Don't forget about the Silmarillion Chapter Discussion document in the Files section of this Yahoo group which I put together based on Matt West's notes from our last reading back in 2007. (Matt was/is a Tolkien Discussions group member.) It's a chapter by chapter discussion. We could use it as a sort of syllabus to our discussions. Here's what he wrote for Chapter 1, which follows the Ainulindale and the Valaquenta:
Chapter I. Of the Beginning Days - 1/29/2007
Well, the action starts to heat up this week as the Valar move into new digs on Arda. The Valar also start to bring life to Arda. Meanwhile, Melkor, being both jealous and fearful of the other Valar, strikes the first blow! The Valar move from their home on Aman to the far western part of the world and build Valinor. They go into hiding and try to clean up the damage done by Melkor.
Then Aule messes up and gets chastised by Eru, who makes a brief appearance, for trying to do that which is only in Eru's power to docreate sentient life forms. Yavanna and Manwe also create sentient life forms, but not in the form of the Children of Iluvatar, so they don't get slammed down for their creations: The Eagles and the Ents (named The Shepherds of the Trees here).
The first war occurred before Arda was fully shaped. The fight was not going well for the Valar until Tulkas, the last Valar to come into Arda, arrived, bringing his might and his laughter to drive Melkor into hiding. Tulkas' arrival ushers in a time of peace.
After order is restored to the land and seas, Yavanna plants the seeds that she has been creating all across Arda. At the same time, Aule made two great lamps, which Varda filled with light and Manwe hallowed. All was lit. There was no night, only day. The lamps were placed in the most northern and southern parts of Arda.
Northern Lamp = Illuin
Southern Lamp = Ormal
The lamps brought Spring to Arda as Yavanna's seeds brought forth plant and animal life to Arda. Where the light of the lamps mingled, life was most abundant. Some trees became as large and as high as Aule's mountains.
The Valar dwelt on an island called Amaren, in the middle of a great lake in Middle-earth.
Manwe calls for a great feast as the Valar watch their handiwork unfold. During the feast, Tulkas marries Nessa, and she dances on the green grass of Amaren. ***WHAT DO VALAR EAT?? DO THEY HAVE TO EAT?? ***
Seeing what the Valar have wrought, Melkor becomes furious and jealous. He hates the spring that the Valar have brought, so he gathers all his evil spirits and his Maiar spies. The dark shadows in the North are invisible to the Valar because of Illuin. During the feast, after Tulkas has fallen asleep, Melkor slips over the walls of the night in the far north.
Melkor builds a fortress deep in the earth called Utumno. Evil bleeds out and spoils the Spring of Arda. Beasts become monsters, etc. This enrages the Valar who begin to search for his fortress.
Melkor strikes first. He destroys the lamps and wreaks mass destruction and chaos. He quickly retreats in fear to Utumno. He gets away because the Valar are too busy trying to mitigate the destruction. Melkor's work also results in the destruction of Almaren.
The Valar also retreat from Middle-earth and go to the Isle of Aman in the furthest West of Arda. The raise a mountain chain on the Eastern shore called the Pelori as a defense against approach. Manwe sets up his throne on the highest peak, Taniquetil. Behind the mountains they begin to build Valinor, their new dwelling.
In Valinor, they gather all that had been saved from ruin, including the light that spilled from the lamps. They made Valinor even more beautiful than Arda had been in its first Spring. Valinor is a land devoid of corruption.
In Valinor, they build the city of Valmar.
On a mound in Valmar, Yavanna sings a song of creation, causing two small shoots to spring from the ground. These grow into trees. Two trees of light. The light of the two trees waxes and wanes, and begin the marking of time on Valinorthe time of the reign of the Valar in Valinor.
Telperion = the elder tree. Has light of silver.
Silpion = has light of gold.
Middle-earth is left almost in darkness, lit only by the stars of Varda.
Melkor makes use of the Valar's distraction to wander Middle-earth, bringing fire and ice to the tops of the mountains, and further marring the land.
Yavanna urges the Valar to make war on Melkor as the time of the arrival of the firstborn of Eru is at hand.
--- In TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com, "Jack" <jack@...> wrote:
> So who wants to do Chapter 3?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
> [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Morjuc
> Sent: 03 February 2012 05:33
> To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Re: Silmarillion progress...
> Yes, one chapter at a time would be good.
> --- In TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com, "Jack" <jack@> wrote:
> > Could we possibly do one chapter at a time?
> > Let me have a go...
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
> > [mailto:TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ty B
> > Sent: 01 February 2012 14:29
> > To: TolkienDiscussions@yahoogroups.com
> > Subject: [TolkienDiscussions] Silmarillion progress...
> > I'm up to chapter 8...the first few chapters are very 'biblical' - In the
> > begining...' and very much like the 'Tree of Jesse" of who begat whom, and
> > the 'exodus' of men and Eldar, but then Melkar starts up his mischief and
> > finally get some action! and Balrogs!
> > How's everybody else doing?
> > I can see how this would have challenged me at age 12- it's pretty dense
> > mythology for the first few chapters.
> > I look forward to hearing from everyone else.
> > Ty
> > ------------------------------------
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