Skip to comments.Tolkien Book Hailed as Prophetic
Posted on 04/28/2007 12:06:00 AM PDT by NYer
A Review of New Edition of "The Children of Húrin"
ATLANTA, Georgia, APRIL 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- With the release of a new edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Children of Húrin," fans of this deeply Catholic author may be surprised by its biblical tone, says a Tolkien expert.
Jef Murray, artist-in-residence at the St. Austin Review, speaking with ZENIT, said, "'The Children of Húrin' has a more biblical tone than 'The Lord of the Rings.' It is a story of human fallibility and sin and may be prophetic for our times."
Painstakingly reconstructed by Christopher Tolkien from his father's manuscripts, the new publication released by HarperCollins last week is close to two versions previously published. The elder Tolkien died in 1973.
Christopher Tolkien corrected some contradictory elements, updated the chronology, and made the writing tone more accessible.
The book is illustrated by Alan Lee, one of the two conceptual artists for "The Lord of the Rings" movies.
Hollywood studios are already interested in the film rights.
"The tale itself has much to say of the nature of evil; how it manifests itself in the actions of angelic/demonic beings and, more importantly, in the foibles and sin of fallen man," said Murray.
The Narn i Chîn Húrin, as it is known in Tolkien's "Unfinished Tales," is an almost Job-like story of one family's struggles in Beleriand long before the tales of "The Hobbit" or "The Lord of the Rings."
Tolkien's satanic figure, Morgoth, curses the family of Húrin. And, just as with the story of Job, Húrin's wife, son and daughter all bear the brunt of that curse.
But unlike Job, the protagonist of the tale, Túrin, does not humble himself and seek God's grace and redemption.
Rather, Túrin attempts to flee his doom, but pride coupled with an attitude of self-righteousness drives him to commit greater and greater acts of sin and folly.
Murray explained, "The tale ends badly, but, as with all great tragedies, there are lessons here for our own times."
"We, too, often trust in ourselves rather than in God," says Murray, "and like Túrin, the world believes itself invincible and capable of meeting all challenges."
Murray concluded, "But sin taints all things, and without humility and trust in the grace of God, we are all in grave danger of following Túrin's path."
I'm not seeing any real fans of Tolkien being surprised by this. Maybe idiots who only saw the movies and couldn't grasp the concept of good vs. evil.
“The tale ends badly”
END OF SPOILER WARNING
I wish the authors of these articles would not spoil the book!!!!! As bad as spoiling a movie — more so, because it takes longer to read a book!!!!
Ugh. Need coffee. Need fed.
The tale ends badly
Hillary gets elected President ?
Hillary is falls out of a yacht and is beached on the shore of the Potomac.
All our cankles are belong to us.
If you have read the Silmarillion, then you have read within it the story of the Lord of the Rings, the great battle, and the destruction of the One Ring..
Much less detail, but the entire story and the aftermath is all there..
Likewise, there is a brief, general description of the tale of Hurin and his family also contained within the Silmarillion..
This tale, and the one from "Unfinished Tales", and other notes and writings by Tolkien, were combined, edited, etc., to create the new, "complete" book..
More spoilers here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Children_of_Húrin
I thought the movies displayed the concept of good vs. evil quite well.
Back when the filming of the LOTR had only been announced , quite a few folks in alt.fan.tolkien. and rec.arts.tolkien suggested that the story of Turin might make a better movie -possibly as a made for TV miniseries. I wonder if that will now happen?
It sounds like a most interesting book. I look forward to reading it.
Judging from the huge success of the LOTR trilogy, it seems Hollyweird is already eyeing this book for possible production.
First in with a Ring Ping!
Cool! And hopefully the Hobbit will be made, too.
More precisely, it was Hillary Morgoth.
The [King] of the Rings wasn't about Christianity, and neither (probably) is this.
While, unlike C.S. Lewis, Tolkien avoided outright allegory, his books are loaded with Christian symbolism and parallels.
Example: the Fellowship of the Ring had no less than three Christ-figures in it. Gandalf, the risen Christ. Frodo, the Christ whose suffering redeems the world. Aragorn, Christ the King.
"Tolkien insisted that the fact that he was "a Christian (which can be deduced from my stories), and in fact a Roman Catholic," was the most important and "really significant" element in his work."
Then of course, it could be pointed out that the most noble of the group you mentioned would be Gandalf. Gandalf is a wizard--which is a bad thing in "Judeo-"Christianity (granted, this could be the weakest point). Then there is Frodo, who is rather wimpy in his resolve to destroy the ring, and who actually somewhat befriends Gollum (who does Gollum represent in the Christian viewpoint--an actual question); he almost keeps the ring, and is somewhat corrupted by it. As for Aragorn--he would be the "middle point" with Gandalf's wizardry being the weakest and Frodo being the strongest--Aragorn is sort of shirking his duties to become king.
*The other freeper linked good versus bad with Christianity; personally of the opinion that there can be good vs. bad stories without a Christian grounding to that story.
It should also be pointed out, that personally not unbiased in the least on this topic. Find a lot of Christian allegorical stories to be "risky" because they are almost invariably not going to be a direct match and have errors.
I believe you're confusing the movie storyline with that of the book. In Tolkien's writing Aragorn has worked continuously for over 40 years towards becoming King.
One of my biggest disappointments in the movie storyline is the way it portrays Aragorn as indecisive and unsure whether he wants to be or is worthy to be King.
There's not a trace of this in Tolkien. Sometimes Strider is unsure how to proceed towards his goal, but he isn't a bit unsure of what that goal is. For one thing, achieving Kingship is his only route to marriage with the woman he's loved for 60 years, and been engaged to for 40 years. Quite an incentive.
Tolkien, as I stated before, was conciously not writing allegory. He never intended an “exact match.”
However, some may see “applicability” of concepts where exact parallels do not exist. I certainly do.
I’m afraid I don’t understand your criticism of Frodo as being “somewhat corrupted” by the Ring. The Ring represents absolute evil and absolute temptation, and a key component of Christian belief is that mere men (or hobbits) are not strong enough in and of themselves to resist absolute temptation. In a pre-redemption world it’s not a bit surprising that Frodo is not directly given support from the Holy Spirit that might help him to resist. Only those who have never succumbed to temptation themselves can validly criticize Frodo for being unable to resist a far greater temptation than any of us are likely to ever be faced with.
His assignment from the Council is to do the best he can, which he does. His final succumbing to evil is merely an illustration of the fact that none of us have the strength in and of ourselves to always resist. We are weak and require help from outside ourselves.
Today Christ provides the strength we need in time of temptation. Frodo was helped in his hour of crisis by “chance, if chance you call it.”
Whenever reading a book, always assume that everybody dies in the end. Therefore, the books will always have happier endings and they can’t be spoiled for you.
That just won’t do. If the three little pigs die in the end, everybody gets ham sandwiches. Taking my sandwiches away would make me sad.
I don’t want to talk about sandwiches any more.
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