LOOK WHO’S TOLKIEN
Christopher Tolkien and Alan Lee bring JRR Tolkien’s Lost Tales trilogy to a close with The Fall Of Gondolin
More from the JRR Tolkien back catalogue in The Fall Of Gondolin.
Chronicling the rise and ultimate destruction of the titular Elven city, The Fall Of Gondolin is the last in JRR Tolkien’s trilogy of unfinished “great tales”. Now after 2007’s The Children Of Húrin and last year’s Beren And Lúthien, it has been edited and compiled into one complete volume by the author’s son Christopher Tolkien with illustrations once again by Alan Lee.
“Christopher was keen to see this book in print, and I have a similar sense of completion,” says Lee. “If The Children Of Húrin was Tolkien’s most tragic story and Beren And Lúthien is a romance with many fairytale qualities then Fall Of Gondolin has tragedy and a sense of loss, along with an epic battle, and it fits into a bigger picture of the struggle between the Vala – Ulmo in particular – and Morgoth.”
Declining to actually depict the fearsome warlord, Lee was determined that the look of the main protagonists should be left up to the imagination. “Morgoth is one of those beings who is more powerful if he is not represented,” he reasons. “I also avoided getting too close up with the others, to enable the reader to develop their own view of any particular character.”
While he drew on the distinctive landscape near where he lives in Dartmoor for Beren And Lúthien, Lee had somewhere more exotic in mind for Gondolin. “Perhaps the closest model for it would be an Italian hill town, full of towers and made of white marble, by gothicinspired architects,” he says. “I tried to make the views of it consistent through different illustrations, so that you get some sense of it as a solid environment, but I didn’t try to show the whole thing in one picture. It would be an interesting place to build as a miniature!” SJ
The Fall Of Gondolin is published on 30 August.
The magnificient city of Gondolin by Alan Lee.