Every so often, when Bastards HQ isn’t paying attention, life can be pretty good. Here’s Christopher Tolkien on The Children of Hurin, due to hit bookstores and pluck heartstrings on April 17:
There are tales of Middle-earth from times long before The Lord of the Rings, and the story told in this book is set in the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West: lands where Treebeard once walked, but which were drowned in the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World.
In that remote time Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron, in the North; and the tragedy of Turin and his sister Nienor unfolded within the shadow of the fear of Angband and the war waged by Morgoth against the lands and secret cities of the Elves.
Their brief and passionate lives were dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bore them as the children of Hurin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them he sent his formidable servant, Glaurang, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Into his story of brutal conquest and flight, of forest hiding-places and pursuit, of resistance with lessening hope, the mythological persons of the God and the Dragon enter in fearfully articulate form. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurang manipulated the fates of Turin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth was fulfilled
The earliest versions of this story by J.R.R. Tolkien go back to the end of the First World War and the years that followed; but long afterwards, when The Lord of the Rings was finished, he wrote it anew and greatly enlarged it in complexities of motive and character: it became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to final and finished form. In this book I have endeavoured to construct, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention.
Let’s hope Christopher “Eragon, Son of LucasFilm” Paolini is so traumatized he quits “writing” fantasy and competes on American Idol next season instead.