Approaching Tolkien: The Fall of Gondolin

The Fall of Gondolin.pngFollowing the same editorial structure employed in Beren and Lúthien, Christopher Tolkien’s new publication offers readers a detailed look at the evolution of the writing that was to become the main narrative behind the story of Gondolin.

The book presents several iterations of Tuor’s story — the lone man in search of the Hidden City, and his adventures before and during its fall. As with the preceding publication, there is no new material to adorn this book, although The Fall of Gondolin does present the various scattered stories found in The Book of Lost Tales and Unfinished Tales within one collection. Continue reading

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Army numbers in Middle-earth

Last Alliance 2(C) New Line Cinema

 

When reading accounts of battles and warfare, numbers are important. They help provide context and scale to the conflict, allowing readers to assess the situation in terms of balance in favour or against an ally or enemy. Which is why I have often found it somewhat baffling that Tolkien gives us so little information on army numbers in his Middle-earth stories. Continue reading

The Silmarillion turns 40 … [perhaps a pocket edition now?]

 

The Silmarillion_2

It was on 15 September 1977 when that J.R.R. Tolkien’s (possible) magnum opus was released. Christopher Tolkien’s laborious and successful attempts to bring his father’s complex and vast array of writings into a cohesive and readable format were achieved. Continue reading

The Gates of Morning and the Door of Night, Eä and the Void

Banner (Cosmology Arda)

[Highly complex illustration follows below]

The Silmarillion contains two obscure references to places or “structures” that seem to be the opposite of each other. Both are fascinating concepts but difficult to grasp given how little information we have access to. Continue reading

From Gondolin to Trollshaws: Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting

sting

© Warner Bros. & MGM Studios

Three Elven swords were forged in Gondolin during the First Age, and presumably lost after the fall of this city as recounted in The Silmarillion. Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting make their proper appearance in The Hobbit in the lair of the three trolls, some 6,462 years later and just under 1,900 miles away from their original place of forging.

How and when could these swords have been carried such a long distance through three ages of wars, plunder and cataclysmic events? Continue reading

A Brief History of Himling

Himring

Reading The Silmarillion, you would be forgiven for thinking that Himring, where Maedhros sets up his fortress in the northeast of Beleriand, has nothing to do with the isle of Himling in The Lord of the Rings.

Before I knew much about Tolkien, looking at the map of Middle-earth, I was always intrigued by that lonely island just off the coast of Lindon. What was its meaning there? Why would the author give it a name and not mention it during the events of the War of the Ring? Continue reading