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Old 09-19-2006, 06:07 AM   #1
Sardy
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Christopher Tolkien to finish lost Middle Earth novel

Unfinished Tolkien work to be published

Mon Sep 18, 12:17 PM ET

NEW YORK - An unfinished tale by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring, the U.S. and British publishers announced Monday.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on "The Children of Hurin," an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of "The Children of Hurin," which includes the elves and dwarves of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and other works, have been published before.

"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the `Children of Hurin' as an independent work, between its own covers," Christopher Tolkien said in a statement.

The new book will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the United States and HarperCollins in England.

J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings Trilogy" has sold more than 50 million copies and was also adapted into a blockbuster, Academy Award-winning trio of films. A stage version is scheduled to open next year.

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060918/..._new_tolkien_1
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Old 09-19-2006, 09:13 AM   #2
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I... hardly know what to think here.

First of all, there is a certain incredulity. I mean, this almost feels as if it goes against the grain of everything Christopher Tolkien has done or said in the entire HoME. But, on the other hand, it seems to harken back to the earlier days of publishing the Silmarillion, when he took a bit more artistic license, and filled out some scrappy texts.

But still... after all these years?

As near as I can tell, assuming the story is true, we're basically just looking at a published version of the Narn I Chín Húrin- with the middle chunk that was missing in Unfinished Tales filled in.

Personally, I'm inclined to think this a good thing, if it's true, but hardly a necessary one. And I'm really, really confused as to... Why?
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:57 AM   #3
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I also do not really, what I should think about it.

I could imagine, that this work is a stand-alone work of Narn I Hín Húrin, which
1. should be readable without the context of the Silmarillion
2. should contain a with the information published in HoME updated version of the Silmarillion

Anyway, it seems to be too short for a new big novel like "Lord of the Rings". He said, that he will publish the long version, but I fear, that he will add some more details to make it more exciting, but on the other Hand, like Formendacil said, it would be against his intention publishing HoME.

Anyway, it seems to me a good way to present the World of the First Age to all Tolkien Fans, who read LoTR, but haven't read the complex Silmarillion.
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:05 AM   #4
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This is interesting. I expect it will be a assembled rather than embellished version, however, with HoME I felt Christopher limited himself to presenting the documents his father left, it is possible that he will use his privileged knowledge from conversations etc to make decisions about conflicting versions.

I do wonder if CRT has written either his own stuff or ME tales of his own?
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:31 PM   #5
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Silmaril *hopeful*

I'm not necessarily up on my 'writeing of Middle Earth mythology' lore. Does this mean we're getting a whole new tale, or just a revition/recompilation of an older tale?

My heart leapt when I checked my mail today, but Form's comments would lead me to believe otherwise...
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Old 09-19-2006, 02:48 PM   #6
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I'm not necessarily up on my 'writeing of Middle Earth mythology' lore. Does this mean we're getting a whole new tale, or just a revition/recompilation of an older tale?
Most likely it'll be exactly the same text as is found in Unfinished Tales, except with a few passages added in from the '77 Silmarillion. So, nothing new if you've read UT/HoMe.

Still, I think anything that makes this wonderful story more widely accessible is worth something.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:00 PM   #7
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1420!

At first I suspected that CRT had taken the story in the Silm and story in UT and combined them together but not having read HoME due to no monies in my pocketses and having read the comments here I'm not so sure now. Is there much more to the story than what is in the Silm and UT?
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil
Most likely it'll be exactly the same text as is found in Unfinished Tales, except with a few passages added in from the '77 Silmarillion. So, nothing new if you've read UT/HoMe.

Still, I think anything that makes this wonderful story more widely accessible is worth something.
Of course, but many readers of Tolkien will not have read UT (The Narn) & HoM-e 11. CT has scattered the fragments across 3 books. This was not Tolkien's intention, & the narrative is coherent enough to work as a single story. Neither can we assume that there is no unpublished material left - CT did not include all the M-e writings in HoM-e & it is still appearing in Vinyar Tengwar. If a major text such as Osanwe Kenta could be excluded from HoM-e I wouldn't be surprised if other bits & pieces are around. Even if this isn't the case, the Narn should be made available to the general reader (as opposed to the Tolkien scholar).

I see a very beautiful edition forthcoming, the culmination (as the press release has it, of CT's work on his father's work. It is a fitting culmination too. We will have Tolkien's final great novel.

I'm sure that many of the critics who have dismissed Tolkien's work as 'trivial' will be shocked by the themes he deals with & amazed by the way he handles them.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:31 PM   #9
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What I want to know is if we'll get a Potter style experience of bookshops opening at midnight and queues of salivating Tolkienistas being interviewed for News at Ten.
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Old 09-19-2006, 04:48 PM   #10
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What I want to know is if we'll get a Potter style experience of bookshops opening at midnight and queues of salivating Tolkienistas being interviewed for News at Ten.
With Harper Collins record on hitting publication dates it'll probably be a week late anyway.
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Old 09-19-2006, 05:05 PM   #11
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With Harper Collins record on hitting publication dates it'll probably be a week late anyway.
I'd better take the Portapotti along with the tent then so I'll not be getting into discomfort in the queue.
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Old 09-20-2006, 01:31 PM   #12
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I think that it will be fantastic, but I was hoping that it would have been the Tale of the Fall of Gondolin, insted of the Narn.
I guess that CT chose the Narn because of the available material, but I hope that it could also include the Wanderings of Húrin. I don't think it will be, but I have estel.
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Old 09-20-2006, 06:03 PM   #13
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Hey Lal, dont forget that iron knuckle, since the release of the movies and the relatively new fervor stemming from the release of the movies, I wouldnt be surprised if it is as big as a Harry Potter release (excluding the future release of the 7th book, I cant wait!).
Also, I wonder if there is more than one work that Chris T. has been working on over the past 30 YEARS...
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:55 PM   #14
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Bit more info. Publication date in the UK is April 16th & the book is 320 pages long. Amazon UK is taking pre-orders

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Children-Hur...489436?ie=UTF8
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:10 PM   #15
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Three hundred and twenty pages? Now that is interesting . . .

The "Narn i Chin Hurin" in Unfinished Tales runs to about 110 pages in my edition. If we add in material from the GA and QS to fill the missing section between the arrival at Amon Rudh and the fall of Nargothrond, we might, perhaps, have 140 pages, or 150 at most.

I suppose the account of Nirnaeth Arnoediad associated with the "Narn" would probably be included as well, which adds perhaps 15 pages or so. Some introduction may also be included, summarising the story of the Silmarillion up to that point - allow another 20 pages or so for this (though that seems on the long side to me).

All this yields, at most, about 200 pages, assuming fairly ordinary typesetting. Naturally, some illustrations, indices, etc. will take up additional space, but it's hard to imagine them amounting to 120 pages.

Perhaps "The Wanderings of Hurin" is to be included. That could scarcely be done, however, unless either: 1. the work is to have a very strange ending, proceeding beyond the obvious climax of the story only to fizzle out suddenly or 2. Christopher Tolkien has done some substantial creative writing to smooth out the end of "Wanderings".

I suppose another possibility is that Christopher has taken done some creative writing to fill in the middle parts of the "Narn".
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiwendil

I suppose another possibility is that Christopher has taken done some creative writing to fill in the middle parts of the "Narn".
This was my immediate thought, but all the statements I've seen so far state that it is all JRRT's work, in his own words.

Perhaps we should take the 320 pages with a pinch of salt. That said, in the Alan Lee illustrated Hobbit there are both colour plates & pencil illustrations on many of the pages, so its possible that we won't get any more material than you mention, but quite a bit of Alan Lee in there...
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:27 PM   #17
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And a lengthy index, a few blank pages between that and the story, a few more blank pages at the start, followed by the ISBN page, then a lengthy introduction. Maybe a bit of 'commentary'. Some double page illustrations too? Elaborate 'chapter beginning pages'.

Cynical Lalwende.

Anyway, I don't care if it is short, it is new. More stuff! Lovely.
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:29 PM   #18
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Today, The Times said that this was a quite sensational new x-rated Tolkien-story, full of incest and suicide and stuff. A far cry from the Hobbit!

They also said Hurin was an Elf-warrior. I am not sure why.
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:31 PM   #19
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This was my immediate thought, but all the statements I've seen so far state that it is all JRRT's work, in his own words.

Perhaps we should take the 320 pages with a pinch of salt. That said, in the Alan Lee illustrated Hobbit there are both colour plates & pencil illustrations on many of the pages, so its possible that we won't get any more material than you mention, but quite a bit of Alan Lee in there...
I am a recent addition to the Barrow Downs, but this thread caught my attention. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed The Silmarillion and have read the Unfinished Tales, and one thing I hold against Christopher Tolkien is that I doubt he is doing what his father would have wished.

I do feel that the books that have been released due to Christopher's "assistance" have added to the Middle Earth that many readers find themselves in, but one does wonder if the Creator himself would have approved of these works being put together and published. What if these were meant to remain private?

I look forward to the release, but like some of the posthumous Ernest Hemingway novels, one must wonder what the author would think.
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Elros
I do feel that the books that have been released due to Christopher's "assistance" have added to the Middle Earth that many readers find themselves in, but one does wonder if the Creator himself would have approved of these works being put together and published. What if these were meant to remain private?

I look forward to the release, but like some of the posthumous Ernest Hemingway novels, one must wonder what the author would think.
Ct is fully authorised to do whatever he wants with the unpublished material. From Tolkien's will:

Quote:
’Upon Trust to allow my son Christopher full access to the same* in order that he may act as my Literary Executor with full power to publish edit alter rewrite or complete any work of mine which may be unpublished at my death or to destroy the whole or any part or parts of any such unpublished works as he in his absolute discretion may think fit and subject thereto’

*unpublished works
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:44 PM   #21
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Today, The Times said that this was a quite sensational new x-rated Tolkien-story, full of incest and suicide and stuff. A far cry from the Hobbit!

They also said Hurin was an Elf-warrior. I am not sure why.
Cheers for the tip. The Times lets you see articles (unlike the Indy, boo) so I've found the link here.

Text here too, in case it disappears:

Quote:
X-rated Tolkien: it's not for the kiddies
Maurice Chittenden

A DARKNESS is once again descending on JRR Tolkien’s fabled land of Middle-earth. An unfinished work completed by the writer’s son is such a departure from the world of hobbits that it may merit an X-certificate.

The manuscript for The Children of Hurin, to be published next spring, contains incest, suicide and a multitude of violent deaths. Any film version is likely to have restricted audiences because of the subject matter.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on the epic tale that his father began in 1918 while on leave from the army. JRR, who was recovering from trench fever contracted during the battle of the Somme, later abandoned the work.

Its publication 90 years on follows the success of The Lord of the Rings, which has sold more than 50m copies and was adapted into a trilogy of Oscar-winning films.

The “new” work does not include characters such as Arwen, played by Liv Tyler in the movies directed by Peter Jackson, and Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom.

It is much darker and is based on the Kalevala, an epic poem from Finland. Tolkien, who died at the age of 81 in 1973, took the tale and weaved his own magical story around it.

The Children of Hurin will tell the story of the family of an elf warrior taken prisoner by Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, held responsible for torturing elves and producing the first orcs, a race of evil goblins.

Hurin, the elf warrior, is given powers by Morgoth to foresee what will happen to his children. “Death you may yet crave from me as a boon,” Morgoth tells him.

One son, Turin, is manoeuvred into having sex with his sister Nienor and becomes a carrier of doom, triggering the death of everyone close to him.

One Tolkien expert, William Ferguson, said this weekend: “Turin makes folks like Othello and Hamlet and Oedipus look like lucky devils.”

A dragon, slain by Turin, causes Nienor to realise that they have committed incest. By then she is carrying his unborn child and commits suicide by throwing herself into a ravine.

Turin finally kills himself with his talking sword. “I will drink thy blood gladly,” says its black blade.

Tolkien touched briefly on the story in The Silmarillion, a compendium of Middle-earth history: “And when all was done, the elves sang a lament for the Children of Hurin.”

His son revisited the story in a chapter of his father’s Unfinished Tales in 1980, but this will be the first time it has been told in detail in one volume.

Christopher Tolkien said this weekend he believed there was a strong case for completing his father’s long version of the legend, “if this could be done without distortion or invention”.

Tolkien experts welcomed its forthcoming publication. Dorothy Heydt, a writer of fantasy and science fiction, said: “Turin had more grief in his life than anybody ought to. The story is based on a Finnish folk tale and is full of incest and suicide and stuff.”
Adam Tolkien, son of Christopher, said: “The book will be the equivalent of a director’s cut of a DVD, except in this case the director is deceased.

“It is a very educated work. My father has been working on these stories for 30 years. What has already been published is a very condensed version of the story.

“The Silmarillion gives a history of Middle-earth mythology. To give you an idea of the scale, the whole story of The Lord of the Rings takes up [only] 15 pages in The Silmarillion.”

Christopher Tolkien is now 81 and The Children of Hurin, which will be published by HarperCollins in Britain, may be the last “new” book to be issued under the JRR Tolkien name.

Writers’ literary estates lose their entitlement to copyright income 70 years after their death.

Next week sees the publication of a sequel to Peter Pan, commissioned by the estate of JM Barrie to raise money for Great Ormond Street hospital before the copyright expires in 2007.

Nicolette Jones, author and children’s books reviewer for The Sunday Times, said: “There is a lot of mileage in reworking books. The Ian Fleming estate asked Charlie Higson to write books about the young Bond, William Horwood wrote sequels to The Wind in the Willows and there have been Winnie the Pooh spin-offs.

“Given the controversy over whether JK Rowling will bump off Harry Potter, where will that leave a sequel? Somebody, some day is going to try to pick up the story again.”
X-certificate? Thankfully books don't (yet) get 'certificates'!

Interesting point about the copyright expiration.
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:53 PM   #22
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Priceless!

A dragon, slain by Turin, causes Nienor to realise that they have committed incest. By then she is carrying his unborn child and commits suicide by throwing herself into a ravine.

NIENOR: (Examining dragon entrails) Oooo, I'm a Virgo. That means I've committed incest. Dagnabbit.

Turin finally kills himself with his talking sword. “I will drink thy blood gladly,” says its black blade.

Talking Swords-A Must for Angstsy Heroes!*

*Black blades and vampirism come with 50p extra charge

Also, William Ferguson, whoever you are, you're one of the most insightful literary critics it's ever been my pleasure to read...
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Old 09-24-2006, 03:59 PM   #23
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This sounds like a good signature:

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Turin makes folks like Othello and Hamlet and Oedipus look like lucky devils
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Old 09-24-2006, 04:09 PM   #24
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Anguirel, you make it sound like an episode of Brookside when you put it like that.

I secretly want there to be a film, because the action figures would be, to say the least, interesting...

Anyway, hopefully it will put paid to the media myth that Tolkien's work is just about jolly likkle Hobbitses and cutey blonde Elves and well, that it's basically childish. Even if people don't read the book they'll find out about it and the media will play up on the dark nature of the tale so it will give Tolkien a slightly different perspective in the eyes of the non-fans.
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Old 09-24-2006, 04:10 PM   #25
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While I'm looking very much forward to this book, I personally have always wanted to see Chris Tolkien take more creative liberties and actually expand (not just edit) his father's work. Has Chris published any fiction of his own?

I still have fingers crossed for an epic trilogy based upon "The New Shadow." A good writer (with CT's intimite knowledge of JRRT's work) could surely work around JRRT's oft-quoted misgivings about the abandoned seminal work (or develop an entirely new sequel concept). Whether achieved by CT alone or with the aid of another, more experienced creative writer, I think that the project has much merit and appeal. It could happen... CT is just 81 years young!
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Old 09-24-2006, 04:50 PM   #26
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Anyway, I don't care if it is short, it is new.
But the one thing we can be sure of is that it is not new. And you call yourself cynical.

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I secretly want there to be a film
I've always thought the Turin saga would make a very excellent film - though I imagine it being something of a cult classic rather than a blockbuster. I could see it as an Ingmar Bergman movie.

"Hurin, the elf warrior" is great. Wouldn't you think The Times would have at least one person on their staff who's actually read The Silmarillion?
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Old 09-24-2006, 06:59 PM   #27
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Ct is fully authorised to do whatever he wants with the unpublished material. From Tolkien's will:
Thank you for that immediate clarification of the matter!

That pretty much solves and and all objections I have on the matter.
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:04 PM   #28
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That statement in the will shows a lot of confidence in his son. Maybe Christopher will surprise us all with a wee bit of writing flair inherited from his daddy. 'twould be nice, no?
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:05 AM   #29
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Regarding the "dark nature" of the tale, this is already being played up by the press: Tolkien's Son Finds Dark Side of Fable.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:23 AM   #30
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Writing flair? He better get cracking, he IS 81.

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"Hurin, the elf warrior" is great. Wouldn't you think The Times would have at least one person on their staff who's actually read The Silmarillion?
I guess we must forgive the media for making a few mistakes and jokes. After all to them Tolkien fans are a particularly unfathomable bunch (I tried reading Ainulindale to my family, it - needless to say - didn't go down well). I wonder how many people around the world have read the Silmarillion anyway...

Imagine a Silmarillion movie. Sure, it would be boring, long, have no tickets sold, skip half the book, expensive, jump between scenes and characters. But think of the battle scenes!!
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:54 AM   #31
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£18.99? Eek. I think I'll wait for a paperback edition, or perhaps get it from the library.

But incredibly welcome news, if there is any unpublished stuff to receive. Though I wonder whether it will render parts of the Silmarillion obsolete. Perhaps future editions will be a lot slimmer.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:38 AM   #32
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I wonder whether it will render parts of the Silmarillion obsolete.
Hardly. 'Expanded upon', but not obsolete.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:01 AM   #33
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Aiwendil thanks for doing the math on the new books contents.

I think CRT may well flesh out some of the more compressed material.
Whether Wanderings makes it as anything other than an appendix is the question.

I would not be suprised.

I really wonder whether this bodes more such treatments?

Also he may take the moment to put in the missing accounts he mentions in XI. I think the trolls in the Nirnaeth scene is one. Underhillo?

As for Silmarillion 'obscolesence'...what could have rendered it less than THE account, than UT and HoME 1-5 and X-XII already did?
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:19 PM   #34
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Old news travels slower then old men.

By now...this is old news. I have not read every post on this so far, so, I apologize. He is what I did read (and a bit of some stuff from daveM{Look Dave! I didn't even need to hit the 'reputation' thingy for you!}). Taken from an article on SFcrowsnest linked to CNN.

And I only have one thing to say....1918 !!!!
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:58 AM   #35
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Tolkien 320 pages !!!

For my own amusement and to satisfy a need I have made my own "children of Hurin" which I type set in 11 point times new roman and printed on paper the same size as the published books,

This included all of the "NARN" plus its appendices and the missing bits from the Silmarillion which i wove into one narrative, additionally I added
1. Hurin/Huor's finding of Gondolin
2. the introduction from HoME plus other notes
3. The battle of unnumbered tears
4. the wanderings of Hurin plus the story of his visit to Nargothrond - Doriath and his death


All of this text came to 176 pages ONLY so if the 320pages is right even taking into account a number of pictures indices etc we are still looking at 80-100 new pages of actual text (BEST GUESS)

So perhaps this is a good thing !
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:56 AM   #36
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There is a fascinating interview with Tolkien's grandson Adam, where he answers questions about the new material. Here.

Adam Tolkien indicates that, while much of the material will be drawn from texts that readers have already seen, CT has added some new parts to the story. When asked if there was any chance of the publication of other revised stories such as the Fall of Gondolin, Adam said that would be harder because there is less material extant. However, he did not totally rule out even that possibility!

It also sounds as if Hurin will be written in a different style than the Silm.

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Christopher Tolkien believes there may be many readers who have found the Silmarillion too difficult and distanced in style to be attracted to the story, and who have not wished to make their way through the painstaking editorial content that makes for the main interest of the History of Middle Earth.
Hmm... I wonder if Hurin will read more like LotR. But that would be hard to do....

I still feel that someday in the far distant future the Legendarium will be treated much like the Arthurian corpus with various retellings and interpretations. The excellent ones will rise to the top; those that are poorly told will be forgotten. This sounds like the first tentative step in that direction, albeit within the protecion of the estate. Retellings like this have all kinds of problems in terms of canon. But if the Legendarium is truly modern mythology, isn't that better than having Tolkien's writings ossify? And hasn't the precedent alright been set with the Silm and all the editing and additions that had to be done?

There is also a reference to the possibility of a Hobbit film. Adam is cautious but not innately hostile:

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Alejandro Serrano: They say many things about a film (or two) based on The Hobbit. ¿this things are good for the books (many people could read them for the first time if they do a film, as happened with The Lord of the Rings) or they are damaging them?


Adam Tolkien: I would have to say that it will depend on the film!
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:23 AM   #37
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I wonder whether the "pieces that have never appeared before" are genuine JRRT texts that have not yet been made public or creative writing by Christopher. If it's the former, then I must say I'd prefer a scholarly publication of them.

I also hope that Christopher doesn't attempt to change the style of the Narn to make it more appealing to those that didn't like the Silmarillion.

Anyway, I remain somewhat doubtful about the whole enterprise. I suppose it's hard for me to get excited about the publication of a story which, as far as I'm concerned, has already been published in a satisfactory form. Not that I have anything against a "fan-fictionalized" expansion upon Tolkien's writings (I've dabbled in this approach myself), but I can't see this new publication as something official or authoritative.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:37 AM   #38
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But the fact is that the text of "The Children of Hurin" is entirely in the author's (So J.R.R. Tolkien) words - apart from very minor reworkings of a grammatical and stylistic nature.

I think that is explicit enough surely. I think CT would have to had a complete personality change to start playing fast and loose with the stories at this stage...
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:57 AM   #39
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But the fact is that the text of "The Children of Hurin" is entirely in the author's (So J.R.R. Tolkien) words - apart from very minor reworkings of a grammatical and stylistic nature.

I think that is explicit enough surely. I think CT would have to had a complete personality change to start playing fast and loose with the stories at this stage...
Indeed. Christopher Tolkien is hardly Peter Jackson, he is the man expressly given permission by Tolkien to do with his remaining work as he saw fit, and to date CT has given us a lifetime of work in producing material that others could simply have sold on to a cash rich University somewhere or other, to do who knows what horrors with.

If we are to toss aside the Children of Hurin as not being in JRRT's own words, then we should also be tossing aside The Sil as CT was his editor for that work, finding out 'grammatical and stylistic' errors. How 'purist' are we to be? You can't get any better than Christopher Tolkien in terms of a Tolkien expert.
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:09 PM   #40
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I think that is explicit enough surely. I think CT would have to had a complete personality change to start playing fast and loose with the stories at this stage...
Perhaps we have different ideas of what constitutes "fast and loose". CT took some great liberties in the '77 Silmarillion. I am wondering whether he will be taking similar liberties with this new publication.

What I wonder is, if the "new parts" that have been added to the new "Children of Hurin" are genuine texts by JRRT, why didn't CT publish them in UT or HoMe?

I'm not trying to condemn CT - on the contrary, I hold him in very high esteem and am very thankful for all the work he's done with his father's papers. I'd just like to know what these "new parts" are and where they came from.
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