Nostalgia Review: Children of Hurin

Y’all ever heard of someone named JRR Tolkien? He wrote something about hobbits or rings or something. I think there was a movie? Six movies?!? But only four books… how does that work? This week’s Nostalgia Review is not about him directly. Rather, The Children of Hurin comes from the expansion of his universe as fleshed out by his son, Christopher Tolkien. The original outline for this tale may be as old as 1910, but it was sadly not completed before J.R.R.’s death in 1973. 

by Alan Lee

Like many fantasy fans, tales from middle earth stoked my passion for secondary world adventures. There is no lack of love for or information about The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the encyclopedic Silmarillion. I want to spill 500 words introducing you to a lesser-known legend, the tale of Turin Turambar as told in The Children of Hurin

This is the third installment of our nostalgia reviews mini-series, where we look at books that influenced me as a young reader. Check out the others on Redwall and The Circle Trilogy

The Basics: 

Title: The Children of Hurin
Author: Christopher Tolkien
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Myths and Legend
Publisher: 2007, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

We could start a petition to rename the Byronic hero the “Turinic hero.” Our protagonist has angst with a capital “A”. Turin son of Hurin cannot get out of his own way. He plunges himself into a cycle of reaching a new kingdom, gaining prestige from his skill as a warrior and leader… then completely ruining it through his temper and hubris. Hopefully he pulls it together in time to save his kingdom from the forces of evil and a fire-breathing dragon. Glaurug, the Father of Dragons, lays waste to several cities by himself. What chance does our lone hero have?

Why this book might be for you:

Do you like The Lord of the Rings? It really might be that simple. 

by Alan Lee

The Children of Hurin reads like a myth. Told in high third person on an events-oriented legend, it feels like sitting around a medieval campfire, listening to a skilled bard recount an epic. 

Compared to the main Tolkien Trilogy, The Children of Hurin is a good two shades darker. Dealing with themes of fate, honor, betrayal, and pride, this is a fire-breathing oath-breaking mile away from the Prancing Pony. 

Where can you find more?

The New York times has an interesting deep-dive into the life of Christopher Tolkien written to mark his passing in January 2020. You can find more details about the title on Goodreads

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