Unfinished Tales : Part One : The First Age : I. Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin

According to the bibliographic notes, that the "Fall of Gondolin" was the first story Tolkien wrote in this saga, putting it down during sick leave while in the Army.  We've read elements of this story already before, a theme that will remain consistent likely through this whole book.  Some elements will be new, others may contradict, as starting with the Silmarillion everything we're reading going forward is based on manuscripts and notes, not yet gone through a cohesive editing process by their creator to match for consistency.

Tuor, son of Huor, was born with a Destiny hanging over his head just like his father before him.  Of men, raised by elves.  Captured and held thrall to the Easterlings for years, before making good his escape and seeking the Gate of the Noldor.  This story is one of the guiding hand of Fate on the life of a Bard.  A Doom hangs over him, one that he is not to fulfill ahead of time, so unknowing of the forces that steer him he tallies until some feeling calls him to action.

All he knows is that he seeks the Gate of the Noldor, hidden from Elves and Men alike, and that he seeks Turgon, High King of the Noldor, within Gondolin.  But, not yet.

First he is called forth by Ulmo, and given a charge and directed to seek out Turgon, that when he needs words they will be there for him to speak.  He is to be guided by "the last mariner of the last ship that shall seek into the West."  So Tuor meets Voronwe, and the two of them seek out the Gate of the Noldor.

Much of their journey goes with ease, Ulmo's protection on them from most enemies, though they must choose to turn away from conflict lest they bring enemies to the Gate with them.  Of unique note is the brief meeting with Turin, son of Hurin, witnessing his grief before he leaves in great haste.

They do come to the Gate, and on entrance are taken in by the guards, whom seem unimpressed and doubtful of their "guests" likelihood of survival.  That is, until Tuor speaks, and as Ulmo promised, the words that are needed comes, and the Elves are left in awe, and so Tuor gains his entrance.

Out of everything here, what stands out to me is that we get the impressions of the grace of the Eldar on those who are not elves.  We know they are touched with a grace, but in the Silmarillion the stories are told mostly from the point of view of the elves themselves, and in the Lord of the Rings the focus on the virtue imparted by the light is lessened, as perhaps are some of the elves themselves.

The rest of the story has that niggling feeling of deja vu, knowing I've read this story or almost this story before.  I cannot remember exactly which chapter it took place in, but I remember the elements, Ulmo's directive, the Tuor speaking words that earn him admittance to Gondolin, and more.  It will be interesting going forward to see how this feeling continues and hopefully I'll be able to better devote time to comparison.


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