The Children of Húrin Book Discussion: Post after you finish the book.

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The Children of Húrin Book Discussion: Post after you finish the book.

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Maio 16, 2007, 4:26 pm

There may be SPOILERS ahead, so please do not read this thread until after you are done reading the book.

Maio 16, 2007, 4:34 pm

okay, I'd better hurry up and finish it. I'm supposed to be sewing...but reading CoH seems MUCH more important now - who needs clothes??

Maio 17, 2007, 1:44 am

dangit...and here I thought we weren't gonna be discussing this book anytime soon. *picks it up and starts reading furiously* Guess I'll get around to re-reading Harry Potter next week.

Maio 17, 2007, 6:34 am

Take your time, people... this isn't one of those 'we all read the book at the same time' type threads. This is more of a 'read the book sometime in the next year or so, and try to dredge it out and post in it' type thread.

Maio 17, 2007, 9:48 am

ARGH!!!! I'd typed a long post and then LOST IT!!!!! *very big groan*

Anyways, starting again....

I found the writing to be absolutely beautiful in this book. I read it slowly, just to draw out the experience and relish each moment, each delightful phrase. Some of them just left me breathless, so beautifully expressed, like:

"Morwen did not gainsay him; for in Hurin's company the hopeful ever seemed the more likely." I LOVE that! "the hopeful ever seemed..."

and I had typed other examples, but it took me awhile to find them all and I don't have time to do it all again :-(

Anyways, it's a wonderful book. I love Alan Lee's illustrations - isn't the Helm beautifully wrought? Gorgeous!!

I'd talk about the story a bit, but not sure how much we want to go into it yet with people still reading it. I'm content to wait. This will be a book I'll be reading again and again, just for the words alone, let alone the story :-)

Maio 17, 2007, 2:11 pm

I agree, the writing is just... well, it left me speechless. There were times when I would pause and put the book down, just to savor the wordsmithing. But, oh my word, this story is dark dark dark. It was a bittersweet experience, in many ways.

Maio 17, 2007, 6:09 pm

#5 & #6 Nice quote, katylit, a great example of the power of JRRT's language. And I think the bulk of the writing is Dad's, The Professor's, and not Christopher's. There appendix contains some enlightening discussion, particulary since I had just finished the History of LOTR section of the History of Middle-Earth. Christopher states (p. 285), "I have come to think that when I composed the text in Unfinished Tales I allowed myself more editorial freedom than was necessary. In this book I have reconsidered..."

clam, Hurin is indeed dark and bittersweet. Turin is the anti-Aragorn or the Un-Aragorn. Where ultimately things turn out well for Aragorn (an understatement), Turin's life comes to a tragic end.

Maio 17, 2007, 10:36 pm

Well, Christopher kinda gives it away in the intro, but it is hard to feel any hope for either Turin or Nienor isn't it? They are truly doomed :-( Poor Hurin, surviving his whole family and left all alone.

I love your word "wordsmithing" Clam, I've never heard that before and it's absolutely perfect to describe Tolkien's writing here. And I think you're right cad_lib, I think most of the writing is the Professor's too.

Turin has such a very different personality than Aragorn. Turin seeks out power and authority, taking it as a given (it seemed to me) that he should have it. But Aragorn was so reluctant to go back to Gondor and become the king, he really resisted power. So is that the message? If one is too proud and ambitious it will lead to disaster and defeat, but if one is humble and reluctant success will come to you? I guess both characters are extreme examples in order to make the point, but isn't ambition, self-confidence, and yes, even pride necessary for success? I really like the comparision to Aragorn, it's given me some good thoughts to kick around. But maybe Turin was tragic because of the curse rather than his character.

Maio 18, 2007, 10:40 am

Hmmm, was Aragorn reluctant in Tolkien's books? I always thought he was just waiting for the right time, and it had nothing to do with him not wanting to be king. He always knew it was his destiny to take the throne, or die trying. He was admirable, and men followed him, be he never took it for granted the way Túrin did. He also never ran away from any of his responsibilities. Túrin is greatly flawed, and I have to say, although I was sympathetic to him, I never really liked him (or his mother) very much. I'm not sure why. Maybe I found nothing to relate to in his character, because he's not fleshed out the way I would like him to be.

Maio 18, 2007, 11:05 am

#9 And Aragorn/Viggo is fleshed out the way you'd like him to be? ;)

Maio 18, 2007, 11:07 am


I loved the legends. Hearing how the Native American couple dove into the crack on the Island of the Great Turtle (Mackinaw Island) had me almost in tears.


I guess I read The Children of Huron, one of the Great Lakes Legends series.

* whoops *

Editado: Maio 18, 2007, 11:50 am

#8 Katylit, I think you are describing Peter Jackson's Aragorn, not Tolkien's.

I know many have expressed the idea that Faramir was the most "botched" character in the Jackson movies, but I think Strider/Aragorn was way off in the movies. In the Trilogy, Strider is never beset with the doubts that the movie character has. We never see the depth of the man (The Man?) in the movie. By not having doubts, the real Strider was not arrogant or proud. He was doing his utmost as a servant of the Good, in whatever way needed, against The Shadow. As such (servant/protector) he was fulfilling his royal office or role and destiny long before crowned. Turin always got a bit full of himself, even though he usually sought to do good (Outlaw period noted exception).

Corollary to Jackson missing Aragorn's character, is he missed on Elrond: Elrond in the movie is petty and bitter; he missed on Frodo, by making the effects of the Ring too powerful to soon. Frodo comes off like a wasted druig addict when he puts on the Ring.

Having said that, I did like the Jackson movies, as movies go. I'm sure many books have fared worse when translated to film. Nothing against any of the actors, either. My motto:

Never judge a book by it's movie

Maio 18, 2007, 11:46 am

AhHA!! You inspired me to get out my LOTR book and I just read Appendix A again, the story of Aragorn and Arwen. You are perfectly right. It's been quite a few years since I've actually read the whole book and I was going on my fresher memories of the movies, which portray Aragorn and that whole story line quite differently. I LOVE going back to this world again, it's been way tooo long!!!

And yeah, I agree with you Tolkien sure didn't write a very sympathetic character in either Morwen or Turin (how do you get to accent the "u" - I can't figure it out?). I think I was making a comparison (in my head) with Tess of the D'ubervilles, was she fated to have all those rotten things happen to her or did she bring them on by her actions? Turin, was he the way he was because of the curse, or was he just an arrogant guy to begin with? Was Morwen so stubborn because she was totally frantic about her son or was it all arrogance and selfishness in her too.

I found I wanted to like Morwen 'cause I sort of identified with her a bit, sending hubby off to war, waiting back home with the kids - it's definitely a challenge and probably skews one's priorities. But when she wouldn't listen to Thingol's advice and consequently put so many at risk, it certainly wasn't very admirable on her part.

The characters weren't fleshed out as much as I would have liked either - perhaps that's the nature of the more formal language that's used in CoH? I know you read Beowulf after CoH, Clam, from what I remember (which we have seen can be shakey!), is there not the same distance with the characters in that story too? Now I'm going to have to re-read Beowulf too! O my :-)

Maio 18, 2007, 11:56 am

Absolutely, but Beowulf seems to me to represent all that is powerful and noble in mankind as a whole, and not an actual man himself. Maybe Túrin is meant to illustrate all that can go wrong with such power and nobility.

As to your question about the curse being to blame, all I can guess is that the curse didn't help. ;o) Things would have gone badly for Túrin anyway, but without the interference of the Dragon (who was sent by Morgoth) we would never had had the sister/brother fiasco. Túrin most likely still would have come to a bitter end, but it hopefully would not have been by his own hand.

Maio 18, 2007, 12:09 pm

I tend to think of Hurin representing a view in much of Tolkien which is anything mankind tries to do is doomed to failure. That's Turin's whole life - one long ride into defeat. And it is his fault (personal failure) as much as Morgoths (divine punishment).

I don't see it as more than that - but that may be enough of a purpose to the story.

At it's super deep level, consider this: God, in the Old Testament, gave such a curse of Morgoth's to all of mankind: punished, sinful, out of Eden, childbirth painful, etc. But, even if we are 'condemned at birth' (which Tolkien believed) - perhaps each individual still goes through their own personal fall.


Editado: Maio 18, 2007, 12:33 pm

#12 cad-lib, I remember being quite shocked the first time I saw Viggo as Aragorn, not how I'd pictured Aragorn at all - way too young mainly. I mean Aragorn was in his 50's - even if he did live to be really old - I think he still would have looked older than Viggo - maybe not quite as sexy tho' ;-)

Good advice re books vs movies, I really enjoyed the movies but there certainly were/are a lot of discrepancies.

I'm sorry if I'm going on and on about this so much, I'm just so enraptured with the book and, like I said, now I just want to immerse myself in Middle-Earth for a few weeks (I think I'll have to get paperbacks of LOTR, my hard cover is just way too heavy to lug around in my purse while we're in Ontario!)

Maio 18, 2007, 9:22 pm

Katylit, I too have felt a need to return to Middle Earth after being away awhile. I'm currently with Tom Bombadil. It's such a joy to read LotR again. I was telling a friend today that with the HUGE stack of TBR's I have, I can't believe I'm rereading something for the 16th time (I've kept count over the years).

I enjoyed CoH very much. The writing is beautiful, even if the tone is sad. I wasn't very hopeful about the book when I heard it was being released, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Maio 19, 2007, 5:45 am

#16 katylit - I was only bugged by Viggo as Strider when he never "cleaned up". At some point I thought the constant almost beard could have been ditched, or at least seen him shave every 4 or 5 days. And ditch the rags/gloves. I guess since Wizards and Dwarves are so clearly described as bearded, I figure most Men should be protrayed as clean-shaven.

As for chronolgy, you're a little off (my memory was too, but I checked the Tale of Years, Appendix B):
At outset of the LOTR (Frodo departs Shire), it is 3018. Aragorn is 87 years old. He is one year younger than Denethor, Steward of Gondor! Ages of a few prominent characters in 3018:
Denethor-88 (b. 2930)
Aragorn-87 (b. 2931)
Theoden-70 (b. 2948)
Frodo-50 (2968)
Boromir-40 (2978)
Samwise-38 (2980)
Faramir-35 (2983)
Eomer-27 (2991)
Eowyn-23 (2995)

The relative ages of Strider & Aragorn really struck me first time I noticed it. Too bad this didn't come out better in Jackson's movie. It is only in the expanded DVD version that there is an extended scene where Eowyn learns how old Strider is and realizes he is a Dunedain/Numenorean.

*sorry for slipping into lecture mode*
*gosh I really love those stories*

Maio 19, 2007, 12:09 pm

Thanks cad_lib, I knew he was older, I was just estimating - didn't realize he was THAT much older! I just started re-reading LOTR - I'm still in Bag End hobbitprincess, with Gandalf talking to Frodo and Sam listening in. I read it almost every year in my 20's and 30's, and haven't read it since - it's lovely to be revisiting again. hp, I never kept track of how many times I've read it - wish now I had. It truly is the one book I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading, I can see myself re-reading it when I'm in my 80's!

And don't apologize for "lecture mode" cad!!!!! I love talking with everyone here about it all - I get such bemused expressions from people when I start talking about it in RL :-S

20jarod42 Primeira Mensagem
Maio 20, 2007, 12:04 am

This is my first posting, so please bear with my ignorance. I just finished THE CHILDREN OF HURIN last week, after receiving as a (repeat after me, all you Andy Serkis lovers) "birthday present" :)
Despite having read the Silmarillion lo these many years back (turns out, after putting it up on LT, that I may have one of THE earliest editions - at least here across the pond from "The Professor's" home turf) and being familiar with the general gist of the tale, I was impressed with how Christopher was able to make it almost seem "new" again. It was both depressing and uplifting (if that's possible!). Anyway, I thought it a very good read, for what that's worth. The scene at the end between Hurin and Morwen - heartwrenching isn't even the word for it...

Thanks for giving me such a great forum to post my meager thoughts on this subject - you're all a great bunch!

Maio 20, 2007, 4:30 pm

Well said, jarod42. What a great thread for your first ever post, too.

Pssst. My copy of The Sil is a 'First American Edition.' I would never dream of parting with it. The inscription says:

Merry Christmas to our favorite "Hobbit" - Clare,
Dec 25, 1977
from Mom and Dad.

Maio 20, 2007, 4:39 pm

I used to have the LP of Christopher Tolkien reading the story of Beren and Luthien, and J.R.R singing some songs from Middle Earth. Scratch that. My father had it, and then gave it to me, and since I've been overseas (going on 10 years now), he...well, he sold it along with the other albums he gave me because they couldn't store them all for me anymore.
It still hurts sometimes, you know, like just before it rains...

Maio 20, 2007, 7:05 pm

I have a set of cassette tapes with J.R.R. singing and reading the riddle game in The Hobbit. It's absolutely marvelous! I really need to transfer them to CDs, I suppose, for safekeeping.

katylit - I'm almost to Rivendell - we're at the Ford at the moment. I'm really stressed with this being the end of the school year, so I am escaping to Middle Earth every chance I get!

Maio 20, 2007, 9:16 pm

All: I think so far we have missed an important point about Children of Hurin. Thinking of how Turin is not like Aragorn... But what about Hurin?

All of the tragedies of Turin and Nienor are due to Morgoth's curse and evil plots. And the whole reason: Hurin knows the secret of Turgon and Gondolin and will not betray them to Morgoth. So Hurin is the epitome of loyalty and faithfulness, and hope. Due to the marred and twisted world caused by Morgoth and his followers, even all that is noble about/from Hurin can lead to, or be twisted to, bad ends.

Maio 20, 2007, 9:28 pm

AND poor Hurin having to witness all the dreadful things that happen to his children and wife. Certainly a very creative evilness that Morgoth!

But maybe Hurin's loyalty and faithfulness are what give us that ephemeral sense of uplifting that jarod mentions?

I've been kinda sick the last few days hobbitprincess, so am still stuck at Bag End! Hopefully tomorrow I will start the journey out with Frodo and Sam :-) But I hear you about the escaping, since I couldn't read I watched the movies yesterday and today instead.

Maio 21, 2007, 1:45 am

oi, I *just* finished reading and am flabbergasted. All I could think of when nearing the end (when revelation of everything finally hit Turin full force) was, "This is Tolkien's Greek Tragedy." Everybody is doomed from the beginning and it was so interesting to see it all unfold.

All in all, I think this is truly a tale of Man in that the main characters, aside from Hurin, were all guilty of being hasty, as Treebeard or Loial would say. It also seemed to me that at the base of their haste lied a fundamental hubris, most notably in Turin. There also seems to be the commentary of the ridiculous nature of men who profess to have learned from their mistakes, yet repeat them over again as time and habit seems to dull the edge of lessons learned the hard way. In short, I guess, most men are fools.

As for Hurin, it is no less a tragedy for him. What is his reward for unwavering loyalty? His children are dead and he is released only to happen upon his mad wife on, literally, her last night of life. It's such a different view with which we are left in comparison to LotR. At the end of Return of the King, at least we have hope that there are men who can lead their race to shining prominence.

Editado: Maio 21, 2007, 12:40 pm

Excellent points, all of you. I did, essentially, forget all about Húrin. Shame on me.

Maio 21, 2007, 1:22 pm

Well i finished CoH last nite just before i went to sleep. Having read both Unfinished Tales & the Sil i knew the story well. I found this version of it to be 'smoother' reading i.e. none of those footnotes, asides about the time frame of JRRT's original writing of that specific segment of the story, or the general 'choppy' feel of the UT version especially. The
character development was not changed because, of course, that would mean that Christopher would be doing the writing. So i would not have wanted that. It's just that I do so miss the depth of the character development in The Hobbit & LotR where you really get to know the characters. In CoH i feel more like i'm viewing all this from afar the characters are remote from me as a reader; enigmatic & unknowable except in a very superficial way. Warming up to them was just was not possible. The sense of doom is just inescapable. Every time Turin is in a situation that is halfway upbeat there is still a pervading feeling of doom hanging over all & of course, inevitably things go south for him. It is sad & one feels sorry that this family has so much sorrow & tragedy but they just aren't people you can feel a lot of empathy with! The tragedy is certainly of Greek proportions. It's a good read but it is what it is-a different kind of story than LotR.

Maio 22, 2007, 11:38 am

The Greek tragedy thing was my first thought when I finished it. I already feel like I need to read it again though -- details are becoming sketchy.

Definitely loved it though, despite the sadness. There was that sense of doom throughout, but that was inevitable given the curse and all.

I like what kawika says about it being a story about hasty men and repeated mistakes. I didn't feel sorry so much for Turin though since he was so bull-headed. Poor Hurin indeed, though! :( It's a bit of a Job story from Hurin's perspective.

Interesting that several have mentioned the distance from the characters in this book compared to LOTR. I didn't notice it while I read it, but on second thought, this was more documentary-ish, less character development. I liked that aspect of this one. It worked, I think. Whereas LOTR wouldn't be the same at all without all the character details, CoH is great without it.

#15, I like that about there being the fall of a divine nature and then also a personal failing. Double-doomed.

Jun 4, 2007, 1:40 am

I was pretty excited to read The Children of Hurin but it took a while because I was in the middle of another book (Life of Pi) and because I had pre-ordered the Deluxe Edition and so had to wait for it. The wait wasn't too bad since I already knew the story so well from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. The Deluxe edition was a pleasure to read and hold after having the regular edition in my hands a couple of times.

Anyway, I love this story along with practically all things Tolkien. It was nice to have it in it's own setting instead of the brief and chopped up forms I've read it in multiple times before. Even with those multiple readings, I still found myself hoping/wishing Turin would make a different decision or something would turn out better. I mean, who pulls a sword out of a still breathing dragon? Doh!

Alas, a tragedy is a tragedy. Although the Greek comparison is appropriate, I couldn't help thinking of Hamlet. I had just read that again recently, so Shakespeare's tragedies were a little fresher in my mind than the Greek.

It's interesting how Morgoth seems to have "won" on the Hurin side of the House of Hador but "loses" in part due to Tuor's side.

Jun 18, 2007, 5:01 pm

Ok, I know I am not supposed to post unless I have read the book, but I'm just going to ask a quick question! Is 'The Children of Hurin' anything similar to 'The Silmarillion'? I heard that it is basically the same, almost word-for-word. Is that true?

Jun 20, 2007, 10:32 am

#31 - jcsoblonde, I would say, not true. The story in Children of Hurin is longer, and embraces, harmonizes the different versions of the tale. The story of Hurin, Turin and Nienor is one of the tales that JRRT came back to a number of times.

If you're unsure, check it out from the public library and read it. Then you will know if you want to own a copy, and you can rest assured of your own conclusions about the tale.

Jun 23, 2007, 12:10 pm

Here are some of my favorite lines:

Húrin to Morgoth:
"But Húrin answered: 'Do you forget to whom you speak? Such things you spoke long ago to our fathers; but we excaped from your shadow. And now we have knowledge of you; for we have looked on the faces that have seen the Light, and heard the voices that have spoken with Manwë.'"

"'This last then I will say to you, thrall Morgoth,' said Húrin, 'and it comes not from the lore of the Eldar, but is put into my heart in this hour. You are not the Lord of Men, and shall not be, though all Arda and Menel fall in your dominion. Beyond the Circles of the World you shall not pursue those who refuse you.'"

Bëor to Felagund, in the introduction:
"'A darkness lies behind us; and we have turned our backs on it, and we do not desire to return thither even in thought. Westwards our hearts have been turned, and we believe that there we shall find Light.'"

These are just a very very few, of course. I loved this book even more than I thought I would. I was absolutely sobbing by the end. I really liked having the whole section dealing with Túrin as a child, which wasn't in the Silmarillion version at all. It helped me to get closer to the character of Túrin, whom I really didn't like in the Sil but felt much more sympathetic towards in CoH.

Editado: Jun 26, 2007, 10:00 am

I am first struck by the terseness of the language. It’s Tolkien, yes, but much more utilitarian. He really has a handle on this certain type of sentence construction that adds gravitas to every statement. It feels as though you’re reading a true history of something. This works both for and against him in this case, because essentially we’re reading a family saga here. The formal quality of the language served to distance me from the characters and so blunt my empathy for them, however tragic and grand their circumstance.

Moreover, the tale has such a pervasive inevitability to it, that at times I felt as though I was watching a poisoned animal die. Turin shows only impetuousness and blindness to the overall situation, and I never had the sense that he would be able to turn the curse, or that he’d ever succeed in anything that he did. That robbed the tale of tension for me. Moreover, his actions for the most part take place in a vacuum; he’s off by himself, away from his people and his family, messing up other people’s lives for the better part of the story. I guess we’re supposed to remember that Hurin has been placed in a position to “see” him all the time, but some tension would have been added by developing his character and seeing Turin’s struggles through his eyes.

The business with the dragon, and Turin’s overall saga, had a lot of echoes of Beowulf for me, and I’m not entirely certain what Tolkien was trying to get at, beyond plucking the historical zeitgeist, by riffing on that tale. (Maybe it was just me who thought there were similarities in the shape of the tale, though). He can also be seen, retroactively, as sort of an “anti-Aragorn”, who never really figures out what he’s supposed to do and how he’s supposed to grow. To that extent, I’m found lacking in empathy for him as well. His eventual end is not so much tragic as pathetic, I thought.

The deception of the dragon, and marriage of brother and sister was a neat turn, though. I am trying to recall other mythic precedent for that part of the tale, where people do not know who the other is. For a time I thought perhaps their offspring would live and become some part of the big picture, but then over the cliff she goes, and with it that supposition. Splat.

I’m not certain what this story does to inform us of the overall Middle-earth saga, either. I guess it illuminates the fact that Elves and men have always had a rocky, on-again, off-again relationship. Basically, they never really know what to do with each other. That hasn’t really progressed by the time we get to LOTR.

So, I’ll go with a critical thumbs-up, for the sheer bravado of the world-construction, yet again, and the shoot-the-moon idea of the density of this invented history. I felt as though I was reading a real history. However, the story construction, though echoing with elements of Greek Tragedy, didn’t quite get at the “moral” point of such tales in an obvious way for me. And the characters remain ciphers or “event movers” for the most part, that I felt were all externally rather than internally motivated. (Here noting that inner dialogue is not a characteristic of classic myth in general, and so further serves the illusion that this is a “found” myth from an ancient time and not a 20th century scholarly invention).

Jun 26, 2007, 5:44 pm

Nice review, Atomic. I will sum up my own views of Tolkien this way: He creates an entire world so compelling, and uses language and sentence construction so skillfully, that the actual plots often seem better than they really are. In summary, he is still my favorite author, closest to my heart - but he certainly isn't the best author I have read.

To help you understand the "place" of Turin in Tolkien's Mythology, think of the entire first age this way: There are three main tales for Tolkien's first age: Hurin/Turin, Beren/Luthien, and The Fall of Gondolin (and the descendent of a royal couple - the mixed-breed savior/emissary, Earendil) They are tied together by the fourth "continuity thread" - the creation of the Silmarils by Feanor, their theft by Melkor, and the attempts of a portion of the Elves to disobey the myth's demigods and attempt the long, futile task to recover them.

It really seems, in all of JRRT's rewrites, that he developed these three tales in detail, and the rest of the entire mythology was created to build a tree on which these three bright ornaments could be hung.

And if there is a moral, it has to be understood in the larger mythology, and it's what I said before in this thread: "What man tries without divine help is doomed to failure" (and I'll add now: except for short-term victories acheived through love)

Beren/Luthien received some happiness, through their love of each other, but really didn't impact the ultimate storyline, except through their offspring. Gondolin fell, in spite of best efforts, and it took the self-sacrifice/risk of Earendil to save Elves/Men. Turin just had a sucky life.

No point beyond that, really.

Just my (quickly written) thoughts.

Jun 26, 2007, 8:42 pm

After Irene posted such lovely quotes, my favorite one seems rather crass. Nonetheless:

Mim turned and looked at him (Turin) darkly. "You are one of the fools that spring would not mourn if you perished in winter," he said to him.

I'd love to use it on someone, but I'm afraid it comes out sounding a bit more harsh than I would ever intend. I'm yet to meet someone so trollish that they deserved that quote.

JPB, you seem to have such an outstanding all-encompassing knowledge of the Professor's work. I'm yet to read all of the extra publishings, but I know who to ask if I get confused on timelines or family ties!

Fev 12, 2008, 8:05 pm

Well I finally bought the book a couple months back or so now...its amazing! I loved it...I know it may seem impossible for CT to do this at the time in his life...he's really gotten up there...but it would be wonderful if he did the same thing with The Tale of Beren and Luthien. That is my favorite of all time...thought this story is beautiful as well.

Fev 12, 2008, 9:16 pm

#37 - Yes, it is beautiful, but so much darker than The Tale of Beren & Luthien. I too would love to see B & L get the star treatment. :o)

Fev 12, 2008, 10:48 pm

I'd like to see the story of Turin & Gondolin expanded. I liked what there was of it in the other books but would like to read more, 8^)

Fev 13, 2008, 6:58 am

>#38: yes yes yes! Beren & Luthien Tinuviel! The pre-eminent myth of the elder days! Feanor :P-~~~!

sorry, got all excited there. I can't see CT ever expanding and releasing a B&T book, dagnabit. Is it just me, or does that story seem at odds with the rest of the mythos of Silmarillian? More like a traditional hero-lover myth. Perhaps why i like it so much.

Fev 13, 2008, 12:20 pm

I wasn't in LT when I read The Children, but I was struck by the deep sadness of the world. It reminded me of the Appendix recording Aragorn's death and Arwen's wasting. I always cry at that (I'm tearing up just typing it.) And this whole family - this whole area, under Morgoth's thrall, seemed steeped in that same aching unbearable sadness. It was haunting in the original sense.

I also appreciated the "mythic historical distance" when you consider how very much prior to the events in LoTR this tale is. The land they are living on doesn't even exist any more! Their personal 'Atlantis' myth hasn't even happened yet! This tragedy is soooo far in the mists of history, BUT the emphasis is that people (through the elves) still know and remember what happened. It's like the ultimate moral tale. "Don't be like Turin" and "Pity Turin." It's partly his fault (he wasn't very bright... ) and partly he was destined to be shat upon.

And I always felt most for poor Hurin, but (and this might sound bad) I was glad that he got to see his wife for the evening AND I was glad that she died in his arms! Because, I thought it would be more tormenting for him to have to care for her madness for longer - after already knowing it was all his fault (sort of). This way the poor man has a bit of peace. All that he loves is dead, so there's not anything left to torture him with, just memories.

Out 23, 2008, 3:01 am

I have recently finished Children of Hurin. It needs another read, The Alan Lee illustrations give the book a sort of cold, sad feel. In fact the story is dark. I still couldn't put it down. I love Tolkein and I thought this really showed how many of his ideas for The Lord of the Rings developed. Like I said, cold and dark but a beautiful haunting story.

Out 23, 2008, 8:07 am

#42 - Exactly, David! I loved it too, but I'm probably not going to read it again any time soon. It's just too heartbreaking.