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The Silmarillion

Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,521 ratings)
Regular price: $18.54
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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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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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.]

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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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!

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

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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.

63 of 67 people found this review helpful

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The Hype is real.

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

44 of 49 people found this review helpful

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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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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.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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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 21 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful from beginning to end

An absolute delight to hear the story told verbally truly bringing to life the beauty that is the world tolkien created.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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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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!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Rasmus Jensen
  • 08-30-17

Great book. Shameful production.

The stories were great, but that's to Tolkien's credit and not the creators of the audiobook. Numerous times throughout the audiobook I encountered glitches in the track where suddenly the narrator would be repeating the title of the chapter or other pieces of the story in the background, thus resulting in near gibberish as the doubled tracks made it impossible to hear what was being said. I went back a few times to check if it had simply been my phone that glitched out but found that each instance of this glitch occurred consistently at the same timestamp. In other words it's a production error. And considering how many times this occurred, the production company have no excuse not to be absolutely ashamed of their work. Had it happened once I would have shrugged it off as a simple mistake, but when it happens just about a dozen times it becomes negligence. I recommend Tolkien's The Silmarillion, but I can't say I recommend this particular edition of the audiobook.

50 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Stuart Shaw
  • 01-07-16

awesome

fantastic listen, only issue is that in one of the (luckily) more boring chapters, the title replays about 20 times

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas Adrian Allpress
  • 08-28-17

Great but with random audio glitches...

Great way to read the silmarillion as the book itself can be a bit impregnable to read. Great performance as well, but one thing that did start to get a bit annoying was the frequency of audio glitches throughout. Examples being:

- Chapter intro music playing randomly mid chapter
-The chapter title repeatedly being said over the top of the narrator.
- Audio jumping in the final few chapters.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • MR RAJDEEPR S RAI
  • 02-10-16

Fantastic

Truly loved it, though it was a struggle to get into at first. Martin Shaw helps bring to life one of my most beloved epics in such an engaging and atmospheric way.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jasper elwes
  • 11-20-15

Only for Tolkein fans.

If you aren't really into middle earth, this isn't for you, but personally I enjoyed it, it's well performed and interesting.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Julie Baker
  • 11-02-16

Get yourself a map

Brilliant, the world from the begining of middle earth. Do have a map handy though and perhaps a pen and paper to write some family trees. It certianly fills in a few blanks from There and Back Again.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-11-16

A Tale of Good, Evil , Gods and Men

I've always wanted to read The Silmarillion, but could never get past the first chapter as the story was so complicated. Listening to it via Martin Shaw's soothing tones enabled me to keep a grip on the characters and plot. I may even read the book, now!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • simon j vanhinsbergh
  • 06-16-16

AWESOME

fantastic. Tolkien at his best The world of middle earth and full history
I believe

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jessica S
  • 12-11-15

Epic Stuff

Great mythic tales on a grand scale from the master of ancient storytelling.
LOTR is but a an episode to the scale of The Silmarillion.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bashy
  • 07-07-16

Classic

Listen in conjunction with the Silmarillion Seminar by the Tolkien Professor for the full experience

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-24-19

The History of Middle Earth

When reading/listening to this story it must be taken into account that this is a saga and a collection of short stories that all link. The first few chapters regarding the creation of Arda is very abstract and the coming of the elves to Valinor is a little dry but contains essential background information. Then Feanor Finwion's behavior begins the Flight of the Noldor and everything, pardon the expression, goes to hell for our beloved characters but interesting for us listeners/readers. It is a story better heard than read as with the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion contains stories of nearly very type.

The best love story ever written is included here (though the full version was recently released). Forget that crap Romeo and Juliet where they only knew each other for a few days then died (with Romeo pinning after some other girl in the beginning) The tale of Beren and Luthien puts all other love stories to shame.

The best tragedy stories is included here. The tale of the children of Hurin is tragic from page one and goes downhill for the main character from there, though his fostering as a child was a happy time for him as the foster son of an elvish king. My favorite character Beleg Cuthalion did not deserve to die by his best friends hand the way he did in this tale. It will leave the audience crying every time.

These stories consist of one tragedy after the next, the fall of Nargothrond, Gondolin, Doriath, Numenor. The fall of the great kingdoms of Nargothrond, Gondolin and Doriath. The elven kinslayings which claimed the lives of many including, most likely, Elrond's twin uncles who were only very young children at the time, all because of the love of shiny baubles.

Other character that are mourned greatly in these various tales is Finrod Felugand (Galadriel's Brother), Fingolfin, Celebrimbor and many others.

There is 2 words for hope in Sindarin. Estel: hope without reason. Amdir: hope with reason to hope.
Many of these stories contain both when all seems lost for the characters. The first sunrise on Arda. The first sighting of the Gil-Estel (The morning and evening star, translates to bright hope). The finding of the seedlings of the white tree. The coming of the elves from the west to aid in the battle against the first dark lord. The coming of the elves from Gondolin to aid the fight in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

The story was well read and much suited to the genre and very much suited to oral telling of tales as though by oral tradition.

The only criticism I have is that I was not fond of the fate of Aredhel. She deserved better story wise and feels very much like the product of the time. Other than that one exception, these stories were very much ahead of its time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Millsy
  • 11-15-18

I really wanted to enjoy this...

I really wanted to enjoy this but clearly it’s not for everyone. I absolutely loved the LOTR series of books and was looking for something similar but I found the million unfamiliar names a pain and for me the creation of the characters and the world FAR to long winded. I think I also found it less enjoyable because a great deal of it is in Shakespearean language. Clearly going by the reviews this book is going to be very popular with some people but I just struggled with this one.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 03-10-19

Great reading

Reading and pronunciations are great, story is epic and poetic, what more do you need?

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  • Nina Rau
  • 03-06-19

A wonder to listen to

While the Silmarillion is one of the hardest books I've ever read, is a delight to listen to. The text, while flowery and archaic, paints a vivid world of elves, dwarves and men, heroes and villians.
Works recommend to fans of high fantasy as a wonderful book, worth the effort. Will listen to it again

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  • Darrin
  • 02-17-19

Tolkien's finest.

A beautiful story, beautifully read. The audio book version perhaps makes things a little more accessible for those who find the text a little daunting.
A great title.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-03-19

Love the book

THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
THEREFORE
furthermore
good shiznits
would listen again

0 of 1 people found this review helpful