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The Thain's Book
An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor


Map of Gondolin
Important Dates
Names & Etymology
Gondolin by John Howe
Gondolin John HoweGondolin was a hidden realm of the Elves during the First Age. The beautiful and thriving city was ruled by Turgon for four centuries until its location was revealed to Morgoth through the treachery of Turgon's nephew Maeglin. Morgoth's forces destroyed Gondolin - the last of the great realms of Beleriand to fall. But Turgon's grandson Earendil survived and it was he who convinced the Valar to defeat Morgoth in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age.

Geography (see also the map below):

Gondolin was located on the northern border of Beleriand in northwestern Middle-earth. West of Gondolin was the upper course of the great river Sirion. East of Gondolin were the highlands of Dorthonion which became a place of evil called Taur-nu-Fuin. To the north were the plains of Ard-galen that later became Anfauglith, the great desert before the gates of Morgoth's stronghold Angband.

Gondolin was in the hidden valley of Tumladen. The Encircling Mountains formed a tall, nearly impenetrable ring around the valley. The outer faces of the mountains were sheer cliffs. In the north was a high, narrow pass called the Eagles' Cleft overlooking a deep abyss.

In the south were the peaks of the Crissaegrim where Thorondor and the Great Eagles had their eyries. South of the Crissaegrim was the region of Dimbar. The Pass of Anach from Dorthonion was between the Crissaegrim and the Ered Gorgoroth.

The location of Gondolin was kept secret with the aid of the Great Eagles who slew or drove away any of Morgoth's servants who came near. The power of the Vala Ulmo, Lord of Waters, was also at work in the Vale of Sirion.

A dried-up tributary of the Sirion formed the Hidden Way into Gondolin. The Dry River ran north and then east from the Sirion to the foot of the Encircling Mountains. There was a tunnel running eastward under the mountains that had been carved by the river in ancient times when the valley of Tumladen had been filled by a lake.

At the end of the tunnel was Orfalch Echor, a long ravine that ran eastward and sloped upwards to the edge of the valley of Tumladen. The sides of the ravine were sheer and high, and for most of the way only a sliver of sky could be seen above. There was a paved road through the ravine with long slopes and flights of stairs.

The Seven Gates of Gondolin barred the Orfalch Echor. The First Gate was the Gate of Wood; the Second Gate was the Gate of Stone; the Third Gate was the Gate of Bronze; the Fourth Gate was the Gate of Writhen Iron; the Fifth Gate was the Gate of Silver; the Sixth Gate was the Golden Gate; and the Seventh Gate was the Gate of Steel or the Great Gate.

A person passing through the gates could not turn back and there was no escape from the Orfalch Echor. The distances between the gates varied and each gate was guarded.

Before the First Gate was a cavern where the Outer Guard was stationed. A straight passage then led to an archway barred by the wooden portcullis of the First Gate. Beyond, the steep road of slopes and stairs was lined with lamps.

The Second Gate was a single dark polished stone which turned on a pivot to open. A single white lamp hung above the arch. In the courtyard behind the Gate of Stone there were armed guards dressed in grey. It was only a short distance to the next gate.

The Third Gate had a twofold door with bronze plates and shields engraved with signs and figures. Above the Gate of Bronze were three square towers with copper roofs. The gate was lit by red lamps. The guards behind the Gate of Bronze were mainly Sindarin Elves from Nevrast. They wore mail and carried red axes. The road between the Third and Fourth Gates was the steepest and most difficult to climb.

The Fourth Gate was made of black iron. Upon it were four towers, and in the center was an iron sculpture of Thorondor, King of the Eagles. The Gate of Writhen Iron had three layers of grilles wrought with the figures of intertwined trees. The gate had no lamps, but daylight could be seen through the branches and roots of the iron grilles.

The Iron Gate was near the crest of the Encircling Mountains and beyond it the ravine of Orfalch Echor was wider and the sides were not as sheer. The Iron Guards wore black mantles and mail and carried long black shields and their helmets had visors shaped like eagles' beaks. The road to the next gate was nearly level and it was lined with white flowers called uilos or Evermind.

The Fifth Gate had a low, broad marble wall topped with a silver trellis and five marble globes. On the center globe was a sculpture of Telperion, one of the Two Trees of Valinor, made of silver with green malachite and pearl flowers. The gate itself was circular and was made of silver and pearl in the image of the Moon.

White-robed archers stood atop the Gate of Silver, and inside the gate there were 200 more archers wearing silver mail and white-crested helmets. The courtyard was paved with white and green marble. There was a straight white road bordered by a grassy verge and more uilos as well as small golden flowers.

The Sixth Gate was similar to the Gate of Silver but its colors were golden like the Sun. The Golden Gate was made of yellow marble and it was set with garnets, topazes, and yellow diamonds as well as gold discs shaped like the Sun with many rays. The parapet was of red gold and had six golden globes. In the middle was a gold pyramid with a sculpture of Laurelin, the other of the Two Trees, with topaz flowers on gold chains. there were 300 archers behind the gate with gilded mail, gold-plumed helmets, and round red shields. It was a short distance to the last gate.

The Seventh Gate was the last gate to be built. Maeglin erected the Gate of Steel after the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in 472. The gate was flanked by two round seven-storey towers with steel turrets. Between the towers was a tall steel fence with seven vertical spiked pillars and seven horizontal crossbars. In each space between the pillars and crossbars were 49 pointed vertical rods. Above the center pillar was an image of Turgon's Crown set with diamonds. The gates swung inwards on either side of the central pillar.

The first six gates could be opened by the touch of one of the guards, but the Last Gate could only be opened by the Warden of the Great Gate. He and other cavalrymen were stationed in the towers. The Warden wore silver and his helmet had a steel spike topped with a diamond and he bore a shield studded with a thousand crystals. The host of guards inside the Last Gate included representatives from each of the other six gates.

Beyond the Last Gate, slopes ran down into the green valley of Tumladen. The valley floor was a wide grassy plain. In the midst of the plain rose Amon Gwareth, a hill of hard smooth stone. The city of Gondolin was built upon the flat summit of Amon Gwareth. A winding stairway ascended the hill to the western gate of the city which was tall and strong and made of iron. There were also gates on the north and south sides of the city.

Turgon built Gondolin in the image of Tirion, the beautiful white city of the Elves on the hill of Tuna in the Undying Lands. Gondolin had high white walls and tall white towers. An early version of "The Fall of Gondolin" gives a detailed description:

Now the streets of Gondolin were paved with stone and wide, kerbed with marble, and fair houses and courts amid gardens of bright flowers were set about the ways, and many towers of great slenderness and beauty builded of white marble and carved most marvellously rose to the heaven. Squares there were lit with fountains and the home of birds that sang amid the branches of their aged trees, but of all these the greatest was that place where stood the king's palace, and the tower thereof was the loftiest in the city, and the fountains that played before the doors shot twenty fathoms and seven in the air and fell in a singing rain of crystal: therein did the sun glitter splendidly by day, and the moon most magically shimmered by night.
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two: "The Fall of Gondolin," p. 160
The Square of the King with its deep fountain was at the center of the city. There the Tower of the King rose above the King's palace and a flight of white stairs led to its doors. On either side of the doors were sculptures representing the Two Trees of Valinor. The sculpture of Laurelin was called Glingal and it was made of gold. The other had silver flowers in the image of Telperion and was named Belthil.

A number of squares, markets, and roads are described in the early story "The Fall of Gondolin" which do not appear in the later version of the story. In the eastern part of the city was the Great Market with many stores and fine merchandise. There was also a Lesser Market to the south.

The Alley of the Roses was a pleasant walkway running northward from the Square of the King. The Road of Arches led northwest from the Square of the King to the adjacent Place of the Well where oak and poplar trees grew around a deep well with pure water. The western entry to the Place of the Well was the Arch of Inwe.

Another square in southern Gondolin was Place of the Gods (meaning the Valar) also called the Place of the Wedding because Tuor and Idril were married there. The Place of the Gods was the highest square in city and it looked down onto the Square of the Kings. The Road of Pomps connected the Square of the Kings with the Place of the Gods.

The Way of Running Waters led to the southern walls of the city. This road passed the Fountains of the South. There were fountains throughout the city, but especially in the southern part. The many fountains gave the city its Quenya name Ondolindë meaning "Stone Song" or "Rock of the Music of Water." The musicians of Gondolin were inspired by the sound of the running water.


Gondolin was founded by Turgon, son of Fingolfin. Fingolfin and Turgon were among the Noldor who set out from the Undying Lands with Feanor after Morgoth stole the Silmarils. Feanor abandoned Fingolfin's family and many others on the journey when there was a shortage of ships. Fingolfin led his people to Middle-earth over the Grinding Ice. Turgon's wife Elenwe died during the perilous crossing but his daughter Idril survived.

Fingolfin's people arrived in Middle-earth in the year 1 of the First Age. Turgon settled in Nevrast on the west coast of Beleriand and dwelled in the halls of Vinyamar overlooking the Sea. His people included both Noldorin and Sindarin Elves.

In the year 50, Turgon and his friend Finrod journeyed down the Sirion to the Meres of Twilight. While they slept they both were sent dreams by Ulmo, one of the Valar who was Lord of Waters. In their dreams each was warned to find a place of hidden strength to defend against the forces of Morgoth. Finrod soon established the underground fortress of Nargothrond.

Turgon hoped to find a place where he could build a city reminiscent of Tirion, the city on the hill of Tuna in the Undying Lands. He did not find a suitable location and he returned to Vinyamar. But in 53, Ulmo appeared before Turgon and told him to look in the Vale of Sirion. Guided by Ulmo, Turgon found the valley of Tumladen enclosed by the Encircling Mountains. He went back to Vinyamar to plan the building of Gondolin.

Morgoth launched an attack on Beleriand in the year 60 but his forces were driven back to his stronghold and the Siege of Angband began. Turgon nevertheless became uneasy and he initiated the construction of Gondolin in 64. Many skilled craftsmen and builders worked on the city while Turgon dwelled mainly in Vinyamar. The project took 52 years and was completed in the year 116.

Before Turgon left Nevrast for Gondolin, Ulmo appeared to him again. Ulmo told Turgon that Gondolin would last the longest of all the Elvish realms in Beleriand, but he warned: "love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea." (Sil, p. 125)

Ulmo also warned Turgon of the possibility of treachery from within and he said he would send a messenger in case of danger. Turgon was instructed to leave a shield, hauberk, helm, and sword in Vinyamar for the messenger to bear to Gondolin as proof of his identity. Ulmo declared that from this messenger "beyond ruin and fire hope shall be born for Elves and Men." (Sil, p. 126)

Turgon sent his people to settle in Gondolin. Among them were a third of the Noldor who had come to Middle-earth with Fingolfin. Many more of his people were Sindarin Elves. Turgon and his household including his daughter Idril and his sister Aredhel followed after them. They passed through the Hidden Way into the valley of Tumladen and no one knew where they had gone.

No one on the outside was permitted to know Gondolin's location. Anyone who chanced to find Gondolin was required by the law of Turgon to remain there and never leave. Few of the inhabitants of Gondolin ever went outside the Encircling Mountains.

Gondolin became a great and thriving city. Its people were called the Gondolindrim. Among them were knowledgeable loremasters including Pengolodh the Wise. Pengolodh was a notable linguist and he contributed to the Annals chronicling the history of the Valar and the Elves. He survived the Fall of Gondolin and preserved much of the history of the Elder Days that is known today.

Gondolin was also home to many skilled musicians, artists, and craftsmen. Of particular renown were the weaponsmiths of Gondolin. They made such famous arms as Dramborleg the axe of Tuor; Glamdring the sword of Turgon and later Gandalf; Orcrist which became the sword of Thorin Oakenshield; and the blade Sting which came into the possession of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

According to the early story "The Fall of Gondolin," the Gondolindrim formed twelve Houses. The first was the House of the King led by Turgon. The House of the Swallow had many archers and was led by Duilin. The House of the Heavenly Arch led by Egalmoth also had numerous archers and they were very wealthy. The House of the Pillar and the House of the Tower of Snow were both led by Penlod. Galdor led the great House of the Tree. The leader of the House of the Golden Flower was Glorfindel. Ecthelion headed the House of the Fountain in the southern part of the city. The House of the Harp was led by Salgant. Rog led the House of the Hammer of Wrath which was composed of smiths and craftsmen. The House of the Mole had many miners and quarrymen and they were led by Maeglin. The twelfth was the House of the Wing led by Tuor.

(Most of these names do not appear in later versions of the story. In fact Christopher Tolkien notes that the name Rog would certainly have been rejected for a lord of Gondolin (BoLT 2, p. 211). Glorfindel of the House of the Golden Flower and Ecthelion of the Fountain are mentioned in the version published in The Silmarillion. The houses led by Maeglin and Tuor are not named in that version.)

In 316, Turgon's sister Aredhel became restless and wanted to leave Gondolin after living there for 200 years. Turgon agreed to let her visit their brother Fingon though he was reluctant to allow anyone who knew Gondolin's location to wander abroad. But Aredhel chose a different destination, became separated from her escort, and eventually got lost in the woods of Nan Elmoth.

Nan Elmoth was the home of Eol the Dark Elf who was a renowned smith. He used enchantments to prevent Aredhel from finding the way out of the woods and led her to his home. Aredhel married Eol and they had a son named Maeglin who also became a smith. Maeglin was intrigued by his mother's stories of Gondolin and especially by the fact that his uncle Turgon had no male heir.

In 400, Maeglin convinced Aredhel to return to Gondolin while Eol was away, but Eol followed them and discovered the Hidden Way. Turgon at first welcomed Eol but said that he was required to remain in Gondolin since he knew its location. Eol refused and when threatened with the alternative of death Eol tried to kill his son as well but hit his wife with his javelin instead.

Aredhel died of a poisoned wound and Eol was thrown to his death from the city walls the next day. Maeglin silently observed his father's execution, and Idril - Turgon's daughter and heir -  began to distrust Maeglin. Maeglin became enamored of Idril, but first cousins did not marry and his interest made Idril dislike him more.

Maeglin impressed many other Gondolindrim with his skills as a smith, and he taught his craft to others and gathered a number of followers. They mined in the Encircling Mountains for ores and metals to use to forge strong weapons. Maeglin built the Seventh Gate of Gondolin, the Gate of Steel. He rose to a high position and became a close counsellor of the King.

In 455, Morgoth broke the Siege of Angband and in the Battle of Sudden Flame Morgoth's forces made inroads into Beleriand. Turgon's father Fingolfin rode to Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat and after a long struggle Fingolfin was killed. Thorondor, the King of the Eagles, brought Fingolfin's body to a mountaintop overlooking Gondolin from the north and Turgon built a cairn for his father.

Gondolin remained hidden and Turgon did not send any forces into battle. But Turgon realized the danger posed by Morgoth and he sent messengers to seek the help of the Valar. They travelled down the Sirion to the Isle of Balar and built ships to sail westward, but they did not find the Undying Lands and few of the messengers returned to Middle-earth.

In 458, two young Men named Hurin and Huor became lost in Dimbar south of Gondolin after a skirmish with Orcs. The brothers were of the House of Hador - one of the three Houses of the Edain allied with the Elves against Morgoth. Huor was only 13 years old and Hurin was in his late teens. Thorondor sent two Eagles to bring Hurin and Huor to Gondolin.

Ulmo warned Turgon through dreams that Gondolin's fate was tied to the sons of the House of Hador. Turgon welcomed the brothers and they stayed in Gondolin for about a year. Turgon became fond of them and when they asked to leave he agreed despite his law forbidding the departure of anyone who came to Gondolin. They did not know the exact location of Gondolin and they swore not to reveal what they knew. The Eagles returned Hurin and Huor to their people but some suspected where they had been and Morgoth's spies heard the rumors.

In 468, Turgon learned that Maedhros, son of Feanor, was forming an alliance to oppose Morgoth. Turgon's brother Fingon was a part of the Union of Maedhros. Turgon began to prepare the forces of Gondolin for battle.

In 472, Turgon led forth an army of 10,000 Gondolindrim. He was accompanied by Maeglin as well as his captains Ecthelion and Glorfindel. In the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Fingon's forces were surrounded by Orcs on the desert of Anfauglith near Angband. Turgon came to his brother's aid and found Hurin and Huor with him.

But the tide of the battle turned and Fingon and Turgon were separated. Fingon was killed by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Hurin and Huor urged Turgon to return to Gondolin.

Then Hurin spoke to Turgon, saying: "Go now, lord, while time is! For in you lives the last hope of the Eldar, and while Gondolin stands Morgoth shall still know fear in his heart."

But Turgon answered: "Not long now can Gondolin be hidden; and being discovered it must fall."

Then Huor spoke and said: "Yet if it stands but a little while, then out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men. This I say to you, lord, with the eyes of death: though we part here for ever, and I shall not look on your white walls again, from you and from me a new star shall arise. Farewell!"
The Silmarillion: "Of the Fifth Battle," p. 194

Turgon led the survivors of the Gondolindrim and Fingon's people in retreat with Ecthelion and Glorfindel guarding their flanks. Hurin and Huor and the Men of Dor-lomin held the rear against Morgoth's forces. Huor was killed and Hurin was captured. Hurin refused to tell Morgoth where Gondolin was located and Morgoth cursed him and his family and imprisoned him atop Thangorodrim above Angband.

Turgon again sent messengers in search of the Valar, this time with the help of Cirdan the Shipwright who built them seven ships. But their mission was unsuccessful and none of the ships returned, though one Elf named Voronwe survived and was washed ashore many years later.

Huor had left his pregnant wife Rian behind in Hithlum. She gave birth to a son named Tuor in the winter after her husband's death in battle. Rian died of grief and Tuor was fostered by Elves. At 16, Tuor was captured and enslaved by Easterlings but escaped after three years and lived alone in Hithlum for four more years.

In 495, Ulmo put it in Tuor's mind to leave Hithlum and guided him out with a stream of water leading to the Gate of the Noldor. Tuor was shown the exit by two Elves named Gelmir and Arminas who were passing through on an errand bearing a message from Ulmo. Tuor entered Nevrast and seven swans led him to Turgon's old halls of Vinyamar by the Sea.

In Vinyamar, Tuor discovered the armor and sword that Ulmo had instructed Turgon to leave behind centuries earlier. Tuor put them on and went down to the shore where Ulmo appeared to him and told him to find Gondolin. Ulmo gave Tuor a cloak to hide himself from Morgoth's servants and he sent an Elf of Gondolin to guide him. The Elf was Voronwe, one of the mariners sent by Turgon into the West who was brought safely to shore by Ulmo when his ship sank with all hands.

Tuor and Voronwe found the Dry River and the Hidden Way into Gondolin. They were confronted by the Outer Guard and were led through the first six gates by Elemmakil. At the Seventh Gate they were met by Ecthelion, the Warden of the Great Gate. Tuor revealed the armor he wore under his cloak as proof that he was the messenger foretold by Ulmo many years before.

Tuor was brought before Turgon. He spoke in the words of Ulmo, warning Turgon that the doom of Gondolin was at hand and advising him to leave the city and take his people down the Sirion to the Sea.

Turgon considered Ulmo's warning but he did not want to abandon the city he had built. He decided to remain and his decision was supported by Maeglin's advice. Turgon ordered the entrance to the Hidden Way to be blocked and no one was allowed in or out of Gondolin in hopes that the city would remain hidden from Morgoth.

But in 500, Morgoth released Hurin after 28 years of captivity. Hurin came to the foot of the Encircling Mountains in 501 seeking the entrance to the Hidden Way and when he did not find it he called out to Turgon. Thorondor reported Hurin's arrival and at first Turgon though Hurin was intentionally spying for Morgoth and refused to let him in. By the time Turgon changed his mind, Hurin was gone. Hurin's cries were heard by Morgoth's servants and the general region where Gondolin lay was revealed, though because of the vigilance of the Eagles Morgoth could not find its exact location.

Tuor remained in Gondolin and gained the favor of Turgon. He fell in love with Idril and in 502 they were married. Their son Earendil was born in 503. Maeglin was angry because he wanted Idril for himself.

In 509, Maeglin defied Turgon's orders and went outside the Encircling Mountains in search of metals and ores to mine. He was captured by Orcs and was taken to Angband. Morgoth threatened Maeglin with torture and Maeglin agreed to reveal the location of Gondolin and how it could be attacked. In exchange, Maeglin was promised Idril and the lordship of Gondolin after the city was captured. Maeglin returned to Gondolin and none knew where he had been.

Even before Maeglin's betrayal, Idril had a sense of foreboding. She ordered the construction of a secret tunnel leading down out of the city and continuing northward underground through the valley of Tumladen. Maeglin did not learn of this hidden passage.

Morgoth launched an attack on Gondolin in 510 during the festival called the Gates of Summer. The Gondolindrim were taken by surprise as they stood on the city walls to greet the dawn. Morgoth's forces came over the highest part of the Encircling Mountains north of the city where there were fewer guards. The army included Orcs, wolves, Balrogs, and Dragons.

The Gondolindrim resisted but they were overpowered and the city was invaded. In the confusion of battle, Maeglin seized Idril and Earendil. They struggled until Tuor came to their rescue and threw Maeglin from the city walls, killing him in the same manner as his father Eol.

In the Square of the King, the defenders of Gondolin made a last stand. Ecthelion battled Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, and both died in the waters of the great fountain. Turgon refused to leave the city and he perished when the Tower of the King fell into ruin.

Tuor and Idril took their son Earendil and led a group of survivors through the secret underground passage. They emerged on the plain north of the city. The valley was full of smoke from the burning of Gondolin and steam from the city's many fountains, and the survivors were hidden from the enemy forces.

The survivors climbed the Encircling Mountains to the Eagles' Cleft and they were ambushed on the narrow path by Orcs and a Balrog. Glorfindel fought the Balrog and they fell to their deaths in the abyss. The Eagles slew the Orcs, and Thorondor retrieved Glorfindel's body which the Elves buried near the pass.

The survivors of Gondolin settled at the Havens of Sirion and mingled with refugees from Doriath, another fallen realm. Tuor and Idril sailed into the West in 525 and it is said that Tuor alone among mortal Men was granted the immortal life of the Elves. Earendil married Elwing of Doriath and their sons were Elrond and Elros.

Earendil decided to seek the help of the Valar to stop Morgoth. He reached the Undying Lands in 542 and the Valar listened to his pleas on behalf of the Elves and Men of Middle-earth. The Host of the Valar defeated Morgoth in the War of Wrath. Earendil became a star in the heavens as he sailed his ship across the night sky bearing one of the Silmarils. Thus it was that from Gondolin and the union of Tuor and Idril came hope for the free peoples of Middle-earth.

Map of Gondolin

Map of Gondolin

Important Dates:

Note: There is no definitive chronology of the First Age. In particular, there are several conflicting chronologies of the 500s of the First Age. These dates are based on "The Grey Annals" and "The Tale of Years" in The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels. Other chronologies differ.

First Age:

Turgon arrives in Middle-earth.

Ulmo sends a dream to Turgon urging him to find a place to establish a realm hidden from Morgoth.

Ulmo appears before Turgon and guides him to the hidden valley of Tumladen.

Dagor Aglareb, the Glorious Battle. Siege of Angband begins.

The construction of Gondolin begins.

Gondolin is completed. Ulmo instructs Turgon to leave arms in Vinyamar for a messenger who will come to Gondolin in time of need. Turgon and his people settle in Gondolin.

Turgon's sister Aredhel leaves Gondolin and becomes lost and is taken in by Eol the Dark Elf.

Birth of Maeglin, son of Aredhel and Eol.

Aredhel and Maeglin return to Gondolin and are followed by Eol who is given the choice to remain in the city or be killed. Eol mortally wounds Aredhel and is thrown from the city walls to his death.

Morgoth breaks the Siege of Angband. His forces make inroads into Beleriand in the Battle of Sudden Flame. Gondolin remains hidden. Turgon sends messengers to Sea seeking the help of the Valar but they are unsuccessful.

Fingolfin is killed in single combat with Morgoth. His body is brought by Thorondor to a mountain overlooking Gondolin and he is buried by Turgon.

Hurin and Huor become lost near Gondolin and are brought before Turgon by the Eagles. They remain in Gondolin for about a year and then are permitted to leave.

Turgon begins to prepare his forces for battle when he learns that Maedhros, son of Feanor, is forming an alliance against Morgoth.

Turgon leads an army of 10,000 to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Turgon's brother Fingon is killed and Turgon becomes High King of the Noldor. Turgon returns to Gondolin. Hurin is captured and refuses to reveal Gondolin's location to Morgoth. Huor is killed and his wife gives birth to Tuor at home in Hithlum.

Turgon sends messengers in search of the Valar in seven ships built by Cirdan but they are unsuccessful.

Tuor leaves Hithlum under Ulmo's guidance and comes to Vinyamar where he finds the armor left by Turgon. Ulmo appears to Tuor and tells him to go to Gondolin. He is guided by Voronwe of Gondolin, the sole survivor of the ships sent by Turgon into the West. Tuor is admitted to Gondolin and delivers Ulmo's warning that the Elves should abandon their city but Turgon decides to remain. The Hidden Way is blocked.

Hurin is released by Morgoth after 28 years of captivity.

Hurin unsuccessfully seeks the entrance to Gondolin and unwittingly reveals the city's general location to Morgoth.

Marriage of Tuor and Idril.

Birth of Earendil, son of Tuor and Idril.

Maeglin is captured and reveals Gondolin's exact location to Morgoth and is promised Idril and the lordship of Gondolin in exchange.

Gondolin is attacked by Morgoth's forces and the city is destroyed. Turgon is killed. Tuor, Idril, and Earendil escape with other survivors.

Tuor, Idril, Earendil and the other survivors settle at the Havens of Sirion.

Tuor and Idril depart into the West.

Earendil reaches the Undying Lands and asks the Valar to help defeat Morgoth. Earendil sails the heavens bearing a Silmaril, appearing as the Star of Hope to the peoples of Middle-earth.

The Host of the Valar fight the forces of Morgoth in the War of Wrath.

Morgoth is banished from the world. End of the First Age.

Names & Etymology:

The Quenya name of Gondolin was Ondolindë meaning "Stone Song" or "Rock of the Music of Water" from ondo meaning "stone" and lindë meaning "singing, song." This was the original name chosen for the city by Turgon because of the sound made by its fountains.

The Sindarin name Gondolin contains similar elements - gond meaning "stone" and lind meaning "song." But the name is usually interpreted to mean "Hidden Rock" with the word dolen meaning "hidden, secret." An alternate interpretation given in HoME V, p. 355 is "heart of hidden rock" where the ending -in or -inn means "heart."

The people of Gondolin were the Gondolindrim. The ending rim means "great number, host."

Seven Names of Gondolin:
Gondolin was the City of Seven Names. Tuor is told the Seven Names in "The Fall of Gondolin":

"Gondobar am I called and Gondothlimbar, City of Stone and City of the Dwellers in Stone; Gondolin the Stone of Song and Gwarestrin am I named, the Tower of Guard, Gar Thurion or the Secret Place, for I am hidden from the eyes of Melko; but they who love me most greatly called me Loth, for like a flower am I, even Lothengriol the flower that blooms on the plain."
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two: "The Fall of Gondolin," p. 158
However this version of the story was written before the language was fully developed by Tolkien and some of these names do not correspond with the later form of Sindarin. The Seven Names are:
Gondobar = City of Stone
The word gond means "stone" and bar means "dwelling" in Sindarin.

Gondothlimbar = City of the Dwellers in Stone
In the early version, Gondothlim - meaning "folk of stone" - was the name for the people of Gondolin and Gondothlimbar was a name for their city. In the later published version of the story, the word Gondolindrim is used for the people of Gondolin. In HoME V, p. 359 the word Gondothrim is given as a name for the people of Gondolin and Gondothrimbar for the city. These names are derived from Gondost meaning "Stone City" in Sindarin - an alternate name for Gondolin.

Gondolin = Stone of Song
See the entry for Gondolin above.

Gwarestrin = Tower of Guard
The word gwareth is defined in an early Gnomish lexicon (BoLT 2, p. 335) as "watch, guard, ward" and is found in the name Amon Gwareth which appears in the account published in The Silmarillion. The word estrin is defined in the Gnomish lexicon as "pinnacle" from esc meaning "sharp point." The later Sindarin word for "sharp point" is aeg.

Gar Thurion = Secret Place
In the early Gnomish lexicon the word furion means "secret, concealed" (BoLT 2, p. 340). A Sindarin form Garthoren is given in HoME V, p. 360 defined as "fenced fort" from garth meaning "fortress" and thoren meaning "fenced."

Loth = Flower
The word loth means "flower" in Sindarin.

Lothengriol = Flower that Blooms on the Plain
The word engriol is defined in the early Gnomish lexicon as "of the vale" from enga meaning "plain, vale." Lothengriol or Lósengriol is defined as "flower of the vale or lily of the valley (BoLT 2, p. 345). These words do not appear in Sindarin.

Hidden City, Hidden Kingdom, Hidden Realm, Guarded City:
Gondolin was referred to by these descriptive terms.


The Silmarillion: "Of the Return of the Noldor," p. 114-115; "Of the Noldor in Beleriand," p. 125-26; "Of Maeglin," passim; "Of the Ruin of Beleriand," p. 154, 158-60; "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 182; "Of the Fifth Battle," passim; "Of the Ruin of Doriath," p. 227-28; "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin," passim; "Of the Voyage of Earendil," passim ; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entries for gond, rim

Unfinished Tales: "Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin," passim; "Narn i Hin Hurin," p. 63, 66, 161-62; "A Description of Numenor," p. 171-72 note 2; "Aldarion and Erendis," p. 189; "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 228, 235, 248-51; "Cirion and Eorl," p. 316 note 38

The History of Middle-earth, vol. II, The Book of Lost Tales Part Two: "The Fall of Gondolin," passim; "Appendix: Names in The Lost Tales - Part II," p. 335, 340, 342, 345

The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for DUL, GAT(H), 3AR, GARAT and GOND

The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: "The Grey Annals," p. 35, 40, 44-45, 47-48, 52-58, 69-79, 91; "The Later Quenta Silmarillion," p. 200-201; "The Wanderings of Hurin," p. 254-58; "The Tale of Years," p. 345-48, 350-52; "Quendi and Eldar," p. 396-97

The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "Last Writings - Glorfindel," p. 375-84, 387-88 notes 1 and 3

The Hobbit: "A Short Rest," p. 62; "Over Hill and Under Hill," p. 75; "Riddles in the Dark," p. 80, 83

The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 256; "A Journey in the Dark," p. 330; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 372

Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The Numenorean Kings," p. 314

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