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This is the third volume of the History of Middle-earth, which comprises here-tofore unpublished manuscripts that were written over a period of many years before Tolkien's Simlarillion was published. Volumes 1 and 2 were the Book of Lost Tales, Part One and The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two. Together, these volumes encompass an extraordinarily extensive body of material orn This is the third volume of the History of Middle-earth, which comprises here-tofore unpublished manuscripts that were written over a period of many years before Tolkien's Simlarillion was published. Volumes 1 and 2 were the Book of Lost Tales, Part One and The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two. Together, these volumes encompass an extraordinarily extensive body of material ornamenting and buttressing what must be the most fully realized world ever to spring from a single author's imagination. "I write alliterative verse with pleasure," wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in 1955, "though I have published little beyond the fragments in The Lord of the Rings, except The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth." The first of the poems in The Lays of Beleriand is the previously unpublished Lay of the Children of Hurin, his early but most sustained work in the ancient English meter, intended to narrate on a grand scale the tragedy of Turin Turambar. It was account of the killing by Turin of his friend Beleg, as well as a unique description of the great redoubt of Nargothrond. The Lay of the Children of Hurin was supplanted by the Lay of Leithian, "Release from Bondage", in which another major legend of the Elder Days received poetic form, in this case in rhyme. The chief source of the short prose tale of Beren and Luthien is The Silmarillion. This, too, was not completed, but the whole Quest of the Silmaril is told, and the poem breaks off only after the encounter with Morgoth in his subterranean fortress. Many years later, when The Lord of the rings was finished, J.R.R. Tolkien returned to the Lay of Leithian and started on a new version, which is also given in this book. Accompanying the poems are commentaries on the evolution of the history of the Elder Days, which was much developed during the years of the composition of the two Lays. Also included is the notable criticism in detail of the Lay of Lethian by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien's friend and colleague, who read the poem in 1929. By assuming that this poem is actually a fragment from a past lost in history, Lewis underlined the remarkable power of its author's imaginative talents and academic competence.


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This is the third volume of the History of Middle-earth, which comprises here-tofore unpublished manuscripts that were written over a period of many years before Tolkien's Simlarillion was published. Volumes 1 and 2 were the Book of Lost Tales, Part One and The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two. Together, these volumes encompass an extraordinarily extensive body of material orn This is the third volume of the History of Middle-earth, which comprises here-tofore unpublished manuscripts that were written over a period of many years before Tolkien's Simlarillion was published. Volumes 1 and 2 were the Book of Lost Tales, Part One and The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two. Together, these volumes encompass an extraordinarily extensive body of material ornamenting and buttressing what must be the most fully realized world ever to spring from a single author's imagination. "I write alliterative verse with pleasure," wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in 1955, "though I have published little beyond the fragments in The Lord of the Rings, except The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth." The first of the poems in The Lays of Beleriand is the previously unpublished Lay of the Children of Hurin, his early but most sustained work in the ancient English meter, intended to narrate on a grand scale the tragedy of Turin Turambar. It was account of the killing by Turin of his friend Beleg, as well as a unique description of the great redoubt of Nargothrond. The Lay of the Children of Hurin was supplanted by the Lay of Leithian, "Release from Bondage", in which another major legend of the Elder Days received poetic form, in this case in rhyme. The chief source of the short prose tale of Beren and Luthien is The Silmarillion. This, too, was not completed, but the whole Quest of the Silmaril is told, and the poem breaks off only after the encounter with Morgoth in his subterranean fortress. Many years later, when The Lord of the rings was finished, J.R.R. Tolkien returned to the Lay of Leithian and started on a new version, which is also given in this book. Accompanying the poems are commentaries on the evolution of the history of the Elder Days, which was much developed during the years of the composition of the two Lays. Also included is the notable criticism in detail of the Lay of Lethian by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien's friend and colleague, who read the poem in 1929. By assuming that this poem is actually a fragment from a past lost in history, Lewis underlined the remarkable power of its author's imaginative talents and academic competence.

30 review for The Lays of Beleriand

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth #3), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985, is the third volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume book series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. This book contains the long heroic lays or lyric poetry Tolkien wrote: these are The Lay of the Children of Húrin about the saga of Túrin Turambar, and The Lay of Leithian about Be The Lays of Beleriand (The History of Middle-Earth #3), J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (Editor) The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985, is the third volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume book series, The History of Middle-earth, in which he analyzes the unpublished manuscripts of his father J. R. R. Tolkien. This book contains the long heroic lays or lyric poetry Tolkien wrote: these are The Lay of the Children of Húrin about the saga of Túrin Turambar, and The Lay of Leithian about Beren and Lúthien. Although Tolkien abandoned them before their respective ends, they are both long enough to occupy many stanzas, each of which can last for over ten pages. The first poem is in alliterative verse, and the second is in rhyming couplets. In addition to these two poems, the book also gives three short, soon-abandoned alliterative poems, which are The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor, The Lay of Eärendel, and The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin. The book is split into these main sections: The Lay of the Children of Húrin: First and secon version. Poems Early Abandoned: The Flight of the Noldoli, Fragment of an alliterative Lay of Earendel, The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin. The Lay of Leithian:The Gest of Beren son of Barahir and Lúthien the Fay called Tinúviel the Nightingale or the Lay of Leithian - Release from Bondage (split into fourteen cantos); Unwritten cantos; Appendix: Commentary by C. S. Lewis The Lay of Leithian Recommenced In the book Christopher Tolkien also mentions a third Túrin poem, this time in rhyming couplets and incomplete called The Children of Húrin and is only 170 lines long (compared to the 2276 lines of the first of the alliterative poems); this poem, however, has been omitted from the book. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و چهارم ماه مارس سال 2010 میلادی عنوان: سروده های بلریاند: کتاب سوم: تاریخ سرزمین میانه؛ نویسنده: جی.آر.آر. تالکین؛ در ماه آگوست سال 1985 میلادی، در انگلستان، و در روز بیستم ماه نوامبر سال 1985 میلادی، در آمریکا، سومین جلد از مجموعه «تاریخ سرزمین میانه» با عنوان: «سروده های بلریاند» منتشر شد. این کتاب شامل منظومه ای عاشقانه: «ترانه لیتیان»، بالغ بر هفت هزار بیت بوده، که یکی از معروف ترین داستانهای منتشر شده، در کتاب «سیلماریلیون»، تحت عنوان: «برن و لوتین» نیز هست. این شعر تا مرز میانه های داستان پیش میرود و عمر پربرکت «تالکین»، اجازه ی کامل کردن آنرا به آن روانشاد نداده است. همچنین بسیاری از دست نوشته های دیگر، از اشعار ناتمام «تالکین» درباره ی «دوران اول»، همچون: «ترانه فرزندان هورین»، «سرود سقوط گوندولین»، و «ترانه ائارندیل»، در این کتاب گردآوری شده است. در این جلد خوانشگر از دیدی ژرف، به عناصر استفاده شده، برای ساخت «دنیای تالکین»، بهره میگیرد و با سیر تکاملی آن آشنا میشود. ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    3 - 3.5 stars _The Lays of Beleriand_ is a book that I’ve had on my bookshelf for many, many years and quite frankly never thought I’d get to. I think I probably got my copy around the time it was first published when I was but a wee sprat simply because it was by Tolkien and certainly at that time the likelihood that I would read a book comprised primarily of two long narrative poems accompanied by copious editorial apparatus was, to say the least, unlikely. As time went on and I got older I sti 3 - 3.5 stars _The Lays of Beleriand_ is a book that I’ve had on my bookshelf for many, many years and quite frankly never thought I’d get to. I think I probably got my copy around the time it was first published when I was but a wee sprat simply because it was by Tolkien and certainly at that time the likelihood that I would read a book comprised primarily of two long narrative poems accompanied by copious editorial apparatus was, to say the least, unlikely. As time went on and I got older I still never read it as I didn’t think the ‘History of Middle-earth’ series (or HoME) would hold much interest for me. Why bother reading the ‘preliminary drafts’ of the material when I had already read the finished products, or at least as close as we were going to get to them in the case of The Silmarillion? It took the podcasts of Corey Olsen (‘The Tolkien Professor’) to get me off my rump in this regard and encourage me to actually pick up the series which allowed me to more fully appreciate what the History of Middle-earth series really provides. I had always thought the series was little more than rough drafts which would only, at best, provide a view into Tolkien’s writing process. An interesting area of study for some perhaps, but it certainly wasn’t my primary interest in him. While this aspect of the series is certainly still somewhat true, I found once I had given the books a fair chance that they offered far more. Ultimately they allowed me to see, in the best cases, much fuller versions of the tales of the First Age of Middle-earth that are given only in precis in The Silmarillion as published. I should have considered this possibility after being blown away by the content in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth when I read it, but all I remembered at the time were my failed attempts at the first volume in the series, The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, when I was young and as for the current volume in question? As noted above plowing through some very long narrative poems still didn’t exactly recommend itself to me when I considered all of the other items on my to-read list. Well, I will admit that I’m glad now that I *did* read it. I could nit-pick and complain that instead of yet another version of the stories of Turin and Beren & Luthien (they were certainly the stories that Tolkien seemed to have loved the most and came back to again and again, re-writing, revising and tinkering as was his wont) it would have been great if we had gotten the full epic treatment of something for which we don’t already have a lot of material, say perhaps the story of Tuor…or hey how about Earendil? He was the first character in what was to become Middle-earth about whom Tolkien wrote and his was supposedly the tale that spawned the entire opus of Middle-earth and was, arguably, the cornerstone to the entire story of the First Age and yet we have little to nothing about him! Still, even if we’re visiting well-tread ground here (at least if you’re a Tolkien fan and have read the other material that exists apart from the HoME series) these versions have plenty to recommend them to us. For one thing there is just so much more detail than we get in the Silmarillion versions that you can really start to live inside the tales a little more easily as a result. You also get a glimpse of the true scope of what Tolkien worked on beyond his most famous works the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit; even though this material was all, in some ways, preliminary and ultimately published posthumously, it becomes obvious that this was really what was at the heart of his creative life and it was truly huge in scope. I was actually surprised when I finished the book to find that I preferred the Lay of Leithian since I normally don’t gravitate as much to the story of Beren of Luthien, beautiful as it is, and the fact that it was written in rhyming couplets could have been disastrous. Luckily there was no twee sing-songiness to the poem (Tolkien really was a fairly accomplished poet) and the chance to see more of both Beren and Luthien in action (not to mention Huan the great hound of Valinor) turned out to be very enjoyable. All those people who think Tolkien didn’t like (or write) strong women really need to take a gander at Luthien. Her tale has been described as the story of a girl and her dog who go out to rescue her boyfriend, and while it is much more than that, the fact that it works well enough as a thumbnail sketch speaks volumes. If you’re a Tolkien fan, especially one who enjoys poetry, and you enjoy the tales of the Silmarillion then you owe it to yourself to check out the HoME series and this volume does not at all disappoint in that regard. A must-read for the Tolkien completist.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I love Tolkien, but I was prepared to dislike this book, the third in his History of Middle-Earth series. After all, I thought, there's nothing new in this one: it's just a recap of the telling of the Tale of the Children of Hurin and the Lay of Leithian, about Beren and Luthien. Those have already been well covered, not only in the Silmarillion and in the standalone The Children of Hurin book, but in the previous two volumes as well. I'm happy to say I was wrong. True, the bulk of this book is t I love Tolkien, but I was prepared to dislike this book, the third in his History of Middle-Earth series. After all, I thought, there's nothing new in this one: it's just a recap of the telling of the Tale of the Children of Hurin and the Lay of Leithian, about Beren and Luthien. Those have already been well covered, not only in the Silmarillion and in the standalone The Children of Hurin book, but in the previous two volumes as well. I'm happy to say I was wrong. True, the bulk of this book is the retelling of these tales; but it's in verse, not prose, and some of the details are different and evolving enough that it is actually a joy to read. And I say that as someone who's never particularly enjoyed poetry. First the lays are written in alliterative verse, where the same sound is repeated two or three times on each line, e.g., The summer slowly in the sad forest waned and faded. In the west arose winds that wandered over warring seas. As I read these lays, I was continually astonished that the Professor never failed to find words that began with the right sounds to keep the pattern, yet which never failed to be the perfect words to convey the mental image he intended. His obvious command of the English language has never been more wonderfully put to use. Then the lays are repeated in rhyming couplets, like Once wide and smooth a plain was spread where King Fingolfin proudly led his silver armies on the green, his horses white, his lances keen... The ability to tell the same long tales in such different formats is astonishing; that he felt compelled to do it dismays me. After all, while I certainly enjoyed reading all three versions of each of the two long tales, the vast span of time and effort the professor spent creating and recreating them could have better, in my opinion, been spent writing more stories of Middle-Earth featuring, or amplifying, other times, places, and characters. And this in the end is what I took away from The Lays of Beleriand: awe at the man's sheer creativity and perseverance, but disappointment that there is so much about Middle-Earth we will never enjoy because of his obsession with these two tales and their forms.

  4. 4 out of 5

    X

    I don't completely agree with the synopsis of this book on this website. It is certainly a "treasure trove of lore", but I was never aware that Turin was looking for his father, and "the dark destiny" of Turin and Beleg is quite an understatement. But, The Lay of Leithian *does* have a hero! :) I nearly gave this book 4 stars, but decided on 5, more for what could have been than what is actually in the book. It's not LOTR, by any means, but it could have rivaled it if Tolkien had ever written a I don't completely agree with the synopsis of this book on this website. It is certainly a "treasure trove of lore", but I was never aware that Turin was looking for his father, and "the dark destiny" of Turin and Beleg is quite an understatement. But, The Lay of Leithian *does* have a hero! :) I nearly gave this book 4 stars, but decided on 5, more for what could have been than what is actually in the book. It's not LOTR, by any means, but it could have rivaled it if Tolkien had ever written an expanded prose version. I definitely enjoyed this book, though it was hard reading at times, both because of the way it was written and because I do not read poetry well. It is basically two poems about pre-LOTR Middle-Earth written in an Old-English style. The first, The Children of Hurin, is an alliterative poem, and the other, The Lay of Leithian, is in rhyming verse, which made it a little easier for me to read. It also has the first few lines of abandoned poems by Tolkien, and extensive commentary by Christopher Tolkien. There are also some comments on an early version of Leithian by C.S. Lewis, which was neat, both to think that he and Tolkien were friends and because Lewis treated it as critic reviewing a real translation of an Old-English poem. One very nice thing about the poems was that they are actually more detailed in some places than the prose accounts in "The Silmarillion". I found that I liked some characters better in the poems. That all said, I do not recommend this book to someone who has not read "The Silmarillion". Both poems, though very long, are incomplete (Tolkien never finished them) and would undoubtedly leave unanswered questions for someone who did not already know the stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shadowdenizen

    This volume, while largely a (further) re-hash of Simarillion material, nonetheless adds a few interesting tidbits/concepts to the fold, while the style of writing is a nice touch, using [as some astute reviews already noted] verse rather than prose to give it a more funereal [IMO] feel. So, while I'm enjoying (for the most part) this series thus far.... I'm also finding it somewhat wearing on me (akin to Bilbo holding the One Ring for so many years), and I find my interest in Tolkien scholarship This volume, while largely a (further) re-hash of Simarillion material, nonetheless adds a few interesting tidbits/concepts to the fold, while the style of writing is a nice touch, using [as some astute reviews already noted] verse rather than prose to give it a more funereal [IMO] feel. So, while I'm enjoying (for the most part) this series thus far.... I'm also finding it somewhat wearing on me (akin to Bilbo holding the One Ring for so many years), and I find my interest in Tolkien scholarship actually beginning to slightly diminish as I read on. Maybe it's because there's so much new and compelling literature out there on my plate to get to? So, I'm sticking with the series for now, but maybe a break before diving into Book 4...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    Not the earliest works of Middle Earth, but where he loses the bits of twee that were in the Book of Lost Tales. Turin done in alliterative verse, in several variants. The basic bones of the story are down, but many interesting differences between here and the final version. Luthein and Beren are done in rhyming verse, and come closer to the final version. It makes The Silmarillion version look terse. Some repetitionbetween this and Beren and Lúthien. Not the earliest works of Middle Earth, but where he loses the bits of twee that were in the Book of Lost Tales. Turin done in alliterative verse, in several variants. The basic bones of the story are down, but many interesting differences between here and the final version. Luthein and Beren are done in rhyming verse, and come closer to the final version. It makes The Silmarillion version look terse. Some repetitionbetween this and Beren and Lúthien.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Read the synopsis to see what it's about, lol, can't add anything to that. Took me a while to get through, and as always intense, so only for hardcore fans! (That's for all the books in the History-series, by the way!)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Tolkien repeats two stories found in other published (posthumous) works, found in this work, in poetic form: “The Children of Hurin,” and “Beren and Luthien.” C.S. Lewis calls this type of rhyming scheme a “geste” in his critical analysis, also found in this book. The poems give deeper insight into the stories, with more reality and description (more showing than telling). Here’s my favorite passage: The Lay of Leithian (3888 - 3893) Beneath them ranged with spear and sword Stood Morgoth’s sable-arm Tolkien repeats two stories found in other published (posthumous) works, found in this work, in poetic form: “The Children of Hurin,” and “Beren and Luthien.” C.S. Lewis calls this type of rhyming scheme a “geste” in his critical analysis, also found in this book. The poems give deeper insight into the stories, with more reality and description (more showing than telling). Here’s my favorite passage: The Lay of Leithian (3888 - 3893) Beneath them ranged with spear and sword Stood Morgoth’s sable-armed horde: The fire on blade and boss of shield Was red as blood on stricken field. Beneath a monstrous column loomed The throne of Morgoth, and the doomed And dying gasped upon the floor: His hideous footstool, rape of war. About him sat his aweful thanes The Balrog-lords with fiery manes, Red-handed, mouthed with fangs of steel; Devouring wolves were crouched at heel. And over the host of hell there shone With a cold radiance, clear and wan. The Simarils, the gems of fate, Imprisoned in the crown of hate

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I adored these stories in this form, for me reading them in the rhyme and meter of older works of poetry made them so much more lyrical and enjoyable than the brief summaries found in The Silmarillion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Octavia Cade

    I am reminded of that old saying of law and sausages, and not wanting to see how either is made. I felt that way periodically while reading this. While I was interested to see how the different narratives developed, and while I did enjoy those narratives, some of the commentary was a little too detailed and abstract for me - I really do not care to read endless notes on minor spelling changes, for instance - and it's hard to deny that there's a lot of repetition here. As always, the sheer depth o I am reminded of that old saying of law and sausages, and not wanting to see how either is made. I felt that way periodically while reading this. While I was interested to see how the different narratives developed, and while I did enjoy those narratives, some of the commentary was a little too detailed and abstract for me - I really do not care to read endless notes on minor spelling changes, for instance - and it's hard to deny that there's a lot of repetition here. As always, the sheer depth of Tolkien's imagination is a delight. I am forced to conclude, however, that he's just not that great a poet. Yes, come at me with your pitchforks, but I genuinely think his prose is better. He does enjoy the rhyming form, and in order to force the rhymes his sentences are twisted to fit and the results aren't fantastic - for this reason I much preferred the alliterative Children of Hurin parts to that of rhyming Beren and Luthien. Still, on a macro level if not a micro, this is an interesting read if perhaps one more directed towards academics than people who just want to read a good story without being interrupted by sausage-making.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    Immense talent and genius of professor Tolkien emerged, once again, among this pages. This time in form of epic poems. Great, long and unfinished poem "Lay of Leithian", written in octosyllabic couplets, so many times mentioned both in official version of "The Silmarillion", as well as in "The Book of Lost Tales part 1&2" bursts of beautiful literary expressions and reveals how the story of Beren and Luthien was step-by-step developed and how the plot and characters were shifted in the long peri Immense talent and genius of professor Tolkien emerged, once again, among this pages. This time in form of epic poems. Great, long and unfinished poem "Lay of Leithian", written in octosyllabic couplets, so many times mentioned both in official version of "The Silmarillion", as well as in "The Book of Lost Tales part 1&2" bursts of beautiful literary expressions and reveals how the story of Beren and Luthien was step-by-step developed and how the plot and characters were shifted in the long period of time in which it was written. Another great poem listed in this volume is "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" - an early Tolkien's work, written in his beloved alliterative stanzas. And the most biggest surprise for me is "Noldolante" i.e. "The Flight of the Noldoli" - a poem that is mentioned in official version of "The Silmarillion" in chapter 9., which is but lament for the doom of Noldoli because of Fëanor's dreadful oath. For all that enjoy in old English epic poems, this volume should be on high position on the reading list :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    H.S.J. Williams

    All right, I haven't read this book all the way through. Mainly, because a great portion of the book is the story of Turin, which is the most depressing story Tolkien ever came up with. But this also includes a great deal of the tale of Beren and Luthien, told in a beautiful way. You see, the stories in here are written in leys, told in a poetic form that flows off the tongue and right into the heart. It's pure genius. I can get chills reading certain passages of The Ley of Leithian. Fantastic. T All right, I haven't read this book all the way through. Mainly, because a great portion of the book is the story of Turin, which is the most depressing story Tolkien ever came up with. But this also includes a great deal of the tale of Beren and Luthien, told in a beautiful way. You see, the stories in here are written in leys, told in a poetic form that flows off the tongue and right into the heart. It's pure genius. I can get chills reading certain passages of The Ley of Leithian. Fantastic. The one downer is that the poem ends before the story does. If you want the complete tale of Beren and Luthien, read it in the Silmarillion. :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Viel Nast

    The third book of the history of middle earth series is even more difficult and hard to read than the two before it! Now we deal with the abandoned poems that consisted of the first attempts for Tolkien to tell the story of the silmarils in verse. Christopher had found and presents in this books the many different versions of the long poems mainly the “lay of leithian” and we can see how the named ideas and descriptions evolved noticing some major differences from the earlier stages to the final The third book of the history of middle earth series is even more difficult and hard to read than the two before it! Now we deal with the abandoned poems that consisted of the first attempts for Tolkien to tell the story of the silmarils in verse. Christopher had found and presents in this books the many different versions of the long poems mainly the “lay of leithian” and we can see how the named ideas and descriptions evolved noticing some major differences from the earlier stages to the final form that was presented in the Silmarillion although the stories of the first age were never put into a finished book by the professor himself. Nonetheless, the book is a tedious reading because of the many details comments names and indexes and the useful parts are small and few. I wouldn’t recommend this book for people who had just seen the movies but for the most hardcore middle earth fans and mainly scholars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clare S-B

    Was really cool to read, especially being able to read the commentary by C.S. Lewis on the Lay of Leithian alongside an early version of it.Luthiens story is my favourite of all Tolkien's characters in the stories other than LOTR. There were quite a few bits and pieces that were quite cool, but it was not an easy read, as it is obviously not a story, but for the hard core fans.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Milam

    The Lay of Leithian is one of Tolkien's most stunning achievements, and it is a real shame that the final cantos were never written. Still, I'm extremely grateful that so much of the narrative is represented in such stunning and evocative verse!

  16. 5 out of 5

    L

    An extensive & remarkable insight into the creation of Middle-Earth, captured in this comprehensive volume of a series. This is the third volume within the collection of books that make up ‘the history of Middle-Earth’ which delves into JRR Tolkien’s great creation behind The Silmarillion, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. This fascinating, detailed insight delves into the mythology of his work, through the alliterative verse tales of two of the most significant and crucial stories in Tolkie An extensive & remarkable insight into the creation of Middle-Earth, captured in this comprehensive volume of a series. This is the third volume within the collection of books that make up ‘the history of Middle-Earth’ which delves into JRR Tolkien’s great creation behind The Silmarillion, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. This fascinating, detailed insight delves into the mythology of his work, through the alliterative verse tales of two of the most significant and crucial stories in Tolkien’s world; that being those of Turin and Luthien. Complete with poems such as the unpublished ‘lay of children of Hurin’ that emphasizes the tragedy of Turin Turambar, together with the poignant and noteworthy ‘Lay of Lethian’ which is the main source for Beren and Luthien in the Silmarillion, recounting the quest of the Silmaril and the encounter with Morgoth in his fortress. In addition to the poems is information about the evolution of the Elder days and an extra source in the form of notable criticism from friend and writer C.S Lewis who read the poem in 1929. The Lays of Beleriand offers aficionados of JRR Tolkien’s extensive works and mythology a glimpse into the otherwise understated metaphysics underlying his mythological invention, and the editorial complexities of the material which is thoroughly taken apart by Christopher Tolkien. This is a worthy and indispensable edition to any Tolkien collection and to the history of Middle-Earth, which goes beyond what you see and know delving even deeper by disclosing hidden secrets and fascinating facts that will amaze and delight. This fascinating study is something that those overwhelmed and impressed by this master of his craft who created something beyond genius, will devour in an instant and I guarantee you will find really inspiring as well. Creating the tales behind the one Ring was an astonishing feat alone, but Professor Tolkien brought into being an entire world ad society, which most authors of today can only aspire to dream of achieving; and in one persons lifetime it is unquestionably an astounding accomplishment. Complete with pages from the original manuscript of ‘the lay of the children of Hurin’ this is a fascinating and interesting study of such a work on an epic scale, which I urge fans of his books (such as the lord of the rings) to discover for it is so illuminating. I am constantly amazed and in awe of such a man who in his lifetime did so much that which has not only stood the test of time, but which will live on for so many years to come hence I like many authors of the fantasy genre will admit to owing him a lot. A must have book for any JRR Tolkien collector, fan or even mythical devotee or historical study. His world-building and mythology is exceptional and remains incomparable, unmatched to any other writer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    I loved Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but I found this book very challenging. Christopher Tolkien has put together some poetic stories that his father worked on but never finished. "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" was difficult to read because of the often odd syntax. The "Lay of Leithian" was easier to follow because it was composed in rhyming couplets, and therefore flowed more smoothly. In "Lethien," a man named Beren meets and falls in love with the elf king's daughter, Luthien, I loved Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but I found this book very challenging. Christopher Tolkien has put together some poetic stories that his father worked on but never finished. "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" was difficult to read because of the often odd syntax. The "Lay of Leithian" was easier to follow because it was composed in rhyming couplets, and therefore flowed more smoothly. In "Lethien," a man named Beren meets and falls in love with the elf king's daughter, Luthien, or Tinuviel. The king, Thingol, is very angry about this and tasks Beren with retrieving the silmarils from Morgoth. Beren agrees to the task, and even though Luthien wants to come along, Beren persuades her to stay behind. (view spoiler)[ Ultimately, Luthien does join Beren, but Beren is killed while trying to defend her from Morgoth's monstrous wolf. (hide spoiler)] This was an interesting story, and it is too bad that Tolkien never finished it, at least, not in this format. Christopher points out throughout the notes that this story is also in the Silmarillion, but since I have not yet read that book, I don't know how well-developed the story is in that work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Regitze

    Full review on my blog: Bookish Love Affair. Truly a book for the nerds. Those who are interested in following the often quite convoluted creation of two of the more important tales in Tolkien's legendarium. The tales of Túrin son of Húrin and Tinúviel (more commonly known as the story of Lúthien and Beren) exist in many forms and in many diffeeent books, some of which I have yet to read. Christopher Tolkien does a quite good job of explaining the progress of the poems, or lays, in this book and Full review on my blog: Bookish Love Affair. Truly a book for the nerds. Those who are interested in following the often quite convoluted creation of two of the more important tales in Tolkien's legendarium. The tales of Túrin son of Húrin and Tinúviel (more commonly known as the story of Lúthien and Beren) exist in many forms and in many diffeeent books, some of which I have yet to read. Christopher Tolkien does a quite good job of explaining the progress of the poems, or lays, in this book and how they develop into the later prose forms known from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. (The poem about Húrin's children in this book should not be confused with the book by the same title, as I understand it they're different stories, but as I haven't read the latter one yet I can't be sure). It is a heavy book to get through, but I for one found the earlier versions presented in this book quite interesting.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    It's never quite accurate to categorize Tolkien as a "modern" novelist. He certainly did not match the trends of his time, and modern readers often struggle with his antique style, antique in the sense he is out of time by centuries. Tolkien is not exactly prose writer, he's really an out of place bard, and in his poetry especially you see his true skill as an author. To me "The Lay of Beleriand", which includes the unfinished epic poems of the the Lay of Leithian and the Children of Hurin, is T It's never quite accurate to categorize Tolkien as a "modern" novelist. He certainly did not match the trends of his time, and modern readers often struggle with his antique style, antique in the sense he is out of time by centuries. Tolkien is not exactly prose writer, he's really an out of place bard, and in his poetry especially you see his true skill as an author. To me "The Lay of Beleriand", which includes the unfinished epic poems of the the Lay of Leithian and the Children of Hurin, is Tolkien's greatest work. It's a tragedy that he never finished them, for in 80 pages of expertly rhymed couplets he conjures more magic and heart-wrenching pathos than in all of the Lord of the Rings.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Flora Smith

    Anyone who truly enjoys the works of JRR Tolkien will like this. Much of the story of Beren and Luthien is told here in prose. Their story is my favorite that is told in the The Silmarillion and being told in prose is beautiful. This book also has some of the earlier stories such as Thingol and Melian as well as further information about the construction and changes that these stories underwent. Much of the commentary can be skipped and the stories themselves enjoyed as they are. Anyone who truly enjoys the works of JRR Tolkien will like this. Much of the story of Beren and Luthien is told here in prose. Their story is my favorite that is told in the The Silmarillion and being told in prose is beautiful. This book also has some of the earlier stories such as Thingol and Melian as well as further information about the construction and changes that these stories underwent. Much of the commentary can be skipped and the stories themselves enjoyed as they are.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mert

    4/5 Stars. The History of Middle Earth is for hardcore Tolkien fans in my opinion. They are not necessary for the most part. However, if you've read everything from Tolkien multiple times (like me) you need to read this 12 book series. I could only find this one in Turkey since they are pretty rare. The other two books that I've found were extremely expensive so I decided not to buy them. I'm glad I found this book because you learn more detailed information about Beleriand and its eventual destru 4/5 Stars. The History of Middle Earth is for hardcore Tolkien fans in my opinion. They are not necessary for the most part. However, if you've read everything from Tolkien multiple times (like me) you need to read this 12 book series. I could only find this one in Turkey since they are pretty rare. The other two books that I've found were extremely expensive so I decided not to buy them. I'm glad I found this book because you learn more detailed information about Beleriand and its eventual destruction. Beleriand storyline was one of my favourite in The Silmarillion so this was fun to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    We actually get the Lay of Leithian! The actual poem form! Yay! I mean, as usual, there's way too much commentary by Christopher Tolkien, but the purpose of the book is excellently served. The best of the History or Middle-earth books!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    3 stars just because it's so darn difficult to read this kind of poetry...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Martyn

    At present my aim is to read all my books from cover-to-cover. It will be a great relief when that is accomplished and I then feel at liberty to go back and dip into a book and just read the parts which I really like. It will be great to revisit the History and Middle-Earth series and just read all the main pieces by JRRT, and skip all the commentaries by his son, which turns pleasure into drudgery. I enjoyed both main pieces in this book. I can't claim to have understood the Lay of the Children At present my aim is to read all my books from cover-to-cover. It will be a great relief when that is accomplished and I then feel at liberty to go back and dip into a book and just read the parts which I really like. It will be great to revisit the History and Middle-Earth series and just read all the main pieces by JRRT, and skip all the commentaries by his son, which turns pleasure into drudgery. I enjoyed both main pieces in this book. I can't claim to have understood the Lay of the Children of Hurin very well. Because it didn't rhyme, and because of the alliterative nature of it, I couldn't really follow the plot. But that didn't really matter. I still loved the sound of the words, and was amazed at the constant variety of words being used. There was something quite satisfying in the sound of reading it - rather like Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood. Following on from the Lay of the Children of Hurin, the Lay of Leithian was much more satisfying with its rhythm and rhyme, and was much more comprehensible, and I very much enjoyed it. It will just be nice to read it next time without having to read all Christopher's tedious comments in between. I can understand the dilemma he faced, having so many manuscripts with so many later annotations and amendments and alterations which he was trying to bring together and make sense of, but at the end of the day it only leaves the reader feeling confused about everything. I'm not obsessive about Middle-Earth, about trying learn everything I can about it. Therefore I don't really care about precise details. I am happy enough to read the same basic story again and again in each of its evolving forms. I don't care if they differ or contradict one another. I do not feel any need to have points of difference pointed out or commented upon or reconciled. I'm happy to read a story for its own sake, rather than for the sake of the wider world into which it fits. I wonder whether readers of Beren and Luthien (2017) were able to read the Lay of Leithian in as complete and uninterrupted a format as it is found in this volume. If it was abridged in anyway, then I feel they were cheated. It was a pleasure to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Waterworth

    In this chapter of the History of Middle Earth are the bountiful and beautiful attempts by Tolkien to render his tales of the First Age into epic and lengthy poetry. The highlights are “The Children of Hurin”, the tragic tale of a legendary hero recounted in ancient Saxon metre, and “The Lay of Leithien”, the tale of Beren and Luthien told as a medieval romance. If these works had been finished, (and if a little work called The Lord of the Rings hadn’t got in the way) these pieces would have bee In this chapter of the History of Middle Earth are the bountiful and beautiful attempts by Tolkien to render his tales of the First Age into epic and lengthy poetry. The highlights are “The Children of Hurin”, the tragic tale of a legendary hero recounted in ancient Saxon metre, and “The Lay of Leithien”, the tale of Beren and Luthien told as a medieval romance. If these works had been finished, (and if a little work called The Lord of the Rings hadn’t got in the way) these pieces would have been the center pieces of his literary creation. Tolkien’s poetry is a wonderful to rad as ever. My quibbling here, much like with the Beren and Lúthien, is not with the material itself, but the presentation. I really wish the Histories of Middle Earth presented their textual changes and commentaries as margin annotation. Personal preference, but I really feel that The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again ’s Layout is much superior, with the notes appearing alongside the text. Particularly galling is the relegation of C.S. Lewis’ commentary to it’s own chapter outside the Lay. I would much rather have it alongside the text to “read it” along with him, as their inclusion afterwards have an incredibly frustration lack of context. It’s pretty emblematic of my dives into the various volumes of the History of Middle Earth. Equal parts fascination and frustration. There is plenty of useful and insightful things to be learned in them, and Christopher Tolkien has done the world a tremendous service in creating a vehicle for his father’s unfinished works to be published. I just wish they were presented in a different format.

  26. 4 out of 5

    D-day

    First of all a warning that, like all the volumes of A History of Middle Earth, The Lays of Beleriand is not for the casual Tolkien fan. At the least you should have read The Silmarillion before reading this installment. Also this book requires another warning: as suggested by the title, The Lays of Beleriand contains Lays, that is poetry. So be warned, if you skip all the poems when you read Lord of the Rings then this book might not be for you. The bulk of tLoB contains two long poems: The Lay First of all a warning that, like all the volumes of A History of Middle Earth, The Lays of Beleriand is not for the casual Tolkien fan. At the least you should have read The Silmarillion before reading this installment. Also this book requires another warning: as suggested by the title, The Lays of Beleriand contains Lays, that is poetry. So be warned, if you skip all the poems when you read Lord of the Rings then this book might not be for you. The bulk of tLoB contains two long poems: The Lay of the Children of Hurin in alliterative verse and The Lay of Leithian (i.e. The story of Beren and Luthien) in rhyming couplets. I know nothing about poetry, and indeed had no idea what alliterative verse was, even after reading the poem! So I am not really qualified to judge the quality of the poetry. I thought it was fine, but YMMV. The chief attraction for me, other than my general interest in the evolution of the Silmarillion stories, is that both poems provide detail that doesn't exist in the condensed forms of the stories found in The Silmarillion. This is especially important for the story of Beren and Luthien, since the story of the Children of Hurin was fleshed out in other works.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Buchanan

    An illuminating look at some of the early versions of the major players in the history of Middle Earth. The alliterative, Old English-style verse that makes up 'The Lay of the Children of Hurin' is technically virtuosic and I found to be a pleasure to read. Its formality is certainly not for everyone, but it warmed this English major's hearth. The sing-song style of 'The Lay of Luthien' is somewhat more jarring to get behind, but the subject matter is such that it remains engaging and laced with An illuminating look at some of the early versions of the major players in the history of Middle Earth. The alliterative, Old English-style verse that makes up 'The Lay of the Children of Hurin' is technically virtuosic and I found to be a pleasure to read. Its formality is certainly not for everyone, but it warmed this English major's hearth. The sing-song style of 'The Lay of Luthien' is somewhat more jarring to get behind, but the subject matter is such that it remains engaging and laced with passages of great beauty. Christopher Tolkien's extensive editorial notes are in turns helpful and somewhat frustrating, but certainly demonstrate the scholarly rigor with which he approaches his father's works. The labor of gathering together and producing a cohesive whole out of the many scattered drafts and manuscripts left by Tolkien is clearly a gargantuan task, and I'm certainly glad he took the time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caleb Jore

    This one was mostly poetry, but it was an enjoyable read and I found myself acquiring a newfound appreciation for this literary form which I had previously neglected. The Lay of the Children of Húrin, written in Old English half line alliterative verse, was a difficult read at first but I grew to enjoy the form of poetry as I read it. It doesn't change, however, the tragedy of the story. The Lay of Leithian, written in octosyllabic rhyming couplets, was a much more enjoyable read as it told the f This one was mostly poetry, but it was an enjoyable read and I found myself acquiring a newfound appreciation for this literary form which I had previously neglected. The Lay of the Children of Húrin, written in Old English half line alliterative verse, was a difficult read at first but I grew to enjoy the form of poetry as I read it. It doesn't change, however, the tragedy of the story. The Lay of Leithian, written in octosyllabic rhyming couplets, was a much more enjoyable read as it told the familiar story of Beren and Lúthien. CS Lewis' commentary on The Lay of Leithian was hysterical and enjoyable to read. It was interesting to see the two scholars disagree over certain minute aspects of the poetry and meter and also cool to see Tolkien adopt some of Lewis' suggestions. I do, however, agree with the Tolkien's opinion about "the shiners three". xD This book is best read after the first two volumes in the series but can stand alone as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jackson Compton

    This book is a great read if you're looking for more stories within Tolkien's mythology. This book should be read after The Silmarillion, and The Book of Lost Tales Part 2. It contains really no new stories but tells two of my personal favorites, Turin's story and Beren and Luthien's story, in poem forms. They are both great but Beren's story was better in my opinion. It was more complete (though not completely finished) and was written in a rhyming verse that was easy to understand. Turin'a sto This book is a great read if you're looking for more stories within Tolkien's mythology. This book should be read after The Silmarillion, and The Book of Lost Tales Part 2. It contains really no new stories but tells two of my personal favorites, Turin's story and Beren and Luthien's story, in poem forms. They are both great but Beren's story was better in my opinion. It was more complete (though not completely finished) and was written in a rhyming verse that was easy to understand. Turin'a story was not even half complete (it doesn't get to the dragon) and it was also more difficult to understand (it is in alliterative verse). Overall, I enjoyed parts of this book and if you enjoyed The Book of Lost Tales you should definitely put this down as your next read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Zama

    Totally loved it! And I never expected it. I was actually hesitant to read this because I normally don't enjoy poetry. But I'm reading my way through the History of Middle Earth with a little group of readers and this was next and so I thought, well, let's try it. Fantastic! Here are the many different drafts in the form of poems of The Children of Hurin and The Lay of Leithian (Beren and Luthien). Never did I imagine the power of the vision, the depth of feelings and emotions, the beauty of the Totally loved it! And I never expected it. I was actually hesitant to read this because I normally don't enjoy poetry. But I'm reading my way through the History of Middle Earth with a little group of readers and this was next and so I thought, well, let's try it. Fantastic! Here are the many different drafts in the form of poems of The Children of Hurin and The Lay of Leithian (Beren and Luthien). Never did I imagine the power of the vision, the depth of feelings and emotions, the beauty of the language. Loved it! Just loved it!

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