Every year I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. I don’t just read it, I totally geek out and go into the BOOK OF LOST TALES, UNFINISHED TALES, and CHILDREN OF HURIN to make it a somewhat complete reading experience. This is both my favorite book of all time, and contains my singular favorite story of all time. The Lay of Beren and Luthien, which only takes up about 10-12 pages, remains the greatest love story and epic adventure I’ve ever read. You need the context of the whole work to appreciate the depths to which it takes. There are thousands of years of setup to this story.
The 2nd story of major relevance in the work is the story of Turin Turambar, now told as it’s own book THE CHILDREN OF HURIN. In many ways it’s the complete inverse of the Beren story. Turin’s story has always been the most fleshed out and complete work from the Silmarillion. Tolkien never finished these books in his lifetime. Even as complete was this story was, it was still compiled from several source materials with irreconcilable changes.
The relevance of me bringing up the books is not because I’m reading it again. I’m a few months away from the annual dive into the pages, and I’m just finishing the 5th SONG OF FIRE & ICE (GAME OF THRONES) book. No, I believe that my love of the story of Beren was misplaced. I think I relate more to Turin now.
You see, Turin is a poor guy who no matter what he does, everything he touches turns to ash. Even with years of peace in between, somehow his nature comes back out, and he unravels his own life, and everyone’s around him. That sounds more like me than a guy who is honorable and true like Beren.
And yet, I still aspire to be the kind of knight that Beren was. I cannot undo the past. Only my future holds any sway over me. Is it wrong for me to try to be the better man?
“What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea a pale moon rises, the ships have come to carry you home “
– Annie Lennox