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Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth

(Unfinished Tales)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  35,979 ratings  ·  816 reviews
Classic hardback edition of this fascinating collection of stories, featuring Tolkien’s own painting of the dragon Glaurung on the cover, which continues the tales of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion and contains an alternative version of The Children of Hurin.

Unfinished Tales is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published October 1980)
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Michael Galdamez I must say I'm impressed with your collection; my suggested reading order would be:

1. The Hobbit (A good introductory to Tolkien & Middle Earth)
2. The…more
I must say I'm impressed with your collection; my suggested reading order would be:

1. The Hobbit (A good introductory to Tolkien & Middle Earth)
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (direct sequel to The Hobbit)
3. The Silmarillion (mass of background stories)
4. Unfinished Tales (further stories)
5. The Children of Hurin (a fuller telling of a story from The Silmarillion)
6. The Story of Kullervo (an old story by Tolkien, only recently published)

There are in fact more Middle Earth books by Tolkien out there, but they would probably be the toughest to follow of all his books. So I guess I will add:

7. The History of Middle Earth Series (12 Books)

Hope this helps!(less)
Caleb Jore Unfinished Tales presents a lot of old manuscripts in all three main ages of Middle-earth that Tolkien never published, largely due to the reason that…moreUnfinished Tales presents a lot of old manuscripts in all three main ages of Middle-earth that Tolkien never published, largely due to the reason that a lot of them are indeed unfinished. Examples include a fuller account of Tuor's journey to Gondolin, a description of the island of Númenor, and a manuscript concerning the history of Gondor and Rohan. If you enjoyed the Silmarillion, you would probably enjoy this.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is a collection of stories and essays by J. R. R. Tolkien that were never completed during his lifetime, but were edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in 1980. Many of the tales within are retold in The Silmarillion, albeit in modified forms; the work also contains a summary of the events of The Lord of the Rings told from a less personal perspective.

Part One: The Firs
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans, not Richard
This is the first work that showed us how Tolkien's obsessive perfectionism was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it gave us the wonderfully deep world and implied distances of The Lord of the Rings; and on the other hand it left us with a jumble of tales in various states of revision and development that had to be compiled by Tolkien's son Christopher into some form as The Silmarillion...a jumble of tales that, if they had been finished, would have given us a truly staggering body of work. ...more
Out of all the posthumously published works of Tolkien, and this being the primary right after the Silmarillion, I have to admit it is the most interesting. We do get more expanded treatments of some of these tales in subsequent books, but all in all, the narrative structure of this tome is quite pleasing.

Why? It's written as actual stories. Not just excerpts, or not only just as excerpts, but as full-fledged stories in themselves, complete with all the storytelling conventions we are used to.

Sean Barrs
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
I have always found it difficult to write about Tolkien’s work because it is the pillar in which modern fantasy is built upon.

Indeed, without Tolkien fantasy would not be the shape it is today. It would be something different. And a lot of readers and writers recognise this, but I do not think we always appreciate the full extent of it. He created so many character archetypes, popularised race differences and envisioned such a great world full of depth. Every fantasy book that came after has a
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am fairly new to Tolkien as I have only gotten into his work at the end of 2015 by reading, and after some initial problems, loving The Hobbit. I buddy-read The Lord of the Rings over the course of 2016 and was quite overwhelmed with Tolkien’s dense writing style and complex world building; there were too many names of people, places and events to remember, I felt inept. Nonetheless, I admired his work and marvelled at his craft. I was especially enamoured by Tolkien’s linguistic interest and ...more
Manuel Antão
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Numenor: Unfinished Tales" by J. R. R. Tolkien

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)

The new Tolkien book is out. While I haven't read even half of it, I think I've read enough to produce a helpful review, so here goes. This book ("Unfinished Tales" by JRR Tolkien, $15 from Houghton Mifflin) is definitely not a book for a general readership, nor even for the mass Tolkien consumer, who thinks that Lord of the Rings is a swell story, but all that
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
The name says it all -- these are stories primarily of the First and Second Age of Middle-earth that had never quite reached completion, even in draft form; some predate the writing of Lord of the Rings by decades but most come after, and the book includes some of Tolkien's last writings about Middle-earth. The stories are presented by his son Christopher who, presumably, selected the pieces that were nearest to completion and likeliest to be of interest to Middle-earth aficionados. The pieces a ...more
Chris Hall
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a hard book to rate, because it's sort of like rating a compilation album of Led Zeppelin studio out-takes. If you love Led Zeppelin, you would undoubtedly want to listen to pretty much anything they did. On the other hand, objectively speaking, it's probably not their best work, and if you trust them as artists, you know why they left that material on the cutting room floor. And, indeed, this book is a collection of scrapings, random essays and bits of narrative illuminating obscure cor ...more
Neil R. Coulter
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, tolkien
A year of Tolkien! This year I decided to reread all the main Middle-Earth books: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and now finishing the year with Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth. It had been several years since my last reading of all of these, and it’s been such fun to go back to stories that are so familiar to me that it’s almost more like re-remembering parts of my own memories than rereading a series of books.

I’ve had a soft spot for Unfinished Tales since my
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
This is simply a moneymaking scheme. After the success of the Silmarillion, the Tolkien state has published all notes that were in a more or less readable state. This is the only one I bought (besides Chidren of Hurin, which probably has much in common with the bigger part of this book).

I do not think Professor Tolkien would have liked to have these drafts and notes published. Many of them are even obsolete, as he built up and discarded elements in his mythic construct.

There are some great story
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
The 'Tolkien kick' continues.

4-4.5 stars after a little more thought.

I feel like this is definitely gonna be a book that I need to re-read every year to try and get as much as I can out of it. Same with The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings tbh.

I love Middle-earth so much.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this, it was just so great to learn more about both old and new characters!! Tolkien's middle earth is so rich and beautiful and it was amazing to be able to delve even deeper into it! ...more
Rating: 4 stars

This was good, but I absolutely do not recommend the audiobook. In fact, I'd advise against it. Not because the audiobook was bad in anyway, but because of the sheer amount of footnotes that are included. It really grates on you hearing "note number X: blah blah blah end of note" every five seconds in the middle of a sentence. I tried not to let this affect my rating, but I will still have to reread it physically to really confirm.
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This collection of Unfinished Tales is difficult to get to grips with, because Christopher Tolkien had the sense not to mess with them too much. He didn't correct inconsistencies or do too much to the material, and that's for the best: J.R.R.'s intent and the breadth of his world are best experienced this way, I think.

I don't think this is one for the casual reader, but for someone interested in Tolkien and his creation of a secondary world, and in the details of Middle-earth, it's a good one. E
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are not huge Tolkien fan or you haven't read
Silmarillion yet, I suggest you to to skip this book. For
Tolkien fans (as I am), who read Silmarillion, this will
be nice and informative read. I must admit that I was
a bit bored in some parts, but overall impression is
more than good.

Also, during this read I realized how slow I am when
reading Tolkien. I suppose there are books (or even
that I have to savor: I need to read them very
slowly, so I can taste each word or phrase, to let them
Lydia Redwine
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Since I found some of these stories quite interesting and a couple others utterly boring, I've brought my rating to 4 stars. I will say that it isn't a good idea to go into this book unless you are already an avid Tolkien fan. This book is a collection of unfinished pieces (I mean, the title?) from LOTR, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and other like books.

If reading notes upon notes of what certain things could have meant etc. bores you to death, this book is not for you lol. I did find it all ve
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
I can't believe I've never read this before! I would recommend this to anyone who's read the Silmarillion and is interested in more history of Middle-Earth. I say the Silmarillion because there's a lot of assumptions that the reader is familiar with the Valar, the Blessed Realm, and the general events of the First Age. You don't need to remember the details, but at least the basic narrative. Alternatively, if you just want more info on events of the Third Age, which is when the Lord of the Rings ...more
For the April 13th gathering of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City, we will finish our reading of Unfinished Tales and letters 131 through 146 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Friday, April 13, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

I'm also concurrently listening to the related Mythgard Academy podcasts:
Evan Edinger
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took me ages to read, but it was wholly fascinating how much detail lies behind every individual action in Middle Earth. It has inspired me to reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings again. I feel like everything will make so much more sense!
Wow, that was a long one. It’s Tolkien though, so I was expecting that. 😉 What I wasn’t quite sure about was what was meant by these being “Unfinished Tales”. Turns out unfinished means exactly that. The stories featured here are ones that J.R.R. Tolkien never finished for one reason or another. Some are more complete than others, and Christopher Tolkien pieced together what he could from his father’s notes to try to figure out where the stories might have been going, and how they were connected ...more
Kevis Hendrickson
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
J.R.R. Tolkien's Unfinished Tales is a terrific book for diehard Tolkien fans, in particular, fans of The Lord of the Rings who have not yet read The Silmarillion. Ever wondered what were the exact events that caused Isildur to lose the One Ring? Or the origins of Wizards? Or what Middle-Earth was like during its First Age? Unfinished Tales helps to shed light on the complex creation of Middle-Earth and the many tales and legends that relate the events in its long and largely tumultuous history. ...more
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tolkien fans
A fascinating look at many of the stories that did not make it into Professor Tolkien's primary works. This is probably one of my favorite books of this well-known mythology.

(view spoiler)
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018, own
I have so enjoyed finishing these Unfinished Tales with my chapter a day group. Tolkien was a great, and immensely nuanced storyteller, his son Christopher a devoted son and detailed story archiver, whose life work allowed us to see the depth of creativity and true craft his father put into all his tales. I’ve truly enjoyed the surface tale, as well as the the deeper tale behind its creation and evolution.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-and-sf
******************POSSIBLE SPOILERS***********************

Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth is exactly that - a collection of tales from Tolkien's Middle-earth universe that didn't make it into the Silmarillion, the Hobbit or the Lord of the Rings. The book is split into the First, Second and Third Ages, and miscellaneous sundry material.

We have a more fleshed out narrative of Tuor's journey to find Gondolin, and the trials of Turin son of Hurin in the First Age, followed by a geograp
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, collection
I've read quite a few parts of this previously, either due to individual curiosity about specific topics (such as the Quest of Erebor, Istari, Palantiri) or as part of other works (Narn i Hin Hurin – most of which is incorporated in The Children of Hurin), but I had not until now sat down and read all the various tales in order. Already a big fan of Tolkien, as a whole I quite enjoyed the collection, especially since Christopher Tolkien's notes and analysis are kept at a minimum compared when co ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is for the nerdiest of Tolkien nerds. I enjoyed it. There were some chapters that I skipped over because I had no interest in them.. I don't really care about Eorl and I don't really care about the fields of Celebrant, but almost everything else was fantastic. The most dissappointing chapter that I read was "Galadriel and Celeborn," and that's only because it was one of the least finished by Tolkien.

Some poeple say this book was put out there for money, but I disagree. There are a LOT
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tolkien, fantasy
Tough read but a pleasure. Learn the details behind the trilogy, concerning Gandalf and Sarumans kind, Galadriel and Celeborn's history, stories of Elendil, and older legends in this realm. The greatest about this, to me: seeing behind the scenes at Tolkien' s creative process. It inspires me to sit down, for pleasure, and create/ build my own world 20 minutes at a time, and use this as a canvas to paint short stories and go from there.

Love Tolkien. Plans change, especially mine, but I plan to
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, fantasy
The legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is vast and not everything was fully written out, however that doesn’t mean the incomplete material isn’t interesting. Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth is a complication various stories begun and partially revised by J.R.R. Tolkien then edited into a somewhat readable fashion, along with alternate versions, by his son Christopher that reveal backstories from all Ages of Tolkien’s world.

The first two-thirds of the book covers the First
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, 2021
Unfinished Tales is a collection of essays and short stories from Tolkien's Middle-Earth. It was meticulously compiled by Tolkien's son, Christopher. The book follows a chronological order making its way through three of the ages and containing a fourth section of lore which has no time frame. It is incredible the amount of detail that is in this book and the amazing things from the realm it holds. Each collective topic has an extensive notes and appendix section interlinking and explaining ever ...more
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, WWI veteran (a First Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army), philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings .

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English

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