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Tales of Middle Earth

La caída de Gondolin

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En el Cuento de La Caída de Gondolin chocan dos de los principales poderes del mundo. Por un lado está Morgoth, el mal más absoluto, que está al mando de un enorme poder militar que controla desde su fortaleza en Angband. En su oposición está Ulmo, el segundo Vala más poderoso. Trabaja secretamente en la Tierra Media para apoyar a los Noldor, el grupo de elfos entre los que se contaban Húrin y Túrin Turambar.

En el centro de este conflicto entre deidades se encuentra la ciudad de Gondolin, bella pero escondida más allá de toda posibilidad de ser descubierta. Fue construida y habitada por elfos Noldor que se rebelaron contra el poder divino y huyeron desde Valinor, la tierra de los dioses, a la Tierra Media. Turgon, el rey de Gondolin, es el principal objeto tanto del odio como el miedo de Morgoth, quien trata en vano de descubrir la ciudad, escondida como por arte de magia. En este mundo entra Tuor, el primo de Túrin, como instrumento para hacer cumplir los planes de Ulmo. Guiado por el dios desde la invisibilidad, Tuor parte de la tierra donde nació y emprende un peligroso viaje en busca de Gondolin.

En uno de los momentos más fascinantes de la historia de la Tierra Media, Ulmo se persona ante él, emergiendo del mar en medio de una tormenta. En Gondolin Tuor madura; se casa con Idril, y tienen a su hijo Eärendel. Después llega el terrible final. Debido a un acto de traición suprema, Morgoth se entera de cómo lanzar un ataque devastador a la ciudad, valiéndose de balrogs, dragones e incontables orcos.

En este libro Christopher Tolkien ha intentado extraer la historia de La Caída de Gondolin de la extensa obra en la cual estaba entretejida. Para ilustrar una parte del proceso a través del cual este «Gran Relato» de la Tierra Media evolucionó a través de los años, Christopher ha narrado la historia en palabras de su padre.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published August 30, 2018

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About the author

J.R.R. Tolkien

515 books68.8k followers
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: writer, artist, scholar, linguist. Known to millions around the world as the author of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien spent most of his life teaching at the University of Oxford where he was a distinguished academic in the fields of Old and Middle English and Old Norse. His creativity, confined to his spare time, found its outlet in fantasy works, stories for children, poetry, illustration and invented languages and alphabets.

Tolkien’s most popular works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are set in Middle-earth, an imagined world with strangely familiar settings inhabited by ancient and extraordinary peoples. Through this secondary world Tolkien writes perceptively of universal human concerns – love and loss, courage and betrayal, humility and pride – giving his books a wide and enduring appeal.

Tolkien was an accomplished amateur artist who painted for pleasure and relaxation. He excelled at landscapes and often drew inspiration from his own stories. He illustrated many scenes from The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, sometimes drawing or painting as he was writing in order to visualize the imagined scene more clearly.

Tolkien was a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Oxford for almost forty years, teaching Old and Middle English, as well as Old Norse and Gothic. His illuminating lectures on works such as the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, illustrate his deep knowledge of ancient languages and at the same time provide new insights into peoples and legends from a remote past.

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 1892 to English parents. He came to England aged three and was brought up in and around Birmingham. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1915 and saw active service in France during the First World War before being invalided home. After the war he pursued an academic career teaching Old and Middle English. Alongside his professional work, he invented his own languages and began to create what he called a mythology for England; it was this ‘legendarium’ that he would work on throughout his life. But his literary work did not start and end with Middle-earth, he also wrote poetry, children’s stories and fairy tales for adults. He died in 1973 and is buried in Oxford where he spent most of his adult life.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,232 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
May 6, 2020
I was delighted when I heard about the release of this book because in Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien erroneously stated that it was going to be the last restoration of his father’s work he undertook. He changed his mind. And I thank him for it because this is a glorious tale, showcasing much of Tolkien’s brilliance.

Firstly though, many readers will have a pertinent question on their mind: is The Fall of Gondolin worth buying for those who have read The Silmarillion? It most definitely is.

There is a very brief section dedicated to this tale in The Silmarillion. In my edition, there’s only six pages of the story. And that’s it. It’s like a historical plot summary without the finer details of real storytelling involved as per the mythopoetic style Tolkien was using through the work. So, yes, this is absolutely worth reading because you will never have seen the full details of this story before. There is new material here, though it is largely unfinished and lacking the immersive powers his completed works possess.

So whether or not you decide to pick this up depends on your level of dedication to the author. I knew I couldn’t miss it because it sounded so compelling. The plot is similar to Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Hurin in the respect that a powerful romance strengthens it. The lovers are Tuor and Idril. Idril is the daughter of Turgon, king of Gondolin. Tuor had been sent to the kingdom by Ulmo, one of the Vala, to encourage Turgon to initiate a pre-emptive assault on his enemy Melko (Morgoth.) The king ignores the advice and ushers in his own doom.

The beautiful city of Gondolin is sacked years later by an army of Morogth’s, comprising of dragons, balrogs and orcs. Tuor fights to save Idril through the siege and fails to defend her father the king. He and the survivors are hopelessly outnumbered and are forced to flee. The battle is vivid as the language artfully captures the intensity and drama of such an epic moment in the First Age of middle-earth. Many heroes fall and many legends are made, several of which acute readers may remember brief mentions of in The Lord of the Rings.

As a huge Tolkien enthusiast, I know I speak for many other readers, when I extend my undying thanks to Christopher Tolkien for allowing his father’s unfinished work to be published. Although this work is far from a shinning jewel, I can imagine how fantastic this would have been as I read the segments (and various drafts) of the story: I can see what this would have been. And, as ever, the artwork of Alan Lee brings the words to life.

However, this is the very last we will see of it. Christopher Tolkien explicitly states that this is the final piece (and that he will not change his mind this time.) The destruction of a fine city is an appropriate last glimpse of such a vast world, as the walls of Gondolin crumble and the tower collapses, it marks the very end.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Petrik.
686 reviews45.9k followers
August 14, 2023
Here it is, the third and final Great Tales of Middle-Earth in its full form. Not really.

This was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin and I must say it reminded me of the Trojan War. I’ll be honest that I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding this book. I can seriously copy paste my Beren and Luthien review with a few tweaks and it would describe my thoughts on the book appropriately.

This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy reading the book, I actually liked the main story of The Fall of Gondolin even when it was told in its 'draft prose' state. As great as the story was to read though, I found it to be a bit of a shame that the overall content of the book was told similarly like Beren and Luthien. No, there’s no poetry here, the story was also definitely better than Beren and Luthien. However, after the first 100 pages, the remaining content of the book was again a comparison and evolution of texts, which again means that unless you’re super interested in Christopher Tolkien’s adaptation process or J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration and writing process, this most likely won’t be a complete hit for you.

Luckily though, the Tale of Earendil—although too short—was included. Even though the main focus of the story was about Tuor, Glorfindel, and the fall of the city of Gondolin itself, my favorite part of the book was actually Earendil’s story. Ending the content of this book with Earendil’s story was a fantastic decision in my opinion. Remember, this was my first time reading The Fall of Gondolin or Earendil’s story and oh my god, the War of Wrath was something truly incredible and epic; I seriously wish there was more! The second prophecy of Mandos that depicted Dagor Dagorath (the final battle of Middle-Earth) could’ve been one of the most epic stories in fantasy to ever written; it’s unfortunate that we’ll never get to see that happening.

One last thing: Alan Lee’s illustration continues to wow me over and over. In fact, it was so gorgeous that in my opinion it was totally worth it to get the entire three Great Tales of Middle-Earth just to see his artworks in its full glory.

Picture: Glorfindel vs Balrog by Alan Lee

The Fall of Gondolin was a fitting conclusion to the three Great Tales of Middle-Earth. I have to applaud J.R.R Tolkien, Alan Lee, and of course, Christopher Tolkien here. Just from reading these three books, I can’t even imagine the insane difficulty of gathering all these separate texts and combine them to make a coherent story. Although The Fall of Gondolin and Beren and Luthien didn’t amaze me—mostly due to the incomplete state of these two works—as much as The Children of Hurin, I’m glad I’ve read these three tales. The best thing about reading these three tales though is that they totally sparked my interest to continuing my journey to finish The Silmarillion from where I left off after DNFing it twice. Wish me luck!

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Shelved as 'wishlist'
August 1, 2018
August 1, 2018: 21.76€ for an ebook? TWENTY ONE POINT SEVENTY SIX EUROS FOR AN EBOOK? ARE YOU BLOODY SHRIMPING KIDDING ME???!!!! And here I was, thinking Lies of the Beholder being available for pre-order at 10€ was a total rip-off. Goes to show you can be both cunningly nefarious and ridiculously naive.

New bloody shrimping Tolkien novel + reluctant hero + dark lord + epic battles =

P.S. The final Kate Daniels instalment will be released on August 28. So will Sandman Slim #10. And now this one on August 30? The Incas had it all wrong, it's not 2012 we should have worried about, it's August 2018. Say hi to Armageddon, everyone!
Profile Image for daisy.
594 reviews100 followers
September 26, 2018
i don't want to sound like a weirdo but my copy of this book.... smells REALLY good...

Buddy-read with Reyes💞

RTC. Current feelings/thoughts summarised below in one picture:
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,098 followers
August 23, 2019
Fans of Tolkien and his Silmarillion will not be too disappointed in this book. It's not as recursive as Beren and Luthien and the strong descriptions of Gondolin's destruction are really quite fun.

I mean, who DOESN'T love balrogs and hosts of orcs descending upon and destroying the hidden city of elves in a grand bloody rout? Sure, there's mighty good sendoff and defense, but what we really wanted to see is all those stupid kinslaying elves get theirs.

Hmmm. I might be a bit bloodthirsty today. :) Rah, rah, Melkor?

My only complaint is not directed at Christopher but at J.R.R.

I really wanted not Tuon's story, although it was rather epic, but his son's story: Earendil, with the Silmaril on his brow. Am I asking too much? The way the later victors lose or use the recovered Silmarils? All of that stuff is more interesting to me than how the god of the waters set the first King of Men on a quest. :)

Still. Despite the repeats that show up in other books, I did have a good time with a lot more detail in certain areas. Only by reading ALL of them do we get the idea that big detailed tellings are portioned out for different areas despite getting a good feel in the primary publications. And I mean the Silmarillion. If you like the primary and always wanted to see the tales stretched out and also analyzed, then this is definitely for you.

I'm happy to have read it, although I am filled with a sense of loss. I wish Tolkien was back among us, getting not just credit, but support for more stories.
Profile Image for Rachel Libke.
60 reviews
September 9, 2018
If you need any further incentive to read this beautiful book apart from the fact that it's by Tolkien, just know that it involves Balrogs riding dragons into battle.
Profile Image for Denisse.
498 reviews289 followers
March 6, 2021
It can't be denied, The Silmarillion lacks a lot of details on The Fall of Gondolin, a story that is as impressive and visceral as all the others. Forever grateful to Christopher. The many variations of the tale are another proof we have that Tolkien was really invested in his mythology, but more important are those plot lines that never changed during decades. The Fall of Gondolin really is the beginning of the end of the First Age, is magnificent and the illustrations are gold. If you don't mind the many notes on how, when and why the changes during Tolkien's lifetime, this book is both interesting for what it is, and emotive for what could've been.

Muy bien, primeramente, este libro ¿qué es y que no es? Durante toda la lectura muestran tres variaciones del cuento La Caída de Gondolin,lo primero que Tolkien escribió sobre su mundo fantástico, aunque aquí el mismo Christopher lo pone medio en duda, pero oficialmente lo es. Escrito probablemente en 1916 y modificado muchísimas veces. De ahí salen estas tres variaciones que nos irán mostrando y explicando lo que se mantuvo, lo que cambió, etc. Iniciando con los nombres de las razas, no me acostumbro a decir Gnomos en lugar de Elfos, nada más no. No es una versión larga del capítulo del Silmarillion, para los que, como yo, pensaban eso.

Lo más destacable para mi al haber leído estas tres versiones es lo mínimo que cambian a nivel general, estamos hablando que la versión final fue “escrita” en 1930 al parecer y aunque con los años el autor le añade más detalles, nunca cambió casi nada de sus bases. Para mi esa seguridad tiene mucha relevancia, nos habla mucho de una mente que siempre le apostó a sus ideas.

No olvidemos que este cuento fue antes de que existiera en su cabeza un Hobbit, un Señor de los Anillos o incluso Edades dentro de su mitología, como bien se menciona. Todos los grandes autores actuales del género han iniciado con una línea argumental específica y al sobresalir han podido dedicarse a una idea más grande y precisa de su “universo” creado. Tolkien lo hizo al revés, pero al no tener tanto apoyo tuvo que entregar El Hobbit y LOTR primero.

Recomiendo mucho la lectura si la historia de Gondolin es de tu interés ya que la desmenuzan muy bien pero aparte muchas cosas son repetitivas, de no tener tu atención completa si podría desesperar. Al final estos textos se hicieron para explicar a fondo el proceso creativo de Tolkien y como trabajo en su historia, literalmente, toda su vida adulta.

Muchas cosas destacan de la edición tan puntual que el buen Christiopher se dedicó a editar, pero nada puede quitarle el protagónico a la trama real, al final La Caída de Gondolin es una de las historias más completas de los días Antiguos, las imágenes que brinda y las continuaciones a las que da pie son increíbles. Una gran tragedia de ficción, de la gloria a la perdición.

"Magna ha sido la caída de Gondolin"
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,977 reviews162 followers
January 21, 2023
Christopher Tolkien (J.R.R.'s son) has done a great job collating Tolkien's lost works. He has taken the unpublished works from drafts of stories J.R.R. never completed. The Fall of Gondonlin is an event that takes place after the Silmarillion. The story called "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin" relates how Tuor found the city and how Melkor (later known as Morgoth) sought its destruction.

While not a complete book, the story has several versions that are shown. It gives us a background on the world building Tolkien created for his stories. There are a lot of interesting notes from Chris as he explains his father's thinking. A good book for any LOTR fan, as it delves into the "ancient history" of the LOTR lands.
Profile Image for m i l o u ✨ (Grumpy Hobbit).
464 reviews36 followers
September 3, 2018
↠ 4 stars

The mighty Tuor

Italian Trulli

Throughout the years we have received a fair share of stories and books that take place in Middle-Earth, from the First Age till the Fourth Age. Almost every part from The Silmarillion has been given their own book, rich with details and lore. This time it was finally The Fall of Gondolin's turn and it was worth the wait.

In the Silmarillion the description of the Fall of Gondolin was brief and not as elaborated. We are given various versions of how the mighty and hidden city of Gondolin fell into the hands of the Dark Lord Melkor and how many elves perished during the battle, or fled the city. Originally the story of Gondolin was incomplete but Christopher Tolkien has been able to fill in the gaps of his father's work and give us the answers that we needed.

This story will be like coming home to many devoted Tolkien fans who get to experience this world one final time. I know that last year we were all convinced that Beren and Lúthien was to be the last book that would be published in Tolkien's name ever, and we got this massive surprise with the announcement of the Fall of Gondolin. Still this time we have to remember that this truly will be the end of an ara. It's remarkable that so many books of professor Tolkien have been published since his dead in 1973, for which I've been immensely thankful of. We would've never been given all of the lore of Middle-Earth if Christopher Tolkien had never accomplished his father's works and published them.

To me the Fall of Gondolin has been an extraordinary and tragic tale which I've thoroughly enjoyed. We got to read a lot more about Tuor and how he ended up at Gondolin and his connection with Ulmo.

Italian Trulli

Ulmo and Tuor

Italian Trulli

Tuor reaches Gondolin

Italian Trulli

Turgon, king of Gondolin

Italian Trulli

Turgon, Idril and Elenwe

Italian Trulli

The Gondolindrim

Italian Trulli


I'm dedicating a special part of this review to no one else than Glorfindel who has been my favorite elf for as long as I've been a Tolkien fan. He is an emissary of Middle-Earth for a reason. Glorfindel played a huge role during the fall of Gondolin who bravely fought against the Balrog Gothmog! He needs to be appreciated for that.

Italian Trulli

Only where Glorfindel is, is Echtelion. The two of them fought side by side during the battle. He too needs to be reminded for his bravery and his valor. I'm a fan of both Glorfindel and Echtelion, which is why reading about their part during the battle hit home to me, and kind of broke my heart. I may have ended up crying a little over elves, but what else is new?

Italian Trulli

Ecthelion and Glorfindel are precious okay

Italian Trulli

Echtelion and Glorfindel during the battle

Italian Trulli

Of course I had to include this beautiful illustration as well. Come on, look at it! It warms my heart in the most pleasant way.

This book is only for the most devoted Tolkien fans who have read the rest of the professors works because else this isn't going to be something you'll end up liking, and you will not understand the importance of this story in Middle-Earth.

Italian Trulli

Italian Trulli
Profile Image for Carmo.
666 reviews472 followers
July 3, 2023
" A glória habitava naquela cidade, Gondolin dos Sete Nomes, e a sua ruína foi a mais terrível de todas..."

Um livro 5* em toda a sua conceção. Tolkienistas me entenderão. Encadernação em capa dura, gravuras primorosas e a história de A Queda de Gondolin contada nas três versões deixadas por Tolkien.
Tolkien deixou em testamento toda a obra ao cuidado do filho, para fazer dela o que quisesse até queimá-la se fosse essa a sua vontade. Para nossa felicidade, Christopher fez um trabalho notável ao compilar textos, reunir e relacionar notas encontradas em papelinhos e deu vida nova à obra do pai num extenso trabalho que Tolkien dedicou a vida a escrever e eu penso passar grande parte da minha a ler.
Profile Image for Henk.
874 reviews
January 21, 2023
Aninteresting read for a niche audience. You really need to be well acquianted with the The Silmarillion and want to dive deeper in the creative process of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I always found Gondolin the most interesting of the Elven cities from the Silmarillion, despite it coming back only sparsely in that book, and liked the opportunity to return to Middle Earth.

In this book we have an early tale, containing the gruesome fight and fall of Gondolin. This story showed that a lot of concepts in respect to how Tuor came to Gondolin were yet to be determined and unfortunately Tolkien never returned to the later part of the narration and the actual battle for the city, with the battle between Gothmog and Echthelion and the fall of Glorfindel. The style in this early tale is a bit comparable to the The Hobbit or There and Back Again, with a lot of houses, heroism and a large role for animals, who play spies for Melkor. The way Tuor flees a burning city to found a glorious future reminded me of Aeneas and Troy in the The Aeneid, something I hadn’t thought of earlier when thinking of this story.

At the end we also had some snippets from the tale of Earendil and the final battle between the Valar and Morgoth, leading to the destruction of Beleriand.
The final version of the arrival of Tuor in Gondolin as included in this book, with the seven gates of different materials, was already included in the Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, which I found a bit dissapointing. The beautiful illustrations can not make up for the fact that the original material included in the book is limited, but I'll gladly let my warm feelings of returning to Middle-Earth get the better of me, and round this 2,5 star read up.
Profile Image for Nicholas Kotar.
Author 37 books273 followers
December 7, 2019
If only Tolkien had finished the last version of this story. It would have been one of the most tragic and beautiful novels of our time.
Profile Image for Evripidis Gousiaris.
229 reviews99 followers
October 5, 2018
Κάθε φορά που επισκέπτομαι τον κόσμο του ανατριχιάζω.

Profile Image for Велислав Върбанов.
438 reviews45 followers
July 6, 2023
Гондолин е бил един от най-величествените елфически градове. Неговото местоположение се е пазило в дълбо��а тайна от съображения за сигурност, затова малцина са имали достъп до него. Туор е главен герой в това забележително предание от Първата епоха на Средната земя. Той е изпратен в Гондолин от самия Властелин на Водите Улмо, за да предаде негово послание, както и да остане да живее там. Туор изпълнява своята задача и впоследствие създава семейство в потайния град...

Към даден момент обаче Моргот успява да се добере до тайните на Гондолин и предприема грандиозно нападение срещу него... Могъщите сили на злото (в които влизат и митичните балрози) в крайна сметка превземат града, както вече сте се досетили от заглавието на книгата. Въпреки тъжния край, тази легенда е страхотна и страшно въздействаща... Напълно си заслужава всеки почитател на Толкиновото творчество да се запознае с нея и като разширено самостоятелно издание. Разбира се - илюстрациите на Алън Лий са великолепни!

„Туор нямал представа колко дълъг е този път и когато погледнал напред, умората го налегнала като мрачен облак. Мразовит вятър свистял над канарите и той се загърнал по плътно с плаща.

-Студен вятър вее откъм Потайното кралство - рекъл.

- Да, така е - отвърнал Воронве. - На чужденец би му се сторило, че от гордост бойците на Тургон са станали немилостиви. Дълъг и тежък изглежда пътят през Седемте порти за гладните и изморените.

-Ако не бе толкоз суров законът ни, отдавна да са проникнали тук завистта и омразата, та да ни погубят - продумал Елемакил. - И ти добре го знаеш. Ала не сме безмилостни.“
Profile Image for Данило Судин.
509 reviews194 followers
August 10, 2021
Дещо сумне читання, бо це остання книга з Легендаріуму. І в ній все більше бачиш, що задум так і не був втіленим.
І лише з цього тексту побачив пояснення - прямим текстом, яке засмутило ще більше. Раніше я думав, що Толкін писав тексти вечорами - для себе, тобто для душі.
Але ось Крістофер пояснює, що всі більш-менш зв'язні версії "Сильмариліону" постали, бо Толкін вірив, що їх вдасться видати. І тому писав їх... для видавця. А той послідовно всі спроби відкидав. І тому Толкін закидав свої писання. Мабуть, для себе він писав хіба після 1917 - і десь до середини 1920-х.
І так і бачиш професора в літах, який, з одного боку, живе Середзем'ям, а з іншого, має годувати сім'ю, а тому не має часу на ту писанину "просто так". На початку 1950-х Толкін боявся виходу на пенсію, бо грошей було катма... І лише "Володар перснів" дав йому фінансову стабільність.

І це сумно: розуміти, що Середзем'я - це стало для Толкіна "товаром": якщо не можеш його продати, то й не займайся ним.

І попри це, тішуся, що є цей том. Він доповнює "Сильмариліон", де падінню Ґондоліна приділено замало уваги. Зі всіх "Сказань Середзем'я" для мене цей том найцінніший. Адже решта є написана в "Сильмариліоні".
Так само й "Діти Гуріна", до речі. Просто я їх спершу прочитав як "Narn i Chîn Húrin" в "Незакінчених сказаннях". Але як окреме сказання - це гарне доповнення і розширення "Сильмариліону".

П.С. а от історію про Берена та Лутіен якось не дуже сприймаю. Як нецікаву, але необхідну частину Легендаріуму: без цього сказання не зрозуміти "Дітей" чи "Ґондолін". Але вона мені занадто казкова та солодкава.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,110 reviews3,030 followers
October 4, 2022
3.5 stars // Not as good as Children of Húrin or Beren and Lúthien, the other two of the three major tales from the First Age of Middle-Earth. The Fall of Gondolin included too many version of the same tale, as opposed to one (or two) coherent narratives. I prefer the works in which Christopher Tolkien managed to make one cohesive story out of his father's manuscripts, as opposed to presenting the reader with all of these different drafts, all unfinished. I know it's not Christopher's fault that his father never got around to properly sitting down and finishing this story from front to back, but it doesn't make for the most pleasant reading experience.

For those of you who aren't up to speed: Gondolin was a secret city of Elves in the First Age of Middle-earth. The Fall of Gondolin tells of the founding of the city; of the arrival there of Tuor, a prince of Men; of the betrayal of the city to Morgoth by the king's nephew, Maeglin; and of its subsequent catastrophic destruction by Morgoth's armies. It also relates the flight of the fugitives to the Havens of Sirion, the wedding of Tuor and Idril Celebrindal, as well as the childhood of their son Eärendil.

I would only recommend this book to major Tolkien fans – like, you need to be a nerd like me to be able to show some interest in it – and also only to readers who are familiar with the stories in The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. If you've only read The Hobbit and/or The Lord of the Rings, I wouldn't advise jumping into this book. Read the other, more complete, works first, before attempting to make sense of this one.

The city of Gondolinin Beleriand, in the extreme northwest of Middle-earth, was founded with divine inspiration. It was hidden by mountains and endured for centuries before being betrayed and destroyed. It was the mightiest of the elven homes in the Hither Lands. The city was famed for its walls, and had possible parallels to Troy.

Gondolin was founded by King Turgon in the First Age. It was originally named 'Ondolindë'. According to The Silmarillion, the Vala Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, revealed the location of the Vale of Tumladen to Turgon in a dream. Under this divine guidance, Turgon travelled from his kingdom in Nevrast and found the vale. Within the Echoriath, the Encircling Mountains, lay a round level plain with sheer walls on all sides and a ravine and tunnel leading out to the southwest known as the Hidden Way. In the middle of the vale there was a steep hill which was called Amon Gwareth, the "Hill of Watch". There Turgon decided to found a city, designed after the city of Tirion in Valinor that the Noldor had left.

The Hidden Pass was protected by seven gates, all constantly guarded; the first of wood, then stone, bronze, iron, silver, gold, and steel, perhaps based on Herodotus's description of the Medean city of Ecbatana. The seven gates of Minas Tirith echoed this notion of a layered defence on a hill.

The city stood for nearly 400 years until it was betrayed to Morgoth by Maeglin, Turgon's nephew. Maeglin was captured while mining outside the Encircling Mountains against Turgon's orders. Maeglin betrayed the location of Gondolin after he was promised Lordship as well as Turgon's daughter Idril, whom he'd long coveted. Morgoth then sent an army over the Crissaegrim, the northernmost precipitous and dangerous portion of the Encircling Mountains, during The Gates of Summer (a great Gondolin festival), catching them unawares and sacking the city with relative ease.

In addition to orcs, Balrogs and dragons, Melkor's (Morgoth's) army, in early versions of the story, included iron machines (tanks) powered by "internal fires" and used as personnel carriers, to surmount difficult geographic obstacles and to defeat fortifications. Idril, noted for her intuition, had the foresight to prepare a secret route out of Gondolin prior to the siege. While her father Turgon perished, Idril successfully flees the city alongside her husband Tuor and other survivors; through their union, Tuor and Idril are the ancestors of both Elrond and Aragorn.

David Greenman, in Mythlore, compares The Fall of Gondolin, Tolkien's first long Middle-earth work, to Virgil's Aeneid. He finds it fitting that Tuor, "Tolkien's early quest-hero", escapes from the wreck of an old kingdom and creates new ones, just as Aeneas does, while his late quest-heroes in The Lord of the Rings, the hobbits of the Shire, are made to return to their home, ravaged while they were away, and are obliged to scour it clean, just as Odysseus does in Homer's Odyssey.

Tolkien began writing the story that would become The Fall of Gondolin in 1917 in an army barracks on the back of a sheet of military marching music. It is the first traceable story of his Middle-earth legendarium that he wrote down on paper. The story was read aloud by Tolkien to the Exeter College Essay Club in the spring of 1920.

Tolkien was constantly revising his First Age stories; however, the narrative he wrote in 1917, published posthumously in The Book of Lost Tales, remains the only full account of the fall of the city. The narrative in The Silmarillion was the result of the editing by his son Christopher using that story and compressed versions from the different versions of the Annals and Quentas as various sources. The later Quenta Silmarillion and the Grey Annals, the main sources for much of the published Silmarillion, both stop before the beginning of the Tuor story.

A partial later version of The Fall of Gondolin was published in Unfinished Tales under the title "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin". Originally titled "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin," this narrative shows a great expansion of the earlier tale. Christopher Tolkien retitled the story before including it in Unfinished Tales, because it ends at the point of Tuor's arrival in Gondolin, and does not depict the actual Fall.

There is also an unfinished poem, "The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin", of which a few verses are quoted in The Lays of Beleriand. In 130 verses Tolkien reaches the point where dragons attack the city. It's a shame it wasn't included in this collection. "The Lay of Leithian" was my favorite part of Beren and Lúthien.

Profile Image for T.R. Preston.
Author 4 books121 followers
March 10, 2021
The final work of Christopher Tolkien. That makes me very sad. More so than I could possibly sum up in this Goodreads text box. This really is the end of an era. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I do literally anything that came from the mind of Tolkien or his son. And bless Alan Lee for this cover. His art-style is really something.

This is the last possible piece we can receive from this fictional world. This is the final curtain call. There are a lot of strange emotions attached to that statement. Our world has lost something very special. It's a little more empty now. The stories that have come from Middle-earth and beyond have touched millions upon millions of people around the world, regardless of where they're from. And these stories will continue to touch many more. Tolkien was born to write; he was born to bring his astounding vision to a world that really didn't deserve it. And his son was born to sharpen that vison into a collected body of fiction that is going to outlive all of us. The bravery of Samwise Gamgee, the tragedy of Feanor, the terror of Ungoliant, the honour of Aragorn and the timeless guidance of Gandalf are going to be analyzed and admired long after our bones turn to dust. I'm sure of that.

There may even come a day when the works of Tolkien are considered English mythology, if they aren't there already. They'll be taught in schools like the tales of the ancient Greek or Norse gods. Wouldn't that be something?

Easy 5 for this. I'd hate myself if I gave it anything less.

R.I.P Christopher. I'm sure your dad would've been proud.
Profile Image for Sotiris Karaiskos.
1,177 reviews89 followers
September 25, 2018
The story of the fall of Gondolin was the first to be written by the great writer when he was still in the First World War, so is fitting the last book of his writings edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien, to be relevant to this story. It is, of course, one of the most intense episodes of the first era of this fantastic world, a story of struggle, hesitation, love, betrayal, and a final disaster that has been the greatest triumph of the forces of evil. A story that - like all the other of the great writer - has many lessons for human endurance in it but in this case it has one more that is that when evil dominates it is nonsense to think that you can hide in a corner waiting that it will leave you quiet. This book contains the entire story of the fall of Gondolin as it was written in different versions along with a lot of information on the evolution of its creation and notes by the author. Things worthwhile for the fanatics who are always interested in details about J.R.R. Tolkien's work, nor do they necessarily have to read it.

Η ιστορία της πτώσης της Gondolin ήταν η πρώτη που έγραψε ο μεγάλος συγγραφέας όταν ακόμα υπηρετούσε στον πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, οπότε είναι ταιριαστό το τελευταίο βιβλίο με τα γραπτά του που επιμελείται ο γιος του, ο Christopher Tolkien να αφορά τη συγκεκριμένη ιστορία. Πρόκειται φυσικά για ένα από τα πιο έντονα επεισόδια της πρώτης εποχής αυτού του φανταστικού κόσμου, μία ιστορία αγώνα, δισταγμού, έρωτα, προδοσίας και μιας τελικής καταστροφής που αποτέλεσε το μεγαλύτερο θρίαμβο των δυνάμεων του κακού. Μία ιστορία που - όπως και όλες οι άλλες του μεγάλου συγγραφέα - έχει μέσα της πολλά διδάγματα για την ανθρώπινη αντοχή αλλά σε αυτήν την περίπτωση έχει ένα ακόμα το οποίο είναι πως όταν το κακό κυριαρχ��ί είναι ανοησία να σκέφτεσαι ότι μπορείς να κρυφτείς σε μία γωνία περιμένοντας ότι θα σε αφήσει ήσυχο. Αυτό το βιβλίο περιέχει ολόκληρη την ιστορία της πτώσης της Gondolin όπως γράφτηκε σε διαφορετικές εκδοχές της μαζί με πολλές πληροφορίες για την εξέλιξη της δημιουργίας της και σημειώσεις του συγγραφέα. Πράγματα πολύτιμα για τους φανατικούς που ενδιαφέρονται πάντα για λεπτομέρειες γύρω από το έργο του J.R.R. Tolkien, οπότε αυτοί υποχρεωτικά πρέπει να το διαβάσουν.
Profile Image for Parmida R. A. .
98 reviews80 followers
September 20, 2021
A tragic tale of the fall of beauty and blessing...

“For the heart that is pitiless counteth, not the power that pity hath, of which stern anger may be forged and a lightning kindled before which mountains fall.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin

“Balrogs. Now, these were demons with whips of flame and claws of steel by whom he tormented those of the Noldoli who durst withstand him in anything –and the Eldar have called them Malkarauki. But the rede that Meglin gave to Melko was that not all the host of the Orcs nor the Balrogs in their fierceness might by assault or siege hope ever to overthrow the walls and gates of Gondolin even if they availed to win unto the plain without.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin

The Fall of Gondolin will be the last book published in the Tolkien canon. Christopher, son of JRR and the devoted custodian of his legacy, is finished. “I must now say that, in my 94th year, The Fall of Gondolin is indubitably the last,” he writes in the book’s preface.

“Glory dwelt in that city of Gondolin of the Seven Names, and its ruin was the most dread of all the sacks of cities upon the face of Earth.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin

Yet Gondolin was also where the story of Middle-earth began. In 1916, JRR Tolkien was an emaciated young soldier on sick leave, having recently survived the Battle of the Somme. “I first began,” he later told Christopher, “to write the History of the Gnomes [a type of elf] in army huts, crowded, filled with the noise of gramophones.”

“it is not for thy valor only that I send thee, but to bring into the world a hope beyond thy sight, and a light that shall pierce the darkness.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin

I will miss this book in the future (and perhaps forget the names and details), so it is very possible I read it again :)
Profile Image for Catherine⁷.
345 reviews704 followers
January 7, 2021
This is beautifully written and is great for the die-hard Tolkien fans. Similar to the Silmarillion, however, it’s not something I would recommend to a mass amount of people. It’s definitely something to just appreciate in the grand scheme of Middle-Earth with the prose it is illustrated by.
Profile Image for Timothy Boyd.
6,646 reviews35 followers
September 10, 2019
While this does have the actual story of the "Fall of Gondolin", both the original and the rewritten versions, the book is really more a history of how Tolkien evolved the story through the years into it's final form. Like the Beren and Lúthien book this is probably more of interest to a Tolkien for the history and evolution of the writings. The story is a interesting one in the history of the Tolkien world. Recommended
Profile Image for Giannis.
122 reviews27 followers
January 24, 2021
Το τελευταίο "ράψιμο" σημειώσεων από τον Κρίστοφερ Τόλκιν. Μία ιστορία που πρέπει να διαβάσουν οι φίλοι της Άρντα - αποκλειστικά και μόνο, αυτοί!
Profile Image for Trish.
2,014 reviews3,433 followers
August 25, 2019
This is, according to his own statement in the foreword, Christopher Tolkien‘s last book. JRR‘s son is 94 years old and thus has also already given up his seat on the board of the Tolkien Estate. Which means that an era comes to an end with this book. And I couldn‘t imagine a more appropriate form for it.

The titular city of Gondolin was built (and hidden) during the First Age by the wayward elves, the ones shunning the rest of their kind and the gods that made them. JRR penned 6 different versions of this story.
Morgoth, THE evil (yes, worse than Sauron), needs to destroy Gondolin for his ultimate victory, but - as mentioned before - the city is very well hidden. He therefore tortures Húrin for ages, sets him free, and then has him followed to at least get a good idea of the location. Naturally, as the title suggests, he is successful in the end and then we get a delicious battle. The elves fight valiantly but I have to be honest: I didn‘t want to see more of the meticulous-looking uber creatures who give us humans the impression that they are bored during almost any fight. Thus, I very much enjoyed Morgoth throwing everything at them, including a host of balrogs, and crushing them eventually.

I’ve read all the companion books about Middle-Earth by now and must say that, thankfully, the form of this book was different form the form of Beren and Lúthien. The texts of the different versions of this story that were penned by JRR Tolkien himself come first with none or only few comments. Only then do we get Christopher Tolkien’s contribution to the evolution of Middle-Earth’s history as well as a form of discussion about the sad ending to the last version of the fall of Gondolin (when Tuor walks through the last of Gondolin‘s gates).
This form suites my needs as a reader much more than the other and I was able to enjoy the flow of the story much more.

Yes, there are a lot of names here, as in the previous books. But many of them are very well known by now, simply because we‘ve seen or heard of them before. This is simply a more fleshed-out version.

Once again, as with the other two books Christopher Tolkien published, Alan Lee contributed gorgeous illustrations throughout the book, and gave them a very special feel, that little extra that made them even better.

I think I liked this most of the three books though it still isn‘t as good as the main three JRRT works, naturally (these are only fragments after all).

However, the most remarkable thing these books emphasize is the vast knowledge JRR had of his own world as well as the conversations he had with his son in which they discussed this universe. Neither Tolkien has left any corner of this world unexplored or unimagined. It is rich, richer, richest. We are talking about an almost unbelievable realism and scope.

Saying goodbye to the Tolkiens‘ legacy is hard. I don‘t think there will be anyone like JRR, no matter what the blurps of some recent fantasy books are trying to make you believe. Add to that the utterly beautiful language that shines through even in the shortest and earliest of versions and you know why I‘m a fangirl (though I do admit that at first I was cynical and thought the son merely wanted to further cash in on his father‘s work). This is mastery.
Profile Image for Knjigoholičarka.
153 reviews8 followers
March 20, 2021
Knjiga "The Fall of Gondolin" nije samo priča o padu Gondolina, već i priča o priči o padu Gondolina. Naime, u ovom izdanju nalaze se četiri verzije narečene priče:
1. The Original Tale,
2. The Story Told in the "Sketch of the Mythology",
3. The Story Told in the "Quenta Noldorinwa" i
4. The Last Version,
pri čemu su verzije 2 i 3 poprilično kompresovane, verzija 1 je, da se tako izrazim, kompletna verzija koja priča ceo događaj s akcentom na Tuorov boravak u Gondolinu i vrlo detaljan opis bitke za grad, a verzija 4 sadrži samo elaborirano putovanje Tuora i pobratima mu Voronwea u Gondolin, sa čak i (na momente) pomalo zabavnom dinamikom između njih dvojice.

Sve četiri varijante priče propraćene su komentarima i analizom Kristofera Tolkina o njihovim međusobnim razlikama, epilozima, o tome kako su i kada nastajale, u kom kontekstu u odnosu na tempo izdavanja "Silmariliona" i "Gospodara", što može da bude zanimljivo svakome koga interesuje istorijat nastanka Tolkinovog opusa. Dodatna trešnjica na šlagu na torti - ilustracije u boji Alana Leeja. :D

Budući da nisam htela ništa da guglam o knjizi, već sam je impulsivno zgrabila čim sam je ugledala na polici knjižare, moram da priznam da sam bila pomalo neprijatno iznenađena činjenicom da ću morati istu priču da čitam u 4 varijante, ali šta sad, go with the flow, a na kraju sam uz malo napora od sve 4 priče iskonstruisala u svojoj glavi jednu veliku megapriču o padu Gondolina i džandrljivim Balrozima koji bičuju jadne male Vilenjake.

Elem, neko će postaviti (sasvim logično) pitanje - zašto od ove 4 priče nije sklopljena jedna, definitivna verzija, i puštena u štampu kao standalone roman? Pa, Kristofer Tolkin ne prekraja posthumno dela svog oca da bi ih bolje prodao, nego vodi računa o njegovom nasleđu pružajući nam originalne verzije, usput se trudeći da nam približi njegov svet tako što će ga pojašnjenjima povezati sa ostalim delima. Smatram da su ta ljubav i poštovanje zaista vredni divljenja.

I za kraj: ja nisam neki hardcore Tolkinov fan i moram da priznam da mi njegov stil nikada nije bio prijemčiv (ume baš da me smori čovek), ali "Pad Gondolina" je jedna sjajna, spektakularna, tragična priča koju vredi pročitati, ako ne sa svim istorijatom nastanka njenih verzija, a ono makar klot čisto da saznate ��ta se tu zbilo i ko je koliko Balrog(ov)a umlatio.

Profile Image for Silvana.
1,169 reviews1,140 followers
August 17, 2019
Tuor's story is one of the great epics from the First Age and I thoroughly enjoyed reading more versions of it aside from ones I read from The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales.

Lots of great and memorable details from the battle itself, including acts of heroism, and treachery, plus even cowardice. Yep, as my buddy Kathrine said, we find more behavioral spectrum of the elves compared to the familiar Third Age. We guess that after all those wars, curse, and kinslaying all that were left were just the tired, world weary ones (plus the isolated Thranduil).

Anyway, back to Tuor, I enjoyed immensely the description of his journey to Gondolin, his fascination and longing for the sea (see, I can definitely relate to that) and his encounter with Ulmo. Now, I tend to dislike stories with heavy involvement of gods (since it took away some agencies of the lesser beings) but this tale is not too annoying and I was even intrigued with Ulmo's motive as he was the only Valar who did not shun the Elves despite the curse and all.

I am afraid this might be the last Tolkien book I ever read but it has been a really great journey during the last 16 years. Namárië!
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,746 reviews589 followers
September 8, 2018
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:


Glorfindel vs the Balrog

Ulmo and Tuor
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