Beren and Lúthien
Restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Humans, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

Beren and Lúthien Details

TitleBeren and Lúthien
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 1st, 2017
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Classics

Beren and Lúthien Review

  • Ana O
    January 1, 1970
    Proceed with caution. Spoilers lie ahead. Brace yourselves- I'm going full nerd. This is finally happening! Our beloved characters from The Silmarillion are coming back into our lives and our bookshelves. Yes. Beren, Lúthien, Thingol, Melian, Finrod Felagund, Huan, sons of Fëanor, Morgoth, The Valar and others are poised to make a comeback. *does the happy dance*Beren was a legendary hero of the royal House of Bëor. Lúthien was a legendary elven princess, the most beautiful of all the Children Proceed with caution. Spoilers lie ahead. Brace yourselves- I'm going full nerd. This is finally happening! Our beloved characters from The Silmarillion are coming back into our lives and our bookshelves. Yes. Beren, Lúthien, Thingol, Melian, Finrod Felagund, Huan, sons of Fëanor, Morgoth, The Valar and others are poised to make a comeback. *does the happy dance*Beren was a legendary hero of the royal House of Bëor. Lúthien was a legendary elven princess, the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar that has ever lived. She was the daughter of Elu Thingol, greatest of the Teleri elves and the King of Doriath, and Melian the Maia, a spirit of great power who took human form. Beren and Lúthien played a huge part in the events of the First Age, more than 6000 years before the War of the Ring. Interesting tidbit #1 Beren and Lúthien are ancestors of both Arwen and Aragorn. Beren and Luthien's son Dior had a daughter named Elwing. This daughter had two sons: Elrond and Elros. Elrond chose to be counted as an Eldar (elf) while Elros, on the other hand, chose to be counted as an Edain (man). He was the first King of Númenor. Elros was Aragorn's distant ancestor. So yeah, Aragorn and Arwen are cousins sixty-three times removed. Interesting tidbit #2 Galadriel was the daughter of Eärwen, whose cousin was Lúthien. Interesting tidbit #3 Galadriel's brother was Finrod Felagund, the King of Nargothrond, who aided Beren in his Quest for the Silmaril. Interesting tidbit #4 Beren was a relative of Túrin, whose story is told in The Children of Húrin. Interesting tidbit #5 Sauron has been trolling everyone since the First Age. Interesting tidbit #6 Basically everyone's related. I leave you with this beautiful art. Lúthien Beren Beren comes across Luthien dancing in the woods Beren and Lúthien in the Court of Thingol and Melian Elves King Thingol Queen Melian Thingol and Melian Finrod Felagund Celegorm and Curufin. Morgoth. The first Dark Lord. He was the greatest of the Ainur but turned to darkness. Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien and heir to the throne of King Thingol. Elwing, daughter of Dior, granddaughter of Lúthien, mother of Elrond & Elros Eärendil and Elwing, parents of Elrond & Elros Glorfindel. I hope he makes an appearance. He is my fictional husband.- - - - - - - It was just as I'd foreseen. This book is awesome. Real review to come.
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  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    Straight from the pages of The Silmarillion, this tale has been given new authority and the chance to stand on its own.And such a story it is. It’s about a mortal man who fell in love with an immortal elf. Unlike the romance between Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings this relationship foregrounds the narrative: it is the narrative. Given an absolutely impossible task to prove his devotion, no less than stealing a Silmaril from the crown of Melko (Morgoth- the first dark lord), Beren sets Straight from the pages of The Silmarillion, this tale has been given new authority and the chance to stand on its own.And such a story it is. It’s about a mortal man who fell in love with an immortal elf. Unlike the romance between Aragorn and Arwen in The Lord of the Rings this relationship foregrounds the narrative: it is the narrative. Given an absolutely impossible task to prove his devotion, no less than stealing a Silmaril from the crown of Melko (Morgoth- the first dark lord), Beren sets off on a seemingly hopeless quest. But he is not without allies. When a man displays such courage, conviction and fortitude other honour bound individuals feel compelled to assist him.Indeed, such as Huan the mighty hound of Valinor. What follows is a tale as epic and fantastical as any you would expect from middle earth. Sauron also appears in several different forms as the loyal servant of Melkor, long before he took up the mantel his fallen master would eventually drop. What I also found interesting (I’ve been researching middle-earth family-trees) is that Aragorn and are Arwen are both distant descendants of Beren and Luthien. It’s a strange repeat of such a similar theme, one Aragorn actually recalls in The Lord of the Rings. Is it worth buying for those who have read The Silmarillion?As I always say in my reviews of posthumously published Tolkien works, it really depends on how interested you are in Tolkien as a writer. For me, this edition was worth purchasing. Not only do we get more fantastic (and unrivalled) illustrations by Alan Lee, but we also get a thorough a succinct introduction to the text by Christopher Tolkien detailing how it came about and the reasoning behind his father’s writing. He also mentions that this is going to be his last restoration of his father’s writing, a true shame but he is now ninety-three years old. I digress, not many readers will go for a book on these reasons alone. So what of the actual work? The version in The Silmarillion is very concise and straight to the point. It’s a compelling account, told with a certain degree of distance afforded by such writing. This, however, is closer to normal prose. It is the same story again, but it gets to the heart of the matter with more clarity. That being said, I did prefer the shorter version. What this edition does have, and something I have not seen before, is The Lay of Leithian. Now this is a verse version of the same story. Some fantasy readers may hate poetry and verse (or at least may find themselves out of their comfort zone) but for me it was the most enjoyable part of the book. So for this reason I recommend this book to those that have read many of Tolkien’s works. If you enjoyed Tolkien’s poetry editions such as Beowulf a Translation and a Commentary and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun along with the books set in middle-earth then this will be for you. Readers who are expecting to enjoy a prose story will, ultimately, be disappointed with the content here.
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  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    Unlike The Children of Hurin, unless you’re a lover of poetry or you're a diehard Tolkien fans, I doubt the overall content of this book will be enjoyable to read.The Children of Hurin has a novel format with a standalone story. The novel begins with a preface from Christopher Tolkien, then the story starts and continues until the end without break in prose form. It’s pretty much a standard standalone fantasy novel format with a self-contained story that can be read and enjoyed by anyone who lov Unlike The Children of Hurin, unless you’re a lover of poetry or you're a diehard Tolkien fans, I doubt the overall content of this book will be enjoyable to read.The Children of Hurin has a novel format with a standalone story. The novel begins with a preface from Christopher Tolkien, then the story starts and continues until the end without break in prose form. It’s pretty much a standard standalone fantasy novel format with a self-contained story that can be read and enjoyed by anyone who loves fantasy novel. Beren and Luthien isn’t like The Children of Hurin. Although I’m super happy that I approached The Children of Hurin without knowing anything about it and ended up loving it, I wish I have known about the overall content of Beren and Luthien before I bought it; because I wouldn’t have bought it.It wasn’t the story of Beren and Luthien itself that didn’t work for me, it’s the overall structure of this book. By this, what I mean is that the story isn’t adapted into a standard novel format. The introduction and notes were 40 pages long, then the Tale of Tinuviel (Luthien) was told in prose form for 50 pages. After that, the remaining of the book tells a different and evolved version of Beren and Luthien’s story again, except that this time it’s in verses and poetry format for 100 pages long rather than prose. I have nothing against poetic prose but reading poetry itself is something I dislike; there’s a good reason why I don’t read Lang Leav or Rupi Kaur. There was also constant interruption from Christopher Tolkien where he explains J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration and the writing evolution on the creation of this book that really disrupts the reading flow. In my opinion, this feels more like a case study of the creation of Beren and Luthien than actually reading the story of Beren and Luthien. So yeah, unless you’re REALLY interested in reading poetry or knowing J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing process and knowing about the text comparisons and evolutions of this story, I highly doubt you’ll enjoy this one.I also found that the story of Beren and Luthien to be better told from other sources like Wikipedia and stunning artworks throughout the internet than the actual novel reading experience. Don’t get me wrong, Alan Lee’s illustrations are always a delight to look at. But reading the story of Beren and Luthien here made me feel like I’m reading a Disney fairy tale version of Middle-Earth’s history; with a non-happy and a bit ambiguous ending. In the end, I don’t have a full review for this one, I think I’ve stated it clearly enough why this book didn’t work out for me. I can only recommend Beren and Luthien for extreme Tolkien fans—which I’m not—who wants to learn more about him, his writing process, and Christopher Tolkien’s adaptation process of this book. My friend from Goodreads, Rinaldo, told me that even though I highly enjoyed reading The Children of Hurin, I most likely won’t enjoy reading Beren and Luthien and he’s damn right about it.You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Adrian
    January 1, 1970
    Hmm, a difficult job to review this book. I felt it was a cross between wonderful 5 star Tolkien storytelling and occasionally tough going almost repetitive storytelling, but the Tolkien verse and prose won out and whilst not 5 stars, I do think it scrapes (nay, merits) 4 stars. I shall write more on the morrow when the sun shineth on our fair landOk, so after a stupidly long day of work, I feel that i ought to write the rest of my review before I loose the thread.I was going to say I'm a real T Hmm, a difficult job to review this book. I felt it was a cross between wonderful 5 star Tolkien storytelling and occasionally tough going almost repetitive storytelling, but the Tolkien verse and prose won out and whilst not 5 stars, I do think it scrapes (nay, merits) 4 stars. I shall write more on the morrow when the sun shineth on our fair landOk, so after a stupidly long day of work, I feel that i ought to write the rest of my review before I loose the thread.I was going to say I'm a real Tolkien freak, but that's not really true, I suppose I'm a Lord of the Ringsfan, as in I've read it 16 times in the past 41 years, the Hobbit slightly less times, so this was a new departure for me to read about "new people" in the Tolkien world.That said i really enjoyed it, with the following caveat (s)a) It wasn't LotR, which I know like an old friend (maybe this could become an old friend ?? ) andb) its a shame it’s not one long story instead of one single story repeated in poetry and prose from different times. I like the idea that the story evolved and JRR was creating a whole history, but one long story would’ve been nicer. Nevertheless it was interesting and after a shaky start where I struggled with all the names, I started getting seriously into it. I need to read more about Middle Earth.
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  • Michael Galdamez
    January 1, 1970
    When I first saw this online:Then this happened:Now I am content.... Unless there are any more stories good ol' Christopher can pull together for us!
  • Alexandra Elend Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars "Three jewels he made, and names the Silmarils. A living fire burning within them that was blended of the light of the Two Trees." Beren and Lúthien is more than I was expecting. A tale of love that transcends the limits and normative established. A tale where neither part is more or less but where both save each other. I was really surprised about where this story was going to take me, and I'm really glad about that. I enjoyed discovering their story and hearing their trials. It 3.5 stars "Three jewels he made, and names the Silmarils. A living fire burning within them that was blended of the light of the Two Trees." Beren and Lúthien is more than I was expecting. A tale of love that transcends the limits and normative established. A tale where neither part is more or less but where both save each other. I was really surprised about where this story was going to take me, and I'm really glad about that. I enjoyed discovering their story and hearing their trials. It was nice. I wasn't expecting it to be told in the way it was though. I swear, the only thing my brain kept thinking while reading was "This is a documentary, isn't it?" "No moon is there, noVoice, no soundOf beating heart; a sighProfoundOnce in each age as eachAge diesAlone is heard. Far, far itLies,The Land of WaitingWhere the Dead sit,In their thought’s shadow, By no moon lit." Instead of just telling us a progressive story, with a definite beginning and end, we are provided with a follow up in how the final story came to be. Passing through all the previous states.I found this incredibly interesting. We saw the beginning stages, a tale with a lot of potential but a bit laughable and ridiculous, to a more mature stage where things are starting to make sense, to the final product, a mature and epic tale of love and woe. It was incredible to be able to see a bit of all the genius that takes to create this world and make it actually make sense in the context. Of course, I was a bit disoriented at the beginning with all the interventions of our narrator -the fact that gave the book such a documentary feel- where we were explained from what book was taken each part and dates and such things, as well as interesting or fun little facts. It was ok once you get used to it, but at first, it was just disorienting. "No wizardry, nor spell, Nor dart,No fang, nor venom,Nor devil’s artCould harm that hound That hart and boarHad hunted once inValinor." I found that my favorite part was the poetry. This lush, lyrical, rhythmical kind of poetry is exactly what I been looking for so long. It was delightful to read and I could feel the story washing through me like that. I flew through those parts, it doesn't matter if they did have some oldish English, it was just impossible to take too long on them.That's another thing, the writing style. Some words were old, the ever beautiful yet disorienting thy, thee, thou (as well as other old-English words) made an apparition, and even though it's not quite so difficult to understand them it still took me a few seconds from time-to-time to figure it out. Yet, I think that adds a richness and fullness to the story. It gives it character. "Then men woke and listened and marveled, for great wisdom was in that song, as well as beauty, and the heart grew wiser that listened to it." As a novice in Tolkien books, I was also really confuse at the beginning. What with the appearance of Melkor and the variation/evolution of names through the tale, as well as who, exactly, were some people. But I made it out alive.Having read this before reading The Lord of the Rings I think will help me understand the world much better, and give me perspective in somethings.It's not exactly that I don't know anything about the world, just that, well, I've only ever watched the movies, and we all know how well that usually goes. I loved the characters, ok, I mostly loved the characters. Lúthien/Tinúviel's father made me mad, such a prejudiced man. Yes, ok, ok, he may have reasons to be like that, but still, I can't stand people like that. Ugh.But the rest? I think they were beautiful. Especially Lúthien/Tinúviel. "That foul should be whatOnce was clean, That dark should be whereLight has been?Whom do ye serve, Light Or Mirk?" I regret not having read these books sooner, not like I even knew this particular one even existed before, but, still, I would have loved to read it before. Actually, no, scratch that, I don't think I would have appreciated it correctly before. Nope, I wouldn't have.Maybe I did read it at the right time. ________________________ Four days is way longer than what I wanted to take reading this book, honestly, four days felt like an eternity and like not enough time at the same time. The book was beyond different from what I thought I was gonna find. But, it's late right now and I really should get to bed, so, more on it tomorrow. ________________________This is my first step towards completing my challenge of reading Tolkiens works -specifically The Lord of the Rings - and I'm pretty excited about it!I love the movies, I do, I've watched them a couple times and loved them more every time, so, of course, I had to read the books. I know nothing about the plot of this one, I'm going completely blind, but I so hope I'll love it. Here's for an epic read!
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  • Kevin Kuhn
    January 1, 1970
    I have great admiration for JRR Tolkein, his imagination seems endless and his commitment to his craft was incredible. It's clear his son Christopher has a genuine love of his father's work and treats it with respect and care. His commentary is excellent and interesting. When I was 9 or 10 The Hobbit solidified my love of reading. I found it at the library on my own and felt like I uncovered the world's greatest treasure. After speaking with the librarian she informed me there were three more bo I have great admiration for JRR Tolkein, his imagination seems endless and his commitment to his craft was incredible. It's clear his son Christopher has a genuine love of his father's work and treats it with respect and care. His commentary is excellent and interesting. When I was 9 or 10 The Hobbit solidified my love of reading. I found it at the library on my own and felt like I uncovered the world's greatest treasure. After speaking with the librarian she informed me there were three more books - The Lord of the Rings, but that they were not appropriate for my age group and that I should wait until my late teens. Of course I had my mom check them out right away and I plowed through them in a summer. I was scared when Samwise was scared and hungry when Frodo was hungry and gutted when Gandolf fell. It was a long a difficult read for me, but I devoured those books. At the end, I felt like I knew a secret no one else did. I spoke about the books to my family and friends, but no one else was interested. Being my first true reading love, I'm delighted that they are so well known and respected today.So, I feel somewhat inadequate in saying that I enjoyed Beren and Luthen, but I didn't love it. I tried to read the Silmarillion when I was younger and struggled, getting lost and tangled in the history and endless characters. This was similar, I appreciate the craft, the expansiveness of the story and world, but I took only occasional moments of reading pleasure. I attribute this more to my own limitations verses any failings of Tolkien, father or son. The sections of story in rhymed verse are amazing, but fail to pull me into the story. Again, I appreciate and wonder at the craft, but I don't love it. I did very much enjoy the artwork. The illustrations are perfect. But, possibly the best part of this book was the repetition of the story. The story of Beren and Luthien is retold many times, pulled from a variety of JRR's works. It's fascinating to see the story evolve and get a small glimpse into JRR's mind through the evolution. I desperately wanted to recapture the magic of reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings from my youth, but alas, that is a thing that I believe will never be. I understood what this book was and went in fully aware that it would be more like The Silmarillion than The Hobbit, but I was still disappointed. However, it does not diminish my love of Tokien or his works, for he expanded my imagination and ingrained a love of reading that would enrich my life forever.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    I consider myself a huge Tolkien fan, and,the world we all know as Middle Earth, you could say, it is my second home. If one wished to go a step further, you could also day, that The Lord of the rings changed my life, in a profound way.When I think of Tolkien, or he gets a mention somewhere, I immediately think "Gandalf" He is my favourite character from Middle Earth, and really, that mighty staff he carries says it all.I was most excited to get my hands on this little beauty of a book, and I'm I consider myself a huge Tolkien fan, and,the world we all know as Middle Earth, you could say, it is my second home. If one wished to go a step further, you could also day, that The Lord of the rings changed my life, in a profound way.When I think of Tolkien, or he gets a mention somewhere, I immediately think "Gandalf" He is my favourite character from Middle Earth, and really, that mighty staff he carries says it all.I was most excited to get my hands on this little beauty of a book, and I'm glad I did, but in some ways, I'm not. Firstly, I took the presumption that we'd be getting a book in the structure of a story, but alas, this was not the case. Instead, whilst getting engaged into the story, there were constant interruptions and comparisons if you like, from Christopher Tolkien. This may not bother some people, but it became rather irritating.Tolkiens world is wonderfully vast, with many names floating around, and this book added so many more to that collection. So much so, at times, I found I needed to read over passages a couple of times, in order for me to digest the new names I'd just been introduced to.I enjoyed the poetry format, but, I really would have appreciated and loved this book more, if it was a fine flowing story. I must say though, the illustrations by Alan Lee in this book are beautiful. They are really quite Tolkienish.
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  • Markus
    January 1, 1970
    "Then Beren took to following Tinúviel secretly through the woods even to the entrance of the cave and the bridge’s head, and when she was gone in he would cry across the stream, softly saying ‘Tinúviel’, for he had caught the name from Dairon’s lips; and although he knew it not Tinúviel often hearkened from within the shadows of the cavernous doors and laughed softly or smiled. At length one day as she danced alone he stepped out more boldly and said to her: ‘Tinúviel, teach me to dance.’ ‘Who "Then Beren took to following Tinúviel secretly through the woods even to the entrance of the cave and the bridge’s head, and when she was gone in he would cry across the stream, softly saying ‘Tinúviel’, for he had caught the name from Dairon’s lips; and although he knew it not Tinúviel often hearkened from within the shadows of the cavernous doors and laughed softly or smiled. At length one day as she danced alone he stepped out more boldly and said to her: ‘Tinúviel, teach me to dance.’ ‘Who art thou?’ said she. ‘Beren. I am from across the Bitter Hills.’ ‘Then if thou wouldst dance, follow me,’ said the maiden, and she danced before Beren away, and away into the woods, nimbly and yet not so fast that he could not follow, and ever and anon she would look back and laugh at him stumbling after, saying ‘Dance, Beren, dance! as they dance beyond the Bitter Hills!’ In this way they came by winding paths to the abode of Tinwelint, and Tinúviel beckoned Beren beyond the stream, and he followed her wondering down into the cave and the deep halls of her home."An excellent Christmas read in the mountains - the greatest love story ever written.One of the first things I did when I moved to England again was journey to Wolvercote Cemetery outside Oxford and visit the graves of J. R. R. and Edith Tolkien, the names inscribed with “Beren” and “Lúthien” beneath them. It was something of a pilgrimage, going to the great man’s final resting place and witnessing his personal connection to the story of Beren and Lúthien for myself.In this new version of the tale, Christopher Tolkien has collected and edited the surviving material about the couple and turned it into a detailed, comprehensive account of the story. Older and newer versions are set side by side, showcasing the development of the tale over time, combined with the beautiful poems from the Lay of Leithian, written in the pseudo-Medieval style which only Tolkien could master.And the book does read very much like a collection of ancient legends, gathered and pierced together from the remaining pieces of evidence. It is not a book to read from back to back, but rather something to enjoy slowly, step by step.In the end, I ended up loving every single one of those steps. It truly is a spectacularly beautiful story of undying love, a legendary romance from our own time.
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  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, so, this book requires a HUGE caveat.It's uneven as hell, it's not a full tale, and it is comprised of many unfinished snippets in various states of revision. You can see thirty odd years worth of fascination with the same tale of Beren and Luthien from very early and oddly simplistic Nordic-type style befitting Tolkien's regular scholarship all the way to several nearly full-developed Lays, poems in epic style, of the two characters, of Sauron who was named Thu, and Melkor, the original G Okay, so, this book requires a HUGE caveat.It's uneven as hell, it's not a full tale, and it is comprised of many unfinished snippets in various states of revision. You can see thirty odd years worth of fascination with the same tale of Beren and Luthien from very early and oddly simplistic Nordic-type style befitting Tolkien's regular scholarship all the way to several nearly full-developed Lays, poems in epic style, of the two characters, of Sauron who was named Thu, and Melkor, the original God of Evil that corrupted all that his siblings, the Illuvatar, made. So we start with humble beginnings, telling the basic same tale over and over, of Beren's capture and Luthien's great courage, infiltrating Melkor's stronghold, tricking and magicking him until she could steal back the Simaril from his crown and saving her love.When this is good, it's freaking awesome. When it isn't, it's just barely okay. :)There's also a number of extra bits and pieces regarding Beren and Luthien's offspring, the half-elves who have a choice to remain Elf or fall into the fate of Mortal Man. I liked them, but they were all mere snippets. One thing is certain, however. I feel very scholarly after reading this. It's not really designed for anyone's pure pleasure. As a writer, I loved to see the evolution of Tolkien's writing and style and dramatic choices as he revised and revised this prose and poetry into the forms we later see in the Silmarillion and in LoTR.But without a much more vast underpinning or various re-reads of all the pertinent novels and histories, I'm afraid that most people may not really enjoy this for what it is.For me, however, I LOVED the story of Beren and Luthien in the Silmarillion and immediately shined on how they were the prototypes and even MORE EPIC prototype for Aragorn and Arwen. I really looked forward to reading this. I just wish it had been finished and polished. ; ;
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  • Kevin Futers
    January 1, 1970
    Part of me wanted to go five stars, another part of me wanted to go to one. The disappointment is simple: with The Children of Hurin we were given a single narrative without break or comment. That is what I had assumed we had here. We don't. Now I loved the different versions of the story, but it just felt like going over old ground. This has all been printed before, either as The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales (in two volumes) or The History of Middle Earth (in three volumes). I would hav Part of me wanted to go five stars, another part of me wanted to go to one. The disappointment is simple: with The Children of Hurin we were given a single narrative without break or comment. That is what I had assumed we had here. We don't. Now I loved the different versions of the story, but it just felt like going over old ground. This has all been printed before, either as The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales (in two volumes) or The History of Middle Earth (in three volumes). I would have been happy with the Lay of Leithian overlaid with later passages whether in verse or in prose if they added to the story or brought it in line with his later thinking. I would have liked to see an editorial hand to update the Tinwelints, Gwendelings and Thu's to what later JRR Tolkien decided were the "right" names.There are reasons that writers make revisions. If you are interested in what makes an author's mind work, this sort of thing is fine, but these have been done before with this work. Tolkien senior hated literary criticism (though he loved textual criticism when dealing with early medieval sources). I really felt that after all of the textual detail Christopher Tolkien has been presenting to us all of these years, he might have left us with a story rather than a text mine.In the introduction he reminds us that he is ninety-two and it is unlikely that he will produce any more. On a personal note I salute him for his dedication and industry in bringing his father's literary writings to the world's attention and wish him well if it is nearly his time to claim the Gift of Illuvatar. If ill health is what stood in the way of the "attempt to extract one narrative element from a vast work of extraordinary richness and complexity" then I can only apologise for any harshness you may find in my words.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    Every year, it seems, I set out for at least one bookish quest. This year it turns out to be Tolkien's works (or some of them) about Middle-Earth.My group buddy-read this one this month so I joined. The problem, however, is that while I did read The Lord Of The Rings and even The Hobbit, it was in my early teens, many moons ago, and a translation besides, so I barely remember. What I remember most are the movies (don't get me started on the Hobbit disaster). Thus, I was unprepared for all the na Every year, it seems, I set out for at least one bookish quest. This year it turns out to be Tolkien's works (or some of them) about Middle-Earth.My group buddy-read this one this month so I joined. The problem, however, is that while I did read The Lord Of The Rings and even The Hobbit, it was in my early teens, many moons ago, and a translation besides, so I barely remember. What I remember most are the movies (don't get me started on the Hobbit disaster). Thus, I was unprepared for all the name dropping here and it got quite overwhelming.Trying to find Wikipedia articles or explanations from my fellow buddy-reader(s) was cumbersome and therefore prevented me from fully enjoying this book. Which is why I decided I might come back to it after reading LOTR and Hobbit and The Silmarillion.Nevertheless, what I can say is that the beauty of Tolkien's poetry struck me and struck me hard. He never did finish all of them but what we have is utterly beautiful, skillfully crafted, and lovingly collected by his son in this and a number of other companion books.I had fallen in love with Tolkien's rhymes when the first was uttered in one of the movies but to see it on the page, in full length (as far as the author got before he died), is a different experience alltogether.Moreover, we get treated to some very nice illustrations, some of which are "just" pencil drawingswhile others are full-colourHauntingly beautiful, just like the text. One can also see the evolution of Tolkien's work. The titular Beren & Lúthien are not only ancestors to Aragorn and Arwen but basically are the same characters, just differently packaged. Pappa Elrond has nobody to blame but his own lineage. *lol* So yes, many of the stories seem repetitive - which isn't too big a deal since, if you look at history, there ARE a lot of those in real life as well. Nevertheless, it is something that caught my eye and that made me wonder if we really need EVERYTHING the author ever scribbled onto a page.Yes, this is quite a "low" rating but despite the immensity of the universe created by Tolkien as well as his craftmanship when it came to languages, I have to take my enjoyment into account and I wanted to DNF several times. As I mentioned above, it's me because I read this too soon and I therefore might increase my rating one day after I've read all the other books and have a better grasp of all the ages and creatures in them. Until then, 3 Silmarils stars.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    My obvious excitement for the content aside -- look at that cover! Luthien Tinuviel, fair and valiant astride her wolfhound steed, reaches down to tenderly reassure her human lover before riding off to dropkick evil in the face. That's my girl.
  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    Well, look at that!!I'm so excited by the cover and the description! Plus, it's going to be published about 100 years after Tolkien started writing it, which is very neat. AND, the names of the two main characters, Beren and Luthien, were each written on Tolkien's and his wife's graves (respectively), which is very VERY neat. If this piece of work meant that much to them, it definitely deserves to be read.
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  • Melora
    January 1, 1970
    You'll want to take my comments on this one with more than a grain of salt, as I have trouble being objective when it comes to Tolkien, and the story of Beren and Luthien hits me in a soft spot (my younger brother's middle name is Beren, and my sister's is Lorien -- Tolkien was big in my family). This is one of the stories that Sam Gamgee might have been referring to when he and Frodo are traveling to Mount Doom and Sam talks about the adventures in the great legends,”Folk seem to have just land You'll want to take my comments on this one with more than a grain of salt, as I have trouble being objective when it comes to Tolkien, and the story of Beren and Luthien hits me in a soft spot (my younger brother's middle name is Beren, and my sister's is Lorien -- Tolkien was big in my family). This is one of the stories that Sam Gamgee might have been referring to when he and Frodo are traveling to Mount Doom and Sam talks about the adventures in the great legends,”Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid out that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.” Beren and Luthien's story, for which we get here a couple choices of endings, was foundational in Tolkien's mythology, echoing aspects of his own life, and within his works in the romance of Aragorn and Arwen. As Christopher Tolkien reminds us,”my father called it 'the chief of the stories of the Silmarillion', and he said of Beren that he is 'the outlawed mortal who succeeds (with the help of Luthien, a mere maiden even if an elf of royalty) where all the armies and warriors have failed: he penetrates the stronghold of the Enemy and wrests one of the Silmarilli from the Iron Crown. Thus he wins the hand of Luthien and the first marriage of mortal and immortal is achieved.”Tolkien apparently began work on the story in 1917, and continued playing with it at least until some point in the 1930's, so there were several versions, as well as additions to both ends of the story, and snippets to be (maybe) inserted at various places. Christopher Tolkien, this book's editor/compiler does a really excellent job of organizing this material so that even readers who are not familiar with the entire mythology of which the story of Beren and Luthien is a part won't feel lost. Or, at least, very lost. The story is presented, mainly, in two works, these being supplemented by additions and variations from other pieces. The first is the earlier form, and is in prose, and the second, broken into sections, is in verse. Both have their charms. I'll admit a preference for the earlier prose version, which is shorter, has little or no swooning, and is, at a few points, laugh-out-loud funny. I was having a little trouble staying focused on the poetic version until I started reading it out loud, with proper dramatic feeling, to my dog. Boy did that help! And my dog, who claims that there are far too few works of epic poetry with dog heroes, loved it! If I set the book aside for a bit he'd start poking me with his sweet wet nose and asking, hopefully, “Isn't it time to get back to the exciting adventures of Huan the Wonderdog?” And, really, he's not exaggerating. Huan may only get second billing on the marquee (well, his picture's on the cover, anyway), but he is the awesomest. Not only is he an amazing warrior, but he's better at planning missions than any of the men or elves he works with, and he has an expert knowledge of healing herbs! Like Aragorn, except tougher, fluffier, and you can ride on his back. As I said, the prose version, The Tale of Tinuviel, comes from The Book of Lost Tales, and is loads of fun. Luthien Tinuviel is very fine heroine – brave, resourceful, etc. – and Beren is no slouch. Though of course it's not primarily humorous, there are some really funny bits, and little of that excessively “high” tone which sometimes leads the more hobbit-like of readers to feel drowsy. Initially this had something of the feel of Norse myth to me, but once I got farther in I decided it might have hints of the Kalevala, a Finnish story. We have giant magical cats and dogs, monstrous wolves... Wait. I just have to say, that Telvido, Prince of the Cats, who disappears in the longer, poetic version is too great a villain to miss. I wish he were on the book cover too.The longer, though incomplete, version of the story is from “The Lay of Leithian.” This is, as I said, Tolkien in his high-toned, archaic style (which sometimes feels a little over the top, but then you come across an amazing word like “quook,” which is, deliciously, the past tense of “quake” and is just what you want to rhyme with “shook,” when you are describing an earthquake, and you forgive him all his excesses). Tolkien never finished any of this stuff to his satisfaction, so it seems unfair to pick much about rhymes and word choices he certainly would have improved upon, given enough time, and the story itself is really grand. Huan the Wonderdog is great in The Tale of Tinuviel, but here he is revealed in all his brilliance. Really, you'll love him. And Luthien and Beren are just as brave and loving and noble as you could ask for. There are romantic vistas, gloomy swamps, dank dungeons, true love, and tragic deaths – the works. Also beautiful colored plates and generous numbers of line drawings. I enjoyed the book very much.
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  • Scott Hitchcock
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not going to give this stars because I didn't end up reading it. I'm super happy I didn't buy it and waited for the library to get it. At $16.99 for the Kindle edition it's a complete jip. The first 10% of the book is author's notes about his father's notes. The last 18% is the appendix with more references. So that's over a quarter of the book gone on a 304 pages book which again costs $17. I started browsing the stories and found I already knew a lot of them from all the other works at lea I'm not going to give this stars because I didn't end up reading it. I'm super happy I didn't buy it and waited for the library to get it. At $16.99 for the Kindle edition it's a complete jip. The first 10% of the book is author's notes about his father's notes. The last 18% is the appendix with more references. So that's over a quarter of the book gone on a 304 pages book which again costs $17. I started browsing the stories and found I already knew a lot of them from all the other works at least in part. I love Tolkien. It was my first fantasy journey at 11 years old back in the early 80's. But this is like Aerosmith whoring another greatest hits album and changing the opening to a few songs and declaring it has new material. I hope it never hits the level of Kiss where they have the Aragon casket yours for only $2500 clams. If you're super into the reference material behind the story you'll probably be much more into this.
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  • Els
    January 1, 1970
    *sniffly shipping* This, my friends, is a real romance. ‘Bout the only love story I’ve ever enjoyed reading. Full review may come eventually, when I’m not expending all my energies writing essays to get me into college. One note: This book is a compilation of EvERy sINgLe VErsIon of the story, collected after Tolkien’s death. It gets REALLY rEAlLy repetitive if you read it straight through. So I started in January, and read one version at a time about two weeks apart, in which time I forgot ever *sniffly shipping* This, my friends, is a real romance. ‘Bout the only love story I’ve ever enjoyed reading. Full review may come eventually, when I’m not expending all my energies writing essays to get me into college. One note: This book is a compilation of EvERy sINgLe VErsIon of the story, collected after Tolkien’s death. It gets REALLY rEAlLy repetitive if you read it straight through. So I started in January, and read one version at a time about two weeks apart, in which time I forgot everyone’s names and was able to start afresh without boredom. But yes. If you don’t want to read the same story 23 times, don’t try to read this through in a week for a group challenge. You’ll wind up giving it a two star rating and I will be offended. Savour it.
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  • Manisha
    January 1, 1970
    *sighs happily* Lovely. 💕RTC.
  • Marquise
    January 1, 1970
    One hundred years back, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien began to create this story while on leave from the WWI trenches. I suppose he had no idea he'd became practically the God of Fantasy a few decades later, and likely didn't imagine he'd leave incomplete this lovely story of "heroic epic and high romance" as he described his favourite stories to write, as it sadly happened.It would be left to his son Christopher to roll up his sleeves and start the titanic labour of parsing through the pile of manu One hundred years back, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien began to create this story while on leave from the WWI trenches. I suppose he had no idea he'd became practically the God of Fantasy a few decades later, and likely didn't imagine he'd leave incomplete this lovely story of "heroic epic and high romance" as he described his favourite stories to write, as it sadly happened.It would be left to his son Christopher to roll up his sleeves and start the titanic labour of parsing through the pile of manuscripts, drafts, half-erased, half-finished and half moth-eaten papers of his late dad to publish The Silmarillion, the classical epic cross with biblical chronicle that tells the origins of the Middle-earth peoples, the different races of Elves and Men and Dwarves and Orcs, the evil Vala and the good Valar, the heroes and villains, the idiots and the wise. I read it after LOTR and The Hobbit, and I recall three were the stories that struck me the most: the Nïrnaeth Arnoediad (damn you, Morgoth!), the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar (Damn you twice over, Morgoth!), and Beren and Lúthien (And damn you too, Sauron!).So, when Tolkien Jr published The Children of Húrin with illustrations by Alan Lee (man is the official Tolkien artist to me and his depictions are canon as far as I'm concerned; his and Ted Nasmith's), I was happy-dancing. Never thought good old Christopher Tolkien would repeat and do the same for Beren and Lúthien, and I'm happy-dancing again.(A suggestion for anyone involved with the publishers or that can nudge Tolkien Jr gently into doing it: Please, do consider a third installment of this kind of expanded story taken from the Silmarillion, this time dedicated to the Fëanorians. Seriously, there'd be no Silmarillion without these crazy Elves and their bloody oath, Fëanor and his litter of seven caused so so so much trouble that they deserve a book of their own. Preferably illustrated by Lee again. Please, Mr Christopher, and thank you.)So, what do we have in this re-release of Beren and Lúthien's story? Art! Gorgeous art! Unfortunately, I can't post any examples, but you can feast your eyes on some of the illustrations that are at bookseller's sites like Amazon, Waterstones, HarperCollins, etc., or by Googling them. They're beautiful! The cover alone is sample enough of what is inside, and although for some scenes I already had my favourite artistic depictions by other artists, fan and professional, I can't say I found fault with Lee's vision. He's one of those illustrators you just appreciate for the talent even if his vision and yours differ. Donato Giancola would be another suchlike case, and if Lee were to not be available for the next book (crosses fingers), then he'd be the man. And the contents? Well, there was a bit of a surprise with the contents. For a start, unlike The Children of Húrin, this isn't merely an illustrated reprint of the Beren and Lúthien story we already read in The Silmarillion (or in The Lays of Beleriand). That was what I had asummed this book was, and honestly didn't mind even though I could hear the cynics muttering about money-grabbing re-editions of already published stuff. Instead, this is a sort of history of the story. Meaning, what Christopher Tolkien has done is write about the origins and evolution of the story from the earliest existing manuscript draft to the last existing draft before the demise of JRRT, all those bits and pieces he had to work on like a puzzle to write the story as we know it from The Silmarillion.That makes this book one for academics and Tolkienites, not for those readers not acquainted with the Tolkien lore or who haven't read The Silmarillion yet. So, if you only read LOTR and/or The Hobbit, then I don't recommend you read this. You will be confused, won't understand anything, and probably get annoyed because of that. But if you've already read the Sil, then I strongly recommend you run and buy a copy of this! More so if Beren and Lúthien happen to be your favourite story from the Sil or amongst those you liked best. You'll learn a lot about the evolution of the storyline, the changes to plot and characters that JRRT made, and what things stayed the same since the very first and original version, The Tale of Tinúviel, and what things are vastly different since that one. The book contains extracts from a total of 12 sources in manuscripts/drafts, which were:1. The Tale of Tinúviel2. A Passage from the ‘Sketch of the Mythology’3. A Passage Extracted from The Lay of Leithian4. The Quenta Noldorinwa5. A Passage Extracted from the Quenta6. A Second Extract from The Lay of Leithian7. A Further Extract from the Quenta8. The Narrative in The Lay of Leithian to Its Termination9. The Quenta Silmarillion10. The Return of Beren and Lúthien According to the Quenta Noldorinwa11. Extract from the Lost Tale of the Nauglafring12. The Morning and Evening Star I found it quite fascinating, there were some surprises I hadn't expected, like (mild spoilers ahead!) (view spoiler)[that Beren was originally an Elf and not an Edain, so him and Lúthien weren't originally an union of mortal and immortal but an union of rival Elven races; that Melian was always a Maia but her name was Gwendeling and Thingol's was Tinwelint; that Lúthien wasn't an only child but had a brother originally; that Sauron didn't exist in the first draft of the story and the Big Baddie was another of Morgoth's cronies; that Finrod Felagund, who wasn't called Finrod then, wasn't there originally either and his inclusion is the biggest change of all; that Huan always existed in all drafts but in the original he fought evil talking cats as well as evil talking wolves (go, Huan!); that Lúthien wasn't originally meant to be force-married to Celegorm but to that bastard Curufin (Lúthien-Celegorm shippers won't like this); (hide spoiler)] and a myriad other changes and divergences of all sizes from small to middling to big that you must absolutely learn all by reading this yourself. Besides the interest in finding about these changes, I also learnt a lot about JRRT's writing process, how he created his stories, how his writing habits and techniques were like. The latter is wont to tickle scholarly fancies more, I imagine. And Christopher Tolkien's preface, notes, commentary on each chapter, and appendix that complement the twelve sections will also be very informative.
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  • E.F.B.
    January 1, 1970
    Great read! Definitely not for those trying Tolkien for the first time, but for those who have read “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and “The Silmarillion” (Or if not the entire Silm, you still need to at least read the story of Beren and Luthien so you have enough familiarity with it to recognize and appreciate the changes it went through), it should be enjoyable.It’s important to note that this “Beren and Luthien” book isn’t like “The Children of Hurin” book which is a longer, more compl Great read! Definitely not for those trying Tolkien for the first time, but for those who have read “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and “The Silmarillion” (Or if not the entire Silm, you still need to at least read the story of Beren and Luthien so you have enough familiarity with it to recognize and appreciate the changes it went through), it should be enjoyable.It’s important to note that this “Beren and Luthien” book isn’t like “The Children of Hurin” book which is a longer, more complete version of that story of TCoH than we got in The Silm. In this book, Christopher Tolkien is attempting to show the reader how the story of B&L evolved over time. We start out reading one of the earliest versions of the story Christopher could find, and then, as the book progresses, Christopher interludes now and then to explain where he found the next version, when his father wrote it, etc, then shares the next excerpt. We see both prose and poetic versions/excerpts from the story here and I personally found it very interesting to see what Tolkien changed over time and what he kept the same. Take for example everybody’s favorite hound of Valinor, Huan. In the original version, it didn’t seem that Huan was a hound of Valinor at all, he was just one of the giant hounds that could be found running around Arda in the Elder Days. Also unlike the final version of the story that appears in The Silm where Huan can only speak three times in his life, the original version had him being quite the chatterbox. I could list quite a few more changes that happened between the original and final versions, but that would make this more an essay than a review!Overall, I really liked this book. I actually went into it thinking that I wouldn’t read it straight through because I was afraid that reading one version of the same story after the other might get repetitive and maybe I should take breaks between versions to read other things. However, I think Christopher did well in putting this together in a way that it didn’t get repetitive and I wanted to keep going to see how things changed next. Since this book is illustrated by Alan Lee, I’ll also mention that the art was GORGEOUS, really added to the narrative, and I very much envy his talent.5 stars.
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  • Silvana
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since I read the Silmarillion I don't buy this so called greatest romance in the history of Arda since clearly Lúthien and Huan did most of the work while Beren spent most of the time being captured and unconscious. This book is very useful if you want to know how the story evolved and proved my earlier assumption that Beren was one helluva lucky dude. Aside from the gorgeous artwork as usual from Alan Lee, I quite enjoyed the poems and the versions of the story. Great to reread the parts w Ever since I read the Silmarillion I don't buy this so called greatest romance in the history of Arda since clearly Lúthien and Huan did most of the work while Beren spent most of the time being captured and unconscious. This book is very useful if you want to know how the story evolved and proved my earlier assumption that Beren was one helluva lucky dude. Aside from the gorgeous artwork as usual from Alan Lee, I quite enjoyed the poems and the versions of the story. Great to reread the parts when the elvish infightings occurred just because of these two star-crossed lovers met and Thingol so carelessly linked them with the Silmaril. There were amusing alternate/early iterations, including the sing off between Sauron (then Thu) and Finrod Felagund. But, at the end Lúthien won the Voice competition here. She would have won all Middle-earth Got Talent shows. And last but not least, I wished the Professor had kept the cat prince and his minions (with names like Miaole 😅, cmon!)The Fall of Gondolin next!
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  • Vivian
    January 1, 1970
    A labor of love. Not just Beren's feats to win Lúthien, but also Christopher Tolkien for his father and his apparently enormous oeuvre. This is an archivist's weaving of the fragments of the tale of Beren and Lúthien from a selection of separate works to relay the most complete, yet, not rewritten telling of this love story. The verse in the various cantos and Quenta is lyrical, mesmerizing, and beautiful. While the publisher pushed Tolkien for prose and the result, The Lord of the Rings, is won A labor of love. Not just Beren's feats to win Lúthien, but also Christopher Tolkien for his father and his apparently enormous oeuvre. This is an archivist's weaving of the fragments of the tale of Beren and Lúthien from a selection of separate works to relay the most complete, yet, not rewritten telling of this love story. The verse in the various cantos and Quenta is lyrical, mesmerizing, and beautiful. While the publisher pushed Tolkien for prose and the result, The Lord of the Rings, is wonderful, the verse and Tolkien's love of heroic poetry is resplendent. 'Be he friend or foe, or demon wildof Morgoth, Elf, or mortal child,or any that here on earth may dwell,no law, nor love, nor league of hell,no might of Gods, no binding spell,shall him defend from hatred fellof Feanor's sons, whoso take or stealor finding keep a Simaril.These we alone do claim by right, our thrice enchanted jewels bright.'Or:From wall to wall she turned and wheeledin dance such as never Elf nor faybefore devised, nor since that day;than swallow swifter, than flittermousein dying light round darkened house more silken-soft, more strange and fairthan sylphine maidens of the Airwhose wings in Varda's heavenly hallin rhythmic movement beat and fall. While this is a self-contained telling of the story of Beren and Lúthien pulled from various works and unpublished pieces, the largest being "The Lay of Leithian". I still feel like I might have been better off if I had read The Silmarillion, first. It's not that Christopher Tolkien does a bad job, if anything I think the work and dedication clearly evident in pulling the fragments together into a coherent whole is admirable, but there is context that I'm missing. Nonetheless, watching the story change as the years progress is very interesting. Tolkien's love of language is at the forefront and there are so many things which tickled my brain as I read. Various references to Norse mythology, Rapunzel theme with Tinúviel, and an interesting interplay between Chinese and Japanese, which in a post-WWI context would be fun to explore further. I do like to see the hints of history that pepper through his work. Huan, Hound of Valinor means "change" in Chinese, a great wolfhound that is pictured on the cover. He is a critical character in the story. Beren's trial include being thrall to the evil Prince of Cats, Tevildo which in one variant is referred to as Ainu, name of the indigenous peoples of Japan. So, there are definitely political themes relevant to Tolkien referenced. Frankly, I'm curious if the added storyline of Kili/Tauriel in the Hobbit movie was influenced by Beren and Lúthien. There are some lovely image plates accompanying the story. I recommend this for Tolkien fans only.
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  • Luke
    January 1, 1970
    I gave this review one star in a (probably doomed) attempt to pull the rating down to reflect the disappointment many readers are doubtless going to feel when they realize that this book is not what they were expecting to get. I was very much looking forward to an enriched and expanded version of the beautiful story in The Silmarillion, such as what we received with The Children of Hurin ten years ago. Unfortunately, this is not that.I'm reluctant to criticize Christopher Tolkien at this point, I gave this review one star in a (probably doomed) attempt to pull the rating down to reflect the disappointment many readers are doubtless going to feel when they realize that this book is not what they were expecting to get. I was very much looking forward to an enriched and expanded version of the beautiful story in The Silmarillion, such as what we received with The Children of Hurin ten years ago. Unfortunately, this is not that.I'm reluctant to criticize Christopher Tolkien at this point, given that he has devoted the entirety of his long life and extraordinary effort to bringing his father's great mass of unpublished material to light. At the same time, I wonder if his notorious obsession with presenting the elder Tolkien's writings in a completely unadulterated format got in the way of the "attempt to extract one narrative element from a vast work of extraordinary richness and complexity" that he apologizes for feeling unable to do. I myself feel Christopher should have made such an effort this *one time*, and if it couldn't be determined with 100% certainty that the work that resulted was exactly what his father would have wanted, so be it. The irony of Christopher Tolkien is that he has appointed himself the gatekeeper of his father's work, and will not venture off script in the slightest to create a small amount of original work or make any assumptions whatsoever regarding the material in the spirit of completing certain of his father's narratives, but as a myth-maker J.R.R. Tolkien himself was of a less dogmatic frame of mind. He believed that no one really 'owns' what they create, and towards the end of his life said that "The tale is out of my hands now."I am willing to let Christopher Tolkien err on the side of artistic uncertainty in exchange for a single cohesive narrative of the story that is likely to be the last we are ever going to get from J.R.R. Tolkien (at least through Christopher) and the one that Tolkien felt lay at the heart of his created world of Middle Earth.In addition, Christopher must have known that fans would be expecting another Children of Hurin, so I think the publicity campaign should have made clear what this book is from the beginning. Despite my protests, I would not have been disappointed without the misleading-by-omission advertising.
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  • Lucia
    January 1, 1970
    I had huge problem with the format of this book. Beren and Lúthien reads like academic writing instead of fantasy novel and I have to admit that reading it was quite tiresome experience. In general, I love Beren & Lúthien story but its execution in this book didn't work for me at all. I guess it must have been difficult to put together unfinished manuscripts of such a mastermind as was J.R.R. Tolkien but still, reading the same story (retold in different forms and shapes) numerous times with I had huge problem with the format of this book. Beren and Lúthien reads like academic writing instead of fantasy novel and I have to admit that reading it was quite tiresome experience. In general, I love Beren & Lúthien story but its execution in this book didn't work for me at all. I guess it must have been difficult to put together unfinished manuscripts of such a mastermind as was J.R.R. Tolkien but still, reading the same story (retold in different forms and shapes) numerous times within one book together with explanatory notes is just not my idea of fun...
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  • ☙ percy ❧
    January 1, 1970
    OHMY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD BEREN AND LUTHIEN ARE MY FAVOURITE TOLKIEN CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME
  • Lata
    January 1, 1970
    Christopher Tolkien presents a few versions of the story of Beren and Lúthien, and really, the story should just be called Lúthien saves herself and Beren, and she's the best.
  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    Beren and Luthien is being published in 2017! 100 years after Tolkien wrote their story!
  • Suzannah
    January 1, 1970
    Beren and Luthien is a gorgeously-presented work, with some of my favourite Alan Lee illustrations ever, focusing on the development of the Beren-and-Luthien story from The Silmarillion. Unlike The Children of Hurin, this book isn't a complete tale told from beginning to end. Rather, it's more like a mosaic or a patchwork: Christopher Tolkien excerpts from the story as it stood at many different points in Tolkien's creative process, arranging the excerpts according to different stages of the sto Beren and Luthien is a gorgeously-presented work, with some of my favourite Alan Lee illustrations ever, focusing on the development of the Beren-and-Luthien story from The Silmarillion. Unlike The Children of Hurin, this book isn't a complete tale told from beginning to end. Rather, it's more like a mosaic or a patchwork: Christopher Tolkien excerpts from the story as it stood at many different points in Tolkien's creative process, arranging the excerpts according to different stages of the story rather than chronologically as they were written. The result is, alas, more often confusing (even to me!) than it is enlightening. The two main sources excerpted are the very early Tale of Tinuviel, which I hadn't read before and enjoyed getting in its entirety, plus the abandoned epic poem The Lay of Leithien which is genuinely one of my very most favourite things Tolkien ever wrote. For many years, I'd dip into the Lays of Beleriand to read the whole thing in its entirety, skipping all the commentary and just bolting through those glorious couplets. I still have long passages off by heart, and I was genuinely disappointed to find that not all of it is included in this book. Perhaps a quarter of it is missing. Yes, it always was incomplete, a little rough around the edges, with the odd line that didn't scan, but I actually always preferred the original thing, with its loping pace and raw emotion, to the more polished version which Tolkien himself started work on in later years. It deserved to take pride of place in this book, and I'm saddened that that place was compromised.I'm genuinely grateful to Christopher Tolkien for his life's service to his father's vision. This is the first time I really wish he'd stepped back a little and just given us the complete Lay of Leithien with less editorial intervention.
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  • Kirsti
    January 1, 1970
    While I definitely class myself as a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and the world he brought to life in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I have to say I found this book oddly disconcerting. I wanted more a story structure and less of interruption from Christopher Tolkien explaining context and comparing texts. I'm sure that aspect fascinated some people, but it didn't work for me. The world of Tolkien is so vast and confusing as it is, and characters with different names and narratives from text to While I definitely class myself as a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and the world he brought to life in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I have to say I found this book oddly disconcerting. I wanted more a story structure and less of interruption from Christopher Tolkien explaining context and comparing texts. I'm sure that aspect fascinated some people, but it didn't work for me. The world of Tolkien is so vast and confusing as it is, and characters with different names and narratives from text to text ultimately just led me to be kind of perplexed as to what I just read. I often read the same passages of the poems over and over, trying to glean meaning, and then skim read the next verse from frustration. Nothing really worked for me. When I think of the tale of Beren and Luthien that I've pieced together from the Silmarillion and well, I admit it, reading other reviewer's interpretations of the works, I see a beautiful story. I've never been very good at holding interest to poetry, or even books that use Thees and Spakes instead of yous and spokes. It's like the words slip right off my brain and into despair! The essence of that story is still here, and still lovely. I just couldn't read this the same way I would Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit (that is to say I devour them) I think the thing with my reading habits that took me many years to admit is this; I don't really like High Fantasy, and that's OK. I like adventure, and romance, and in one point in this book that is the way Tolkien describes LOTR . AND THAT'S FINE. I love that the entire world is thought out and has history and not even a complete history. I love that it has languages and cultures. I guess there comes a point where I can't understand all of it, and that's fine too.To review this book I also quite hopefully checked my review of the Silmarillion, only to find I don't have one. I'm certain I've read it, but only pieces of it remain in my memory. I think I will have to go back and read it again, although not too soon after this book. It will probably help my understanding here (Gosh I feel like I've used that word a lot in this review!) and leave me with a better knowledge. As it stands, I spent over $40 for this book and it's going to be proudly displayed with my other Tolkien books (Including my cheap paperback with the movie cover, read over and over due to it being the most common and ugliest edition I own haha) I also think that Tolkien fans will probably eat this up. There will definitely be people that will get much more from this book than I did, and the elements that knocked stars off for me will only elevate it for them. Happy reading fellow bookworms, I need to cleanse my brain with some nice Cozy mystery or YA romance ;)
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful tale, in both poetic and prose form. This story was the real heart of Tolkien's universe, and is a must read for any ardent fan. The illustrations by Alan Lee are also lovely.
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