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Another "New" Tolkien book
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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 21, 11:21pm

Post #1 of 26 (1424 views)
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Another "New" Tolkien book Can't Post

New Tolkien book: The Fall of Númenor to be published


Quote
HarperCollins have announced that a new Tolkien publication, The Fall of Númenor, will be published on 10th November 2022. Edited by well-known Tolkien expert Brian Sibley, the book collects together J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings of the Second Age.

The book brings many of Tolkien’s writings together, and uses The Tale of Years in the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings in order to present the content in an order and a style that works well for readers. This convenient volume will tell the story from the foundations of Númenor, the forging of the Rings, and the Last Alliance against Sauron that ended the Second Age. Sibley has gone through the entire published works by Tolkien, and provides new introductions and commentaries to bring all the pieces of Tolkien’s original content together.

The book also comes with 11 colour images (10 and the cover), and dozens of pencil sketches by renowned Tolkien artist Alan Lee. Entirely new artwork that has been described as Lee’s “best work yet”. The book, due out in hardback and deluxe on 10th November 2022, is conveniently timed to coincide with Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power which is being released this September, and which is also set in the Second Age.


There are things that could be said, but I think I will leave them unsaid.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 21, 11:49pm

Post #2 of 26 (1375 views)
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I'll say the same thing... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I said about the anthology editions of Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin: that I'll be happy if this brings greater attention to relatively obscure corners of the legendarium. I'm not sure if that actually happened with the previous two, but the Second Age is an order of magnitude more esoteric than the First, so who knows. For my part, though, I imagine the most I'll do is flip through a library or bookstore copy to see the new Alan Lee illustrations, since I already own all the relevant texts.


joec_34
Rivendell


Jun 22, 1:02am

Post #3 of 26 (1365 views)
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Great timing! [In reply to] Can't Post

Great timing with the Amazon series. I am not familiar with Sibley, but hope that I'll like this. Thanks for letting me know about it!

"Happy painting and God bless, my friend." - Bob Ross


squire
Half-elven


Jun 22, 1:21am

Post #4 of 26 (1362 views)
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J.R.R. Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a ‘dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need be) told’. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien himself thought there was no need for a book, much less a television series, set in the Second Age. So the HarperCollins press release drily notes, without a hint of irony.

Likewise, Gunner's post notes the 'convenient' coincidence of this publication by the Tolkien Estate with the Amazon series premiere this fall, again without the slightest ironical lilt.

Well, I guess I won't be able to complain any longer that this Rings of Power series isn't really an adaptation from Tolkien because there is no Tolkien book to adapt from. There is now! With just a few missing details, trifles really, that the show's writers have been obliged to invent to fill in those last few corners.



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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 22, 1:23am

Post #5 of 26 (1362 views)
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Brian Sibley [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Great timing with the Amazon series. I am not familiar with Sibley, but hope that I'll like this. Thanks for letting me know about it!


Sibley is best known in Tolkien circles for producing the BBC radio production of LOTR. He also produced many of the "Making of" books for the films. I am not aware of him producing much if any Tolkien scholarship, however. But I'm sure he'll do a fine job.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 22, 1:53am

Post #6 of 26 (1354 views)
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Done right, this could be a helpful resource [In reply to] Can't Post

I am withholding judgment until I know more. Even if my initial reaction is not all that positive.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


DGHCaretaker
Rivendell

Jun 22, 3:42am

Post #7 of 26 (1344 views)
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Kismet [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
There are things that could be said, but I think I will leave them unsaid.


Oh! Just in time for Rings of Power. Happy accident!


Felagund
Rohan


Jun 22, 12:27pm

Post #8 of 26 (1304 views)
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title [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder why they went with 'Fall', as opposed to 'Downfall' or 'Drowning'? Not a criticism, just curiousity!

I have some hopes for the work, in that I enjoy the fruits of good editing when it comes to complex source material. Fingers crossed that this is a good example of the craft!

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 22, 12:40pm

Post #9 of 26 (1303 views)
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I was wondering the same [In reply to] Can't Post

Particularly after we already had The Fall of Gondolin. But a minor issue, of course.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 22, 6:52pm

Post #10 of 26 (1287 views)
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I, for one, am excited! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, this could be a flagrant attempt on cashing in on the new Amazon show, and there’s not likely to be anything in this that I’ve never read before, but the concept sounds intriguing to me. The idea of grouping all relevant Second Age material together into a loose narrative seems like it could lead to a pleasant reading experience.

On the other hand, the similar treatments given to Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin were not my cup of tea. That is, FoG was a pretty decent attempt, though I think the presentation should have been structured differently. B&L should never have been published like it was, IMO. But the underlying concept was sound, and I think if done correctly, this new book could be great.

I do share the sentiment that the title should probably have been different, especially if the material covers more than just Numenor material (as seems to be the case based on the press release).

"Behold! the hope of Elvenland,
the fire of Fëanor, Light of Morn
before the sun and moon were born,
thus out of bondage came at last,
from iron to mortal hand it passed."
-The Lay of Leithian


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Jun 23, 10:52pm

Post #11 of 26 (1242 views)
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Swimming against the tide Ardamírë? [In reply to] Can't Post

but not 'kick[ing] against the goads,' I'm sure. ;)

There is a long tradition in Arthuriana of grouping, ungrouping, regrouping, retelling, re-translating, reimagining and even continuing what are considered the original tales.

In a similar vein, I have to believe this is a sincere attempt to bring this material back into the light, to encourage people to engage with it for the first or twentieth time. The timing suggests that viewers, rightly I think, will want context for what they are watching. HarperCollins has been a good steward and presenter of Tolkien's works for decades, and I thank them for it.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jun 23, 10:57pm)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 24, 4:35pm

Post #12 of 26 (1175 views)
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Just call me Saul, or Paul (or don’t!) [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I’m just easily excited by a “new” Tolkien book, even if none of it is actually new. Presentation is key, and if done correctly, this book could be phenomenal. One could argue that the published Silmarillion is no longer needed since the comprehensiveness of HOME renders it unnecessary. But the ability to pick it up and easily read it gives it a purpose different from HOME. Likewise The Children of Hurin wasn’t needed since one could read story by having both the Silmarillion and Unfinished tales. So with this new book, I’m optimistic that it will be worth it.

As for content, I’m curious as to what will actually be included. Since the title is specifically about Numenor, I would assume we’ll get Aldarion and Erendis and Akallabeth. Will we get anything from The Lost Road, though? Or the Notion Club Papers? And what about Tal-Elmar?

"Behold! the hope of Elvenland,
the fire of Fëanor, Light of Morn
before the sun and moon were born,
thus out of bondage came at last,
from iron to mortal hand it passed."
-The Lay of Leithian


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 24, 8:03pm

Post #13 of 26 (1165 views)
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I'd be very surprised... [In reply to] Can't Post

...if this new book is something in the model of the 1977 Silmarillion or The Children of Húrin, as opposed to the recent anthology editions of Beren and Lúthien and The Fall of Gondolin. The press release and Sibley's comments to the Tolkien Society are vague enough to be interpreted either way, but it would take a great deal of not only editing but original writing to construct (something like) a novel covering the Second Age. Sibley described his job as "the task of bringing together J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings (under the editorship of Christopher Tolkien)," which doesn't suggest anything remotely so drastic, at least in my reading.


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 24, 10:12pm

Post #14 of 26 (1163 views)
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Three of Alan Lee's pencil sketches... [In reply to] Can't Post

...are now available via Entertainment Weekly.

Here are direct links to Lee's sketches of Armenelos, Narvi the Dwarf, and Sauron surrendering to the Númenóreans.


squire
Half-elven


Jun 25, 4:02am

Post #15 of 26 (1139 views)
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Thanks for these. I'm shocked at the Sauron one [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess we all imagine the scenes we read in the Tolkien stories, whether or not some illustrator has tackled that scene. When I read the tale of Sauron abasing himself and surrendering to the Numenorean lords, I've always imagined some kind of operatic panorama, with Numenor's vast army arrayed on an open field and Sauron, leading his forces, unwillingly acknowledging the Numenorean superiority.

Alan Lee usually gets it, I feel. But here he's eliminated the operatic spectacle and substituted some small-scale police procedural, where Sauron gets busted by a couple of Numenorean cops. Not helping is the odd scenery of crack-doodle rocks and the seemingly mandatory sheer cliff-edge in the foreground.

Everyone's idea of these scenes is different, of course. But I feel that Lee generally gets the big picture totally right. Here I wonder how he got so lost.



squire online:
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Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 25, 4:56am

Post #16 of 26 (1132 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

My mental image of Sauron's surrender is undoubtedly shaped by Helge Fauskanger's Westernesse, which I imprinted on heavily as a 12-year-old taking my first steps into online Tolkien fandom, but even setting that aside I think it just makes more sense for the surrender to take place in a more public venue.

(*whispers* Also, pre-Downfall Sauron should be hotter.)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 25, 12:25pm

Post #17 of 26 (1104 views)
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Oh I didn’t mean to imply [In reply to] Can't Post

That I expect anything like a finished narrative for this new book. I am 100% against made up material. I only meant that presentation matters, and if done properly this book could well be worth it even without any new Tolkien writings.

"Behold! the hope of Elvenland,
the fire of Fëanor, Light of Morn
before the sun and moon were born,
thus out of bondage came at last,
from iron to mortal hand it passed."
-The Lay of Leithian


Ardamírë
Valinor


Jun 25, 12:29pm

Post #18 of 26 (1102 views)
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Operatic panorama [In reply to] Can't Post

There must be something in Tolkien’s writings to suggest the more epic scale because what you describe is exactly how I imagine it too. I haven’t read the story in quite some time (and can’t even remember now which book or tale it’s contained in - Akallabeth, maybe?), so it could line up with Lee’s illustration. I don’t think so, though.

"Behold! the hope of Elvenland,
the fire of Fëanor, Light of Morn
before the sun and moon were born,
thus out of bondage came at last,
from iron to mortal hand it passed."
-The Lay of Leithian


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 25, 1:24pm

Post #19 of 26 (1099 views)
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Sorry, but Lee has it right [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
And Sauron came. Even from his mighty tower of Barad-dûr he came, and made no offer of battle. For he perceived that the power and majesty of the Kings of the Sea surpassed all rumour of them, so that he could not trust even the greatest of his servants to withstand them; and he saw not his time yet to work his will with the Dúnedain. And he was crafty, well skilled to gain what he would by subtlety when force might not avail. Therefore he humbled himself before Ar-Pharazôn and smoothed his tongue; and men wondered, for all that he said seemed fair and wise.


That's exactly what Lee presents. No offer of battle. He couldn't trust even the greatest of his servants, so none were present, and Sauron "humbled himself." I couldn't imagine a better presentation of this scene as I have always pictured it then what Lee has drawn.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 25, 5:10pm

Post #20 of 26 (1072 views)
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That's fair; fingers crossed! :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 25, 5:36pm

Post #21 of 26 (1075 views)
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Tolkien's description [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
There must be something in Tolkien’s writings to suggest the more epic scale because what you describe is exactly how I imagine it too. I haven’t read the story in quite some time (and can’t even remember now which book or tale it’s contained in - Akallabeth, maybe?), so it could line up with Lee’s illustration. I don’t think so, though.


It's in the Akallabêth, yeah, and your post made me go back and check Tolkien's own wording. Like most of the Akallabêth, it's very light on detail, but...


Quote
Empty and silent were all the lands about when the Kng of the Sea marched upon Middle-earth.[1] For seven days he journeyed with banner and trumpet, and he came to a hill, and he went up, and he set there his pavilion and his throne; and he sat him down in the midst of the land, and the tents of his host were ranged all about him, blue, golden, and white, as a field of tall flowers. Then he sent forth heralds, and he commanded Sauron to come before him and swear to him fealty.

And Sauron came. Even from his mighty tower of Barad-dûr he came, and made no offer of battle. For he perceived that the power and majesty of the Kings of the Sea surpassed all rumour of them,[2] so that he could not trust even the greatest of his servants to withstand them; and he saw not his time yet to work his will with the Dúnedain. And he was crafty, well skilled to gain what he would by subtlety when force might not avail. Therefore he humbled himself before Ar-Pharazôn and smoothed his tongue; and men wondered, for all that he said seemed fair and wise. (TS, pp. 270–271)


This suggests to me that Sauron's surrender occurred in or near Ar-Pharazôn's camp. I'd imagine the swearing of fealty itself occurred before the pavilion and throne; that just sort of seems the natural setting for such a ceremony. As Voronwë points out, Sauron did not have his armies with him (Fauskanger's proposed adaptation has Sauron arriving at the camp completely alone, without even servants or attendants), but like squire, I would imagine the Númenórean army present, albeit not necessarily in battle formation. Regardless of specifics, it's a key point that Sauron came at Pharazôn's command, setting the tone for his performative submissiveness in the following years and decades, allowing him to weasel his way under the Númenóreans' guard and gain such great influence. Lee's depiction of Sauron surrendering in the middle of a blasted wasteland removes this element.

---

[1] Since Voronwë is in this thread, I feel obligated to note that this is technically a bit of Christopher's rewriting. The original text read: "Empty and silent under the sickle moon was the land when the King of the Sea set foot upon the shore" (HoMe XII, p. 156).

[2] It's never made sense to me why Sauron was so poorly informed of the Númenóreans' military strength after centuries of intermittent war with them.


(This post was edited by Eldy on Jun 25, 5:41pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 25, 7:52pm

Post #22 of 26 (1053 views)
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I do comment on that change [In reply to] Can't Post

I wrote (referring to two changes, the second one of which is the one you refer to):


Quote
The first change is understandable; it was simply to add the words "of the Númenóreans" to the description of Umbar being a haven that no hand had wrought (PoMe, 155-56). The second change makes less sense. Christopher indicates that the words "were all the lands about when the Kng of the Sea marched upon Middle-earth" replaced "under the sickle moon was the land when the King of the Sea set foot upon the shore" for the same reason (PoMe, 156). It is unclear why the fact that Umbar had long been a Númenórean haven dictated this change.

Arda Reconstructed 245-46.

I'd be curious to know if anyone has any thoughts as to why this change was necessary.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Eldy
Grey Havens


Jun 25, 10:53pm

Post #23 of 26 (1029 views)
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I recall :) [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I'd be curious to know if anyone has any thoughts as to why this change was necessary.


My best guess is that Christopher meant for the replacement sentence to mean that the lands "about"—i.e., around—the city of Umbar were empty, whereas the original sentence implies that the whole coastline was empty of inhabitants, including the natural harbor where Pharazôn made his landing. If Tolkien "did not yet suppose that Umbar was a Númenórean fortress and harbour at the time of Ar-Pharazon's landing," as Christopher suggests in HoMe XII, then the whole coastline being empty would make sense, but once the change was made elsewhere that Umbar was already the site of a major settlement, Christopher felt the sentence's implication was inaccurate.

I'm not convinced this is actually what Christopher meant, but even if it was, both sentences are could be interpreted in different ways and I don't think the second is really that much clearer. I also like the visual of the sickle moon in the original, which adds a nice bit of physical description to a text that otherwise has little of it.


(This post was edited by Eldy on Jun 25, 10:55pm)


squire
Half-elven


Jun 26, 12:06am

Post #24 of 26 (1020 views)
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Maybe a preview of the spirit of Morgul? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or if that seems too far removed in time from its reference (like most of an Age), then we might note that Tolkien's references to a 'sickle Moon' are always linked to an evocation of the presence of the Enemy in some way.

This is my favorite of the examples I've found:
The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow.
If that is reason for the change to this particular passage about the Numenorean landing in Umbar, I would read the addition of the sickle Moon to mean that rather than the lands being merely empty, they also carry the spirit of Mordor in them even though no army appears to repel the invaders.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Jun 26, 12:57am

Post #25 of 26 (1008 views)
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Very interesting! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

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