Unlike The Silmarillion, for which the narrative fragments were modified to connect into a consistent and coherent work, the Unfinished Tales are presented as Tolkien left them, with little more than names changed (the author having had a confusing habit of trying out different names for a character while writing a draft). Thus some of these are incomplete stories, while others are collections of information about Middle-earth. Each tale is followed by a long series of notes explaining inconsistencies and obscure points.
Unfinished Tales provides more detailed information about characters, events and places mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings. Versions of such tales including the origins of Gandalf and the other Istari (Wizards), the death of Isildur and the loss of the One Ring in the Gladden Fields, and the founding of the kingdom of Rohan help expand knowledge about Middle-earth.
Of particular note is the tale of Aldarion and Erendis, the only known story of Númenor before its fall. A map of Númenor is also included in the book.
The commercial success of Unfinished Tales demonstrated that the demand for Tolkien's stories several years after his death was not only still present, it was growing. Encouraged by the result, Christopher Tolkien began to embark upon the more ambitious twelve-volume work entitled The History of Middle-earth which encompasses nearly the entire corpus of Tolkien's writings about Middle-earth.
This collection ranges from the time of The Silmarillion to the end of the War of the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. Its many treasures include Gandalf's lively account of how he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before Tuor, the only story of Númenor before its fall, and all that is known of the Five Wizards.
This collection has been edited by Christopher Tolkien, who provides a commentary placing each of the Tales in the context of his father's work.
Part One: The First Age:
- "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
- "Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)"
Part Two: The Second Age:
- "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
- "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
- "The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor"
- "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
Part Three: The Third Age:
- "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
- "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
- "The Quest of Erebor"
- "The Hunt for the Ring"
- "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
- "The Drúedain"
- "The Istari"
- "The Palantíri"
If you have read the The Lord of the Rings, you might enjoy this book. It is very interesting (but I like delving into more detail than many people), and is full of more information, especially on the Istari (Wizards) and the palantíri. I thought it was good (without being brilliant), and would certainly be interesting if you are interested in finding out more about Middle-earth.
Please add your review here.
- Reading Age: 13+
- Reading Aloud Age: 12+
There are various beings, among them elves and angelic spirits (the Valar and Maiar, the "wizards", as well as Sauron), who have powers that could be termed magical.
There is quite a lot of violence, but no gruesome details.
Lots of monsters, evil creatures etc.
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Gallery of book covers