Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book #32: Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin, by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien. Unabridged audio, read by Christopher Lee.

This book was released 5 years ago, a new release designed to take advantage of renewed interest in Tolkien after the success of the movie trilogy. This was compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien, from his father’s notes and various versions of the story he had written over the years. Christopher’s introduction is helpful for putting the story into context, both in terms of Tolkien's life and his other works of Middle-Earth.

The events of this book take place more than six millennia before the War of the Ring, concentrating on the character Túrin Turambar and his sister Niënor. The Dark Lord (Morgoth) has cursed this pair, along with their father Húrin.  Their story is touched upon in the Silmarillion, but this book expands on the little that is written elsewhere about these characters elsewhere.

Morgoth excapes from the Blessed Realm and makes a fortress for himself in Angband. He wages war against elves to gain control of Middle-Earth, but his efforts fail. Centuries later, after men arise in the land, and the House of Bëor rules over part of the land. Other men, loyal of Morgoth, aid in war against Bëor and his elf allies. Húrin eventually become Lord over Dor-lómin, one of the realms that remained unconquered. Then there are dragons and swords and cliffs.

This book is easier to read than The Silmarillion, where shortened versions of the tale first appeared. This is because this novel tells one narrative story, as opposed to the tales told in The Silmarillion. Tolkien’s use of interesting and poetic language is of course strong. But that being said, this work is only for the most diehard of Tolkien fans.

The narration by Christopher Lee is terrific, making the audio version of this book the one I heartily recommend.

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