The final work of Tolkien's Middle-earth fiction, completing Christopher Tolkien's life-long achievement as the editor and curator of his father's manuscripts and the "Great Tales" trilogy that includes Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin.
In detailing this vital—and indeed tragic—tale of Middle-earth lore, The Fall of Gondolin provides everything Tolkien’s readers expect. Given his ability to create unforgettable characters like Tuor and classical good-versus-evil myths, it’s no surprise these stories remain so massively popular ... Middle-earth stands as the most immersive and detailed fictional realm of our own age because of the different languages Tolkien—master philologist that he was—invented to describe it. Spending time in Middle-earth provides an opportunity to revel in his etymological derring-do. Characters and places go by different names depending on who’s talking, and that adds a welcome dosage of realism to the fantasy. There exists an intense sense of linguistic immersion that I’ve not found in much other literature ... The Fall of Gondolin demonstrates yet again that Middle-earth boasts its own rich cosmology and history.
Never did J.R.R. Tolkien more energetically celebrate his 'high-elven' culture. Never did he write a more sustained account of battle. With dragons and fiery balrogs galore, the attack on Gondolin makes Peter Jackson’s souped-up cinema battles look like tabletop games. Forged in the heat of youth, the tale lacks the depth and granular detail of the maturer Tolkien. The prose is clear but archaic, unleavened by the hobbit voices of later works. But Tuor, the lone mortal man in this elf-centred epic, anticipates Bilbo and Frodo—a reluctant hero unexpectedly burdened with a weighty and perilous mission ... With language honed by long years and an immeasurably enriched vision, he never bettered the rising of the sea-god Ulmo in a storm as told in the 1951 version published here. It is a tantalising testament to what might have been.
In the style of Beren and Lúthien, the previous 'Great Tale' published as a standalone book in 2017, this edition of Gondolin is an essential historical reference for Tolkien devotees ... the importance of Tuor, and particularly of his son Eärendel (or Eärendil), cannot be overstated ... For enthusiasts, these glimpses into the burgeoning interconnectedness of Tolkien’s fiction are fascinating ... This supposition of a pre-existing understanding of Tolkien scholarship serves as The Fall of Gondolin’s primary weakness when viewed as a self-contained read, but the inscrutability is also something of a strength. Patient and dedicated readers will find among the references to other books and their many footnotes and appendices a poignant sense of completion and finality to the life’s pursuit of a father and son. Deep delvers of Middle-earth lore will be rewarded with a thorough understanding of one of modern fantasy’s seminal works.