Tolkien Top 100 Middle Earth's Top 100
Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
 

Topic: Beren and Luthien--could it be a 'stand alone tale?'

Post Info
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date: Nov 16, 2014
Beren and Luthien--could it be a 'stand alone tale?'

This is just some speculation on my part.  But I wanted to ask other Tolkienian's if they thought the Tale of Beren and Luthien Tinuviel would ever be a stand alone story like The Children of Hurin?  It seems to me to have been a tale very dear to Tolkien.  It is a complex tale.  I just wondered what others have thought--if anything at all about this?

Allister



__________________
James R Allister
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2960
Date: Nov 16, 2014

Allister,
An interesting question.
And one that might have all sorts of ramifications; commercial, artistic, and literary.
I think the story could stand alone ... but because it involves a Silmaril the story would have an enormous back story to just set the framework of the narrative ... Feanor and his oath, the history and prejudice of intermarrying Elves and Men, of Thingol and Melian, and the history of Melkor/Morgoth ... would make a complex story ... and the need to chronicle all the cascading events would make an editor cringe.
I think that one might make the story of Beren and Luthien another trilogy ... and that may make it lucrative for film and other media ... but in the literary sense "The Silmarillion" as a whole holds the story of Beren and Luthien as not the central story ... but rather a beautiful chapter ... very romantic and possibly stand alone ...  but it will take a huge literary liberty to fit it in one story ... as Tolkien has written ..."And of these histories most fair still in the ears of the Elves is the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Of their lives was made the Lay of Leithian, Release from Bondage, which is the longest save one of the songs concerning the world of old..."
But miracles do happen.
Tolkien uses the prophecies of Melian and the other Valar as foreshadowing in the Silmarillion ... we know the malignant manipulation of Thingol ... the heroics of Haun ... the courage of Luthien's dance ... the historic demonic evil of Morgoth ... the tragedy of Beren losing his hand ... and the Silmaril burning the wolf's belly ... and then there is the lineage of all the characters which creates some of the best of the rest of the Silmarillion's stories.

So the bottom line for me is ... yes the romantic story could stand alone ... but it is more saga than romantic story ... more of a heroic song than a written narrative ... and the richness of the rest of the Silmarillion makes it a chapter of significance.



-- Edited by Bear on Sunday 16th of November 2014 10:12:27 PM

__________________

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Called or uncalled, God is present

Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
Status: Offline
Posts: 1109
Date: Nov 16, 2014
I've also wondered about this. I'm not sure there is enough content to fill a book unto itself. 'The Children of Hurin' had quite a bit of content which was left out of the published Silmarillion. Christopher Tolkien was able to pad it out considerably. I've not delved all that far into the HoME series - is there anything in their that's not totally outdated that could be used to flesh out a book of Beren and Luthien? I'm sure it would be a hit as a romance book, it's a great tale.

__________________
You want it for Yourself!
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date: Nov 17, 2014
Bear--yes--spot on with the immense amount of 'the story behind the story.' Bilbo--I think there is much of Beren and Luthien that could fill a book--maybe even a trilogy as Bear suggested. What is missing from The Silmarillion (and I hope I don't speak blasphemy here--lol) is drawing out the saga that Tolkien created into stand alone stories. Stories that read more like novel then history. The Fall of Gondolin, The History and Fall of Numenor, and the list could go on. I think The Children of Hurin was well done. I would like to see this done with other stories from The Silmarillion. I don't know that such a thing will ever happen--but I think it would be great! It certainly has an audience of multitudes that would and could appreciate it!

__________________
James R Allister
Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
Status: Offline
Posts: 812
Date: Nov 18, 2014

I've always longed for more with Beren and Luthien. Bear is probably right where it would have to be more of a saga than a romance novel. Of course, who could be trusted to write it? I'm not too up on modern authors, but the ones I've read would not be good for such a task.



__________________
Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2960
Date: Nov 18, 2014

Laurelin,

I think it would have to be Adam Tolkien (grandson) or Christopher Tolkien ... I think the estate laws would demand this ... not sure ... I'm not a legal expert. wink



__________________

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Called or uncalled, God is present

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 383
Date: Nov 18, 2014
I would say (although I am sure many know) that the story of Beren and Luthien exists as a separate thing - as a poem, The Lay of Lethian, except that it wasn't finished. At least the story there is placed in context - in particular, the Feanorian oath appears twice. Some parts of it are relatively early (and many of the names have been later changed) but the beginning cantos were revised after the LOTR was written. While the poem is unfinished, it is much more detailed than the prose version; and as to the prose version, I believe the one that appears in The Sil is the most detailed one (a combination of several manuscripts written at different level of detail, as far as I remember).

Of course there is also the early and quite different Tale of Tinuviel, which is more of a stand-alone thing and is naturally much less integrated with the overall mythology (and is a whole lot more lighthearted).

And yes there have been attempts (by fans), both to finish the poem and to recompile and expand the prose piece to make it more stand-alone. One such attempt resulted in a (relatively famous) two-volume book, not uninteresting but in spirit completely different from the original - it is more of a thriller. I read it twice, so am in no position to criticize, but it is to the Lay as the Hobbit movie is to the original corresponding book.

All in all, I agree there is a lot of interest to this particular story; and some people do tend to view it as more or less separate.


__________________

Lórellinë

Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
Status: Offline
Posts: 2960
Date: Nov 19, 2014

Lorelline,

Interesting comment.
I too have read some fan based attempts to finish the Lay of Lethian ... as matter of fact two or three.  And I agree that, while interesting, it just didn't seem to quite fit. And I also agree that the prose version in the Silmarillion is probably the best one (or more complete). The Tale of Tinuviel is certainly is certainly stand alone ... one that I enjoy reading to children ... and did spark some interest (especially to the young ladies) and provoked them to ask for more readings. (and I think that is a good thing ... especially to 6th graders)

I agree your comparison to the Hobbit movies is right on.
A very interesting post.
I really liked it.
Bear



__________________

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Called or uncalled, God is present

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
Status: Offline
Posts: 383
Date: Nov 19, 2014

Thanks, Bear, glad you found it interesting. I would think that 6th-graders like to hear about Tevildo's machinations. That evil cat is somehow one of my favorites. Sauron compared to him is not as exciting in my opinion.

I also wanted to note that while Children of Hurin is a pretty good book (I just recently re-read it trying to understand the nature of Glaurung), being 'stand alone' it gives a bit one-sided view of Thingol as a fully noble and generous king - and we know that he can be quite otherwise (to name just one issue). And I am still thinking that The Wanderings of Hurin might have been made part of COH - the stories are very tightly related. But then, where does one stop?..

Having said that, I wish I could hear an opinion of someone who has read COH only, or read it first, out of all Tolkien's books. 



-- Edited by Lorelline on Wednesday 19th of November 2014 11:16:41 AM

__________________

Lórellinë

 
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Chatbox

Please log in to join the chat!

Previous poll results (What is the 'Mightiest' weapon in Tolkiens myth?): Gurthang, blade of Turin - 28%, Narsil, sword of Elendil - 12%, Anduril, Sword of King Ellesar Aragorn - 23%, The Mace of the Witch King - 5%, Grond the dread hammer/hammer of the underworld -19%, Black axe of Gothmog - 4, Glamdring of Gandalf - 7%, Orcrist of Thorin - 1% A NEW POLL HAS BEEN ADDED TO TOLKIEN FORUMS Tolkien Forums - The Mythical world of J.R.R Tolkien