1st edition cover
Author(s) J. R. R. Tolkien,
edited by Christopher Tolkien
Country United Kingdom Language English Genre(s) Fantasy fiction Publisher George Allen & Unwin Publication date 1980 Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Unfinished Tales (full title 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. 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 began to embark 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:
- "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
- "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
- "The Line of Elros: Kings of Númenor"
- "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
Part Three: The Third Age:
- "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
- "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
- "The Quest of Erebor"
- "The Hunt for the Ring"
- "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
Works by J. R. R. Tolkien Fiction1930s1940s1950s1960s Posthumous
fiction1970s1980sUnfinished Tales (1980) · Mr. Bliss (1982)1990s2000s
Academic1920s1930s1940sSir Orfeo (1944)1950sOfermod and Beorhtnoth's Death (1953) · Middle English "Losenger": Sketch of an etymological and semantic enquiry (1953)1960s Posthumous
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien Volumes Production and reception Related works Characters Adaptations and other derivative works Radio Film TheatreThe Lord of the Rings (2006, 2007) Video gamesJourney to Rivendell · The Hobbit (1982) · Game One · Game Two: Shadows of Mordor · War in Middle-earth · Volume I · J. R. R. Tolkien's Riders of Rohan · Elendor · MUME · Volume II · The Two Towers (MUD) · The Fellowship of the Ring · The Two Towers · The Hobbit (2003) · The Return of the King · War of the Ring · The Third Age · The Third Age (GBA) · The Battle for Middle-earth · Tactics · The Battle for Middle-earth II (The Rise of the Witch-king) · The White Council · Shadows of Angmar (Mines of Moria · Siege of Mirkwood · Rise of Isengard) · Conquest · Aragorn's Quest · War in the North Other games J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium Published during his lifetime Posthumous publications Lists of articlesBy category · By name · Writings · Characters · Peoples · Individual Dwarves · Individual Elves · Individual Hobbits · Hobbit families · Individual Númenoreans · Individual Orcs · Kings of Arnor · Kings of Dale · Kings of Gondor · Rulers of Númenor · Kings of Rohan · Realms · Ages · Animals · Plants · Food and drink · Inns · Objects · Weapons and armour · Wars and battles · Rivers · Roads · Languages
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