Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: The Children of Húrin

Knowing what a Tolkien geek I am (or want to believe I am), you won't be surprised to know I enjoyed The Children of Húrin! I liked it somewhere in-between my adoration for The Lord of the Rings and my liking of The Silmarillion. That is also where the reading ease lies too. It expands on the story of Túrin Turimbar from The Silmarillion. This synopsis from Goodreads sums up quite well this tragic story.
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of The Children of Hurin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, eagles and Orcs, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien. 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 which 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 Turin and his sister Nienor 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 Hurin, 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 Turin and Nienor 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 afterwards, 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 Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.
As you can see it is full of the same beauty and epicness that penetrates Tolkien's other books. I can't really recommend it to someone who doesn't already enjoy Tolkien and who hopefully has already read LOTR and The Silmarillion. If you're not a fan you probably won't enjoy it but if you are a fan I'm sure you'll love it!
In the case of you not being a Tolkien fan, I have to ask... WHY NOT? How can you get through life?  This is a terrible malady that must be cured! I once was passive about Tolkien but last year something stirred inside me as I re-read LOTR and since then I've never looked back! I advise you now to go, pick up the nearest Tolkien book and read!

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  1. I should definitely read some books by Tolkien! After all, he is my fellow South African :) I just haven't gotten to his books yet

    1. Can't recommend them highly enough! Not always easy to read but always worthwhile. :)

  2. lol great review ;) It really is something to read if you're a Tolkien fan, Turin and his family really had the worst of luck =S

    1. The story is quite depressing. I was throwing around the idea of using Tolkien names for my kids (most likely as middle names) and I mentioned Túrin and Niënor and my sister said no, it's like naming your kid Jonah or Job. :)


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