J.R.R. Tolkien: The Fall of Númenor (HarperCollins Publishers 2022)
After the Great Battle, in which Melkor, the greatest evil, was defeated, the earth shook and Beleriand sank into the sea, and the lands to the east of it are became known as Middle-Earth. From then on, the elves could return to the West, to Valinor, and the men who were loyal to the elves were richly rewarded by the gods: they received greater wisdom, strength and longer life, as well as a new home between Middle-Earth and Valinor, which was called Andor, the Land of Gift, but the elves called it Númenor. However, in the case of people, the reward is often more dangerous than the punishment…
Among the stories about Númenor, the tale of Aldarion and Erendis stands out. Aldarion was born in the age when the kings from the line of Elros ruled the realm in all their glory and wisdom, and even before he ascended the throne, he accomplished great things, as he was a talented ship captain and a friend of the elves. He established many garrisons in Middle-Earth that would play an important role in the expansion of Númenor. However, the Sea always claimed a large part of his heart, which she shared with Erendis, who suffered from it. The relationship between the two of them – they didn’t even know to what extent – was influenced by the Darkness that fell over Middle-Earth and began to expand again. This is a turning point in the history of Númenor, culminating in the betrayal of the evil king Ar-Pharazôn, whom Sauron had ensnared to destroy the men he hated and their empire. The Second Age ends with the fall of Númenor, and the Third Age begins with the battle against Sauron, as it will also end with.
The Fall of Númenor tries to collect all of Tolkien’s posthumously published writings about the Second Age, arranged in a single volume. So far, we could read about the stories in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and in the books of The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien. Now, however, we can hold this monumental story in our hands and as an independent ‘novel’, which rivals – in weight – and explains the events of The Lord of the Rings, it is also significant in itself as a literary work. For me, the best thing in Tolkien’s world were never the fantastic elements, but the human drama and the interweaving of destinies. Like all his writings, it is permeated with reflection on the passage of time. For men, whether brave or treacherous, wise or foolish, are still mortal. I recommend this book to all those who have read The Lord of the Rings and have not found a similarly colossal story to match it since.