Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth

Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth


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“The tone is heroic, both the heroes and the villains greater than life-size.” — New York Times Book Review

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth concentrates on the lands of Middle-earth and comprises Gandalf’s lively account of how he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the story of the emergence of the sea god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and an exact description of the military organization of the Riders of Rohan and the journey of the Black Riders during the hunt for the Ring. It also contains the only surviving story about the long ages of Númenor before its downfall, and all that is known about the Five Wizards sent to Middle-earth as emissaries of the Valar, about the Seeing Stones known as palantíri, and about the legend of Amroth.

Edited and with an introduction, commentary, index, and maps by Christopher Tolkien.

“An indispensable volume illuminating many unknown stories and details of Middle-earth unavailable elsewhere.” — Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544337992
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 53,733
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and the author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit,The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. Appointed by Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself to the editing and publication of unpublished writings.

Date of Birth:

January 3, 1892

Date of Death:

September 2, 1973

Place of Birth:

Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)

Place of Death:

Oxford, England


B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

Read an Excerpt

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth



Copyright © 1980

J.R.R Tolkien Copyright Trust
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-618-15405-1

Chapter One


Rían, wife of Huor, dwelt with the people of the House of Hador;
but when rumour came to Dor-lómin of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad,
and yet she could hear no news of her lord, she became distraught
and wandered forth into the wild alone. There she would have
perished, but the Grey-elves came to her aid. For there was a dwelling
of this people in the mountains westward of Lake Mithrim; and
thither they led her, and she was there delivered of a son before the
end of the Year of Lamentation.

And Rían said to the Elves: 'Let him be called Tuor, for that
name his father chose, ere war came between us. And I beg of you to
foster him, and to keep him hidden in your care; for I forebode that
great good, for Elves and Men, shall come from him. But I must go
in search of Huor, my lord.'

Then the Elves pitied her; but one Annael, who alone of all that
went to war from that people had returned from the Nirnaeth, said
to her: 'Alas, lady, it is known now that Huor fell at the side of
Húrin his brother; and he lies, I deem, in the great hill of slain that
the Orcs have raised upon the field of battle.'

Therefore Rían arose and left the dwelling of the Elves, and she
passed through the land of Mithrim and came at last to the Haudhen-Ndengin
in the waste of Anfauglith, and there she laid her down
and died. But the Elves cared for the infant son of Huor, and Tuor
grew up among them; and he was fair of face, and golden-haired
after the manner of his father's kin, and he became strong and
tall and valiant, and being fostered by the Elves he had lore and
skill no less than the princes of the Edain, ere ruin came upon the

But with the passing of the years the life of the former folk of
Hithlum, such as still remained, Elves or Men, became ever harder
and more perilous. For as is elsewhere told, Morgoth broke his
pledges to the Easterlings that had served him, and he denied to them
the rich lands of Beleriand which they had coveted, and he drove
away these evil folk into Hithlum, and there commanded them to
dwell. And though they loved Morgoth no longer, they served him
still in fear, and hated all the Elven-folk; and they despised the
remnant of the House of Hador (the aged and women and children,
for the most part), and they oppressed them, and wedded their
women by force, and took their lands and goods, and enslaved their
children. Orcs came and went about the land as they would, pursuing
the lingering Elves into the fastnesses of the mountains, and taking
many captive to the mines of Angband to labour as the thralls of

Therefore Annael led his small people to the caves of Androth,
and there they lived a hard and wary life, until Tuor was sixteen
years of age and was become strong and able to wield arms, the axe
and bow of the Grey-elves; and his heart grew hot within him at the
tale of the griefs of his people, and he wished to go forth and avenge
them on the Orcs and Easterlings. But Annael forbade this.

'Far hence, I deem, your doom lies, Tuor son of Huor,' he said.
'And this land shall not be freed from the shadow of Morgoth until
Thangorodrim itself be overthrown. Therefore we are resolved at
last to forsake it, and to depart into the South; and with us you shall

'But how shall we escape the net of our enemies?' said Tuor. 'For
the marching of so many together will surely be marked.'

'We shall not march through the land openly,' said Annael; 'and
if our fortune is good we shall come to the secret way which we call
Annon-in-Gelydh, the Gate of the Noldor; for it was made by the
skill of that people, long ago in the days of Turgon.'

At that name Tuor was stirred, though he knew not why; and he
questioned Annael concerning Turgon. 'He is a son of Fingolfin,'
said Annael, 'and is now accounted High King of the Noldor, since
the fall of Fingon. For he lives yet, most feared of the foes of
Morgoth, and he escaped from the ruin of the Nirnaeth, when Húrin
of Dor-lómin and Huor your father held the passes of Sirion behind

'Then I will go and seek Turgon,' said Tuor; 'for surely he will
lend me aid for my father's sake?'

'That you cannot,' said Annael. 'For his stronghold is hidden
from the eyes of Elves and Men, and we know not where it stands.
Of the Noldor some, maybe, know the way thither, but they will
speak of it to none. Yet if you would have speech with them, then
come with me, as I bid you; for in the far havens of the South you
may meet with wanderers from the Hidden Kingdom.'

Thus it came to pass that the Elves forsook the caves of Androth,
and Tuor went with them. But their enemies kept watch upon their
dwellings, and were soon aware of their march; and they had not
gone far from the hills into the plain before they were assailed by a
great force of Orcs and Easterlings, and they were scattered far and
wide, fleeing into the gathering night. But Tuor's heart was kindled
with the fire of battle, and he would not flee, but boy as he was he
wielded the axe as his father before him, and for long he stood his
ground and slew many that assailed him; but at the last he was
overwhelmed and taken captive and led before Lorgan the Easterling.
Now this Lorgan was held the chieftain of the Easterlings and claimed
to rule all Dor-lómin as a fief under Morgoth; and he took Tuor to
be his slave. Hard and bitter then was his life; for it pleased Lorgan
to treat Tuor the more evilly as he was of the kin of the former lords,
and he sought to break, if he could, the pride of the House of Hador.
But Tuor saw wisdom, and endured all pains and taunts with watchful
patience; so that in time his lot was somewhat lightened, and at the
least he was not starved, as were many of Lorgan's unhappy thralls.
For he was strong and skilful, and Lorgan fed his beasts of burden
well, while they were young and could work.

But after three years of thraldom Tuor saw at last a chance of
escape. He was come now almost to his full stature, taller and swifter
than any of the Easterlings; and being sent with other thralls on an
errand of labour into the woods he turned suddenly on the guards and
slew them with an axe, and fled into the hills. The Easterlings hunted
him with dogs, but without avail; for wellnigh all the hounds of
Lorgan were his friends, and if they came up with him they would
fawn upon him, and then run homeward at his command. Thus he
came back at last to the caves of Androth and dwelt there alone.
And for four years he was an outlaw in the land of his fathers, grim and
solitary; and his name was feared, for he went often abroad, and slew
many of the Easterlings that he came upon. Then they set a great
price upon his head; but they did not dare to come to his hiding-place,
even with strength of men, for they feared the Elven-folk, and
shunned the caves where they had dwelt. Yet it is said that Tuor's
journeys were not made for the purpose of vengeance; rather he
sought ever for the Gate of the Noldor, of which Annael had spoken.
But he found it not, for he knew not where to look, and such few of
the Elves as lingered still in the mountains had not heard of it.

Now Tuor knew that, though fortune still favoured him, yet in
the end the days of an outlaw are numbered, and are ever few and
without hope. Nor was he willing to live thus for ever a wild man in
the houseless hills, and his heart urged him ever to great deeds.
Herein, it is said, the power of Ulmo was shown. For he gathered
tidings of all that passed in Beleriand, and every stream that flowed
from Middle-earth to the Great Sea was to him a messenger, both to
and fro; and he remained also in friendship, as of old, with Círdan
and the Shipwrights at the Mouths of Sirion. And at this time most
of all Ulmo gave heed to the fates of the House of Hador, for in his
deep counsels he purposed that they should play great part in his
designs for the succour of the Exiles; and he knew well of the plight
of Tuor, for Annael and many of his folk had indeed escaped from
Dor-lómin and come at last to Círdan in the far South.

Thus it came to pass that on a day in the beginning of the year
(twenty and three since the Nirnaeth) Tuor sat by a spring that trickled
forth near to the door of the cave where he dwelt; and he looked out
westward towards the cloudy sunset. Then suddenly it came into
his heart that he would wait no longer, but would arise and go. 'I
will leave now the grey land of my kin that are no more,' he cried,
'and I will go in search of my doom! But whither shall I turn? Long
have I sought the Gate and found it not.'

Then he took up the harp which he bore ever with him, being
skilled in playing upon its strings, and heedless of the peril of his
clear voice alone in the waste he sang an elven-song of the North
for the uplifting of hearts. And even as he sang the well at his feet
began to boil with great increase of water, and it overflowed, and a
rill ran noisily down the rocky hillside before him. And Tuor took
this as a sign, and he arose at once and followed after it. Thus he
came down from the tall hills of Mithrim and passed out into the
northward plain of Dor-lómin; and ever the stream grew as he
followed it westward, until after three days he could descry in the
west the long grey ridges of Ered Lómin that in those regions marched
north and south, fencing off the far coastlands of the Western Shores.
To those hills in all his journeys Tuor had never come.

Now the land became more broken and stony again, as it approached
the hills, and soon it began to rise before Tuor's feet, and the stream
went down into a cloven bed. But even as dim dusk came on the
third day of his journey, Tuor found before him a wall of rock, and
there was an opening thercin like a great arch; and the stream passed
in and was lost. Then Tuor was dismayed, and he said: 'So my
hope has cheated me! The sign in the hills has led me only to a dark
end in the midst of the land of my enemies.' And grey at heart he
sat among the rocks on the high bank of the stream, keeping watch
through a bitter fireless night; for it was yet but the month of Sùlimë,
and no stir of spring had come to that far northern land, and a
shrill wind blew from the East.

But even as the light of the coming sun shone pale in the far
mists of Mithrim, Tuor heard voices, and looking down he saw in
amazement two Elves that waded in the shallow water; and as they
climbed up steps hewn in the bank, Tuor stood up and called to them.
At once they drew their bright swords and sprang towards him. Then
he saw that they were grey-cloaked but mail-clad under; and he
marvelled, for they were fairer and more fell to look upon, because
of the light of their eyes, than any of the Elven-folk that he yet had
known. He stood to his full height and awaited them; but when they
saw that he drew no weapon, but stood alone and greeted them in
the Elven-tongue, they sheathed their swords and spoke courteously
to him. And one said: 'Gelmir and Arminas we are, of Finarfin's
people. Are you not one of the Edain of old that dwelt in these lands
ere the Nirnaeth? And indeed of the kindred of Hador and Húrin
I deem you; for so the gold of your head declares you.'

And Tuor answered: 'Yea, I am Tuor, son of Huor, son of Galdor,
son of Hador; but now at last I desire to leave this land where I am
outlawed and kinless.'

'Then,' said Gelmir, 'if you would escape and find the havens in
the South, already your feet have been guided on the right road.'

'So I thought,' said Tuor. 'For I followed a sudden spring of
water in the hills, until it joined this treacherous stream. But now
I know not whither to turn, for it has gone into darkness.'

'Through darkness one may come to the light,' said Gelmir.

'Yet one will walk under the Sun while one may,' said Tuor. 'But
since you are of that people, tell me if you can where lies the Gate of
the Noldor. For I have sought it long, ever since Annael my foster-father
of the Grey-elves spoke of it to me.'

Then the Elves laughed, and said: 'Your search is ended; for we
have ourselves just passed that Gate. There it stands before you!'
And they pointed to the arch into which the water flowed. 'Come now!
Through darkness you shall come to the light. We will set your feet
on the road, but we cannot guide you far; for we are sent back to the
lands whence we fled upon an urgent errand.' 'But fear not,' said
Gelmir: 'a great doom is written upon your brow, and it shall lead
you far from these lands, far indeed from Middle-earth, as I guess.'

Then Tuor followed the Noldor down the steps and waded in the
cold water, until they passed into the shadow beyond the arch of
stone. And then Gelmir brought forth one of those lamps for which
the Noldor were renowned; for they were made of old in Valinor,
and neither wind nor water could quench them, and when they were
unhooded they sent forth a clear blue light from a flame imprisoned
in white crystal. Now by the light that Gelmir held above his head
Tuor saw that the river began to go suddenly down a smooth slope
into a great tunnel, but beside its rock-hewn course there ran long
flights of steps leading on and downward into a deep gloom beyond
the beam of the lamp.

When they had come to the foot of the rapids they stood under a
great dome of rock, and there the river rushed over a steep fall with
a great noise that echoed in the vault, and it passed then on again
beneath another arch into a further tunnel. Beside the falls the Noldor
halted, and bade Tuor farewell.

'Now we must return and go our ways with all speed,' said Gelmir;
'for matters of great peril are moving in Beleriand.'

'Is then the hour come when Turgon shall come forth?' said Tuor.

Then the Elves looked at him in amazement. 'That is a matter
which concerns the Noldor rather than the sons of Men,' said
Arminas. 'What know you of Turgon?'

'Little,' said Tuor; 'save that my father aided his escape from
the Nirnaeth, and that in his hidden stronghold dwells the hope of
the Noldor. Yet, though I know not why, ever his name stirs in my
heart, and comes to my lips. And had I my will, I would go in search
of him, rather than tread this dark way of dread. Unless, perhaps,
this secret road is the way to his dwelling?'

'Who shall say?' answered the Elf. 'For since the dwelling of
Turgon is hidden, so also are the ways thither. I know them not,
though I have sought them long. Yet if I knew them, I would not
reveal them to you, nor to any among Men.'

But Gelmir said : 'Yet I have heard that your House has the favour
of the Lord of Waters. And if his counsels lead you to Turgon, then
surely shall you come to him, withersoever you turn. Follow now the
road to which the water has brought you from the hills, and fear not!
You shall not walk long in darkness. Farewell! And think not that
our meeting was by chance; for the Dweller in the Deep moves
many things in this land still.

Excerpted from Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth
Copyright © 1980 by J.R.R Tolkien Copyright Trust.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found it far more interesting than even The Histories of Middle-Earth. My copy is severely earmarked with stories of Queen Beruthiel's cats, how Grima Wormtogue was drawn to the dark side, where Gandalf was journeying just before Third Age 3018, the Ringwraith's fear of water, and the rest of the five wizards. My friends have finally bought copies of their own so I can see it more often! Christopher Tolkien put together an amazing set of backstories and the footnotes are worth reading. One last note: 'Narn i hin Hurin' is well-written, but very tragic. Be prepared!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book really engrossing.I loved Tuor in the first story,and my heart bleeds for Turin in the second.My,my,how much he suffers!He really didn't deserve it.It was the story which touched me the most.Overall,UT displays the same magnificence and grandeur of the Silmarillion,so those who enjoyed the Silm should definitely not miss this one.Tolkien has written it in such a way that one wants to believe it to be REAL mythology and lore.I love middle-earth!
ferrioso More than 1 year ago
For the die-hard Tolkein fan, this book helps fill in a few details between the Silmarilian, Hobbit & LoTR trilogy. I definitely prefer the flow of this book compared to the other "info" collections, because there's still a substantial amount of actual "story" material. The footnotes are located at the end of each chapter, rather than interwoven within the original text.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another masterpiece comes alive in the book of 'Unfinished Tales.' I read the Silmarillion before I read this, and 'Unfinished Tales' continues to go deeper and deeper into the heart of middle-earth. It is excetionaly hard to read but it is definitely worth it. It pickes up on a lot of the loose ends of the Silmarillion, and goes deeper into the lives of certain characters. It explains more of the fall of Numenor, and it also tells more of the istari and the palantiri. If you have the time and patience, this is a wonderful book and i would definitely recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tolkien is an amazing writer. I enjoyed reading his books, especially The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion. If you are a Tolkien fan, then, you should read this at least once. Even though it does not flow and hold your interest like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, it still is a good read. This book is a collection of short stories as well as some of Tolkien¿s notes from the Battle of Unnumbered Tears until the destruction of the Ring. True this book is not like his previous novels, but you will certainly love it. You will want to read it more than once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
unfinished tales has become my favorive book with the exception of The Lord of the Rings series. The tale i liked most in the whole book was The Tale of the Children of Hurin i liked it because i enjoyed the personality of turin and J.R.R. tolkien gave such a good discription of turin i could imagon him right down to the color of his eyes. Now if you can imagon a character in a book that good you know it is a great book. I admire J.R.R. Tolkien for the things he made like the atlas of middle earth, you truly wouldent imagon that some one would creat an atlas of shear pleasure of his readers, right. Anyway Unfinished Tales is truly a graet book and i hope you decide to take my advice and read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh, this is a very interesting book. I am really happy to have read this book because it has given me a lot of information that I did not know beforehand. I understand a lot more. It also has some nice stories that do not relate to the Lord of the Rings but I have enjoyed reading this book. I reccomend this to Lord of the Rings fans who take this stuff seriously...like me. However, I do warn that it is a little bit hard to read. Still, enjoy it if you decide to read it. :):)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Tolkien's works, but I was afraid to read it at first because the books by Tolkien edited by Christopher are usually very dull and boring. Which is really disappointing because I am a true Tolkien fan. But when I read it, I was amazed, I loved all the stories and this book is my favorite with the exception of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. There are some stories in here that are expanded on from the Silmarillion and some new ones that I have never heard! You should really enjoy this book if you like other Tolkien books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As with what I've seen from most of the edited works of jrr tolkien by christopher, i expected this to be very dull and hard to read. Though it does have its dull moments, they are few and far between. It goes into great detail of the stories that the Silmarillion briefly touched on. I purchased a slightly older printing of the same book, but it is definitely a must have for anyone who truly enjoys the works of tolkien.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's great! It gives you a lot more history of Middle Earth. It tells more about Beren and Luthien, Turin Turambar, and about the creation of Middle Earth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book. I am 14 and in high school. I have read all of Tolkiens and cannot imagine a world without theLord of the Rings and all the histories of Middle Earth. If anybody argues my points about it I have many explanations for everything in these books, as i have been researching it since i was ten.
OhRyan More than 1 year ago
It's important that anyone who has not (or could not) read the Silmarillion not read 'Unfinished Tales'. This collection of many stories is really interesting, but at times disappointing. Right when the story of Tuor gets good, it goes missing. It's a great book, but it's not for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reason I give for this is that Frodo can relate to people and put himself in others' shoes better than Sam. He altruistically volunteered to take the Ring at the Council of Elrond because he knew how much it hurt him and couldn't bear to think of others suffering that same pain. He pitied Gollum because he knew that Gollum had been through the same thing he was going through, for hundreds of years! He made himself the Enemy's target because he believed that his friends were more important than himself. At least he was rewarded in the end and was allowed to go to Valinor! Yes, Sam was very good at protecting Frodo, but he didn't see himself sparing Gollum or carrying the Ring. Frodo was more compassionate than Sam and less focused on justice. Even though Frodo couldn't protect himself all that well and didn't have a very strong will, he still was the kinder and more gentle and compassionate. So, do you still like Sam better (if you liked him better before)? Reply to #Frodo-is-awesome to tell me what you think!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent companion to the Hobbit and LOTR.
upstairsgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By no means an easy read, the Unifished Tales are, I suspect, best read immediately following the Silmarillion. Since I hadn't done this, I had difficulty keeping track of where in time and space things were going on, and difficulty relating them back to the parts of the Tolkien's world with which I was already familiar. Definitely worthwhile, but not to be taken on lightly.
ex_ottoyuhr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this book if you want more _Lord of the Rings_, better _Lord of the Rings_ (that'd be me), or a means of psyching yourself up for _The Silmarillion_. You'll discover that without the Silmarillion as background none of this is remotely comprehensible, but you were going to read the Silmarillion anyways, weren't you?
Crowyhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This volume is really for the true Tolkien nerd; if you've read all the Appendices and The Silmarilion and still want more, this will be right up your alley. It consists mostly of notes, fragments, and essays rather than complete stories; many of the narratives break off suddenly. I really enjoyed it, though, and found it fascinating, particularly the section regarding the Istari, or wizards, and their origins. The section on Galadriel and Celeborn is also fascinating if, like me, you kind of have a crush on Galadriel. ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please post your bios. Remember, this chatroom is open to anyone, so please familiarize yourself with newcomers. <p> - Hanulfa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who is your favorite
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totaly love the lord of the rings and this is asome too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was posted on the Exact same day as my birthday! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago