Item description for The Children of Hurin by Christopher Tolkien & J. R. R. Tolkien...
Overview The best-selling author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy comes an action-packed fantasy adventure saga, set in the early days of MIddle-earth, in which humans and elves, dwarves and dragons, orcs and dark sorcerers clash in an epic battle between good and evil. 250,000 first printing.
There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and 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 that 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 Niënor 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 to 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 direly articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Túrin and Niënor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled.
The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien 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 wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in 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 I have endeavored to construct, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.” Christopher Tolkien
Citations And Professional Reviews The Children of Hurin by Christopher Tolkien & J. R. R. Tolkien has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 918
Library Journal Prepub Alert - 12/01/2006 page 92
Entertainment Weekly - 05/04/2007 page 142
Kirkus Reviews - 05/01/2007 page 426
Booklist - 05/15/2007 page 4
Kirkus Best Books - 07/01/2007 page 8
School Library Journal - 09/01/2007 page 229
Christian Century - 10/16/2007 page 42
LJ Best Books of Year - 12/01/2007 page 76
Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2008 page 91
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CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. Appointed by Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself to the editing and publication of unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and The History of Middle-earth.
Christopher Tolkien has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Children of Hurin?
Even a son cannot and should not carry on the artist dream. Mar 18, 2008
I'm sorry, but give it up already!
Only Tolkien should continue the LOTR saga, and he can't. JRR needs to develop his own style and his own world instead of riding on dad's coat tails. If you want to read true artistry with vision try Prophecy of the Flame: Love's Dawning.
True Tolkien, but lacking the sweep... Mar 3, 2008
This compilation work of JRR Tolkien's is a great return to Middle Earth and the first age. The prose flows beautifully and the characters are familiar in their disposition. The book is dark, however, and deos not have the true good versus evil aspects of the Hobbit and LOTR. Turin, the son of the human Hurin, travels throughout the landscape of the first age under a curse from Melkor (Morgoth), the enemy. He loses his home after his father travels to a disastrous confrontation between Morgoth and the combined might of elves and men.
After retreating to the elven fortress forest of Menegroth, he becomes embittered and seeks to reunite with his family. He is the victim of elvish jealousy and for the first time, we see one of the Eldar as posessing petty attributes. Through a series of adventures and tragedies, including the destruction of Nargothrond (the elvish fortress city) by the dragon Galurang and his eventual marriage to his lost sister, he meets and slays the dragon in a rain swollen river.
This work contains an expanded snapshot of one of the major characters from the Silmarillion. It is disappointing in that it lacks the majestic sweep of story that many Tolkien readers have come to love. There are copious endnotes about the composition of the work. Unfortuneately, these read more like an extended apology that more original material does not exist.
Read this work as a companion to the Silmarillion, but avoid buying it for the LOTR only fan. They will be surprised and disappointed.
return of THE king Mar 3, 2008
Finally, the long wait is over. I have anticipated reading this book for more than a year and a half. Since the first time that I read on the Internet that our beloved Christopher was working on this project. Counting off the days to its release, (which also happened to be my wife's birthday,) I realized that I probably would not be able to afford the book for some time. It felt kind of lame trying to justify buying it for my wife's birthday, as it would obviously be for me, (although she is almost as big a fan as I am). So I waited. But not to worry, my own birthday was only a short three and a half months away, and I could usually count on at least one or two books. Well the birthday left me with many books about Tolkien, various commentaries on his works that were part of the general explosion of all things Tolkien a few years back, but not the one that is the subject of this review. So with much new reading awaiting me, my desire to read the Children was temporarily sated and put in the back of my mind. After all I reasoned, I already know the story, having read all the various and shorter published versions. So I could wait. Enter Christmas 2007. I was excited that I had finally received a copy, but the excitement was somewhat overshadowed by also receiving a copy of an "almost" final draft of my best friend's book. Now that I had a copy in my possession, I started reading it almost at once. Feeling like a child with one of those large candy cane sticks pulled from a stocking, I decided to take my time, savor it, make it last. Well, I did pretty good. I made it go for about two weeks. And let me tell you. It was worth all the anticipation. I enjoyed every word of it. Now that I have went on long enough about me and my relationship to this book, I shall proceed to write about the book itself, and the history of its creation. To start, I must say this. This is a tragic tale. While most of his works on Beleriand (the land where this takes place) are tragic in nature, this one is the most so. It is very personal, following the life of Hurin and his sister Nienor, whereas the other tragic works of Tolkien tend to follow more along the lines of a race, a people or nation, battle or series of battles. The first writings of this tale can be found in The Book of Lost Tales Vol II pg69. The title of this early version is called Turambar and the Foaloke. Here we see that most of the events in the Children are present in Tolkien's mind, although the order in which things take place have changed quite a lot. Another major difference is the names of people and places. Very few of the names that become familiar to the reader of the Children are the same here. Some have minor changes in structure and pronunciation, but others are totally different. To Tolkien the evolution of his languages was as if not more important to him as the evolution of his stories. The next major development can be found in The Lays of Beleriand, the third book in the Histories of Middle Earth. This is called the Lay of the Children of Hurin, and it begins on page 3. This version is my personal favorite. It is an excellent tale put into the format of a long poem or lay. Sadly it is only about two-thirds completed. For me this portrayal is the most visual, leaving in the mind many details that are not to be found in his prose. Throughout the rest of the Histories there are references to slight and minor changes that were made to the text and storyline. But it is not until we encounter Unfinished Tales that we find the next major step in the evolutionary history of the Children. This can be found on page 57 and is titled Narn I Hin Hurin. Though far from finished, this contains the narrative that Tolkien was working on before his untimely death. This is the rendering that was meant to be the "final" version, and is what we would be reading right now instead of the book that I am now reviewing. There are many elements missing here, but they are from all over the story, as he was rewriting portions here and there. In fact the most complete section is probably the ending. From here we move on to the Silmarillion, the sourcebook if you will, of all things elvish. This book contains all the short, condensed versions of stories from the First Age. In this version of Turin, Christopher had to delve through all the different versions to come up with a quick cohesive narrative, showing little more than the highlights of the story. Nonetheless it is well done. Reading even just this short version conveys almost as much tragedy as the novel version does. And as this was the first published version, it was all the public knew about Turin for a number of years. Now Christopher, who has worked very hard to have most everything his father wrote published, has taken from all these various sources, and created a new and comprehensive work. Editorially this was a huge task. Trying to pick through them all to find the right word, sentence, paragraph, or passage and put them all into a flowing readable narrative could be nothing more than a labor of love that is usually reserves for the author. So I am sure he made some choices about narrative that his father might frown upon, but we are also given a novel that offers us a full look at one of Tolkien's most important stories from the Eldar Days when Men where much more than the men we see in The Lord of the Rings, (excepting Aragorn of course, who was modeled after the great Men from before). All that I can really say is that if you are a fan of Tolkien then you should buy this, read it, and hopefully love and enjoy it as much as I have.
Good book for Tolkien fans Feb 28, 2008
If you're a Tolkien nut like me, you'll like this book for the expansion of the Middle Earth mythology. However, I doubt it would hold the interest of the non-fan. Too bad that that Tolkien Sr. wasn't able to complete this himself...
Only for Hardcore Tolkien Fans Feb 27, 2008
This book is written in the tone somewhat akin to the Silmarillion, but not quite so formal. It chronicles the life of Turin who was the child of Hurin. The time period is many thousands of years before the Lord of the Rings timeframe. Unfortunately to even know this you would have to have read The Silmarillion. That is one of the main problems with the book. Much of the information is not previously known or explained. Narration is formal and this is most of the book's contents. Very little dialogue of any consequence is mentioned. Moreover, the book doesn't have really any mention of otherworldly magic or any real interesting parts at all. The main character Turin is brash, valiant, battle hardened and of great physical strength. However, he runs around with a bunch of outlaws and he is difficult to relate to.
The people are two dimensional as is their thought processes. Little thought was given to the character development. This may have been written by J.R.R. Tolkien, but it was not in the spirit of Tolkien. It seems more like a history book or maybe a tale about the Knights of the Round Table. If Tolkien's name wasn't on the front of the book many wouldn't be able to tell it was his work. After getting halfway through, I was utterly bored with the storyline. I gave up. I couldn't tell where the story was going. ********Spoilers*******Basically the whole first half amounts to a large battle with many of the elves fighting, the imprisonment of Hurin, Turin growing up with the elves and then running away from Gondolin. That is all contained in about 140 pages.
I think the reason why The Silmarillion was so well received is that it was a series of short stories which didn't need to be expanded upon. It gave the lore and mythology of Middle Earth. I won't keep going on about his other books. If you absolutely wanted to hear more about Middle Earth than other two dozen some odd books Children of Hurin may satisfy you. For me, it was an incredible departure from the LoTR books.