Unfinished Tales

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Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth
Cover of the first edition. It features Tolkien's drawing of a Númenórean helmet.
Editor Christopher Tolkien
Author J. R. R. Tolkien
Illustrator Christopher Tolkien (maps)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Subject Tolkien's legendarium
Genre Fantasy
Publisher George Allen & Unwin
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
ISBN 9780048231796
Preceded by The Silmarillion
Followed by The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien

Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is a collection of stories and essays by J. R. R. Tolkien that were never completed during his lifetime, but were edited by his son Christopher Tolkien and published in 1980.

Unlike The Silmarillion, for which the narrative fragments were modified to connect into a consistent and coherent work, the Unfinished Tales are presented as Tolkien left them, with little more than names changed (the author having had a confusing habit of trying out different names for a character while writing a draft). Thus some of these are incomplete stories, while others are collections of information about Middle-earth. Each tale is followed by a long series of notes explaining inconsistencies and obscure points.

As with The Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien edited and published Unfinished Tales before he had finished his study of the materials in his father's archive.[citation needed] Unfinished Tales provides more detailed information about characters, events and places mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings. Versions of such tales, including the origins of Gandalf and the other Istari (Wizards), the death of Isildur and the loss of the One Ring in the Gladden Fields, and the founding of the kingdom of Rohan, help expand knowledge about Middle-earth.

The commercial success of Unfinished Tales demonstrated that the demand for Tolkien's stories several years after his death was not only still present, it was growing. Encouraged by the result, Christopher Tolkien embarked upon the more ambitious twelve-volume work entitled The History of Middle-earth which encompasses nearly the entire corpus of Tolkien's writings about Middle-earth.


Part One: The First Age:

Part Two: The Second Age:

Part Three: The Third Age:

Part Four:

See also

External links

  • "Unfinished Tales". Mythgard Institute. Signum University. 

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