Tag: Author: J.R.R. Tolkien


Review: The Fall of Gondolin

Posted 21 January, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Fall of Gondolin
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar.

Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs.

Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo.

At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources.

Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

It’s always exciting to learn a new Tolkien book is to be released, even if it is just early drafts to a well-known tale (and even with the debate of whether these drafts should be published since these were clearly not the final polished edition that the author preferred). The Tale of Gondolin is one of the more memorable stories in the Silmarillion so I did come to it (even if it took a while) with great curiosity.

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Tolkien Reading Day!

Posted 25 March, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments


(image source)

Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.

more information about the event here

According to the Tolkien Society, the theme this year is ‘Home and Hearth: the many ways of being a Hobbit.

Lovely topic for this year’s Tolkien Reading Day! Of course reading the book or watching the movie for the first time you’re immediately drawn to the actions surrounding the world of Men, the Elves, the Dwarves, etc. But as the years go by I find myself more and more appreciative of hobbits and their life and their appreciation and love of home and food and family and friends and all in all the quiet life.

I’m just going to leave this video here because it pretty much embodies what I mean about hobbits:

What do you think about hobbits, lol? How will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? If you’re a regular follower of my blog you know that I’ve been just so busy lately. But I’ve been meaning to re-read LOTR so despite of everything that’s going on, I’ve settled in and started re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring. Good times 😀

Review: Beren and Luthien

Posted 6 November, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Beren & Luthien
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a fully continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.

Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril.

In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father’s own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that we’re still getting Tolkien material at an almost yearly basis, but LMAO that he’s getting more stuff out whereas George R.R. Martin is nowhere (supposedly) near releasing The Winds of Winter *shrugs* But anyway, I was very excited to get my hands ont his book since hearing about it as every Tolkienite knows of the story of Beren and Luthien.

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Tolkien Reading Day!

Posted 25 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments


(image source)

Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.

more information about the event here

According to the Tolkien Society, the theme this year is ‘Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction.

Interesting topic for this year’s Tolkien Day seeing as poetry and songs make up such a huge part of Tolkien’s fiction: The Lord of the Rings (review #1, #2, #3) alone is filled with both folk songs and ancient hymns, and all of the recently published, incomplete poems with his take on Beowulf and King Arthur shows just how steeped in old poems Tolkien really worked from. It’s quite informative reading these titles (see author tag) even as it can be frustrating that they are incomplete! He really loved old tales and mythologies, as he expressed in his essay about The Kalevala (review; and which I found myself nodding in agreement), and his love of these tales really shows in the poems he produced in his own works.

Oh, and if writing poetry and songs isn’t enough, he also writes them in the Elvish languages that he created, Sindarin and Quenya! I’m always in awe that he did this, it adds further depth and richness to the world and the story he created. One of my favourite poems from LOTR:

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
Na-chaered palan-díriel
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!

A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallon sí di’nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!

(O Elbereth Starkindler,
white-glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel,
the glory of the starry host!
Having gazed far away
from the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth,
to thee, Everwhite, I will sing,
on this side of the Sea, here on this side of the Ocean!

O Elbereth Starkindler,
from heaven gazing afar,
to thee I cry now beneath the shadow of death!
O look towards me, Everwhite!)

source

Oh, and for fun, here’s an audio of Tolkien reciting “Namarie” sung by Galadriel in LOTR:

I suppose one can go on and on talkin about the poems and songs that Tolkien wrote about, as well as those old mythologies that he loved so much and attempted to re-write in his own perspective and grasp of language. And I guess that’s the root of it: not just his love of mythology and old stories but his deep grasp of language. It really reflects in his works (see: his version of Beowulf (review) compared to the version accesible to most).

What do you think of poetry and songs in Tolkien’s fiction? How will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be celebrating today; I’ve been wanting to re-read LOTR for some time now but with all the books on my TBR queue and some other books on my re-read queue I haven’t quite wiggled around some time to re-read LOTR. Maybe later this year? In the meantime, maybe I’ll re-read Bilbo’s Last Song, a song Tolkien wrote on Bilbo’s voyage to the Grey Havens and off to the West. Seems like the perfect way to celebrate this year’s theme 🙂

Review: The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun

Posted 17 February, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
By: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun is a poem of 508 lines, written by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1930 and published in Welsh Review in December, 1945 (vol. IV, No, 4).

Aotrou and Itroun are Breton words for “lord” and “lady”. The poem is modelled on the genre of the “Breton lay” popular in Middle English literature of the 12th century, and it explores the conflict of heroic or chivalric values and Christianity, and their relation to the institution of marriage.

A major source for the poem has been identified as the Breton song ‘Le Seigneur Nann et la Fee’, which Tolkien probably knew through Wimberly’s Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads (1928).

Honestly, I had no idea that this book was coming out until it was mentioned in passing somewhere either on Twitter or on Goodreads (and omg did I add that book so fast onto my wishlist). Having found this poem he wrote amongst his notes, does it warrant a whole book about it? Ehh, like previous books before it (Beowulf (review) and The Fall of Arthur (review) spring to mind), probably not, but whatever, it’s something by Tolkien 😛 Not to mention it staved over my wait for Beren and Luthien coming out in 2017 🙂

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