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Old 04-10-2018, 08:31 PM   #1
Morthoron
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"The Fall of Gondolin" Due Out August 30th, 2018

Here are the particulars from the Tolkien Society:

https://www.tolkiensociety.org/2018/...-be-published/

It will be interesting to see how much of this will be just reprinted material from previous Tolkien sources. I have to hand it to Christopher Tolkien, though -- he is quite cagey, lengthening the family copyrights on much of his father's corpus long after its original inclusion in The Silmarillion, published in 1977.

But it will be 304 pages long (must be very LARGE print), and will have Alan Lee illustrations.
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:19 AM   #2
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aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Seriously, if you'd told me back when I first read the Silmarillion that I could one day have illustrated copies of the Great Tales sitting as novels on my bookshelf, I would've laughed you off the stage. This is amazing.

Sadly, I think it's unlikely there will be anything new (other than the art) in the book: it'll be like Beren and Luthien, a compilation of the various versions. I imagine it will start with Of Tuor... and then segue into the 1917 Fall of Gondolin to finish the story. Then... might we dare hope for the various fragments of the Earendil tale to round it off? I don't remember a Gondolin poem that could provide an alternative, so...

The big question in my mind is: is this the last one? The obvious answer is yes: Christopher has now managed to get all three of his father's Great Tales released as their own books, which given how much the Professor cared for them - the Children of Hurin he spent the most time on, the intensely personal Beren and Luthien, and now the Fall of Gondolin which began it all and which the entire history pivoted on - would probably have been one of the Professor's goals had he not been able to publish the Silm itself.

But there is the possibility of no, and more forthcoming... what about a Lee-illustrated Akallabeth, drawing on the 'Notion Club Papers' and the 'Lost Road' (and maybe 'Aldarion and Erendis'?) to flesh out the sparser parts of the completed work? A dream, maybe - but not one outside the realm of possibility.

hS

PS: But, er... are the publishers drunk?

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But [Ulmo] works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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the big question in my mind is: Is this the last one? The obvious answer is yes: Christopher has now managed to get all three of his father's great tales released as their own books, which given how much the professor cared for them - the children of hurin he spent the most time on, the intensely personal beren and luthien, and now the fall of gondolin which began it all and which the entire history pivoted on - would probably have been one of the professor's goals had he not been able to publish the silm itself.

But there is the possibility of no, and more forthcoming... What about a lee-illustrated akallabeth, drawing on the 'notion club papers' and the 'lost road' (and maybe 'aldarion and erendis'?) to flesh out the sparser parts of the completed work? A dream, maybe - but not one outside the realm of possibility.

Ps: But, er... Are the publishers drunk?

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Originally Posted by from the publishers
but [ulmo] works in secret in middle-earth to support the noldor, the kindred of the elves among whom were numbered húrin and túrin turambar.
I don't see C. Tolkien venturing down the publishing path again; in fact, I am surprised he managed to eke this one out at his august age.

As far as the publisher's blurb, perhaps in some very early version of the FoG that the general reading public has no knowledge of, Húrin and Túrin are Gnomes or something. Either that, or they screwed up the quote, which is more likely.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:03 PM   #4
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Ever since we got wind of Beren and Lúthien, I wanted this, just to round out the set of the three great tales, but I didn't think it would actually happen, since the vibe from Beren and Lúthien really seemed to suggest it was CT's swansong--and his retirement as head of the Tolkien Estate appeared to confirm that.

I'm with Morth in wondering how it'll come out to 300+ pages, since Huinesoron's right that there's no epic poem this time around. Obviously, we'll probably get the full text out of The Book of Lost Tales and it does seem to be indicated that we'll get a fairly full treatment of Eärendil, so far as that's possible. This is likely to be lengthier than Beren and Lúthien's treatment of the Nauglamír and Elwing, because while even more fragmentary, the early years in particular left quite a few fragments--but those were treated fairly completely in the BoLT, and CT's approach with both The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien has been to provide a commentary-lite, nearly footnote free straightforward text, presumably for the benefit of the more general reader daunted by the HoME. I'll be fascinated to see what we get.

Last edited by Formendacil; 04-11-2018 at 06:05 PM. Reason: I've apparently forgetten how to use editing tags...
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:40 PM   #5
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I'm with Morth in wondering how it'll come out to 300+ pages, since Huinesoron's right that there's no epic poem this time around. Obviously, we'll probably get the full text out of The Book of Lost Tales and it does seem to be indicated that we'll get a fairly full treatment of Eärendil, so far as that's possible. This is likely to be lengthier than Beren and Lúthien's treatment of the Nauglamír and Elwing, because while even more fragmentary, the early years in particular left quite a few fragments--but those were treated fairly completely in the BoLT, and CT's approach with both The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien has been to provide a commentary-lite, nearly footnote free straightforward text, presumably for the benefit of the more general reader daunted by the HoME. I'll be fascinated to see what we get.
I am guessing the 300+ pages will be filled in appendices, footnotes and postscripts, as C. Tolkien has a penchant for addenda.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:26 PM   #6
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Today I saw this article about it.

The author seems pretty well versed in Tolkien (he ought to be, since he states he "designed and taught a university course devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien’s singular oeuvre), and all in all, I think he makes a nice pitch for it.

He had to end with this though:

Quote:
Last year, Amazon Studios purchased the rights to produce a new television series set in Middle-earth. (Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post.) It’s an exciting prospect. With the right showrunners and writers, ones who recognize the value of etymology, that project could very well invite another generation of adventurers into this wondrous realm. If Christopher Tolkien’s yeomanlike work on “The Fall of Gondolin” does indeed represent the end of an age, it might also — like the destruction of the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom — point to the start of another.
Ah, optimism.
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:57 PM   #7
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If Christopher Tolkien’s yeomanlike work on “The Fall of Gondolin” does indeed represent the end of an age, it might also — like the destruction of the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom — point to the start of another.

Ah, optimism.
Or, for a less optimistic view, this could be the start of Sauron's human sacrifice at the Temple of Melkor in Armenelos, Numenor.
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
Ever since we got wind of Beren and Lúthien, I wanted this, just to round out the set of the three great tales, but I didn't think it would actually happen, since the vibe from Beren and Lúthien really seemed to suggest it was CT's swansong--and his retirement as head of the Tolkien Estate appeared to confirm that.

I'm with Morth in wondering how it'll come out to 300+ pages, since Huinesoron's right that there's no epic poem this time around. Obviously, we'll probably get the full text out of The Book of Lost Tales and it does seem to be indicated that we'll get a fairly full treatment of Eärendil, so far as that's possible. This is likely to be lengthier than Beren and Lúthien's treatment of the Nauglamír and Elwing, because while even more fragmentary, the early years in particular left quite a few fragments--but those were treated fairly completely in the BoLT, and CT's approach with both The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien has been to provide a commentary-lite, nearly footnote free straightforward text, presumably for the benefit of the more general reader daunted by the HoME. I'll be fascinated to see what we get.
Sooo... Hasn't anyone of you guys gone and bought it yet? And maybe even read it? *curious*
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:42 AM   #9
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Sooo... Hasn't anyone of you guys gone and bought it yet? And maybe even read it? *curious*
I haven't yet, though I ordered the HC from Amazon. Honestly, the day of release came and went without my noting. Stupid RL.
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Old 09-29-2018, 05:48 PM   #10
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Boots Just some thoughts

1) I would like to express my gratitude that Tolkien abandoned the term "Gnomes" for the Noldor. I realize this is a post facto preference because if he hadn't I would have never know, but every time I read that it resonates in my brain like the unholy child of the sound of a snapping harp string and fingernails on a chalkboard.

2) While Tolkien's writing clearly evolved and improved over his career, reading The Fall of Gondolin gave me an impression that in some undefinable way his writing lost some of its connection to Faerie. The world of The Lost Tales feels more perilous than Middle-earth as it ultimately developed. To some extent this is possibly due to greater familiarity with the final realization than the early stages of Middle-earth's development. With this in mind I re-read some of the passages and the impression still remains. Perhaps Tolkien himself became too familiar with it and some of the magic of Faerie vanished over time.

3) I found it curious that Alan Lee portrayed Tuor in hide clothing on the front cover when viewing Gondolin for the first time and on the back over (as well as in the book itself) when Ulmo appears to him. He was already dressed in Turgon's armor at those points.

Oh well.

At least his balrog doesn't have wings (even if it is too big, in my opinion).
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:23 PM   #11
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While Tolkien's writing clearly evolved and improved over his career, reading The Fall of Gondolin gave me an impression that in some undefinable way his writing lost some of its connection to Faerie. The world of The Lost Tales feels more perilous than Middle-earth as it ultimately developed. To some extent this is possibly due to greater familiarity with the final realization than the early stages of Middle-earth's development. With this in mind I re-read some of the passages and the impression still remains. Perhaps Tolkien himself became too familiar with it and some of the magic of Faerie vanished over time.
I found myself rather unhappy with the early versions of the story, as least as far as Tuor's coming to Gondolin is concerned, and much prefer the 1951 rewrite. Maybe that's due to the fact that that version (as given in Unfinished Tales) has a special resonance for me. The entire story is enthralling, and the depiction of Tuor first seeing the Great Sea, and Ulmo's words to him at Vinyamar, are especially vivid in my imagination.

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At least his balrog doesn't have wings (even if it is too big, in my opinion).
If Eru had meant for Balrogs to fly, they'd have been Eagles.
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Old 10-02-2018, 06:15 AM   #12
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I'm currently in mid-read (Tuor has just half-carried Ecthelion to safety after killing five Balrogs), but some comments here struck a chord:

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Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
2) While Tolkien's writing clearly evolved and improved over his career, reading The Fall of Gondolin gave me an impression that in some undefinable way his writing lost some of its connection to Faerie. The world of The Lost Tales feels more perilous than Middle-earth as it ultimately developed. To some extent this is possibly due to greater familiarity with the final realization than the early stages of Middle-earth's development. With this in mind I re-read some of the passages and the impression still remains. Perhaps Tolkien himself became too familiar with it and some of the magic of Faerie vanished over time.
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I found myself rather unhappy with the early versions of the story, as least as far as Tuor's coming to Gondolin is concerned, and much prefer the 1951 rewrite. Maybe that's due to the fact that that version (as given in Unfinished Tales) has a special resonance for me. The entire story is enthralling, and the depiction of Tuor first seeing the Great Sea, and Ulmo's words to him at Vinyamar, are especially vivid in my imagination.
In true Elvish fashion, I agree with both of you. The Unfinished Tales Of Tuor is a beautiful piece, and its descriptions and the way the events are structured are much better, to me, than those of the original Fall. But... the Gondolin of the Lost Tales is much more meaningful, I think, in a mythic way.

The Of Tuor Gondolin is a hidden city - one of several across Beleriand. It's home to a bunch of elves, and is one of the last peaceful places in Beleriand at a time when the rest of the Noldor are holed up on Balar, at the Havens, or down by Amon Ereb.

But the Gondolin of the Lost Tales is the last refuge. The rest of the Noldoli are slaves of Morgoth. The Dark Lord rules everything - except this one city, a hidden realm of peace which the slaves can long to run to. It's a rumour, whispered of in the mines; a legend, a myth, its only entrance the elusive, magically-concealed Way of Escape. The message Tuor brings from Ulmo enhances its mythic stature even more: if the Gondolindrim will only break their concealment and go to war, the scourge of the Orcs will be ended forever, and Melkor will fade to a whisper of malice on the wind.

Back in the day, my interest in the Fall of Gondolin was focussed on the Fall itself. Now, with this new book, I'm coming to appreciate just how special the city was in its original conception: why its name still lingered on in Middle-earth thousands of years later. Not just a hidden city, not just a last redoubt - but an Otherworld in the hills, a hope for those living in darkness, and an unfulfilled chance of Arda Renewed.

... which links it very nicely to a couple of other points from the Book of Lost Tales. The foreseen ending of at least one version of the Tales was for the elves of Eressea to undertake a great Faring Forth, to rekindle the Magic Sun and redeem the earth and their kindred... and to fail, and fade, leaving the world to Mankind. Like Beren and Luthien's departure, the theme that even the most beautiful and perfect of things will fall is a strong one in the original Gondolin.

And that leads right back to the Doom of Mandos, and the line which inexplicably doesn't appear in the retelling of the Fall of the Noldor at the beginning of the new book:

"Great is the Fall of Gondolin."

hS
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:00 PM   #13
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if the Gondolindrim will only break their concealment and go to war, the scourge of the Orcs will be ended forever, and Melkor will fade to a whisper of malice on the wind.
That bit struck me as being decidedly unlike Tolkien.
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Old 10-04-2018, 03:11 AM   #14
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That bit struck me as being decidedly unlike Tolkien.
I thought it hewed very closely to the Silm theme that most evil in the world doesn't come from the Dark Lord, but from the Children of Iluvatar doing things which could be classified as 'extremely stupid'. Think of the great cities of Beleriand: Menegroth, Nargothrond, Himring, Gondolin. None of them were taken by Morgoth by sheer force of arms - every single one of them was betrayed from within. Thingol's greed, Turin's hubris, Ulfang's treachery, Maeglin's jealousy - these were the causes of Beleriand's fall, not the strength of Angband.

We're told this explicitly in the Silmarillion, of the Nirnaeth:

Quote:
Some have said that even then the Eldar might have won the day, had all their hosts proved faithful; for the Orcs wavered, and their onslaught was stayed, and already some were turning to flight. But even as the vanguard of Maedhros came upon the Orcs, Morgoth loosed his last strength, and Angband was emptied. There came wolves, and wolfriders, and there came Balrogs, and dragons, and Glaurung father of dragons. The strength and terror of the Great Worm were now great indeed, and Elves and Men withered before him; and he came between the hosts of Maedhros and Fingon and swept them apart.

Yet neither by wolf, nor by Balrog, nor by Dragon, would Morgoth have achieved his end, but for the treachery of Men.
And this is a theme that echoes all down the tales of the Elder Days. Why did Numenor fall? Because its inhabitants grew prideful. Why did Khazad-dum turn black? Because the dwarves delved 'too greedily'. Why were the Noldor doomed to such great anguish? Because they slaughtered their kin in Alqualonde. Why, in fact, did Melkor ever return to Arda? Because Tulkas let the watch on the Walls of Night fail.

You're right that this idea that 'we could fix this if we didn't keep doing the wrong thing' doesn't really apply to the Third Age writings. But for the Silmarillion, and especially for the Book of Lost Tales, it is a strong theme that Tolkien never lets up on.

hS

PS: On balrogs, I was interested to see how much description we actually get of them. They have iron claws, iron helms, and shoot darts of fire as well as wielding their fiery whips.

... now I just want to know why Alan Lee decided to draw a tail on the one Glorfindel is fighting??

hS
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:36 PM   #15
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I thought it hewed very closely to the Silm theme that most evil in the world doesn't come from the Dark Lord, but from the Children of Iluvatar doing things which could be classified as 'extremely stupid'. Think of the great cities of Beleriand: Menegroth, Nargothrond, Himring, Gondolin. None of them were taken by Morgoth by sheer force of arms - every single one of them was betrayed from within. Thingol's greed, Turin's hubris, Ulfang's treachery, Maeglin's jealousy - these were the causes of Beleriand's fall, not the strength of Angband.
I guess I should clarify that I meant that it seemed un-Tolkien to me that Turgon could have defeated Morgoth by force of arms.

Although, I had forgotten about the references to the possibility of victory in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears except for treachery.

Quote:
PS: On balrogs, I was interested to see how much description we actually get of them. They have iron claws, iron helms, and shoot darts of fire as well as wielding their fiery whips.

... now I just want to know why Alan Lee decided to draw a tail on the one Glorfindel is fighting??

hS
In an early draft there was an obscure reference to a balrog's whip being "like a tail."
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:15 PM   #16
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In an early draft there was an obscure reference to a balrog's whip being "like a tail."
Rather like the way LOTR says the Balrog had a shadow that "reached out like two vast wings"?
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Old 10-07-2018, 04:15 PM   #17
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Rather like the way LOTR says the Balrog had a shadow that "reached out like two vast wings"?
-_- to both of you. But it's too late, I'm now a Balrog Tail Truther. I shall seek out every reference that could possibly indicate a tail and spread the message far and wide.

Speaking of the Balrogs, I was intrigued to note that in the Lost Tales account, they are creatures of fire and iron, not the shadow of LotR (see for example Ecthelion's sword, which 'cleft the iron of them and did hurt to their fire'). Perhaps Durin's Bane had rusted away by the Third Age? Or is there an extra meaning to the dwarves mining too greedily?

There's a passage in the Lost Tale which pretty much proves Balrogs don't have (permanent) wings: just before Glorfindel's battle, we read that Melko has been cutting the wings off eagles to try and reverse-engineer them, but hasn't managed. Unless the balrogs are seen as his guinea pigs, they can't be winged.

Moving on, I'm finding myself fascinated by Idril. We know that Luthien is a powerful warrior-mage of sorts, but it seems Idril is just as powerful - but instead of a fighter, she's a leader.

She's a Seer, and has the confidence to act on her visions. On her word, Tuor organises a multi-year secret mining operation. She successfully rejected Maeglin's advances (in the Lost Tales version, where the later 'marry only of their own will' may not apply). She persuaded her father to allow Tuor's bodyguard the status of a Great House. She made mail for herself and her son, in secret, and had them both ready to defend at practically a moment's notice - and yes, even holding Earendil in one arm, she managed to fend off Maeglin for quite some time. Tolkien describes her as fighting like a tigress.

Looking now to the later 'Of Tuor', we get the interesting note that Voronwe carries Lembas with him - and we know from other sources that lembas is only made by the noble women of the elves. That should have been the duty of Turgon's wife, but she died; or of Aredhel, but she vanished and then died; I can easily imagine Idril taking up the task.

Then later still... Luthien once persuaded the Valar to delay the Gift of Men for Beren, at the cost of taking it on herself. If the tradition that Tuor is counted among the Eldar is true, how much more persuasive must Idril have been to pull that off?

Oh - and she did all of this barefoot and bareheaded (Eldar women cover their hair I guess), because Idril doesn't care what you think of her.

But the most interesting tidbit I found is this:

Quote:
[Earendel] was in tears for the strange lights of red that played about the walls of the chamber where he slept; and tales that his nurse Meleth had woven him concerning fiery Melko at times of his waywardness came to him and troubled him.
Yep - Earendil's nanny told him that if he didn't behave, Morgoth would come and set him on fire. How much of a complex do you think the kid had after the city really did get burnt down...?

hS
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Old 10-23-2018, 09:31 PM   #18
obloquy
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There's a passage in the Lost Tale which pretty much proves Balrogs don't have (permanent) wings: just before Glorfindel's battle, we read that Melko has been cutting the wings off eagles to try and reverse-engineer them, but hasn't managed. Unless the balrogs are seen as his guinea pigs, they can't be winged.
No! Morgoth didn't make Balrogs, nor did he make their bodies. They were maiar and thus took forms of their own choosing. What's more, we know that winged forms were possible because Sauron--also an embodied maia--took the shape of a winged vampire (batlike, I guess) in the Lay of Leithian.

You thought you would be the one to slay this old dragon once and for all?
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Old 10-24-2018, 12:21 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by obloquy View Post
No! Morgoth didn't make Balrogs, nor did he make their bodies. They were maiar and thus took forms of their own choosing. What's more, we know that winged forms were possible because Sauron--also an embodied maia--took the shape of a winged vampire (batlike, I guess) in the Lay of Leithian.

You thought you would be the one to slay this old dragon once and for all?
Darn. I could argue your first point, but Vampire Thu-Sauron has slain me.

hS
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