II: The Book of Lost Tales part 2, III: THE FALL OF GONDOLIN (2/2)

This is the second post on the Fall of Gondolin. Here the main events of the Fall of Gondolin will be described as well as featuring an extensive list of the Eleven Houses of Gondothlim. In this post I will write my comments on the chapter as a whole.

Since Idril is vary of the evil thing that will happen, she questions Tour about a secret escape route from Gondolin. Idril planned that Tuor would get his own guard who were told about the passage from Gondolin. They took on Tuor’s emblem, the swan wing.

Winter passed and spring came with the festival of Nost-na-Lothion, the Birth of Flowers. This festival lifted the mood among the Gondothlim. Then came Tarnin Austa, Gates of Summer. During a midnight ceremony, after the sun had sunk, suddenly a new light shone by the edge of the Encircling Mountains. At first the gnomes marveled at the light, then doubt was awoken. Fear arised when it came clear that it was the warhost of Melko that closed in on Gondolin. There were creatures of fire and orcs there. Also drakes and powerful Balrogs were in the army.

An extensive battle commenced through the night (with to many events to write down in this post, however, I’ll give you the most important). First, Turgon called upon council with the leaders of the eleven houses of Gondothlim who would lead their houses in the fight.

Meglin siezed both Idril and young Eärendil, but he did not suceed in killing Eärendil and a fight took place between the gnomes of the House of Mole and the guard of Tuor. Rog, leader of the Stricken Anvil and his house, did a great assault on the army of Melko and they were the first of gnome or men to ever slay a balrog. Tuor and Ecthelion also slew some balrogs, however, Ecthelion got hurt. He then took on and fought with Gothmog, the leader of the balrogs, and suceeded in killing him. Ecthelion did not survive the battle. Turgon himself went up his white tower, refusing to abandon the city. He ordered Tuor to guide the gnomes who wanted to leave (the royal guard refused to leave out of dedication to Turgon) and made him chieftain.

Tuor and other made their way south toward the passage, they met Idril and Voronwë before getting to the passage. They observed the destruction of the white tower. After they continued south. Idril had sent the guard of the white wing with Eärendel along the secret way. Tuor wanted all the people to join him and make way for Cristhorn. Some left to tkae another way. The others were led by Legolas who had good sight in the night and knew the plains around Gondolin well. At sunrise they met up with Tuor’s guard and Eärendel, carried by Hendor. At sundown, by cover of dark, they passed in to Cristhorn, a dangerous route.

The rear of the group were assaulted by orcs and a balrog. Galdor and Glorfindel held the defence. Since they were closed to the dwellings of Sorontur and the Eagles despised the creatures of Melko, the Eagles fell on the orcs and saved the gnomes. Since then Idril and the Gondothlim have had the Eagle for their sign. Tuor and Eärendel kept the swanwing. The balrog that also had come in the assault fought with Glorfindel, he slayed the balrog but fell with it into the abyss of Thorn Sir. A feat that would always be remembered.

Not knowing the way, the exiled group wandered. Ulmo could not aid them, since they were not close to water. They went through hardships and longed for water. One year later they came upon a stream. Voronwë who heard Ulmo’s whispers, were able to lead them on to river Sirion and at last they got to the Land of Willows. Here they dwellt for some years and Eärendel grew out of childhood. Of the 800 that had escaped, 300 had died during the wanderings. When Tuor’s sea-longing grew too strong, he led them all to the mouth of Sirion, by the sea. There the group take the name Lothlim.

Here Littleheart ends his tale. And no-one moves or says anything. For this is one of the most terrible events in the history of gnomes.

Characters to note

  • Characters related to the eleven houses, see below
  • Legolas Greenleaf – Noldoli elf of the House of the Tree in Gondolin. Helps guiding survivors from Gondolin.
  • Gothmog – Lord of the Balrogs.
  • Hendor – A House-Carle of Idril. Carried Eärendel to safety during the Fall of Gondolin.
  • Thorndor – Lord of Eagles. Earlier posts, see Sorontur.

Places to note

  • Cristhorn – Eagle’s Cleft, a passway through the Encircling Mountains. Area inhabited by Sorontur, king of Eagles.

Features to note

  • Gondothlim – The folk living in Gondolin
  • The Eleven Houses of Gondothlim (see below)
  • Lothlim – What the refugees of Gondolin will call themselves

The Eleven Houses of Gondothlim

  • The Folk of the White Wing – Counted as the twelfth house, the bodyguard of Tuor.
    • Leader: Tuor
    • Emblem: White Wing of swan or gulls .
  • The House of the Mole – Composed of Skilled Miners.
    • Leader: Meglin
    • Emblem: No emblem. Harness of Sable and Moleskin on their round caps of steel.
  • The House of the Swallow – Gondolin’s best archers.
    • Leader: Duilin
    • Emblem: Arrowhead.
  • The House of the Heavenly Arch – Wealthy House, also archers.
    • Leader: Egalmoth
    • Emblem: Unknown
  • The House of the Pillar
    • Leader: Penlod, tallest of the Gnomes
    • Emblem: Unknown
  • The House of the Tower of Snow
    • Leader: Penlod (same as above)
    • Emblem: Unknown
  • The House of the Tree
    • Leader: Galdor
    • Emblem: Unknown, dressed in green
  • The House of the Golden Flower
    • Leader: Glorfindel
    • Emblem: Golden Flower
  • The House of the Fountain – Guard of the Fountains
    • Leader: Ecthelion
    • Emblem: Unknown
  • The House of the Harp – Musicians
    • Leader: Salgant
    • Emblem: A Harp of Silver
  • The House of the Hammer of Wrath – Blacksmiths and escaped thralls of Melko
    • Leader: Rog
    • Emblem: Stricken Anvil
  • The House of the King – The Royal Guard
    • Leader: Turgon
    • Emblem: Moon, Sun and scarlet Heart

Comments

This is a very powerful part of the Tolkien legendarium, no matter which version you read. Threads to Gondolin are present in most of Tolkien’s works. For example, the blades found in The Hobbit are of an origin in Gondolin. Which is remarkable!

Also, this is one instance where one of the Ainur (Ulmo) contact and acts through a person to influence the events in the Great Lands. If Tuor had succeeded in talking Turgon into striking at Melko when he got to Gondolin, a lot would have been greatly different. Can you imagine? However, the fact that Turgon doesn’t want to endanger the city and refuses to leave it, highlights the one of the most known themes used by Tolkien: the danger of possession. This is also present in this tale that the reason Meglin decieve the gnomes to Melko, is because he is bitter of the fact that he can’t marry/possess Idril.

Have you read this chapter or do you want to know more? Please comment and tell me what you think of this part or if you have something to ask! 

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