Imagine a young man of 20 or so, caught up in the trench warfare of World War I, experiencing the daily reality of mud, rats, lice, and bombardment, and writing stories about elves and dwarves, dragons and men of valor, stories of doomed heroes set in a time remote from the present. Before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, there was a manuscript called The Book of Lost Tales, a manuscript written a century ago.
One of lost tales, those stories of the First Age or what J.R.R. Tolkien referred to as the “Elder Days,” was The Children of Hurin. It is a dark story, a tale of a curse, but it is a fierce story, a moving story, a story whose ending you know but you keep reading anyway because you’re caught in the grip of a master storyteller and he won’t let go.
Hurin is a heroic king, married to Morwen and the father of the boy Turin. He has set off with his allies to fight the Black Enemy, named Morgoth, who is seeking to dominate the worlds of men and elves with his own armies of Orcs and evil men. Hurin and his allies are defeated; Hurin is taken prisoner but is not killed. Instead, he is made a permanent captive and Morgoth places a curse upon his children.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.