Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Fall of Númenor: and Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth

Rate this book
J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings on the Second Age of Middle-earth, collected for the first time in one volume.

J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a ‘dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told’. And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices, including the forging of the Rings of Power, the building of the Barad-dûr and the rise of Sauron.

It was not until Christopher Tolkien published The Silmarillion after his father’s death that a fuller story could be told. Although much of the book’s content concerned the First Age of Middle-earth, there were at its close two key works that revealed the tumultuous events concerning the rise and fall of the island of Númenor. Raised out of the Great Sea and gifted to the Men of Middle-earth as a reward for aiding the angelic Valar and the Elves in the defeat and capture of the Dark Lord Morgoth, the kingdom became a seat of influence and wealth; but as the Númenóreans’ power increased, the seed of their downfall would inevitably be sown, culminating in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

Even greater insight into the Second Age would be revealed in subsequent publications, first in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, then expanded upon in Christopher Tolkien’s magisterial twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth, in which he presented and discussed a wealth of further tales written by his father, many in draft form.

Now, adhering to the timeline of ‘The Tale of Years’ in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, editor Brian Sibley has assembled into one comprehensive volume a new chronicle of the Second Age of Middle-earth, told substantially in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien from the various published texts, with new pencil illustrations by the doyen of Tolkien art, Alan Lee.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published November 10, 2022

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

J.R.R. Tolkien

516 books69k 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.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,220 (48%)
4 stars
959 (38%)
3 stars
275 (10%)
2 stars
40 (1%)
1 star
13 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 329 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
February 15, 2023
The Fall of Númenor is an absolute delight to read. It’s a history of an entire age of middle-earth put into a narrative that helps capture just how detailed Tolkien’s world is.

It focuses on the collapse of Númenor, the actions of Sauron and the forming of The Last Alliance. It establishes a strong image of what Númenor was and how significant its fall was.

The Fall of Númenor has been compiled from several of Tolkien’s other works. There are bits from The Silmarillion and there are bits from Unfinished Tales. There are also snippets of conversation lifted from The Lord of the Rings that describe Númenor. And it all comes together really well to capture a culture and a people that are of vital importance in the history of middle-earth.

Be warned though, there’s no new content here. There’s no new information or no new stories that are told. Instead, we have a timeline of events detailing the second age in all its tragic and eventful glory. It’s been put into order and crafted to capture the events that led up to Tolkien’s most famous novels. And it is a very good volume, one I'm proud to have on my shelf. But if you are looking for new content, you will be disappointed.

I'm really impressed with the layout of this book too. Indeed, the new artwork (Allan Lee never disappoints) and the quality of the editing are both very high. I enjoyed this book immensely, though I do think this one for the most dire hard Tolkien fans and collectors.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for emma june.
124 reviews17 followers
January 11, 2023
(10/11/22) Though this book has no new content, it’s wonderful to finally have a collection that puts the bulk of writing on the Second Age in one place.

The Fall of Númenor contains writing previously found in snatches in The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, The Nature of Middle-earth, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and multiple volumes of The History of Middle-earth. Thus, before today, if you wanted to read about the Second Age, you had to do your best Gandalf-in-Minas-Tirith impression and look like a crazy scholar surrounded by mountains and mountains of papers.

This book tells the story of the Second Age from beginning to end, with a focus on the events of Númenor (which makes sense; the most complete narratives of the second age are Aldarion and Erendis, found in Unfinished Tales, and Akallabêth, found in The Silmarillion) and puts everything into chronological order in the way recounted in the Tale of Years in the appendices of LOTR. Sibley also uses drafts of unfinished writings to fill out events, most notably in the (notoriously contradictory) stories of Celeborn and Galadriel, of which there are multiple versions. It features Celebrimbor and the forging of the rings of power, the establishment of Gondor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and the coming of the Third Age.

Discussion of the stories by Sibley, and how he chose to arrange them is also featured so it is obvious where things have been altered or arranged to be more cohesive. It is not unlike Unfinished Tales in presentation of the text itself, although the book as a whole is laid out in a way more reminiscent of the chronological semi-interconnected structure of The Silmarillion.

Illustrations by Alan Lee are also always welcome. It’s a beautiful book, and as someone who has always been especially drawn to the Second Age it’s one I’m thrilled to have on my shelf.
Profile Image for Kat.
239 reviews308 followers
Want to read
December 27, 2022
I'm a simple creature: a new Tolkien book comes out and I must add it to my cart
Profile Image for Henk.
875 reviews
January 9, 2023
An erudite and clear work on the Second Age of Middle Earth, drawing multiple resources together. One wishes Amazon executives had read this before making their series

It was a warm bath to return to Middle Earth. I general I don’t like the Second Age as much as the other periods Tolkien crafted in his work, but the editing of Brian Sibley makes this an accessible and engaging work, chronologically following the events of the Second Age.
Interesting how the fall of Numenor is derived by Tolkien from a recurring dream of a flood. Also telling how the difference between men and elves is captured by a Numenorean king asking how the timber of a tree he got is, with the elves responding they don’t know since they just enjoy its beauty.

Recommended for Tolkien fans, even if there is no real new material contained in the book.
Profile Image for James Trevino.
68 reviews35.8k followers
March 9, 2023
This book might not bring a lot of new information to the table, but the chronological presentation of the events of the Second Age of Middle-earth, which makes it resemble The Silmarillion rather than Beren and Luthien for example, is priceless. I loooooooved it! If you love Tolkien this is a must.
Profile Image for Nikola Pavlovic.
284 reviews42 followers
May 15, 2023
Za sve one koji su neumorno citali Tolkina ovde zaista nema nicega novog, ali neopisivo je dobro sto se Brajan Sibli potrudio da nam sastavi ovu prelepu knjigu! Sve ono sto je veliki Kristofer Tolkin razvejao u mnostvu izdanja a vezano je za Drugo Doba Srednje Zemlje sada je na jednom mestu. Ovom knjigom Tolkinov opus je konacno zaokruzen na nacin da se hronoloski moze citati i da ljudi vise ne treba da budu uplaseni cinjenicom da su ranije morali da informacije o Drugom Dobu crpe iz najmaje cetiri osnovna izvora (Silmarilion, Gospodar Prstenova i Nezavrsene Price, Priroda Srednje Zemlje), ne racunajuci Istoriju Srednje Zemlje.
Profile Image for exploraDora.
553 reviews271 followers
January 5, 2023
So this wasn't what I expected at all, namely a coherent story about the fall of Numenor. It was an abundance of information/facts about Numenor, gathered from all of Tolkien's writings as well as writings from his son, Christopher.

Very informative, so much that it often felt like a history lesson rather than fantasy fiction.
Profile Image for Ivo Stoyanov.
226 reviews
April 21, 2023
За падението на Нуменор всички чели Толкин знаем достатъчно, книгата е дава допълнителни и почти пълни бележки и записки на автора на Нуменорските крале .
Мога само да съжалявам, че Толкин не е завършил всичко което е бил нахвърлил като идеи и бележки, за световете които е създал .
Profile Image for Inkspill.
412 reviews40 followers
February 26, 2023
J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings on the Second Age of Middle-earth, collected for the first time in one volume.

Summarises the content.

The stories, notes and analysis are organised in chronological order, starting from c, 40 to 3441, the last chapter is about Sauron being overthrown and the downfall of the city Númenor and its people.

For most part I was trying to keep up with the narrative, there were a lot of characters, settings and events that I’m still getting familiar with.

And throughout, I had to continually go outside the text so I wouldn’t be completely lost.

I can see this being a fascinating read down the line but for a first read I didn’t enjoy it as much as Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth .

Having said this, I could see myself reading this again in the future because its content bridges the stories between Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.

So, for now 2 stars with a strong possibility this will be higher next time.
Profile Image for Murat Dural.
Author 14 books566 followers
July 31, 2023
Beni alıp layığınca Orta Dünya'ya, merak ettiğim birinci ve ikinci çağa götüren, Numenor'u, başlangıç ve bitişini anlatan güzel bir kitap oldu. Açıkcası duruluğunu, merak ettiğim konulardaki nokta vuruş bilgi aktarımlarını çok sevdim.
Profile Image for Anders Winther.
79 reviews
November 11, 2022
The best single volume since The Children of Hurin. Showing a detailed and complete narrative of the second age with minimal interruption.
Profile Image for English .
736 reviews
December 21, 2022
This is obviously wrong. There is no warrior Galadriel, there's no Southlands plot..... and Halbrand isn't mentioned anywhere! Nothing about Númenorian racism against Elven migrants...

I joke!

This beautiful collection of Second Age materials doesn't have any relationship to a certain Amazon series- because Rings of Power has nothing to do with Tolkien. Sorry fans (not really). The Fall of Númenor does a wonderful job of not just covering the major events of the 2nd Age, but the themes and intent of the author. Brian Sibley has used material from J.R.R Tolkien's letters to establish exactly what he thought of certain events and characters, and the result is revealing.

Whilst Amazon showrunners brag about making Sauron into a more "complex" character it turns out the man himself did it first, and their boasting was premature. See, Tolkien himself suggested that like some human tyrants, Sauron's relapse into evil was caused by his desire for control (not Mary Sue GuyLadriel, his fellow genocidal maniac dumping him).

Take this quote:
“Sauron never reached this stage of nihilistic madness. He did not object to the existence of the world, as long as he could do what he liked with it. He still had relics of the positive purposes that descended from the good of the nature in which he began, that he loved order and coordination….
But like all minds of his cast, Sauron’s love or mere understanding of other intelligences was correspondingly weaker… his plans became the sole object of his will, and an end, the End in itself”

Doesn’t’ that sound like “the end justifies the means” philosophy? This is represented in the Rings of Power series witht the repeatedly restated “touch the darkness to find the light” line? Almost as if the philosophy of the series is antithetical to Tolkien’s own beliefs

Anyway, moving on from that, this volume also shows how important monotheism was to Numenorian culture. I’ve often said the Akallabêth was the most explicitly religious part of Tolkien’s legendarium, and this vindicates me. The Númenorians worshipped Eru Illuvatar, the One God, upon the highest mountain, until Sauron sought to become “a god to men”. Tolkien even referred to what Sauron did in Númenor as instituting form of Satan worship and to Elendil in letter 131 as a “Noachian” figure. Which means akin to the Biblical Noah.

It is, to my mind, wholly unforgivable to ignore or erase this aspect of Númenorian culture. Rings of Power, though, does this. There is no reference whatsoever the worship of Illuvatar in the series in 3 episodes set in Númenor.
Instead, they seem to just practice a vague polytheism. A concept which according to Tolkien would have been “an abomination” to them.

The Faithful are good not because they endured, clung to their faith in God, and sought to honour his ways by shunning insatiable lust for immortality which led their countymen into unspeakable acts of depravity and hubris. Instead, they are Faithful because they “liked Elves” and do what GuyLadriel tells them. Thus, replacing Tolkien’s grand and in many ways Biblical epic of the Fall of an Atlantis like kingdom with a shallow and meaningless tale about obeying a narcissist because she’s female.

This book makes a beautiful gift- I mean it literally, its illustrated. Mr Sibley collaborated with Alan Lee, who has provided many of the recent editions of Tolkien’s work with gorgeous, coloured illustrations and lovely black and white sketches on the chapter headings. If you want anyone to know the true story of the Second Age, and a lovely edition to your Tolkien collection, go and buy this book. I will be when I get my Book Voucher for Christmas. Until then, I had to with the audio version narrated by the editor. Who has a lovely reading voice.
Profile Image for book_withquotes.
1,180 reviews91 followers
February 24, 2023

The Second Age of Middle-earth was, in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, “a gloomy period, and not very much of its history is (or needs to be) revealed.” Yet for many years, readers had to make do with the tantalizing hints of it provided in The Lord of the Rings and its appendices, such as the creation of the Rings of Power, the construction of the Barad-dûr, and Sauron’s ascent. But beware—there isn’t any brand-new material here. No fresh facts nor new tales are presented. The second era is instead depicted in a sequence of events in all its sad and exciting splendor. It has been organized and created to reflect the circumstances that led to Tolkien’s most well-known works.

A more comprehensive account couldn’t be conveyed until Christopher Tolkien’s The Silmarillion was released after his father’s passing. Although most of the book’s material was focused on the First Age of Middle-earth, its conclusion featured two important works that described the turbulent events surrounding the island of Nmenor’s emergence and collapse. The kingdom was created out of the Great Sea and given to the Men of Middle-earth as compensation for assisting the ethereal Valar and the elves in capturing and defeating the Dark Lord Morgoth. Yet when the Nmenóreans’ power grew, the Last Alliance of Elves and Man would ultimately become the catalyst for their destruction.

In later works, first in Unfinished Tales of Nmenor and Middle-earth, and then expanded upon in Christopher Tolkien’s monumental twelve-volume The History of Middle-earth, the Second Age would be further illuminated. In this work, Christopher Tolkien presented and discussed a wealth of additional tales written by his father, many of which were in draught form. It also explained how Sibley opted to arrange the stories, making it clear where things have been changed or put in a different order to make them more coherent. The way the content is presented is similar to Unfinished Tales, but the way the book is organized as a whole is more akin to The Silmarillion’s chronological semi-interconnected structure. Mr. Sibley worked with Alan Lee, who contributed magnificent color graphics and wonderful black-and-white sketches for the chapter headers of several recent editions of Tolkien’s works. For both beginning readers and those who may be familiar with the stories, this is a lovely book that is well worth reading.
Profile Image for Alex O'Connor.
Author 1 book65 followers
March 26, 2023
Wonderful to be back in Middle Earth - the Second Age always fascinated me, so I am thankful for this collection that brings all of the disperate tales together. Tolkien's take on Atlantis, and the gradual second fall of man made for engrossing reading. Loved it.
Profile Image for Kim.
740 reviews36 followers
December 3, 2022
While not a new book in the traditional sense, The Fall of Númenor has the singular distinction of bringing all of Tolkien's writings about the Second Age into a single volume. The Tale of Aldarion and Erendis? It's here. The many and varied versions of Celeborn and Galadriel? Present! The tale of Númenor itself? Got it! It's all here, thereby relieving readers from having to reference multiple volumes! And to make things even easier, everything has been organized in chronological order!

Also included are several plates of absolutely exquisite artwork! The cover alone is outstanding - not to mention I love seeing Sauron standing in the bottom right corner, staring at the wave coming toward him and very likely thinking, "I... may have miscalculated how pissed Eru might be about all of this. Whoops, my bad."

So glad I requested this from my library, and I may end up purchasing a copy of my own at some point to have as part of my own Tolkien collection.
Profile Image for C. J.  Daley.
Author 1 book38 followers
November 25, 2022
I believe this is the first book released in the same style as the Christopher Tolkien ones. If not, let me know, and I will surely buy it.

I have yet to get to read this beauty, just wanted to highlight a new release, as new Tolkien is always a great time. This one has a beautiful wrapped artwork for the dust jacket, a ribbon bookmark, beautiful interior artwork as well as some nice smaller chapter headers and footers. It has a great quality naked hardcover wrap, but this one is without art. Either way, a fantastic edition for a Tolkien collector.

One thing I’d love to highlight is how perfectly this matches the depiction shown in The Rings of Power show…I mean spot on. Obviously it comes from the text itself anyway, but when so much else gets changed…it was just cool.
Profile Image for E.F. Buckles.
Author 1 book21 followers
September 29, 2023
This was quite a tome, as one naturally expects from Tolkien, but it was an enjoyable one! I really loved learning more about Numenor in detail. While I'm sad that this is the first posthumously published Tolkien book that wasn't able to be put together by Christopher Tolkien, I felt that Brian Sibley did an excellent job and handled the task with utmost love and respect for the world of Middle Earth and its author.

One of my favorite things about this book was learning about the flora and fauna of Numenor. The fact that Tolkien thought about it down to that much detail was... well... very typical of him XD but astounding nonetheless. I loved the idea that the Numenorians in the good days had such a connection with nature that some animals would come into their homes. And the dancing bears! Bears that just go out and dance for the joy of it! That felt almost Narnian to the point I was surprised to find it in Middle Earth, but it was a fun concept.

The excerpts of stories that Tolkien took the time to (partially) expand were interesting, too. I really wish he would have finished fully writing the story about Aldarion and his wife and daughter. While it seemed it was ultimately tragic, it was nice to get a closer look at the daily lives of the Numenorians through that story.

It was also fascinating to learn that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis challenged each other to write scifi, and Lewis wrote his scifi trilogy about space travel, but Tolkien's attempt to write time travel failed and then ultimately morphed into the story of Numenor. I really enjoyed the excerpt from the Numenorian part of the attempted time travel novel. It made me wish that, (while I understand why it didn't work out as time travel), that he had been able to novelize the story of Numenor.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read for this Tolkien fan. I'll add as a final note that I definitely recommend getting the physical copy of this book because of course the artwork of Alan Lee throughout adds so much to the reading experience!
Profile Image for Petra Valković.
Author 3 books34 followers
December 6, 2022
Although I read the LOTR apendices, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales which all in some parts describe the history of Numenor, there are other sources and things I didn't know of. This book brings them all together in one epic yet tragic story of the downfall of the greatest human realm and its people. They were Tolkien's version of Atlantian myth, and island whick sank into deep sea with all of its treasures and inhabitants, save the ones who were called the Faithfull and did not break the Ban of the Valar. Those who drowned were corrupted by the greed and yearning for immortal life which they thought was denied to them. They broke the Ban and attacked those who granted them gifts beyond any measure of Men. Their punishment brought the shaping of a new world and forever divided the Land of the Valar and Middle-Earth.
This compendium of Tolkien's writings, a combination of history and stories is, for me at least, a great way to introduce readers to the Second and even some bits of the Third Age which all preceeded the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, especially the rise of Sauron.
I must mention the story of Aldarion, the King's unwilling heir and Erendis, his wife. Their individual nature and circumstances that led them from great love to estrangement is so human and relatable that I honestly couldn't discern which one was more right. After some thought I concluded they were both right in their own way which makes their falling apart all the more tragic.
The Fall of Numenor goes hand in hand in quality with The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin which are my favourite Tolkien stories extended into books of their own.
Huge recommendations for all Tolkien fans and those who are new in the world od Arda. 🙂
Profile Image for Maxwell Thomas.
100 reviews8 followers
November 29, 2022
The Fall of Númenor: and Other Tales from the Second Age of Middle-earth collects the stories of the Second Age into one, complete volume for the first time. The Fall of Númenor will not present new stories to the avid reader of Tolkien, however it will take those stories that we know and arrange them in chronological order adhering to "The Tale of Years."

Readers of Tolkien who are venturing beyond The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will find this to be a great volume to immerse themselves in Middle-earth once more. This book isn't meant to supplant the stories included in other books, like the "Akallabêth" in The Silmarillion, as their renditions in The Fall of Númenor may be noticeably different because of the ordering of the volume, following a chronological history of the island kingdom of Númenor.

Beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee and with matching format to the latest editions of various, illustrated volumes of Tolkien's works, this is a beautiful book and well worth the read for new readers, and those who may be familiar with the stories.

(Note: Stories and tales of the Second Age could previously be found The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, The Nature of Middle-earth, and in The Histories of Middle-earth, making this a worthy addition to Tolkien's catalog and collector's shelves.)
Profile Image for Erick Carvalho.
41 reviews8 followers
December 30, 2022
A Queda de Númenor é uma obra fantástica, sobretudo pelo mérito de Brian Sibley que compilou vários textos conhecidos de outras obras em uma narrativa linear e comparativa dinâmica e coerente sobre os eventos da segunda era que foram aos poucos pavimentado o caminho para a ruína númenoreana.

É importante ressaltar que não é um livro para iniciantes na obra do Professor Tolkien e por essa razão Pode parecer muito confuso para quem não está familiarizado com o Akallabêth e a narrativa presente no Silmarillion, nos Contos Inacabados e mesmo com o Senhor dos Anéis.

Dito isso, é um livro de aprofundamento muito bom que nos retoma em perspetiva linear acontecimentos diversos e dão fôlego ao tema de Númenor que está em voga por conta da série Anéis de Poder.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
Author 7 books10 followers
February 18, 2023
Have I read all of this material before in the various sources in which it was previously published in bits and pieces over the years?

Of course!

Was I thrilled to read all of this material again in a single volume?

Profile Image for Lynn.
1,399 reviews11 followers
January 27, 2023
The Fall of Numenor includes many writings by J.R.R. Tolkien, regarding the rise and fall of Numenor without adding suppositions or theories and lists them in chronological order. These writings have come from a variety of sources and are cataloged in a way that reads like an historical text. Dates are included making a timeline of Middle-earth history based on Numenor's many rulers. The book ends where The Lord of the Rings begins. The read is enjoyable, but requires thought and contemplation as connections between events are revealed.

The book itself is of high quality with heavy duty paper used to create pages and an attached red ribbon as a bookmark. Print is in black and blue with black speech in red. Also the end papers feature a map of Middle-earth and a dramatic picture showing the fall of Numenor. In addition, several beautiful, full-color bookplates of Alan Lee's work are included throughout the book to supplement the text. Overall, The Fall of Numenor is an entertaining work chronicling an important event in the history of Middle-earth.
Profile Image for Connor Curtis.
67 reviews1 follower
February 5, 2023
I really enjoyed this book! J Tolkien flushed out the story a ton in the appendix and in letters and other places and this book just compiled all the original works in a mostly chronological order. I loved how broad and vast the numenorian empire was but also key characters would have their stories explained. Really interesting to see Sauron’s influence grow and corrupt the numenorians. Gave a lot of the background for the actual lord of the rings story and had awesome artwork. I personally enjoyed reading it after seeing the rings of power show but I know people will disagree with that take. Overall a great time!
Profile Image for Juliana Mota.
14 reviews
April 19, 2023
The value of the History of Middle Earth is not just in the content it offers, but the historiographical approach to that content: Christopher Tolkien makes it very clear what comes from when and comes from where, what changes, what remains. It's a work that puts the conflicts, contradictions, changes and developments in evidence.

This work is the opposite. Not only it doesn't seem to care for the different context between the parts it incorporates, it also does not wish for the reader to care, either. I mentioned things are badly sourced, but it's also relevant to mention that the author takes bits and pieces from contradictory versions and stitches them together, with no warning to the reader. So that, for example, you have a Míriel who was in love with Pharazôn, but who was also unwillingly married, and whose throne was usurped by him. This could be a very interesting fan approach to the story; it irks me that it is not presented as that. In fact, this book is presented as a compendium of everything ever written about Númenor - but that is simply not true.

What it actually does is try to create a coherent narrative of Númenor from its creation to its destruction. That's a goal I can respect in theory, but it is, essentially, a fan work. It might be worthwhile for some, but it definitely isn't for me. I don't like the premise and I hate the execution (and I'm beyond disappointed, because I would have loved to have an actually useful compendium of Númenor information).

There are other problems, as, for example, blatantly incorrect quotes, such as the one on page 114. In "The Fall of Númenor", it reads:

"Of the life-span granted the Númenóreans, Erendis had once said that women 'became a kind of Imitation Elves (...)"

But the original text in "The Nature of Middle Earth" reads:

"As Erendis said later, [the Númenóreans] became a kind of imitation Elves (...)"

So not only the Fall of Númenor turns indirect speech attributed to Erendis into direct speech, it changes the very subject of the sentence (besides the incomprehensible capitalization of the adjective). This is one instance - the one that caught my attention the most; there are others, as well as a number of typos.

Not to be a complete downer, the illustrations of Alan Lee are gorgeous and particularly inspired. His art has a poetical quality that suits the theme brilliantly, and his depiction of some of the characters are particularly inspired. The profile of Tar-Ancalimë on page 118, for example, is particularly inspired, with fashion details that depart a little from the common sense and add new flavor to an otherwise familiar aesthetic landscape. His full-page, full-color illustrations are captivating; one can spend a long time looking at them. In my opinion, they're the true star of this edition.
Profile Image for Kimmy.
195 reviews2 followers
January 21, 2023
Since watching The Rings of Power, I have been eager to read more about the Second Age. I read the Silmarillion, which was fun but didn't really give me as much detail on this time period as I wanted. This book here was exactly what I was looking for.

This book is a compilation of Tolkien texts about Numenor and the time of the Second Age. It begins with a lot of facts about the island of Numenor, histories of its kings, and a few narratives of various important Numenorians. The biggest chunk of the book is a chronological order of events about Sauron during this time and how he brought about the sinking of Numenor followed by the beginning of the Third Age.

I really enjoyed this because it was everything I wanted to read about this era all bound together in one handy text and didn't take tons of detours into unrelated stories, as I found the Silmarillion kind of did. I liked that sections were broken down by year with a description of what was happening so it was easy to keep up and follow the timeline of events. It really was a handy and interesting read about The Second Age as a whole, and is definitely the text I'd recommend to people looking to know more about the events of this time period.

Also, the physical copy of this book is so pretty. It's very good quality (and it has that fancy new book smell!!) and I'd also just recommend it as a beautiful addition to any book collector's library.
Profile Image for Mary Ozbolt .
296 reviews12 followers
July 21, 2023
This book cohesively closed the gap between the second and third age of Middle Earth and was a great way to piece together the lineage of Numenor with Aragorn’s heritage. By having all of these pieces and parts from letters and other writings that have shown up in the Silmarillion and other collections organized chronologically, it’s so much easier to make sense of the history surrounding Gondor, the undying lands in the west, who Sauron was when he had a real body and could blend in with men and elves, and so many other incredible stories. I love reading Tolkien’s “historical” writing, as they’re done in the tradition of mythology and classic Anglo-Saxon translations. I also had no idea that he was pulling from Atlantean lore until I read this, and I find it so sad that he wasn’t able to finish creating the world he had mapped out in his head. Great writers like Tolkien need longer lives than they’ve been allotted, and I feel that he might have had similar thoughts about death as the Numenoreans did, but maybe not to the extreme that drove them to destruction. So so good.
Profile Image for Al.
1,473 reviews43 followers
January 10, 2023
Editor Brian Sibley has done a masterful job in presenting a chronological story of the rise and fall of the island of Numenor, a major part of the Second Age of Middle-Earth. He has accomplished this by pulling together and organizing fragmentary material from various sources--Tolkien's own writings, of course, but also explanatory and imaginative material from other authors, including notably Christopher Tolkien, who devoted most of his life to curating, editing and augmenting his father's work. The result reads like a story, even in some places as Tolkien himself might have written it. As such, it's fascinating and very helpful in understanding what might have been the tale of the Second Age, and it serves as a great prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Speaking for myself, I couldn't get through the Silmarillion and other non-linear Tolkien material, and certainly couldn't piece them all together to make a story out of it. Hats off to Sibley for having done this here. My only quibble, a minor one perhaps, is that I have the feeling he has intentionally obfuscated what parts of the book are Tolkien's own work, and what are the work of other authors. But never mind; even if some of the story is not Tolkien's, it's fun to see the Second Age laid out in an organized way.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 329 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.