The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:21 am

Bluebottle wrote:Ah, and how a is that related to the version in the Silmarillion?

Appologies for all the questions Razz

No worries. Razz I'm operating off memory here (and I'm really tired) but IIRC when editing the Silm Christopher had to draw on the BoLT version more than he did with the other Great Tales because there's relatively little Gondolin material from later. However, the version in the 1977 Silm is extremely condensed. Also, there was a lot of what TV Tropes calls early installment weirdness in all of the Lost Tales, of which little to no trace exists in the published Silm. The Fall of Gondolin was clearly influenced by WWI (it was written while Tolkien was recovering from trench fever); Morgoth attacks the city not only with Balrogs but also iron dragons that are described as something closer to tanks than the dragons you find elsewhere in Tolkien's legendarium. There's also an extensive recounting of the twelve noble houses of Gondolin and their heraldry (which differs significantly from Tolkien's later conception of Eldarin heraldry) and of the actual course of the battle. Basically none of this survives in TS other than a passing mention:

Of the deeds of desperate valour there done, by the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors, and not least by Tuor, much is told in The Fall of Gondolin: of the battle of Ecthelion of the Fountain with Gothmog Lord of Balrogs in the very square of the King, where each slew the other, and of the defence of the tower of Turgon by the people of his household, until the tower was overthrown; and mighty was its fall and the fall of Turgon in its ruin.

Edit: also, speaking of Balrogs, there were hundreds of them and they were not nearly as powerful or imposing as they later became. A whole bunch died in and around Gondolin; Tuor alone killed five. In TS only two died (Gothmog killed by Ecthelion and an unnamed one killed by Glorfindel), but when you consider that there may have been as few as seven Balrogs to have ever existed in later conceptions of the legendarium, having two die in Gondolin when probably none had died before is a little strange. In one of the last texts concerned Glorfindel (which is called "Glorfindel II" in HoMe XII) Tolkien changed the word "Balrog" to "demon" so there's a theory that he intended to downgrade Glorfindel's opponent, though that remains speculation, and even if Tolkien did have that idea, he never followed through on it in any other text AFAIK.
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Lancebloke on Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:57 am

Hey all,

My copy of the TS got dropped in a bath by someone and fell apart so I might pick this up.

Eldo - I thought the whole Glorfindel being reborn thing was to do with his heroics in taking out a Balrog in the battle. Or am I remembering something badly there?
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:24 pm

Hey Lance, good to see you in this subforum!

You're correct that Glorfindel's expedited reincarnation and special treatment by Manwë in general was due in part to the heroic nature of his death. The "Glorfindel II" text discusses this at some length, though it continues to use the terminology "demon". Specifically, it notes that one of the reasons Glorfindel was allowed to be reincarnated in Valinor despite being an Exile was:

More important: Glorfindel had sacrificed his life in defending the fugitives from the wreck of Gondolin against a Demon out of Thangorodrim, and so enabling Tuor and Idril daughter of Turgon and their child Earendil to escape, and seek refuge at the Mouths of Sirion. Though he cannot have known the importance of this (and would have defended them even had they been fugitives of any rank), this deed was of vital importance to the designs of the Valar.

In an endnote to this passage, Christopher Tolkien notes that his father had written in the margin, at the same time as the text, that "[t]he duel of Glorfindel and the Demon may need revision."

I don't think this is at all definitive evidence of Tolkien deciding that the demon Glorfindel fought should be less than a Balrog (though still something fearsome, to be sure), and I personally think the story works better if it was, but I find it an intriguing question. Smile
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Lancebloke on Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:46 pm

Just wrote a reply and my phone messed up!

In short:

1) Galadriel vs Balrog (how tough was she).
2) Glorfindel vs Nazgul (did he come back weaker or were the Nazgul super tough)
3) Did Gandalf get extra powers for that fight. He was sent more like a man whereas Balrog of Moria didn't have limitations.
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Elthir on Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:54 pm

Love that cover! Looks like Tuor's in his bearskin (BOLT detail).

I'm going to guess (!) that The Fall of Gondolin from Unfinished Tales -- as far as it goes -- takes more than twice as long as the BOLT version to get to the same point in the story: basically, Tuor seeing the city (although I can't do a computer aided word count, and font or something else could be fooling me). Anyway both are the long prose versions, but JRRT was (thankfully) expanding in the revised version, and of course had abandoned the "archaistic" style he used way back in BOLT.

I once did a close comparison of sections (or a section?) of the two works, to find differences and similarities (outside of mere style), but who knows where that went -- although it was interesting, and seems like a fun project if I ever get the time again, some day. I think I recall (or dreamed) CJRT mentioning that he thought his father had the early version in front of him while writing the revision, but I can't recall where this is noted, if in fact I didn't make it up!

Anyway, I blame M. Waldman for Tolkien abandoning the revision so early  Wink

One thing I think I maybe might possibly remember correctly: for the revised Unfinished Tales text, I think Tolkien added the description of Ecthelion's pointed helm early on when Tuor meets the Elf -- suggesting, in my opinion, that Ecthelion was "still" going to use his helm in the battle with Gothmog, and (if so), this also introduced the detail well before the reader will see how useful it is in the battle...

... and then this can carry more meaning than simply being part of a nice "ornamental description" for the second read, and third and fourth and so on.

Anyway, I'm buying it to have the "set" of the Great Tales, even if there are no new bits. For the art too...

... although I assume a new calendar will include these illustration as well!

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Elthir on Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:13 pm

Also, I hope Alan Lee illustrates the "horses, white and grey" scene. That alone would be worth it Wink

I tried not to post this post... no I did, really!

though not for long

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by David H on Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:33 am

Elthir wrote:

I tried not to post this post... no I did, really!

though not for long

I'm not convinced. Suspect

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Elthir on Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:59 am

Laughing

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:39 am


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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by chris63 on Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:25 pm

Was reading one of the adds on that link Halfy and it says there are no snakes in Ireland. Never knew that.

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:40 pm

The story goes that St. Patrick drove them all out of Ireland like a thousand years ago.

But short of some miracle I imagine it's pretty much impossible to get rid of all snakes. I mean, they're not like wolves or aurochs: they're too sneaky!

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:32 am

{{Um yeah- legend says St Patrick got rid of them all- but the historic record shows there weren't any when he was there either- during the ice age Ireland like the rest of the Uk was under a couple mile deep glacier- when it melted Ireland was already an island so no snakes got there. But then according to legend the other important Irish St, St Columba faced down Nessie too! So best taking Christian claims with a dumper truck full of salt.}}

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Elthir on Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:59 pm

Now Patrick, you're a saint,
but your snakes they're not historical!

But I did kick 'em out!
They're all metaphorical!

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:24 pm


Smithsonian Mag wrote:Last year, when Christopher released a novelized version of the Tolkien story Beren and Lúthien, he wrote that it would be “[presumptively] my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings,” as Flood reports. So news of The Fall of Gondolin novel came as a very welcome surprise to Tolkien fans.

Suspect Calling Beren and Lúthien a novel is a weird description on the magazine's part that I feel would mislead people who aren't already familiar with the book to expect a single, complete narrative written in the style of Tolkien's later works.
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by TranshumanAngel on Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:36 am

So who's excited for the impending release?! Laughing
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:00 pm

Ah yes, quite.

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:16 pm

{{Hi Trans! pub  Personally I'm waiting until someone else opens their sporran first before I go dipping into mine- want to know if there is anything worth having or if its just all the previous stuff I've read before gathered in one place trying to con me into rebuying the same stuff again! }}}

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by TranshumanAngel on Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:48 am

Yes, I mean on the one hand it's true that it might not exactly be new, but I think there is something to be said for presentation - and certainly, despite its fragile and fragmented state, Beren and Luthien is a far more accessible volume that the History of Middle earth series, which is rare to find in bookshops and probably outside of a small community of Tolkien megafans rather unknown.

I try not to look at this too cynically - I get that the original "Fall of Gondolin" story is available -but honestly, next to nobody has ever read it. Perhaps, in this new format, together with the brilliant and beautiful "Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", this volume could not only introduce the story to a wider range of readers but also provide a new aesthetic experience for long time fans.
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:15 am

{{ Oh I agree Trans, its good for new readers, or those for whom the more obscure works might be a total unknown- it does give the stories new prominence and neatly gathers them together.
But from my own perspective is a nice presentation really worth opening the sporran for if the exact same stuff is already sitting on my shelf in other books?  }}

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by TranshumanAngel on Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:50 am

Perhaps not for you, that's true. But I don't have the HoME, and even many Tolkien fans wont own it, I imagine, so I think these volumes (CoH, B&L and Fall of Gondolin) can be a new way for some readers to enter Middle-earth, having read the Hobbit and LoTR.
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by Eldy on Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:32 pm

I was in the vicinity of a Barnes & Noble last week so I took the opportunity to flip through the new book and check out the Alan Lee illustrations. They were all very nice--as expected, though it seems unfair to treat that as routine Razz--but not (IMO) worth $30 for a book I already have all the content from. If the new volume succeeds at bringing the tale to wider public notice I'll be grateful for that, though I have no idea how well last year's Beren and Lúthien sold (it didn't seem to make much of a splash when it landed Shrugging).
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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by malickfan on Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:18 pm

Eldy wrote:I was in the vicinity of a Barnes & Noble last week so I took the opportunity to flip through the new book and check out the Alan Lee illustrations. They were all very nice--as expected, though it seems unfair to treat that as routine Razz--but not (IMO) worth $30 for a book I already have all the content from. If the new volume succeeds at bringing the tale to wider public notice I'll be grateful for that, though I have no idea how well last year's Beren and Lúthien sold (it didn't seem to make much of a splash when it landed Shrugging).

Yeah I've also flicked through a copy in a bookstore and the artwork is every bit as nice as you'd expect (though as talented as Alan Lee is, after 20 years of huge exposure to his style, it is beginning to feel a bit stale...wish they'd give Ted Nasmith another shot at illustrating some of the books, adored his edition of The Silmarillion, and he was apparently contracted for an illustrated edition of Unfinished Tales which fell through some years back) but that alone would not persuade me to buy a copy (at least not at full price, might get this and B and L further down the line at reduced price for ease of reference), given the format of this book I'm kinda surprised Christopher Tolkien didn't include the incomplete and mostly unpublished The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin which IIRC runs to less than 150 verses, but no doubt he had good reasons.

I agree that it will likely bring the tale to a lot of new readers, but I can't see this or B+L making as massive a splash as the novel Children of Hurin did.

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:31 pm

Did Children of Hurin make a massive splash? Shocked I thought it was only occasionally mentioned outside the geekosphere.

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by malickfan on Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:46 pm

halfwise wrote:Did Children of Hurin make a massive splash? Shocked  I thought it was only occasionally mentioned outside the geekosphere.

Well, it made a massive splash relatively speaking comparison to most of the other posthumous published books by Tolkien

According to wiki:

he Children of Húrin debuted at number one on The New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list.[23]

According to Houghton Mifflin, the U.S. publisher, already 900,000 copies were in print worldwide in the first two weeks, double the initial expectations of the publishers.[24] HarperCollins, the U.K. publisher, claimed 330,000 copies were in print in the U.K. in the first two weeks.

It opened to generally favourable reviews and has remained continually in print since, so I'd assume it was reasonably popular with the wider audience, certainly as a stand alone novel it remains much more accessible the the other First Age writings...though obviously sales figures wouldn't necessarily translate to wider popularity.

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Re: The Fall of Gondolin (coming August 2018)

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:48 pm

#1 on the NYT is definitely a big splash. I had no idea.

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