Book Review – The Lost Road and Other Writings

The Lost Road and Other Writings is the fifth book in the History of Middle-Earth twelve set book series. In this book, we finally start reading the early manuscripts that will make up the stories regarding Númenor. The first title portion of this book, The Lost Road follows a very unique short story that connects the modern world, to that of the Númenórean era.

Given that the entire History of Middle-Earth series was published after The Silmarillion. To me what stood out the most reading this book was the acknowledgment of Christopher Tolkien regarding editorial mistakes that he made during his scrupulous work in The Silmarillion; in particular those belonging to the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Additionally, it was also really interesting to read passages that had some events that were inconstant with some of the narrative of the stories, and how even Christopher Tolkien himself had no explanation of it. I can only imagine how rigorous, J.R.R. work might of been when he was writing all of these stories, that he possibly didn’t noticed these mistakes in his original manuscripts.

The last portion of this book starts delving (although not in a linguistic scholarly manner) into J.R.R. Tolkien’s languages. A significant amount of etymology is covered. It’s quite amazing the vast amount of work Tolkien did in creating his languages and incorporating them into his secondary world. Just about almost everything whether being a character or a location in works has a linguistic meaning associated with their names. This actually reminded me of an amusing George R.R. Martin interview I saw a while ago were he explains how he comes up with character names. I don’t minimize Martin, but reading the etymologies of the words Tolkien invented; he is on a different level.

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