A New, Illustrated Silmarillion Is On the Way, Just in Time for Amazon's LOTR Show

This new edition will feature J.R.R. Tolkien’s original drawings from his seminal prequel story.

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Elves gather in a scene from Amazon’s Rings of Power.
Elves gather in a scene from Amazon’s Rings of Power.
Screenshot: Amazon Studios

Just announced this morning, a new illustrated edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, The Silmarillion, is going to be available in October 2022. This year is going to play host to Fantasy Rings Fall, with both the Amazon Studio’s show, Rings of Power out in September and now this new book, complete with Tolkien’s own drawings and marginalia.

The illustrations from the legendary author include “the flora of Middle-earth and heraldic devices of the great Houses of the Elves.” This edition follows in the wake of the popular 2021 illustrated editions of The Lord of the Rings, which included maps, towers, and pastoral scenes.

The Silmarillion
The Silmarillion
Image: HarperCollins Publishers

The Silmarillion was started before Tolkien was sent to war in France, and wasn’t published until after he had passed, in 1977. His son, Christopher Tolkien, had taken up the challenge of finishing the work, and the final version was a heavily edited compilation of texts and stories that was not quite polished. There is an irony in a fictional compendium being actually compiled well past the end of the original author’s life, a mishmash of authorships and ideas created both in context and without the nuance afforded when a single person is at the helm of an endeavor like this, but The Silmarillion has endured as one of the most fascinating explorations of Middle-Earth’s long history.

When it was released The Silmarillion sold well, but wasn’t as much of a hit as The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, which both sold in the tens of millions compared to The Silmarillion’s million-odd copies—but it’s about to become hugely important, to Lord of the Rings fans once again, as Amazon’s Rings of Power prequel draws on the worldbuilding Tolkien laid out to set up its Second Age world. The illustrated edition is available for preorder now.

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