This article refers to the 2018 novel. For other namesakes, see Fall of Gondolin (disambiguation).
The Fall of Gondolin
Initial publication cover (art by Alan Lee)
Author J.R.R. Tolkien
edited by Christopher Tolkien

Illustrator Alan Lee
Genre(s) High Fantasy
Publisher Houghton Mifflin (US)
HarperCollins (UK)
Released Aug 30, 2018
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 320
ISBN 1328613046
Preceded by Beren and Lúthien
Followed by The Tale of Eärendel (incorporated as a conclusion to Gondolin's tale)

The Fall of Gondolin (ISBN 1328613046) is a stand-alone publication of the third part of the Great Tales, and successor to The Children of Húrin (2007) and Beren and Lúthien (2017). It also contains a chapter concerning the last of the "Great Tales": The Tale of Eärendel.

Details and CanonEdit

The Fall of Gondolin is the third of the Great Tales, but was the first that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, and is the second most complete of the tales (after The Children of Húrin; and is less fractured and more continuous than the materials comprising Beren and Lúthien).

...I have arranged the content of the book in a manner distinct from that in Beren and Lúthien. The texts of the Tale appear first, in succession and with little or no commentary. An account of the evolution of the story then follows, with a discussion of my father’s profoundly saddening abandonment of the last version of the Tale at the moment when Tuor passed through the Last Gate of Gondolin.[1]

The Fall of Gondolin contains the original version as previously printed in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, notes from Tolkien's earliest text on the story, a short piece of an unfinished follow up story Turlin and the Exiles of Gondolin, The story as told in the Sketch of the Mythology, the story as told in the QUenta Nolderinwa, the last version called Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin (previously published in Unfinished Tales), and the letters and notes related to the final manuscript. Finally there several chapters of how the exiles of Doriath and Gondolin lead to the Great Tale of Eärendel, these include the chapter called Conclusion, followed by The Conclusion of the Sketch of the Mythology, and The Conclusion of the Quenta Noldorinwa. Thus they act as a conclusion to the tale.

Previous sources which cover this major First Age event are the chapters The Fall of Gondolin of The Book of Lost Tales Part Two and Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin in The Silmarillion, which both tell of the founding of the Elven city of Gondolin (built in secret by Turgon and his people), of the arrival Tuor, a prince of the Edain, of the betrayal of the city to Morgoth by Turgon's nephew Maeglin, and of its subsequent destruction by Morgoth's armies.[2] There is also a unfinished (consisting of around 130 lines) and unpublished poem: The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin.[3] Only a few brief fragments were included in The Lays of Beleriand (the bulk not published as Christopher Tolkien explained its closeness to already published Tale in Lost Tales II). Sections of Of Maeglin, and name list in Parma Eldalamberon volume 15. Though not all of these made it into the The Fall of Gondolin book.

Some of this material such as the The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin was not included in this edition of the The Fall of Gondolin, and thus remains unpublished (other than what is related in The Lays of Beleriand). A List of Names is included in the extras, however this is unassociated with the version previously published in Parma Eldalamberon.

The Lost Tales chapter goes more in depth than the account in The Silmarillion, telling notably in detail of Tuor's and Ecthelion's feats in battle, and mentioning every captain of the Houses of the Gondolindrim.

Background Edit

J.R.R. Tolkien actually began writing the story that would become "The Fall of Gondolin" in 1917, in an army barracks on the back of a sheet of military marching music. It is more or less the first traceable story he ever wrote down on paper about the Middle-earth legendarium.

Because Tolkien was constantly revising his First Age stories, the narrative he wrote in 1917 (published posthumously in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two) remains the only full account of the fall of the city. The narrative in The Silmarillion was the result of the editing by his son Christopher of various different sources.

A partial new version of "The Fall of Gondolin" was published in the Unfinished Tales under the title "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin". Actually titled "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin", this narrative shows a great expansion of the earlier tale. It can be surmised from this text that Tolkien would have rewritten the entire story, but for reasons that are not known he abandoned the text before Tuor actually arrives in the city. For this reason Christopher Tolkien retitled the story before including it in Unfinished Tales.


  1. Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Fall of Gondolin (Kindle Locations 150-153). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. III: The Lays of Beleriand, II. "Poems Early Abandoned"