When most people think about Middle-earth, their first thought goes to one of the three things, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy (although, it shouldn’t have been a trilogy), and the video games by Warner Bros. Interactive. While those may be the most recognized, they actually scratch the surface to the rich world J.R.R. Tolkien developed, long ago. In fact, there was a whole set of prequels in the works, before Tolkien passed, that never saw the light of day. That is, until his son, Christopher, took it upon himself to finish what his father started.
The last book Christopher helped finish was last year with Beren and Lúthien, the story of a mortal and an elf’s forbidden love and how they robbed one of the most evil entities in Middle-earth Morgoth. After finishing this epic, Christopher, now 93, said in the preface that this was, “(presumptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings”.
So, imagine our surprise when The Guardian reported that Christopher had had a change of heart and decided to finish another of his late father’s great works, The Fall of Gondolin.
Written while the elder Tolkien was in the hospital, after The Battle of the Somme, The Fall of Gondolin takes place long before the events of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and, according to John Garth, the author of Tolkien and The Great War, “It’s a quest story with a reluctant hero who turns into a genuine hero – it’s a template for everything Tolkien wrote afterwards, It has a dark lord, our first encounter with orcs and balrogs – it’s really Tolkien limbering up for what he would be doing later.”
Well, what makes The Fall of Gondolin even more interesting is that it depicts a battle between two major Gods, as publisher HarperCollins explains…
The book, sets the “uttermost evil” of Morgoth against the sea-god Ulmo. Morgoth is trying to discover and destroy the hidden city of Gondolin, while Ulmo is supporting the Noldor, the kindred of the elves who live in the city.
The Fall of Gondolin will hit shelves in August and may actually be the last book we see out of the Tolkien estate. That is, unless Christopher has been secretly working on the Tale of Eärendel, though that’s highly unlikely.
More stories from the Tolkien estate will be brought to life with Amazon’s lucrative series deal. There hasn’t been much said since the deal was finalized, but it is said that the story will take place before the events of The Lord of the Rings, which brings hope that one of the prequel books will be brought to the streaming screen. Perhaps, this was Christopher’s last effort to finish his father’s stories long after he’s done.