The Book of Lost Tales, Part One by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The History of the Middle Earth was put together by Christopher Tolkien, JRR's son. The effort involved sifting through his fathers notes and organizing them, which in itself is a difficult task. Oft time names were changed from story to story and Christopher had to decipher outlines and light pencil markings. In many a case we have just outlines and scant poems thrown around. But this is the backstory to the Simarrilion. This is where Middle Earth according to Tolkien was created. The story line that comes out of this work is the same as that of Simarillion save that you will notice that names are different and there are multiple versions of the stories told. Look at the Simarrillion as the finished product. Bear in mind that as I give you the summary I will not remember most of the names the language is difficult to work with. More over I wish to add in that at the end of each tale Christopher Tolkien included some notes. This at times helped clarify things and at other times it was rather confusing to read.
Eriol, who was touched by the light of Earendel, is touched with a penchant for wandering. His marine adventures land him on the Lost Isle of Tol Erresea. While sojourning there he ends up befriending a goodly number of Elven folk. Going through the town he comes to the capital city of Kothirion which is named after the city of Kor in Valinor. It is there that Eriol comes to the Cottage of Lost play. To enter he must allow himself to become smaller. The Cottage is host to nightly gathering and revelry of story telling. Vaire and Lindo the hosts tell Eriol the history of the Middle Earth like his human ears have never heard before. Rumil tells him even more stories. At one point Eriol wishes to drink of the "Limpe" an elven drink that will give him elven immortality. but first he must hear from Queen Meril. To drink the Limpe is to side with elves until the end of time even if it means going against humans. Eriol becomes hesitant.
In the beginning Illuvatar created the Ainur and the rest of the universe by making music. Once the Ainur were created they were inputted a story and taught to make music. They make music and create the universe with Illuvatar. Illuvatar makes mansions and dwelling in the astral level for the ainur, but lurking in the outer reaches corrupting everything is Melkor.
Illuvatr though is able to counter Melkor. Eventually the Ainur stop making music and see the world they have created. It arda. Melkor with is dark designs goes down the arda in order to corrupt it. Several ainur choose to descend to Arada despite Illuvatar's not wanting them to. They descend.
They explore this twilight world and end up creating the Island of Valinor. This is done to give the Valar a home and as a defense against Melkor. As Melkor corrupts the planet with destructing and foul created beings. The Valar confront him. Tulkas a mighty warrior does not trust him, There is not fight at this point but Melkor is wily. He agree to taking Holy light and creating two poles of if to light up the Arda. Later when the Valar have crafted their hall, Melkor destroy the light. What is left is gather into two fountain called Kullkillion and Talimpe. From these two trees grow, called Laurelin Talpion. Gold and silver light they give off. Melkor still continues with his reign of destruction. This leads to a conflict where in Manwe and Tulkas fight and deceive Melkor. They chain him up for a period time and leave him in the Halls of Mando. (Sounds like the Loki story)
With the birth of the elves the Valar are happy. Simultaneously the Valar send someone to lead the first emissaries to Valinor. the three elves go back and Orome leads them through the Great Land to the shores of the West were Ulmo transports them on an island (which Tol Erresea). THe three families of elves are brought over. Some do get lost in the Great lands. At the same time Melkor is unchained a bit early and is put into the service of Tulkas. There are three families of elves the Noldori,Solimposi and the Teleri. The Teleri will learn poetry from Manwe, the Noldori will learn smithcrafting from Aule and the Solimposi become music makers on the shores.
Tol Erressea used to be Ose's island. Ose is a servant of Ulmo, the sea lord. When Ose anchors the Tol Erresea to the sea floor and stopping it's use this develops a mini feud. Some Solimposi remain on the island and play music with sea shells. Ose also teaches them how to ride swans and how to build ships. Ulmo uses this later to lead them to Valinor.
Unchaining Melkor might not have been such a great idea. he made some nasty friends down in Mandos and while in valinor he is prone to spreading vicious lies. He turns the Noldori and the Valar against each other. During a celebration Melkor and Ungoliant, a giant spider from the south, steal into Valinor and kill the two trees. Ungoliant drink the light from them. The silmarillion are also stolen. The Noldori are angry, under the leadership of feanor they head to Middle Earth, stealing ship from the Solimposi they flee Valinor.
The further tales recount the creation of the sun and moon and the concealment of Valinor. The book finishes off with the battle of tears. A battle where men and Avari elves goe against Melkor. The men learn to speak from an elf named Nuin. For those hard core Tolkien fans this book is a must read. I liked the Simarrillion better but this gives you the inside look at a subcreated universe.
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