Saddle up Middle Earth fans! It’s time to put away your second breakfast, grab your staffs, blue hats and pipe weed, and get on down to your local bookseller. Why? Well JRR Tolkien’s new book has been released, a century after it was first conceived. Check out the details below!
JRR Tolkien's Beren and Lúthien Is Now On Sale
Though this year already marks the tenth anniversary of The Children of Húrin's publication, Tolkien fans will be thrilled at the chance to dive into his magical mind again thanks to the newly published Beren and Lúthien. The book has been compiled and edited from all of the late author’s previous works and by his son Christopher Tolkien. And yup, if you’re thinking that the two names in that title are sounding awfully familiar, then you’re absolutely right.
Fans already know that a variant of Beren and Lúthien’s tale forms the basis of Tolkien’s other Middle Earth novel, The Silmarillion. If you’re not as familiar with it, then here’s a little outline for you: set waaay, waaaay before the events of #TheLordoftheRings and even #TheHobbit, the tale is an epic love story about the mortal man Beren and the elf princess Lúthien, who are forced into a series of perilous quests by Lúthien’s father, King Thingol, who disapproved of Beren. Indeed, the snooty king informs his potential son in law that he can only marry his daughter if he retrieves one of the Silmarils — precious and powerful crystalline jewels — from the Dark Lord Morgoth, who's also the master of a little-known guy called Sauron.
The new edition by Christopher Tolkien painstakingly collects the story as his father initially intended in prose form. Indeed, the legendary writer later gave it a poetical reworking, and snippets of half-finished or differing versions are scattered throughout the rest of his works. Aragorn — whose love with Arwen is a sequel to Beren and Lúthien’s tale — recounts it in The Fellowship of the Ring, which you can also briefly see in the Extended Edition of Peter Jackson’s adaptation:
I'm sure that this new release will be flying off the shelves. Forbidden love, lots of adventuring, music, orcs, werewolves and even an appearance of a young Sauron? Romeo and Juliet, eat your heart out!
But joking aside, Beren and Lúthien is also a deeply personal tale that’s rooted in reality. Tolkien first thought of the tale shortly after he was sent home with trench fever from the First World War, and while he was mourning the loss of two of his closest friends. The protagonists are intrinsically linked to Tolkien and his wife Edith, with a key scene of the story mimicking a special countryside walk they shared together, and the names of Beren and Lúthien are even carved on their gravestone in Oxford.
The publication of Beren and Lúthien is sure to be a pretty big deal for fans; it’s a central part of Tolkien’s legendarium, and its newly collected form will be a fine addition to any collection, especially since it includes artwork by the ever amazing Alan Lee. Plus, as Christopher Tolkien admits as much in this new book, Beren and Lúthien may sadly be the last ever release we get of Tokien’s work. And sorry film fans, I wouldn’t bank on any more movie adaptations of Middle Earth tales any times soon. Sure, we may be getting a biopic on Tolkien's interesting life in the next few years, but its doubtful that we'll be seeing any more of his stories sidle onto the silver screen. After all, his estate has famously thrown shade on the epic blockbusters that we’ve received from Peter Jackson; but hey, you never know right?
Whether or not we do get a Peter Jackson-led film of The Silmarillion (he does at least seem to be playing with the idea) Beren and Lúthien is sure to be another fascinating trip into the intricate and immersive world of Middle Earth!