Before There Were Hobbits: 'The Silmarillion' Quiz

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About This Quiz

"The Silmarillion" details the rich background of the more well-known tales "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" for dedicated Tolkien fans. How much do you know about the earlier ages of Middle-earth? Take this quiz to find out.

"The Silmarillion" is named after what?

The longest section of the book revolves around Elven gems called Silmarils, their theft, and the quest to recover them.

The first part of "The Silmarillion," "Ainulindale," is Tolkien's version of what type of mythological story?

"Ainulindale" describes the creation of the universe, Arda (where Middle-earth is found) and all the beings that populate it.

What is the name of the divine being who existed before the creation of the universe?

Eru Iluvatar (sometimes known as either name separately, sometimes both names combined), is somewhat like Odin and somewhat like the Christian God, both major inspirations for Tolkien.

The Ainur are divine beings born from what?

The Ainur are born from Iluvatar's thoughts, which is very Odin-like.

How do the Ainur create the universe?

The universe is created from the song of the Ainur, a complex harmony directed by Iluvatar.

How does Melkor, the most powerful Ainur, work to disrupt the creation of the universe?

Melkor keeps disrupting the song, forcing Iluvatar to begin it again with a new, more powerful theme.

Who are the Children of Iluvatar?

Men and Elves are born as the result of the third musical theme composed by Iluvatar.

The Ainur then create Arda, the world where all of Tolkien's other tales take place (Middle-earth is just part of that world). Melkor wants to rule Arda. What happens to him after the Ainur go to Arda?

Melkor is imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos so he doesn’t corrupt the Elves.

The "Valaquenta" section of "The Silmarillion" describes the Valar, powerful Ainur who come to live on Arda (sort of like Greek gods and goddesses). How many Valar are there?

There are 14 Valar, plus Melkor, who is no longer considered a Valar due to his evil deeds.

The Valar are the more powerful Ainur of Arda. What are the lesser Ainur called?

The Maiar are in some ways like pagan nature spirits, though some of them (Sauron, Gandalf, Melian) take a more specific form and play greater roles in the events on Arda.

Each Maia is "attached" to a more powerful Valar. Which one is Sauron attached to?

Aule, the Smith, is known for invention and crafting, which explains Sauron's skill in directing the crafting of the Rings of Power and his own crafting of the One Ring.

Who awakened at Cuivienen?

The Elves awaken at Cuivienen in Middle-earth.

What is the continent where the Valar live, which the Elves are invited to?

Aman is the domain of the Valar. They created a sort of holy land called Valinor there.

How does Melkor create the Balrogs?

Balrogs are fallen, corrupted Maiar.

Who creates the Silmarils?

Feanor is the son of the first king of the Noldor Elves.

Why are the Silmarils so powerful?

After Melkor and Ungoliant destroys the two trees, the Silmarils are the only remnant of their light left in Arda.

What does Melkor do after destroying the trees?

Melkor kills Feanor's father and returns to his fortress with the Silmarils, which he places in his Iron Crown.

The true cost of Melkor's theft is that it stirs pride, greed and jealousy and leads someone to commit a terrible betrayal. Who is it?

Feanor blames the Valar for his father's death. He covets the Silmarils so much he convinces his fellow Noldor to leave Aman for Middle-earth, killing some of his fellow Elves in the process.

What is the Oath of Feanor?

Feanor swears that nothing will stop him from reclaiming the Silmarils, a promise that would have tragic consequences.

After he returns to Middle-earth, what is Melkor's name changed to?

Melkor is known as Morgoth after he steals the Silmarils.

Melian is a Maia who marries an Elf and rules the Elven kingdom of Doriath. What is "the Girdle of Melian"?

Very few beings are able to pass through the misty barrier of the Girdle of Melian without permission from her or her husband, Thingol.

Who leaves permanent scars on Morgoth's face?

Thorondor flies into battle and leaves indelible scars on Morgoth's face during the Dagor Bragollach.

The Nirnaeth Arnoediad is a major battle in which Morgoth finally gains control over much of northern Beleriand. What does "Nirnaeth Arnoediad" translate to?

The battle is marked by horrendous casualties and terrible betrayals and is known as the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.

When the mortal Man Beren enters Doriath, whom does he fall in love with?

Beren falls in love with Luthien, but Thingol doesn't want her to marry a mortal.

What is Thingol's condition for allowing the marriage?

Thingol asks that Beren retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, believing this to be an impossible task.

How does Beren accomplish the task?

Beren is only able to get the Silmaril with Luthien's help, but he gets greedy and wakes up Morgoth trying to get the other two.

What happens to Beren's Silmaril?

The werewolf Carcharoth eats it, but Thingol lets Beren and Luthien get married anyway (although Beren dies and Luthien has him restored to life but becomes mortal herself — it's all very tragic).

What is the name of the hidden Elven city that finally falls to Morgoth, but only after yet another betrayal from within?

The Fall of Gondolin is one of Tolkien's most epic (though tragic) battles.

What do Earendil and Elwing do with Beren's Silmaril years later?

Earendil and Elwing sail to Valinor and ask the Valar to go to war against Morgoth with them.

The resulting war, known as the War of Wrath, leads to Morgoth's defeat but has what other consequence?

A lot of Middle-earth is obliterated by the war because the Valar are so powerful. The Valar basically look around and say, "Whoa, we will never get involved like this again; this was a bad idea."

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