🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

I'm trying to read 'The Book of Lost Tales 1

Popqueen62

Registered User
Joined
Sep 20, 2002
Messages
135
Reaction score
0
Location
The House of Elrond
It's really difficult to read because of Christopher Tolkien's add ins (how he has pages dedicated to his father's thinking, and how the story became true) I get very bored easily at this part of it. Anyone have any idea how I can get through this book and actually enjoy it?
 

baragund

Brother in Arms
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Messages
1,319
Reaction score
6
Location
Tarn Aeluin
You might try just reading straight through the story without refering back to the notes. Most of them pretty minute changes Tolkien made to his manuscript, and I found they don't add a whole lot to the stories.
 

Confusticated

Registered User
Joined
Apr 19, 2002
Messages
4,439
Reaction score
5
Location
USA
Since most of the commentary in BoLT is CT comparing that with the Published Sil, and the later versions his father wrote... remarks about what stayed, and what was abandoned and how one thing stayed but was changed due to coming about some other way or happening with another character, and in most cases you probably will have noticed these on your own, I would say you can skip the commentary except in cases where the chapter contained something that makes you wonder what CT has to say about it.

The notes are more tidious and mostly point out changes Tolkien made to the manuscripts... usually name changes, and unless you care about such things you can just avoid them.

I'd say, simply put: If it doesn't interest you, don't read it.

What I would not recommend anyone skip over though, is the narrative intro to the tales.... that writing with Eriol, Rumil and Lindo is some truly great stuff.

And later on if you look at the books in a different way and the commentary and notes become of importance to you, you can always read them then.

Well , I obviously agree with baragund... but figured two opinions would be stronger than one.
 

Elendil3119

Registered User
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
772
Reaction score
0
Location
WA State, USA
I personally enjoyed both the notes and commentary in BoLT1, but I think it was mostly because I'd read the Sil a few times by then. It was fun to compare the earlier version to the published one. :) But I concur with baragund and Nóm: if the notes and commentary don't interest you, don't bother.
 

legandir

Registered User
Joined
Jul 3, 2003
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Just out of sight...
I can appreciate those feelings.
I enjoy Tolkien mostly for his storytelling, the analysis by Chris. that contains acronymns and evidences of timeframe can be very overwrought

At first I read the stories contained in the first couple books of the HOME series but now I am rereading them with a focus on the progression of the stories and how they fit together.

Basically it comes down to whether or not you want to read for the technical aspect or the story-telling aspect.

Continue to read because the writings are very good, but you dont have to read the commenataries as well...
 

Niniel

Random Quoter
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
1,488
Reaction score
2
Location
The Netherlands
You can just ignore the commentaries; if you read the stories by themselves they will make sense too, and they are really beautiful.
 

Eledhwen

Cumbrian
Joined
May 11, 2002
Messages
3,148
Reaction score
44
Location
Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England, UK
I think it is opinions like yours that have encouraged The Tolkien Estate to publish The Children of Hurin as a single, uninterrupted story.

This book was a publishing success; and so I think we can expect more of the same.

In the meantime, skip the notes unless there's something you really don't get.

Have you ever read the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke? Weird! A fantasy novel written in archaic style, that deliberately adds footnotes, some quite detailed, to give the fictional story such historical credence that you have to remind yourself it's just a story.
 

Húrin

Registered User
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Just skip the commentary. I usually read some of it, because I often find it interesting and informative, but you can certainly skip the commentary and still understand what's going on. Trust me, the Books of Lost Tales are both very enjoyable and worth reading! I especially loved the poems "Kortirion" and "You and Me", as well as the early version of the "Tale of Tinuviel".
 

Nalcyon

SJP
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
East Texas
BoLT 2, a must read for an alternate story of Beren and Luthien and especially a more detailed account of the fall of Gondolin. Especially the latter can be added to the story in the silmarillion without major conflicts. I don't usually referencet the BoLT"s, but when I read the Silmarillion and get to the fall of Gondolin, I always read the tale as told in BoLT 2. I especially like the information of the ordering of the elves of the city and their respective houses.
 

Bucky

Registered User
Joined
Dec 20, 2001
Messages
1,623
Reaction score
11
Location
Near New Haven
BoLT 2, a must read for an alternate story of Beren and Luthien and especially a more detailed account of the fall of Gondolin. Especially the latter can be added to the story in the silmarillion without major conflicts. I don't usually referencet the BoLT"s, but when I read the Silmarillion and get to the fall of Gondolin, I always read the tale as told in BoLT 2. I especially like the information of the ordering of the elves of the city and their respective houses.
What's the tally in BoLT?

Tour kills 3 Balrogs & Ectellion 5?

You wouldn't call that a major conflict?
 

Galin

Registered User
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Messages
914
Reaction score
400
Tolkien intended to update the long prose version of The Fall of Gondolin in the 1950s, but didn't finish, and I think what is meant is that Nalcyon reads the old prose version from The Book of Lost Tales, imaginatively 'weeding out', or trying to, any conflicts due to the external history (the various changes, large and small, in conception and story and detail, and whatever).

In a sense, considering it an addition to the Later Quenta Silmarillion instead of part of The Book of Lost Tales (the writing style differs as well of course).

Or maybe not, but that's my guess :D
 

Thread suggestions

Top