Reading the History of Middle-earth series, I feel a bit sorry for Christopher Tolkien. When his dad died, he took on the monumental project of turning 50 years’ worth of disorganized (and sometimes borderline illegible) drafts and corrections and alternate versions, and turning it into a single coherent publishable story for the Silmarillion. And reading the published Silmarillion, I think that overall he did an excellent job. Using editorial license to harmonize the stories with each other and with the published Lord of the Rings was the right thing to do, because it made the Silmarillion far more accessible and publishable than it otherwise would have been. And I think that Christopher had the right to exercise editorial license, given that much of his father’s work was written to and for his children, especially Christopher.
But then he had to put up with an enormous amount of flak from people accusing him of re-writing his father’s stories willy-nilly. I’m glad that we got HoME, since there’s a ton of fascinating stuff in there, but I wish it had been published as an exciting expansion of the father’s world, not as a defensive maneuver against the son’s critics. The series is shot through with apologies. Christopher is constantly berating himself for changing even a single word of his father’s writings in the published Silmarillion. It makes me want to give him a big hug and say “it’s ok, you did an amazing job.”