The Children of Húrin
|The Children of Húrin|
Houghton Mifflin (US)
|Released||17 April 2007|
|Format||Hardcover; paperback; deluxe edition|
|Preceded by||The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)|
|Followed by||Beren and Lúthien (2017)|
The Children of Húrin, also known as Narn i Chîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin, is a novel based on J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in 2007. The main text had been previously published as "Narn i Hîn Húrin" in Unfinished Tales, here edited by Christopher to form a consistent narrative as an independent work. First and most subsequent editions were illustrated by Alan Lee.
The plot consists in the expanded account of the story of the wanderings and deeds of Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, and his sister Niënor, in their struggle against fate (and the curse cast upon Húrin's kin). It is considered to be among the darkest examples of any of Tolkien's works.
The story is one of three "great tales" set in the First Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth, the other two being Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
"There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the North: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World.
"In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Niënor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves.
"Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Húrin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into his story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the mythological persons of the God and the Dragon enter in fearfully articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulated the fates of Túrin and Niënor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled.
"The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to final and finished form. In this book I have endeavoured to construct, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention."
Contents[edit | edit source]
- Note on Pronunciation
- Narn I Chîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin
- I. "The Childhood of Túrin"
- II. "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears"
- III. "The Words of Húrin and Morgoth"
- IV. "The Departure of Túrin"
- V. "Túrin in Doriath"
- VI. "Túrin among the Outlaws"
- VII. "Of Mîm the Dwarf"
- VIII. "The Land of Bow and Helm"
- IX. "The Death of Beleg"
- X. "Túrin in Nargothrond"
- XI. "The Fall of Nargothrond"
- XII. "The Return of Túrin to Dor-lómin"
- XIII. "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil"
- XIV. "The Journey of Morwen and Niënor to Nargothrond"
- XV. "Niënor in Brethil"
- XVI. "The Coming of Glaurung"
- XVII. "The Death of Glaurung"
- XVIII. "The Death of Túrin"
- Tables - Genealogies:
- The House of Hador & the People of Haleth
- The House of Bëor
- The Princes of the Noldor
- The Evolution of the Great Tales
- The Composition of the Text
- List of Names
- Note on the Map
Writings and publication[edit | edit source]
A brief version of the story formed the base of Chapter 21 of The Silmarillion, setting the tale in the context of the wars of Beleriand. Although based on the same texts used to complete the new book, Christopher Tolkien abridged the tale to avoid overcharging his edition.
Other incomplete versions have been published in previous publications:
- The "Narn i Hîn Húrin" in Unfinished Tales.
- Items in The History of Middle-earth series, including:
- "Turambar and the Foalókë", from The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two
- "The Lay of the Children of Húrin" (a narrative poem), from The Lays of Beleriand
None of these writings forms a complete and mature narrative. The published Children of Húrin is essentially a synthesis of the Narn and of the account found in The Silmarillion.
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 Húrin as an independent work, between its own covers, with a minimum of editorial presence, and above all in continuous narrative without gaps or interruptions, if this could be done without distortion or invention, despite the unfinished state in which he left some parts of it.
Publication history and gallery[edit | edit source]
- HarperCollins hardcover (2007), pp. 320. ISBN 0007246226
- HarperCollins large print hardcover (2007), ISBN 0007252250
- HarperCollins hardcover with slipcase (2007), ISBN 0007252234
- HarperCollins hardcover with leather traycase (2007), ISBN 0007252242
- HarperCollins paperback (2008), ISBN 0007252269
- HarperCollins paperback (2008), ISBN 0007309368
- HarperCollins paperback (2014), ISBN 0007597339
- HarperCollins large print paperback (2014), ISBN 0008108323
An unabridged audio recording of The Children of Húrin read by Christopher Lee was released in November 2007. Lee spent five days in the studio recording the book for HarperCollins. The audiobook also features Christopher Tolkien reading his preface and introduction to the story.
- HarperCollins, 2007 (17 September), ISBN: 9780007269648
- HarperCollins, 2007 (19 November), ISBN: 9780007269631
- HarperCollins, 2007 (25 November), 1st edition CD Audio ISBN: 9780007263455
- HarperCollins, 2008 (1 August), ISBN: 9780007298136
See also[edit | edit source]
- "Of Túrin Turambar" (chapter of The Silmarillion)
- The Story of Kullervo (the precursor to The Children of Húrin)
- Beren and Lúthien
- The Fall of Gondolin
- Images from The Children of Húrin illustrated by Alan Lee
- Release party
External links[edit | edit source]
- Nicholas Birns, Review of the book, Tolkien Studies. 5
- Other reviews of the book
- Children of Húrin FAQ
- Discussion at LotRPlaza.com
- Blog post by Michael D.C. Drout
- Article on TolkienLibrary.com