Monday, November 26, 2007

Another trip to Middle-earth

The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin
Writen by JRR Tolkien
Edited by Christopher Tolkien
HarperCollins, 2007
The book is for the new fans of JRR Tolkien who can't get enough of the master, and the fans of Peter Jackson film who would like to know more about Middle-earth. The credit goes to Christopher Tolkien for arranging another trip to Middle-earth, especially so many years after the master's death.
For a Tolkien fan, the legend of Turin is not new. It appears, al-beit in a smaller version, in The Silmarilion. Yet the complete narrative, within the covers of a single book is quintessential Tolkien. You have the signs of the master all over -- the mighty enemy Morgoth, the original master of the Dark Lord Sauron, the vast landscape of the Elven realms, staggering battles and a hero who is doomed forever.
After the battle of Unnumbered Tears, all Morgoth's enemies are defeated. Hurin, Lord of Dor-lomien is captured alive and is presented before the Dark Lord. But Hurin refuses to Morgoth's bidding, to tell him the secret passways of Gondolin, the Elvish kingdom.
Thereupon, Morgoth puts a curse upon Hurin and his family, to be chased by the dark shadows of the dark lord himself.
What follows is the unfortunate tale of Turin, Hurin's son, his mother Morwen and sister Nienor.
Though the narrative has the epic sweep, it is not as detailed as 'The Lord of the Ring' or 'The Hobbit'; Tolkien wrote the book as the synopsis of a far grander tale, and it shows. Yet, the book is filled with heroism and pathos, and people distinctly from the first age of Middle-earth, some three thousand years before the battle of the ring, told in 'The Lord of the Ring'.
So, we meet Turin Turambar, the unfortunate, the accursed, who travel from his own kingdom to Doriath, the Elvish realm, the joins a band of outlaws, later joined by his friend Beleg, trav-els to another Elvish kingdom to see it fall, goes back to Dor-lomien to find his mother and his sister, who he has never seen, returns to the woods of Beleriath, and there by the crooked plans of the Dragon, Morgoth's servant, meets his sister without realis-ing who she was, marries her and kills the dragon, before realis-ing what he had done. Nienor flings herself into the river and Tu-rin kills himself.
The story has the fodder of a Shakespearean tragedy and Tolkien tells the story with such warmth that you live the story all along with the unfortunate Turin and his many misdaven-tures.
A must for all Tolkien fans and a must for those who dig fantasy literature.

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