Marquise's Reviews > The Fall of Gondolin

The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy, the-tolkienarium, artbooks, authorial-style-i-like, novellas

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:

Gondolin

Glorfindel vs the Balrog

Ulmo and Tuor
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