Friday, April 27, 2007

The Children of Hurin

Just finished J.R.R. Tolkien's The Children of Hurin.

Tragic. With a thin sliver of hope at the end.

The story mirrors life. In our world, as well as Middle Earth, there exist flawed heroes, betrayals, heart-breaking misunderstandings, veiled truth, self-deceived leaders . . . and an occasional glimmer of hope.

This drama has all of that - plus the orcs, elves, a few dwarves, a dragon, and of course Morgoth, the original dark lord and master of Sauron, which are familiar to the readers of Tolkien. But the story also has Turin, the son of Hurin, the embittered protagonist of this portion of the western lands. I cheered for him and wept for him (okay, maybe not literally). But I struggled with him to make sense of it all - life, death, war, evil. And you will too. But you won't be satisfied with the conclusion.

If you're expecting a prequel to The Lord of the Rings you'll come away disappointed. But if you want to live in that prequel first age (6000 years before The Hobbit) and read a more accessible epic than The Silmarillion, then this story delivers. It's not perfect. Son Christopher Tolkien, now over 80 years old and very much the mantle bearer of his father, does a good job stitching together unfinished portions of this epic. But there is an occasional patchwork feel to the telling. Still, a tremendous addition to the opus.

One more positive note. The Children of Hurin is selling just as many copies as The Secret. There is indeed a glimmer of hope for this world.
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