Reviews for The Lays of Beleriand, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien

62sghg's review

Go to review page

2.0

I decided to stop reading this early. I love Tolkien and even stuff from the Lost Tales series, but the style in this book is quite archaic and dense. Definitely worth a read if you're looking for that, but otherwise just a heads up.

bedneyauthor's review

Go to review page

4.0

This is probably my favourite volume of the History of Middle-earth because it's the one with the poetry, and especially the Lay of Lethian, which is my favorite among Tolkien's stories. It's true that it's largely a re-hash of the famous stories from [b:The Silmarillion|7332|The Silmarillion (Middle-Earth Universe)|J.R.R. Tolkien|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1336502583s/7332.jpg|4733799], but they're told differently (in beautiful rhyming couplets for the Lay of Lethian and alliterative verse for the Narn i hin Hurin) and in significantly more detail. As such, I highly recommend this.

That having been said, it is necessary to read The Silmarillion first, because the poems are incomplete and out of context. As such, it might not make much sense to people who don't already know the story as a whole.

nwhyte's review

Go to review page

3.0

http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1693204.html

This is the third volume of the History of Middle Earth; it contains two unfinished poems tackling the two key narratives of the Silmarillion. The first, a version of the tale of Turin told in alliterative blank verse, did not really appeal to me, and while I can see why Tolkien, with his background, wanted to give it a try, it's not very surprising that the effort did not come off. The Lay of Leithian, however, is a different matter - telling the story of Beren and Luthien in rhyming couplets of iambic tetrameter, it has a tremendous energy that Tolkien never quite managed in the prose versions of the story, despite its strong personal significance for him. Also I had forgotten, or had never realised, just how kickass a heroine Luthien actually is. The couplets are occasionally a little unpolished, but Christopher Tolkien reproduces a mock source-critical analysis by none other than C.S. Lewis suggesting that the least good bits are obvious interpolations by later scribes. J.R.R. Tolkien then revised the poem in line with Lewis' suggestions, but typically started expanding it from the middle again and never got around to finishing it.

Years later, it was part of the disorganised bundle of papers submitted to Unwin as material for a potential sequel to The Hobbit. Unwin's reader, who clearly had not been given much background, found the poem indigestible and urged instead an expansion of the prose summary of the rest of The Silmarillion. Tolkien wasn't up for this at that point, and wrote The Lord of the Rings instead. And thus was history made.

regitzexenia's review

Go to review page

4.0

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.

summertea's review

Go to review page

I can't believe I got through this.
More...