I love J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth universe. I was sucked right into that world the day that I read The Hobbit for the first time as a kid. These Middle Earth stories have played a huge part in my life and inspired my imagination. After Peter Jackson's films were completed, I never thought that I'd be whisked away in a new Middle Earth adventure.
Well, a new story has been uncovered that was written by Tolkien in 1917. The story is called The Tale of Beren and Luthien. It tells a prequel story that takes place "centuries before the events of Lord of the Rings during the First Age of Middle Earth, the story tells the tale of Beren, a mortal man, and the romance and adventures he shared with the immortal elf Luthien." The two characters are the distant ancestors of Aragorn and Arwen.
In Fellowship of the Ring Aragon is singing an elven song to himself and when Frodo asks him what the song is about, Aragon explains that it's about Luthien and how she gave up her elven immortality so she could live a full, mortal life with Beren. The book was published by HarperCollins and was released on June 1st and I just ordered myself a copy!
According to The Wrap, this is a “deeply personal tale written by Tolkien shortly after returning from World War I. Struggling with trauma from seeing the horrors of war during the Battle of the Somme, Tolkien took to writing as a form of healing." Here's the full description:
The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.
Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal elf. Her father, a great elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.
In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.
Published on the tenth anniversary of the last Middle-earth book, the international bestseller The Children of Húrin, this new volume will similarly include drawings and color plates by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and went on to win Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
I know I haven't read the book yet, but I would love to see a film adaptation of this one day. There are so many other Middle Earth tales that I think deserve a film adaptation, I just don't think it will ever happen. It seems like it would be such a hard road to go down at this point and I don't see Peter Jackson ever doing another Middle Earth movie again.
The Tolkien Estate has some bad blood with Warner Bros., New Line, and Jackson. There's a lot of drama involving narrative changes and money. If we ever do see the Middle Earth world brought to the big screen again, it would probably be with another studio and a team of new talent.
As of right now, I'm just excited to read this story!