March 26, 2007

The Children of Hurin

I had heard this news earlier, that Christopher Tolkien, the son of "Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien, was working on "The Children of Hurin," but I hadn't realized that the book was almost ready for release.

For those unfamiliar, the basic story of the children of Hurin was originally published in "The Silmarillion," in 1977. "The Silmarillion" deals with the First Age of Middle Earth, when the Elves and Men fought together against Morgoth, the Dark Lord, of whom Sauron was a mere lieutenant. ("The Lord of the Rings" takes place in the Third Age, thousands of years after the events in "The Silmarillion," so, should a movie of this book ever be made, the only possible characters that might make a reprise would be Gandalf and perhaps a few of the Elves, such as Galadriel. No Frodo, no Sam. Get over it.)

In "The Silmarillion," the tale of Turin Turambar and Nienor Niniel takes up a 37-page chapter ("Of Turin Turambar"). [Plot spoiler ahead.] The story is a tragedy in the traditional sense of the word. Hurin, a man who had been a foe of Morgoth, had been captured by same and placed in a magical chair that imprisoned him and, also, allowed him to see what was happening in Middle Earth, so that he could watch his family from a distance as well. Turin, Hurin's son, becomes a mighty warrior, a councillor to a king, slays a dragon, yada yada yada (hey, I gotta get to work soon), marries his sister (neither realizing who the other is), and eventually dies, along with sis. Hurin and his wife, Morwen, survive both of their children, and Hurin eventually commits suicide, like both of his children before him (Morwen, apparently, dies a natural death). Yeah, it's all weepy and a depressing story, which should make it a good book and a great movie, insha'allah. If you enjoyed reading "The Lord of the Rings" and/or "The Silmarillion," no doubt you'll love this book too.

An unfinished book by "Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien, which was completed by his son, will go on sale on next month, a newspaper said.

"The Children of Hurin", which Tolkien began in 1918, will be in bookshops on April 17, the Independent on Sunday added. The author's son, Christopher, spent 30 years completing the story from the many drafts produced by his father.

Publisher HarperCollins is keeping exact details of the story under close wraps but its description as "an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism" will be familiar to the legions of Tolkien fans.

Artist Alan Lee has provided 25 pencil sketches and eight paintings for the book.

Lee won an Oscar for art direction on Peter Jackson's "The Return of the King", the third blockbuster film based on the "Lord of Rings" trilogy that brought the stories to a worldwide audience.

"The Children of Hurin" is the first "new" Tolkien book since a collection of his works -- "The Silmarillion" -- was published posthumously in 1977, four years after the writer's death. It was also edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The chairman of the Tolkien Society, Chris Crawshaw, was quoted by the Independent on Sunday as saying: "It ('The Children of Hurin') would probably make a very good movie, if anyone can secure the film rights."

1 comment:

Amit said...

This book (ISBN :9780007246229) is releasing in India on 24th of April by HarperCollins Publishers India. This book is in hardback with 320 pages. Also there are 16 colour pages of rare paintings of Tolkien. Very gripping book and must read for all. Even after so many years it holds good for persons of all age and walk. Cost is Rs 495 and will be avaiable through all leading book stores across India.