Best The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, & The Silmarillion Audiobook Versions

lord of the rings audibooks

There are many The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion audiobook versions all over the internet. Considering that many choices, avid readers, or rather listeners can get overwhelmed by the number of available audiobooks. This is where we step in, in today’s article we will bring you the overview and detailed analysis of the best Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion audiobooks.

The general consensus is that Unabridged versions narrated by Rob Inglis are the best Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion audiobook versions. But, there are versions like BBC dramatization, where we have many different narrators, and some people like those, also, there are some shorter versions for those who don’t have so much time.

In recent years, as sales of printed books have been declining worldwide, the popularity of audiobooks has been steadily increasing. Audiobook sales grew 43 percent in 2018 while print sales fell five percent over the same period for the first time in the past five years. Over the past five years, audiobook sales have been estimated at $2.5 billion. This growth was primarily driven by Amazon’s daughter company Audible, whose consistent and aggressive 20-year campaign to produce and sell audiobooks has paid off. But let’s get into the topic at hand – The best audiobook version of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.

Best The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion Unabridged Audiobook Versions

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Rob Inglis
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 7 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring anabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

Inspired by The Hobbit and begun in 1937, The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy that J.R.R. Tolkien created to provide “the necessary background of history for Elvish tongues”. From these academic aspirations was born one of the most popular and imaginative works in English literature.

The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

In this splendid, unabridged audio production of Tolkien’s great work, all the inhabitants of a magical universe – hobbits, elves, and wizards – step colorfully into life. Rob Inglis’ narration has been praised as a masterpiece of audio.

©1983 Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R.Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien, and Priscilla M.A.R.Tolkien (P)1990 Recorded Books

You can find Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis on Amazon.

RELATED: Tolkien’s Middle-earth Books Reading Order

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

Book Two in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Rob Inglis
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 2
Length: 16 hrs and 40 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

The Two Towers is the second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga, The Lord of the Rings.

The Fellowship has been forced to split up. Frodo and Sam must continue alone towards Mount Doom, where the One Ring must be destroyed. Meanwhile, at Helm’s Deep and Isengard, the first great battles of the War of the Ring take shape.

In this splendid, unabridged audio production of Tolkien’s great work, all the inhabitants of a magical universe – hobbits, elves, and wizards – spring to life. Rob Inglis’ narration has been praised as a masterpiece of audio.

©1983 Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R.Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien, and Priscilla M.A.R.Tolkien (P)1990 Recorded Books

You can find The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis on Amazon.

3. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Rob Inglis
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 3
Length: 18 hrs and 19 mins

Publisher’s Summary of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron.

In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director. This recording also contains Tolkien’s preface to the trilogy, including a prior history of the ring, and shire habitat, history, and folkways.

©1983 Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R.Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien, and Priscilla M.A.R.Tolkien (P)1990 Recorded Books

You can find The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis on Amazon.

4. The Hobbit audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Rob Inglis
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 0.5
Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Hobbit audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis

Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all – a treasure-trove dragon named Smaug.

In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers. Narrator Rob Inglis will hold listeners of all ages spellbound with his skillful portrayal of hobbits, dwarves, and enchanted beasts.

©1966 J.R.R. Tolkien (P)1991 Recorded Books

You can find The Hobbit unabridged audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis on Amazon.

5. The Silmarillion audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Series: The Lord of the Rings, Book 0
Length: 14 hrs and 49 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Silmarillion audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw

The complete unabridged audiobook of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.

The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.

Included in the book are several shorter works. ‘The Ainulindale’ is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods are described. ‘The Akallabeth’ recounts the downfall of the great island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and ‘Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.

©2015 The Tolkien Estate and CR Tolkien (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

You can find The Silmarillion unabridged audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw on Amazon.

RELATED: The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit Movies in Order

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (Dramatised) audiobook versions

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatised)

By: J. R. R Tolkien
Narrated by: Ian Holm, Michael Hordern, Robert Stephens
Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatised) audiobook

One of the greatest epic fantasies of our time, The Fellowship of the Ring has inspired generations of fans, thanks to Tolkien’s unparalleled skill for crafting intricately woven narratives. In audiobook form, the story is taken to a whole new level.

A BBC radio full-cast dramatization of the first book in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Brian Sibley’s famous 1981 adaptation, starring Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, has been divided into three corresponding parts, with newly-recorded beginning and end narration by Ian Holm.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios
You can find The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatised) audiobook on Amazon.

2. The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Dramatised) audiobook

By: J. R. R Tolkien
Narrated by: Ian Holm, Michael Hordern, Robert Stephens
Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Dramatised) audiobook

A BBC radio full-cast dramatization of the second book in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Brian Sibley’s famous 1981 adaptation, starring Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, has been divided into three corresponding parts, with newly-recorded beginning and end narration by Ian Holm.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios

You can get The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (Dramatised) audiobook on Amazon.

3. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Dramatised) audiobook

By: J. R. R Tolkien
Narrated by: Ian Holm, Michael Hordern, Robert Stephens
Length: 3 hrs and 10 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Dramatised) audiobook

A BBC radio full-cast dramatization of the third book in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Brian Sibley’s famous 1981 adaptation, starring Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, has been divided into three corresponding parts, with newly-recorded beginning and end narration by Ian Holm.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios
You can get The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (Dramatised) audiobook on Amazon.

4. The Hobbit (Dramatised) audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Paul Daneman, Anthony Jackson, Heron Carvic
Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Hobbit (Dramatised) audiobook

The radio dramatization of The Hobbit became a classic when it was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1968 and it continues to delight today.

Tolkien’s famous saga, the prelude to the Lord of the Rings, has all the ingredients of fantasy and adventure: dwarves, elves, goblins and trolls, a fearsome dragon, a great wizard, a perilous quest, and a dramatic climax. At the center is the unsuspecting hero Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving unambitious Hobbit who is suddenly thrust into the biggest, indeed the only adventure of his life.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd trading as BBC Studios

You can get The Hobbit (Dramatised) audiobook on Amazon.

Other Lord of the Rings Audiobooks and Versions

1. The Fall of Gondolin audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien
Narrated by: Timothy West, Samuel West
Length: 8 hrs and 18 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Fall of Gondolin audiobook

Presented for the first time as a stand-alone work, the epic tale of The Fall of Gondolin reunites fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Balrogs, Dragons and Orcs, and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

This audio production features Samuel West, voicing J. R. R. Tolkien’s original writings, and Timothy West, reading the editorial commentary by Christopher Tolkien. 

Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable, is central to the enmity of two of the greatest powers in the world.

RELATED: Are The Lord of the Rings Movies on Netflix Extended?

Morgoth of the uttermost evil seeks in vain to discover the marvelously hidden city of his Elven enemies, while the gods in Valinor refuse to support Ulmo Lord of Waters’ designs to protect it.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, and guided unseen by Ulmo he sets out on the fearful journey to Gondolin to warn them of their coming doom. Then Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs.

©2018 J. R. R. Tolkien (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

You can get The Fall of Gondolin audiobook on Amazon.

2. The Children of Hurin audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Christopher Lee
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Children of Hurin audiobook

There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings. The story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World.

In that remote time, Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Túrin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves. Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Húrin, the man who had dared to defy and scorn him to his face. Against them, he sent his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire.

Into this story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the Dark Lord and the Dragon enter in a direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Túrin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled.

The earliest versions of this Tolkien story go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed. But long afterward, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he revised and greatly enlarged it, enhancing the complexities of motive and character. It became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book, Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after a long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.

©2007 J. R. R. Tolkien Copyright Trust and Christopher Reuel Tolkien (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London, UK

You can get The Children of Hurin audiobook on Amazon.

3. Tales from the Perilous Realm audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins

Publisher’s Summary of Tales from the Perilous Realm audiobook

Combined into one volume, this is the definitive collection of Tolkien’s five acclaimed modern classic ‘fairie’ tales in the vein of The Hobbit, read by Derek Jacobi.

The five tales are written with the same skill, quality, and charm that made The Hobbit a classic. Largely overlooked because of their short lengths, they are joined here in one volume which reaffirms Tolkien’s place as a master storyteller for listeners young and old.

  1. ‘Roverandom’ is a toy dog who, enchanted by a sand sorcerer, gets to explore the world and encounter strange and fabulous creatures.
  2. ‘Farmer Giles of Ham is fat and unheroic, but – having unwittingly managed to scare off a short-sighted giant – is called upon to do battle when a dragon comes to town.
  3. ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ tells in verse Tom’s many adventures with hobbits, princesses, dwarves, and trolls.
  4. ‘Leaf by Niggle’ recounts the strange adventures of the painter Niggle, who sets out to paint the perfect tree.
  5. ‘Smith of Wootton Major’ journeys to the Land of Faery thanks to the magical ingredients of the Great Cake of the Feast of Good Children.

Taken together, this rich collection of work from the author of The Children of Húrin will provide the listener with a fascinating journey into lands as wild and strange as Middle-earth

©2016 J. R. R. Tolkien (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
You can get Tales from the Perilous Realm audiobook on Amazon.

4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Terry Jones
Length: 4 hrs and 25 mins

Publisher’s Summary of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight audiobook

A collection of three medieval English poems, translated by Tolkien for the modern-day reader and containing romance, tragedy, love, sex, and honor.

©1975 J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust; (p)1997 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London, UK
You can get Sir Gawain and the Green Knight audiobook on Amazon.

RELATED: The Lord of the Rings Theatrical vs. Extended: Differences & Which Is Better

5. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Sir Derek Jacobi
Length: 1 hr and 22 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil audiobook

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is a collection of poetry written by J. R. R. Tolkien and was first published in 1962. The audio is read by Sir Derek Jacobi and is a collection of 16 poems that contain an assortment of bestiary verse and fairy tale rhyme. It is a stunning recording that captures all the characters in their own charming and mysterious ways. Throughout Jacobi’s performance, we will encounter all of these, including the Oliphaunt, a Princess, the man on the moon, and even a giant turtle fish called Fastitocalon.

©2010 HarperCollins Publishers (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

You can get The Adventures of Tom Bombadil audiobook on Amazon.

6. The Hobbit audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: Martin Shaw
Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Hobbit narrated by Martin Shaw audiobook

Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance. He was just about to step out onto the floor when he caught a sudden thin ray of red from under the drooping lid of Smaug’s left eye. He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance!

Whisked from his comfortable hobbit-hole by Gandalf the wizard and a band of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon.

©1937, 1951, 1966, 1978 George Allen and Unwin (Publishers) Ltd. (P)1993 HarperCollins UK

You can get: The Hobbit audiobook narrated by Martin Shaw on Amazon.

7. The Hobbit (Dramatized) audiobook

By: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrated by: An Ensemble Cast
Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Hobbit (Dramatized) audiobook

Here is the original American full dramatization of The Hobbit, as broadcast on National Public Radio.
Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who loves the comforts of home, reluctantly joins a company of dwarves on a journey to recover plundered gold from a fierce dragon. It’s a tale of high adventure and astonishing courage, and a magical prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

©The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust (P)1979, 1994 HighBridge Company

You can get The Hobbit (Dramatized) audiobook on Amazon.

8. The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatized) audiobook

By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Narrated by: An Ensemble Cast
Length: 3 hrs and 24 mins

Publisher’s Summary of The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatized) audiobook

Here is the original American full dramatization, as broadcast on National Public Radio.
In the ancient lands of Middle-earth, a place of elves and dwarves, Orcs and wizards, the darkest evil and the brightest good, a hobbit named Frodo Baggins embarks on a perilous quest: to carry the One Ring, ruler of all the Rings of Power, into the shadowy land of Mordor and destroy it in the fires where it was forged.

©1979, 1994 Christopher R. Tolkien, Michael H.R. Tolkien, John F.R. Tolkien, and Priscilla M.A.R. Tolkien (P)1979, 1994 HighBridge Company

You can get The Fellowship of the Ring (Dramatized) audiobook on Amazon.

  • Robert is the co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a lifelong fan of movies, TV shows, comics, and video games. Especially fascinated by Marvel, he enjoys every aspect of the franchise.