The Silmarillion Project: A New Way to View Tolkien

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The Silmarillion intimidates me. It’s one of those Moby Dick-esque books that I’m sure I’ll love, but I still gotta make myself sit down with it, you know? Still, the same text that intimidates me clearly serves as a great inspiration to artist Aaron Diaz. In fact, he’s in the process of illustrating the whole thing with “The Silmarillion Project.”

Once he’s done, he’ll have created a painted image accompanying each chapter, in addition to other pieces depicting Tolkien’s characters and the world they live in. Not only is this an insane amount of work, but it should illuminate some neglected elements of Tolkien’s work, specifically his depictions of women and “minorities,” if that word applies to a fantasy story:

“…the ‘everyone is white’ trend in adaptations is a symptom of other people ignoring what’s in the texts. Additionally, all of Tolkien’s writings are presented as if they’re written from a limited and flawed historical perspective (LoTR and The Hobbit were ‘written’ by Hobbits, etc). The position of my adaptation is to present what ‘actually’ happened- the events upon which the flawed or biased history is based.”

I’m sure I’ll appreciate this a lot more after getting around to reading the book  (maybe later this year?), but honestly, the artwork is good enough to appreciate regardless. Wanna see a brave artist take on the collected mythologies of Middle Earth all by himself? Check it out here.