- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (30 August 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780008302757
- ISBN-13: 978-0008302757
- ASIN: 0008302758
- Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 3.4 x 22.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 581 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fall of Gondolin Hardcover – 30 Aug 2018
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‘Never did [Tolkien] write a more sustained account of battle. With dragons and fiery balrogs galore, the attack on Gondolin makes Peter Jackson’s souped-up cinema battles look like tabletop games.’
‘The text is rife with references to characters and creatures that come to play a role in The Lord of the Rings… one passage in particular seems to set up one of the most famous scenes from the LOTR trilogy.’
‘It’s a load-bearing pillar in the grander narrative that eventually came to encompass better-known works. Tolkien explicitly expressed his wish later in life that the three Great Tales of Middle-earth’s early days ― The Children of Húrin, Beren and Lúthien, and The Fall of Gondolin ― along with The Lord of the Rings and other writings, should be considered as “one long Saga of the Jewels and the Rings”.’
About the Author
J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973) was a distinguished academic, though he is best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, plus other stories and essays. His books have been translated into over 60 languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
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Sadly the epic he started writing back in 1917 in the First World War was never completed. If you have read the Silmarillion you know how it ends. Though not having Tolkien's own finishing touches on it, as with anything posthumously released since his passing, makes you wonder what more it could of been if truly completed and not pieced together from countless notes. His son, Christopher, once again does an amazing job of filling gaps and adding narration to certain things
Like always the artwork by Alan Lee is simply sublime. Until Children of Hurin he said he had never worked on the First Age of Middle-earth, he has now brought that magically epic period to life three times like I could of only dreamed.
While there is no true finality to the story of Gondolin in this edition; the book is still worth adding to your collection if you are a big Tolkien fan.
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Tolkien wrote and rewrote The Fall of Gondolin several times during his lifetime, though he was never able to produce a final version which completely satisfied him. After his death in 1973 his son Christopher assumed the task of organizing and finishing his father's mythology, publishing The Silmarillion in 1977, a twelve volume "History of Middle-earth" containing most of his father's versions of his various tales during the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently three single volumes devoted to the "Great Tales"of The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and now The Fall of Gondolin. In the preface to this final volume Christopher wrote that "in my ninety-fourth year The Fall of Gondolin is (indubitably) the last," bringing tears to my eyes and to those of his countless other admirers, but also inspiring our admiration and deep gratitude.
The Fall of Gondolin consists of a number of different versions of the tale written by Tolkien at various periods. There are inconsistencies in some of the names, and inevitably characters and events appear, vanish, sometimes reappear or are heavily altered. One aspect remains apparent throughout: the sheer beauty of Tolkien's writing. This is especially impressive when we remember that Tolkien first wrote of Gondolin in his mid-twenties. Accompanying and enhancing Tolkien's words are the magnificent illustrations provided by Alan Lee, including eight color plates and many smaller drawings at the head of each chapter. Christopher Tolkien provides explanatory Notes throughout the book, with more Notes and additional material at the end, including a lengthy annotated list of Names, a Glossary of English words used by Tolkien which are now considered obsolete, archaic, or rare, and a short genealogy and map. He also includes a short quotation from The Hobbit which made me somewhat teary-eyed, as many years ago that book was my first introduction to Tolkien and the very first reference to Gondolin.
The Fall of Gondolin and the two other Great Tales are indispensable for Tolkien scholars, but those who are just beginning their journey through Middle-earth, Beleriand, and Valinor in the First Age would be better served by starting with The Silmarillion. As most who read and love him can attest, Tolkien's words never grow stale.
So what do we get for our money?
1. There are two beautifully written narratives of some length that together go a long way in telling the story published in "The Silmarillion" as the chapter "Of Tour and the Fall of Gondolin." Whereas that chapter was only 8 published pages, however, these two narratives make for more than 130. Rich with detail, they will delight those who love "The Silmarillion" but probably hold no interest for those not already familiar with that book.
2. Included also are sketches of how JRRT saw the story unfolding after the fall of Gondolin when Tour's son Eärendil becomes the principal character. There are some interesting surprises such as the information that Eärendil voyaged south and slew Ungoliant, the mother of all spiders who had poisoned the Two Trees in Valinor. We are also informed of the ultimate fate of Arda including the final recovery of the Silmarills and the restoration of the Two Trees.
3. Tolkien fans who are as fascinated by the names of things as the Master himself will enjoy seeing how character and place names evolved or were recycled. For example, we come across what may be the first usage of the name Legolas Greenleaf, which JRRT ultimately used for a major character in The Lord of the Rings. An extensive glossary of names at the end of the book provides further information.
So there you have it. This book is intended and recommended only for the hardcore Tolkien fan already deeply familiar with the mythology of the First Age of Middle Earth. For those, however, who prefer to stick to Hobbits—a view JRRT himself quite understood and approved of—this is probably a pass. Yet it might also prove for such readers an intriguing gateway to the great tales of the First Age.
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