Jun 13 2007, 3:41pm
and Luthien in LotR, and almost nothing about Turin -- except that Turin is ranked right up there with Beren as a hero and elf-friend, which is an interesting comment on how Tolkien viewed him.
Great post! And that's why we hear all about Beren
For Tolkien did fall in love with Turin, even if many of us do not. I see the parallels between Turin and Boromir, but I think Tolkien meant for Turin to be far greater and more tragic than Boromir.
I also think Tolkien meant for the death of Glaurung to be Turin's one great success, almost redeeming his many failures. Perhaps killing Glaurung did not change anything in the end, but on the other hand perhaps it greatly weakened Morgoth himself, for just as the Ring contains much of Sauron's spirit, so Glaurung seemed to contain a strong portion of Morgoth's spirit. On the other hand, as you note, it is hard to appreciate this ultimate triumph over Morgoth when we see nothing of it in the tale presented to us.
The other redeeming factor is the power of Morgoth's curse, which should not be discounted in assessing Turin's character. But I understand why it is hard to sympathize with anyone who acts as Turin does. I'm just saying that Tolkien seems to have sympathized with him.
I'm fascinated by your parents' decision to read you The Silmarillion. Did it come after The Hobbit and LotR, and did you ask for more? I have a five-year-old daughter, and I can't imagine her sitting still for it.
I also agree that Children of Hurin is very different from LotR -- in fact, in many ways it is the exact opposite, with Turin being everything the hobbits were not. But I'm not sure if it is as exceptional among the tales in The Sil as you make it sound. Instead I think Beren's story is the exception, the one success among many failures. Or perhaps one of two successes, with Earendil being the other. But as you yourself note, there is lots of failure, and there are many, many flawed characters in tales collected in The Sil.
As for Turin's story being about a man, and not elves, most of the tales in The Sil have men as their central characters, even though they are outnumbered by the elves. As Tolkien said in his lecture "On Fairy-Stories," fairy stories are usually about men who visit Fairie, and not about elves or fairies. He gave that lecture in the late 1930s, and I think by then, as squire says, he had reconsidered the idea of writing tales just about elves among elves. The long tale of the Fall of the Noldor became background material for the tales of Beren, Tuor, and Turin, which in turn became background material for LotR. Then, in the early 1950s, when Tolkien hoped to publish The Sil along with LotR, he began to elaborate not the Fall of the Noldor, but the tales of Tuor and Turin.
It sounds to me like you love The Sil, but don't particularly like Children of Hurin, and therefore find it frustrating that Christopher Tolkien is presenting CoH as a window on The Silmarillion. I think there are many who share that opinion. I don't happen to be one of them, and I'm not sure that the Tolkiens (J.R.R. or Christopher) are either. But you raise a very good point. To the extent that Christopher Tolkien invites new readers to judge The Sil based on Children of Hurin, he risks alienating more readers than he wins, including readers who might love the rest of The Sil, but not Turin.
And by the way, I see this is your first post. What a start! Welcome to TORn!
(This post was edited by Curious on Jun 13 2007, 3:44pm)