J. R. R. Tolkien: The Children of Húrin

The Children of Húrin is a posthumously published novel by J.R.R. Tolkien that was edited and completed by his son, Christopher Tolkien. The novel is set in the same world as Tolkien’s more famous works, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and takes place during the First Age of Middle-earth, an era of great conflict and upheaval.


number of pages: 320
literary movement: MODERNISM
literary genre: FANTASY
1st edition: 2007
years of writing: 1918


The story of The Children of Húrin follows the tragic fate of Húrin, a great warrior who is cursed by the evil Morgoth and forced to witness the downfall of his family and people. His two children, Túrin and Niënor, are also caught up in the conflict and must confront their own dark destinies.

The central character of the story is Túrin, a man of great skill and courage who is falsely accused of murder and forced to flee his homeland. His life is marked by a series of tragic events, including the deaths of several of his companions and loved ones. His sister Niënor, who is separated from him at a young age, also experiences great suffering and tragedy.

Throughout the novel, Tolkien explores themes of heroism, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil. The character of Túrin, in particular, is a complex and tragic figure, whose fate is determined by both his own actions and the machinations of fate and evil. The novel also features a rich cast of memorable characters, including dragons, elves, and dwarves, as well as a detailed portrayal of the world of Middle-earth.

One notable aspect of The Children of Húrin is its darker and more tragic tone when compared to Tolkien’s more famous works. The novel is marked by a sense of inevitability and despair, as the central characters are slowly crushed by the forces of evil and fate. This darker tone and emphasis on tragedy make The Children of Húrin a unique and powerful work within Tolkien’s body of writing.


Túrin Turambar

The tragic hero of the story, Túrin is the son of Húrin and Morwen. He is a great warrior and leader, but his life is plagued by misfortune and tragedy.


Túrin’s mother, who is a strong and independent woman. She loves her children deeply and is willing to go to great lengths to protect them.


Túrin’s father, who is a powerful warrior and leader of men. He is captured by the dark lord Morgoth and forced to watch as his family suffers.


The main villain of the story, Morgoth is a dark lord who seeks to destroy all that is good in Middle-earth. He is the source of much of the evil and suffering in the world.


A great warrior and friend of Túrin, Beleg serves as a mentor to the young hero. He is skilled with a bow and is known for his great loyalty.


An evil dragon created by Morgoth, Glaurung is one of the main antagonists of the story. He has the power to control the minds of those around him and uses this to great effect.


Túrin’s sister, who is lost and later found by her brother. She suffers from amnesia and becomes a tragic figure in her own right.


A crippled man who becomes the leader of Túrin’s people. He is jealous of Túrin’s power and influence, and his actions lead to tragedy.


A member of Túrin’s people who becomes his enemy. He taunts and insults Túrin, which leads to a deadly confrontation.


A warrior and friend of Túrin, Gwindor is also a captive of Morgoth. He helps Túrin escape from captivity and serves as a guide and ally.


The king of the Elves who becomes involved in the story.


Thingol’s wife who is a powerful Maia, or angelic being.


A warrior who helps Turin and is one of the few survivors of the tragedy that befalls his family.

False hopes are more dangerous than fears.



  • Tragic story of Túrin Turambar: The Children of Húrin is a tragic story that tells of the life of Túrin Turambar, one of the most tragic characters in the mythology of Middle-earth. The story follows Túrin as he goes through various adventures, battles, and sufferings, ultimately meeting a tragic end.
  • Characters and Settings: The book features a variety of memorable characters and settings, including the dark lord Morgoth, the elves of Doriath, the dragon Glaurung, and the cursed forest of Brethil.
  • Complex Themes: The Children of Húrin explores complex themes of destiny, free will, and the consequences of one’s actions. The characters struggle with the choices they make and the roles they play in the larger scheme of things.
  • Expands Tolkien’s Universe: The Children of Húrin expands Tolkien’s universe by delving into the history and mythology of Middle-earth. It provides an in-depth look at the world and its inhabitants, shedding light on the events that shaped the world we know from The Lord of the Rings.
  • Tense and Suspenseful: The book is incredibly tense and suspenseful, with many twists and turns that keep readers on the edge of their seats. The story is full of unexpected events that keep the reader engaged throughout.
  • Richly Detailed Worldbuilding: The book is richly detailed, with Tolkien’s signature worldbuilding in full effect. He creates a fully-realized world with its own cultures, languages, and histories, making the world of Middle-earth feel more alive than ever before.
  • Tragic Love Story: The book also tells a tragic love story between Túrin and his sister, Nienor. Their love is doomed from the start, and their tragic fate adds a layer of emotional depth to the story.
  • Unfinished Work: The Children of Húrin is an unfinished work by Tolkien that was completed by his son, Christopher. The book contains multiple versions of the same story, providing a glimpse into Tolkien’s creative process and the evolution of the story over time.
  • Dark and Intense: The book is darker and more intense than some of Tolkien’s other works, reflecting the tragic nature of the story. It is not recommended for younger readers, as it deals with mature themes and contains scenes of violence and tragedy.
  • Critical Reception: The Children of Húrin was generally well-received by critics, who praised its powerful storytelling, rich characterization, and detailed worldbuilding. Some critics noted that the story is not as accessible as The Lord of the Rings and may be more challenging for readers who are not already familiar with Tolkien’s work.

Overall, The Children of Húrin is a rich and complex work that will appeal to fans of Tolkien’s other works, as well as to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy and stories of sacrifice and redemption. It is a fitting testament to Tolkien’s imagination and literary skill, and a testament to his enduring legacy as one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time.


Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies
Prix Imaginales for Best Foreign Novel
Balrog Award for Best Novel



J.R.R. Tolkien, full name John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet, and academic who is best known for his fantasy novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa on January 3, 1892, but moved to Birmingham, England with his family when he was three years old. His father, Arthur Tolkien, was an English bank manager and his mother, Mabel Tolkien, was a talented artist and musician.


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