The Fall of Gondolin
In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.   Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.   Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.   At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.   Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

The Fall of Gondolin Details

TitleThe Fall of Gondolin
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 30th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328613042
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Classics

The Fall of Gondolin Review

  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    January 1, 1970
    I was delighted when I heard about the release of this book because in Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien erroneously stated that it was going to be the last restoration of his father’s work he undertook. He changed his mind. And I thank him for it because this is a glorious tale, showcasing much of Tolkien’s brilliance. Firstly though, many readers will have a pertinent question on their mind: is The Fall of Gondolin worth buying for those who have read The Silmarillion? It most definitely I was delighted when I heard about the release of this book because in Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien erroneously stated that it was going to be the last restoration of his father’s work he undertook. He changed his mind. And I thank him for it because this is a glorious tale, showcasing much of Tolkien’s brilliance. Firstly though, many readers will have a pertinent question on their mind: is The Fall of Gondolin worth buying for those who have read The Silmarillion? It most definitely is. There is a very brief section dedicated to this tale in The Silmarillion. In my edition, there’s only six pages of the story. And that’s it. It’s like a historical plot summary without the finer details of real storytelling involved as per the mythopoetic style Tolkien was using through the work. So, yes, this is absolutely worth reading because you will never have seen the full details of this story before. There is new material here, though it is largely unfinished and lacking the immersive powers his completed works possess. So whether or not you decide to pick this up depends on your level of dedication to the author. I knew I couldn’t miss it because it sounded so compelling. The plot is similar to Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Hurin in the respect that a powerful romance strengthens it. The lovers are Tuor and Idril. Idril is the daughter of Turgon, king of Gondolin. Tuor had been sent to the kingdom by Ulmo, one of the Vala, to encourage Turgon to initiate a pre-emptive assault on his enemy Melko (Morgoth.) The king ignores the advice and ushers in his own doom.The beautiful city of Gondolin is sacked years later by an army of Morogth’s, comprising of dragons, balrogs and orcs. Tuor fights to save Idril through the siege and fails to defend her father the king. He and the survivors are hopelessly outnumbered and are forced to flee. The battle is vivid as the language artfully captures the intensity and drama of such an epic moment in the First Age of middle-earth. Many heroes fall and many legends are made, several of which acute readers may remember brief mentions of in The Lord of the Rings. As a huge Tolkien enthusiast, I know I speak for many other readers, when I extend my undying thanks to Christopher Tolkien for allowing his father’s unfinished work to be published. Although this work is far from a shinning jewel, I can imagine how fantastic this would have been as I read the segments (and various drafts) of the story: I can see what this would have been. And, as ever, the artwork of Alan Lee brings the words to life.However, this is the very last we will see of it. Christopher Tolkien explicitly states that this is the final piece (and that he will not change his mind this time.) The destruction of a fine city is an appropriate last glimpse of such a vast world, as the walls of Gondolin crumble and the tower collapses, it marks the very end.
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  • Ana O
    January 1, 1970
    Brace yourselves. A new Tolkien book is coming. I am ready. I've never been readier for anything in my life. Who do I need to sell my hypothetical firstborn to in order to get my hands on this book? Cuz I'll do it. Gondolin was a hidden city of the Elves, founded by Turgon the Wise. One might draw parallels between the Fall of Gondolin and the Fall of Troy. Then they looked up and could see, and lo! they were at the foot of steep hills, and these hills made a great circle wherein lay a wi Brace yourselves. A new Tolkien book is coming. I am ready. I've never been readier for anything in my life. Who do I need to sell my hypothetical firstborn to in order to get my hands on this book? Cuz I'll do it. Gondolin was a hidden city of the Elves, founded by Turgon the Wise. One might draw parallels between the Fall of Gondolin and the Fall of Troy. Then they looked up and could see, and lo! they were at the foot of steep hills, and these hills made a great circle wherein lay a wide plain, and set therein, not rightly at the midmost but rather nearer to that place where they stood, was a great hill with a level top, and upon that summit rose a city in the new light of the morning... My fictional husband, Glorfindel, will definitely make an appearance, so that's something to be hyped about.
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  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    Here it is, the third and final Great Tales of Middle-Earth in its full form. Not really.This was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin and I must say it reminded me of the Trojan War. I’ll be honest that I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding this book. I can seriously copy paste my Beren and Luthien review with a few tweaks and it would describe my thoughts on the book appropriately. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I actually liked the main story of The Fall Here it is, the third and final Great Tales of Middle-Earth in its full form. Not really.This was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin and I must say it reminded me of the Trojan War. I’ll be honest that I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding this book. I can seriously copy paste my Beren and Luthien review with a few tweaks and it would describe my thoughts on the book appropriately. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I actually liked the main story of The Fall of Gondolin even when it was told in its 'draft prose' state. As great as the story was to read though, I found it to be a bit of a shame that the overall content of the book was told similarly like Beren and Luthien. No, there’s no poetry here, the story was also definitely better than Beren and Luthien. However, after the first 100 pages, the remaining content of the book was again a comparison and evolution of texts, which again means that unless you’re super interested in Christopher Tolkien’s adaptation process or J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration and writing process, this most likely won’t be a complete hit for you.Luckily though, the Tale of Earendil—although too short—was included. Even though the main focus of the story was about Tuor, Glorfindel, and the fall of the city of Gondolin itself, my favorite part of the book was actually Earendil’s story. Ending the content of this book with Earendil’s story was a fantastic decision in my opinion. Remember, this was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin or Earendil’s story and oh my god, the War of Wrath was something truly incredible and epic; I seriously wish there was more! The second prophecy of Mandos that depicted Dagor Dagorath (the final battle of Middle-Earth) could’ve been one of the most epic stories in fantasy to ever written; it’s unfortunate that we’ll never get to see that happening. One last thing: Alan Lee’s illustration continues to wow me over and over. In fact, it was so gorgeous that in my opinion it was totally worth it to get the entire three Great Tales of Middle-Earth just to see his artworks in its full glory.Picture: Glorfindel vs Balrog by Alan LeeThe Fall of Gondolin was a fitting conclusion to the three Great Tales of Middle-Earth. I have to applaud J.R.R Tolkien, Alan Lee, and of course, Christopher Tolkien here. Just from reading these three books, I can’t even imagine the insane difficulty of gathering all these separate texts and combine them to make a coherent story. Although The Fall of Gondolin and Beren and Luthien didn’t amaze me—mostly due to the incomplete state of these two works—as much as The Children of Hurin, I’m glad I’ve read these three tales. The best thing about reading these three tales though is that they totally sparked my interest to continuing my journey to finish The Silmarillion from where I left off after DNFing it twice. Wish me luck!You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of my favourite parts of the Tolkien legendarium.
  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    January 1, 1970
    August 1, 2018: 21.76€ for an ebook? TWENTY ONE POINT SEVENTY SIX EUROS FOR AN EBOOK? ARE YOU BLOODY SHRIMPING KIDDING ME???!!!! And here I was, thinking Lies of the Beholder being available for pre-order at 10€ was a total rip-off. Goes to show you can be both cunningly nefarious and ridiculously naive.New bloody shrimping Tolkien novel + reluctant hero + dark lord + epic battles =P.S. The final Kate Daniels instalment will be released on August 28. So will Sandman Slim #10. And now this one on August 1, 2018: 21.76€ for an ebook? TWENTY ONE POINT SEVENTY SIX EUROS FOR AN EBOOK? ARE YOU BLOODY SHRIMPING KIDDING ME???!!!! And here I was, thinking Lies of the Beholder being available for pre-order at 10€ was a total rip-off. Goes to show you can be both cunningly nefarious and ridiculously naive.New bloody shrimping Tolkien novel + reluctant hero + dark lord + epic battles =P.S. The final Kate Daniels instalment will be released on August 28. So will Sandman Slim #10. And now this one on August 30? The Incas had it all wrong, it's not 2012 we should have worried about, it's August 2018. Say hi to Armageddon, everyone!
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  • milou ☁️
    January 1, 1970
    ↠ 4 starsThe mighty TuorThroughout the years we have received a fair share of stories and books that take place in Middle-Earth, from the First Age till the Fourth Age. Almost every part from The Silmarillion has been given their own book, rich with details and lore. This time it was finally The Fall of Gondolin's turn and it was worth the wait. In the Silmarillion the description of the Fall of Gondolin was brief and not as elaborated. We are given various versions of how the mighty and hidden ↠ 4 starsThe mighty TuorThroughout the years we have received a fair share of stories and books that take place in Middle-Earth, from the First Age till the Fourth Age. Almost every part from The Silmarillion has been given their own book, rich with details and lore. This time it was finally The Fall of Gondolin's turn and it was worth the wait. In the Silmarillion the description of the Fall of Gondolin was brief and not as elaborated. We are given various versions of how the mighty and hidden city of Gondolin fell into the hands of the Dark Lord Melkor and how many elves perished during the battle, or fled the city. Originally the story of Gondolin was incomplete but Christopher Tolkien has been able to fill in the gaps of his father's work and give us the answers that we needed.This story will be like coming home to many devoted Tolkien fans who get to experience this world one final time. I know that last year we were all convinced that Beren and Lúthien was to be the last book that would be published in Tolkien's name ever, and we got this massive surprise with the announcement of the Fall of Gondolin. Still this time we have to remember that this truly will be the end of an ara. It's remarkable that so many books of professor Tolkien have been published since his dead in 1973, for which I've been immensely thankful of. We would've never been given all of the lore of Middle-Earth if Christopher Tolkien had never accomplished his father's works and published them. To me the Fall of Gondolin has been an extraordinary and tragic tale which I've thoroughly enjoyed. We got to read a lot more about Tuor and how he ended up at Gondolin and his connection with Ulmo. Ulmo and TuorTuor reaches GondolinTurgon, king of GondolinTurgon, Idril and ElenweThe Gondolindrim MaglorI'm dedicating a special part of this review to no one else than Glorfindel who has been my favorite elf for as long as I've been a Tolkien fan. He is an emissary of Middle-Earth for a reason. Glorfindel played a huge role during the fall of Gondolin who bravely fought against the Balrog Gothmog! He needs to be appreciated for that.Only where Glorfindel is, is Echtelion. The two of them fought side by side during the battle. He too needs to be reminded for his bravery and his valor. I'm a fan of both Glorfindel and Echtelion, which is why reading about their part during the battle hit home to me, and kind of broke my heart. I may have ended up crying a little over elves, but what else is new? Ecthelion and Glorfindel are precious okayEchtelion and Glorfindel during the battle Of course I had to include this beautiful illustration as well. Come on, look at it! It warms my heart in the most pleasant way. This book is only for the most devoted Tolkien fans who have read the rest of the professors works because else this isn't going to be something you'll end up liking, and you will not understand the importance of this story in Middle-Earth.
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  • daisy
    January 1, 1970
    i don't want to sound like a weirdo but my copy of this book.... smells REALLY good...Buddy-read with Reyes💞RTC. Current feelings/thoughts summarised below in one picture:
  • Evripidis Gousiaris
    January 1, 1970
    Κάθε φορά που επισκέπτομαι τον κόσμο του ανατριχιάζω. Αγαπημένος.
  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    January 1, 1970
    The story of the fall of Gondolin was the first to be written by the great writer when he was still in the First World War, so is fitting the last book of his writings edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, to be relevant to this story. It is, of course, one of the most intense episodes of the first era of this fantastic world, a story of struggle, hesitation, love, betrayal, and a final disaster that has been the greatest triumph of the forces of evil. A story that - like all the other of the The story of the fall of Gondolin was the first to be written by the great writer when he was still in the First World War, so is fitting the last book of his writings edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, to be relevant to this story. It is, of course, one of the most intense episodes of the first era of this fantastic world, a story of struggle, hesitation, love, betrayal, and a final disaster that has been the greatest triumph of the forces of evil. A story that - like all the other of the great writer - has many lessons for human endurance in it but in this case it has one more that is that when evil dominates it is nonsense to think that you can hide in a corner waiting that it will leave you quiet. This book contains the entire story of the fall of Gondolin as it was written in different versions along with a lot of information on the evolution of its creation and notes by the author. Things worthwhile for the fanatics who are always interested in details about J.R.R. Tolkien's work, nor do they necessarily have to read it.Η ιστορία της πτώσης της Gondolin ήταν η πρώτη που έγραψε ο μεγάλος συγγραφέας όταν ακόμα υπηρετούσε στον πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, οπότε είναι ταιριαστό το τελευταίο βιβλίο με τα γραπτά του που επιμελείται ο γιος του, ο Christopher Tolkien να αφορά τη συγκεκριμένη ιστορία. Πρόκειται φυσικά για ένα από τα πιο έντονα επεισόδια της πρώτης εποχής αυτού του φανταστικού κόσμου, μία ιστορία αγώνα, δισταγμού, έρωτα, προδοσίας και μιας τελικής καταστροφής που αποτέλεσε το μεγαλύτερο θρίαμβο των δυνάμεων του κακού. Μία ιστορία που - όπως και όλες οι άλλες του μεγάλου συγγραφέα - έχει μέσα της πολλά διδάγματα για την ανθρώπινη αντοχή αλλά σε αυτήν την περίπτωση έχει ένα ακόμα το οποίο είναι πως όταν το κακό κυριαρχεί είναι ανοησία να σκέφτεσαι ότι μπορείς να κρυφτείς σε μία γωνία περιμένοντας ότι θα σε αφήσει ήσυχο. Αυτό το βιβλίο περιέχει ολόκληρη την ιστορία της πτώσης της Gondolin όπως γράφτηκε σε διαφορετικές εκδοχές της μαζί με πολλές πληροφορίες για την εξέλιξη της δημιουργίας της και σημειώσεις του συγγραφέα. Πράγματα πολύτιμα για τους φανατικούς που ενδιαφέρονται πάντα για λεπτομέρειες γύρω από το έργο του J.R.R. Tolkien, οπότε αυτοί υποχρεωτικά πρέπει να το διαβάσουν.
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  • Rachel Libke
    January 1, 1970
    If you need any further incentive to read this beautiful book apart from the fact that it's by Tolkien, just know that it involves Balrogs riding dragons into battle.
  • E.F.B.
    January 1, 1970
    In this final book edited by Christopher Tolkien, we get to study the third of the "Great Tales" of the Elder Days. Similar to "Beren and Luthien" Christopher Tolkien compares and contrasts three different versions of the story that his father wrote, explains when and why the changes happened and, in the case of the last version, explains why the story remained unfinished. I greatly enjoyed seeing the evolution of The Fall of Gondolin over time. It was especially nice that, unlike in "Beren and In this final book edited by Christopher Tolkien, we get to study the third of the "Great Tales" of the Elder Days. Similar to "Beren and Luthien" Christopher Tolkien compares and contrasts three different versions of the story that his father wrote, explains when and why the changes happened and, in the case of the last version, explains why the story remained unfinished. I greatly enjoyed seeing the evolution of The Fall of Gondolin over time. It was especially nice that, unlike in "Beren and Luthien" where the text for the different story versions was broken up with commentary without ever letting us read the versions of the story uninterrupted, this book allows us to read each of the three story versions in full and THEN breaks them down. Prior to this book I'd only had the chance to read the version of Gondolin that you find in The Silmarillion (practically a summary of the events), and the version in Unfinished Tales, and that version was...well...unfinished. It made me so happy to then come to this book and be able to read the first version of the tale Tolkien wrote (for all I know, this first version may have been published elsewhere at some point, I just haven't gotten my hands on it yet) and finally get to see in detail what it was like inside Gondolin and the things that led up to the fall and what happened during the battle itself. It was also interesting to get an explanation about the unfinished nature of the third and final version of the story, which was my favorite version, at least when it comes to the description of Tuor's actual journey to Gondolin, the description of Ulmo, the manner in which Voronwe joined the journey, etc. It would have been great if Tolkien had finished rewriting the story, but I totally understand how the stress he was experiencing over the potential publication of LOTR may have stopped him from focusing any more on other stories. At the same time, the parts of the original, finished version that occurred inside Gondolin's walls were so perfect as they were. I'm not sure Tolkien could have done much to "improve" it besides just updating certain names and lineages. Overall, I thought it was a wonderful final book (*cries over it being the last one*) covering the Great Tales. *secretly hopes Christopher Tolkien will get bored in retirement and do more books somehow*
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    3 StarsIn the final book from Christopher Tolkien compiled by reviewing his father’s writings, there was a mix of everything that made his father’s stories wonderful along with my same issues with the last of these books released, Beren and Luthien. Gondolin is one of the most famous locations in Tolkien lore. This book tells the background of that city as well as the details of its fall. So the good. There was something really cool about seeing stories filled with legendary characters reference 3 StarsIn the final book from Christopher Tolkien compiled by reviewing his father’s writings, there was a mix of everything that made his father’s stories wonderful along with my same issues with the last of these books released, Beren and Luthien. Gondolin is one of the most famous locations in Tolkien lore. This book tells the background of that city as well as the details of its fall. So the good. There was something really cool about seeing stories filled with legendary characters referenced from the main Lord of the Rings trilogy. The story of the actual assault on the city was great, filled with tragedy as that beautiful city fell, taking so many heroes with it. And the bad. Due to the nature of this book, some of this was unavoidable, but for me personally I have fairly limited interest in reading the details of his father’s various revisions of the story. The biggest chunk of the actual story was only (if I remember correctly) a little over 100 pages, meaning the rest was editorial commentary from Christopher or differing versions of stories already told. The other thing that lessened my enjoyment was the style. I know, Tolkien wrote in a high style, more similar to Beowulf than other fantasy novels. Even in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy I didn’t absolutely love that form of writing, but everything else was so fantastic it was a more minor complaint. Here though, it seemed ratcheted up, to the point that the writing seemed little more than a summary of events. When I glanced at the back cover blurb of the book before writing this review, it struck me that some of the events described read more like that blurb than an actual novel. There was no immediacy to any of the events, making even emotional scenes a dry read. It’s still Tolkien, so even though I didn’t love the book I’m still glad I read it. A word of appreciation for the book itself, the artwork inside was absolutely fantastic.
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  • Vivian
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this as the grey light of morning waned and gold pierced through the fog. The Fall of Gondolin tells of the downfall of last enclave of Noldoli, Deep Elves, who escaped Melko after the Battle of Unnubmered Tears. Christopher Tolkien has taken on the monumental task of trying to piece together the fragments of a multitude of versions pertaining to Gondolin and Tuor, hero who's line will yield both Elrond of Rivendell and Elros, the King of Númenor.Beside the insight into the creation p I finished this as the grey light of morning waned and gold pierced through the fog. The Fall of Gondolin tells of the downfall of last enclave of Noldoli, Deep Elves, who escaped Melko after the Battle of Unnubmered Tears. Christopher Tolkien has taken on the monumental task of trying to piece together the fragments of a multitude of versions pertaining to Gondolin and Tuor, hero who's line will yield both Elrond of Rivendell and Elros, the King of Númenor.Beside the insight into the creation process of Tolkien, I really enjoyed The Fall of Gondolin more than Beren and Lúthien because of Ulmo's major role. As God of Water we get many descriptions, those along the sea I loved most and I think anyone who has ever heard the call whispered upon the waves understands this:Eärendel is born, having the beauty and light and wisdom of the Elfinesse, the hardihood and strength of Men, and the longing for the sea that captured Tuor and held him for ever when Ylmir spoke to him in Land of the Willows.I think that if you are not heavily invested into the mythos and history of Middle-Earth, then this is not a book I recommend. While the weaving of the versions, observing the changes between them and how they evolved, and what was cut and what was not is fascinating, if one does not have at least a moderate understanding then it will be needlessly complex. This doesn't mean that C. Tolkien does a bad job, but rather it circles back again and again and if one doesn't like to see how sausage is made then best to just read the first version and call it quits. J.R.R. Tolkien did not want to publish The Hobbit's sequel, Lord of the Rings without publishing The Silmarillion, he intended it to be the Saga of the Jewels and the Ring, but postwar Britain being what it was in the fifties with shortages and rationing that was not practical. He held out, but eventually, he gave into the publisher: "Years are becoming precious. And retirement (not far off) will, as far as I can see, not bring leisure but a poverty that will necessitate scraping a living by 'examining' and suchlike tasks."I feel a compulsion to read the Silmarillion and reread the Lord of the Rings again in order, which is rather frightening because that should be close to a million words--and there are so many things I haven't read. But, I feel like I've done this all wrong and I don't like it one bit and the only way to right it is to reweave the stories as they should have been in my mind. *sigh*Seriously, there's indications that Legolas unless it is a different Legolas is elder to Elrond. Legolas retreats with Elrond's father, Eärendel, as a babe from Gondolin.PS. There are some lovely illustrations.
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  • Mafalda Fernandes
    January 1, 1970
    Opinião e experiência de leitura » https://youtu.be/iBT66zvpkwE
  • Markus
    January 1, 1970
    Putting this remarkable book on hold until the summer. I need to have the right peace of mind to properly enjoy it. It deserves as much.
  • Fren
    January 1, 1970
    Tolkien è Tolkien, punto.
  • Anton
    January 1, 1970
    Hell yeah! How come release like that can sneak up on you??! Looking forward and clearing space in my TBR queue 😄
  • Marquise
    January 1, 1970
    The story of the sack of the hidden city of Gondolin wasn't a favourite of mine in The Silmarillion, and this reedition that includes fragments of earlier versions hasn't done much to improve my deficient enthusiasm for it. I can understand why Mr Christopher would want to publish the third and last Great Tale; at his advanced age, there's a need for completion, to not leave loose ends, and with Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien out already, Gondolin couldn't have been more conspicuous a m The story of the sack of the hidden city of Gondolin wasn't a favourite of mine in The Silmarillion, and this reedition that includes fragments of earlier versions hasn't done much to improve my deficient enthusiasm for it. I can understand why Mr Christopher would want to publish the third and last Great Tale; at his advanced age, there's a need for completion, to not leave loose ends, and with Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien out already, Gondolin couldn't have been more conspicuous a miss if not published too. And it's a book for completionists and die-hard Tolkien fans, because it's not going to bring much. In fact, it doesn't have but a fraction of the interesting details that were present in the other two Great Tales. Partly because there weren't huge changes and modifications to the initial plot; it's mostly names and minor stuff such as exact parentage and relations. The plot itself is pretty much as the Professor scribbled it down back during WWI leave.Whilst not being a fan of the story helped in not feeling disappointed, I was still somewhat let down because of how sparse and unenlightening it turned out to be. Might be Gondolin enthusiasts will be able to find more to enjoy, but I suspect most won't get much out of this either. Me, I've always loved the Fall of Nargothrond best and consider Beren & Lúthien a superior Elf-Man romance to Tuor & Idril, so that also influenced my reception of this new book. It doesn't help much that Fall of Gondolin was left abandoned by JRRT, as it bothered me greatly to learn from Mr Christopher's commentary here, and that there was another tale that was never written that'd have been the fourth Great Tale and continued the story from this one, involving Ëarendil.But well! Aside whatever wee bits there might be to feed fake history addicts, there's good art to enjoy, by Alan Lee as usual. There's a total of 8 full-colour plates, and 15 black and white illustrations. I've not found as many illustrations to consider favourites as in the other books, but I really, really loved Mr Lee's vision of Gondolin, as well as his take on Ulmo appearing to Tuor and Glorfindel vs the Balrog, all of which I'm leaving for you to see:GondolinGlorfindel vs the BalrogUlmo and Tuor
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  • Ozymandias
    January 1, 1970
    This book was not wholly what I was expecting and it’s probably best to go in knowing what to expect (and more importantly what not to expect). I had thought (having somehow neglected to read Beren and Lúthien) that this was a completed version of one of his father’s unfinished works like The Children of Húrin. However, the length of that draft manuscript appears to have been unique among Tolkien’s work. His other two great tales of the Elder Days exist only in much shorter or unfinished forms. This book was not wholly what I was expecting and it’s probably best to go in knowing what to expect (and more importantly what not to expect). I had thought (having somehow neglected to read Beren and Lúthien) that this was a completed version of one of his father’s unfinished works like The Children of Húrin. However, the length of that draft manuscript appears to have been unique among Tolkien’s work. His other two great tales of the Elder Days exist only in much shorter or unfinished forms. Which is what we’re given here.As such, this book bears more in common with Christopher Tolkien’s massive “making of” books than with a finished novel. The skeleton of this book is built around the two largest versions of this story. One is an early draft from 1916, written when Tolkien was a young man fighting in WW1. The other is a much more polished version from 1952 that is, alas, unfinished. Both are about fifty pages in length but there are a surprising number of differences and, despite my initial intent of reading only the most complete version, it’s really necessary to read both to appreciate the story.What occupies this book is the story of the human Tuor, his discovery of the hidden Elvish city of Gondolin, his rise to high status and fathering of Eärendil (father of Elrond), and his efforts to defend and ultimately escape from Gondolin. It was one of the few sections of The Silmarillion that held my interest enough for me to remember. As with his cousin Túrin, Tuor’s story is a tragic one, although he personally is not a tragic hero but rather the witness to great tragedy. The characters are, as ever, a little stilted, but the basic plot is strong enough to make up for it. I find all Tolkien’s Elder Age books unpleasantly fluid (at least Aragorn and co, however superhuman they were as warriors, had unquestionable limits, as did their world) but this one is at least told from a personal-enough level to make the antiquity and strength of Gondolin work. I’m starting to suspect that my main objection to the Elder Days stories is that The Silmarillion is distant, impersonal, and overstuffed. When told as individual and developed stories these tales work.Gondolin is a powerful story of loss and unlike most of his work (which Tolkien always hotly denied was allegorical in nature) it wears its influences on its sleeves. This first account was written while he was recuperating from the Battle of the Somme and the tone is all despair and loss. It’s more emotionally raw than I’m accustomed to with Tolkien and it is impossible to miss the inspiration for accounts of metal-wrought devices unloading wave after wave of orcs to destroy forever the beauteous kingdoms of the WestThe flipside of being more raw is that it’s also less polished. Tolkien had yet to work out a readable style and there are far too many unworkable archaisms, most notably the constant refrain of Behold! when in fact there is nothing to be beheld. It’s just an interjection like alas or damn. Behold! as an early work (indeed, the earliest) it also fits poorly with the background established in The Silmarillion and features some odd-seeming anachronisms, most notably the appearance of Legolas Greenleaf and the description of the Grey Elves as “gnomes”. I found the revised version a far superior telling of the story and consider its incomplete nature (it only covers the first tenth of the earlier version) a great loss. This story was well on its way to standing proudly beside the Lord of the Rings for sheer enjoyment. But behold! that was not to be. What really makes the revised story work is that Tuor has a purpose from an early stage. In the original he’s basically led around by Ulmo (Lord of the Sea) like a fish with a hook in its nose. Here he feels the call, travels through some beautifully-described wilderness, has an awe-inspiring and memorable encounter with Ulmo (sold wonderfully by a beautiful Alan Lee painting) where his quest is explained, meets his companion, and sneaks his way through Orcs up to the gates of Gondolin. And there, before we even set eyes upon the wondrous city, the narrative ends. Behold! What a loss! (Alright, I’ll stop)Something about Gondolin always resonates and yet, as Christopher points out, for all its importance it was one of the least developed of all his father’s stories. It only exists in one completed independent version and that the first. Odd. One does not need to be an amateur psychologist to suspect that the account of the devastation of war and loss of a wondrous city was just too personal for Tolkien to write about except in distant terms. It’s no coincidence that the final account of Tuor ends just when he reaches Gondolin. And yet even in incomplete and unpolished form the story is powerful and well worth the reading. Indeed, I would say that this work is essential for understanding Tolkien’s later writings. I find its narrative simpler and more compelling than Túrin’s high tragedy or Beren and Luthien’s fairy tale romance. This is a story with teeth and it’s a great shame that we will never see it in a full and developed version.Editorially this book is more of a mess than it needs to be. The two novella-length accounts of the Fall are what we’re all here for. But aside from the two accounts described we get several much smaller (often only two or three page) descriptions of the Fall mixed in with the others. As with his History of Middle Earth books, the writing is presented in chronological order to make obvious the changes. But this was a mistake here. Better to present the story as it was intended: as a story. It’s certainly being marketed as such, and not unjustly. There’s enough meat here to serve as a stand-alone (if unfinished) work. Leave the literary analysis and further details to appendices and footnotes where they belong. If you’ll take my advice you’ll read the two big stories (perhaps even starting with the latter as a sort of prelude) first and save the side notes for the end.
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  • Yamin Eaindray
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars.This was enjoyable but not as much as The Children of Húrin. It was much shorter than I wanted it to be and instead of a longer plot, I got to read different versions of the same story. It felt more like a brief account of an important event than a tale.The plot is simple enough. Hero Tuor, chosen by Ulmo the Lord of Waters, finds the beautiful, hidden kingdom Gondolin and marries Turgon's daughter, Idril. A great warrior, like his cousin Turin, though probably a less complicated one. Th 4 stars.This was enjoyable but not as much as The Children of Húrin. It was much shorter than I wanted it to be and instead of a longer plot, I got to read different versions of the same story. It felt more like a brief account of an important event than a tale.The plot is simple enough. Hero Tuor, chosen by Ulmo the Lord of Waters, finds the beautiful, hidden kingdom Gondolin and marries Turgon's daughter, Idril. A great warrior, like his cousin Turin, though probably a less complicated one. The secrets of the kingdom were told to their enemy, Morgoth, and so brought about the fall of Gondolin and their escape to safety with their child, Eärendel — who was supposed to have his own tale but it was never written. Pretty straightforward.Of course, if you've read the other Great Tales of Middle-earth, you can't skip this one. It's important to the lore.
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  • maiaroflothlorien
    January 1, 1970
    Being a major Tolkien fan and wanting to know more of the history on Middle-earth, the Valar, and the epic stories that evolved into the books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, this book truly does make my heart soar. It took me a while to read this, but mainly because so much detail has been written that, in order to understand everything, you have to read slow and steady. I was able to follow Tuor through his journey of discovering Gondolin and witness the ending of such a beautiful kingdom, n Being a major Tolkien fan and wanting to know more of the history on Middle-earth, the Valar, and the epic stories that evolved into the books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, this book truly does make my heart soar. It took me a while to read this, but mainly because so much detail has been written that, in order to understand everything, you have to read slow and steady. I was able to follow Tuor through his journey of discovering Gondolin and witness the ending of such a beautiful kingdom, not once, but two and a half times. In order to really know what I mean, pick yourself up a copy! This book truly does make you feel like you live during the Elder Days of Middle-earth. Christopher Tolkien’s notes and back story on his father’s writing is also so wonderful and helpful that it makes you appreciate Tolkien so much more. You’re able to clearly see what the professor wanted to do with his world. It’s such a wonderful book that needs to be on every shelf of a book lover. Go get it now!
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  • Dr. Andrew Higgins
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third of what I consider three very important volumes in Tolkien studies exploring the development of the great mythic strands of Tolkien’s great tales which serve as key elements of his world-building. Much has been written about The Fall of Gondolin strand which I all agree with - this is indeed a great tale envisioned out of Tolkien’s own experience of war and developed throughout his work on the legendarium. In seeing all these strands written during different conceptual periods This is the third of what I consider three very important volumes in Tolkien studies exploring the development of the great mythic strands of Tolkien’s great tales which serve as key elements of his world-building. Much has been written about The Fall of Gondolin strand which I all agree with - this is indeed a great tale envisioned out of Tolkien’s own experience of war and developed throughout his work on the legendarium. In seeing all these strands written during different conceptual periods in one volume what really struck me is the growth of Tolkien as a writer - the development of his rich use of descriptive narrative from the original tale of c.1916-17 to the sadly! unfinished version of 1951. Also, for those naysayers who say there is no new material in this book, I would say Christopher Tolkien’s new and insightful commentary on the development of the story (and its ultimate link to the arrival of Earendel which started Tolkien’s exploration through invention of the legendarium) is worth the price of admission! I wish CRRT might take up his pen again (one more time!) to do this for the Turin Turambar cycle as he has done for Gondolin and Beren - but I am happy with what we have and he as always has given Tolkien scholars and students an incredible resource to study the development of this great tale. Thank you Christopher Tolkien! Highly highly recommend!
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  • Sarah Zama
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely fantastic!I had actually read most of this material elsewhere, so there was little in terms of novelty, but I loved to read all the versions and ideas for this story in one place. The Fall of Gondolin has gone through less work and revisions than Tolkien's other two Great Stories, but this one is particularly important because (as Christophers points out) this is probably where Middle-earth and all its history were born. The first version from the 1920s (the only one that is complete) Absolutely fantastic!I had actually read most of this material elsewhere, so there was little in terms of novelty, but I loved to read all the versions and ideas for this story in one place. The Fall of Gondolin has gone through less work and revisions than Tolkien's other two Great Stories, but this one is particularly important because (as Christophers points out) this is probably where Middle-earth and all its history were born. The first version from the 1920s (the only one that is complete) is an awesome adventure story (the battle scenes are brilliant), but the last version from the 1950s (which, regrettably, only reached about one-third of the entire story) is so deep and insightful. Christopher's comment is top-notch as always. It is indeed a must read for any Tolkien fan and a great read for any reader.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I can’t say there is a lot new here if you’ve already read The Histories of Middle Earth, but as always it’s always a pleasure to read one story all condensed into one volume with all its versions and additions accompanied by the beautiful drawings of Alan Lee.
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  • Tex-49
    January 1, 1970
    Il libro riprende tutto ciò che era stato già inserito nelle varie opere di Tolkien, relativamente al viaggio di Tuor verso Gondolin e la sua successiva caduta, però è interessante il confronto, delle varie parti di cui si compone la storia così come esposte nelle diverse opere.Si può così notare come in alcune opere vengono approfondite delle parti ed in altre invece parti differenti; avrei però gradito di più una sola esposizione lineare, prendendo i punti più approfonditi dalle diverse fonti. Il libro riprende tutto ciò che era stato già inserito nelle varie opere di Tolkien, relativamente al viaggio di Tuor verso Gondolin e la sua successiva caduta, però è interessante il confronto, delle varie parti di cui si compone la storia così come esposte nelle diverse opere.Si può così notare come in alcune opere vengono approfondite delle parti ed in altre invece parti differenti; avrei però gradito di più una sola esposizione lineare, prendendo i punti più approfonditi dalle diverse fonti. Vale sicuramente la pena di leggerlo.
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  • GoldGato
    January 1, 1970
    Here is the tale of Gondolin, the hidden city of Elves that is apparently so well-hidden, even Morgoth the Evil can't find it. If you've read Tolkien, then you might have remembered (or not...I didn't) something said somewhere about Gondolin and its part in the whole Middle Earth saga. This counts as part of the universe way before the Lord of the Rings thingy.Here, the villain is Morgoth, not Sauron. Morgoth was the original O.G., the baddie who disrupted the world created by the Valar. As evil Here is the tale of Gondolin, the hidden city of Elves that is apparently so well-hidden, even Morgoth the Evil can't find it. If you've read Tolkien, then you might have remembered (or not...I didn't) something said somewhere about Gondolin and its part in the whole Middle Earth saga. This counts as part of the universe way before the Lord of the Rings thingy.Here, the villain is Morgoth, not Sauron. Morgoth was the original O.G., the baddie who disrupted the world created by the Valar. As evil starts to defeat the different Elves, one city (colony) stands apart, a wonderland of architecture and well-being. Only treachery can defeat it. And hubris. You really don't need to have read The Silmarillion to get the gist of this tale. This short story stands alone by itself. Alas, it is just that. A short story. Told several times in different ways. This is Christopher Tolkien's way of showing how it was written and how the final version appears. That's actually good, because I wasn't thrilled with the drafts.However, the final version is quite good. If you like myths and know nothing of Tolkien prior to this, you can still enjoy it. I just feel they tried hard to get an entire book out of this. I'm sure if filmmaker Peter Jackson gets ahold of this, there will be several films to play it all out.Book Season = Autumn (bleak places)
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  • Michael Galdamez
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe I should actually read the other two Great Tales books before I buy this one too...
  • Al Burke
    January 1, 1970
    Gotta be honest, I didn't finish the whole book. The story itself is great after a slow start, reads a bit like the Iliad. After 100 pages or so, it reverts to CT discussing how the story was put together and reflections on different notes he found. My TBR's constant screams for attention superseded this.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I will admit this wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It is not a full complete story in a way...J.R.R. Tolkien revised and eventually abandoned this Tale when publishers were not interested. Therefore, this book compiles 4 different versions of the same story, as well as some narrative analysis from Christopher Tolkien and how the story continues to the end of the First Age of Middle Earth.That aside, I have yet to be disappointed by Tolkien's world. And Christopher has done an amazing job pie I will admit this wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It is not a full complete story in a way...J.R.R. Tolkien revised and eventually abandoned this Tale when publishers were not interested. Therefore, this book compiles 4 different versions of the same story, as well as some narrative analysis from Christopher Tolkien and how the story continues to the end of the First Age of Middle Earth.That aside, I have yet to be disappointed by Tolkien's world. And Christopher has done an amazing job piecing together stories that were left unfinished after his father's death (and one can tell the difference between Christopher's writing and his father's, which I think is good). This Tale looks at Tuor's coming to Gondolin and Gondolin's fall (hence the name). Tuor, the grandfather of Elrond, main character of LOTR for those that don't know much of Tolkien lore. I enjoyed reading this tale, and I really enjoyed some of the conclusions at the end of the book, especially going as far to tell some of the stories after Tuor, as those gave me a nice streamlined story and view of the order of things. I would recommend reading the Silmarillion before this work - it references much from that story, both characters and storyline, and I think it would be a little confusing if one hadn't. As is Tolkien's way, the language is somewhat archaic, all "they cometh" and whatnot, which can be hard for some to read. But I do just fine.Alan Lee's illustrations add much to the story as well. I am a fan of his artwork, and his depictions of Middle Earth make me happy.It is sad that this may be the last book of Middle Earth lore that is compiled from the original author's work. While is was only a matter of time (Christopher Tolkien is now 94, I believe?), I revel in the knowledge that I have plenty of Middle Earth literature to re-read for a lifetime.
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  • Juan Gallardo Ivanovic
    January 1, 1970
    A great prologue for the master piece that could not be finished.This is one of the first stories about Middle earth that was conceived before LOTR was even written. It is the tale of a young Man chosen by the Sea God Ulmo to deliver an important message to Last stronghold of the Noldor Elves against the Dark Lord Morgoth. It is also an account of the deeds that happened upon the fall of the Hidden City and the Doom after it for not heeding Ulmo's advice.Even that the City is lost, Hope will pre A great prologue for the master piece that could not be finished.This is one of the first stories about Middle earth that was conceived before LOTR was even written. It is the tale of a young Man chosen by the Sea God Ulmo to deliver an important message to Last stronghold of the Noldor Elves against the Dark Lord Morgoth. It is also an account of the deeds that happened upon the fall of the Hidden City and the Doom after it for not heeding Ulmo's advice.Even that the City is lost, Hope will prevail and two races will mix again and Fate will deliver a savior: The Earendel.This books basically covers the evolution and the early draft about Tuor's story. It gathers info from different sources and it is the most complete book about this tale, but again it is not the novel that i was looking for. As I said before on Beren and Luthien's review, it is more a work of showing ideas rather than a full plot. So if you liked Beren and Luthien and want more when you read Unfinished Tales, this is your book but don't expect something as Hurin's Children.
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