Over at Salon, Peter L'Official ponders "Tolkien's cosmological vision" in the new edition of The Silmarillion ...and declares that Beren "should be Elvish for 'badass'" (via Bookninja):
As is often the case, the greatest pleasures are the small ones: Reading a familiar description or seeing a familiar place name will, for the Tolkien fan, set off a flood of memories of what will come to pass in later "years." And of course, revisiting "The Lord of the Rings" becomes all the richer with all of this new-old knowledge, throwing various elements of the story into fuller light. [...]
Reading Tolkien's "Silmarillion" is like looking at a frayed and faded picture of your grandfather and all of a sudden recognizing why your nose is shaped just the way it is. "The Silmarillion" is both profoundly satisfying and profoundly warming, even despite those who think its prose cold and unfeeling. It answers -- at least for Tolkien fans always desirous of more -- the fundamental question, why? If Tolkien knew (and he probably did) why the sky is blue, the answer would be in "The Silmarillion."
"The Silmarillion" is a special work because it offers what few other books of Tolkien's do: a true beginning, a fresh start. It is the beginning, of all things. For those willing to surrender themselves to his bookish universe, watch the films, or at least make a valiant attempt at penetrating the veil of scholarly geekdom surrounding most Tolkieniana, the opportunity exists here to start from scratch, from the One, Eru, "who in Arda is called Ilúvatar." Both the Tolkien arriviste and the scholar -- for once on a level playing field -- are presented with the clean slate of creation time where myth can be made and remade within the mind of the reader.