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Just got Unfinished Tales out of the library


Mar 24 2014, 1:51pm

Post #1 of 5 (167 views)
Just got Unfinished Tales out of the library Can't Post

Hope I put this topic in the right place. I wasn't sure whether it belonged here or in Reading Room, but it's more of a general question than a critical discussion. Anyway...

I went to the library the other day to look for Silmarillion (as a relative newbie I haven't read anything other than LoTR and The Hobbit yet), but the copies were checked out. There was a copy of UT, though, which I did get out. My question is: having not read the Silmarillion will there be parts of UT that won't make sense yet? In my brief look-through of the chapters I saw some that I think will be of interest based on my reading LotR and TH:

The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
The Quest for Erebor
The Hunt for the Ring
Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan
The Battles of the Fords of Isen
The Palantirí

What is the opinion of my more knowledgeable Tolkien fans? Any other chapters I should read? Any I should leave out? Or should I just go for it and read the whole thing? Thanks! Smile


Mar 24 2014, 1:55pm

Post #2 of 5 (101 views)
All the sections you named [In reply to] Can't Post

Should make sense. I was just going to say you should avoid the Silmarillion content sections. But these sections seem fine. I say go for it. Wink


Mar 24 2014, 3:20pm

Post #3 of 5 (96 views)
I guess I'm not sure why you shouldn't read UT first [In reply to] Can't Post

from Wikipedia (it always does a better job of summarizing than I can): Unlike The Silmarillion, for which the narrative fragments were modified to connect into a consistent and coherent work, the Unfinished Tales are presented as Tolkien left them, with little more than names changed (the author having had a confusing habit of trying out different names for a character while writing a draft). Thus some of these are incomplete stories, while others are collections of information about Middle-earth. Each tale is followed by a long series of notes explaining inconsistencies and obscure points.

And keep in mind that The Sil is not 100% JRRT's work. It was edited by Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay.

I like the style of writing in the UT better than in The Sil. I participated in a reading group that read the two together.

I suppose someone could make a case for reading the Sil first but, if you're going to read it anyhow, in the end you'll have what you need. And it's my experience that one has to read The Sil more than once (and that could easily pertain to UT) before it really starts to sink in.

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Mar 24 2014, 5:59pm

Post #4 of 5 (89 views)
These sections... [In reply to] Can't Post

...will provide very interesting background to the LotR material you already know. Enjoy!

And by all means take a look in the Reading Room, where there is an ongoing discussion of the individual chapters of UT!


Mar 26 2014, 9:57pm

Post #5 of 5 (48 views)
Thanks for your replies everyone! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll probably read the sections I highlighted first and then go ahead and read the rest. The general consensus when I asked people which book to read first was Silmarillion, but I'm glad to hear that I can still enjoy UT first.

And thanks for the heads-up on the Reading Room discussion, Elizabeth! (Elizabeth is my real name, by the way).


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