Literature Monday: JRR Tolkien, Children of Hurin

Another Tolkien tale? Why yes, this is another Tolkien tale! Don’t worry, though, this is the last time that I do an author twice in a row. I couldn’t resist because CoH really is a great (and shortish!) read. I usually recommend this one to friends who want to read Tolkien but are intimidated by how fat the LotR books are. Fair warning though – if you do decide to read this, there is no happiness to be found in it. Gird your loins, prepare your heart.

I found Children of Hurin incredibly intriguing because of how utterly tragic and unforgiving Tolkien was in it. The Lord of The Rings had a light at the end of a tunnel, an ending that was steeped in hope. Although he deals with the dwindling of the Elves, and to some extent, the Dwarves, LoTR still gave it’s readers hope that there was a good future in store for Middle Earth, particularly because Aragorn is crowned king. Tolkien did not give that kind of hope to Hurin and his children. To some extent, these characters are the most tragic that I have ever encountered because theirs is such a bleak expression of pre-determined ruin.

Here is today’s excerpt:

Eledhwen! Eledhwen!” Hurin cried; and she rose and stumbled forward, and he caught her in his arms.
“You come at last,” she said. “I have waited too long.”
“It was a dark road, I have come as I could,” he answered.
“But you are late,” she said, “too late. They are lost.”
“I know,” he said. “But you are not.”
“Almost,” she said. “I am spent utterly. I shall go with the sun. They are lost.”
She clutched at his cloak. “Little time is left,” she said. “If you know, tell me. How did she find him?”
But Hurin did not answer, and he sat beside the stone with Morwen in his arms; and they did not speak again. The sun went down, and Morwen sighed and clasped his hand and was still; and Hurin knew that she had died.

(Excerpt: The Children of Hurin, JRR Tolkien) 

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