I finished The Silmarillion this morning!
I read it in earnest this time, so this time, it took me months.
Some chapters, I read as many as six times!
I read all of them at least twice.
I actually took extensive notes until I had a firm handle on the types of characters and their family trees.
I didn't go so far as to draw my own maps, but I did buy an Atlas of Middle Earth and I referenced it at times.
This was not at all an easy book for me to read, obviously.
But I was determined not to leave Middle Earth, so to speak, until I had throughly explored its landscape and had a firm grasp on its people and places and events.
Like the Greek myths, this books does not make things easy on the reader.
It requires almost a physical effort to read forward.
But, like the myths, it offers rewards that easy narratives can't even touch.
A passive reader will just slide right down the steep incline of Tolkien's English.
And I slid like that when I got passive.
I'd finish a paragraph and realize I had not understood anything of what had been said, so I'd have to go back and start over from where I could last remember leaving off.
I was like Frodo climbing a steep mountain, slipping on the loose shale, falling back, and having to go forward again from wherever I could find firm footing again.
But there were moments when Tolkien's English shone as with the light of a Silmaril and those sentences were like getting a view from a high mountain or feeling a breeze that seems to be filled sweet music from another world.
Tears came to my eyes unbidden in those moments and then I felt a sweet longing.
I was thoroughly enchanted!
And I believe I'll carry a piece of Middle Earth with me everywhere I go from now on.
I've been marked by the journey for sure!