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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Early Glimpse of Middle earth, April 22, 2007
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This review is from: The Children of Hurin (Hardcover)
The Children of Hurin is a tale dating from the very early years of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythical worlds. He began writing it as early as 1918 and continued to work on it off and on for the rest of his life. Other versions of the Tale have been included in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, but now we have the story as close to the way J.R.R. Tolkien intended it as his son Christopher could recreate.

The Children of Hurin takes place in Middle earth thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, specifically in Beleriand, a region that by the time of The War of the Ring had long since sunk beneath the Sea. During the First Age Elves and Men (the Eldar and the Edain) were locked in combat with the Great Enemy Melkor/Morgoth, of whom Sauron in The Lord of the Rings was a mere servant. At the Tale's beginning Morgoth has conquered the greater portion of Beleriand and now rules it from his fortress of Angband in the mountains of Thangorodrim. The Elvish kingdoms of Doriath, Nargothrond, and Gondolin are hidden and for the moment still safe. The Edain have been less fortunate and are now scattered and largely demoralized. Hurin, the Heir of the House of Hador, seeks to rally Men to continue the struggle. Morgoth captures Hurin and places a curse on his family. Hurin's children Turin and Nienor must deal with the curse and its consequences for the rest of their lives.

This is a dark story full of tragedy, deceit, and violence. Tolkien's models were the Germanic sagas, but there are also elements of Greek drama, in particular in the role Fate plays in the lives of so many characters. There are also many elements readers of Tolkien's later works will recognize: dragon-guarded treasures, swords and other talismans with unknown powers to be reckoned with,and proud men and women who meet their destinies with grim determination. Although the story is complete in itself, there are hints of more Tales to come, and it is to be hoped that Christopher Tolkien will provide the full "Fall of Gondolin" among other stories still left to be completely told.

An additional pleasure are the very fine but sombre paintings Alan Lee has provided to illustrate The Children of Hurin. They perfectly match the mood of the story and greatly enhance it.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 24, 2007 3:05:08 PM PDT
I completely agree with your assessment of the value added to the story by Alan Lee's tremendous artwork. They do indeed enhance the story.

Posted on May 9, 2007 12:16:24 PM PDT
"there are hints of more Tales to come, and it is to be hoped that Christopher Tolkien will provide the full "Fall of Gondolin" among other stories still left to be completely told."

I'm afraid there won't be any more. While JRRT almost finished CoH, and left enough material behind to assemble the complete story, there simply isn't anything left unpublishedf of the other Great Tales. Tolkien abandoned the "long" Fall of Gondolin at the point it breaks off in Unfinished Tales, and there isn't any more.

Posted on Oct 12, 2007 6:06:43 PM PDT
" it is to be hoped that Christopher Tolkien will provide the full "Fall of Gondolin" among other stories still left to be completely told." Christopher Tolkien is now 83 years old.
I doubt that there will be much else happening. Unlike the Numenor, Christopher has a
much more limited lifespan.
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