First published in the 12-volume series The History of Middle-earth, J.R.R. Tolkien’s story of Beren and Lúthien is one of the quintessential love stories of our time: Beren, a mortal Man, falls in love with Lúthien, an immortal Elf of noble lineage and unmatched beauty. Tolkien’s famous poem “The Lay of Leithian” tells of their quest to reclaim one of the stolen Silmarils from Morgoth’s crown, thereby winning the favour of Lúthien’s father, King Thingol. Their love story is echoed in The Lord of the Rings, when the mortal Aragorn falls in love with Arwen, daughter of Lord Elrond of Rivendell.
The tale was so important to JRR Tolkien that the characters’ names were engraved on the tombstones of him and his wife Edith, the real-life Beren and Lúthien.
In May 2017, a hundred years after its conception, the story of Beren and Lúthien will be released as its own volume by HarperCollins, edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher and featuring illustrations by artist Alan Lee.
In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lthien 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.
For more information, visit HarperCollins’ webpage.