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Preliminary thoughts on Children of Hurin. ***Slight Spoilers***
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Curious
Half-elven

Apr 17 2007, 8:26pm

Post #1 of 37 (2483 views)
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Preliminary thoughts on Children of Hurin. ***Slight Spoilers*** Can't Post

First of all, I have simply skimmed over the book at lunch hour, so these are hardly final thoughts. However it is a relatively short book compared to Tolkien's epics, and I also am familiar with the story in Unfinished Tales and The Sil, and although Christopher Tolkien went to a great deal of trouble to string together a complete narrative, the story isn't all that different from what was previously published.

My first impression is that there are lots of fans of LotR who will be disappointed, despite all the warnings, or else will simply not buy the book at all because of the warnings. No hobbits, no Gandalf, only arguably the most depressing material in all of The Silmarillion. And all in Tolkien's mock-archaic prose and dialogue.

Secondly, for anyone who has read The Silmarillion or HoME the story still may seem incomplete. The story in this most recent version may begin with Hurin, but it ends with Turin. We do not find out what Hurin does next, which is an important part of The Silmarillion. That is probably because Tolkien never completed that part of the story. But beyond not getting the full story of Hurin, I also missed the stories of Beren and Tuor, which are uplifting palatives for the downward spiral of Turin's life.

Nevertheless, I happen to like what Tolkien did with Turin, even though I don't consider it a masterpiece like LotR. It certainly doesn't fit Tolkien's definition of a fairy story -- no consolation, and darned little fantasy, recovery, or escape. But there is a subtle theme in CoH that very much reminds me of LotR, except that it is the flip side of the coin. Turin is everything the hobbits were not, and therefore fails -- with one important exception.

CoH does make Morgoth seem far more effectively and deviously evil than Sauron. Sauron is sort of a plodder compared to Morgoth, at least in this story. Morgoth does look much less effective in some other tales. But here, Morgoth is a very bad Valar, and he will make you pay for your defiance. Those who do not warm to Turin and his family might even find a perverse pleasure in Morgoth's clever and diabolical vengeance.

I can't imagine anyone making this into a movie, since it is so unrelentingly tragic. I might like it, but I judge that that the box office would not, at least not at the level required for today's big-budget fantasies. But there is some grim humor, and I think actors might love to play the angst-ridden characters. Furthermore, Tolkien does hint at the happy ending to come. But again, that distant happy ending is not seen in this story, except in the briefest of hints.

On the other hand, because it is not Tolkien's masterpiece, it might make a great movie. The director would probably have less fear of offending Tolkien's fans. Most of the story would feel quite real, if not particularly spectacular. And there are a few battle scenes to liven up the narrative. I just think it would be a daring studio that funds it. Perhaps the success of the book, or lack thereof, will give us some sign regarding the possibility of a movie.

As for Lee's illustrations, his grim style fits the material well. Probably at CT's request (although Nasmith was more daring in his illustration of The Sil), Lee tends to show us the action at a distance, or the spaces between the periods of action. Some of the landscapes have little obvious relationship to Middle-earth. Lee also adds little pencil sketches along the way, some of which I found delightful.

I'll say more when I have had a chance to reread it, but I just wanted to post my first impressions.


Morwen
Rohan


Apr 17 2007, 8:49pm

Post #2 of 37 (1824 views)
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I wasn't sure whether I wanted this book. [In reply to] Can't Post

Since the story has already been told twice, as you say. What tipped the scales was what I saw of the illustrations, which I found quite intriguing. I love this story despite the fact that it is very tragic, and I think I was hoping for a retelling in more everyday language, which all the reviews seem to indicate isn't the case.

I'm disappointed that we didn't get anything new or surprising, but I look forward to reading the story again anyway, and looking at the illustrations.

Thanks for your very timely review, Curious. With any luck, my copy will be waiting for me when I get home.

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I wish you could have been there
When she opened up the door
And looked me in the face
Like she never did before
I felt about as welcome
As a Wal-Mart Superstore--John Prine


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 17 2007, 8:57pm

Post #3 of 37 (1777 views)
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It is nice to have it all in one place, and there are many new edits. [In reply to] Can't Post

But the general story should be quite familiar to those who have read The Sil and UT. Of course, those people will probably buy it anyway, just because we're fans. I'll be curious about the reaction of those who have never read the story in any form. The few reviews that are out are more favorable than I expected.


Erufaildon
Bree


Apr 17 2007, 9:15pm

Post #4 of 37 (1790 views)
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I really love the Silmarillion so I'm probably going to buy this book [In reply to] Can't Post

even though the story of Turin is my least favorite story, out of all the stories in the Silmarillion. "Hope that CR will publish the stories of Beren and Luthien, Tour and the fall of Gondolin, The story of Feanor and the story of Earendil in the future"Tongue

I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest who'd have known
I traced the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine, I didn't think enough
I'm too depressed, to go on
You'll be sorry when I'm gone

(This post was edited by Erufaildon on Apr 17 2007, 9:15pm)


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 17 2007, 9:21pm

Post #5 of 37 (1769 views)
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That seems unlikely. [In reply to] Can't Post

Ever since The Sil, CT seems extremely reluctant to add anything to what his father wrote, and from what I understand none of the other stories from The Sil would be complete without such additions. But hey, I could be wrong.

And if CoH sells in the millions, that might have some effect as well. Although I think what really motivated CT was the success of Jackson's movies. He wanted to bring attention back to the books.


Erufaildon
Bree


Apr 17 2007, 9:28pm

Post #6 of 37 (1744 views)
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Yeah, it probably aint gonna happen:/ [In reply to] Can't Post

 

I never thought I'd die alone
I laughed the loudest who'd have known
I traced the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine, I didn't think enough
I'm too depressed, to go on
You'll be sorry when I'm gone


drogo
Lorien


Apr 17 2007, 10:27pm

Post #7 of 37 (1767 views)
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Look at it as an Extended Edition [In reply to] Can't Post

I love having the story presented as its own narrative, and there are parts taken from other drafts so that it is an "Extended Edition" of the Narn from UT and the Turin chapter in the Sil. Those who want a brand new story will not be happy, but having the material in its own separate volume complete with some fantastic Alan Lee illustrations is well worth it to me.


Discuss the Bakshi Lord of the Rings on the Movie Board starting April 16


Aerin
Grey Havens


Apr 17 2007, 10:56pm

Post #8 of 37 (1755 views)
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Aren't movies made [In reply to] Can't Post

of tragic stories? I agree that a movie is highly unlikely, but not because the story is tragic.

CoH is my favorite of Tolkien's non-LOTR stories, and I'm a bit surprised that it doesn't seem to be a favorite of many others. For my part, the fact that it is not a fairy story is a big plus.

I pre-ordered my copy a long time ago; I wonder when it will arrive. I plan on taking a long time to read (and savor) it, and not just because I'm very busy with work.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 17 2007, 10:57pm

Post #9 of 37 (1736 views)
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Ditto [In reply to] Can't Post

ditto to Eru about Turin's story not being my favorite, and ditto to drogo that I'd buy it for Alan Lee's illustrations alone.

Thanks to Curious for the 'sneak peek.' Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 17 2007, 11:16pm

Post #10 of 37 (1735 views)
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Not many blockbusters are tragedies./ [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Radhruin
Rohan


Apr 17 2007, 11:16pm

Post #11 of 37 (1758 views)
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I don't know about others [In reply to] Can't Post

but "Of Turin Turambar" has always been my favorite story when reading the Silmarillion. I agree that it not being a fairy story is one reason I like it. The story is tragic, but also "meaty" if I might use such a term. It grabs my attention because it seems so real (as opposed to fantastical) in some way.

I too am very much looking forward to reading CoH. The comments by Curious about the artwork by Lee only heightens my curiosity.

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."
~Chesterton


Smeagirl/Girllum
Gondor


Apr 17 2007, 11:34pm

Post #12 of 37 (1769 views)
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Wow, I'm getting scared now. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd read that it was dark -- but "unrelentingly tragic"? -- to the point where you might wind up rooting for Morgoth?!?!? Eeek.

I'm still planning to read it, and hope it's not too upsetting. If it is, be warned I'll be back here for comfort/therapy.

I haven't been able to get far in the Sil (despite starting it twice) so I don't know the story.

Thanks for your review.

"I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it." --Gandalf


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 18 2007, 12:56am

Post #13 of 37 (1758 views)
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I'll be interested in your impression! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a larger-than-life classical tragedy of mythic proportions, so I do find a certain fascination in the sheer scope of Turin's Doom.


elentari3018
Rohan


Apr 18 2007, 1:25am

Post #14 of 37 (1734 views)
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Re: initial thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

My first impression is that there are lots of fans of LotR who will be disappointed, despite all the warnings, or else will simply not buy the book at all because of the warnings. No hobbits, no Gandalf, only arguably the most depressing material in all of The Silmarillion. And all in Tolkien's mock-archaic prose and dialogue.

Secondly, for anyone who has read The Silmarillion or HoME the story still may seem incomplete. The story in this most recent version may begin with Hurin, but it ends with Turin. We do not find out what Hurin does next, which is an important part of The Silmarillion. That is probably because Tolkien never completed that part of the story. But beyond not getting the full story of Hurin, I also missed the stories of Beren and Tuor, which are uplifting palatives for the downward spiral of Turin's life.

Nevertheless, I happen to like what Tolkien did with Turin, even though I don't consider it a masterpiece like LotR. It certainly doesn't fit Tolkien's definition of a fairy story -- no consolation, and darned little fantasy, recovery, or escape. But there is a subtle theme in CoH that very much reminds me of LotR, except that it is the flip side of the coin. Turin is everything the hobbits were not, and therefore fails -- with one important exception.


I bought CoH not for the reason i love hobbits (which i very much do) but for the elaboration of the story presented in Sil and UT-- i enjoy it thus far and love the childhood bits about Turin and about his grief at having to depart from MOrwen-- I like these gap-fillers and find it up to my expectation thus far.

I also like the language as well and having enjoyed Sil and UT don't find it daunting at all.

It may be right that it won't be made into a movie or if it will it will probably be deemed as being too tragic but i hope Sil and CoH never become movies because i do'nt want / kind of loathe to see it in another medium. These are works of Tolkien's heart and i feel like it'll be hard to adapt.

[SPOILER]
I skimmed to the back as well and am disapointed too that the story ended with the children's deaths and just Morwen being with Hurin mourning... Like you, I wanted to see Tuor and also hear about the end of Hurin's life as well.

More thoughts later as i read the book. =)

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


Ecthel
The Shire

Apr 18 2007, 1:29am

Post #15 of 37 (1760 views)
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Review [In reply to] Can't Post

So I've been reading through chapters here and there today, and I can already warn people that this book maybe a dissapointment. As mentioned elsewhere, this story has already been told. However, I myself am enjoying it can what this story offers is more detail, discussions between Hurin and Morwen, the details of Hurin mocking Morgoth, and a detailed description of the dilberation of King Thingol pardoning Turin for Saedros' death. Already I can appreciate what this book is, not a new story but an actual story that the Silmarillion doesn't offer with its vague narration.

Also, the map. Was I the only one led to believe that this map would be new and or more detailed? Maybe I mis-read something but this map is in fact less detailed and the lack of addition of Thangorodrim

Some things of interest (SPOILERS)
-Turin forgetting that he had a childhood Elf-friend, Nellas
-Mim being highly offended that he was chained. It wasn't so much that because of ithis son died, but just the fact that he was chained was what angered him so much. I'm surprised years later that Gloin was able to semi-pardon Legolas at the Council fo Elrond when his imprisioned was brought up.


Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 18 2007, 1:40am

Post #16 of 37 (1733 views)
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I think [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll buy it, but hold off reading it until I've re-read that part of The Silmarillion, so that CoH can fill in the gaps nicely.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


elentari3018
Rohan


Apr 18 2007, 2:04am

Post #17 of 37 (1733 views)
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Re: things you already know [In reply to] Can't Post

I like that the gaps are filled-- that was part of the reason for buying it. THank you for the spoilers--i will get to those parts eventually too.
The first chapter of Turin's childhood and his relationship with Sador fleshed out was interesting to read. I really like the background to what caused Turin sorrow. For me, Sil's story wasn't enough and i'm glad i have more to read about in here.

And i just adore the map so darn much. <3HeartHeart

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


Patty
Immortal


Apr 18 2007, 2:16am

Post #18 of 37 (1735 views)
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Thanks very much, Curious. [In reply to] Can't Post

I had pretty much decided to wait to hear what people here said. I loved The Sil (especially Martin Shaw's audio reading of it) and was not daunted by the language (after the first two books, Ainulindale and Valaquenta). In fact I enjoyed it.
No, what was (is) holding me back is whether or not there is substantially more material here than the Sil's version. I have read UT (but too long ago to note the differences between its version and that in the Sil). I'll check out your impressions after you have finished CoH because I see that your thoughts and concerns about it would answer my questions nicely.

At home, amongst the Mallorn trees.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Apr 18 2007, 4:22am

Post #19 of 37 (1711 views)
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Thanks for the mini-review, Ecthel [In reply to] Can't Post

It sounds like there are some good new tidbits in there. Plus, it will be good to have the whole story from the Sil and Unfinished Tales more or less in one place.

We'll be discussing 'formally' (i.e. chapter by chapter) in the Reading Room after the current discussion is over. Hope you join us! Smile


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"All we have to decide is what to do with the boards that are given to us"



"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

TORn Calendar


elentari3018
Rohan


Apr 18 2007, 4:44am

Post #20 of 37 (1729 views)
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What I'm curious about... [In reply to] Can't Post

are the contrasts/comparisons between Unfinished Tales and CoH... i'm rereading UT a bit now and am seeing a lot of overlap with CoH.... I would like to flesh out the differences when the discussion begins.

"By Elbereth and Luthien the fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" ~Frodo

"And then Gandalf arose and bid all men rise, and they rose, and he said: 'Here is a last hail ere the feast endeth. Last but not least. For I name now those who shall not be forgotten and without whose valour nought else that was done would have availed; and I name before you all Frodo of the Shire and Samwise his servant. And the bards and the minstrels should give them new names: Bronwe athan Harthad and Harthad Uluithiad , Endurance beyond Hope and Hope Unquenchable.." ~Gandalf, The End of the Third Age , from The History of Middle Earth series


Aerin
Grey Havens


Apr 18 2007, 5:11am

Post #21 of 37 (1706 views)
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I guess [In reply to] Can't Post

the only movies worth making are blockbusters? Too bad.


Aerin
Grey Havens


Apr 18 2007, 5:17am

Post #22 of 37 (1701 views)
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I know exactly what you mean. [In reply to] Can't Post

The story has such substance, and we're fortunate that Tolkien developed it more fully than other stories in the Sil and UT. It's a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Apr 18 2007, 6:16am

Post #23 of 37 (1717 views)
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I glanced briefly at my copy [In reply to] Can't Post

After getting my sticky paws on it at lunchtime. Initial impressions:

- it's pretty! Love the illustrations. I was toying with waiting for the paperback but frankly that would have been stupid, because this is my favourite of all Tolkien's stories and it deserves this lovely edition.

- if it fills gaps, I'm happy. I knew it wouldn't add a great deal to a story which already has versions in the Sil and HOME, but it is nice to have it longer in one volume.

- I think the map folding out is a great idea. Look at the way they've glued it in. It means you can open the map and read at the same time, and track Túrin's journey. Clever.

- it might be for Tolkien completists, but I count myself as one. And a happy one, now I have my copy of this book.

Karekare Beach, NZ

IMG_0365


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 18 2007, 8:15am

Post #24 of 37 (1699 views)
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There's much more to it than what's in The Sil. [In reply to] Can't Post

But much of that additional material is similar to what's in Unfinished Tales.


Curious
Half-elven

Apr 18 2007, 8:27am

Post #25 of 37 (1691 views)
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No, but a dark low budget art house fantasy [In reply to] Can't Post

seems less likely to get made. Still, I could imagine it working if a studio dared to do it, and could convince the Tolkien Estate to approve it.

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