The Children of Húrin

posted on 2010-10-15 by Veselina Nikolova


     It was called the new book of J. R.R. Tolkien in 2007 but Narn i ChînHúrin, The tale of the children of Húrinis one of the oldest stories written about the Middle Earth, many years before The Lord of the Rings came out in this world.  Tolkien wrote an epic poem called The Lay of Children of Húrin in 1910s which in the course of the time was revised many times and never finished.  In this book, however, you will find a completed version.


If you have read The Silmarilion and The Unfinished Tales, you would not be much surprised reading the new edition of the tale, but in my opinion the tragic life of Túrin Turambarand Niënor Níniel, really deserves to have its own covers and to be published as an independent book, without interruptions, from the beginning till the end.

     The tale starts as usual for Tolkien’s mythology in the typical archaic way with explanation about the house of the main characters. Who were the parents, the grandparents, from which kin and which lands they ruled. This approach creates the feeling that you are reading an old legend that your grandmother has learnt when she was a small child, on the other hand, for some people these paragraphs are just too many strange names without any action and meaning.  Well, for Tolkien every name has a deeper meaning and represents the faith of the character in one or another way.


   Húrin is the first name we see even in the title, he is a man, a great warrior who fights in the most tragic battle during the First age of Middle Earth called The battle of Unnumbered tears( Niarnaeth Arnoediad). He has the misfortune to be captured alive and taken to the first Dark Lord Morgoth, whose faith resembles Lucifer’s.  When they meet Húrin’s will doesn’t brake by the mightiest evil and he laughs at Morgoth which brings at him the anger of the Dark Lord. Thus how Húrin and everyone who he loves are being cursed which dooms the destiny of his children.  In the next chapters we see how his son TúrinTurambar grows in sorrow and how dark shadow lies upon him and all his deeds.

Even when he tries to do only good and to help the elves and men around him in the end all turns against him. His evil fate is shared by his sister Niënor Nínielthough they are separated in most of time, in the end they meet but they have never seen before and a dragon spell lies upon her and she is like a small child who is just born in the new world. 


Here the story became stunning for me and more, and more sorrowful, they get married then the great dragon Glaurung comes, Túrin slays him and the wretched lives of those two become unbearable when they realize what had happen. Both of them committed suicides, Túrin fall upon his black sword with which he slew the dragon, Niënor cast herself into the roaring river. This is really brief look upon all the misery and tragedy in this tale.

     In conclusion I want to add that the book has wonderful illustrations by Allan Lee, it is designed in a good taste, at least in the taste that most of Tolkien fans will like, there is a map of Beleriand at the end of book, appendix, genealogy, list of names, everything which helps the reader to understand the complexity of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.


I tried to retell in very short the story of the children of Húrin, after reading it there was a strong bitterness in my mind and I could not stop thinking about such wretched lives. I don’t know why but most of the best books, movies and music are always sorrowful I guess people put more emotions when they feel the pain. If you like the tragedy, the strong heroes who cannot escape from their doom, this is your book!

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