"The Children of Hurin" – J.R.R. Tolkien’s "latest"

My friend and fellow Tolkien enthusiast Geoffrey DeWeese was surprised and upset when I expressed skepticism about the upcoming release of a “new” story by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I confess, I was feeling really cynical about the whole affair. I’ve never found the immeasurable amount of extra Middle-Earth material to be compelling or even very interesting. Give me the enthralling narratives of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Give me more of his children’s stories, like the Father Christmas letters. But no, I’m not so interested in the minutiae and encyclopedias of Middle-Earth details. It’s fascinating to see how much work he invested in the creation of that world, but no, I don’t want to read all of those background sketches and histories. That’s just me.

Well, it turns out that, in regards to The Children of Hurin, I’ll probably have to eat my hat, after I take my foot out of my mouth. And then, if the hat doesn’t kill me, I’ll have to choke down a plate of crow.

Because it sounds like The Children of Hurin might actually be worth reading after all.

Here’s the CNN review, which Geoffrey just sent me.

So… here’s a question… Can Peter Jackson get his hands on THIS project without any trouble from New Line?

[UPDATE: Here’s a very different perspective, thanks to Douglas Ian Dalrymple.]

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  • It’d be a travesty to use CGI on an Indiana Jones film, wouldn’t it? Part of their charm and legacy is the fact that stuntmen got themselves bruised and dirty doing some of the most famous stunts in the world. Can you imagine if the guy being dragged behind the truck wasn’t real? Wouldn’t be nearly as iconic.

  • D. Ian Dalrymple

    Jeffrey and Geoffrey,

    Don’t want to rain on your parade, friends, but here’s a not-so-favorable review: Away With The Fairies.

  • Gene Branaman

    I’m not into the minutiae of Middle Earth, either. I’ve tried & just can’t get into it. But The Children of Hurin has had my blood racing since I found out about it months ago! And I do trust Christopher Tolkien implicitly to be loyal to his father’s vision & not introduce editorial changes in tone or story.

    As for a Jackson adaption . . . far better The Children of Hurin than The Hobbit, which he’s said he’d turn into a LOTR class reunion, working in characters from those films & making the tone of The Hobbit darker & more in accord with LOTR. The Children of Hurin is already very dark so there might not be much more he could do to darken it.

    But I doubt if film rights are taken up yet. Christopher was staunchly against LOTR being filmed. Perhaps he feels differently about this new work, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Though I’m sure New Line, & other studios, will try!

  • a m hildebrandt

    would not be interested. is what I meant.

  • RC

    yea, this is really interesting…it sounds like the initial thoughts on this are positive…

    and a film adaptation…why not? right…how could they pass it up.

  • Joseph

    I just heard about that the other day. Sounds interesting.

  • a m hildebrandt

    I am looking forward to this new book and am confident I will not be disappointed. But that is because I am already familiar with the story.
    It will not be like The Hobbit and even Lord of the Rings will (I’m speculating) have a lighter feel than this.
    The Children of Hurin is a wonderful story but also a tragedy
    And in that light, I hope that Peter Jackson does not work on any form of adaption. It was shown in King Kong that he is only interested in visual effects and not really a storyteller, and as much as the visuals are important in LOTR and would be in The Children of Hurin, the story is more important. Jackson didn’t handle (in my mind) the story of LOTR as it should be and I don’t think he would grasp the level of myth in making Children of Hurin.
    For that matter there are no directors out there who could handle the mythopoeic aspect of this story. Maybe Malick but he, I don’t think, would be interested.

  • Geoffrey S. DeWeese


    Let’s compare notes after we read it. I’m interested in how this compares to the versions told in the Silmarillion and other places. It is a very depressing story to be sure.

    Finished The Road yet? Interested in your thoughts on the book and how it may or should be translated for the screen.