JRR Tolkien’s Legend of Middle Earth Love Set for Publication

Berein and Luthien to receive their own volume

For everyone who doesn’t have a copy of JRR Tolkien’s The Silmarillion lying around, the names Beren and Lúthien may not mean too much. However, their story, tucked within the mythos of Tolkien’s high fantasy universe, is a thrilling legend of forbidden love. The “Tale of Beren and Luthien” takes place in Middle Earth, about 6,500 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, and follows a mortal man and an immortal elf on a seemingly impossible quest devised by Lúthien’s father, an Elvish Lord, who disapproves of their desire to marry. Thankfully, HarperCollins has just announced the release (May, 2017) of a new volume titled Beren and Lúthien, which will give the narrative its first free standing publication. The release will also be the first time all the tale’s iterations are collected in one place.

Tolkien first composed the story in 1917, then titled “The Tale of Tinúviel,” after his return from World War One, where he served as a signaler at the Battle of Somme. The second prose telling crops up briefly in two locations — as a chapter in The Sillmarillion, and as told by Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Ring. There’s also an unfinished epic poem that was first published in The Lays of Beleriand. All three have been edited and organized by Christopher Tolkien, the author’s son. In their press release, HarperCollins stated, “to show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, [Christopher Tolkien] 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.”

The tale also has a touching personal link to the Tolkien family, as the headstones of JRR and his wife Edith are adorned with the names Beren and Lúthien, respectively.