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Old 06-22-2022, 02:37 AM   #1
Huinesoron
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"The Fall of Numenor", coming November 2022

Announced today, the Tolkien Estate will be publishing The Fall of Numenor this November: a collection of Tolkien's writings on Numenor in the style of the Beren and Luthien and Fall of Gondolin books. It's described as "collect[ing] together J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings of the Second Age", and like the Great Tales is illustrated with multiple colour paintings and sketches from Alan Lee. It's edited by Brian Sibley, who I confess I know little about.

I'm so pleased with this. ^_^ I've been saying pretty much since the Amazon series was revealed as Numenorean that the Estate should push out a book of what Tolkien wrote on Numenor, and this looks to be exactly that.

No word on specific contents, except that they're using the Tale of Years to provide structure for it. Looking through the books, I think the relevant texts go something like this:
  • "Lives of the Numenoreans" (NoME)
  • "The Land and Beasts of Numenor" (NoME) < These two were edited down to make the UT "Description".
  • "The Line of Elros" (UT)
  • "The Mariner's Wife" (UT)
  • Portions of "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" (UT) and "Of the Rings of Power" (Silm), and probably bits of Appendix A (LotR) too.
  • "Akallabeth" (Silm)

Whether they could also work in parts of "The Lost Road" and "The Notion Club Papers" is a bit more difficult; Fall of Gondolin managed by presenting the 1917 Fall entirely separately, but this sounds a bit more cohesive. We shall have to wait and see.

(And the timing is pretty good here - it's spot on for people to finish the first series of Amazon's Rings of Power, and want to read "the book it came from".)

hS
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:01 AM   #2
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I'm quite on board with additional material on Númenor, as long as it comes from the Professor himself.
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Old 06-22-2022, 02:06 PM   #3
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And here's how it is being marketed. "New J.R.R. Tolkien Book Set in Rings of Power Timeline Announced."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainm...31b2550fab3aa1
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Old 06-22-2022, 02:43 PM   #4
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As if we needed a bloody Amazon tie-in to bait the hook.
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Old 06-22-2022, 03:36 PM   #5
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I am excited to read in depth about Miriel and Phary.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:45 PM   #6
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As if we needed a bloody Amazon tie-in to bait the hook.
Thing is... I feel like people who would be super pleased to read this book are unlikely to be super pleased by the series, and vice versa.
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Old 06-23-2022, 01:42 AM   #7
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Thing is... I feel like people who would be super pleased to read this book are unlikely to be super pleased by the series, and vice versa.
I feel that's a bit harsh. How many people got deep into Middle-earth on the back of the movies? I don't think I started collecting HoME until after the trilogy was complete, and Fall of Numenor will probably be less scholarly than that.

Particularly if they centre it on "Aldarion & Erendis". Having an actual narrative in there, with a detail level closer to LotR than Silm, is likely to snag a lot more readers than HoME did. The Estate has known this for a while - that's why they pushed Children of Hurin so hard.

They've also got potential to snag people who read LotR and Hobbit, but were put off by the Silm and avoided things with "Unfinished" and "History of" in the title. I suspect that sort of reader are a large part of Amazon's target market too - it's not like they were ever going to be prioritising people who know the difference between LaCE and the Shibboleth!

This is a very sensible move by the Estate, and honestly, if Christopher had lived longer I think "Numenor book" would have been the natural follow-up to the Great Tales for him too.

(Next on my wishlist for illustrated releases: "The Line of Kings", collecting all the Third Age material prior to The Hobbit, and a reader's edition of the Book of Lost Tales. I can dream...!)

hS
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Old 06-23-2022, 03:50 AM   #8
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How many people got deep into Middle-earth on the back of the movies?
A good question. I've always been doubtful of the films' ability in the end to inspire an appreciation for the books, but I personally can't say one way or the other.

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Particularly if they centre it on "Aldarion & Erendis". Having an actual narrative in there, with a detail level closer to LotR than Silm, is likely to snag a lot more readers than HoME did. The Estate has known this for a while - that's why they pushed Children of Hurin so hard.
PJ's films, flawed as they were (in my eyes, at least), did display a basic respect for Tolkien and the spirit of what he created. I have no belief Amazon is concerned with that.

The question then becomes, will the series be so far departed from its source material that writings produced over 50 years ago will have any resonance to those "introduced" to Tolkien there?
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Old 06-23-2022, 06:44 AM   #9
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My concern is a bit different. While I have the same reservations about Rings of Power that others are voicing, from a "business" perspective I understand publisher's (and author's) incentive to link Fall of Numenor to the Amazon series.

My concern is that Fall of Numenor will merely compile and rehash what has already been published in the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, HoME and NoME. While it may be nice to have the material assembled together in one place (particularly for those who do not wish to trudge through 12 volumes of HoME), a lack of any coherent narrative, like Children of Hurin as opposed to Fall of Gondolin for example, would be disappointing, at least to me.
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Old 06-23-2022, 09:27 AM   #10
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PJ's films, flawed as they were (in my eyes, at least), did display a basic respect for Tolkien and the spirit of what he created. I have no belief Amazon is concerned with that.
Did you ever run into Philosopher@Large/Bellatrys back in the day? Her complaint about the Jackson movies was in part exactly this - "I walked away speechless from ROTK-M, but not from awe, I fear. More like sick with horror at this travesty, this "Triumph of Death" played out on the screen, being hailed as faithful to the spirit of the books and indeed superior to the texts." I've archived her commentaries if you feel like reminding yourself how much some people despised the Jackson movies.

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My concern is that Fall of Numenor will merely compile and rehash what has already been published in the Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, HoME and NoME. While it may be nice to have the material assembled together in one place (particularly for those who do not wish to trudge through 12 volumes of HoME), a lack of any coherent narrative, like Children of Hurin as opposed to Fall of Gondolin for example, would be disappointing, at least to me.
That's the stated goal of the book, though: "Edited by well-known Tolkien expert Brian Sibley, the book collects together J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings of 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 release says it's being structured using the Tale of Years. I guess it'll be something like the Annals from various parts of HoME, with some years or periods being skimmed over, and others going full narrative (Aldarion). So not like any of the three Great Tales, but something different again.

hS
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Old 06-23-2022, 06:08 PM   #11
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That's the stated goal of the book, though: "Edited by well-known Tolkien expert Brian Sibley, the book collects together J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings of 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."
I think it's those introductions which will make or break the book - and the advertisement. Because, besides them, it sounds like there is no new info in this book, it is just a rehash of already published material, just organized differently. Convenient, but not new. And I still maintain that people who did not find the various posthumously published works to their taste will still not find them so no mater what is written on the cover, and people who will expect this to be a written version of the Amazon show will be sorely disappointed... There's nothing wrong with drawing a line somewhere in the Tolkien library as "not your cup of tea", I know where my line lies, but I think it's a case of the apple rolling so far from the tree that the other apples won't taste alike, and it's misleading to sell them in the same barrel. But who knows, if I am proven wrong and we will find avid Tolkien readers who got into the books via the show and Aldarion and Erendis - I will only be glad to find myself mistaken.
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Old 06-24-2022, 09:45 AM   #12
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This is nothing more than a repackaging of previously-published material. It appears to be a HarperCollins initiative, and no unpublished manuscripts are involved.
I also expect that "Lives of the Numenoreans" and other NoME material will not be included, simply because it's too abstruse and hardcore.

The one silver lining from what to me looks like a quick cash-grab, is that the more people who read what Tolkien actually wrote about the Second Age - and presumably the target audience is potential Amazon viewers - the more will realize how much the TV show has absolutely nothing to do with it.
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Old 06-24-2022, 05:41 PM   #13
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The one silver lining from what to me looks like a quick cash-grab, is that the more people who read what Tolkien actually wrote about the Second Age - and presumably the target audience is potential Amazon viewers - the more will realize how much the TV show has absolutely nothing to do with it.
I think it depends on whether the individual's first exposure to Tolkien was on film, or in print.

Tolkien had a distinctive writing style, of which I am highly enamored. His phrasing and word choice has always been one of the things I enjoy most when reading him. It could be seen as rather archaic to the modern reader, though. I can picture a first-time reader, weaned on the films, becoming bored pretty quickly.
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