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which is better? Children of hurin or The silmarillion?

which is better? the children of hurin or the silmarillion?


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Lady_of_Gondor

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I voted for the Children of Hùrin because it was more approachable and readable for me. But that is not because I think that the Silmarillion is not a worthwhile read. I loved it. I just think that CoH would be a good initiation into the larger framework of Middle Earth for somebody who has only read the Lord of the Rings. I think so, not only because Christopher Tolkien says so in his forward to the book, but also because I found it a much easier read than the Silmarillion, and because it is smaller in scope, it is a good test for if you would have the patience to delve into the deeper stuff or if you would prefer to remain a Hobbit/LotR only kind of fan.
 

Bucky

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Quote:
from the Blue Wizard
"especially keeping in mind that Of Turin Turambar is my least favorite part of The Sil."

Like Illuin, I too found that comment interesting because I always like 'Of Turin Turambar' the best in The Silmarillion.

You know, the dragon & all.....

I also agree with everyone that CoH is a more traditional read with the dialogue & also the depth of detail that we are more used to in the Hobbit & TLOR.
 

Húrin

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I would prefer not to judge between them. The Silmarillion is an incredible tale spanning thousands of years of the history of Arda; The Children of Hurin is focused on one part it. Both are masterful and beautiful works. :)
 

Ingwë

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I agree. I can't say which one is better because The Children Of Hurin is a part of The Silmarillion. It is like saying which one is better: a single chapter of the book or the whole book.
 

Môrroch

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I agree. I can't say which one is better because The Children Of Hurin is a part of The Silmarillion. It is like saying which one is better: a single chapter of the book or the whole book.
My sentiments as well. The Children Of Hurin is a focus and expansion on one small but significant area of the larger history given by the Silmarillion. I enjoyed seeing the tale more fully developed.
 

Illuin

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The Silmarillion blows Children of Húrin away; hands down!

Come on - Beren and Lúthien; Fëanor and the Silmarils; Ungoliant and the Two Trees, Fingolfin and Morgoth, The Voyage of Eärendil; The Fall of Gondolin, The War of Wrath.

And of course there is Akallabêth. Getting so into the Second Age lately. It's so mysterious and unknown, yet so atmospheric. CoH was great, but there is no comparison. The Silmarillion is infinitely supreme. Every line is lyrical and deep, and the prose are poetic and elegant.
 

EdBurke

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I though the Children of Hurin was miles better, mainly because its a novel and the silmarillion is more like a dramatised history book. Either way, while the silmarillion is a somewhat complex weavings of various narrative threads, the Children of Hurin is uncomplicated and sincere. Its a rivetting story with a tragic ending. (Its no rival to LOTR... but you know what I mean)
 

Elbereth

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I voted the Silmarillion because to me it had much more depth to it than the Children of Hurin. I also loved the fact that it held so much of the history of middle earth in it....it gave me more insight into the world that I fell in love with in the Lord of the Rings....you can't beat that!
 

Galentir

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Its The Silmarillion for me! All the flavour of the Greek Myths, the Norse Sagas and the Old Testament combined in an original Creation Myth with Folk Wanderings and ethnic cleansing thrown in. Elves in LoTR come across as ethereal goodies - in the Sil they are all sorts - good, bad, greedy, vain, selfish etc .. Just like us.

Children of Hurin just depressed me and I wonder why it was published between its own covers. You can read it in the Sil and in the Lost Tales. Is there a danger that the sacred cow will be milked too often by Young Christopher? If only JRR had completed the alliterative poem form, then it would have stood comparison with Sigurd and Gudrun. Such a loss to literature
 

Eledhwen

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Anyone who has read this in the Silmarillion first, can't possibly judge. Reading a story for the first time, in what Tolkien called its "first bloom" will always be more gripping; more exciting. I bought and read The Children of Hurin, and loved the fact that the story had been published in its own right - holding the book, opening it and reading it. But it has to be said that I already knew how it ended, and that is a detraction.

I would like to hear the opinions of people who did not know the story before, and read it for the first time in its own publication.
 

Ciryaher

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I voted for the Children of Hurin. It's just a better read.

The Silmarillion is "nice". The stories contained within it, while grand and epic, are still written more like a history text than as a real narrative. The versions of the stories of the Silmarillion are much more exciting reads when you peruse their more "raw" forms in the Unfinished Tales and Histories of Middle Earth.

In all honesty, though, it's not really fair to compare the two. They're two different sorts of books. If more fleshed-out versions of Silm stories are published (such as the Akallabeth, Fall of Gondolin, Lay of Luthien, etc), then those would be things you could better compare the Children of Hurin to.
 

Ciryaher

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If you want a specific, well-done story, read the Children of Hurin first. If you want a general overview of Middle Earth's history leading up to the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books, read The Silmarillion.

:)
 

adpirtle

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Most importantly, which one of them should I read first?
You have to read the Silmarillion first. Otherwise you won't be able to appreciate half of what's going on.

As for which one's better, well I loved the Silmarillion. Some people have said its structure, being a collection of legends written in archaic (in the literary sense) fashion and weaved together to make a sort of 'Elf bible', doesn't lend itself to light reading. However, I just loved it. The audiobook is really well done too (though a few names are mispronounced by the talented narrator).

Children of Hurin is similarly archaic in its prose, but there is more of a narrative since its covering the life of one young man rather than the span of many centuries. Its an easier read, and for my money its also the greatest story in the Silmarillion which only benefits from being fleshed out. But like I said, there's so much you won't really appreciate unless you read the other book first. Or you can read them together (just replace chapter 21 with Children of Hurin!
 

MAVONDURI

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Honestly I can't say which one is better. The Silmarillion is very "historical" in its style and structure, and you're able to delve into the reading. COH on the other hand is a beautifully written tragic tale, and always a good read. So I can't definitively say which one is better, even if it's just my opinion.
 

Sulimo

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I refuse to vote. Its too much like comparing apples to apple seeds. I appreciate them both, and loved them both. I think what may be a more appropriate comparison might be Children of Hurin to the Narn I Hin Hurin in the Unfinished Tales. Then Children of Hurin wins hands down.
 

Bard the Bowman

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It's not a fair vote. They can't be directly compared. Us true Tolkien fanatics will see this. Children of Hurin is fantastic. You get up close and personal to one of the most torn characters in the whole Middle-Earth/Beleriand/Valinor world. The Silmarillion is awesome because you get the history of everything that happened. I WILL NOT VOTE!!!
 

Ithilethiel

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The Silmarillion by a good margin. So much to delve into, tales of every kind and for every like and interest. Peerless writing and as a history freak it is very satisfying.

I must say as a Tolkien fan I also enjoy the CoH for its cohesion and beauty but it is rather bleak and obtuse at times. Without the backstory of The Silmarillion it also lacks some important underpinnings for me. Perhaps the CoH is too, "adult" for me.

At any rate, it's The Silmarillion I return to again and again for its history, beauty and imagination.
 

BountyHunter

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I just started Children of Hurin. I'm finding it a LOT easier to understand than I did The Silmarillion. Of course, I haven't read the latter since I was around 17, so that may have something to do with it.

Silmarillion is winging its way to me in the mail as we speak, so I'll be giving it another chance then.
 

Olorgando

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I also didn’t vote, as I also do not think they can be compared.

But now I’m going to throw you (or some of you) a curve ball.

Túrin, respectively his deep roots, may very well be one of the deciding germs that led JRRT to write about Middle-earth at all, as Verlyn Flieger shows (or tries to, but successfully, in my opinion) in her 2015 edited version of JRRT’s “The Story of Kullervo”. This is the oldest writing bar none of anything to do with his later legendarium, having been written between 1912 (JRRT’s own – uncertain – estimate) and at the very latest 2014, so while he was still a student at Oxford, before he married Edith, entered the Army, or served at the Battle of the Somme (2016) and never mind his return from France and Edith’s dancing for him, which led to “Beren and Lúthien”.

The connection between a story about Kullervo, contained in Finland’s “National Epic” The Kalevala, itself only a compilation from about the mid-19th century, and the story of Túrin, had been noted several times. That JRRT actually tried his hand at an adaptation of this original story seems to be something of more recent knowledge. And this version of JRRT’s is very much an intermediate stage (not necessarily at midpoint) between Kalevala and Túrin. To exaggerate in both directions, the Kalevala Kullervo might have been slapped with an X rating, while JRRT’s smoothed version would have been closer to an R rating, and by comparison Túrin is almost PG-13. As with much of JRRT’s writing, like when comparing “Lost Tales” to the published “Silmarillion”, many details have changed, but many central fundamentals remain unchanged. Perhaps that is why “The Children of Húrin” of 2007 (besides TH and LoTR the only other book I also have in a German translation) is so far more in a finished state than the two later books on the “big three” stories of the Sil, “Beren and Lúthien” (2017) and “The Fall of Gondolin” (2018). The story had been in the most extensive and finished form even in the “Narn I Hîn Húrin”, covering, with notes and appendix, more than 100 pages in “Unfinished Tales”.

And last, the ending of the tale, with Húrin and Morwen meeting at Túrin’s gravestone, and her dying in his arms at sunset, is to me the most moving thing JRRT ever wrote.
 

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