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review 2019-10-16 04:02
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth - J.R.R. Tolkien

The legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is vast and not everything was fully written out, however that doesn’t mean the incomplete material isn’t interesting.  Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth is a complication various stories begun and partially revised by J.R.R. Tolkien then edited into a somewhat readable fashion, along with alternate versions, by his son Christopher that reveal backstories from all Ages of Tolkien’s world.


The first two-thirds of the book covers the First and Second Ages with focuses in the former on Tuor journey to Gondolin and more details to the Children of Hurin while the latter focused on various elements of Numenorian history and the history of Galadriel and Celeborn.  The last third of the book focuses on the Third Age with background stories and histories to various events and people that feature in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from the disaster at Gladden Field when Isildur dies and the One Ring is lost to the foundation of the friendship of Gondor and Rohan to the Battles of the Fords of Isen and Gandalf’s view of the Quest of Erebor and the Nazgul’s hunt for the One Ring.  And on top of those backstories are histories on various people and items featured in the four books, namely the order of the Wizards.


Unlike The Silmarillion in which Christopher Tolkien edited his father’s writing into narrative chronicle, he left his father’s work unfinished and supplemented them with alternative versions that his father hadn’t rejected.  This decision made the first two-thirds of the book a chore to get through or simple something to skim, however in the last third of the book the tales and histories were essentially complete with only some details not decided upon by the elder Tolkien before his death thus making for a better read.  Frankly it’s this final third which is the highlight of the book especially anything related to the elder Tolkien’s most famous works, in particular is “The Quest of Erebor” that connects The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings together than just the One Ring.


Like The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales is for hardcore Tolkien enthusiasts that want every detail they can get from J.R.R. Tolkien.  Though the final third of the book has material that general readers might enjoy if they loved the author’s two well-known books, it might not be worth the money to buy this book new for it.

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review 2019-02-08 13:40
Review: Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth - J.R.R. Tolkien

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth by J.R.R. Tolkien is a collection of stories that further relate to the events in The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings and tells more about the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring.

I loved reading Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth as I hadn't read this book before. It added to the stories that I am already familiar with. This is a great addition for collector's of Tolkien's work.

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review 2018-11-09 12:18
Numenor: Unfinished Tales" by J. R. R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth - J.R.R. Tolkien,J.R.R. Tolkien

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)

The new Tolkien book is out. While I haven't read even half of it, I think I've read enough to produce a helpful review, so here goes. This book ("Unfinished Tales" by JRR Tolkien, $15 from Houghton Mifflin) is definitely not a book for a general readership, nor even for the mass Tolkien consumer, who thinks that Lord of the Rings is a swell story, but all that linguistic and historical stuff is just a lot of window-dressing. Rather than a narrative, it's really a sort of organized memory dump of Tolkien's filing cabinet [2018 EDIT: “filing cabinet” indeed!!!].
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


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review 2016-10-15 00:00
Middle Earth: Poems
Middle Earth: Poems - Henri Cole Henri Cole has collected here a set of poems that I am alternately dawn to describe as either very subtle or very timid. In the background lurks reference to flesh and sex that never quite materializes in the poetry. It’s the opposite of what I would call visceral. Not quite sure what to do with these or what he intended; despite the occasional flash of an enduring image, the collection as a whole always falls short of that (in the words of the immortal Donald Trump) pussy-grabbing moment. That said, I was intrigued enough to read more.
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review 2015-11-07 09:40
The Epic Conclusion
The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien

While not strictly related to the books, I must mention that when I went to England one of my destinations was Oxford. While in Oxford I went and had a beer at Tolkien's pub, visited Tolkien's house (20 Northmoor Avenue, there is a plaque on the house that identifies it as such) and paid a visit to his gravestone. Tolkien was a professor of English literature at Oxford and it shows in his writings. As mentioned previously, he borrowed as lot of ideas from the many books that he had read and incorporated it seamlessly into his epic.


Tolkein's Grave


It is said that Tolkien hated Shakespeare and considered his writings unoriginal and contrived. One thing he points out in Macbeth is where Macbeth is told that he cannot be killed by one of woman born. This meant that it was only McDuff, who was born by caesarean section, who could kill him. This, Tolkien thought, was rubbish, and wrote into The Lord of the Rings a concept that he thought was much better, that is that the Witchking of Agmar could not be killed by the hand of man and it was Eowyn, the daughter of Theodren, that ends up slaying him. Personally I think this is just as contrived, but Tolkien's dispute with Shakespeare can be left for another day.


As with the opening of the Two Towers where we are introduced to Theodren, a king driven mad by the power of Saruman, in Return of the King we are introduced to another mad ruler, the Steward of Gondor. Gondor does not have a king, and has not had a king for a very long time. Instead the land is ruled by the Stewards, but there is an anticipation that a king will return and take the throne and this is something that the Steward does not want happening. He has become corrupted by power and the only way that he is able to let go is through death.


In Lord of the Rings power corrupts, and corruption leads to madness. We see this clearly with Gollum. He finds the ring and upon finding it he is immediately entrapped by its power. Bilbo has pity on Gollum, and in the end so do we. His life is corrupted by one desire and that is to possess 'his precious' - the one ring. The ring dominates his entire life and he ends up hiding in a dark cave staring at his precious. However when he loses it his life is destroyed. It is at this point that even we, the reader, pity him because we know that his life has no meaning beyond possession of the ring. This drives him to then search for the ring, and this greed that has corrupted his heart pretty much makes him untrustworthy. The only reason he helps Frodo is to attempt to get back his precious.


There is a point where Gollum appears to have beaten his demon, and truly understands Frodo as a friend, but this changes when Frodo is forced to betray Gollum. What Gollum does not realise, and never realises, is that Frodo did this to save his life. However Gollum is an individual that is driven by one obsession and it is this obsession that drives him to separate Sam from Frodo. He knows that the only thing standing between him and his precious is Sam, and he does what he can to get rid of Sam. However, as mentioned previously, it is Sam's undying loyalty to Frodo that drives him, and even when Frodo sends him away Sam always remains there, ready to step up and save his friend.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/228583739
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