Get Your Free Audiobook

The Silmarillion

Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 0
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (153 ratings)

Non-member price: $25.82

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    111
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    5

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    121
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I believe I may have to listen again

narrator was good but son of, son of, son a bit long winded. to keep up with but that's Tolkien.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a story for the ages

one of the best books ever written. a tale of true wonder and written in a fashion which is too rare. a book you will not regret.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really good book just not for long car rides

Love the names and the story, lore etc but I'm I thought it was a new land.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • dave
  • Australia
  • 15-06-2019

The Silmarillion - reader Martin Shaw

I first read The Silmarillion when it was first published in 1977. Compared with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings it is a much more difficult book to read being a semi-academical version of several myths and historical legends of the creation, the histories of the Elves, humans and their struggles against evil.
It is the Bilbo Baggins' translation of some of the Elvish historical records retained in Rivendell. Bilbo worked on the translations after his leaving of The Shire on his eleventy-first birthday.
As such the style doesn't flow as well as the other JRRT tales.
However this version is an absolute cracker of a book and that it works so well is down to the wonderful reading by Martin Shaw. For me he brings the dry histories into real flowing life. I consider this performance to be one of the best I've heard. It is a truly wonderful rendition. Yes I'm a Tolkien nerd but I highly recommend this. I'd love to hear Martin Shaw perform The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Better bible

A Better Bible than some. Must read for elven kind and the elendil alike. Wisdom and lesson for men and dwarves.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A tad lofty

Martin Shaw delivers a capable performance, given the pronunciation difficulties inherent to the text - his pronunciation can at times seem lofty and excessive, but he does the job well. The story is a bit bland and factual, but it certainly adds to Tolkien's world for invested fans of his mythos and narrative.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

too hard basket

Really wanted to enjoy this... but put it in the too hard basket after about 2hrs. IF you are a REALLY hardcore fan, and make it through all of the creation saga at the start, this may be for you.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful Tolkien

Only removing 1 star due to Martin Shaw's annoying pronunciation of Iluvatar, with the emphasis on an unfamiliar syllable. But what a beautiful reading voice he has!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brian
  • Brian
  • 22-11-2018

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.]

155 of 163 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul Castellano
  • Paul Castellano
  • 22-10-2018

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!

91 of 96 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for TheSuz
  • TheSuz
  • 01-11-2018

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.

74 of 79 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 15-10-2018

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.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Scooter
  • Scooter
  • 16-02-2019

Ponderous

I’m a big Tolkien fan. I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many times over the years but never The Simarillion. I wanted to know the back story but had never gotten around to reading it. The narrator’s voice was perfect for the material but lacked inflection and I found myself zoning out. I had to go back several times and listen to the chapters again. It’s ok for a Tolkien fan but I would not recommend for the casual reader.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kyle cacurak
  • Kyle cacurak
  • 30-10-2018

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Red
  • Red
  • 03-12-2018

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!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cameron
  • Cameron
  • 21-11-2018

The Hype is real.

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

48 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Soul
  • Soul
  • 09-12-2016

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!

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anna M. Boley
  • Anna M. Boley
  • 14-07-2019

I couldn't do it

I've been forcing myself to try to finish this for weeks, I finally give up. I was excited to read this, I've read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books and loved them. I've read tons of books in my life, I by no means am a light reader. But this book will drive me mad! It's almost impossible to follow, continuous repetition of so and so son of so and so. It reads like a textbook, I would have to take notes and cross reference just to get a grasp of the content. While I will eventually finish it only because it's a Tolkien I don't think I will ever revisit it as I have his other tales numerous times. I realize he never finished this story and it was released by his son, perhaps there's a reason he didn't release it? Die hard fans only.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stuart Shaw
  • Stuart Shaw
  • 07-01-2016

awesome

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

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rasmus Jensen
  • Rasmus Jensen
  • 30-08-2017

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.

77 of 81 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas Adrian Allpress
  • Thomas Adrian Allpress
  • 28-08-2017

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Raj
  • Raj
  • 10-02-2016

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jasper elwes
  • jasper elwes
  • 20-11-2015

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.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julie Baker
  • Julie Baker
  • 02-11-2016

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-07-2016

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!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for simon j vanhinsbergh
  • simon j vanhinsbergh
  • 16-06-2016

AWESOME

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

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for ookster
  • ookster
  • 29-03-2019

Martin Shaw

... Is the best casting decision I've seen on Audible to date. Can't praise the narration enough. As a kid reading it and ever since, the inflection and cadance I had in my mind is served up wonderfully by Martin Shaw. Two thumbs up.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jessica S
  • Jessica S
  • 11-12-2015

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful