Andy Serkis has had one foot in Middle-earth since The Fellowship of the Ring premiered in 2001. His initial connection to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work was as Gollum in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Ring movies. But in 2020, Serkis went back to Middle-earth in a different way. He read The Hobbit aloud nonstop to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts. Then Serkis recorded The Hobbit audiobook and in 2021, he recorded The Lord of the Rings audiobook trilogy. But he isn’t done. Andy Serkis also narrated The Silmarillion for a new, unabridged audiobook (via The Bookseller).
If you’ve read The Silmarillion, you know it’s a beast of a book—a beautiful one, but a beast nonetheless. Published in 1977, the book goes into the history of Middle-earth before the One Ring. It starts with a creation myth and moves through the ages in poetic, dense prose. And if the names in The Lord of the Rings are complex, the ones in The Silmarillion are on another level.
Serkis said the following in a statement about this new audiobook version of The Silmarillion:
The Silmarillion was always going to be a hard mountain to climb, and therefore perhaps the most rewarding. I was seriously daunted. Whereas the narrative structure and characters of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings provide the narrator with an immense propulsion, The Silmarillion is like reading an extraordinary, ancient bible, with its own creation mythology spanning many ages, written over many years. But once in the flow of Tolkien’s poetic imagination, and limitless authority of his universe, there were passages that I found myself completely mesmerised by as I was reading, and it became a thrillingly wild and magical experience. I can only hope the listener feels the same way.
If you’d like to get a taste of Serkis narrating Tolkien’s words, watch the below video. It’s Bilbo Baggins’ birthday party speech from The Fellowship of the Ring.
The Serkis-narrated unabridged The Silmarillion audiobook will arrive on June 22, 2023. You can place a pre-order now.