An Element of Tolkien’s Work Missing in The Children of Hurin

I’ve gotten halfway through The Children of Hurin by J. R. R. Tolkien and edited by his son Christopher Tolkien.  So far it exudes a style and mood at variance with other works of Tolkien.  It feels more like a Greek tragedy or Viking saga: it has the style of the latter and the tragic flaws of the former.  None of Tolkien’s eucatastrophe is present therein, unless we count the happy death of Androg, who died a better man than he lived.  If it were not for this happy death, I should doubt that the famous Tolkien really wrote the story.  Little else relieves one from the heavy sense of sorrow hanging over the action.

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Joy or even humor is missing from the work.  Tolkien’s major work, The Lord of the Rings, can get pretty dark at times, but its characters defy their desperate circumstances with joy, humor, or even glory.  Boromir’s death lost some of its sting by the exuberant courage of his last stand.  Homely humor from Samwise Gamgee brightened up Sam and Frodo’s trek through Mordor.  How about the orc slaying game played between Legolas and Gimli at the desperate Battle of Helm’s Deep?

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