Author J.R.R. Tolkien’s story in The Lord of the Rings represents the dawning of the Age of Man for Middle-earth, when magic and elves drifted away seemingly for good. As such, wizards, Balrogs, and other magic are fairly scant, but a new novel set in that same world takes place long before, delivering a story on a more cosmic scale with gods, heroes, and a big bad way worse than Sauron. Tolkien himself once called this story “the first real story” of Middle-earth.
On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that a new story set in Middle-earth called The Fall of Gondolin would be published this August. The book is indeed “written” by famed Hobbit and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, but much like 2017’s Beren and Lúthien, it’s edited and completed by Tolkien’s son Christopher.
The Fall of Gondolin follows the Noldor elf Tuor as he seeks the hidden city of Gondolin, which the evil Morgoth wants to destroy. Morgoth, who you might as well consider a god compared to Sauron being a demon, comes into conflict with a bonafide sea god named Ulmo. You shouldn’t consider it a spoiler that, inevitably, Gondolin does fall — because Morgoth attacks with “Balrogs, dragons and orcs.” Yes, in the plural.
John Garth, author of Tolkien and the Great War, told The Guardian that Tolkien originally wrote The Fall of Gondolin while convalescing in a hospital directly after the Battle of the Somme, which is historically one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Ultimately, this story has little bearing on the events presented in Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. All of this happens perhaps as much as 6,000 years before anything most fans would recognize.
This new book getting released actually comes as a bit of a surprise.
Christopher Tolkien is notoriously protective of his father’s works, and he wrote in the preface to Beren and Lúthien, “this is (preemptively) my last book in the long series of editions of my father’s writings.” That assumption, it would seem, has proven false.
Hardcore fans of Tolkien’s world have something new to look forward to, especially if they’re not too keen on the upcoming Amazon series.