"What is this babbler trying to say?" Acts 17:18

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yes, I finally read the latest Tolkien craze: The Children of Hurin. And, yes, it fully met my expectations. I absolutely love that heroic style. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan and have read the Silmarillion you know what I mean; if you're not you need to start at the beginning and read them all (Come to think of it, you should start at the ending with the Lord of the Rings and work back to the beginning via the Hobbit and the Silmarillion). Again, if you have read the Silmarillion you know the story of the Children of Hurin, the only difference between the two versions is that this one runs about 259 pages.

According to Christopher Tolkien, this new book published in 2007 is a compilation of Tolkien's many different drafts of the story into one complete whole with only the barest editorial additions. A word here or a word there. Most authors today probably don't get it that good from their editors.

I also have The Lays of Beleriand which includes the unfinished Lay of the Children of Hurin, but before now I had not been motivated to read past the first few lines of this alliterative poem. Last night, though, I read about 40 pages. It is a lot harder to read and not nearly as enjoyable for me but it's kinda fun in it's way. I have found that it is absolutely necessary to read alliterative poetry out loud. Probably my brother thought me insane as I chanted that,
War was waked in the woods once more
For the foes of faerie, and it fame widely,
And the fear of that fellowship, now fared abroad;
When the horn was heard of the hunting Elves
That shook the shaws and the sheer valleys...
Even in Angband the Orcs trembled
[when] the word wandered down the ways of the forest
That Turin Thalion was returned to war (36).
Just a few thousand more lines to go.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lays of Beleriand: The History of Middle-earth III. A Del Rey Book, Ballantine Books. Yew York, 1994.

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