Fall of Gondolin

Celebrated Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit author J.R.R. Tolkien has been dead for almost 45 years, but a new book with his name on it will hit shelves this August. The Fall of Gondolin is being described as the final work in Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories, but will it become fodder for Amazon’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings TV series?

Entertainment Weekly reports that a new J.R.R. Tolkien book called The Fall of Gondolin will debut this summer, and, like all of the author’s posthumous works, the book will be edited by his son, Christopher Tolkien. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing the book, and their description of it is very basic: “The final work of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth fiction, completing Christopher Tolkien’s life-long achievement as the editor and curator of his father’s manuscripts.”

EW has a far more detailed breakdown. I say this with love, but prepare yourselves for an onslaught of nerd stuff:

During the years that the dark lord Morgoth (Sauron’s predecessor and mentor) reigned supreme in Middle-Earth, his fellow godlike Valar refused to intervene against him on behalf of the peoples of Middle-Earth. Only Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, worked in secret to help the Noldorin Elves. The Noldor stronghold is the beautiful city of Gondolin, built to be undiscoverable by Morgoth’s forces. Ulmo guides a man named Tuor (cousin of the doomed Turin Turambar) to Gondolin, where he grows into a great hero and marries Idril, daughter of Gondolin’s King Turgon. Soon, however, Morgoth finds Gondolin and his armies lay waste to the city in one of the most epic battle scenes Tolkien ever depicted (including, among other things, the noble Elf Glorfindel dying in battle against a Balrog). Tuor and Idril are among the few who escape, along with their with the child Eärendel. That half-Elf, half-human child will go on to have a great destiny.

I’ve never read The Silmarillion, so I admittedly have no clue what most of that means. (You can read more about it at this wiki if you’re so inclined.)

But here’s a cool bit of info: the book will feature artwork from artist Alan Lee, a die-hard Tolkien fanatic who won an Oscar for his art direction on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.

Fall of Gondolin book cover

Will We See This Material In Amazon’s Upcoming Show?

We know the new Amazon show will be set before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, but it still hasn’t been revealed exactly when it will take place. Could it be centered around events at this point on the Middle-earth timeline? It’s possible. An early report indicated the show would “explore new storylines” before Fellowship, so there’s a chance they’re not remotely interested in adapting this material at all. But if they are interested, would they be able to adapt some or all of The Fall of Gondolin?

Here’s where things get tricky. Christopher Tolkien (who’s 93 years old, by the way) famously despised Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations of his father’s work – not just The Hobbit films, but The Lord of the Rings trilogy, too. Last year, he released what was said to be his final book (Beren and Luthien) and resigned as the director of the Tolkien estate this past November, prompting us to wonder if more J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations might be on the way.

But if Christopher Tolkien edited and pieced together this book from the fragments of work his father left behind, whoever is now running the Tolkien estate may want to respect Christopher’s disdain for film and TV adaptations and make The Fall of Gondolin off limits to filmmakers and showrunners. If that’s the estate’s mentality, then don’t expect to see anything from The Silmarillion make it into the show, either. This is all totally fine with me – the world of Middle-earth is so expansive and full of potential that I’d prefer to see a storyteller come in and put their own stamp on things instead of adapting existing material.

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