The First Unfinished Tales Discussion Reading Room

March 2002 - August 2002





The Second Unfinished Tales Discussion of July 2006 - October 2006

The Third Unfinished Tales Discussion of November 2013 - April 2014

Part One: The First Age
('Tuor Coming to Gondolin' and 'Narn I Hin Hurin')

Whereas the later 'long version' of Tuor never proceeded very far, my father carried the later 'long version' of Turin much nearer completion. The Narn is [in its central section] at its least finished, and in places diminishes to outlines of possible turns in the story. My father was still evolving this part when he ceased to work on it.

-- Christopher Tolkien, ed.


Part Two: The Second Age

["The Mariner's Wife"] was left in the least developed state of all the pieces in this collection, and has in places required a degree of editorial rehandling that made me doubt the propriety of including it. However, its very great interest as the single story that survived at all from the long ages of Númenor, and as a story unique in its content among my father’s writings, persuaded me that it would be wrong to omit it from this collection.

-- Christopher Tolkien, ed.


Part Three: The Third Age

 [Of "Cirion and Eorl":] I judge these fragments to belong to the same period as "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," when my father was greatly interested in the earlier history of Gondor and Rohan; they were doubtless intended to form parts of a substantial history.... The material is in the first stage of composition, very disordered, full of variants, breaking off into rapid jottings that are in part illegible.

-- Christopher Tolkien, ed.


Part Four: Essays

The fourth part is an appendage, and may require some excuse in a book called "Unfinished Tales," since the pieces it contains are generalised and discursive essays with little or no element of "story." The section on the Drúedain did indeed owe its original inclusion to the story of "The Faithful Stone" ...; and this section led me to introduce those on the Istari and the Palantíri, since they ... are matters about which many people have expressed curiosity, and this book seemed a convenient place to expound what there is to tell.

-- Christopher Tolkien, ed.