Christo­pher Tolkien and Alan Lee bring JRR Tolkien’s Lost Tales tril­ogy to a close with The Fall Of Gon­dolin

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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.

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