The Children of Hurin

Have any of your read the latest product from Christopher Tolkien editing his father’s papers? It’s The Children of Húrin, and it’s well worth reading. It’s not a Silmarilion-like collection of fictional non-fiction, like much of what Christopher has been publishing. Rather, it’s a true novel, though written in the high saga style, rather than in the variety of styles from the homely to the epic that characterizes “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.”

“The Children of Hurin” has a much scarier dragon and a much more powerful and insidious dark lord than those masterpieces. And it’s dark. Its hero Turin is a cross between Byron and Job. It’s tragic, heart-breaking, not for children, and utterly beautiful.

During our recent road-trip, we listened to the audiobook, which is read by the great Christopher Lee (who played Saruman in the LOTR movies). Hearing it was to feast on language. (If you’d like to buy these, click the links to go to Amazon.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Grasshopper

    I read it right when it came out.

    I agree with your assessment. Typical Tolkien writing. A sweeping and tragic story.

  • Grasshopper

    I read it right when it came out.

    I agree with your assessment. Typical Tolkien writing. A sweeping and tragic story.

  • S. Bauer

    The basic outline of the story of the children of Hurin is given in the Silmarillion. I do not know if the draft of the novel was written by JRRT first and then condensed into the text of the Silmarillion or it was conceived as part of the Silmarillion first and later expanded. It is a powerful story. Highly recommended.

  • S. Bauer

    The basic outline of the story of the children of Hurin is given in the Silmarillion. I do not know if the draft of the novel was written by JRRT first and then condensed into the text of the Silmarillion or it was conceived as part of the Silmarillion first and later expanded. It is a powerful story. Highly recommended.

  • tammy

    My son read it 4 times always coming away from it heart broken. I keep meaning to read it. Maybe what you wrote will inspire me to make the time.

  • tammy

    My son read it 4 times always coming away from it heart broken. I keep meaning to read it. Maybe what you wrote will inspire me to make the time.

  • Dave Gosse

    Hello
    I read the book several months ago, you’re right, dark and heavy. I found it too much so. The Hobbit I reread last week, LOTR last year and both have a completely different feel to them. The Children of Hurin is about hubris and fall, there is no redemption and Turin is, in so many ways, the architect of his own demise. I would agree that it is worth the read, not as entertainment but as a warning of our own self-destructive natures.

  • Dave Gosse

    Hello
    I read the book several months ago, you’re right, dark and heavy. I found it too much so. The Hobbit I reread last week, LOTR last year and both have a completely different feel to them. The Children of Hurin is about hubris and fall, there is no redemption and Turin is, in so many ways, the architect of his own demise. I would agree that it is worth the read, not as entertainment but as a warning of our own self-destructive natures.


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