Cover art for The Fall of Gondolin, due out August 2018

J.R.R. Tolkien is such a prolific author that, 45 years after his death, he is still providing us with publications that sell in their tens of thousands. With so many coming out in recent years – and the latest, The Fall of Gondolin, arriving in a couple of weeks – it is important to understand their significance to Tolkien’s legacy and not dismiss them as an attempt to make a quick buck. (more…)

Keen-eyed Tolkien fans have discovered that some bookseller sites are advertising the release of a new Tolkien book later this year.

Two days ago the book was simply listed as Untitled, so there was some speculation amongst fans as to what the subject matter was, and if indeed it was a genuine new title.

Just as with Beren and Lúthien which was published on 1 June 2017, The Fall of Gondolin, is reported to be written by J.R.R. Tolkien, and edited by Christopher Tolkien.

The news has taken many people by surprise, because in the introduction of Beren and Lúthien, Christopher Tolkien gave a strong hint that that was likely to be his final contribution.

According to Amazon the book is reported (which they still list as Untitled) to be 304 pages in length, and is due to be published on 23 August 2018.  The book is advertised to be published both as a hardback and as a deluxe slipcased version.  Amazon also mentions the simultaneous publication of a large-type version.  However, Book Depository, which does include the name of the book, has 1 August as publication day.

There is bound to be speculation as to just what the book will contain.  The very detailed but uncompleted text published in Unfinished Tales (1980) as ‘Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin’ is a strong possibility followed by the more terse version ‘Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin’ as published  in The Silmarillion (1977).  However, there is always the possibility that associated texts and fragments may also be included.

At the time of writing there has been no official press release from either Tolkien’s official publisher, HarperCollins, or The Tolkien Estate.  Of course the Tolkien Society will provide more details as soon as they become known.

  • ISBN-10: 0008302766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008302764

Of all the negative reviews that The Lord of the Rings ever received, the most infamous is “Oo, Those Awful Orcs,” by the renowned American critic Edmund Wilson. It was published in the journal The Nation in 1956, and reappeared in Wilson’s collection The Bit Between My Teeth (1965) and various other sources, earning a place in the otherwise laudatory Tolkien Scrapbook edited by Alida Becker (1978).

From misspelling a principal character’s name as “Gandalph” to such declarations as “The hero has no serious temptations; is lured by no insidious enchantments, perplexed by few problems,” or “We never feel Sauron’s power,” Wilson’s review is so staggeringly imperceptive that some have found it hard to believe that Wilson read the book at all, let alone, as he states, aloud in its entirety to his 7-year-old daughter just before writing the review. I’d cut Wilson a little more slack than that.


I suppose I should say something about the recent spate of news articles to the effect that Amazon has contracted to make a tv series based on The Lord of the Rings.

I’m not really your go-to expert on matters like this. I got into Tolkien studies to study Tolkien and his works, not media spinoffs. Willy-nilly they have intruded themselves on my attention, and I’ve been warned that I count as an expert on the Jackson movies even though I really don’t want to be one.

But I can say that the news reports have conveyed that this will not be a remake of The Lord of the Rings itself, but fan fiction prequels.


J.R.R. Tolkien in 1916

A pale, drawn man sits in a convalescent bed of a wartime hospital. He takes up a school exercise book and writes on its cover, with calligraphic flourish: ‘Tuor and the Exiles of Gondolin’. Then he pauses, lets out a long sigh between the teeth clenched around his pipe, and mutters, ‘No, that won’t do anymore.’ He crosses out the title and writes (without the flourish): ‘A Subaltern on the Somme’.

This is not what happened, of course. Tolkien produced a mythology, not a trench memoir. […] Tolkien’s writing reflects the impact of the war; furthermore, […] his maverick voice expresses aspects of the war experience neglected by his contemporaries. […] they represent widely divergent responses to the same traumatic epoch. (Garth: 287)


In the late eighteenth century, an edition of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim Progress was published with a map tucked away between the pages right before the beginning of the text. Nowadays, the map is a recurring part of many novels, especially in the fantastical genre. These maps have in common that they are accompanying a story that is set in an imaginary world, thus increasing the authenticity of these worlds by depicting it in a way that is mostly associated with precision and trustworthiness.