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The Children of Hurin, by J. R.R. Tolkien Book Review | SFReader.com
The Children of Hurin, by J. R.R. Tolkien Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Published: 2007 Review Posted: 4/24/2008 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 9 out of 10
The Children of Hurin, by J. R.R. Tolkien
Book Review by Lyndon Perry
Have you read this book?
Tragic ending. Yet offering a thin sliver of hope.
For this reason, I not only came away satisfied with the tale, but can recommend it to those who are not die-hard Tolkien fans. The Children of Hurin is a story that mirrors life. In our world, as well as Middle Earth, there exist flawed heroes, betrayals, heart-breaking misunderstandings, veiled truth, self-deceived leaders . . . and that occasional glimmer of hope.
This drama has all of that -- plus the orcs, elves, a few dwarves, a dragon, and of course Morgoth, the original dark lord and master of Sauron, all of which are familiar to the readers of Tolkien. But the story also has Turin, the son of Hurin, the embittered protagonist.
The character of Turin is a refreshing alternative to the 'reluctant hero' we've come to expect from our epic fantasies. Turin isn't so much reluctant as he is psychologically ambivalent (he could give a damn either way) -- and you'll find he isn't much of a hero. Nevertheless, I cheered for him and wept for him (okay, maybe not literally). I struggled with him to make sense of it all -- life, death, war, evil. And you will too. But I suspect that you won't be satisfied with the conclusion. We've been too conditioned by 'fairy tale' endings of good triumphing over evil (especially us Tolkien fans) that this story seems...too real for us?
So if you're expecting a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" I think you'll come away disappointed. But if you want to breathe in that prequel First Age air (6000 years before "The Hobbit") -- and journey along in a more accessible epic than "The Silmarillion" -- then this story delivers.
But it's not perfect. Son Christopher Tolkien, now over 80 years old and very much the mantle bearer of his father, did a good job stitching together unfinished portions of the story left unfinished by J.R.R. But there is an occasional patchwork feel to the telling. I got thrown out of the story a few times. But then, I was thrown out of LotR a few times as well (all that mythological background poetry gets a bit tedious, don't you think?). Still, a tremendous addition to the opus.
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Comment on The Children of Hurin, by J. R.R. Tolkien
Comments on The Children of Hurin, by J. R.R. Tolkien
Posted by RHFay on 4/24/2008
I felt that this was somehow truer to Tolkien's voice as heard in LotR than heard in The Simarillion or Unfinished Tales. Perhaps it was just this version was less a history and more a story.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading this one, but I'm a devoted Tolkien fan anyway. The ending was actually truer to some of the traditional tales that Tolkien drew from than a "happy" ending would be. Of course, I like Shakespeare's tragedies, so this tragic story didn't seem disappointing in the least. It seemed appropriate.