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File talk:J.R.R. Tolkien - Gondolin and the Vale of Tumladen.jpg

1928. . . Tolkien wrote The Fall of Gondolin around that time (or not long before), didn't he? The article says 1917, but I don't think he wrote the whole thing at that time, just the early ideas. Anyway, in the the Fall, there is the Main (west) Gate, but the attack is carried primarily against the North Gate. If you read it closely, there is also a mention of a South Gate (it is mentioned only once, and does not play into the story in any way). This image appears only to show one gate, though it also seems to be a brief sketch. You practically change the whole tale if you eliminate the North gate. In Fonstad's Atlas of Middle-earth, she read the Tales thoroughly, but apparently missed the mention of the South Gate (which probably means there's an East Gate as well). This idea appears to be bad strategy for a "Hidden City" (in the earlier drafts Morgoth knew far more about it than in later ones), and was written early. One extra gate is reasonable, but as there have been no other full tales, we cannot be sure it is "final intent". Is this a brief sketch, and does not actually reflect on his idea of Gondolin prominently? --Narfil Palùrfalas 21:24, 22 November 2006 (EST)

Er... what I can tell you is that the textual history is different than that. The Fall of Gondolin, the finished version printed in The Book of Lost Tales Volume II, was done by 1920, which is when Tolkien read it at Exeter College. The very first draft was made in 1917, and he revised it a few times before reading it (I get this information from the textual history given at the beginning of the Fall in BoLT II). 1928 was about the time that Tolkien was concentrating on the Lays, and beginning the Quenta—the first version of the Silmarillion, in which many of the tales in the legendarium were starting to look rather like their final forms. The only things pertaining to Gondolin that he appeared to write at that time were a soon-abandoned Lay, an attempt to write out the story once more (as Of Turlin and the Exiles of Gondolin), and the story as it would appear in the Quenta (in the "Sketch of the Mythology"). Unless I missed something from my looking through these books (HoMe II-IV), the finished Fall of Gondolin, that I assume you are speaking of, was very much a Lost Tale, and written and completed quite early in the history of the legendarium, along with all the other Lost Tales. So it is likely that the "South Gate" mentioned in that story disappeared in Tolkien's later sketches and attempts to write the story at the time he made this drawing.
Also, unless you and Tolkien define "brief sketch" rather differently than I do, I don't think it could have been one. Look at the lines on the mountain on the foreground, for instance. That doesn't take five minutes. Tolkien appeared to draw lightly, thus giving his art a sketchy style, but I doubt that this picture was completed extremely quickly or had little thought put into it. —Tar-Telperien 23:52, 22 November 2006 (EST)