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This article refers to the event. For other namesakes, see Fall of Gondolin (disambiguation).


The Fall of Gondolin was the battle between the forces of Gondolin under King Turgon and Morgoth, after Maeglin had betrayed the city's hidden location to the enemy. This battle took the lives of most of the Gondolindrim, and of Turgon and his captains. However, some few managed to escape the through a secret passage, notably Tuor, Idril, and their son Eärendil.

History

The seeds of Gondolin's fall were set some decades after Nírnaeth Arnoediad, the fifth battle of the War of the Jewels. During this battle, which had been a decisive victory for Morgoth, the greatest human warrior of the age, Húrin, had been captured by Gothmog, the High Captain of Angband.

With the Union of Maedhros destroyed, and the power of the Ñoldor all but broken, and all that was left for Morgoth to accomplish to complete his triumph was the destruction of Gondolin. However, he had never been able to obtain so much as a hint of where the city might lay. However, Húrin had spent a number of year in Gondolin, and this was known to Morgoth. He subjected Húrin to horrific torment, but Húrin laughed in the Dark Lord's face, and refused to give him any information. As punishment, Morgoth cursed his family and placed an enchantment upon Húrin which enabled him to see all the misfortunes that the curse brought upon his family. After decades of this torture, and after his family was all but dead, Morgoth released Húrin, feigning pity to an utterly defeated foe. However, his real hope was that Húrin's release would cause further grief to his foes, for Húrin too was cursed and made bitter after his long and brutal torment.

Morgoth's hope was fulfilled when Húrin attempted to return to Gondolin. He made his way to the forests of the vale of Sirion and cried out to Turgon. However, Turgon took too long in debating whether or not to acknowledge Húrin and sent out his emissaries too late; by the time the Eagles arrived, Húrin was gone. But Morogth's spies had been following Húrin, and thus the region of Gondolin's location was revealed to him. He drastically increased his patrols and spies in Sirion, hoping to either find the city itself of capture another who did.

Then, in FA 551, Turgon's nephew Maeglin, against the King's orders, had been scouring the land outside the Encircling Mountains in order to find metal deposits. He was captured and brought before Morgoth. Morgoth threatened Maeglin with unimaginable torment if he did not divulge the secrets of Gondolin, and though Maeglin was no craven, the torment with which he was threatened cowed him and he betrayed all he knew about the city. To fully secure Maeglin's loyalty, Morgoth promised him both the rule of the city and the hand of the beautiful Idril, Maeglin's cousin. Maeglin had lusted after her for years, but they were considered to be too close in kinship for any sort of romantic relationship, and he had become exceedingly bitter when she was wed to Tuor, a mortal man held in high esteem by the King. This promise secured Maeglin's eager fealty, and Morgoth sent him back to Gondolin to aid the attack from within when the time came.

Morgoth waited many years to initiate his assault, planning the attack with the utmost diligence. The information passed by Maeglin had furbished Morgoth with knowledge of Gondolin's weaknesses, and his armies crept over the Encircling Mountains at the point where the watch was least vigilant and during a time of festival in the city. As such, they were able to position themselves all about the walls of Gondolin without being detected, and by the time the Elves became aware of them, they were beleaguered without hope. For many days the Elves of Gondolin held their ranks and the city. The battles that raged beneath its walls were bloody and terrible - courageous leaders and warriors, most predominantly Ecthelion and Tuor, became legends, and later songs and epic poems would be written about them. Swords such as Orcrist and Glamdring earned their reputations here, and became feared among orcs.

However, Morgoth's armies were far too numerous and powerful for the Elves to overcome, as they were comprised not only of Orcs and other mundane Dark creatures, but of Balrogs and an entire brood of Dragons fathered by Glaurung. Turgon, High King of the Ñoldor, fell defending the citadel of the city. Ecthelion of the Fountain fought a duel with Gothmog, the High Captain of Angband, in the city center near the Fountain of the King. At last, Gothmog deprived Ecthelion of his sword and prepared to finish him, but the Lord of the Fountain charged the High Captain of Angband and impaled him with the spike atop his helm. Gothmog lost his balance and fell with Ecthelion into the Fountain, where both of them drowned. With the battle having gone against them, Tuor and Idril gathered as many of the people as they could find and attempted to escape the city through a secret passageway in the mountains. But they were confronted by Maeglin, who attempted to steal away Idril. Tuor fought him and cast him down from the passageway, and he fell to his death. The group also encountered a Balrog in the high passes, but Glorfindel fought it, and these two also fell to their death.

Despite the defenders' effort, the city was overrun and sacked. Morgoth's victory over his foes was now utterly complete, and the last of the great Elven kingdoms in exile was no more.

Canon

The Fall of Gondolin is the third of the Great Tales, but was the first written by Tolkien, and is the second most complete of the tales (after The Children of Húrin).

The sources for this major First Age event are the chapters "The Fall of Gondolin" of The Book of Lost Tales Part Two [1] and "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin" in The Silmarillion, which both tell of the founding of the Elven city of Gondolin (built in secret by Turgon and his people), of the arrival Tuor, a prince of the Edain, of the betrayal of the city to Morgoth by Turgon's nephew Maeglin, and of its subsequent destruction by Morgoth's armies.[2] There is also an unpublished poem: The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin[3]

The Lost Tales chapter goes more in depth than the account in The Silmarillion, telling notably in detail of Tuor's and Ecthelion's feats in battle, and mentioning every captain of the Houses of the Gondolindrim.

Background

J.R.R. Tolkien actually began writing the story that would become "The Fall of Gondolin" in 1917, in an army barracks on the back of a sheet of military marching music. It is more or less the first traceable story he ever wrote down on paper about the Middle-earth legendarium.

Because Tolkien was constantly revising his First Age stories, the narrative he wrote in 1917 (published posthumously in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two) remains the only full account of the fall of the city. The narrative in The Silmarillion was the result of the editing by his son Christopher of various different sources.

A partial new version of "The Fall of Gondolin" was published in the Unfinished Tales under the title "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin". Actually titled "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin", this narrative shows a great expansion of the earlier tale. It can be surmised from this text that Tolkien would have rewritten the entire story, but for reasons that are not known he abandoned the text before Tuor actually arrives in the city. For this reason Christopher Tolkien retitled the story before including it in Unfinished Tales.

Translations around the world

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Val van Gondolin
Albanian Bie e Gondolin
Amharic ውድቀት ጞንዶሊን ?
Arabic سقوط جوندولين
Basque Gondolin Jaitsiera
Belarusian Cyrillic падзенне Гондолина
Bengali পতনের গন্ডোলিন
Bosnian Pad Gondolin
Bulgarian Cyrillic Падането на Гондолин
Catalan Caiguda de Gondolin
Cantonese 贡多林的陷落
Cebuano Pagkapukan sa Gondolin
Chinese (Simplified) 冈多林的陷落
Corsican Caduta di Gondolin
Croatian Pad Gondolina
Czech Pád Gondolinu
Danish Gondolins fald
Dutch Val van Gondolin
Esperanto Falita de Gondolin
Estonian Gondolini langemine
Filipino Pagbagsak ng Gondolin
Finnish Gondolinin tuho
French Chute de Gondolin
Frisian Fal fan Gondolin
Georgian შემოდგომაზე ღონდოლინ
German Der Fall von Gondolin
Greek πτώση της Γκόντολιν
Gujarati ફોલ ઓફ ગોન્ડોલીન
Haiti Creole Tonbe nan Gondolin
Hawaii Hina o Gondolin
Hebrew נפילתה של גונדולין
Hungarian Gondolin Bukása
Hmong Zeeg ntawm Gondolin
Icelandic Detta af Gondolin
Igbo ọdịda nke Gondolin
Indonesian Jatuhnya Gondolin
Italian Caduta di Gondolin
Irish Gaelic Titim de Gondolin
Japanese ゴンドリンの陥落
Javanese Tiba saka Gondolin
Kannada ಫಾಲ್ ಆ ಗೊಂಡೋಲಿನ್
Kazakh құлдырауы Гондолін (Cyrillic) Quldırawı Gondolin (Latin)
Korean 곤돌린의 몰락
Kurdish Ketina ji Gondolin (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic кулашы оф Гондолин
Latin Ruina Gondolin
Latvian Krišana Gondolin
Lithuanian Rudenį Gondolin
Luxembourgish Stuerz vun Gondolin
Malagasy Nianjeran'i Gondolin
Malay Kejatuhan Gondolin
Maltese Waqgħa tal Gondolin
Maori Hinga o Gondolin
Navajo Jootłish Gondolin
Nepalese पतन ङोन्दोलिन
Norwegian Gondolins fall
Persian سقوطگوندولین
Polish Upadek Gondolinu
Portuguese Queda de Gondolin
Querétaro Otomi Caída ar Gondolin
Romanian Căderea Gondolin
Russian Падение Гондолина
Scottish Gaelic Tuiteam de Gondolin
Serbian Пад Гондолина (Cyrillic) Pad Gondolina (Latin)
Sinhalese ෆල්ල් ඔෆ් ගොඳොලින්
Slovak Pád Gondolinu
Slovenian Padec Gondolin
Somali Dhici ee Gondolin
Spanish Caída de Gondolin
Sudanese Ragrag tina Gondolin
Swahili Kuanguka kwa Gondolin
Swedish Gondolins fall
Tajik Cyrillic тирамоҳи оф Гондолин
Tamil வீழ்ச்சி கொந்தொலிந்
Telugu ఫాల్ అఫ్ గొండోలిన్
Thai การล่มสลายของกอนโดลิน
Turkish Gondolin'in yıkımı
Turkmen Gondolin Ýykylmak ?
Ukrainian Cyrillic падіння Гондоліна
Uzbek Фалл оф Гондолин (Cyrillic) Gondolin'de qulashi (Latin)
Vietnamese Sụp đổ của Gondolin
Volapük Falön Gondolin
Welsh Cwymp Gondolin
Xhosa Ukuwa Gondolin
Yiddish פאַלן פון גאָנדאָלין
Yoruba Isubu ti Gondolin
Yucatec Maya Caída u Gondolin

References

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, chapter III: "The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "II. Poems Early Abandoned"
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