The Children of Húrin

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Narn i Chîn Húrin refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Narn i Chîn Húrin (disambiguation).
The Children of Húrin
Children of Húrin 2007.png
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien
EditorChristopher Tolkien
IllustratorAlan Lee
PublisherHarperCollins (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released16 April 2007
FormatHardcover; paperback; deluxe edition
Pages320
ISBN0007246226
Preceded byThe Peoples of Middle-earth (1996)
Followed byBeren 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]

Christopher Tolkien:

"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]

Beleg Departs from Menegroth by Alan Lee
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Note on Pronunciation
Narn I Chîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin
  • Tables - Genealogies:
    • The House of Hador & the People of Haleth
    • The House of Bëor
    • The Princes of the Noldor
  • Appendix
    • 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:

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.
—Christopher Tolkien

Publication history and gallery[edit | edit source]

2007 hardcover  
2007 hardcover large print  
2008 paperback  
2008 'overseas' paperback  
2014 paperback  
2014 paperback large print  
2014 paperback 2024 reprint  
Audiobook editions
The Children Of Húrin Audiobook

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.[1] The audiobook also features Christopher Tolkien reading his preface and introduction to the story.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
Of Arda Authored by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand · iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow · vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring · xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major · The Adventures of Tom Bombadil ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fictional works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Less known academic works A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse · The Old English Exodus
Letters The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Reference works The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly studies The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list is only a selection of works, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline.