The Fall of Gondolin

I just got The Fall of Gondolin for my birthday.

Being the uber Tolkien geek I am, I’ve already read every bit of it, long before the book came out. But that reading occurred from 1976 thru 1996, beginning with the publication of The Silmarillion and ending with The Peoples of Middle Earth and encompassed the various volumes of the History of Middle Earth series (HOMES) which contained info on Gondolin, along with Unfinished Tales. Info on Gondolin was scattered through 14 volumes, so it was tough to embrace the entire coherent narrative.

And now said narrative is out in one volume, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Part of that enjoyment is poignantly knowing it’s the last work we’ll see from CJRT, our esteemed author’s son and caretaker of his works and world. It truly did take someone like CJRT to comb through all the manuscripts, many near undecipherable due to the professor’s handwriting, find the sense of them, and publish them in coherent form.

And yes, it’s mainly us uber geeks that enjoy CJRT’s endeavours. Wading thru the endless footnotes and digressions that are found in HOMES is an act of devotion, but even when such panning leads to only 1 gold nugget (or flake) in 10,000 it’s still worth it.

Be that as it may, these latest releases from the First Age of Middle Earth, The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, and now, last as it was first The Fall of Gondolin have been a delight to me. And they are much more readable than the HOMES series, constructed as narratives and stories, not story fragment analysis. It’s chilling at times for me to know that he was thinking and writing about Gondolin as he was fighting The Great War, over 100 years ago.

Anybody else reading about Ondolindë, aka The Rock of the Music of the Water? (for those who speak some quenya) :smiley:

Ooooh, very neat! I’ll have to pick it up, to complete my set.

I tried reading Beren and Luthien but it was written in that fake Elizabethan dialect. For me reading that style gets very boring very quickly. Is the Fall of Gondolin written like that?

God damn it. I’ve read all these too, but I just went and blew $50 on the hardcover boxed set. 15 years from now I’ll probably wish I had them on Kindle, but for now they belong on my bookshelf.

So stupid…

Also, Melko? Bad editing by the Post?

That’s the character’s original name.

JRRT was always changing names, as his grasp of the language of ME evolved

So Melkor is now incorrect?

No, that’s the name JRRT eventually settled on. But the original language/spellings were preserved, to demonstrate how the stories evolved.

Ungoliant was originally Ungweliant, and also Gwerlum. All 3 are the correct names, for that particular version.

Looks like I can be a little more confident about it. CJRT’s publishing of napkin scrawl was starting to worry me. But if Qadgop is singing the praises I’ll add it to the Christmas wish list.

This doesn’t really wash for me. Names evolve and change, this we know, but if CJRT was editing and publishing a “new” work that sands off the rough edges and ties together all the disconnected chicken scratch, I would expect a central tenant of that process would be to true up all the names to what their final canon form was.

Stealing from the LOTR wiki:

So, there Ungweliant & Gwerlum are a translations in other languages and not just a early alternate spellings/names (assuming we allow for the silent e). Is Melko similar, or is this just an old spelling that JRRT fixed?


I’m far from being a linguist, much less a cunning one on the topic of how to handle such changes. All I know is that I’m fascinated by a lot of the material, I get sufficient pleasure from reading it, with minimal frustration, and a desire to read it again and talk about it with others.

I haven’t read the other two, but the writing in Children of Hurin is the most beautiful prose I’ve ever seen in the English language, beautiful enough to sustain the reader through to the end of one of the most depressing stories I’ve ever read. Does the prose in the other two come close to that mark? Because that would be quite something, to have that level of quality in a story that doesn’t make you want to slit your wrists.

That, sir, was the best and subtlest joke of the day. :smiley:

I have the book, but have not yet begun to read it.

Did we get anything more on Ecthelion & Glorfindel? Or any of the other Captains of Gondolin?

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing in the book that’s not already somewhere in the other posthumously published books on ME, all 14 of them. This volume is just everything JRRT wrote about Gondolin, concentrated, distilled, refined. Same for The Children of Hurin and Beren and Luthien, I believe.

Sometimes my humor is so subtle that even I don’t notice it. :cool: