in love with an Elf named Lúthien. Lúthien's dad was so against her being with Beren that he tasked the poor Man with retrieving a Silmaril from Melkor, a task that not even the strongest Elf had yet accomplished. What followed was an epic tale about how both Beren and Lúthien fought together to reclaim the gem and keep their love.
1 The Fate Of The Silmarils
In the end, no person, Man or Elf, kept a Silmaril. The Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien retrieved was returned to the Valar, and they sent it up into the sky as a star. Melkor held onto the other two for a long while. Eventually, two of Fëanor's sons, Maedhros and Maglor, stole them back. However, the Silmarils burned hot in their hands, so much so that they couldn't hold them. Maedhros tossed himself and his Silmaril into a fiery pit in order to end the pain; Maglor chucked his into the ocean. And thus, the Silmarils was cast into the three things that made up Ilúvatar's world: the sky, the earth, and the sea.