I wish I could call myself a Tolkien expert because I love the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but other than that and The Hobbit, my Tolkien knowledge ends. The Silmarillion has been on my to-read shelf for as long as I can remember. The rest of the Tolkien oeuvre, including all those edited by J.R.R Tolkien’s son Christopher, have piqued my interest at one point or another. However, they are difficult to come by and, frankly, I am worried they will not have the same impact as LOTR, and that they may tarnish my experience of my next rereading of it.
So, on hearing that yet again, a new Tolkien book will be published by HarperCollins on Thursday titled Beren and Lúthien, I find myself gawking at the power of the gods of marketing. Of course, it is not a coincidence that they decided to publish it on the 10th anniversary since the last Tolkien book was published, The Children of Húrin? And of course, like many of the other books revolving around LOTR, this is in someway the pre-material that made up another book, in this case The Silmarillion, according to the publishers, it is a story in its own right. How authentic is it to desperately fish out every snippet of text written by Tolkien and say it is a book on its own right?
Perhaps it is, what do I know. I suppose I am just weary of all these marketing gimmicks, the way publishers sell and time their releases to maximise profits. All at the expense of other writers out there striving to make it—especially those with really, really good manuscripts, which never get published because there just might not be a large enough audience to buy the books.
Yet here we are, reading on a mainstream news site like the BBC, reading about the anticipated publication of a book by an author who has been long dead. At least Tolkien fans will have something to look forward to this week.
Samir Rawas Sarayji