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Notes on The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin


May 26 2013, 6:49am

Post #1 of 3 (304 views)
Notes on The Hobbit and The Children of Hurin Can't Post

I recently finished reading The Children of Hurin. Each year, I also read The Hobbit at least two or three times (this year will likely be at least three, possibly more for research purposes - I also use Tolkien's book as a sort of literary sandbox to test out my learning and practice spotting and understanding different elements of literature). This said, as I was reading CoH (which I did by following along with the audiobook read by Christopher Lee) several parallels and notes on The Hobbit came to mind.

Now, the most obvious of these is that both tales were written by Tolkien. However, they were written at different times, with different intentions, different writing styles, and different characters and such. But I sat down and typed up a few notes comparing both works. Any feedback would be appreciated, and please jump in and add any thoughts, parallels, or comments! (Note: if any of this is factually wrong, please inform me and I will edit it. Also, these notes were partly written for those who are not as well-versed in Tolkien lore as some on he forums, so while I realize that most of us know who Sauron or Morgoth is, the notes I wrote were for friends)

The Children of Hurin is set 6500 year before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. While The Hobbit at the time of writing was not fully immersed in the mythology, both tales are nevertheless set in a specific age in Arda.

• Morgoth/Melkor (one of the Valar) is the dark lord and central villain of the tale. He is mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, and his lieutenant Sauron is the main villain of The Lord of the Rings and is mentioned in The Hobbit (as the Necromancer).

• Turin is given an Elvish knife when he is eight years old. As his father Hurin had been to Gondolin, this appears to be a Gondolinian knife. While it is true that there are likely multiple knives from Gondolin, is it not possible that this knife (which Turin gives to Sador) eventually finds its way into the hands of others and ends up in the Troll’s cave, where it is found by one Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit of the Shire? Bilbo’s blade is identified as having come from Gondolin. This blade is later named “Sting” after Bilbo kills spiders in Mirkwood. He later gives this blade to Frodo, which is used in a myriad of contexts but also ironically is instrumental in killing Shelob, who was the mother of the spiders in Mirkwood (and likely related to the Maia Ungoliant).

The Children of Hurin mentions “Sauron’s Isle”. This is actually Tol Sirion, a tower from which Sauron was driven away by Beren and Luthien not long before. This is the only mention of Sauron in CoH, but he is the primary antagonist in LotR and is mentioned in The Hobbit. Interestingly, Tolkien connected The Hobbit and the tale of Beren and Luthien (and subsequently, the rest of the Middle Earth legendarium). How? In an early draft of The Hobbit, he mentions that the Necromancer (Sauron) was driven from his first tower by Beren and Tinuviel (Luthien).

• The High King of the Noldor, Turgon, and his Hidden Kingdom of Gondolin feature in part of the CoH. In chapter two, Turgon is seen in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. In this battle, he uses his sword Glamdring. 6500 years later, the Maia (and Istar) Gandalf (Olorin) finds the Gondolinian blade in the Troll’s cave. Gandalf uses this throughout The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

• The idea of having a dragon as a villain is also seen in The Hobbit. In CoH, Glaurung and Turin face off, and Glaurung tries to use his dragon swoon on him. Likewise, Smaug attempts to do the same to Bilbo – and while Turin directly kills Glaurung, Bilbo is indirectly responsible for the death of Smaug. Glaurung was allied with Morgoth, and based on later texts such as “The Quest for Erebor,” we see that Gandalf partly sent Bilbo and the dwarves on their quest to prevent something similar occurring – he did not want there to be a union between Sauron and Smaug.

• One possible parallel is this: before Turin uses the black sword on himself, the sword itself speaks. This is a magical element or element of fantasy that we also see in The Hobbit, such as when the Troll’s purse (which DanielLB is so fond of) speaks to Bilbo. In both cases, it is an object which speaks to the main character. Though the tone of each work is rather different, this element of fantasy is still seen in both.

• In each tale, there is a dwarf who seeks revenge for something that has transpired. Mim wants revenge for what happened to his son, and Thorin (and company) want revenge on Smaug for killing their people, stealing their treasure and taking over Erebor.

(This post was edited by vexx801 on May 26 2013, 6:56am)


May 26 2013, 8:07am

Post #2 of 3 (140 views)
Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

More interesting is the possibility the knife mentioned could in fact be Sting

Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
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Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 27 2013, 10:56pm

Post #3 of 3 (148 views)
One thing you might have noticed [In reply to] Can't Post

It did not do to be a companion of Turin. I think they all came to bad ends. All of his outlaw companions died, as did Beleg and Gwyndor. And of those that hunted the Dragon all of them but Turn died at some stage. What a happy bunch of bedfellows!


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