Excerpt from The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Children of Húrin

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Children of Húrin
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    Apr 2007, 320 pages
    Oct 2008, 320 pages

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The Children of Húrin

In the year that Túrin was seventeen years old, his grief was renewed; for all tidings from his home ceased at that time. The power of Morgoth had grown yearly, and all Hithlum was now under his shadow. Doubtless he knew much of the doings of Húrin’s people and kin, and had not molested them for a while, so that his design might be fulfilled; but now in pursuit of this purpose he set a close watch on all the passes of the Shadowy Mountains, so that none might come out of Hithlum nor enter it, save at great peril, and the Orcs swarmed about the sources of Narog and Teiglin and the upper waters of Sirion. Thus there came a time when the messengers of Thingol did not return, and he would send no more. He was ever loath to let any stray beyond the guarded borders, and in nothing had he shown greater good will to Húrin and his kin than in sending his people on the dangerous roads to Morwen in Dor-lómin.

Now Túrin grew heavy-hearted, not knowing what new evil was afoot, and fearing that an ill fate had befallen Morwen and Niënor; and for many days he sat silent, brooding on the downfall of the House of Hador and the Men of the North. Then he rose up and went to seek Thingol; and he found him sitting with Melian under Hirilorn, the great beech of Menegroth.

Thingol looked on Túrin in wonder, seeing suddenly before him in the place of his fosterling a Man and a stranger, tall, dark-haired, looking at him with deep eyes in a white face, stern and proud; but he did not speak.

‘What do you desire, foster-son?’ said Thingol, and guessed that he would ask for nothing small.

‘Mail, sword, and shield of my stature, lord,’ answered Túrin. ‘Also by your leave I will now reclaim the Dragonhelm of my sires.’

‘These you shall have,’ said Thingol. ‘But what need have you yet of such arms?’

‘The need of a man,’ said Túrin; ‘and of a son who has kin to remember. And I need also companions valiant in arms.’

‘I will appoint you a place among my knights of the sword, for the sword will ever be your weapon,’ said Thingol. ‘With them you may make trial of war upon the marches, if that is your desire.’

‘Beyond the marches of Doriath my heart urges me,’ said Túrin. ‘For onset against our foe I long, rather than defence.’

‘Then you must go alone,’ said Thingol. ‘The part of my people in the war with Angband I rule according to my wisdom, Túrin son of Húrin. No force of the arms of Doriath will I send out at this time; nor at any time that I can yet foresee.’

‘Yet you are free to go as you will, son of Morwen,’ said Melian. ‘The Girdle of Melian does not hinder the going of those that passed in with our leave.’

‘Unless wise counsel will restrain you,’ said Thingol.

‘What is your counsel, lord?’ said Túrin.

‘A Man you seem in stature, and indeed more than many already,’ Thingol answered; ‘but nonetheless you have not come to the fullness of your manhood that shall be. Until that is achieved, you should be patient, testing and training your strength. Then, maybe, you can remember your kin; but there is little hope that one Man alone can do more against the Dark Lord than to aid the Elflords in their defence, as long as that may last.’

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Excerpted from The Children of Húrin by J.R.R Tolkein, Copyright © 2007 by Christopher Tolkein. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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