The Truth About Tolkien

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien

Grade: C

The tale of the children of Húrin is one of mythical proportions. A hero refuses to reveal a secret to a dark and powerful being. For that, he and his family are cursed. As part of his punishment, he sees in his mind the horrible things that happen to his children but is powerless to help them. The brunt of the curse falls upon the son, Túrin, who unwittingly brings destruction upon everyone and everything he loves.

It’s a compellingly tragic story, but the telling is rough. Had Tolkien had time to tackle the story seriously and get it ready for publication, who knows how good it might have been. As it stands now, it’s a choppy namefest, a chore to read. The truth is that this book gets attention and positive ratings only because it’s by Tolkien and Tolkien is hot right now. Had it been written by an unknown, it would not have been published.

But it is by Tolkien and it was published. Many people have read it, and by their own accounts, they even enjoyed it. So is this book for you? If you’re a hardcore Tokien fan (i.e., you read and enjoyed The Silmarillion), then you might find it interesting. Otherwise, skip it.

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