The Tolkien Road

A podcast about Middle-earth and all things Tolkien.

0230 – Unfinished Tales: Background & Overview

On episode 230, we embark on our journey through the post-Silmarillion landscape by taking a high-level look at Unfinished Tales. Join us!

The executive producers of this episode are Kaitlyn of Tea With Tolkien, Liis U, Andrew T, and John R.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello John and Greta,

    Here’s an interesting thought: What if the Tolkien Estate produced a new Silmarillion. The text would have the appearance or illusion of completion, like the 1977 Silmarillion. However, the editors would take into account Christopher’s scholarly work in The History of Middle-earth (1983 – 1996) as well as the regrets that he voiced about his treatment of the 1977 Silmarillion. If done well, this process would probably enhance The Silmarillion as a literary work, especially in the eyes of a new generation, while inevitably irritating the current generations of fans that have become emotionally and intellectually attached to the 1977 Silmarillion.

    Here’s a reasonably similar example. The original Star Wars Trilogy was originally released from 1977 to 1983. From 1997 to 2005, the original creator George Lucas transformed the Star Wars universe through the Special Edition and the Prequel Trilogy. The 1997 “Special Edition” was released featuring numerous changes big and small, including new computer generated special effects, alternations to the musical score by the original artist John Williams, and two new (previously deleted) scenes from Star Wars (1977), now subtitled “A New Hope.” “Special Edition” is a misnomer, since this is the standard version nowadays. The Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005) expanded and changed interpretations of Star Wars by telling a new backstory.

    The older generation that became hardcore fans of Star Wars before 1997 to 2005 often strongly dislike the Special Editions along and the Prequels. The younger generation that became hardcore fans of Star Wars after these dates (including myself) often has a much more positive view of both the Special Editions and the Prequel Trilogy.

    The most notable difference is that the elder Tolkien has been dead since before the publication of the 1977 Silmarillion, while George Lucas is still alive today. Another notable difference is that due to physical limitations books are easier to substantially edit than films are.

    Thank you for the excellent podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. Thank you Tim! Love these thoughts. I lifted my VHS copies of the “original” Star Wars films to digital a few years ago so I’d always have the versions I grew up with.

      That’s an interesting thought experiment with The Silmarillion. I wonder what it would become if they published it now…

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