This is my own version of a post that I contributed to on Book Riot.
One of the books I am most looking forward to in 2017 is Beren and Luthien.
As a lifelong Tolkien lover, it is with immense joy that I await the release of Beren and Luthien. This book tells the story of the great love of Beren, a mortal man, and Luthien, an immortal elf. For those of you familiar with the films, it was the song Aragorn was singing around the campfire in the swamps, which allowed him to summarize the tale for Frodo. The tale is based upon the life and love of Tolkien and his wife, Edith. So sweet!
The story of Beren and Luthien contains multitudes of mythical allusions, from the Twelve Labors of Heracles to the Trials of Thor. It is reminiscent of star-crossed lovers such as Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Iseult, or Lancelot and Guinevere. Full of love, adventure, bittersweet moments, and excitement, I fail to see how this story wouldn’t excite anyone who loves high fantasy. Plus, Tolkien!
Beren and Luthien fits in beautifully with the overall mythology of The Lord of the Rings, as it holds a central tenet of that world within it. The will to defeat evil and for love and goodness to triumph at the end is the driving theme throughout both LOTR and Beren and Luthien. It also feels somehow more relevant and immediate in the current climate, despite being set in a sort of mythic prehistory. Everything dealing with good overcoming evil and love winning the day feels that way to me lately.
The tale of Beren and Luthien was originally included in The Silmarillion, yes, but this book includes Tolkien’s original form and then various forms from different texts, as collated and edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. As a whole, the resulting text shows the changes to the story of the two lovers and reveal differences that are not in any published versions to date.
I know lots of people regard Tolkien as overplayed. But I don’t! Adding to a canon of work that I have known and loved for literally my entire reading life is something I anticipate with great joy, even if I couldn’t land an ARC. I hope I am not alone in looking forward to this new addition to the literature of Middle Earth.