Unfinished Tales Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
JRR Tolkien’s legacy of short stories which inhabit the realm of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, on audio for the first time.
Unfinished Tales is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring and provides those who have read The Lord of the Rings with a whole collection of background and new stories from the 20th century’s most acclaimed popular author.
The book concentrates on the realm of Middle-earth and comprises such elements as Gandalf’s lively account of how it was that he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand and an exact description of the military organisation of the Riders of Rohan.
Unfinished Tales also contains the only story about the long ages of Numenor before its downfall and all that is known about such matters as the Five Wizards, the Palantiri and the legend of Amroth. The tales were collated and edited by JRR Tolkien’s son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien, who provides a short commentary on each story, helping the reader to fill in the gaps and put each story into the context of the rest of his father’s writings.
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|Listening Length||21 hours and 53 minutes|
|Author||J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien - editor|
|Narrator||Timothy West, Samuel West|
|Audible.ca Release Date||May 06 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,187 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#6 in Military Fantasy
#71 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#117 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from Canada
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That said, the introductory passages and footnotes by the editor are informative, as is the index (which is a combination of an index and a name/place glossary, similar to that which appears in 'The Silmarillion'). If references in 'The Hobbit' and 'LOTR' to events which occurred in the First and Second Ages of Tolkein's world have puzzled you in the past, the information in this collection may help clarify matters.
Finally, this collection is invaluable for literary scholars studying Tolkein and his works, as it offers unpublished alternative versions of some of the major tales in the Tolkein plenum, thus giving insight in to the author's development process. The editor's additional comments on the discrepencies between these early versions and later ones are honest and informative as well.
One caveat: If you buy this book hoping for NEW stories and material on the Tolkein world, you will be disappointed. Almost all of this material consists of earlier, developmental versions of what was eventually published (posthumously) as 'The Silmarillion.' It is still valuable for all that, but don't expect a bunch of new stories. You won't find them here.
These tales are mostly from First and Second Age of Middle Earth. Things like Tuor and his path to Gondolin, or about the Istari (Wizards), or the home-life of Celeborn and Galadriel. Interesting stuff, and helpful to put Lord Of The Rings into proper context, though not exactly necessary.
The artwork on the cover - this is why I specifically wanted this edition. It's Tolkien's own depiction of a scene from the First Age.
Top reviews from other countries
But some were left over -- yes, there were even more stories that didn't make the cut. These little odd bits make up "Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth." The stories are not as interconnected as the Silmarillion was, but they are a solid and enjoyable read.
Tolkien presents stories spanning Middle-Earth's history, with dragons and mythical heroes like Turin, background information on Elf queen Galadriel and her husband Celeborn, and different accounts of searches for the One Ring, including more exposition about the wizard-turned-bad Saruman and the other Istari.
There are also essays about palantiri, wizards, and the family line of Elrond's mortal brother Elros. Best among these is a "lost chapter" where Gandalf talks to Frodo about the Dwarves, which wouldn't have quite fit into the final novel, but is a good read anyway.
This isn't a novel, or even a sort of pseudo-history like "Silmarillion." It's more like a patchwork quilt of little odd bits that don't belong anywhere else. Anybody who hasn't read "Silmarillion," "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" will be hopelessly lost. But those who have read and understood those books will eat these right up -- there's plenty of info about favorite characters like Gandalf, Galadriel, and the heroes and villains from Tolkien's sprawling epics.
Tolkien's vivid writing is shown in its different states here -- there's the stately semi-mythic writing, and the more intimate conversational style of "Lord of the Rings." He even dabbles briefly in first-person storytelling through the eyes of Frodo Baggins -- something which, obviously, didn't take. Lots of details and ethereally evocative descriptions make it all come alive.
"Unfinished Tales" is a fill-in-the-gaps sort of book, and Tolkien's storytelling genius still shines through in this disjointed collection of essays, bits and pieces. For those hungering for more Middle-Earth.
It can be read from cover to cover but i find as they are not full tales but as the title says - unfinished it is perfectly fine to drop in and out. This is especially true when reading the Akallabeth chapter in The Silmarillion - due to the chapters present in this book on the Second Age.
I think if someone is looking for this book then most likely they already know they will like it. If however you have stumbled upon this page having never read, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion then i would suggest reading all or some of those first as this book supplements the stories in their rather than being full blown stories in their own right.