The Children of Húrin

The New Book "The Children of Húrin" Edited by Christopher Tolkien
Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:51 pm

I think that's spot on. A spare tale told by a man steeped in Norse stories, in love with myth and language, just coming out of the brutal horrors of WW1 with the rich perspective of maturity still ahead of him.

Merry wrote:Hey, doing okay over there, Iolanthe?

:lol: I'm still doing very well with the doom and gloom Merry :wave:!

Harking back a bit:
Lindariel wrote:Wouldn't he be happier to be rejoined with his family beyond the circles of the world after having spent all those Ages in the Halls of Mandos? Isn't that a more fitting "reward"?

It seems especially unfair that a man that is separated from his family from seven onwards to the detriment of most of Middle-earth - not even knowing his own sister when he finally meets her - should also spend eternity separated from them. Tolkien seems to have had a love/hate relationship with Turin, both pitying him and aghast at his deeds at one and the same time.

I don't think that Tolkien could have written anything like this tale in later life, or ever re-written and edited it into a tale like LoTR with characters we could warm too. It remains fixed culturally early in the ages of Middle-earth, as you've said Lindariel, and early in the culture of the heart of Tolkien the writer.

But how lucky we are to have a whole world to explore that spans aeons of time and is so different wherever we look at, like our own! Who else could write a span of fiction in which you could still apply 'The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there' [Hartley].
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Postby Merry » Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:05 pm

I've just exchanged e-mails with one of our colleagues from the Exeter conference last year (otherwise known at bat'leth :wink: ) who is a professor of Medieval literature. He said that he has CoH on his bookshelf but hasn't read it, because he thinks it will be the last new words from Tolkien he'll ever read and he doesn't want it to be over too soon. Isn't that touching?
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Postby Philipa » Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:51 pm

No, it's stupid. READ THE BOOK YOU SENTIMENTAL FOOL!! :lol:
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:54 pm

Ah, but are they new words or will he find that he's read them all before but not necessarily in the same order :wink: .

That sounds like Eric Morcambe's quip to Andre Previn: 'I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.'

Tell bat'leth to get his a** over here and post :twisted: .
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Postby Merry » Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:14 am

'bat'leth' has had a terribly bad year--I'll tell you more in a PM.

Yes, I know what you mean: I felt like telling him that it doesn't feel like new Tolkien.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

lyanness
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Postby lyanness » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:43 pm

I've also had CoH on my bookshelf for quite a while and neglected it quite sadly due to work and studies. I became quite ill recently and took this as a sign to not only slow down, but also read the book that I have been staring at since last year.

I sense lots of hostility in this thread towards Turin, which may be justified due to his nature, but I really really really really pity him.
I dont think that anything has gone his way since his birth.
- His mother was cold towards him.
- His father was always away at war, and he was never sure whether that
time would be the last that he would see his father.
- His cold mother then chased him away at his young age to live with strangers (she would obviously have done it to his benefit, but what would an uninformed child of that age think?)
- He was raised by strange people of a strange language and culture and constantly needed to prove himself among the elders and his peers.
- To make matters worse, he had a hand in killing one of the council members.
- He stayed with a group of outlaws and, face it, it was his attitude that kept him alive.
- AND when he FINALLY found happiness in this amazingly devoted and beautiful woman, he discovered that she was his sister!!!

How can anyone not pity a person with so much pain in his life? If his mother had been more warm and open with him, maybe he would not have seemed so resentful. All he needed was someone to love him, not lecture to him time and time again - even I get irritated when people tell me what to do all the time. If people only gave him love and kindness from an early age, he would have turned to be a real hero, not the person we love to hate.
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Postby Merry » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:04 pm

Ah, yes, they always blame the mother (as my mother says)! :wink:

I'm glad you enjoyed the book, lyanness, and I hope you're well on the mend.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Postby Philipa » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:40 pm

lyanness I hope you are on the mend. :hug:

I see what you mean about pity (we had a great conversation about pity in another thread...can't remember now where it is. :? ) he was a product of his environment as well as not being a child of gentle nurturing parents.

Perhaps it is because of the tragic story which rarely sees a glimmer of hope that has given us some contempt for the man. I can be honest and say it is not one of my favorite Tolkien stories.
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Iolanthe
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:51 pm

I do pity Turin, everything works against him - Fate, Morgoth and his own nature which has been so skewed by circumstances that his worst characteristics become dominant. In fact they become the only thing that keeps him going.

I actually really like this book. It's sort of perfect in a grim northern saga sort way, but it is a very uncomfortable read because Turin makes it so hard to sympathise with him. In fact, I can't, but I can still pity him.
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Postby Lindariel » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:04 am

My problem with Turin is that pretty much throughout the story there is someone usually at his side to offer a different alternative or to suggest that perhaps his plan is rash -- and he NEVER listens to them. In fact, he usually dismisses any and ALL advice with a brashness bordering on, and sometimes passing squarely into, outright contempt.

I agree that his circumstances were terrible (but let's not forget, so were Beren's!), and I do pity his unfortunate life. If he had been left with no one to guide him at all, no comrades or liege lords or long-suffering lady-loves (don't forget poor Finduilas and the whole of Nargothrond that pays for his foolishness with their lives) to offer advice, he would have nothing but pity from me. But Turin is often blessed with good advice that he completely ignores, often turning on the advisor.

Sorry, I just don't like him at all.
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Mar 10, 2008 12:36 pm

That's why I believe his circumstances as a child have brought the worst of him to the fore. He has a massively flawed character and everything that happens to him confirms his own belief that he is unlucky. Nothing anyone says to him or does for him ever changes that. I don't like him either but it's a great study of Fate versus Character. If he had had a different character would he have overcome Morgoth's curse? Is it Turin himself or is it Morgoth's curse that finally brings him down? I find it intriguing. In the old sagas and in ancient Greek tragedy it would be Fate but Tolkien has put a modern twist on it by suggesting that it's character and man makes his own destiny. The more Turin runs from his 'curse' the more he runs towards it.

Like I said, I think it's kinda perfect :lol: . But I reckon I'm the only one who really likes this book...
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marbretherese
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Postby marbretherese » Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:48 pm

Iolanthe wrote: But I reckon I'm the only one who really likes this book...


I suspect you might be one of a select few, Iolanthe. I don't like it either; I find Turin's inability to take advice incredibly irritating and I can't find anything to like about him at all . . . :shock:
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Postby Merry » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:29 pm

I was struck this weekend, when reading the Council of Elrond chapter over again (looking for the elusive quote!), that Elrond praises Frodo for agreeing to take the Ring to Mordor by saying that he could now take his place among all the famous Elf-friends in M-e history, and he named Turin as one of them.
Last edited by Merry on Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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and he shall dwell among you
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Postby Philipa » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:55 pm

marbretherese wrote:I find Turin's inability to take advice incredibly irritating and I can't find anything to like about him at all . . . :shock:


I liken him to Kathrine in Wuthering Heights.....man she really ticked me off. :roll: :lol:
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Postby Lindariel » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:16 pm

Merry wrote:I was struck this weekend, when reading the Council of Elrond chapter over again (looking for the elusive quote!), that Elrond praises Frodo for agreeing to take the Ring to Mordor by saying that he could now take his place among all the famous Elf-friends in M-e history, and he named Turin as one of them.


Yup, Merry, you're absolutely right, and again, I just don't get it. Remember also the honor reserved for Turin at the End of Arda, if Tolkien had decided to go with his original ending for The Silmarillion. I guess one could regard Turin as a great hero and warrior, because he does accomplish some astonishing deeds -- the last being the killing of Glaurung, a feat thought nigh on to impossible. Yet, for all the good Turin does, he ultimately winds up bringing wrack and ruin upon anyone who befriends him.

Some "Elf-Friend"! Plus, Turin was such a boastful big-mouth about everything he did (although I guess that's pretty much par for the course for most of the old Nordic heroes), and Frodo was so painfully self-effacing. It almost seems insulting to Frodo to name Turin in the same breath. Given that this is ELROND of all people speaking, I guess I would have to fan-wank that the Lord of Imladris was thinking of Frodo's quest in terms of how extraordinarily impossible it would be -- and the accomplishments of Hador and Hurin (which I don't recall at this time :oops:), Beren (retrieving one of the Silmarils from Morgoth's crown) and Turin (killing Glaurung, among other great deeds) were the only other well-nigh impossible feats that were indeed achieved against all the odds by others who had been named Elf-Friends. Elrond certainly couldn't have been thinking that Frodo and Turin were similar in temperament or humility by any stretch of the imagination!
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”


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