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Publisher's Summary

Presented for the first time on audio, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves, Men and Orcs and the rich landscape unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth in this unabridged recording read by critically acclaimed father and son, Timothy and Samuel West. 

Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, was deeply opposed to Beren, and imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. Undaunted by Lord Thingol’s challenge, Beren and Lúthien embark on the supremely heroic attempt to rob Morgoth, the greatest of all evil beings, of a Silmaril, one of the hallowed jewels that adorn the Black Enemy’s crown. The tale of Beren and Lúthien, which was written shortly after J.R.R. Tolkien returned from the Battle of the Somme in 1916, was an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion

In this book Christopher Tolkien has extracted the various versions of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which they are embedded. To show something of the process whereby this Great Tale of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he tells 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.

©2017 HarperCollins Publishers Limited (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A seamless editorial construct, the capstone to a job Christopher Tolkien began with The Silmarillion." (New Statesman)

Featured Article: Who Is J.R.R. Tolkien? Celebrating the Incomparable Creator of Middle-earth


J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings epic, has an annual day devoted to reveling in his books. Established by the Tolkien Society in 2003. Tolkien Reading Day is held each year on March 25—the date marking the downfall of the terrible Dark Lord, Sauron (the Lord of the Rings). Before you dive into re-listening to your favorite passages, why not take learn more about the writer, scholar, linguist, and visionary behind the fantasy phenomenon?

What listeners say about Beren and Lúthien

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very disappointing

Snippets of JRR's storytelling interrupted by Christopher's long winded descriptions of what his father was thinking, and what was happening with the family and what color hat he was wearing when he wrote each passage (okay, that last part was exaggeration but not by much). This is not a book for anyone interested in the story, since the constant commentary made it impossible to follow the flow of JRR's brilliance.

31 people found this helpful

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Not a story, but a study of the evolution of one.

This book alternates between notes by Christopher Tolkien & the various manuscripts his father wrote about the title characters. I loved it, but it is a strange experience to listen to it.

17 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written with Academic Narrative

I was hoping for a synthesis, a beautifully integrated story of these two characters. We get the academic considerations of Tolkien’s variations. While I appreciate the scholarship, my heart just wants a good tale told straight through. Both narrators make it work.

10 people found this helpful

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Too much changed

Changing names and making Beren an elf not a man was really odd. Not great

6 people found this helpful

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This is a scholarly work

It is appropriate to read this book this soon after the recent death of its editor Christopher Tolkien. Be warned that as good as it is, that it is as much a scholarly work as it is a presentation of versions of the tale. Bless C.T. and the work he has done to make his father’s writing available to the world.

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great and bad same time!

how to explain the parts that were excellent great poetry, but unfortunately it felt a lot like a book report at other parts. If you love Jared talking to work, I recommend it, I just I don't know

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Love this!

I love hearing the progression of this story and the different iterations that were made throughout Tolkien’s life. It also shows all of the work that Christopher had to put into the Silmarillion to get a final story.

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Good listen if a bit scattered in presentation.

While narration was very listenable, the story was a little unreachable as it has been too many years since I was a more enthusiastic fan of The Sillmarilion.

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best poetry I've ever heard. enjoyable

best poetry l ever heard .best-known work of artists poetry I've ever heard authors poetry

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Fascinating story about a story

It comes off as a well researched history book about an epic Greek poem. Great for people who want to know about Tolkien and his development of a story, but it isn't a straightforward narrative so do keep that in mind.

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  • Robert Luke
  • 05-16-20

this is absolute dross. There is NO STORY ! ! !

If you want to hear the actual story of Beren and Lúthien then you will have to go somewhere else because all of this book is just to promote the alleged writing skills of the people who compiled it. Sorry but I have just wasted my time and month's credit token.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Nigel C. Cox
  • 02-28-21

Wonderful insight to a beautiful fable

Truly this is an excellent work.
I followed the performance of the poems in the written text and am impressed.

West Snr does a chronicle course weave the words of these Tolkiens.
And of the works that speak direct of Beren and his Lúthien, does West Jnr do more justice than
seemed possible before the start.
By these three hands does spring to life, a joy to read and better hear, so sad a story of ill fate.
A broken song, many times revised, was a hard subject to device
A book, a narrative that is partly lost.
And yet, tis done.

And marvellous.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dan Sands
  • 06-12-20

Wonderful

The narration allows the listener to be enveloped into the world and the initial prose as well as CT's notes allows for the poetry to be better understood. Not just for LOTR fans but worthwhile for anyone interested in poetry and/or legends.

4 people found this helpful

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  • David J. Smith
  • 08-24-21

Worked and reworked to perfection

A fairy-story (in Tolkien's sense) that he told many times in different registers, like a maestro modulating the key of a piece of music. The result is not merely one tale or lay or poem, therefore, but a collection of varied texts each with a very distinctive mood and atmosphere of its own. Well worth the listen. The performance is a little uninspiring in places but the author's love of language.shines through to redeem all.

3 people found this helpful

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  • andrew
  • 08-05-21

Wonderful Story

The world of the first and Second age of Middle Earth is so rich with characters and wonder and Beren and Luthien is no exception. The story is beautifully read by father and son-West and really well laid out in book structure by Christopher Tokkien who have the arduous job of working through literally hundreds of papers, notes and drawings by his late father. l will say though to get full enjoyment for listener's it maybe need to familiarise themselves with Tolkien other great work The Silmarillion. Overall 5 stars Andrew R

2 people found this helpful

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  • j d rowley
  • 05-20-21

Could be scored higher

The actual story of beren and luthien was great. But all the extras should be in an appendices, not In front and behind. Just after in an appendix. So the story can be read as a sole item.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-18-21

entancing ancient tale

updated in the most scho;arly and readable fashion by famed professor and son. dont miss this

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 03-13-21

Wonderful companion to the book


This audio-book is narrated by father and son acting troupe Timothy West and Samuel West. This is wonderful, as it echoes the dynamic of J.R.R and Christopher Tolkien that underpins this book. West senior reads the interlinking narrative detailing the evolution of the story, often speaking as Christopher, whilst West Junior narrates the story with real poetic grace and gravitas. He gets the metred verse beautifully, and you are swept up in the dramatic power of poem and prose. He is a great character actor, vividly capturing, for example, the menace of Morgoth, the sinuous, hissing predation of Tevildo, and the grit and suffering of the heroes.

A wonderful companion to the book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darren Gladden
  • 06-06-22

You need to be a big fan JRRT

You need to be a big fan JRRT., if you are it's great,if not try the Hobbit or LOTR first.

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  • Graeme McNamara
  • 04-26-22

stop a moment...

if you haven't read/listened to the Silmarillion, do that before you listen to this. all of the negative reviews have one thing on common - they didnt like the notes. the notes are what this book is adding, the main story is already published, it's great, get to it if you havent already. they shouldnt be appendices because that's what this book is essentially. you will enjoy this if you want to know more about how the story was created and codified, or if you generally enjoy a peak behind the curtain.