Review: The Fall of Gondolin, JRR Tolkien

Rating: 5 out of 5

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anything that I liked a work by JRR Tolkien, and yet I find a reason to write a few words to confirm that evaluation.

Firstly, the absolutely priceless part of writing is the evolution of the story. Through Christopher Tolkien’s valuable editorship, it is possible for a fan of the realms of Beleriand and Middle-Earth to learn and appreciate how the narrative of Gondolin changed over two/three decades. Perhaps this indeed is also the most valuable part that anyone can come to understand — that the love and effort which was poured into the written form of Mr Tolkien’s imagination absolutely required him to choose the right word or phrase. In some cases, a re-write twenty years hence meant that nothing would be changed while in other places whole lineages were edited in order to make the story more profound.

Insofar as Mr Christopher Tolkien’s main regret highlighted in this commentary comes through as his father not finishing the story of the Fall of Gondolin, I think this can be echoed by every fan of that universe. The final re-write is absolutely wonderful, starting out as a thorough narrative with detail aplenty. This only leaves the reader to wonder what joys (and sadnesses) could have been found in the full story.

For 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.

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