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New Tolkien Book Released 'The Children of Hurin' 260

Posted by Hemos
from the hoom-hoom dept.
Zoolander writes "Christopher Tolkien has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father." The ultimate question is how much of a quality difference will there be; for instance the difference between Dune and Dune: House Atriedes is a pretty big gap. But in my experience, Christopher Tolkien has always taken a good, cautious approach when it comes to his father's work so here's to hoping.
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New Tolkien Book Released 'The Children of Hurin'

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  • Excellent!~ (Score:2, Insightful)

    I have always thought Chris has done a good job compiling his father's stuff. I can't wait to pick this up!
    • Re:Excellent!~ (Score:5, Interesting)

      by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:41AM (#18487199)
      I "read" silmarilion when I was in high school, didn't like it at all and failed to spend the time slowly going through it to take everything in. Going through it again in my mid-twenties and having an exponentially greater appreciation of it, even more so than Lord of the Rings.

      Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit.

      TÚRIN TURAMBAR DAGNIR GLAURUNGA
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:47AM (#18487269)
        "Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit."

        Or aging is lowering/fucking up your standards.

        By your sixties you may actually like to listen to Barbra Streisand albums...

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by linguizic (806996)
          "Like a wine fine, you have to let it age a bit."

          Same is true for adjective noun order.
      • by gfxguy (98788)
        Congratulations. I couldn't get past the first chapter when I was in high school; it was just too boring.

        I did eventually read it a couple of years ago. It had a lot of great information in it. But it was still incredibly boring (not all of it, of course). It read like a history book. I guess that's what it was, but I think JRR had the ability to refine his works into something a lot less boring than Christopher, who might be too scared to leave something out.

        I don't hold it against him, look at the st
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rhombic (140326)

          But it was still incredibly boring (not all of it, of course). It read like a history book.

          I don't think it was supposed to read like a history book, as much as an experiment in trying to make a made-up mythology read like the Torah/Bible/Qu'ran. In that respect it succeeds enormously. The writing styles change dramatically between the separate books, to the point where Akalabeth reads like it was written by a totally different author than the Silmarillion proper. Looking at it more in the context of an aut

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by redshirt1111 (990928)
      Over the past three years I've really gotten into Tolkien's writing (The Silmarillion being my fave), but I've never been a big fan of Turin's story. It's certainly tragic, and nothing ends well, which normally I like. It's just that Turin is fairly unsympathetic. He's headstrong, foolish, and something of a prick. Hard to root for, despite his occasional heroic deeds. Now Hurin -- I'd love to see more of Hurin. Anyone who can tell Morgoth off to his face is the very definition of tragically heroic.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mpiktas (740253)
        I for one am a huge fan of Turin's story. It always gives me the shivers, when I read it anew. And actually Children of Hurin is a story about Hurin also, if I remember correctly, after Turin's death the story talks about the final fate of Hurin and Morwen. I hope that Christopher Tolkien will include it. The last stand of Hurin in Nirnaeth Arnoediad is one of my favorite episodes, along with the Fingolfin's fight with Morgoth. Now then I think about it, without Turin, the Silmarillion would lose some charm
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by redshirt1111 (990928)
          Great points. And you made me remember that indeed, this is Hurin's story (as the book's title suggests), but with the focus on his son. But his son is a jerk, as his wife/mother. The poor daughter never had a chance. Perhaps the wrong venue for this, but I've always wondered if Turin is gay, and hence the anger/confusion with him. He has a lovely elf-maiden throwing herself at him, and he spurns her. And he seems far more comfortable in the presence of his elf friend Beleg. Those two seemed to have "a thi
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by mux2000 (832684)
            A matter to be discussed? I thought that's what LOTR was about!?
            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by redshirt1111 (990928)
              Homosexuality was discussed in LOTR? I don't recall. There was plenty of Hobbitsexuality, but that's a bit different. Just a bit, mind you.
  • Aaa...Narn Hin Hurin (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zarhan (415465) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:37AM (#18487145)
    I always liked the Hurin's Children story, the one in Silmarillion, and also the version with more details in the collection "Unfinished tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth".

    Anyway, the story has quite a lot of similarities with the Finnish folklore Kalevala [wikipedia.org], spefically Kullervo's story. Knowing how much Tolkien liked Finnish, some of the stuff might be intentionally taken :)

    From the wiki article:

    Cantos 31-36: The Kullervo cycle: Untamo kills his brother Kalervo's people except for the wife who begets Kullervo; Untamo gives Kullervo several tasks but he sabotages them all; Kullervo is sold as a slave to Ilmarinen; after being tormented by Ilmarinen's wife, he exacts revenge and the wife gets killed; Kullervo runs away and finds his family unharmed near Lapland; Kullervo seduces a maiden and later finds out she is his sister; Kullervo destroys Untamola (the realm of Untamo) and upon returning home finds everyone killed; Kullervo kills himself.

    Well... parallels to Túrin are there.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tolkien even copied the final dialogue [gutenberg.org] between the hero and his sword:

      Kullerwoinen, wicked wizard,
      Grasps the handle of his broadsword,
      Asks the blade this simple question:
      "Tell me, O my blade of honor,
      Dost thou wish to drink my life-blood,
      Drink the blood of Kullerwoinen?"
      Thus his trusty sword makes answer,
      Well divining his intentions:
      Why should I not drink thy life-blood,
      Blood of guilty Kullerwoinen,
      Since I feast upon the worthy,
      Drink the life-blood of the righteous?"

      But then, Tolkien never published the sto

  • Written to Spec (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:38AM (#18487149)

    Heard about this on the radio. According to 'the experts' it features several large battle scenes, and "would make a good movie".

    Go figure.

    • Re:Written to Spec (Score:4, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:58AM (#18487361)
      According to 'the experts' it features several large battle scenes, and "would make a good movie".

      The tale of Turin Turambar certainly would. Nargothrond ruined, dragonfire and orcs all around, our hero living in the wild as a bandit hunting monsters, reclaims birthright, slays dragon, discovers appalling truth, kills self... that would rule.

    • Re:Written to Spec (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JungleBoy (7578) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:01AM (#18487399)
      I'd be very surprised if Christopher Tolkien finished 'The Children of Hurin' to "movie spec". He despised the Peter Jackson movies.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Well doh. After LotR, Harry Potter, Narnia etc. fantasy and magic is in the wind of course "the experts" are looking at making a movie out of anything partly resembling a good script. Personally, I'd like to see more of the dark magics but I guess there might be hope in the later Harry Potter movies.
      • I have heard that they are making George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series into an HBO series sort of like Rome. HBO is the perfect spot for this type of work, with all the dark magic and adult themes of the novels.

        Now I just have to sign up for cable... >:(
  • by boxlight (928484) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:39AM (#18487165)
    I read the three Lord Of The Rings books and The Hobbit. Can someone tell me what other Tolkien books take place in the same Middle Earth "universe", and how do they relate to the ones I read? That is, are they prequels, sequels, or parallel stories?

    Do any of the hobbits, Gandalf, the Shire, or any other "Rings" characters appear in the other books?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zelos (1050172)
      The Simarillion deals with the ancient history which is referred to in LOTR - the time of the elves and where they are returning to, who Sauron is, the history of Numenor etc. There are some interesting parts, but it's for hardcore Tolkien fans only.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:45AM (#18487233) Homepage
      The big Tolkein book, outside of the Lord of the Rings, is The Silmarillion. It's basically, like, the Elf-Bible. It's got some funky creation myth from before the dawn of time which occupies the front, and then proceeds to chronicle history thenceforth. It's... very dense, in some places - sort of like the regular Bible, except perhaps more so. The main Lord of the Rings characters also appear in it, because the entire Lord of the Rings saga forms the last chapter of the book. (it's covered in like, what, ten pages?)

      There's also some spiffy appendixes, I believe; place-names and things like that.

      There are a few other short stories floating around, which others can tell you of better than I. I think there's one or two either involving Tom Bombadil, Farmer Maggot, or both.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by UberHoser (868520)
        "very dense"... omg, that is an understatment. I have read the Hobbit and LOTR numerous times. The Silmarillion I have read once, and will never EVER read again. I remember reading it for English class, and wondering why my lovely english teacher had turned into a sadistic bitch ! I would rather stuff Kiki (from Sluggy) hopped up on pixie sticks down my pants than read the Silmarillion again.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MemoryDragon (544441)
          Actually the Simarillion is a great book, but you have to read it in conjunction with the various fragment books released, otherwise it becomes to dense.
        • by mpiktas (740253) on Monday March 26, 2007 @11:09AM (#18488069)
          Try reading Unfinished Tales and the appendix of LOTR, then maybe you'll enjoy Silmarillion more. In my opinion only The Silmarillion reveals full glory of Tolkien's creation, LOTR with is about humans, Silmarillion is about gods. No wonder why Christopher Tolkien despises Jackson interpretation of LOTR, it just ignores Silmarillion completely, downgrading magnificent story to some anonymous D&D quest.
          • by Endo13 (1000782) on Monday March 26, 2007 @11:23AM (#18488227)
            I wish I had mod points for you. You hit the nail right on the head there.

            All my friends really like the LotR movies, and I suppose they're good movies, if you've never read Tolkien's books and/or don't care about Tolkien's world. However I happen to like Tolkien's world, and The Silmarillion, and as a result I don't care for the movies at all.
            • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Monday March 26, 2007 @12:30PM (#18489127)
              All my friends really like the LotR movies, and I suppose they're good movies, if you've never read Tolkien's books and/or don't care about Tolkien's world. However I happen to like Tolkien's world, and The Silmarillion, and as a result I don't care for the movies at all.

              I think you mean to say, "if you've never read Tolkien's *other* books".

              I've read The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings, which are Tolkien's books, and loved the movie. The movie expressed the world fine as it appeared in that set of books.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dcam (615646)
                You may have read the books without understanding them.

                Jackson kept elements of the story but changed the feel of the movie. He emphasised the frailty of the characters where Tolkien emphasised their majesty. He increased internal tension (between "the good guys") where Tolkien emphasised external pressure. We won't go into issues with specific characters.

                I personally think that when adapting a film, the feel should remain the same even if the events change. A good example of this is the more recent adaptio
          • by Jerf (17166) on Monday March 26, 2007 @11:49AM (#18488551) Journal
            No, the anonymous D&D quest [shamusyoung.com] is much lower in quality than the actual LotR.
        • by Rei (128717)
          I would rather stuff Kiki (from Sluggy) hopped up on pixie sticks down my pants than read the Silmarillion again.

          'Cause you suck! :) ** [sluggy.com]

          I have read the Hobbit and LOTR numerous times. The Silmarillion I have read once, and will never EVER read again.

          It's kind of funny going back and reading *any* Tolkein again nowadays. Many of us read it as children before we read much else. Reread it, and it kind of comes across as one overused cliche after another. However, it's not really Tolkein's fault. I refer to
    • by Azarael (896715)
      I haven't read many of them, but I'm pretty sure it's almost all back-story compiled from Tolkien's notes. Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales are probably the most prominent of these, they are basically the origin stories for Middle Earth and it's people.
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:47AM (#18487261)
      Sort of.

      The Silmarilion details the events of the First Age of Middle Earth, from the beginning of time to Melkor's defeat (he was Sauron's boss). It also skims over the Second Age -- the rise of fall of the kingdom of Numenor (where Aragorn's ancestors were from) and the making of the Rings of Power through the first 3000 years of the Third Age. It is written in a much different style (often compared to a history book) and was pieces together by Christopher Tolkien from his father's notes (like everything post-LOTR)

      After Silmarilion is Unfinished Tales, expounding on parts of Silmarilion. Narn I Hin Hurin - "The Tale of Hurin", Tuor and his coming into the hidden city of Gondolin, and more background on the second and early third ages.

      After UT is The Books of Lost Tales (1 and 2), part of The History of Middle Earth, which is 12 (!) books of research on all parts of the story hiterto. Letters, extrapolation, essays. Really deep stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_Middle -earth [wikipedia.org] has a complete list.
    • by grimJester (890090) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:51AM (#18487297)
      To add to the previous posts, the only LOTR characters alive in the times the Silmarillion (mainly) covers are Sauron, Galadriel and Elrond. Gandalf in the form of a maia (demigod, angel, something like that) but no more than a short mention if even that.
      • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:59AM (#18487377)
        Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, while short, does cover some of the hobbit/LOTR timeline (about 5 pages). Also, 4 volumes of HoME focus entirely on the trilogy:

        The Return of the Shadow
        The Treason of Isengard
        The War of the Ring
        Sauron Defeated
        (volumes 6-9)
      • by mihalis (28146)

        Cirdan was also alive then and also appears in LOTR, although only in passing.

        Treebeard and Bombadil must have been alive too, since both are credited with being the oldest, Treebeard the oldest living thing and Bombadil perhaps the oldest spirit.

        The Balrog under Moria dates from the time of the Silmarillion also. He is a "Balrog of Gothmog", Gothmog being the leader of the Balrogs who was slain by Feanor himself.

        Finally I supose Earendil is still whizzing around the heavens on his magic boat. In the

    • Bored of the Rings [wikipedia.org] is a short satirical novel by Henry N. Beard and Douglas C. Kenney, first published in 1969 by Signet for the Harvard Lampoon. This parody follows the general plot of The Lord of the Rings, including the Preface, Prologue, poetry, and songs, while making light of all that Tolkien made very serious (e.g. "He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It's a pity I've run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel..."). Map [amethyst-angel.com]

      Genius! Or goddam awful
  • by hanssprudel (323035) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:42AM (#18487209)

    She's his sister.

    (Oh come on, you weren't expecting to get through this discussion without finding that out.)
  • Same Difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:48AM (#18487273) Homepage Journal

    the difference between Dune and Dune: House Atriedes


    Good analogy. The difference between, say, The Fellowship of the Ring and any Christopher Tolkien followup (except perhaps the Silmarillion) is about as big.

    JRR Tolkien and Frank Herbert were visionaries. Their books are legendary because they're so complete, so consistent, they're practically holographic. While those authors were also brilliant editors, especially Tolkien whose main gig was (as is well known) Oxford English Dictionary editor. Their (genetic, and thereby literary) heirs are undistinguished from a vast host of other second or lower tier of "visionary" authors, and have no special editing talent - nor have acquired any at their cashin publishers. While they also operate at a disadvantage while writing outside the original cultural contexts that produced those seminal works for a different audience.

    Ironically, both Middle Earth and Dune are epic tales of the original forefathers of our times (Dune less obviously, sorry for the spoiler). A magical time when a unique individual arrived to set the worlds on the path that led to today's mundane, if relatively safe, existence. Both Tolkien and Herbert themselves portrayed themselves as mere humble quoters of the original stories, originally told by the great actors themselves. Their stories resonate with generations of the public partly because we understand that great storytellers are part of great stories which are part of great ages, come once in a long while, and cannot bequeath their talents and opportunities to their children.

    On the bright side, both The Lord of the Rings and the Dune trilogies are so good that they can be reread often over a lifetime, delivering new rewards each time. Reading those later "extensions" is a waste of time that could better be spent rereading the original.
    • Re:Same Difference (Score:5, Informative)

      by SolemnLord (775377) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:12AM (#18487487)
      Tolkien's "main gig" was not editing the OED (hundreds of people edited OED2). It's just well-known because anyone who's dipped their toe into an English class greater than 101 is aware of what the OED is. I'm not disparaging his contributions, I'm just saying that give the man some credit: he was a professor of language and literature at Leeds and Oxford, and a writer to boot. To make things /. compatible, I doubt people would want me typing "Torvalds is that guy who did some work on the Sinclair QL, right?" (I had to check Linus's Wikipedia bio to pull something like that up, FYI)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Tolkien worked for the OED for a very brief period of time, just a year or two after he'd finished his own university work. He left to take a teaching position, and the vast majority of his professional career was spent as a professor of philology, mostly at Exeter College in Oxford.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        True, OED was his first civilian gig after the War [wikipedia.org]. I should have just left it as "his well known gig". Certainly his main gig was writing LotR, especially as reflected in his final net worth (AFAIK).
    • The Lord of the Rings reads well. The Hobbit reads well. They show that JRR Tolkien had a good ear for a tale. Everything composited from notes by Christopher Tolkien shows that this wasn't a genetic Tolkien family trait.

      The Silmarillion and others read like background information, which is what they were. JRR built up a whole mythos to draw from when writing LoTR. This gave him a good base to produce a rich story. I see the continued publication of these tarted up notes as a poor distraction from the origi
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:23AM (#18487611) Journal
        Except that Tolkien considered LotR the distraction, and the Hobbit's drawing on his mythos something of an accident. His main concern was the Silmarillion, which he tried unsuccessfully to get published alongside LotR.

        The Silmarillion is not LotR, but it is, for those that have the patience and appreciation for that sort of thing, a glorious tale. Unfortunately, the published form is in many cases ripped from the Grey Annals, which were a sort concise historical chronology, and not in and of themselves full narratives. Tolkien planned a rather enormous expansion of the work, of which the Children of Hurin was the only part that approached completion. It, and the unfinished version of "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin" that is found in Unfinished Tales are very much like LotR in storytelling quality.
      • by frogstar_robot (926792) <frogstar_robot@yahoo.com> on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:31AM (#18487685)
        Parts of the Simarillion work as good novellas in themselves. I particularly enjoyed the tale of Beren and Luthien.
      • by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@@@gmail...com> on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:38AM (#18487731) Journal
        Where do people take tripe like this from?

        "JRR built up a whole mythos to draw from when writing LoTR."???

        He didn't build up the stories to have background for LotR. He built the mythos for his own enjoyment, as a background history for his invented languages, and in hope of giving back to the English a mythology of their own that was "lost" when the Normans invaded the Anglo-Saxons.

        The Hobbit was a story he made for his children. He spiced it up a bit with details from his mythos. He published it because it seemed publishable as a good children's story. Lord of the Rings was written as a commercial follow-up to The Hobbit. Didn't really end up like that but...

        I am not disputing the fact that the huge amount of previous writing and pre-existing mythos gave LotR a backstory of unparalleled proportions. It ended up being a large part of the attraction of the book, that you feel this world has a whole history behind it that is barely hinted at.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeffasselin (566598)

      The difference between, say, The Fellowship of the Ring and any Christopher Tolkien followup (except perhaps the Silmarillion) is about as big.

      Other than the Silmarillion (which saw some significant editing, not all of which was done by Christopher, a lot of which was entirely necessary due to the state of the source material, some of which Christopher himself felt was badly done and admitted so himself in HoME*), everything Christopher has published has been leftover writings by his father. What is Christopher's in those books is notes, analysis, textual history, and some commentary clearly labeled as such. In reading HoME, I often found Christ

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Well, the final products are "bad reading" compared to JRR's solo efforts. Part of the difference is just the quality of the content and expression of the drafts that each of father and son started with: JRR worked on his best stuff during his lifetime, and deferred material that eluded even his genius.

        I described the difference in author generations the way I did in light of backlash I've received, and learning I've gained, from past discussions of simply "CT's books are bad", some discussed on Slashdot. I
  • i prefer the newer Dune House books to Frank Herberts later works.

    i think there was more of a drop in quality there.
    • by Tx (96709) on Monday March 26, 2007 @09:57AM (#18487353) Journal
      Well, I think Brian Herbert needs to learn the difference between "character" and "caricature". I admit I did read *all* of the BH Dune books nevertheless, because I'm a sucker, but Frank Herbert's most offhand scribbles are worth more than that crap.
    • by Shivetya (243324)
      the first three novels in the original Dune series were very good but the latter ones simply started going downhill and then set out trying to go beyond bottom.

      His son did very well, the only problem I had with his books were the sudden deaths of some characters and the few attempts he made to one up his father by introducing something that was "new" when featured in his fathers books (as in tech related)

      About the only author following in their parents footsteps I really enjoy it is Anne McCaffrey's sons wr
  • How about some non-marketing related links... links that are more descriptive about the topic:
      - Dune (novel) [wikipedia.org]
      - Dune: House Atreides [wikipedia.org]
  • Dune prequels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voislav98 (1004117) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:14AM (#18487501)
    A much better combarison would be the new Dune novel, Hunters of Dune, rather than the Dune prequels, since it's supposed to be based on the notes by Frank Herbert, while the prequels (Dune: Houses and Butlerian crap) were written completely from scratch and are often contradicting the original Frank Herbert books. I find that Chris Tolkien has really done as much as possible to preserve his fathers legacy, which cannot be said for Brian Herbert, who is trying to ruin his fathers franchise by putting out large numbers of half-baked books.
    • by WillAdams (45638)
      voislav98 said:
      >often contradicting the original Frank Herbert books ::applause::

      I wasn't able to make it through the first book because of such.

      It's really a shame Frank Herbert didn't put sufficient effort in the _Dune Encyclopedia_ so as to edit it and make it canonical and more in-line w/ his view of the history, perhaps that would've foreclosed on some of Brian Herbert's really bad gaffes.

      William

  • by ayjay29 (144994) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:17AM (#18487527)
    You know they have really old out when... ... the crosover books start appearing, how about 'Harry Potter and the Children of Hurin' or 'Dune: House Huffelpuff'.

    • The one where Havelock Vetinari and Sam Vimes turn up at the start of LOTR, and four hundred pages later the Luggage has swallowed the Rings of Power and is just going around looking innocent, Aragorn is the new Watch Captain at Quirm, Sauron is running the Post Office, and Saruman and Gandalf have lectureships at UU.

      Frankly, it's amazing that people can continue to turn out standard fantasy following Pratchett's demolition job.

  • the children of slashdot.
  • by Floritard (1058660) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:39AM (#18487747)
    I just saw Clerks 2 (b/c sometimes I like to punish the Ebert within) and while it itself is a terrible flick, it has perhaps the most perfect summation of my feelings on the LOTR trilogy, albeit the film form. As far as I'm concerned Tolkien Jr. would do well to stray somewhat and make a good action/adventure story (as TFA hints at) instead of the plodding tale his father took too many pages to tell. It had a great setting/world but god what a dull pedantic road trip LOTR was. We get it, the rings is evil. Really evil. Just drop the fucking thing in the volcano already.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mihalis (28146)

      When it comes to Kevin Smith, I have to defer to my wife. She got invited to see the premier of "Dogma" by one of the magazines she buys advertising with. On the way out we were greeted by the guy who arranged it, clearly hoping we'd enjoyed it and that it was a nice perk. He's also a personal friend of my wife's. "Oh my God it was so fucking awful" was the first thing out of her mouth. She couldn't help herself.

      I totally agreed and I've been reluctant since then to give certainly him, but even the charact

  • by jregel (39009) on Monday March 26, 2007 @10:41AM (#18487773) Homepage
    1) Who/What was Tom Bombadil?

    2) Do Balrogs have wings?
    • 1) Tom Bombadil is the personification of Neutral (ie he is switzerland).

      2) Yes, but they are vestigial.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's not so much that Bombadil is neutral, just that the affairs of the mortals are so far below his care. It's not that he doesn't care about mortals themselves, he saves the lives of the Hobbits after all, but that they are as children to him with their little squabble over some bauble. Bombadil *could* get involved with the ring issue, but they have a Wizard and some other strong guys, and people can't come running to the gods or the spirits of nature or whatever the heck Bombadil is every time they have
        • Gandalf's folk were minor players in the fight against Sauron's boss. As the humans are to Gandalf, so Gandalf is to his superiors, the gods.

          Right. In fact, IIRC, there's even something like "THE God", which doesn't interfere in the conflict between the various gods. It's clear from the stories that God (upper-case, THE god) has planned the conflicts to have a purpose which no one but himself can see.

          And this is part of why Gandalf holds back his full power. He is acknowledging that he can't just go around solving other people's problems for them, since the problems, conflicts, fighting, and resolution all play a part in this unknown plan. He doesn't know what the plan is, but he knows it exists. This is part of the reason he doesn't stop Gollum, for example. He knows Gollum still has a part to play. It's also very related to the metaphor of the ring, and why Gandalf can't take possession of the ring. He must restrain himself from abuse of power in order to play his proper role. The ring represents undue power and the thirst for undue power, and so taking possession of it would represent the sort of abuse of power many characters in the story are trying to avoid.

          When Bombadil fails to be affected by the ring or tempted by it, he is displaying a closeness to God which would be impossible were he not a greater being than he seems. This is also relevant in terms of Hobbits, since they show a remarkable resistance to the ring, indicating that they, too, are greater than they appear.

          (Sorry. Geeking out.)

    • Not to mention who was Queen Beruthiel and what was so special about her cats?
  • In other news, Led Zepplin reforms, stating that they have come across some new material.

  • "Christopher Walken has completed the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien from notes left from his father."
    How awesome would that be?
  • Book Cover (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr_Blank (172031) on Monday March 26, 2007 @11:17AM (#18488153) Journal
    Judging the book by its cover [images-amazon.com], the book will involve a guy who climbs a hill faster than some other guys who also are climbing that hill. Then, he will look at something. Maybe he will tell us about what he sees. Sounds thrilling!
  • Tolkien-like ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Monday March 26, 2007 @11:23AM (#18488235)
    "It will be interesting to see how it stands up today alongside all the Tolkien-alike literature that we've become familiar with," said David Bradley

    In my world there's nothing like what you could call "Tolkien-alike". Many have tried to ride the waves his writings have raised, still very few come even close to what he's accomplished. Maybe it's his background, maybe it's his decades' long knowledge in mythology, languages and literature, maybe it's his natural writing skill, maybe it's the timing, maybe it's all of these together that have resulted in a physical form that it's unique in so many ways. How will this new compilation be judged ? Supposing it's really good, it still will require a great effort to make it stand out from the oceans of fantasy bestseller wannabes these days.
     
    • If you want to read Tolkien-like writing, look at Tolkien's contemporaries. In particular there's Silverlock [amazon.com] by John Myers Myers, which was published at the same time as LotR. Silverlock is a very different kind of novel -- more of a Gulliver-esque romp than an epic swords-and-sorcery fantasy -- but it's still an amazing work of literature that deserves respect equal to the best that Tolkien produced.
  • Wikipedia link (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlmll (255650) on Monday March 26, 2007 @12:09PM (#18488755) Homepage
    Here is Wikipedia's article on the book [wikipedia.org].

    I dearly hope Christopher, with all the material at hand about Húrin and Túrin, produces a book whose quality is close to his father's writings. If so, the unavoidable buzz that'll happen in our post-Jackson-movies world would be a huge boost to help popularize all books dealing with Arda before the War of the Rings (The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales,...). That'd be nice: too many people watched the movie, eventually read the related trilogy, and then nothing else.

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