The Fall of Gondolin is the third chapter of The Book of Lost Tales 2, which is the second volume of The History of Middle-earth. The tale laid out in this chapter, the first manuscript of which Tolkien wrote in 1917, is the longest and most detailed recounting of the defeat of the city of Gondolin by the army of Morgoth.
Unlike the Tale of Tinúviel, there is nothing in this tale that controverts the corresponding and final story of Gondolin's fall in The Silmarillion (which is the chapter entitled "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin").
The chapter that follows is “The Nauglafring.”
Tale of Tuor and the Fall Edit
Like in the tale of Beren and Tinúviel told by the character Vëannë, and the tale of Turambar told by the character Eltas, "Gnomes" is the term for the people of Middle-earth who later in Tolkien's mythology would be called Elves. Thus, all Gnome characters mentioned in this early tale of Gondolin are, in the final sense, Elven characters.
The first section of Ilfiniol’s narration tells of Tuor’s nomadic wanderings in Dor-lómin and Mithrim and along the beaches and rivers of Beleriand, and of his encounter with the Vala Ulmo, which preceded his seeking of the hidden city of Gondolin. Tuor ventures there with Voronwë (the father of the storyteller), learns the seven names of Gondolin, is let in and greeted by the King, Turgon, and imparts to Turgon his tidings of the motives of Melkor.
Following these things in the tale comes the ruining of Gondolin’s security by Maeglin, and the subsequent invasion of a massive army from Angband. The Houses of the Gondolindrim are mustered, all seven of which are described in particularly vivid detail, to prepare for battle. With style reminiscent of that of Homer’s epic, The Iliad, the massive resulting onslaught of Gondolin throughout its streets is fully and extensively laid out, including the many feats of Tuor, some of whose orc-victims are even named, and of Ecthelion of the Fountain, and of Glorfindel. The latter two both duel Balrogs, among whom is Gothmog, the lord of the Balrogs and leader of the foe, whom Ecthelion slays and is slain by in the end. The deaths of the Elf-lords of each House are told of, as are the attack strategies of Gothmog and his army, the flight to safety of young Eärendil, Tuor’s son, and the actions of Thorondor (who in this tale was named Thornhoth), the Lord of the Eagles. Penlod, Egalmoth, Rog, and Duilin are House-captains of Gondolin who are not mentioned in the final account of the Fall in The Silmarilliion.
Ilfiniol’s narrative ends with the Exiles of Gondolin, who had fled, settling in the land of the Mouths of Sirion, at which they named themselves anew the Lothlim, which meant ‘the people of the flower’, because of new sorrow that would lie behind the name of "the Gondothlim".
When this tale of Gondolin and of Tuor finishes, the room is silent.
Editor's commentary Edit
Following the character Ilfiniol's telling of this tale, and also in an interspersed manner at the beginning, Christopher Tolkien gives his notes and analyses of things such as the manuscript and typescript versions of the story, the changes underwent of character names (which are fewer in this chapter than in the preceding two), plot, events, and of things referenced in other early, various Middle-earth tales his father had written, along with comparisons of said things.
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales 2, chapter 3: “The Fall of Gondolin”
- The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"