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The Ballantine Books cover (1991)

Unfinished Tales (fully titled Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth) is a collection of stories and alternate narratives by J.R.R. Tolkien that were not completed in his lifetime, but edited and concluded by Christopher Tolkien, and published in 1980. The stories are set in Arda.

Publication & edition

Unlike The Silmarillion, in which narrative fragments were modified to form a consistent and coherent work, the Unfinished Tales are presented as Tolkien left them, with little more than names changed. Thus some of these are incomplete stories, while others are collections of "factual" information about Middle-earth. Each tale is followed by a long series of Christopher's notes explaining inconsistencies and obscure points. In a few of the tales (written after The Lord of the Rings had been published and found success), Tolkien reaches back to rationalize or correct certain facets of his world that originally had been different, or mysterious.

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. Despite shortcomings in editorial consistency, Unfinished Tales provides detailed information about characters, events and places mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings. Tales include alternate accounts of the origins of Gandalf and the Wizards, the death of Isildur and the loss of the One Ring in the Gladden Fields, and the founding of the kingdom of Rohan.

Of particular note is the tale of Tar-Aldarion and Erendis, the only known story set within Númenor before its fall. A map of Númenor is included.

Unfinished Tales had commercial success, demonstrating that demand for Tolkien's stories several years after his death grew on. Considering this, 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 Middle-earth writings.

A special Deluxe Slipcase Edition was released by Harper Collins in 2013. In 2020, an "Illustrated Edition" of the book was released by Houghton Mifflin, featuring art by John Howe, Alan Lee, and Ted Nasmith. (These illustrators had separately provided cover-art for prior publications, in 1996, 2001, and 2003 respectively.)


Part One: The First Age:

Part Two: The Second Age:

Part Three: The Third Age:

Part Four


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Onvoltooide Verhale
Albanian Tregime të papërfunduara
Amharic ያልተጠናቀቁ ታሪኮች
Arabic غير منتهية قصص
Armenian Անավարտ պատմություններ
Basque Amaitu gabeko ipuinak
Belarusian Cyrillic Няпоўныя гісторыі
Bosnian Nedovršene priče
Bulgarian Cyrillic Незавършените приказки
Burmese မပြီးဆုံးသေးသောပုံပြင်များ
Cambodian រឿងមិនទាន់បញ្ចប់
Catalan Contes inconclusos
Chinese 未完成的故事
Cornish Andhien Hwedhlow
Croatian Nedovršene pripovijesti
Czech Nedokončené příběhy
Danish Efterladte historier
Dutch Nagelaten vertellingen
Estonian Lõpetamata lood
Finnish Keskeneräisten tarujen kirja
French Contes inachevés
Galician Contos inconclusos
Georgian დაუსრულებელი მოთხრობები
German Nachrichten aus Mittelerde
Greek Ατέλειωτες Ιστορίες
Gujarati અપૂર્ણ ટેલ્સ
Hebrew סיפורים שלא נשלמו
Hindi अधूरी कहानियां
Hungarian Befejezetlen történetek
Icelandic Ólokið sögur
Indonesian Cerita-cerita yang belum selesai
Italian Racconti Incompiuti
Japanese 終わらざりし物語
Kannada ಪೂರ್ಣಗೊಳಿಸದ ಕಥೆಗಳು
Kazakh Толық емес әңгімелер (Cyrillic) Tolıq emes äñgimeler (Latin)
Korean 끝나지 않은 이야기
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Бүтпөгөн окуялар
Laotian ບົດເລື່ອງທີ່ບໍ່ຄົບຖ້ວນ
Latvian Nepabeigti stāsti
Lithuanian Nebaigtų istorijos
Luxembourgish Inkompletter Geschichten
Macedonian Cyrillic Незавршени приказни
Malagasy Tantara tsy tanteraka
Malaysian Cerita-cerita yang belum selesai
Maltese Reċensjonijiet mhux lesti
Mongolian Cyrillic Үл дуусаагүй түүхүүд
Nepalese अधूरो कथाहरू
Norwegian Ufullendte fortellinger
Persian داستان‌های ناتمام
Polish Niedokończone opowieści
Portuguese Contos Inacabados
Punjabi ਅਢੁਕਵੇਂ ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ
Romanian Povești neterminate
Russian Неоконченные сказания
Serbian Незавршене приче (Cyrillic) Nezavršene priče (Latin)
Sinhalese අසම්පූර්ණයි කතාවක්
Slovak Nedokončené príbehy
Slovenian Nedokončane zgodbe
Spanish Cuentos Inconclusos
Swedish Oavslutade Berättelser
Tajik Cyrillic Нопурра Ҳикояҳои
Tamil அன்பினிஷ்டு கதைகள்
Telugu అసంపూర్తి కథలు
Thai เรื่องราวที่ไม่สมบูรณ์
Turkish Bitmemiş Öyküler
Ukrainian Cyrillic Незакінчені оповіді
Urdu نامکمل کہانیاں
Uzbek Қурилиши тугалланмаган ҳикоялар (Cyrillic) Qurilishi tugallanmagan hikoyalar (Latin)
Vietnamese Câu chuyện chưa hoàn thành
Welsh Storïau Anghyflawn
Yiddish ונפינישעד מעשיות
J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth Legendarium