“The Silmarillion” by JRR Tolkien is a masterpiece of fantasy. “The Silmarillion” set the bar for world-building. The book is the entire history of Middle Earth that we see in “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Hobbit.”
It mixes many different mythologies, such as Norse, Greek, and Abrahamic. The story begins with the gods creating the universe. A war between the gods of darkness and the gods of light plays out over the millennia. Armies on both sides fight a never-ending war.
The book greatly details the early history of Middle Earth and the formation of the oceans and land. The book also describes how the oceans and land gave life to the mortals and how they betrayed the gods and chose the darkness.
“The Silmarillion” is full of all sorts of races and kingdoms that have long and conflicting histories with each other, such as the Elves, Orcs, and Dwarves. These races fight the war of the gods.
Several stories in the book relate to royal bloodlines, such as the elves, their fall from grace, and the empires they build. Familiar topics include how the elves’ greed and jealousy destroy everything that they hold dear, as well as a forbidden love between star-crossed lovers. Of course, there’s heroes slaying dragons, sons killing fathers, and wars spawning over lust for power.
Other stories feel like something you would see in the works of “Plato” or “Bayou Wolf,” with many themes from the monomyth of the hero’s journey.
Tolkien aimed to give the British great mythology, and this book accomplishes just that. The world that Tolkien creates is alive and filled with wonder, magic, human love, and lust.
The great detail of the world and those that inhabit it creates a sense of world-building and storytelling that any dungeon master or writer should read.