Unfinished Tales: of Numenor and Middle-earth Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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‘Moments of mythic grandeur’
‘Another monument to the incredible imagination of Tolkien’
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An extraordinary discovery is waiting for you on these pages. Mythic lore and forgotten legends unearthed by Christopher Tolkien from his father's archives unveil never-before-told stories of the three ages of ancient Middle-earth. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But some were left over -- yes, there were even more stories that didn't make the cut. These little odd bits make up "Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth." The stories are not as interconnected as the Silmarillion was, but they are a solid and enjoyable read.
Tolkien presents stories spanning Middle-Earth's history, with dragons and mythical heroes like Turin, background information on Elf queen Galadriel and her husband Celeborn, and different accounts of searches for the One Ring, including more exposition about the wizard-turned-bad Saruman and the other Istari.
There are also essays about palantiri, wizards, and the family line of Elrond's mortal brother Elros. Best among these is a "lost chapter" where Gandalf talks to Frodo about the Dwarves, which wouldn't have quite fit into the final novel, but is a good read anyway.
This isn't a novel, or even a sort of pseudo-history like "Silmarillion." It's more like a patchwork quilt of little odd bits that don't belong anywhere else. Anybody who hasn't read "Silmarillion," "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" will be hopelessly lost. But those who have read and understood those books will eat these right up -- there's plenty of info about favorite characters like Gandalf, Galadriel, and the heroes and villains from Tolkien's sprawling epics.
Tolkien's vivid writing is shown in its different states here -- there's the stately semi-mythic writing, and the more intimate conversational style of "Lord of the Rings.Read more ›
Unfinished Tales is indeed "the one truly essential set of supplementary/outtake material", and Tolkien scholars are strongly advised to pick this up as soon as they finish reading The Silmarillion. For two reasons:
1. "The Sil" is hard work - its presentational style, half-Bible/half-history-textbook, renders it inaccessible to a lot of people. But if you manage to finish it you can reward yourself with Unfinished Tales, which deepens your enjoyment of "the Sil" by providing more detailed (more gripping, more compulsively re-readable!) accounts of the same events, even though they are fragmentary and at-variance-with-other-writings.
The first section of the book begins with the expanded account of Tuor's early life and his mission to Gondolin which, for some, is the greatest of all Tolkien's obscure writings. But the piece that follows it, "Narn i hin Hurin" (tale of the children of Hurin), is certainly another candidate for the title - an extensive recounting of the disaster-ridden lives of Turin and Nienor. Even with a large section of the story (including the whole of Turin's sojourn in Nargothrond) missing, it winds up being the most emotionally draining thing Tolkien ever wrote.
The third section gives a more detailed background to the events at the end of the Third Age (i.e The Lord Of The Rings). There are accounts of "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" and of the past tribulations of Rohan, and its special relationship with Gondor. There is Gandalf's perspective on the background to "The Quest of Erebor" (i.Read more ›
I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys the world that Tolkien created and wishes to gain a better understanding of the characters and events that surround the epic War of the Ring. My only warning is to be prepared for many appendicies, footnotes and indexes that. Their inclusion is often with the intention of providing a clearer picture, but often have the opposite effect and you end up more confused than ever. But, then again, trying to solve the mysteries of Middle Earth adds to the enjoyment even more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are a Middle Earth fan, this is a good piece of work. Not as good as The Silmarillion or Children of Hurin, but still a very good read.Published 23 days ago by Mohammed Al Meshaweh
If you already know Tolkien, then this is essential reading. Christopher Tolkien can command the same Miltonic style as his father can. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James
I love all the Tolkien books. Read and reread many times over the years. J.A.B. aged 81yrs.Published 2 months ago by Janet Ann Bradley
The book itself is fantastic. Great writing (duh, it's Tolkien), beautiful binding, good paper quality. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Looking forward to reading this after enjoying 'The Silmarillion', also by J.R.R.Tolkien.It was delivered speedily and was in pristine condition - very happy!Published 5 months ago by Lizzy