The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. & Christopher Tolkien a Prequel to The Lord of the Rings

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The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien is a  “prequel” of several thousand years to the much longer story told in the classic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Many of the characters in The Children of Hurin will be familiar, because they were mentioned in the poems and songs found throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The original version of The Children of Hurin story was written in late 1910s by author J.R.R. Tolkien and revised several times over the years, but Tolkien never completed it. J.R.R. Tolkien died in 1973.

Much of what later became The Children of Hurin was published in The Silmarillion, a collection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher Tolkien in 1977. Christopher Tolkien continued his work editing his father’s many notes and manuscripts into a more consistent narrative, and in 2007, The Children of Hurin was published as an independent work.

The Children of Hurin paints the picture of what Middle Earth was like before its fall and gives the reader more information about why the kings of men have become nomadic rangers, why the elves are a small, isolated race, and tells the tale of the great evil being whom Sauron served.

The central character in The Children of Hurin is Turin, the son of Hurin, a character much like Boromir, strong, valiant, noble, but flawed with pride and rash decisions. Cursed by Sauron’s dark master, Morgoth, an evil immortal being, tragedy follows Turin wherever he goes. If you are looking for a happy ending, you won’t find it in The Children of Hurin.

Orcs, dwarves, elves, Easterlings and a dragon add familiar elements to The Children of Hurin story which should resonate with any fans of J.R.R. Tolkien. However, don’t expect the rich, lyrical tapestry Tolkien wove in Lord of the Rings. Children of Hurin is not only told in a more “archaic” style, but it is drier and less eloquent in the telling with much less character development.  However,The Children of Hurin is worth adding to anyone’s Tolkien library to provide more background and depth to the saga of Middle Earth developed in The Lord of the Rings.

Children of Hurin is illustrated by Alan Lee who also illustrated a Children of Hurin calendar.

SOURCES:

“The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien” by Kathryn E. Darden

“The Children of Hurin” by J.R.R. And Christopher Tolkien – a Book Review

Wikipedia

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