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)