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Unfinished Tales Of Numenor And Middle-Earth (1980)

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Other authors: Alan Lee (Illustrator), Ted Nasmith (Illustrator), Christopher Tolkien (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Middle-earth (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,91946675 (3.81)64
Collected by Tolkien's son, these tales further exlore the legendary Middle-earth, including its languages, legends, politics, and kings, and ranging temporally from the Elder Days through the War of the Rings.

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» See also 64 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This book includes some background and clarification of information that relates to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Some of the content is notes and I did not read this information. Some of the stories were interesting and rivaled those in the published books. The new TV series on the Rings of Power relates to some information about Numenor. This book is better than The Simarillion but not as good as the earlier published works. ( )
  GlennBell | Feb 7, 2023 |
Tolkien's unfinished stories are better than most people's finished ones. ( )
  gideonslife | Jan 5, 2023 |
Wow-o-wow! How had I not read this before? What a way to continue a Tolkien journey this year, having read The Silmarillion, Beren and Luthien, The Children of Hurin, The Fall of Gondolin, and now this.

And the audiobook so, so wonderfully narrated by Timothy and Samuel West. So seamlessly trading back and forth from main text to footnotes and back. Just wonderful. And another wonderful experience of reading the text while listening to the audio.

And the stories here. So much that augments both the Silmarillion and the LotR. Such richness. Numenor! Galadriel and Celeborn! Gladden Fields! Cirion and Eorl! The Quest of Erebor! The Hunt for the Ring! The Istari! The Palantíri! So much depth to Tolkien’s building of Middle Earth (and obvious source material for Peter Jackson’s movies- though he did go beyond source material and, to be kind, added his own).

Makes me want to go back and reread the LotR Appendices. (Though I understand the Audible has plans to release Andy Serkis reading the LotR- that is something to look forward to!) ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
J.R.R. Tolkien is an author who truly creates a world the reader can escape into. I love how detailed and complete his world is. These are books I have read and re-read many times and they continue to hold my interest and to offer me new details each time I dive into them. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
I am a diehard fan of Tolkien’s stories and themes, but I don’t really care about the extra minutiae. If you love extra minutiae, you will not like my review.

So, there’s a lot of good content in the Unfinished Tales, but... as a single BOOK, it’s not very good. I know that the History of Middle-earth series was published later than UT, but if there was ever to be a do-over, I think about a third of the content in UT should be in HoME, leaving UT for the more substantial “tales” left out of the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion (and some of the stuff relegated to HoME, like the Athrabeth and the Laws and Customs of the Eldar, might be better at home in the Unfinished Tales). A lot of the Third and Fourth Age content, for example, reads more like lore summaries and extra appendices than actual “unfinished tales.”

“Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin” was a delight, on the other hand, and I wish there was more of it. “Aldarion and Erendis” was probably my favorite unfinished tale, full of great characters and fascinating gender politics against a tantalizing backdrop of Second Age Númenor before it descended into darkness. The Narn was also good—not as tight as the abridged version in the Silmarillion, but I liked seeing more of Túrin’s world, and I came out of it with more sympathy for his character. I also enjoyed “The History of Galadriel and Celeborn” for its insight into what the house of Finwë was up to this whole time (because out of everyone in the Legendarium, I have the biggest soft spot for the house of Finwë)

If you are a fellow diehard fan thinking about reading the Unfinished Tales, my advice is this: don’t read it all in one go, and treat the individual stories like their own things. That’s what I did (reading whole other books between chapters) and the experience was much less of a slog than it could have been. Also, don’t feel guilty if something is boring and you decide to skip it. The reason the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion are so good is because they tell coherent narratives and had to be edited for publication. UT feels more like a deep-dive into the parts of those narratives that didn’t make the cut. So it’s interesting, but I don’t think it’s “required reading.” ( )
  acardon | Feb 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (122 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tolkien, J. R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, AlanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nasmith, TedIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tolkien, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlerberth, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cvetković Sever, VladimirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ebert, DietrichCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saba Sardi, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schütz, Hans J.Übersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Rían, wife of Huor, dwelt with the people of the House of Hador; but when rumour came to Dor-lómin of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and yet she could hear no news of her lord, she became distraught and wandered forth into the wild alone.
The problems that confront one given responsibility for the writings of a dead author are hard to resolve. (Introduction)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Collected by Tolkien's son, these tales further exlore the legendary Middle-earth, including its languages, legends, politics, and kings, and ranging temporally from the Elder Days through the War of the Rings.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Unfinished Tales is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring, and provides those who have read The Lord of the Rings with a whole collection of background and new stories from the twentieth century's most acclaimed popular author. The book concentrates on the realm of Middle-earth and comprises such elements as Gandalf's lively account of how it was that he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and an exact description of the military organization of the Riders of Rohan.

Unfinished Tales also contains the only story about the long ages of NÚmenor before its downfall, and all that is known about such matters as the Five Wizards, the PalantÍri and the legend of Amroth.

The tales were collated and edited by J.R.R. Tolkien's son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien, who provides a short commentary on each story, helping the reader to fill in the gaps and put each story into the context of the rest of his father's writings.


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"

Part Four
"The Drúedain"
"The Istari"
"The Palantíri"
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