This year we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. The imposing tome is a massive collection of mythopoeic works that tell the creation myth of Middle Earth, and recount the ages that preceded the saga The Lord of the Rings. The Silmarillion is only for the hardest core hobbitphiles. It lacks the narrative drive of Tolkien’s classic stories while also being populated by a teeming host of unpronounceable creatures, characters and locales. It’s not without its charms, but readers definitely get a pass for not venturing very long into this very long book. With that in mind I think I’ve found an easier way: check out this video that uses some simple, charming animation to boil down the big bad book into a three-minute primer. This won’t substitute for reading the real thing, but it’s still a lot of fun for fantasy fans. Enjoy!