New J.R.R. Tolkien Novel!

April 20th, 2007 | Posted in General

A spot for Fade In Magazine from a few years ago…

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien is even slower than Thomas Harris is at getting new novels in publication, but he has a pretty good excuse…

He’s dead.

Has been since 1973.

That didn’t stop him posthumously publishing “The Silmarillion” in 1977, as well as several other books like 1980’s “Unfinished Tales“, and now he has a new book coming out on Tuesday, April 24th.

Entitled “The Children of H??⬨?rin“, the novel was put together by Tolkien’s son and literary executor Christopher Tolkien from pieces of manuscripts and story notes. The tale it tells was told in limited form in “The Silmarillion” and more completely in “Unfinished Tales“, so it’s really not new at all. The story is about a character named H??⬨?rin and his children Turin Turambar and Nienor who were cursed by Morgoth, the original dark lord of whom Sauron, the Lord of the Rings baddy, was just a servant in a time long before Hobbits appeared in Middle-earth. According to this article the tale is darker than either “The Hobbit” or “The Lord of the Rings“. I don’t find that hard to believe since tragedy is a recurring theme in all of Tolkien’s stories.

“The Silmarillion” is a book that’s tough to read for anyone but a hardcore Tolkien fan, especially the first section entitled Ainulindal??⬨¬¥. It’s basically the history of the creation of the world, and it’s full of names that are mind-numbing and unpronounceable. After that it gets better with mythological tales concerning the Silmaril jewels, the Downfall of N??⬨?menor and the events that lead to the more well known books. It’s been years since I read it. “The Silmarillon” was also compiled and edited by Christopher Tolkien from fairly complete notes and drafts of his father’s. Other books like “The Book of Lost Tales” and “The History of Middle-earth” are really just retellings or compilations of previous works.

Apparently at the time of it’s publication, “The Silmarillion” was met with a lot of criticism concerning being an attempt to cash in on Tolkien’s legacy. It was called “The Sellamillion” by disdainful fans of Tolkien. I am sure the curious timing of the publication of this new book, following the immense popularity of the Peter Jackson film trilogy, will raise similar questions.

I suppose I will eventually pick up and read “The Children of H??⬨?rin“, being such a fan of the Middle-earth books, but I don’t feel any pressing need to run out and get it. Since it’s a self contained tale and not the sweeping historical juggernaut that is “The Silmarillion“, I hope it will prove to be a good yarn.


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New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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