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The Children Of Hurin Paperback – Mar 11 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books; First THUS edition (March 11 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007252269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007252268
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

What could be more apropos than hiring the face of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings to read Tolkien's newly complete version of these pre-Rings tales? Christopher Lee, the British actor beloved for his role in Peter Jackson's trilogy as well as his numerous turns in Hammer fright films, reads Tolkien's Rings precursor as if still in full makeup. Booming and vaguely menacing, Lee sounds like Sauron around the campfire, entertaining his minions with a tale of adventure and woe. Even Lee cannot sound entirely convincing bellowing some of Tolkien's invented languages, but his reading is suitably ominous. Tolkien's son, Christopher, who edited his father's book, also contributes a preface and introduction he reads himself. His voice—phlegmy and rough—provides a taste of what it might have sounded like had the author himself been available to read his own work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Review

"Deserves to eclipse all his other posthumous writings, and stand as a worthy memorial to the imagination of Tolkien" The Times "I hope that its universality and power will grant it a place in English mythology" Independent on Sunday "The darkest of all Tolkien's tales. Alan Lee's illustrations complement the writing splendidly" Times Literary Supplement

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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 19 2007
Format: Hardcover
Just when you think they can't find another draft, note, poem or shopping list written by J.R.R. Tolkien, something new pops up.

But in the case of "The Children of Húrin," the result is a surprisingly solid and lucid story, full of familiar characters from other books about the history of Middle-Earth. Tolkien's timeless, formal prose and richly-imagined world make this novella pop from the pages, especially without his son's stuffier footnotes.

It opens with the story of Huon and Hurin, heroic brothers who lived back in the first age. But when battling the terrible Morgoth (the Middle-Earth Satan), Huor is slain and Hurin is taken prisoner by Morgoth, who torments and curses him. The Easterlings overrun his lands, and in fear for her son and unborn baby, Hurin's wife Morwen sends her son away to be fostered in Doriath.

And so Turin grows up in Doriath, until the day when he feels the need to go out and defend his distant family. His adventures take him through Middle-Earth, encountering great elves, orcs, lives with outlaws, and Mim the petty-dwarf. But his life is cursed by Morgoth -- as is the mysterious girl he falls in love with -- and his downfall will be one of horror and disgrace, even as he slays the most terrible dragon in Middle-Earth, Glaurung.

This book is actually a jigsaw puzzle -- Tolkien worked on the interrelated stories and poetry throughout his lifetime, but he never quite finished a solid cohesive story. So Christopher Tolkien cobbled together these various stories with Tolkien's unfinished works, pasted them together, and the result was "The Children of Húrin."

Surprisingly, the resulting story is very solid and strong, with a darker finale than "Lord of the Rings.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Perry on May 29 2007
Format: Hardcover
There's no way I can top some of the other reviews posted here, so I'll focus on a different question: "Should I, someone who knows little about Tolkien, buy this book for a friend who's a Tolkien fan?"

The short answer is yes. As Tolkien's major tales go, this one ranks in third place after Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (or second for those who don't like the children's flavor of The Hobbit). Unlike The Silmarillion, this is a genuine story with a narrative and character development. The only deficiency is that, without those hobbits, it lacks the light and comic touch they provide, giving it a grimmer and more fatalistic feel. Unless he reads Tolkien only for the hobbits, your friend will be delighted with your gift.

Perhaps the only other Tolkien work that would top The Children of Hurin in value--and one you ought to consider if your friend doesn't have it already--is The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. It's a collection of Tolkien's letters over a six decade span (from 1914 to 1973), and it provides the definitive background to Middle earth. When I wrote the entry on "Magic in Middle earth" for The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, I used it almost exclusively. It was far better to let Tolkien explain what he meant than to make guesses of my own.

--Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien (a book-length LOTR chronology)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sparweb on Nov. 20 2010
Format: Paperback
The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien

I'm a rabid fan of Tolkien, having started with The Hobbit in my teen years, and over the years I think I've read and re-read The Lord of The Rings 3 times. My son is finally old enough that I can read The Hobbit to him, and he is now as captivated by Tolkien's storytelling as I was. The Simarillion is more difficult to read because there is no single character or story thread to tie the beginning to the end, except the inscrutable and immortal enemies. Taken as "short stories" however, it can be digested with some academic effort, and it makes subsequent re-readings of LOTR more enjoyable.

It seemed likely that The Children of Hurin would be more like LOTR than The Simarillion, since the struggles of a single family should focus one's attention upon individual characters throughout the book. I find myself disappointed, because instead, The Children of Hurin is a cataloguing of events more like the Simarillion. The struggles and events in the lives of these characters are confronted as events alone, not as their feelings, thoughts, nor even their words. The dialogue in Hurin, what little there is, is stilted and dull. It is full of lofty declarations and the weight of duty; rarely do the characters share friendly or family moments together.

If I may use an example to illustrate my point, take this exchange between Turin and Sador, best friends about 8 years old:

Turin: "...I shall go as a soldier with an Elf-king as soon as I am able, as you did Labadal."

Sador: "You may learn much of them. They are a fair fold and wonderful, and they have a power over the hearts of Men... In their light we are dimmed, or we burn with too quick a flame, and the weight of our doom lies heavier on us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike London TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 1 2012
Format: Paperback
When the Tolkien Estate announced a new Tolkien novel to be published in April, 2007, the world was shocked. After all, Tolkien died 34 years before THE CHLDREN OF HURIN was published. Reactions varied from trepidation and fear, to charges that the Estate is trying to milk the pubic for more money, to sheer excitement that, beyond all odds, we're getting another Tolkien story. We all know Hollywood is eying it greedily, though the Estate has made it quite clear that it is not interested in selling the film rights any time soon.

Naturally, an event such as a publication of a new novel by a long deceased major author is bound to excite different reactions from different quarters. Depending on where you stand in Tolkien fandom will largely define your reactions to the story.

First, just a few quick facts about the novel.

*CoH can be read independently of Tolkien's other works, due largely in part to C. Tolkien's excellent introduction, explaining the background and context in which these events occur in Tolkien's imagined cosmos. Having an overall general knowledge of Tolkien's legendarium is certainly helpful, but fortunately it is not a pre-requisite as the story is strong enough to stand independently.
*CoH is much darker than the Hobbit cycle. It is a very tragic story on a Shakespearian level, and altogether not suitable for children, featuring incest and murder as prominent plot features.
*The plot revolves around the Dark Lord Morgoth's curse on Turin and Nienor, who are the Children of Hurin, for Hurin's defiance against Morgoth. Morgoth is Tolkien's equivalent of Satan, and who Sauron is but a servant too.
*CoH is easier to read than THE SILMARILLION, though CoH still employs in places the archaic style found in that book.
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