The Children of Hurin, a new full-length novel by JRR Tolkien, was released on April 17, 2007.
The Children of Hurin is the first full-length, cohesive novel of Tolkien’s created world of Middle Earth since the publication of The Silmarillion in 1977.
Professor Tolkien’s son Christopher Tolkien, who has edited and collected most of Tolkien’s posthumous writings, has spent the last thirty years finishing his father’s incomplete tale of Turin Turambar and the other offspring of Hurin of the house of Hador.
The “Lay of the Children of Hurin” was one of the three “great” tales of the First Age of Middle Earth – along with the tales of “Beren & Luthien” and “Tuor and the Downfall of Gondolin” – which Tolkien first began work on in 1918 and never completely finished.
Nonetheless, The Children of Hurin was the most complete manuscript of that bunch, and Christopher Tolkien has set himself to finishing what his father had begun.
Fragments of story and verse have appeared in each of these publications, in greater or lesser degrees of completeness and detail. The most complete of these tales was the “Narn I Hin Hurin”, an 80+ page rendering of the tale in Unfinished Tales.
The Children of Hurin will give a complete account of the tales of Tolkien’s tragic hero, Turin Turambar, his sister Nienor, and the rest of his cursed family.
For one, there will be no hobbits in this book. This story takes place long before their time.
For another, Turin’s tale is a very sad one full of misfortunes and travails. Turin’s father, Hurin, is captured by Morgoth, the Dark Lord, in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (“Battle of Unnumbered Tears”). When he will not give Morgoth the information he demands, Morgoth sets a curse upon his bloodline. Thus, though Turin is a great warrior and of the bloodline of great heroes, everything he does turns to ill.
Many scholars have noted the similarities between the tales of Turin and his misfortunes and the Kalevala of Finnish myth, a collection of tales that Tolkien was intimately familiar with.
This new release of The Children of Hurin will appear with a new map by Christopher Tolkien and new cover and interior artwork by Alan Lee. The US cover illustration can be seen on this page.
Christopher Tolkien’s role in the completion of this new novel is stated to be of an editorial nature only. According to an interview with Christopher Tolkien’s son Adam at dor-lomin.org :
“‘The Children of Hurin’ is entirely in the author’s words – apart from some very minor reworkings of a grammatical and stylistic nature”
Aside from the hardcover editions the publishers have released a beautiful Collector’s Edition of The Children of Hurin with a slipcover. You can place orders for these books at Amazon through the link on the right.
The publication of The Children of Hurin is an exciting event for Tolkien fans. I’d love to hear your own reviews and/or thoughts on The Children of Hurin, and will even publish the best submissions on this site!
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