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In Morgoth's Ring, the tenth volume of The History of Middle-earth and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the Annals of Aman, the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. In Morgoth's Ring, the tenth volume of The History of Middle-earth and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the Annals of Aman, the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. And in writings never before published, we can see the nature of the problems that J.R.R. Tolkien explored in his later years as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the heart of the mythology. At this time Tokien sought to redefine the old legends, and wrote of the nature and destiny of Elves, the idea of Elvish rebirth, the origins of the Orcs, and the Fall of Men. His meditation of mortality and immortality as represented in the lives of Men and Elves led to another major writing at this time, the "Debate of Finrod and Andreth," which is reproduced here in full. "Above all," Christopher Tolkien writes in his foreward, "the power and significance of Melkor-Morgoth...was enlarged to become the ground and source of the corruption of Arda." This book indeed is all about Morgoth. Incomparably greater than the power of Sauron, concentrated in the One Ring, Morgoth's power (Tolkien wrote) was dispersed into the very matter of Arda: "The whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring."


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In Morgoth's Ring, the tenth volume of The History of Middle-earth and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the Annals of Aman, the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. In Morgoth's Ring, the tenth volume of The History of Middle-earth and the first of two companion volumes, Christopher Tolkien describes and documents the legends of the Elder Days, as they were evolved and transformed by his father in the years before he completed The Lord of the Rings. The text of the Annals of Aman, the "Blessed Land" in the far West, is given in full. And in writings never before published, we can see the nature of the problems that J.R.R. Tolkien explored in his later years as new and radical ideas, portending upheaval in the heart of the mythology. At this time Tokien sought to redefine the old legends, and wrote of the nature and destiny of Elves, the idea of Elvish rebirth, the origins of the Orcs, and the Fall of Men. His meditation of mortality and immortality as represented in the lives of Men and Elves led to another major writing at this time, the "Debate of Finrod and Andreth," which is reproduced here in full. "Above all," Christopher Tolkien writes in his foreward, "the power and significance of Melkor-Morgoth...was enlarged to become the ground and source of the corruption of Arda." This book indeed is all about Morgoth. Incomparably greater than the power of Sauron, concentrated in the One Ring, Morgoth's power (Tolkien wrote) was dispersed into the very matter of Arda: "The whole of Middle-earth was Morgoth's Ring."

30 review for Morgoth's Ring

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenica

    Of all the books in the immense "History of Middle Earth", this is the one I recommend most. It is a virtual treasure hoard for the Tolkien enthusiast, with information on Elvish culture, including marriage traditions, naming, growth, life, death, and all the wonderfully obsolete information that you never knew you needed to know before. It also contains one of my favorite bits of Tolkien's writing: "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth" (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth). What do the elves believe about Of all the books in the immense "History of Middle Earth", this is the one I recommend most. It is a virtual treasure hoard for the Tolkien enthusiast, with information on Elvish culture, including marriage traditions, naming, growth, life, death, and all the wonderfully obsolete information that you never knew you needed to know before. It also contains one of my favorite bits of Tolkien's writing: "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth" (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth). What do the elves believe about death, God, and their relationship with Men? Is there hope in this seemingly hopeless time and age? "‘What then was this hope, if you know?’ Finrod asked. ‘They say,’ answered Andreth: ‘they say that the One will himself enter into Arda, and heal Men and all the Marring from the beginning to the end.’"

  2. 5 out of 5

    H.S.J. Williams

    This book is full of so many fascinating and otherwise unwritten accounts and stories from the history of Arda. The Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth) is alone worth the entire book, and as Tolkien said, it may be of interest to those who start with similar beliefs as held by the Elvish king Finrod (in other words, the Christians). Tolkien puts forth such beautiful thought into the argument, and the Debate also includes a very interesting look at the interaction betwee This book is full of so many fascinating and otherwise unwritten accounts and stories from the history of Arda. The Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (The Debate of Finrod and Andreth) is alone worth the entire book, and as Tolkien said, it may be of interest to those who start with similar beliefs as held by the Elvish king Finrod (in other words, the Christians). Tolkien puts forth such beautiful thought into the argument, and the Debate also includes a very interesting look at the interaction between elf and man and the only accounted love story between an elf man and mortal woman. And I may I just say that the end of the Debate just about made me cry? Any Tolkien fan needs to read this!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    I haven't read the whole of this -- no time -- but I think it's worthy of noting because of the discussion between Finrod and Andreth about the nature of death in Middle-earth, and the matter of hope. I think it's one of the most obvious allegorical Christian moments in Tolkien's work, when Andreth speaks of the hope that Eru will come among men to heal Arda... isn't that Christ? One day, I shall get round to reading all of these properly, but I know they're daunting for a lot of people because t I haven't read the whole of this -- no time -- but I think it's worthy of noting because of the discussion between Finrod and Andreth about the nature of death in Middle-earth, and the matter of hope. I think it's one of the most obvious allegorical Christian moments in Tolkien's work, when Andreth speaks of the hope that Eru will come among men to heal Arda... isn't that Christ? One day, I shall get round to reading all of these properly, but I know they're daunting for a lot of people because they contain a lot of repetitive information and unpolished drafts, etc. So, yeah, this one is worth it for the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, which seems to be a complete text which J.R.R. Tolkien referred to elsewhere.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ulysses

    Having been disappointed by Sauron Defeated (Volume 9 of the History of Middle-Earth series), I picked up Morgoth's Ring with trepidation-- the Silmarillion is my favorite Tolkien work, and I was afraid MR would reduce it to the same level of mundanity with which Sauron Defeated recounted the final stages of The Return of the King. But I'm happy to say, this is not the case at all. Whereas SD describes the pedantic detail the process behind a work that achieved and was published in the author's Having been disappointed by Sauron Defeated (Volume 9 of the History of Middle-Earth series), I picked up Morgoth's Ring with trepidation-- the Silmarillion is my favorite Tolkien work, and I was afraid MR would reduce it to the same level of mundanity with which Sauron Defeated recounted the final stages of The Return of the King. But I'm happy to say, this is not the case at all. Whereas SD describes the pedantic detail the process behind a work that achieved and was published in the author's desired form in his lifetime, MR is a very different matter, presenting the numerous alternate takes and revisions Tolkien made to his "legends of the Elder Days" without ever achieving a final form in his lifetime. Christopher Tolkien's labors to create the publishable Silmarillion from his father's drafts become all the more impressive once one gains a full appreciation of the sometimes redundant, sometimes self-contradicting, sometimes irreconciliable alternate versions from which he synthesized the final published work. The numerous variants and variants-of-variants are a major challenge to keep straight, and generally speaking, they do not differ sufficiently to justify being presented one after another to anyone other than the obsessed or fanatical. But for those like me who not only love Tolkien for his universe-building and plot-writing, but equally enjoy his less-noticed and -appreciated ability to crank out spine-tingling epic prose passages-- particularly in the Silmarillion, which is written entirely in this style, unlike The Lord of the Rings-- it's fascinating, even thrilling, to see the half-dozen forms a particularly memorable passage might have taken over successive rewrites. The early drafts of the Silmarillion make MR worth the read on their own, but even better, the book also includes a treasure trove of musings on the evolution of various miscellaneous aspects of the Tolkien legendarium such as a comparison/contrast of Morgoth versus Sauron as embodiments of evil in Middle-Earth, the relationship of the Two Trees of Valinor to the Sun and the Moon, and-- most strikingly-- an unpublished chapter-length discussion between the Elven King Finrod (a key character from the Silmarillion) and a mortal woman regarding the different nature of death for Elves versus Men, which is accompanied by considerable background information on Tolkien's conception of Elvish immortality versus "the Gift of Men" (i.e. their mortal status). Although it took me almost a month and a half to finish this, I was very sorry to reach its end-- but fortunately there is yet another entire volume on the writing of the Silmarillion (Volume 11, The War of the Jewels) which I can now look forward to reading next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    When I started Morgoth's Ring, 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 Tolkien was jubilant about the significant changes his father was introducing, I honestly cou When I started Morgoth's Ring, 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 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 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).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    The next Mythgard Academy session features Morgoth's Ring begins on Wednesday March 18, 2020. To register, click this link: https://mythgard.org/academy/morgoths... Morgoth's Ring will meet on Wednesdays at 10 pm Eastern Time Here's the schedule: Week 1 Read: Part One: Ainulindale (1-45) Date: March 18, 2020 Week 2 Read: Part Two: Annals of Aman, Sections 1-3 (47-91) Date: March 25, 2020 Week 3 Read: Part Two: Annals of Aman, Sections 4-6 (92-138) Date: April 1, 2020 Week 4 Read: Part Two, continued Date: Ap The next Mythgard Academy session features Morgoth's Ring begins on Wednesday March 18, 2020. To register, click this link: https://mythgard.org/academy/morgoths... Morgoth's Ring will meet on Wednesdays at 10 pm Eastern Time Here's the schedule: Week 1 Read: Part One: Ainulindale (1-45) Date: March 18, 2020 Week 2 Read: Part Two: Annals of Aman, Sections 1-3 (47-91) Date: March 25, 2020 Week 3 Read: Part Two: Annals of Aman, Sections 4-6 (92-138) Date: April 1, 2020 Week 4 Read: Part Two, continued Date: April 8, 2020 Week 5 Read: Part Three: The Later Quenta, I: The First Phase (141-199) Date: April 15, 2020 Week 6 Read: Part Three: The Later Quenta, II: The Second Phase, through “Laws and Customs among the Eldar” (199-253) Date: April 22, 2020 Week 7 Read: Part Three: The Later Quenta, II: the rest of The Second Phase (254-300) Date: May 6, 2020 Week 8 through Week 12 (6/10/2020 . . . we've been stuck here for quite awhile) Read: Part Three, continued Date: May 13, 2020 Read: Part Four: Athrabeth (303-366) Date: July 22, 2020 (total guess as the schedule is now completely off the rails) Read: Part Four: Athrabeth, continued Date: July 29, 2020 (see previous parenthetical)* *Actually Session 24 almost wrapped up the Athrabeth on 9/30/2020. Almost. Read: Part Five: Myths Transformed (369-431) Date: October 2020 Read: Part Five: Myths Transformed, continued Date: October 2020

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This one is tough to review... I wish Christopher Tolkien has found these stories and rewritings before The Silmarillion was published, I wish further still that JRR Tolkien had been able to print this story in his lifetime the way he envisioned it. The re-writings of these stories after LOTR contained some minor and some major revisions of the stories we know, and he often tweaked them in a way that would have suited many readers who found The Silmarillion too mythlike and not immersive story e This one is tough to review... I wish Christopher Tolkien has found these stories and rewritings before The Silmarillion was published, I wish further still that JRR Tolkien had been able to print this story in his lifetime the way he envisioned it. The re-writings of these stories after LOTR contained some minor and some major revisions of the stories we know, and he often tweaked them in a way that would have suited many readers who found The Silmarillion too mythlike and not immersive story enough, by fleshing out even further many of the characters and their motivations and relationships. And as much as I enjoyed it, I was still left wanting more, I was hoping to get more history of hobbits and Ents meshed in with the creation stories of Elves, Men, and Dwarves.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Morgoth's Ring (The History of Middle-Earth #10), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) Morgoth's Ring (The History of Middle-Earth #10), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1982337.html Having moved through the process of revisiting the compilation of The Lord of the Rings, the History of Middle-Earth now starts into Tolkien's later working through of his mythology. I found a lot of this material very interesting and it is a shame that more of it did not find its way into the published Silmarillion, particularly the "Annals of Aman" which brings much more detail to the early days of relations between the Valar and the Elves. Tolkien als http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1982337.html Having moved through the process of revisiting the compilation of The Lord of the Rings, the History of Middle-Earth now starts into Tolkien's later working through of his mythology. I found a lot of this material very interesting and it is a shame that more of it did not find its way into the published Silmarillion, particularly the "Annals of Aman" which brings much more detail to the early days of relations between the Valar and the Elves. Tolkien also gave a lot of thought to the question of Elvish death and immortality; there's a series of reworkings of what happened to Finwë's first wife Míriel, and also a long dialogue between Finrod and an early wise-woman, Andreth (Beren's great-aunt), about these issues. There's also the series of hints about Elvish sexuality which are nicely summarised in this classic essay, and some interesting speculation about the origin of Orcs. Binding the whole thing together is the question of Morgoth/Melkor's means and motivation; the title Morgoth's Ring is supplied by Christopher Tolkien, basically to suggest that the impact Morgoth's creative power had on Middle-Earth was similar to that of Sauron on the Rings of Power - Middle-Earth itself is therefore Morgoth's Ring in a way. It is unusual that one could say this of the tenth book in a series of twelve, but I think I would actually recommend Morgoth's Ring rather strongly to Tolkien fans who have not tried any of the History of Middle-Earth series and are interested in giving one of the volumes a try.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mert

    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 part 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dru

    This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to see the evolution of the story (for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as a Hobbit (one of tho This will be my 12-volume write-up of the entire series "The History of Middle Earth". -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This series is ONLY for the hardcore Tolkien fanatic. Predominantly written by JRR's son, based on JRR's notes on the creation of The Silmarilion and The Lord of the Rings (much less on The Hobbit). It is somewhat interesting to see the evolution of the story (for example, "Strider" was originally conceived as a Hobbit (one of those who "went off into the blue with Gandalf" as alluded to in The Hobbit). But the downside to this is that it isn't very fun to read. You can only read yet another version of Beren and Luthien so many times before you're tired of seeing the miniscule changes from one version to the next. So, overall, I slogged through this over about a year. I'd say it was worth it in the end for someone like me who loves Tolkien and his entire created world of Arda (and Ea in general). But I'll never re-read them. They come off too much as seeming like Christopher Tolkien just bundled every scrap of paper he could find, rather than thinning them down into a logical consistency.

  12. 4 out of 5

    William Cardini

    I've been slowly reading volumes of The History of Middle-Earth out of publication order. Of the ones I've read portions of, this is the most interesting and the only one I've read all the way through. However, I sometimes felt like a voyeur, peeking in on Tolkien in the midst of struggling with profound ideas through writing. I don't think reading an essay about The Laws and Customs of the Eldar strengthens my experience of The Silmarillion and it may weaken it. I don't want to know the minutia I've been slowly reading volumes of The History of Middle-Earth out of publication order. Of the ones I've read portions of, this is the most interesting and the only one I've read all the way through. However, I sometimes felt like a voyeur, peeking in on Tolkien in the midst of struggling with profound ideas through writing. I don't think reading an essay about The Laws and Customs of the Eldar strengthens my experience of The Silmarillion and it may weaken it. I don't want to know the minutiae of Eldar society. I did really like the essays about the nature of evil in Ea and the comparison between Sauron and Morgoth. I see that most of the reviews really liked the conversation between Finrod and Andreth but that was probably the weakest part of the book for me. I think that JRR Tolkien was right in some of his commentary about that conversation - bringing overtly Christian ideas into his fantasy cosmos makes it seem a parody of Christian belief. After all, I prefer Tolkien to CS Lewis because I don't like allegory in my fantastic fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I have looked through much of Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle Earth series, and this is the only one I consider a must read for Tolkien fans. It contains writings from the 50's, during which time Tolkien was deepening his theological and philosophical reflections about the world he had created in its relation to Christian ideas. The short dialogue between Finrod Felagund and a Wise Woman presents reflections on the relation between Elves and Men, with guesses about each races eternal sig I have looked through much of Christopher Tolkien's History of Middle Earth series, and this is the only one I consider a must read for Tolkien fans. It contains writings from the 50's, during which time Tolkien was deepening his theological and philosophical reflections about the world he had created in its relation to Christian ideas. The short dialogue between Finrod Felagund and a Wise Woman presents reflections on the relation between Elves and Men, with guesses about each races eternal significance.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    If you truly wish to understand the cosmological underpinnings of Middle-Earth, including such questions as 'if killing orcs murder?' 'who are the Vala?' and "why is the world 'marred?' this is a must-read. If you truly wish to understand the cosmological underpinnings of Middle-Earth, including such questions as 'if killing orcs murder?' 'who are the Vala?' and "why is the world 'marred?' this is a must-read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Poltz

    This is the tenth installment in the History of Middle Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien. This volume features different revisions of the creation of Middle Earth. Like most of its predecessors, it’s for the hardcore fans who want to see the evolution of the Tolkien Legendarium. I found this volume tougher to read than some of the others, mainly because it contained essays and fictional ruminations on the nature of the Elves, Men, and Orcs; good and evil; and life and death. While it ma This is the tenth installment in the History of Middle Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien. This volume features different revisions of the creation of Middle Earth. Like most of its predecessors, it’s for the hardcore fans who want to see the evolution of the Tolkien Legendarium. I found this volume tougher to read than some of the others, mainly because it contained essays and fictional ruminations on the nature of the Elves, Men, and Orcs; good and evil; and life and death. While it may sound interesting at first, one must remember that Tolkien was an Oxford professor, so his philosophical writing is very detailed and academic, even the fictional pieces. He was exploring the deeper nature of his Legendarium as he was trying to develop The Silmarillion for publication. I got bogged down in it as it seems Tolkien did himself. Come visit my blog for the full review… https://itstartedwiththehugos.blogspo...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anna C

    I swear Christopher was sitting on all this great info just as a purity test. As in, "only if you've stuck with me through the first nine volumes of the History of Middle Earth do you even *deserve* the elflore I'm about to hand down." I swear Christopher was sitting on all this great info just as a purity test. As in, "only if you've stuck with me through the first nine volumes of the History of Middle Earth do you even *deserve* the elflore I'm about to hand down."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Milam

    OK there is no way that HoME gets better than this!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Pryor

    Eye-opening, comprehensive, detailed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    It is important to note that The History of Middle-Earth should only be attempted by fans who are happy trawling through drafts that are sometimes repetitious and contradictory. However, Morgoth's Ring has contains some intriguing information about Tolkien's mythology. There is, for instance, a detailed essay on the laws and customs of the Eldar, which explains their ideas about marriage, death, names. This is followed up by 'The Debate of Finrod and Andreth', which contains the only known coupli It is important to note that The History of Middle-Earth should only be attempted by fans who are happy trawling through drafts that are sometimes repetitious and contradictory. However, Morgoth's Ring has contains some intriguing information about Tolkien's mythology. There is, for instance, a detailed essay on the laws and customs of the Eldar, which explains their ideas about marriage, death, names. This is followed up by 'The Debate of Finrod and Andreth', which contains the only known coupling of a male Elf and mortal woman – but that is the least of the revelations. It talks about the fate of man and the coming of Men into "Arda Marred". There is also a re-think on the Sun and Moon's place in Tolkien's mythology and their relation to the Two Trees, an explanation on the confusing origins of Orcs (popularly believed to be corrupted Elves) and some absolutely fascinating comparisons between the first Dark Lord, Melkor/Morgoth, and the Dark Lord of Second and Third Ages, Sauron.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    My TL;DR Review This is a fantastic book for Tolkien fans and a great place to start reading the History of Middle Earth series. But don’t read this until you’ve read the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion first, and probably rereading the Silmarillion a second time. The depth here is amazing, but you need to be very familiar with the story of the Silmarillion to really get the most enjoyment out of this one. My Unexpurgated Review Having just finished my first ever re-read of the Silmarillion My TL;DR Review This is a fantastic book for Tolkien fans and a great place to start reading the History of Middle Earth series. But don’t read this until you’ve read the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion first, and probably rereading the Silmarillion a second time. The depth here is amazing, but you need to be very familiar with the story of the Silmarillion to really get the most enjoyment out of this one. My Unexpurgated Review Having just finished my first ever re-read of the Silmarillion, I decided to take my first step into the 12-volume History of Middle a Earth series. The biggest challenge was deciding where to start. I picked this one based on a number of reasons. First, it is the first of two volumes that covers the development of the Silmarillion, which was still fresh in my mind. Secondly, I heard the hosts of the Prancing Pony Podcast refer to this book frequently during their a Silmarillion episodes. Lastly, I’ve read on many sites that the background material in this volume is some of the most critical source material of Tolkien’s legendarium. This volume, the tenth in the series of the History of Middle Earth, covers Tolkien’s return to his Silmarillion tales after having completed the Lord of the Rings. The book is divided into five parts. Parts one though three cover revised manuscripts of the Ainulindale, the Annals of Aman, and the Later Quenta Silmarillion. These works eventually become the published Silmarillion up to chapter VIII of the Quenta Silmarillion. To be honest, I skimmed through these sections. It was interesting seeing how Tolkien’s creative process worked, but it was far more detailed and technical than what I was interested in. However, the first nugget of gold for me (pardon the dwarvish pun) of this book for me is found starting at page 207 - The Laws and Customs of the Eldar. Here you will get the a lot of information about the race of Elves including such things as marriage, death, and nature of the race - both male and female. It really is a treasure trove of backstory that helps you understand his published works better. Additionally there is substantial writing about the tale of Finwe and Miriel. I won’t go into spoilers but it involves the question of remarriage. In Tolkien’s world, where marriage is for life - what are we to make of remarriage when the beings have unending life? Elves can be killed, but they are eventually restored to life and are doomed to live as long as Middle Earth exists. So they are not technically immortal, but very long lived. Tolkien launches into a fascinating philosophical and theological debate among his characters on this very issue of remarriage. The conclusion is that remarriage is a “permission, not counsel.” The results are tragic, which you can read in the Silmarillion. But the true gem of this book for me is the Athrabeth. In it the high elf Finrod has a conversation with Andreth, a wise woman from the race of Man. They discuss the nature of death. It is a despairing and bitter topic for Andreth for a reason you won’t see until the end of the story. Such beautiful prose. He even ties in a foretelling of Christ and makes a brilliant theological connection with modalism, which would be an understandable error at this point in ‘history’. It is a shame this tale is hidden away in the middle of a nearly 500 page book in the tenth volume of a twelve volume series. The final section is entitled Myths Transformed. It is a collection a various writings. Several are conceptions of a ‘new mythology’ where Tolkien tried to remove the flat earth myth of the first two ages to be more in line with scientific understanding. However you can how much damage to the overall legendarium such a change would cause. The editor, Christopher Tolkien, suggests the solution was already in place in that the tales are told from the perspective of Men in the third age, who are telling tales from men over a millennial ago, who in turn had tales told to them from elves of even earlier times, etc. This frame narrative allows for mythological conceptions to still bear truth despite being scientifically ‘incorrect’ to a modern reader. I’m glad the published Silmarillion retains Tolkien’s original conception. Other writings include Tolkien’s struggle with defining where orcs actually came from, why exactly Man is banned from the Blessed Realm of Aman, and the elvish naming of the planets. Lastly, why is this book called Morgoth’s Ring when we know that it was Sauron who dealt with rings? Essentially, just as Sauron poured a part of himself into the One Ring, so did Morgoth when the world was created. So the whole world bears the shadow of Morgoth. The whole world is his ring. One reason I enjoy reading Tolkien so much is the astounding level of detail he put into creating his world. His attention to detail and cohesiveness is unparalleled. Modern authors can only hope to emulate his achievement but will never surpass it - and yes I include George R. R. Martin and J. K. Rowling among them. Having read my first volume in this History of Middle Earth series, I am even more convinced this is true.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    3.5ish stars. The thing about Morgoth’s Ring is that, taken together with its sequel The War of the Jewels, it presents the latest pre-publication version of the Silmarillion manuscripts and associated writings. Because of that, the work in here isn't too different from the published Silmarillion, so it’s not very interesting reading material compared to books that contain far earlier manuscripts. Furthermore, this book focuses on the events pre-Noldor Exile, which is not, like, a ton of stuff wh 3.5ish stars. The thing about Morgoth’s Ring is that, taken together with its sequel The War of the Jewels, it presents the latest pre-publication version of the Silmarillion manuscripts and associated writings. Because of that, the work in here isn't too different from the published Silmarillion, so it’s not very interesting reading material compared to books that contain far earlier manuscripts. Furthermore, this book focuses on the events pre-Noldor Exile, which is not, like, a ton of stuff when it actually gets written out. So this book goes over the same few creation myths and events in the very early history of the Elves a thousand times, each iteration just slightly different from the one before, and that got pretty boring after a while. I’ve also seen a lot of reviews praising the Debate between Finrod and Andreth, but it didn’t appeal a lot to me personally. It felt unnecessarily long and pretty repetitive, and I think Tolkien’s choice at the end to make Andreth’s entire worldview stem from her attraction to a guy (yes, really) really delegitimized the Debate as a whole. Intelligent, independent female characters are already so uncommon in Tolkien’s stories, and it was really frustrating to see this rare example almost entirely reduced to her feelings for a long-lost lover. So even though the Debate brought up some interesting points about the early intellectual history of humans, it still underwhelmed me overall. That being said, there are some fascinating moments in here. I really liked the Myths Transformed section, which contained some of Tolkien’s late ideas on how he might radically remake the mythology. Some other cool items include: - How the Valar count time vs how we count time - A long treatise on marriage customs and gender roles among the Eldar as well as the metaphysical nature of their souls - The essay on Melkor and Sauron comparing their approaches to Dark Lord-ing - Tidbits about the Valar’s social systems (ex. marriage) and how a lot of the ways in which we discuss them (ex. describing Varda and Manwë as “married”) are actually more of a projection of our social systems than an accurate representation of theirs, which are much looser - The mechanics of Elvish reincarnation - The Statute of Finwë and Míriel debate, which brought a whole new dimension to their story and showcased a lot of the deeper philosophical ramifications/dimensions of Elvish death and remarriage - The idea that the Silmarillion is not the stories of Elves, but corrupted versions of the stories of Elves as passed down through and blended with human tradition and written down in Númenor On the whole, the book did get more interesting as it went along, but I still had to force myself to the finish line. As such, I’m choosing to round my rating down to 3 stars, as I think that's a more accurate reflection of my experience than 4 stars (though, really, it's in the middle somewhere). I think the fact that I had to force myself to sit down and read this a lot of the time is the deciding factor in that. I’m unsure if I’ll pick up The War of the Jewels—I avoided reading Morgoth’s Ring for so long because I suspected I wouldn’t enjoy it so much due to the first reason I outlined in this review, and I think that would still stand (and potentially be more of an issue) in The War of the Jewels. However, I would still highly recommend the History of Middle-Earth series on the whole! This installment just wasn’t my favorite :(

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nonethousand Oberrhein

    Life, Death and Arda in-between After the publication of The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien turns back on his old legendarium and starts revising it through short essays and philosophic dialogs between his characters… One of the deepest and dense volumes of the History of Middle-earth series, shedding a new light and giving perspective to the most metaphysical aspects of the Tolkienish mythology. In a way, it is probably the first volume that should be read after all the Hobbit - Lord of t Life, Death and Arda in-between After the publication of The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien turns back on his old legendarium and starts revising it through short essays and philosophic dialogs between his characters… One of the deepest and dense volumes of the History of Middle-earth series, shedding a new light and giving perspective to the most metaphysical aspects of the Tolkienish mythology. In a way, it is probably the first volume that should be read after all the Hobbit - Lord of the Ring - Silmarillion reading adventure! Here below my reviews to the previous volumes of the History of Middle-earth: Vol.1: Sit down and listen Vol.2: Heroics of a young author Vol.3: The poet of Middle-earth Vol.4: Sketches and Annals of the First Age Vol.5: A glimpse of Númenor Vol.6: When Trotter led the way Vol.7: From Rivendell to Rohan Vol.8: How the King returns Vol.9: The eagles will always come at the end

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    This part of "The History of Middle-Earth" is the most complex hitherto. But my infatuation with it is immense. After "The Later Quenta Annals", came the chapters with abandoned ideas about Finwë and Míriel. And that was sheer literary gem to read of. Especially for that story was (or meant to be) basis and onset for the development of the chapter about Laws and Customs among the Eldar. The one that included real philosophical and metaphysical discussion about Elvish naming, their incarnations a This part of "The History of Middle-Earth" is the most complex hitherto. But my infatuation with it is immense. After "The Later Quenta Annals", came the chapters with abandoned ideas about Finwë and Míriel. And that was sheer literary gem to read of. Especially for that story was (or meant to be) basis and onset for the development of the chapter about Laws and Customs among the Eldar. The one that included real philosophical and metaphysical discussion about Elvish naming, their incarnations and reincarnation, of death and the severance of body and soul, about matrimonial customs and severance of marriage among Elves, and about differences between firstborn and the second-born of the Children of the Illuvatar. Finally, pinnacle of this tractate about Tolkien's mythology development and its shifting is the final chapter - "Myths Transformed", with an exquisite philosophical debate about relations and differences between Morgoth and Sauron, as well as Tolkien's mind turmoil about Sun and Moon creation and reckoning of the years and hours. All in all, I'm bursting with impressions after finished the book, thinking and tiding notes that I've collected during the reading and choosing what parts will re-read again for myriad times.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Definitely one of the better HoME volumes. The first half is great; it's just fun to see lots of pieces of the Silmarillion come into place and reach their "final" version. (Plus the Laws and Customs of the Eldar is an absolute classic essay, containing all-important information about elf sex culture.) Then in the second half, this book gets really crazy, delving into the various ways Tolkien wanted to completely change the Silmarillion mythos to fix "plot holes" and bring it into line with a mo Definitely one of the better HoME volumes. The first half is great; it's just fun to see lots of pieces of the Silmarillion come into place and reach their "final" version. (Plus the Laws and Customs of the Eldar is an absolute classic essay, containing all-important information about elf sex culture.) Then in the second half, this book gets really crazy, delving into the various ways Tolkien wanted to completely change the Silmarillion mythos to fix "plot holes" and bring it into line with a more "realistic" cosmology. It's kind of a relief he never got around to fully implementing those changes, since in my opinion he would have had to sacrifice way too much of what makes his legendarium so, well, legendary. All in all, this book isn't as stand-alone cool as the Book of Lost Tales or anything, but it's definitely a great read and gives some really interesting context to the published Silmarillion.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thijs

    This may be the best part out of the CHoME so far. It has some amazing entirely new writing, which also provides some interesting background, such as the Story of Finwë and Miriel, Debate of Finrod and Andreth a number of similar stories which touch upon interesting stories such as mortality and the origin of Orcs. It is with stories like these in mind that I originally started the CHoME, and I am glad to be after so many parts rewarded with this (though the other parts were also very good). Oh, This may be the best part out of the CHoME so far. It has some amazing entirely new writing, which also provides some interesting background, such as the Story of Finwë and Miriel, Debate of Finrod and Andreth a number of similar stories which touch upon interesting stories such as mortality and the origin of Orcs. It is with stories like these in mind that I originally started the CHoME, and I am glad to be after so many parts rewarded with this (though the other parts were also very good). Oh, and one more thing: THIS PART HAS THE FIRST DIRECT MENTION OF SEX IN ANY OF TOLKIENS WRITINGS. So SUCK ON THAT critics that say there is no sex in Tolkien's works. It's here. All you need to do is read a 5392 page long highly detailed breakdown of his most important works to find it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Zama

    One of the best in the HoME series. There's a lot of philosophical talk here, but that's exactly what I loved about it. Tolkien goes deep into the matter of the how and why of his people and world. And I loved that he had a harder look at his villains. I really enjoyed the part dedicated to Melkor's and Sauron's motives, as well as the speculation into the nature of orcs. I love the 'Athrabeth Finrod ah Abdreth', with its speculation about death, which was interesting both on a real-life level a One of the best in the HoME series. There's a lot of philosophical talk here, but that's exactly what I loved about it. Tolkien goes deep into the matter of the how and why of his people and world. And I loved that he had a harder look at his villains. I really enjoyed the part dedicated to Melkor's and Sauron's motives, as well as the speculation into the nature of orcs. I love the 'Athrabeth Finrod ah Abdreth', with its speculation about death, which was interesting both on a real-life level and on the light it sheds on the nature and relationship between Men and Elves. And of course, I loved 'On the Severance of Marriage' and its insight into Fëanor, his life and his family. An incredible book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Webbo

    This one was hard work. I really enjoyed the children of hurin and the first book of lost tales plus the silmarillion. If you enjoy the stories of middle-earth then skip all the notes and footnotes. I would far rather that this had been a best approximation of a story in a cohesive and chronological order than a semi critique and constant questioning of contradictory texts (even referencing typist errors!) this read much more like a commentary than a history or satisfying storyline. definitely wor This one was hard work. I really enjoyed the children of hurin and the first book of lost tales plus the silmarillion. If you enjoy the stories of middle-earth then skip all the notes and footnotes. I would far rather that this had been a best approximation of a story in a cohesive and chronological order than a semi critique and constant questioning of contradictory texts (even referencing typist errors!) this read much more like a commentary than a history or satisfying storyline. definitely worth it for Tolkein fans and people who want to understand the creation ark and early Valar years but man alive it was tough going!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lady Brainsample

    I decided I wasn't going to read any more of the Tolkien histories after the last one I read. It seemed like each one just had slightly different versions of Silmarillion bits with some commentary, and I got to the point where I'd rather just re-read the Silmarillion than detailed commentary and minute changes all over the place. However. I made an exception for one little section of this book (which is all of it that I read, thank you very much) that contained marriage and naming customs of elves I decided I wasn't going to read any more of the Tolkien histories after the last one I read. It seemed like each one just had slightly different versions of Silmarillion bits with some commentary, and I got to the point where I'd rather just re-read the Silmarillion than detailed commentary and minute changes all over the place. However. I made an exception for one little section of this book (which is all of it that I read, thank you very much) that contained marriage and naming customs of elves. This part was delightful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Warren Dunn

    The first half of this book exhibited the next-to-last drafts of the Silmarillion, and as such, were very little different from what came before, and what came after, and it took me a long time to make any progress. In later days, Tolkien started second-guessing his mythology -I'd have loved to know the reason for that. The second half of the book presented essays on how this transformation would take place, while maintaining the central myth, and were very interesting, indeed. http://ossuslibrar The first half of this book exhibited the next-to-last drafts of the Silmarillion, and as such, were very little different from what came before, and what came after, and it took me a long time to make any progress. In later days, Tolkien started second-guessing his mythology -I'd have loved to know the reason for that. The second half of the book presented essays on how this transformation would take place, while maintaining the central myth, and were very interesting, indeed. http://ossuslibrary.tripod.com/Bk_Fan...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Artnoose McMoose

    This volume in the History of Middle Earth series compiles Tolkien’s writings about the Arda mythology after the publication of the Lord of the Rings. It includes some pretty important stuff like the conversation between Finrod and Andreth about the differences in the souls of elves and humans. It also has a really long section about how Finwë was able to remarry after his first wife died, and wow, Tolkien spent a long time on this subject. Toward the end is another diving into the nature of orc This volume in the History of Middle Earth series compiles Tolkien’s writings about the Arda mythology after the publication of the Lord of the Rings. It includes some pretty important stuff like the conversation between Finrod and Andreth about the differences in the souls of elves and humans. It also has a really long section about how Finwë was able to remarry after his first wife died, and wow, Tolkien spent a long time on this subject. Toward the end is another diving into the nature of orcs.

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