TL;DR: There are events interleaved between the three, but roughly speaking Beren and Lúthien precedes The Children of Húrin which precedes The Fall of Gondolin.
Throughout his life, Tolkien worked and reworked parts of his legendarium, including aspects of its internal chronology. The stories of the ‘First Age’ first began to be written down in 1916 (as Tolkien recovered from trench fever contracted in the Battle of the Somme), and he continued to make new versions of these stories until his death in 1973. So there is no single chronology, but rather an evolving series of chronologies.
The earliest Annals of Beleriand
Starting in the 1930s, Tolkien worked on a set of ‘annals’ of the First Age. The first version of this text, the ‘Earliest Annals of Beleriand’, was published by Christopher Tolkien in The Shaping of Middle-Earth:
The earliest Annals of Beleriand (‘AB’) are themselves found in two versions, which I shall call AB I and AB II. AB I is a complete text to the end of the First Age; AB II is quite brief, and though it begins as a fair copy of the much-emended opening of I it soon becomes strongly divergent. In this chapter I give both texts separately and in their entirety, and in what follows I refer only to the earlier, AB I.
This is a good, clear manuscript, but the style suggests very rapid composition. For much of its length the entries are in the present tense and often staccato, even with such expressions as ‘the Orcs got between them’ (annal 172), though by subsequent small expansions and alterations here and there my father slightly modified this character. I think that his primary intention at this time was the consolidation of the historical structure in its internal relations and chronology—the Annals began, perhaps, in parallel with the Quenta as a convenient way of driving abreast, and keeping track of, the different elements in the ever more complex narrative web. Nonetheless major new developments enter here.
Christopher Tolkien (1986). The Shaping of Middle-earth, p. 294. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
In the quote that follows I’ve freely edited the entries from AB I relevant to the three stories you asked about. See The Shaping of Middle-earth for the full text. Dates are in ‘Years of the Sun’, that is, from the creation of the Moon and the Sun by the Valar. Some of the names from this stage of development of the mythology may be unfamiliar to readers who have only read The Silmarillion: ‘Thû’ is Sauron, ‘Flinding’ is Gwindor, ‘Glómund’ is Glaurung, the ‘Nauglafring’ is the Nauglamir, and the ‘Gnomes’ are the Noldor.
132 Beren, after named the One-handed, son of Barahir, born.
141 Húrin the Steadfast, son of Gumlin, born, Handir son of Hundor son of Haleth born.
144 Huor Húrin’s brother born.
145 Morwen Elfsheen, daughter of Baragund, born.
150 Rían daughter of Belegund, mother of Tuor, born.
155 Battle of Sudden Fire. Haleth and Húrin bought into the secret value of Gondolin, whereof of those outside none yet knew.
160 Barahir was betrayed by Gorlim, and all his company is slain by the Orcs save Beren who was hunting alone. Beren pursues the Orcs and slays his father’s slayer and retakes the ring which Felagund gave to Barahir. Beren becomes a solitary outlaw.
163–4 The great geste of Beren and Lúthien. King Felagund of Nargothrond dies in Tolsirion in the dungeons of Thû. Lúthien and Huan overthrow Thû. Beren and Lúthien go to Angband and recover a Silmaril. Carcharoth the great wolf of Angband with the Silmaril in his belly bursts into Doriath. Beren and the hound Huan are slain by Carcharoth, but Huan slays Carcharoth and the Silmaril is regained. Beren was recalled from the dead by Lúthien and dwelt with her in the Land of Seven Rivers, Ossiriand.
164 Húrin weds Morwen.
165 Túrin son of Húrin born in winter with sad, omens.
167 Dior the Beautiful born to Beren and Lúthien in Ossiriand.
172 Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Huor fell pierced with a venomed arrow. Húrin was taken alive by Morgoth’s command and dragged to Angband where Morgoth cursed him and his kin, and because he would. not reveal where Turgon was gone chained him with enchanted sight on Thangorodrim to see the evil that befell his wife and children. Rían sought for Huor, for no tidings came to Hithlum of the battle, and her child Tuor son of Huor was norn to her in the wild. He was taken to nurture by Dark-elves, but Rían went to the Mound of Slain and laid her down to die there.
173 Nienor the sorrowful, daughter of Húrin and Morwen, was born in Hithlum. Tuor grew up wild in the woods among fugitive Elves nigh the shores of Mithrim, but Morwen sent Túrin to Doriath begging for Thingol’s fostering and aid.
184 Túrin slays Orgof, kinsman of the royal house, and flees from Thingol’s court.
187 Túrin slays Beleg by misadventure.
190 Túrin healed of his madness by Ivrin’s well, and is brought at last by Flinding to Nargothrond.
195 Sack of Nargothrond. Túrin is deceived and spellbound by Glómund. Tuor was led out of Hithlum by a secret way under Ulmo’s guidance.
196 Tuor and Bronweg guided by Ulmo find Gondolin. Morwen and Nienor go to Nargothrond where they are spellbound by Glómund. Túrin found Nienor hunted by the Orcs. He names her Níniel, the tearful, since she knew not her name, and himself Turambar.
198 Túrin weds Nienor.
199 Glómund seeks out the dwellings of Túrin. Túrin slays him with Gurtholfin his sword, but falls aswoon beside him. Nienor finds him, but Glómund ere death releases her from the spell and declares her kindred. Nienor casts herself away over the waterfall. Túrin bids Gurtholfin slay him, and he dies. Húrin was released from Angband, bowed as with age, and sought for Morwen. Tuor weds Idril Celebrindal daughter of Turgon of Gondolin, and earns the secret hate of Meglin.
200 Here was born Eärendel the Bright, the star of the Two Kindreds, unto Tuor and Idril in Gondolin. Here was born also Elwing the White, fairest of women save Lúthien, unto Dior in Ossiriand. Húrin gathers men unto him. They find the treasure of Nargothrond and slay Mîm the Dwarf who had taken it to himself. The treasure is cursed. The treasure is brought to Thingol. But Húrin departs from Doriath with bitter words, but of his fate and of Morwen’s after no certain tidings are known.
201 Thingol employs the Dwarves to make the renowned Nauglafring, the Dwarf-necklace, whereon is hung the Silmaril.
202 Here the Dwarves invaded Doriath aided by treachery. Thingol was slain and the Thousand Caves sacked. Beren summoned by Melian overthrew the Dwarves at Sarn-Athra; the Nauglafring and the Silmaril he took. Lúthien wore the necklace and the Silmaril on her breast. Here Beren and Lúthien depart out of men’s knowledge and their deathday is not known; save that at night a messenger brought the necklace unto Dior in Doriath.
205 Here Dior fought the sons of Fëanor on the east marches of Doriath. but he was slain. The maiden Elwing was saved by faithful Elves and taken to Sirion’s mouth, and with them they took the jewel and the necklace.
207 The Orcs sacked Gondolin and destroyed the king and most of his people. Tuor slew Meglin. Tuor, Idril, and Eärendel escaped.
J. R. R. Tolkien (c. 1930). ‘The Earliest Annals of Beleriand’. In Christopher Tolkien (1986), The Shaping of Middle-earth, pp. 297–308, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
The later Annals of Beleriand
In 1937, following the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien prepared an incomplete version of the Silmarillion for submission to Allen & Unwin. This was not published, but Allen & Unwin requested another story about hobbits, and this became The Lord of the Rings. But in the course of revising the Silmarillion, Tolkien prepared a revised chronology, the ‘Later Annals of Beleriand’. This was published by Christopher Tolkien in The Lost Road.
In content AB 2 remains in general close to AB 1, but it is not only fuller in matter but also more finished in manner; the Annals of Beleriand was becoming an independent work, and less (as I described AB 1 in IV.294) a ‘consolidation of the historical structure in its internal relations and chronology’ in support of the Quenta—but it is still annalistic, retaining the introductory Here of the year-entries (derived from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), and lacking connection of motive between events. And since, most unhappily, my father abandoned the Grey Annals at the end of the story of Túrin, the conclusion of AB 2 contains the last account in the Annals tradition of the fourth (becoming the sixth*) century of the Sun and of the Great Battle. Both AV 2 and AB 2 only came to light very recently (I was not aware of their existence when The Silmarillion was prepared for publication).
Christopher Tolkien (1987). The Lost Road, pp. 137–8. New York: Ballantine.
* Tolkien twice revised the length of the siege of Angband, adding 100 years in AB 2, and another 200 years in the Grey Annals (see below).
But apart from the revisions to the dates, the differences from the ‘Earlier Annals’ (AB 1) are very small. Again, I’ve freely edited the annals to include only the events central to the three stories in the question.
232 Beren, after surnamed the One-handed, son of Barahir son of Bëor, was born.
241 Húrin the Steadfast, son of Gumlin son of Hador, was born in Hithlum.
244 Huor, brother of Húrin, was born.
245 Morwen Eledwen (Elfsheen) was born to Baragund. She was the fairest of all mortal maidens.
250 Rian, daughter of Belegund, mother of Tuor, was born.
255 Battle of Sudden Fire.
256 Haleth and Húrin hunting in Sirion’s vale came upon some of Turgon’s folk, and espied their secret entrance into the valley of Gondolin. But they were taken and brought before Turgon, and looked upon the hidden city, whereof of those outside none yet knew.
261 In Taur-na-Fuin Barahir made his lair; but Gorlim betrayed him, and
he was surprised and slain with all his company, save Beren only. Beren pursued the Orcs, and slew his father’s murderer, and regained the ring of Felagund. Beren became now a solitary outlaw.
263–4. Here began the renowned deeds of Beren and Lúthien Tinuviel, Thingol’s daughter, of Doriath.
264 Here King Felagund and Beren son of Barahir were emprisoned in Tol-na-Gaurhoth by Thu, and King Felagund was slain in combat with Draugluin the Werewolf; but Lúthien and Huan, the hound of Valinor, slew Draugluin and overthrew Thu, who fled to Taur-na-Fuin. Húrin son of Gumlin wedded Morwen.
265 Beren and Lúthien went unto Angband and took a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth. Carcharoth, the wolfwarden of the gate, bit off Beren’s hand, and with the Silmaril in his belly burst in madness into Doriath. Huan slew
Carcharoth and the Silmaril was regained, but Carcharoth slew both Huan and Beren. Beren was recalled from the Dead by Lúthien, and they passed from the knowledge of Men and Gnomes, and dwelt a while by the green waters of Ossiriand. In the winter of this year Túrin son of Húrin was born with sad omens.
267 Dior the Beautiful was born to Beren and Lúthien in Ossiriand.
272 Here was fought the Fourth Battle, Nirnaith Dirnoth, Unnumbered Tears. Huor fell pierced with a venomed arrow, but Húrin was taken alive by Morgoth’s command, and dragged to Angband. But Húrin would not reveal whither Turgon was gone, and Morgoth cursed him, and he was chained upon Thangorodrim; and Morgoth gave him sight to see the evil that befell his kindred in the world. No tidings came to Hithlum of the battle, wherefore Rian went forth, and her child Tuor was born to her in the wild. He was taken to nurture by Dark-elves, but Rian went to the Mound of Slain and laid her there and died.
273 Nienor the Sorrowful was born in Hithlum, daughter of Húrin and Morwen; but Morwen sent Túrin to Doriath, begging for Thingol’s fostering and aid.
284 Here Túrin slew Orgof, kinsman of Thingol, at the king’s board, and fled from Menegroth. He became an outlaw in the woods.
287 Tuor son of Huor came unto Hithlum seeking his kindred, but they were no more, and he lived as an outlaw in the woods about Mithrim.
289 Túrin slew Beleg by misadventure.
290 Túrin was healed of his madness at Ivrineithel, and was brought at last by Gwindor to Nargothrond.
295 Sack of Nargothrond. Túrin was deceived and bound in spell by Glómund. Tuor son of Huor departed from Hithlum by a secret way under the leading of Ulmo.
296 Here Tuor met the Gnome Bronweg at the mouths of Sirion. Ulmo himself appeared to Tuor in Nantathrin, and Tuor went thence up Sirion, and guided by Ulmo found the entrance to Gondolin. Morwen and Nienor go to Nargothrond where they are spellbound by Glómund. Turambar found Nienor hunted by Orcs. He named her Níniel the tearful, since she knew not her own name.
298 Turambar wedded Níniel.
299 Glómund sought out the dwelling of Túrin Turambar; but Túrin smote him mightily with Gurtholfin, and fell aswoon beside him. There Níniel found him; but Glomund ere death released her from spells and declared her kindred. Nienor cast herself over the waterfall. Túrin bade Gurtholfin slay him; and he died there. Húrin was released from Angband, and he was bowed as with great age; but he departed and sought for Morwen. Tuor wedded Idril Celebrindal, Turgon’s daughter, of Gondolin; and Meglin hated him.
300 Here was born Eärendel the Bright, star of the Two Kindreds, unto Tuor and Idril in Gondolin. In this year was born also Elwing the White, fairest of all women save Lúthien, unto Dior son of Beren in Ossiriand.
Húrin gathered men unto him, and they came to Nargothrond, and slew the dwarf Mîm, who had taken the treasure unto himself. But Mîm cursed the treasure. Húrin brought the gold to Thingol in Doriath, but he departed thence again with bitter words, and of his fate and the fate of Morwen thereafter no sure tidings were ever heard.
301 Thingol employed Dwarvish craftsmen; and they made the renowned Nauglamir, the Dwarf-necklace, whereon was hung the Silmaril.
302 Here the Dwarves invaded Doriath; and they came within by treachery. Thingol was slain and the Thousand Caves were plundered. Beren and the Green-elves overthrew the Dwarves. Beren took the Nauglamir and the Silmaril. Lúthien wore the Silmaril upon her breast. Dior their son ruled over the remnants of the Elves of Doriath.
303 Here Beren and Lúthien departed out of the knowledge of Elves and Men, and their deathday is not known; but at night a messenger brought the necklace to Dior.
306 Here Dior Thingol’s heir fought the sons of Fëanor on the east marches of Doriath, but he was slain.
307 The Orcs sacked Gondolin, and destroyed King Turgon and most of his people. Tuor slew Meglin. Tuor escaped with Idril and Eärendel by a secret way devised before by Idril.
J. R. R. Tolkien (c. 1937). ‘The Later Annals of Beleriand’. In Christopher Tolkien (1987), The Lost Road, pp. 145–156, New York: Ballantine.
The Grey Annals
In the 1950s Tolkien revised the chronology again, producing a text called ‘The Grey Annals’, which Christopher Tolkien published in The War of the Jewels:
When my father turned again, in 1950–1, to the Matter of the Elder Days after the completion of The Lord of the Rings, he began new work on the Annals by taking up the AV 2 and AB 2 manuscripts from some 15 years earlier and using them as vehicles for revision and new writing. In the case of AV 2, correction of the old text was limited to the opening annals, and the beginnings of a new version written on the blank verso pages of this manuscript likewise petered out very quickly, so that there was no need to take much account of this preliminary work (X.47). In AB 2, on the other hand, the preparatory stages were much more extensive and substantial.
Christopher Tolkien (1994). The War of the Jewels, pp. 51–102. London: HarperCollins.
The Grey Annals contain much more narrative than the Annals of Beleriand; accordingly I have been much severer in editing them.
432 Beren son of Barahir son of Bëor was born in Dorthonion, who was after named the One-handed.
441 Húrin the Steadfast son of Galion son of Hador was born in Hithlum.
443 Morwen Eledwen, the Elf-sheen, was born, daughter of Baragund. She was the fairest of all mortal maidens of the Elder Days.
444 Huor brother of Húrin was born.
450 Rían daughter of Belegund, mother of Tuor the Blessed, was born.
455 Battle of Sudden Flame.
456 It is said that at this time Húrin and Huor went both to battle with the Orcs. And being with a company that was cut off from the rest, they were pursued to the ford of Brithiach; and there they would have been taken or slain, but for the power of Ulmo, which was still strong in Sirion. Therefore a mist arose from the river and hid them from their enemies, and they escaped into Dimbar, and wandered in the hills beneath the sheer walls of the Crisaegrim. There Thorondor espied them, and sent two Eagles that took them and bore them up and brought them beyond the mountains to the secret vale of Tumladen and the hidden city of Gondolin, which no man else had yet seen.
460 Sauron ensnared Gorlim by a phantom of his wife Eilinel, so that he betrayed the hidings of Barahir. Thus at last the outlaws were surrounded and all slain, save Beren son of Barahir. Then Beren pursued the Orcs that had slain his father, and coming upon their camp, at Rivil’s Well above Serech, he entered it and slew the captain even as he boasted that he was the slayer of Barahir; and he snatched from him the hand of Barahir that had been cut off as a token for Sauron. Thus he regained the Ring of Felagund that his father had worn. Thereafter escaping from the Orcs Beren dwelt still in those lands as a solitary outlaw for four years.
464 In this year in the spring Húrin of the House of Hador wedded Morwen Elfsheen of the people of Bëor. In this year at the midsummer Beren son of Barahir met Lúthien Thingol’s daughter in the forest of Neldoreth. Túrin son of Húrin was born in Dor Lomin.
465 Felagund and Beren and their companions went forth, and waylaying a company of Orcs beyond the Taiglin they passed towards Tol-in-Gaurhoth, disguised as soldiers of Morgoth. There they were questioned and laid bare by Sauron, and cast into a pit. Lúthien and Húan came to the bridge that led to Sauron’s isle, and Lúthien sang a song of Doriath. Then the towers of Sauron trembled, and he sent forth Draugluin the greatest of his werewolves. But Húan slew Draugluin, and when Sauron himself came forth in wolf-hame he overthrew him.
466 Beren and Lúthien came into the dreadful realm of Morgoth, and even as he watched her dancing, held as in a spell by her beauty, she set a deep slumber upon all the hall, and at last Morgoth himself was overcome and fell from his seat into a blind sleep, but the Iron Crown rolled from his head. Beren and Lúthien fled, but at the gates they found Carcharoth once more awake, and Beren would daunt the wolf with the hand that held the Silmaril. But Carcharoth seized the hand and bit it off, and straightway the Silmaril burned him, and madness seized him and he fled away, and by the power of the Silmaril burst into Doriath. And Carcharoth hurt Beren to the death, but Húan slew him and then died. From the belly of the Wolf Mablung cut the Jewel and Beren took it and gave it to Thingol, and said ‘Now the Quest is achieved’, and afterwards spoke no more.
469 In this year, it hath been said, Beren and Lúthien returned to the world, for a while.
470 In this year was the birth of Dior Aranel the Beautiful.
471 In this year Huor wedded Rían daughter of Belegund.
472 Here at midsummer was fought the Fifth Battle Nirnaeth Arnediad, Unnumbered Tears. Huor fell pierced with a venomed arrow in the eye. Húrin they took alive at last, by the command of Morgoth, and binding him they dragged him to Angband with mockery. Húrin was brought before Morgoth, and defied him; and he was chained and set in torment. Then Morgoth cursed Húrin and Morwen and their offspring and set a doom upon them of sorrow and darkness; and taking Húrin from prison he set him in a chair of stone upon a high place of Thangorodrim. Rían wife of Huor hearing no tidings of her lord went forth into the wild, and there gave birth to Tuor her son; and he was taken to foster by Annael of the Grey-elves of Mithrim. But Rían went to Haud-in-nDengin and laid her there and died.
473 In the beginning of this year was born to Morwen Elfsheen a maid-child, daughter of Húrin; and she was named Niënor, which is Mourning. And at about this time Túrin came through great perils to Doriath and was there received by Thingol, who took him to his own fostering.
484 Túrin smote Orgof with a cup and slew him at the king’s board. Then fearing the anger of Thingol he fled, and became an outlaw in the woods.
488 Here Tuor son of Huor, being now sixteen years of age, seeking to escape from Dorlomin, was made captive and enslaved by Lorgan chief of the Easterlings; and he endured thraldom for three years, ere he escaped and became an outlaw in the hills of Mithrim.
489 Túrin was captured by Orcs and carried towards Angband. Beleg laboured to unloose Túrin’s fetters but Túrin, dreaming that he was surrounded by Orcs that would torment him, seized Beleg’s sword and slew him ere he knew him. Gwindor buried Beleg, and led Túrin away, for a dumb madness of grief was on him.
490 Through great perils Gwindor led Túrin towards Nargothrond, and they came to the pools of Ivrin, and there Túrin wept and was healed of his madness. Gwindor and Túrin came at last to Nargothrond, and were admitted.
495 Sack of Nargothrond. Túrin fell under the dreadful spell of the dragon Glaurung. In this same year Tuor son of Huor was led by the sendings of Ulmo to a secret way that led from Mithrim.
496 Here Tuor son of Huor met Bronwe of the Noldor at the mouths of Sirion. Now at Ulmo’s command he went up Sirion, and by the power that Ulmo set upon them Tuor and Bronwe found the guarded entrance to Gondolin. Morwen and Niënor came to Nargothrond where they were waylaid by Glaurung. Of Morwen no sure tidings came ever to Doriath after, but Niënor looked into the eyes of Glaurung and he laid on her a spell of utter darkness and forgetfulness, so that she could remember nothing that had ever befallen her. [Túrin] Turambar found her, and said: ‘I will call thee Níniel (tear-maiden).’
498 In the spring of this year Turambar vowed that he would now wed her, or go back to war in the wild. And Níniel took him with joy, and they were wedded at the mid-summer.
499 Glaurung came to the borders of Brethil, and Turambar thrust Gurthang into the soft belly of the Worm, even up to the hilts. Thereupon Glaurung opened his eyes and looked upon Turambar with such malice, that it smote him as a blow; and he lay as one dead, and his sword was beneath him. Niënor came to Turambar and called his name in vain. Thereat Glaurung stirred for the last time ere he died, and he spoke with his last breath saying: ‘Hail, Niënor daughter of Húrin. This is thy brother! Have joy of your meeting, and know him: Túrin son of Húrin, treacherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin. And to thee worst of all, as now thou shalt feel!’ Then Glaurung died, and the veil of his malice was taken from her, and she remembered all her life; and she sat as one stunned with horror and anguish. Then she leapt up and ran like a hunted deer, and came to Cabed-en-Aras, and there cast herself over the brink, and was lost in the wild water. And Túrin cursed the place, and he drew forth his sword, that now alone remained to him of all his possessions, and he said: ‘Hail Gurthang! No lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee. From no blood wilt thou shrink. Wilt thou therefore take Túrin Turambar, wilt thou slay me swiftly?’ And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: ‘Yea, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.’ Then Túrin set the hilts upon the ground, and cast himself upon the point of Gurthang, and the black blade took his life.
J. R. R. Tolkien (c. 1952). ‘The Grey Annals’. In Christopher Tolkien (1994), The War of the Jewels, pp. 51–102, London: HarperCollins.
The Grey Annals end here, with the death of Túrin. But the revised chronology continues in a much terser typescript, ‘The Tale of Years’, also published in The War of the Jewels:
501 Húrin is released from captivity. He goes to Nargothrond and seizes the treasure of Glaurung. He takes the treasure to Menegroth and casts it at the feet of Thingol.
502 The Nauglamir is wrought of the treasure of Glaurung, and the Silmaril is hung thereon. Thingol quarrels with the Dwarves who had wrought for him the Necklace.
503 The Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod invade Doriath. King Elu Thingol is slain and his realm ended. Melian escapes and carries away the Nauglamir and the Silmaril, and brings them to Beren and Lúthien. In this year, or according to others in the year before, Tuor wedded Idril Celebrindal Turgon’s daughter of Gondolin; and in the spring of the year after was born in Gondolin Eärendil Halfelven. In the autumn of this year a messenger brought by night the Silmaril to Dior in Doriath.
503 Elwing the White daughter of Dior born in Ossiriand.
504 Dior returns to Doriath, and with the power of the Silmaril restores it; but Melian departed to Valinor. Dior now publicly wore the Nauglamir and the Jewel.
506–7 At Yule Dior fought the sons of Fëanor on the east marches of Doriath, and was slain. Elwing escaped to Ossir with the Necklace and the Jewel. Thence she fled to the Havens of Sirion.
510 Midsummer. Assault and sack of Gondolin, owing to treachery of Maeglin who revealed where it lay.
511 Exiles of Gondolin (Tuor, Idril and Eärendil &c.) reach Sirion, which now prospers in the power of the Silmaril.
J. R. R. Tolkien (c. 1952). ‘The Tale of Years’. In Christopher Tolkien (1994), The War of the Jewels, pp. 350–352, London: HarperCollins.
It was characteristic of Tolkien’s many revisions of the story of the Silmarils, that as he came to the ‘Fall of Gondolin’ he could go no further. Thus the only complete version of this story is the very first version,
a very difficult manuscript contained in two school exercise-books, where the title of the tale is ‘Tuor and the Exiles of Condolin (which bringeth in the great tale of Earendel)’ … This manuscript is (or rather, was) the original text of the tale, dating from 1916–17.
Christopher Tolkien (1984). The Book of Lost Tales 2, p. 146. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Perhaps the memories of 1916–17 were simply too difficult for Tolkien to revisit. A consequence of this is that the only complete version of the story comes from the earliest stratum of the mythology, when Elves were ‘Gnomes’ and Morgoth was ‘Melko’, meaning that Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay faced great difficulties in translating it into the post-Lord of the Rings version of the mythology for inclusion in the published Silmarillion.