I have just finished reading JRR Tolkien’s ‘The fall of Gondolin’ in the beautiful edition created by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee.
I prepared for it well, having this year re-read after a rather long interval: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the twelve volumes of The History of Middle-earth.
This is what Christopher Tolkien says in the preface to ‘Gondolin’ (the order of words slightly rearranged by me.)
‘Looking back over my work, now concluded after some forty years…I must now say that ‘in my ninety-fourth year ‘The Fall of Gondolin’ is (indubitably) the last.’
There has been great acclaim for this astonishing forty years of work, combining so intricately the devotion of a son to a father and the academic and creative skills they shared. I can’t help feeling there should be even more noise made about it; as Sam Gamgee would say, ‘Glory and trumpets!’
How fitting that Christopher Tolkien’s last edition of his father’s work should be this elegant volume containing the first-composed tale in what became a whole legendarium.
If every Tolkien Scholar and devotee were to write a single-page note to Christopher Tolkien expressing their admiration for what he has done in honour of his father, the man would disappear under paper.
Gandalf said: ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’ What an achievement Christopher Tolkien has reached in his time; thank you sir.