J.R.R. Tolkien discussion

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First & Second Ages > Tales of the Elder Days

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message 1: by Peter (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Peter DiCicco | 2 comments I should preface this by saying I have not read Unfinished Tales or The History of Middle Earth, so I'm sure I'm missing out on quite a bit.

Anyway, I am currently in the middle of The Children of Hurin, and in the preface Christopher Tolkien mentions that his father considered this along with the tales of Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin deserving of treatment in the form of individual works. When I first heard of The Children of Hurin being published, I remembered the chapter in The Silmarillion "Of Turin Turambar", though I always thought Beren and Luthien was the more compelling story. It was certainly the most riveting tale in The Silmarillion for me considering that book is more historical in nature than dramatic.

Granted, Tolkien's surviving notes may not be enough to create more complete novels of his tales, but I got to thinking. Are there any other tales of the Elder Days worthy of full novelized form? Does anyone else have any favorites that they would like to see expanded upon?


message 2: by Poppy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Poppy | 3 comments The Exile of the Noldor and from Unfinished Tales: History of Galadriel :)


message 3: by Mountainman91 (new)

Mountainman91 | 6 comments A great story to novelize would indeed be the Lay of Beren and Luthien, or how about a novel about the Fall of Gondolin? that was a major, dramatic event with far reaching consequences.


message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe | 6 comments Yeah, it's too bad Tolkien wasn't able to get to those. He considered those stories two of the "Great Tales" (along with the Children of Hurin).


message 5: by Othy (new)

Othy | 2 comments I've only got through the first two of the history of middle earth books, but what I'd like to see are the epic poem versions of Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin. Are they in the later "history" books?


message 6: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) | 19 comments I'm not so sure I'd want to see "final" versions of any of the Great Tales. I think one of the strengths of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is that the central characters are just "average folks" rising up and combating evil.

That said, I would like to see more about heroes from the War of the Jewels. And what about the Second Age? Certainly there are some tales to tell from that era (beyond Aldarion and Erendis and the list of Kings).

And in the Third Age, what about Eorl? Another tale that may lend itself to an epic telling.


message 7: by Eli (new)

Eli I'm relatively new at all this, haven't read much other than the Silmarillion. (And I'm certainly not expert on that.)

That said, I'd really enjoy more on the Fall of Gondolin. It was a great city/civilization, and it is a pity we don't know more about it. I'm afraid I probably am too picky to accept any novel that wasn't put together by Tolkien, though, and it is obviously too late for that. :-D

Also, not sure if this counts, but as far as I know, Tolkien never actually wrote out Noldolante, did he? I would have loved to read that.


message 8: by Clarice (new)

Clarice (clariceasquith) | 1 comments Hi, I just started the Lord of the Rings about a week ago and I am nearly finished with the Fellowship of the Ring. I do enjoy the book and am glad that I have so far not watched the films as I believe this would spoil things for me. But compared to the die - hard Tolkien fans, I am a novice ..

Having had a look at Middleearth's history in the appendix, I wonder which book would be best to get more familiarised with the history before LOTR - the Silmarillion, or Christopher Tolkien's "History of Middleearth?" - Any recommendations?


message 9: by Eli (new)

Eli Personally, if you are willing to work your way through, I would say read the Silmarillion. It is a very challenging read, but quite worth it in my opinion. It pretty much gets all history... within Middleearth and outside of it. I particularly enjoyed it because of how you learn the full history but you look through a lot of extra windows to learn different aspects, like the Creation of Arda and the Valar, the Maiar, and also the beginnings of the three kindreds.

Good luck with your reading!


message 10: by Alina (new)

Alina (sophigirl) I would read the Silmarillion ahead of Middleearth, too. For one, you'd be getting a much more "universal" perspective on the Middle Earth - in a sense these events are but a small part of the cosmic drama that began before this world (Arda)was ever created. Also, I have great respect for Christopher, but he is just not J.R.R.
That said, Amy is right - the Silmarillion is, at times, a challenging read, with long genealogical and geographical descriptions, so it's easy to get bogged down in details. They are extremely helpful, but not ABSOLUTELY necessary on your first read-through. So if you find yourself drowning, it's ok to skip to the more narrative parts.


message 11: by Aldean (new)

Aldean | 17 comments Well, I will third that; I agree that The Silmarillion is without a doubt the daunting next step for readers like Christine who are eager to explore beyond The Lord of the Rings. The difference in tone from LOTR is extreme; it is heavy, heavy narrative, but hang in there: it a amazing story full of amazing stories large and small, and the utter grandeur of the epic history will sweep you along. I remember it took me two years to labor through my first reading of Silmarillion, but I am glad I never gave up.
But I want to make a point about the distinction being made between The Silmarillion and the twelve-volume History of Middle-Earth series. Let's not forget that the book published as The Silmarillion was not a work polished and delivered to the reading public by it's satisfied author. Rather, it is the result of Christopher sorting through the mountain of drafts that his father left behind, identifying the most complete, coherent, and stylistically consistent version of the "Tales of the Elder Days", and (with the assistance of fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay) coaxing this great unfinished tale into a readable, publishable form. Following the success of this effort, Christopher was then encouraged to go on and make available to readers the vast bulk of various stages of drafts for his father's mythology, this time with endnotes and other visible editorial devices which, while they can get in the way of casual, I almost prefer because they make clear where J.R.R. leaves off and Christopher picks up. It is infinitely interesting to see some of the core tales evolve and grow through the decades (i.e. History of Middle-Earth), but I would definitely suggest you get the coherent whole (i.e. The Silmarillion) under your belt first.


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