Approaching Tolkien: The Story of Kullervo

The Story of Kullervo (header)

In what has become something of a tradition in posthumous Tolkien publications, The Story of Kullervo is an unfinished literary work by the author, as he attempts to rewrite an account from the Finnish legend of the Kalevala into the short story format. Continue reading

A Brief History of Himling

Himring

Reading The Silmarillion, you would be forgiven for thinking that Himring, where Maedhros sets up his fortress in the northeast of Beleriand, has nothing to do with the isle of Himling in The Lord of the Rings.

Before I knew much about Tolkien, looking at the map of Middle-earth, I was always intrigued by that lonely island just off the coast of Lindon. What was its meaning there? Why would the author give it a name and not mention it during the events of the War of the Ring? Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-Three

The Fall of Gondolin (header)

The Third of the Great Tales

We’ve come to the climax of the ‘Quenta Silmarillion’ story. ‘Of the Ruin of Doriath’ started the ball rolling which led to the events in this coming chapter.

However, the seed had long been planted way back in ‘Of Maeglin’, the elf who was one of the causes of this disaster.

Through its vast geography, politics and characters, Tolkien manages to fuse one seemingly unrelated event a 100 pages earlier and expand on the consequences of that occurrence later on.

‘Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin’ marks the continuing tremendous decline of the Free Peoples in Beleriand. Continue reading

TTRT: The Silmarillion – Chapter Twenty-One

Turin slays Beleg (header)

Tolkien as a “Dark Fantasy” Author

Way back in time, when this blog was but a few days old, I wrote a two-part post (Part I & Part II) on why I considered Tolkien might be categorised under the sub-literary branch of “dark fantasy”.

‘Of Túrin Turambar’ is the second of the Great Tales in The Silmarllion. Undoubtedly, it is also the greatest (both in terms of length and detailed narrative composition).

It’s a dark tale full of ups and downs (with certainly more downs than ups); where a glimmer of hope in the story turns out to be nothing more than an illusion.

It can also be a tough read at first. Thankfully, it’s a standalone story within The Silmarillion narrative and only a few past events and characters bear upon this chapter in any real way.

If you’ve read the previous chapter (‘Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad’) then you’re on the right track; the consequences of that battle are a direct influence on the successive events.

I’m sure you’re aware of the recent publication The Children of Húrin: a significantly expanded version of the chapter found in The Silmarillion. If you’re new to this story, I suggest you go through the chapter first and then proceed to reading the full tale once you’ve grasped the concept of the story.

In the meantime, here’s my own pitiful summary (spoilers ahead). Continue reading

The Tale of the Dagor Dagorath

Constructing the account of the Dagor Dagorath –

the Last Battle of Arda

Introduction

Many mythologies in literature make several references to their own interpretation of events related to the end of the world. No different is the case in J.R.R. Tolkien’s own fantasy world. Clues are to be found sparsely scattered in some of his major works – hinting at the end of the world and the rebuilding of Arda. Continue reading

Your Quick Guide To Dragons in Middle-earth (and how to tackle one)

For DummiesIntroduction

Following the sudden increase of interest in anything related to these creatures, I thought it would be good to provide you with the essential ingredients that make up a dragon within Tolkien’s own fantasy world.

This “Guide” is meant to present a clear description of what constitutes a dragon in Middle-earth, whilst at the same time providing a “how-to” list on avoiding being burnt to a crisp by one of these creatures – given by Tolkien himself …
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Approaching Tolkien: ‘The Children of Húrin’

– The stand-alone storycoh

‘The Children of Húrin’ is one of the oldest narratives in Tolkien’s legendarium, being also one of the three Great Tales of the First Age – along with ‘Beren and Lúthien’ and ‘The Fall of Gondolin’.
Continue reading