The Children of Húrin

The Children of Húrin - Alan Lee, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien I really enjoyed this story and it's great to be immersed in the world of Tolkien's First Age of Men, Elves and Dwarves. Christopher Tolkien has stitched together from his father's partially completed writings a very worthy addition to the legends of Middle-earth.The voice of The Children of Húrin lies somewhere between the "high tone" of the Silmarillion and the more direct, personal narrative of The Lord of the Rings, but tending more to the former. There is, therefore, a certain distance that stands between the reader and the characters that prevents me (at least) from fully empathising with their plights.I found Túrin the least sympathetic of Tolkien's heroes (or, perhaps I should say protagonists, as despite his bravery and incredible deeds of arms, I don't think he's a hero in the same way that, say, Beren or Aragorn are). He's self-centred, arrogant and lacks understanding of others' feelings and motivations. This may well be largely due to the curse of Morgoth, but also seems to be a basic character flaw. As he rarely has any insight into his own inner-world, there is little development of character and he seems to run on the rails of the doom that Morgoth has laid out for him.It need not have been so, for at a point in the story where Túrin's star is in the ascendant and he's becoming a figure of power in Beleriand, Morgoth worries that Túrin might escape his doom. So, it seems that Túrin's fate and the doom he brings to others is, at least in part, due to himself and not to Morgoth.What I found more interesting was the presentation of Morgoth as a "person" with motivations and ambitions, contrasting with Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, in which he is barely met with and is presented as an ultimate evil force without any personality. Both treatments work well in the their contexts, but it was interesting to have this Dark Lord a little more fleshed out.Overall, I really enjoyed the book, even if it doesn't sound like it from the above, but Tolkien sets himself some high standards to be held against. Just shy of a 5 star, I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could.