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on 6 June 2017
not necessarily improved by lengthening. I've never really got on with anything other than The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. The rest seem more reruns to extend the franchise.
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on 14 June 2017
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on 12 April 2017
Imagine a young man of 20 or so, caught up in the trench warfare of World War I, experiencing the daily reality of mud, rats, lice, and bombardment, and writing stories about elves and dwarves, dragons and men of valor, stories of doomed heroes set in a time remote from the present. Before “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” there was a manuscript called “The Book of Lost Tales.”

One of lost tales, those stories of the First Age or what J.R.R. Tolkien referred to as the “Elder Days,” was “The Children of Hurin.” It is a dark story, a tale of a curse, but it is a fierce story, a moving story, a story whose ending you know but you keep reading anyway because you’re caught in the grip of a master storyteller and he won’t let go.

Hurin is a heroic king, married to Morwen and the father of the boy Turin. He has set off with his allies to fight the Black Enemy, named Morgoth, who is seeking to dominate the worlds of men and elves with his own armies of Orcs and evil men. Hurin and his allies are defeated; Hurin is taken prisoner but is not killed. Instead, he is made a permanent captive and Morgoth places a curse upon his children.

“The Children of Hurin” is a rousing tale, a wonderful story in its own right but also one containing hints and foreshadowing of what was to come later with Tolkien’s greatest works.
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I ordered it through Amazon and received it on release day.

If you loved the Silmarillion - (a book I prefer over Lord of the Rings), you'll love this - the style of writing, the prose, the story itself is in much the same vein, basically in the same vein as many Old English works Tolkien was familiar with, such as Beowulf, it's written as a SAGA.
I was actually expecting a more 'modern' story telling approach or a 'Novel' in the same vein as LOTR but not so.

So if you're a 'casual' reader, or one of those who jumped on the bandwagon when Peter Jacksons version of LOTR was released and don't particularly enjoy the Silmarillion style, nor are a fan of myth, legend and don't much enjoy epics then you might be disappointed.

The story itself is one of the best, if not the best that Tolkien has written and is essentially a tragedy and a romance and tells the story of Turin and his sister, his father Hurin and mother.
Cursed by the Great Enemy Morgoth, their fates rule and direct the fate of the 'War of the jewels'.
Hurin is the greatest ever warrior among Mortals, and Turin his son, or Elf-man (as he more than any other mortal closely resembles the Immortal Elf kind) is very close behind, "..a stabber in the dark, trecherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin, Túrin son of Húrin!.." says the Dragon Glaurung about him.

It is dark and morbid in parts, full of great deeds, of noble values, betrayel, honour, trust and love, friendship and horror. With a brilliant villain and Heroes which make those in the Illiad seem like monkeys in comparison.

The characters aren't one dimensional at all, contrary to what some people say, and are fleshed out as people one can visualise, sympathise with or hate. Beleg ".. Beleg Strongbow, truest of friends, greatest in skill of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand in the Elder Days.." is simply admirable, and his passing is a dramatic point. Morgoth is a total bstard, but totally blinded by his evil intentions. Turin is at times a complete arrogant, pig headed, holier than thou self righteous pratt - the complete opposite of Morgoth, yet alike in their narrow mindedness, but one has to admire his integrity, bravery, honour and strength.

There are some timeless classic monents whih really grip you, and others which stay with you forever!
It is an 'extended' version of the tales found in Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion, with extra bits and elaborations which complete the picture, so all in all a worthy read and a true saga.

I just hope CJR Tolkien releases a book on Tolkiens 2nd Age, the forging of the Rings and the war of the last alliance.
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on 22 February 2017
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on 3 May 2017
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on 20 April 2017
Another well written treasure of Tolkien, thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 19 April 2017
The tragedy of Turin Turambar forms the focus of this book set in Middle Earth during the First Age. The tale is mentioned briefly in the Silmarillion so this is an excellent opportunity to get a deeper understanding of the time of the Heroes of the First Houses of Men and set exclusively in the doomed West of Middle Earth - Beleriand. Chronicling the rise and fall of the House of Hador, mostly around the Doom of Turin and his dealings with the great Worm Glaurung - Father of Dragons.
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Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up.

But in the case of "The Children of Húrin," the result is a surprisingly solid and lucid story, full of familiar characters from other books about the history of Middle-Earth. Tolkien's timeless, formal prose and richly-imagined world make this novella pop from the pages, especially without his son's stuffier footnotes.

It opens with the story of Huon and Hurin, heroic brothers who lived back in the first age. But when battling the terrible Morgoth (the Middle-Earth Satan), Huor is slain and Hurin is taken prisoner by Morgoth, who torments and curses him. The Easterlings overrun his lands, and in fear for her son and unborn baby, Hurin's wife Morwen sends her son away to be fostered in Doriath.

And so Turin grows up in Doriath, until the day when he feels the need to go out and defend his distant family. His adventures take him through Middle-Earth, encountering great elves, orcs, lives with outlaws, and Mim the petty-dwarf. But his life is cursed by Morgoth -- as is the mysterious girl he falls in love with -- and his downfall will be one of horror and disgrace, even as he slays the most terrible dragon in Middle-Earth, Glaurung.

This book is actually a jigsaw puzzle -- Tolkien worked on the interrelated stories and poetry throughout his lifetime, but he never quite finished a solid cohesive story. So Christopher Tolkien cobbled together these various stories with Tolkien's unfinished works, pasted them together, and the result was "The Children of Húrin."

Surprisingly, the resulting story is very solid and strong, with a darker finale than "Lord of the Rings." While the main storyline is about Hurin and his son, it's sprinkled with familiar characters, such as Melian and Morgoth. And the rich, tragic storyline is full of noble elves, great human heroes, ancient lost cities and even a vengeful, talking sword.

And Tolkien's writing is somewhere between his "Silmarillion" style and his "Lord of the Rings" style -- it's formal and archaic, but he includes strong descriptions ("A flash of white swallowed in the dark chasm, a cry lost in the roaring of the river") and dialogue ("You are one of the fools that spring would not mourn if you perished in winter". One of the best scenes is when Morgoth and Hurin argue about theology and the "circles of the world" on a tower.

Despite the formality of his writing, the characters really pop out of their stories -- Turin is fierce, passionate and tragic, and his last scenes are absolutely stunning. His noble father and moody mother also come across well, and we get plenty of other colourful characters, from snitty elves to the evil Morgoth himself, who torments Hurin by forcing him to see everything Morgoth sees.

Since the actual story is only about two hundred pages long, it's fleshed out considerably by Christopher Tolkien's introduction and appendices, which explain about the writing and construction of the stories and poems, as well as a pronunciation guide, and a series of family trees.

And Alan Lee provides several beautiful drawings (both black-and-white and color), including Doriath's forests, eagles carrying Hurin and Huor, elven smiths, the dragon, Elf warriors, and finally the death of Turin, over a grey river under some burned trees.

Despite its brevity, "The Children of Húrin" is a stunning, brilliant piece of work, full of Tolkien's vibrant storytelling and memorable characters. Definitely a must-read.
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VINE VOICEon 7 January 2008
This could well stand as one of Tolkien's greatest pieces of work other than the Lord Of The Rings. It is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word as Tolkien once again combines imagination with great deeds and wonderful imagery as he weaves a magical tale of the Elder Days In Middle Earth during the first age.

I have read much of Tolkiens earlier work, such as the silmarilian and the unfinished tales and these novels are a little heavy going at times so I was a little dubious as to whether The Children Of Hurin would be of a similar literal tone. I couldn't have been more wrong. Although I have come across this tale before I have never read it in its entirety. As you read through the story I was surprised to be so drawn into it, you do get a real feel for the woes of all the characters in the book as you urge them on whilst reading it.

Tolkien really has a remarkable style, his imagination has no bounderies and his skill with the pen is apparent as he takes you on yet another adventure from deep dark forests, to glorious rivers, epic battles all you expect from Tolkien is right here, so much of the lore that gets talked about in the later Lord Of the Rings is all here too. But it isnt Sauron who is the major threat it is his master the evil Morgoth, who puts a curse on the House of Hador and the Children of Hurin for defying him.

The story is often woeful, a far cry from Bilbo and the Dwarves on the Treasure quest. But for any Tolkien fans this really is a must read. Much lighter to read than most of his early essays and gives you a feel for Middle Earth in days long before Lord Of The Rings and the Days of Gandalf, Arragorn and the rest. Yet another great story from the master and one that is more than worthy to sit alongside the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.
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