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  1. #26
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarthAncaliman View Post
    I can't say I'm excited about this. I've read the Silmarillion (several times) and am reading the Children of Hurin (both books edited by Christopher Tolkien from his father's notes). Neither book is as good a read as LOTR due to the professors death prior to finishing them.

    Even C. Tolkien admits that the Silmarillion left a lot wanting (see Forward to The Book of Lost Tales 1). I've read Children of Hurin as well.

    We need remember that the Silmarillion is really a collection of stories explaining the early history of Middle Earth. J.R.R. never published it because it never met his criteria for being a cohesive work. Christopher tried to pull it together but explains in the forward (quite extensively) the challenges he had in putting that together.

    The simple fact is that the Silmarillion is not really one story but a collection of stories, which is why it has not been as commercially successful (or accessible). The Hobbit and LotR books succeeded because you had a standard storyline with a definitive progression. You have protagonists (Bilbo/Frodo) and antagonists (Smaug/Sauron) and a clear objective to drive the story (kill the dragon/destroy the One ring). The Silmarillion does not contain this, except in isolated sections within the greater collection.

    The Children of Hurin was C. Tolkien's attempt to take one of the more compelling tales in the Silmarillion and make it into a standard story. Unfortunately, it falls within a rather oppresive time period. It also is really a tragedy a not a heroic/epic tale as is LoTR.

    I'll say that I've enjoyed the Silmarillion a few times over. Wish me luck as I got the Histories of Middle Earth (vol I-V) for Christmas. These appear to be even more involved than the Silmarillion!
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  2. #27

    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrGonzo403 View Post
    most excellent, I shall be reading this

    Children of Hurin was not on par with The Hobbit or LOTR, but it was a good read nonetheless... much darker, which I thought was interesting. I should read it again, as I only read it once when it came out 2 - 3 years ago.

    EDIT: I'd like to find more fantasy to read, and the little I have dabbled in outside of Tolkien has just been... missing something, I guess, to keep me interested. Although, I do hear our very own Berephorn is quite the author, so perhaps I shall look further into this!
    The best of the more modern series is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (true name James Oliver Rigney, Jr). Unfortunately, he passed away last September with the 12th and last novel unfinished. It is currently being written by Brandon Sanderson with the help of Jim's widow. I think it is not truly on a par with JRRT, but its the closest I have seen to the integrated storylines and history that LOTRO has.
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  3. #28

    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by wondecr View Post
    Have you tried the Jim Butcher series The Dresden Files? Worth reading...Nice premise, especially for those of us who live in proximity to Chicago.
    So you're saying this series is about city/state corruption and/or the mob? :P

    Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm in the far north suburbs.
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  4. #29
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Im actually gonna get the books, It looks interesting and I would probably enjoy them. The Children of Hurin was a great read IMO and I enjoyed every bit of it. C Tolkien has no impact what so ever on if I like to read a Tolkien Book or not. I am actually glad that he was able to release his fathers work for everyone to read.
    Babycaek™ GoodnTasty - Officer of The Black Appendage of Sauron - Elendilmir
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  5. #30

    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    I agree, I really enjoyed The Children of Hurin. It wasn't what I expected but it was an interesting surprise.

  6. #31
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by mac173 View Post
    The best of the more modern series is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (true name James Oliver Rigney, Jr). .
    Not even close.
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  7. #32
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Outside of The Hobbit and the LOTR, everything else is simply background and notes. JRRT was working to pull the Sil together for publication, and indeed, wanted to do so for many years. Sadly he did not live long enough to see that process through.

    But in reading The Letters, it is clear that JRRT seemed to feel LOTR had taken on a life of its own. He alludes a few times to his creation belonging to the world at that point. He was wise enough in mythology to know that where his work stood, even at the time of his death, had grown into much the same thing he studied. Indeed, that is why I will read this new book.

    I think JRRT would have wanted his work preserved, but knew and expected the story would grow and beyond his actual specific writing, take on a life of its own.

    Chris Tolkien is interfearing with that. I don't mind that he protects it during his life, but after he is gone, let it go. The origional works will always stand. But his father knew this was growing into part of the public concious. You can't control that and he knew it.

  8. #33
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Children of Hurin was a bit of a letdown for me, it was basicly like reading the Silmarillion with a bit more detail. Now for the Silmarillion, that ranks as one of the best books I have ever read, of course I am the kind of person that lives in the details of how things came to be and the Silmarillion definitly gave me those details.

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  9. #34
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thalifea View Post
    Children of Hurin was a bit of a letdown for me, it was basicly like reading the Silmarillion with a bit more detail. Now for the Silmarillion, that ranks as one of the best books I have ever read, of course I am the kind of person that lives in the details of how things came to be and the Silmarillion definitly gave me those details.
    The dude got busy with his sister man. It was going to be a downer in the end. But for a LOTR aficionado, the book was a fascinating insight into the dark times, gives flavor to later events.

    The Barrow Downs message board has a group pulling together a large-scale arrangement of the full body of JRRT's work, intending to put everything out there into an order. It is interesting to see where they were the last time. Nice board, big into forum based RP, but some of the deepest LOTR discussion I've seen is there.

  10. #35
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelina_Rayne View Post
    I'm actually gonna get the books, It looks interesting and I would probably enjoy them. The Children of Hurin was a great read IMO and I enjoyed every bit of it. C Tolkien has no impact what so ever on if I like to read a Tolkien Book or not. I am actually glad that he was able to release his fathers work for everyone to read.
    Well Angelina, as to C Tolkien's impact, it in fact has a direct impact on whether you like to read a Tolkien book (apart from the Hobbit and LotR), as none of them were ever finished, and Christopher in many instances has to do some serious editing and writing of his own to get them into publishable shape. That is assuming that you demand more than just the name JRRT on the cover page.

    And Children of Hurin is much more of a Romantic Tragedy, in the scope of say the early Greek plays by Sophoclese, you know the ones you were supposed to read in high school... It has all the classic elements, Hubris, Incest, Vengeance, Slaying of loved ones... Personally I see CoH as Tolkien's stab at this genre, and the Sil in general as a similar literary effort - Heroic Tragedy, yet he reserves the eucatastrophe for the Eldar in the Sil (the impossible voyage of Earindil and the salvation of the Valar), while he denies the possibility to Hurin, who in the end is destroyed utterly. Ah the whiff of Pathos is thick in CoH... Aristotle's grand vision of Pity and Fear (aka Tragedy) as the superior form of all literary art forms must have had a strong appeal for the Professor.
    Last edited by Elessar; Jan 09 2009 at 02:19 PM.
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  11. #36
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    Well Angelina, as to C Tolkiens impact, it in fact has a direct impact on whether you like to read a Tolkien book (apart from the Hobbit and LotR), as none of them were ever finished, and Christopher in many instances has to do some serious editing and writing of his own to get them into publishable shape. That is assuming that you demand more than just the name JRRT on the cover page.

    No, it has no impact at all, just because he has revised and/or rewritten some things does not mean that I will or will not enjoy the book. I enjoy a book for the story, not for who wrote it.

    As with the Children of Hurin, even if someone else had written that book, I still would have picked it up and probably still would have enjoyed it.
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  12. #37

    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    Well Angelina, as to C Tolkien's impact, it in fact has a direct impact on whether you like to read a Tolkien book (apart from the Hobbit and LotR), as none of them were ever finished, and Christopher in many instances has to do some serious editing and writing of his own to get them into publishable shape. That is assuming that you demand more than just the name JRRT on the cover page.

    And Children of Hurin is much more of a Romantic Tragedy, in the scope of say the early Greek plays by Sophoclese, you know the ones you were supposed to read in high school... It has all the classic elements, Hubris, Incest, Vengeance, Slaying of loved ones... Personally I see CoH as Tolkien's stab at this genre, and the Sil in general as a similar literary effort - Heroic Tragedy, yet he reserves the eucatastrophe for the Eldar in the Sil (the impossible voyage of Earindil and the salvation of the Valar), while he denies the possibility to Hurin, who in the end is destroyed utterly. Ah the whiff of Pathos is thick in CoH... Aristotle's grand vision of Pity and Fear (aka Tragedy) as the superior form of all literary art forms must have had a strong appeal for the Professor.
    Great analysis.

    Technically, I agree with you, that you can't deny that Christopher imposes an influence on the works he pulled together. However, I don't think that really matters much. The Silmarillion as published is what it is. Same with CoH, etc. Its not like we can compare them to JRRT-only versions of each. It may be fairest to simply accept his presence on these works as a co-author, however reserved. But that doesn't make these works any less 'legitimate'.

    I do think that Christopher did a fairly decent job of trying to mimic his father's prose style in CoH. A doubly difficult challenge, given that CoH is as you mention, a foray into a completely different genre of story. Its not as if he could look at some other Tragedy published by his father and mimic that. He had to mimic the style of writing from LOTR and other works, and use that to implement the prose of a romantic tragedy whose story arc is outlined in the Sil.
    .
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  13. #38
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Utopia View Post
    Really....you mean he didn't just write it? I mean...just because he's been dead since 1973...
    I've been rereading Tolkien's letters, and one of his letters to Christopher during WWII ... and I can't find it now, glancing back; but he says that in heaven we will be able to write all the books we never had time for while on earth.

    And SF/fantasy writer Jo Walton wrote a poem (which I can't find either, though it used to be online) about how she dreamed she went to heaven and went into a bookstore, and found dozens of books by her favorite writers, written since they'd died: four new Tolkiens (he never could work quickly) and about forty Heinleins....
    Eruanne - Shards of Narsil-1 - Elendilmir -> Arkenstone

  14. #39
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by djheydt View Post
    I've been rereading Tolkien's letters, and one of his letters to Christopher during WWII ... and I can't find it now, glancing back; but he says that in heaven we will be able to write all the books we never had time for while on earth.

    And SF/fantasy writer Jo Walton wrote a poem (which I can't find either, though it used to be online) about how she dreamed she went to heaven and went into a bookstore, and found dozens of books by her favorite writers, written since they'd died: four new Tolkiens (he never could work quickly) and about forty Heinleins....
    That would be cool. Then the hard-core lore monkeys would wind up there years from now, and be horrified the read about legions of Rune-keepers all over Middle-earth in the forth age, fighting space aliens.

  15. #40
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    Re: New Tolkien Book, not Middle-Earth related.

    Quote Originally Posted by mac173 View Post
    The best of the more modern series is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (true name James Oliver Rigney, Jr). Unfortunately, he passed away last September with the 12th and last novel unfinished. It
    They, actually ... it's been divided into two volumes so that the successor can actually finish in written form what was laid out in the outline and notes Jordan left behind. That is, in essence, what's wrong with the whole series: too much material, too many digressions, so that what was intended to be a trilogy expanded over the years into a multi-volume never-ending money-spinner, rather in the way that bread dough will expand if you give it too much yeast and then leave it alone for a while.

    is currently being written by Brandon Sanderson with the help of Jim's widow. I think it is not truly on a par with JRRT, but its the closest I have seen to the integrated storylines and history that LOTRO has.
    Well, there are many people who do enjoy it. Others can't stand it. I gave up in Book Two, Chapter One, because the hero was behaving like such an idiot. My suggestion is, get the first volume out of the library and attempt that. If you feel like reading further, do so.

    There is lots of good fantasy out there, but the heroic fantasy subgenre of which Tolkien is the pinnacle suffers from what's been called "the work of the third artist." That is, it consists mostly of imitators of imitators of Tolkien, who haven't got any of the background either in reality or in ancient lore that Tolkien had, and copy only the surface without realizing any of the depth.
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