Amazon Vehicles Beauty Trade in your textbooks STEM nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc PCB DG Limited time offer Wickedly Prime Handmade Wedding Shop Shop Popular Services whiteprincess whiteprincess whiteprincess  Introducing Echo Show All-New Fire HD 8, starting at $79.99 Kindle Oasis Trade it in. Fund the next. Spring Savings Event on Amazon.com toystl17_gno

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 228 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 324 reviews
on September 6, 2016
A man who is as thorough in his revisions as Tolkien was will inevitably leave behind tales that never quite reach that state of completion. It is no surprise that there are many stories from The Silmarillion that Tolkien attempted to expand upon and never quite reached the end. After all, he was notorious for not only going through a manuscript thoroughly to revise it if there was any indication of interest in publishing it, but he also would start at the beginning of a tale every time he picked it back up to work on it. This habit led to many great beginnings to work that never quite reached that status of being complete. And thus they find life in this publication, alongside various essays on topics such as the Istari and Palantiri, and that is a great thing for fans of Tolkien and of fantasy.

The collection in here ranges from fascinating narratives to a genealogical listing of the kings written in a style that you would expect to find within a history book. There are some items that will interest certain readers more than others, and the impulse of the reader may be to skip ahead to the things of interest and leave the others unread. Which, in many cases, would be to skip over all of the First Age and most of the Second Age stuff. That, I believe, would be a tragic mistake. The best of the tales appear in those two ages, being longer narratives that, while incomplete, give a flavor of the epic nature of the characters rooted in Middle-Earth history. Fans who have read The Silmarillion will certainly enjoy getting a deeper dive into the adventures of some of these familiar figures, such as Túrin Turambar, and even a reader who has not enjoyed The Silmarillion will still find much to enjoy in some of those tales. I'd argue that they are presented in a far more compelling manner than The Silmarillion, having more development and storytelling than appears in the other work.

All in all, this is a welcome piece to any Tolkien collection and an enjoyable group of stories and essays to read about Tolkien and his work. It would also appeal to any writers of fantasy to see some of how Tolkien worked, and the depth he put into fleshing out the history of the fictional world he created. I cannot recommend this book enough and know I will be diving back into this one as often as I will be The Silmarillion.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon April 2, 2015
Ever wonder why Gandalf chose Bilbo to join Thorin's quest in The Hobbit? Or what Aragorn was talking about when he mentioned the "Kings of Númenor"?

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings frequently mention events or characters from earlier periods of Middle-earth history. It turns out that those references actually referred to stories J.R.R. Tolkien had written but not published. In 1977, his son Christopher Tolkien published The Silmarillion, a collection of tales set during the First and Second Ages. However, Tolkien wrote many versions of these stories, some longer and more detailed than what appeared in The Silmarillion. To appreciate the full scope of Tolkien's subcreation, we need to look at his rough drafts as collected in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth.

To call the Unfinished Tales a collection of rough drafts is misleading. Tolkien's rough drafts are more polished and engaging than the final works of most fantasy authors. Nevertheless, the stories in this volume were never completed, much less publishable. Christopher Tolkien provides helpful commentary situating these stories within Tolkien's legendarium. The stories provide some fascinating background material, but it's important for readers to realize that not all of these stories fit comfortably within the Middle-earth canon. Some details contradict Tolkien's published works. As such, the best way to appreciate the Unfinished Tales is to view it as an exploration of Tolkien's storytelling.

The section on the First Age contains the stories of Tuor and Túrin. Tuor is a human tasked with delivering a message to the Elven King Turgon of Gondolin. The story in Unfinished Tales primarily covers Tuor's journey to Gondolin. Tolkien is a master at describing geography and conveying the arduous nature of travel in a premodern setting. He never completed this more detailed version, which is a shame because the fall of Gondolin is one of the most epic battles in Tolkien's works. Morgoth, the dark lord of the First Age, had multiple dragons and Balrogs in his army!

The "The Children of Húrin" story is one of my favorites not just in this book, but in all of Tolkien's works. Morgoth curses Húrin's family, including his son Túrin. Túrin finds himself in a Shakespearean struggle against fate. Yet, in Tolkien's world, men have free will, so the story sets up a subtle tension between Túrin's doom and Túrin's choices. In addition, the story has dragons, incest, brigands, and even talking swords. Although the Unfinished Tales version of the story is not complete, it provides much more detail than the Silmarillion version. Fortunately, Christopher Tolkien adapted this version into a complete novel in 2007, so I would recommend readers read The Children of Húrin to get the best experience.

The Second Age focuses on the Kingdom of Númenor. The Silmarillion contains more information about the fall of Númenor, a story that echoes the myth of Atlantis. Unfinished Tales focuses on the earlier kings. "Aldarion and Erendis" is an fascinating romance, especially compared to Tolkien's more famous Beren and Lúthien story. Aldarion, heir to the Númenórean throne, falls in love with Erendis. However, Aldarion also loves the sea and sailing. Naturally, this creates tension in their marriage. This is the only love story I can recall that does not follow the pattern of Beren and Lúthien, and indeed almost comes across as the polar opposite of their relationship. Aldarion serves as yet another example that not all of Tolkien's heros are idealized archetypes.

There have never been - and likely will never be - any authorized film adaptations of these stories. However, artists have been depicting these stories for decades. In particular, I recommend Ted Nasmith's portfolio, which was featured in the companion book Tolkien's World and influenced my images of the characters and landscapes.

The Slaying of Glaurung, by Ted Nasmith

The Third Age will probably be of most interest to fans of The Lord of the Rings. It explains the fate of Isildur, last king of Gondor, and origins of Kingdom of Rohan. Perhaps the most fascinating part is "The Quest of Erebor," essentially an attempt to retcon The Hobbit with LOTR. As written, the former book is simply a light-hearted adventure story, whereas the latter is a serious epic. The two stories don't always fit seamlessly. Why, for example, did Gandalf waste his time with Thorin's quest for gold when he was also concerned with Sauron's return to power? In "The Quest of Erebor," Gandalf explains that he wanted to prevent Smaug from allying with Sauron and attacking Rivendell. Thus, he used the Dwarves to strike a covert blow against the enemy.

Like many fans of The Hobbit, I have mixed feelings about "The Quest of Erebor." It has a tendency to minimize the joy and serendipity in Bilbo's journey as told in the original novel. I'm not quite convinced that Gandalf was really that foresighted, especially as in The Hobbit he doesn't appear to connect Thorin's quest with the larger struggle against Sauron. However, Peter Jackson apparently saw this story as a missing link between the two stories and used it to bridge his Hobbit and LOTR trilogies. The Hobbit films are heavily influenced by Gandalf's account and reflect the tone of this version more than anything found in the book. Indeed, one of the tracks on the Desolation of Smaug soundtrack is titled "The Quest for Erebor."

The final section of Unfinished Tales contains a mix of background material on the wizards and palantír, among other things. The section on wizards is particularly interesting. Not only do we learn more about Radagast, we also learn more about Saruman's fall. Again, parts of it contradict Tolkien's published works, as well as his later letters (for example, Tolkien later concluded that perhaps Radagast hadn't quite failed in his mission).

Unfinished Tales isn't for casual Tolkien fans. Nevertheless, it provides fascinating insight into the Middle-earth subcreation and shows why Tolkien was such a master at fantasy literature.

Next week, I cover The Book of Lost Tales, Part I, which includes more of Tolkien's early writing.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 16, 2016
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth A great companion for LoTR and Tolkien fans. Although it's a book with different transcripts of Tolkien compiled and edited by his son, Christopher, it gives you a glimpse of the vast world of middle-earth that Tolkien created. I personally enjoyed the tale of Galadriel and Celeborn, which gives you more detail of this mysterious yet intriguing character and the many possibilities of his origins. The children of hurin is great here, but it is more developed in the book that treats this story alone (which i also own and enjoyed). One of my favorites is the tale of Aldarion and Erendis, one that i read in a day. The tale about how the Gandalf convinced Thorin about the journey to Bilbo's house is also a great piece.

The good thing with this book is that for people who read the hobbit, LoTR and the simalirion can use this book to connect everything under a single story line (which is what Tolkien intended in the first place) and with the appendices you can expand that even more (some say that because it's Christopher Tolkien who edited it it's not the same, but Christopher was his father's confidant in everything regarding middle-earth, and i think there is no better person than him to fill in the pieces we as Tolkien fans want to find to connect this incredible literary universe). For casual Tolkien readers maybe this is too dense and not that interesting since it's like the tittle describes "Unfinished Tales", which indicates that most of the stories are bits and pieces found in Tolkien's archives. But for us who want to go deeper in this universe, is a must have!
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 27, 2014
This book explains so much about the background of Middle Earth and it's peoples. Lord of the Rings makes more sense and is more interesting when you know who exactly Ghan-Buri-Ghan was, why the elves and dwarves hate each other, and where the wizards came from. There's a huge section devoted to Numenor, including a tragic story about one of its kings, who loved seafaring more than his wife (one thing he did right was to get his people interested in ship building and exploring for other lands). You get a detailed description of what the Palantiri were, and how and why they were used. You don't hate Denethor QUITE as much when you read about the history of the Stewards of Gondor, and you realize what emotions and dreams he had for his country (although I still hate him a lot..). You get the whole story of Isildur and how he kept the ring and then lost it. You find out that Smeagol was indeed a type of hobbit. There is simply way too much information in this book to even give a fraction of it here.

Be warned though, it takes more concentration to read than LOTR, or you will find yourself rereading the same page over and over. I will recommend this book only to those who really want to learn all they can about Tolkien's world, for they will find many gems in this book. Other more casual fans will find this book tedious because of its readability (or lack). I personally found it fascinating. Warning: I have not yet read The Silmarillion, and I should have read that first, as there are countless references to it in the notes.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 25, 2017
I am a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, having read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit more times than I can count. If you are a fan of either of those books or just love the movies, this is a must read!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 17, 2016
If you are a fan of Tolkien's writing style and creativity, then you will appreciate this book. Once into the stories (and knowing they could end abruptly because they are sketches) you see how the mind of the genius works. Expansion on the tragedy of the children of Hurin with greater understanding of the mindset and attitude of Turin was a pleasant surprise for me. A very enjoyable book!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 18, 2016
This is great for anyone wanting to get a little more understanding on what Tolkien envisioned for Middle Earth. As the title states, the stories are in a varying state but none are polished and finished. It wasn't as fun of read as most of the other Tolkien books I read but was very interesting.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 3, 2015
Bought this book to read through some of the missing details and references in LOTR, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. It's interesting especially to read the notes by Christopher Tolkien explaining the literary process that his father went through and the iterative development of the characters and stories. This is an interesting read for LOTR fans seeking that next layer of detail about Middle Earth.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 29, 2012
This truly is a collection of "Unfinished Tales" from the early times of middle earth. Going even further than the reaches of the Silmarillion. This book contains many great stories, some complete, and some abrubtly incomplete. You will hear of Tuor and Veronwe' only to leave off at the height of the tale. You will here of the Isle of Numinore and is great ( and perhaps not so great) kings. The rise and fall of the Eldar and the hidden city. You will hear the tragic story of Turin (this is the complete story by the way. So if you read it here, you can skip reading Children of Hurin, it is the exact same tale). You will be enchanted by the story of Beren and Luthien, and mourn with Nimrodel.

Only get into this book if you know what you are getting into. As I said, some of the stories are incomplete. The timeline is not linear... as some of the stories are not told in a historical order.

Do get into this book if you love Tolkien's works and his world and have an unquenchable thirst for more of his wonderful and sometimes dark imagination.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 18, 2016
Tolkien is one of the greatest authors of all time in my opinion. Many people don't realize that he has other works outside of his always popular Lord of the Rings series, but he wrote far more about Middle Earth, both before and after the time of the War of the Ring.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


Need customer service? Click here