It’s a great time to be a fantasy nerd. Between “Game of Thrones” making a resurgence through prequels / spin-offs to the flagship HBO series – most recently taking the form of a Jon Snow series – and now “The Lord of the Rings” branching off into a spin-off series of its own, viewers can get their fantasy fill from whichever major streaming service they happen to be subscribed to. The one potential downside of this embarrassment of riches, however, stems from the fact that it can get pretty tricky to keep up with all this extra material!
“House of the Dragon,” for instance, is based on a much lesser-known novel by original author George RR Martin, while the Amazon “Lord of the Rings” series “The Rings of Power” isn’t even based on an actual book. The creative team is borrowing loosely from the appendices of JRR Tolkien’s “The Return of the King,” which plays out like summarized historical bullet points of past events in Middle-earth set during the Second Age.
Luckily, fellow lore obsessives now have a new book to help them prepare for “The Rings of Power.” For the first time, readers will have the opportunity to purchase Tolkien’s retelling of the Second Age of Middle-earth in one single volume, according to The Bookseller. Titled “The Fall of Númenor,” the novel has been edited by writer and Tolkien expert Brian Sibley and comes complete with illustrations from longtime “The Lord of the Rings” artist Alan Lee.
What is The Fall of Númenor?
Where “The Lord of the Rings” focused on the villain Sauron’s reemergence as an existential threat to Middle-earth, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” will largely concern itself with the very beginnings of the Dark Lord’s rise. That entails the forging of his many Rings, his deception of humanity, and the subsequent fall of the most powerful kingdom in the world – Númenor, the island nation that the ancestors of Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortensen in “The Lord of the Rings” ) once called home.
“The Fall of Númenor” will cover all of this extensive history and more, as detailed in the synopsis of the upcoming collection:
JRR Tolkien famously described the Second Age of Middle-earth as a “dark age, and not very much of its history is (or need to be) told.” And for many years readers would need to be content with the tantalizing glimpses of it found within the pages of The Lord of the Rings and its appendices, including the forging of the Rings of Power, the building of the Barad-dûr and the rise of Sauron …
Now, adhering to the timeline of “The Tale of Years” in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, editor Brian Sibley has assembled into one comprehensive volume a new chronicle of the Second Age of Middle-earth, told substantially in the words of JRR Tolkien from the various published texts, with new illustrations in watercolor and pencil by the doyen of Tolkien art, Alan Lee.
“The Fall of Númenor” will publish in November of 2022.