The One Wiki to Rule Them All
Advertisement
The One Wiki to Rule Them All

"Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and clean, and his voice like music; on his brow set wisdom, and in his hand was strength."
The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"

Glorfindel was among the mightiest of the Elves, and was once the lord of the House of the Golden Flower in Gondolin. After his death in the First Age, he was re-embodied by the Valar to act as an emissary, and returned to Middle-earth millennia afterwards.

Biography

Years of the Trees

Glorfindel was born in Tirion sometime during the Noontide of Valinor, and was descended from a house of princes.[4] He followed the House of Fingolfin during the Flight of the Ñoldor, but he took no part in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.

First Age

Glorfindel's banner

In exile, Glorfindel fought in the Battle of the Lammoth, as he followed the House of Fingolfin. After the exile, Glorfindel was in the host of Turgon at the Dagor Aglareb. After the battle he followed Turgon to Gondolin, where he was appointed as the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower and one of the captains of the King. He was popular and well-loved by the Gondolindrim.

When Aredhel wished to depart Gondolin to seek the Sons of Fëanor, Turgon appointed Glorfindel, Ecthelion, and Egalmoth as her escorts. They were denied entrance to Doriath, and instead turned north where the escort lost Aredhel near Nan Dungortheb. They later returned to Gondolin without her.[5]

Along with King Turgon, Glorfindel fought in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, holding the King's flanks as they retreated towards the Pass of Sirion.[6][7]

Fall of Gondolin

Glorfindel and Ecthelion, by Jenny Dolfen

In FA 510, the forces of Melkor attacked Gondolin, with the help of Maeglin's treachery. Glorfindel and the last of his followers held the Great Market from the Orcs, in pursuance of ambushing the enemies. However, they themselves were ambushed and fought until a fire-drake arrived. Glorfindel and his people cut their way out, but were pursed by the Orcs. The House of the Harp arrived to help after disobeying their deceitful lord, Salgant. The House of the Golden Flower regrouped at the Square of the King and was one of the last Houses to fight.[2]

Glorfindel and the Balrog, by Eric Velhagen 

Glorfindel joined Tuor in defending the Square, until Egalmoth arrived and Ecthelion was slain during his fight with Gothmog. When King Turgon was also slain, the Gondolindrim escaped through Idril's Secret Way, with Glorfindel holding the rear manfully and lost more of his followers there.[2]

As they made their escape through Cirith Thoronath, one of the Balrogs came upon the refugees. Glorfindel leapt forward to face the Balrog, while his followers watched from afar. He fended himself from the Balrog's whip and claws, and successfully hewed its iron helm. At the last moment, he pierced the Balrog's belly and it fell backwards towards the cliff, but it grabbed Glorfindel by his hair and both of them fell into the deep abyss. His body was later borne up by Thorondor, Lord of Eagles, who flew down into the Abyss to rescue Glorfindel's broken body, returning it to his people who buried him high on the cliffs of the Mountains which surrounded Gondolin. It was said that yellow flowers (possibly celandine) grew on his mound, despite its rocky location.[2]

Second Age

Return to Middle-earth

Glorfindel's spirit departed to the Halls of Mandos, where he passed a short time. Due to his noble actions that had saved many Elves in the Fall of Gondolin, he was re-embodied and dwelt in Valinor.

Many years later, in SA 1600, Manwë sent him back to Middle-earth as an emissary of the Valar and granted him powers nearly as strong as that of the Maiar's.[8]

Third Age

It is possible that Glorfindel remained for a time in Lindon along with the other noble Elves, such as Gil-galad, Círdan, and Elrond, a descendant of Tuor and Idril.

Battle of Fornost

Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.
—Glorfindel's prophecy about the Witch-king[9]

The Battle of Fornost, by Jan Pospíšil

In the Battle of Fornost, Glorfindel turned the odds against the Witch-king of Angmar and his host. After the battle finished, and the Witch-king had fled, it was Glorfindel who predicted that no mortal man would ever destroy the Witch-king.[9] This prediction was fulfilled a thousand years later at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, when Éowyn of Rohan and Meriadoc Brandybuck, a hobbit, slew the Witch-king.[10]

War of the Ring

Suddenly into view below came a white horse, gleaming in the shadows, running swiftly. In the dusk its headstall flickered and flashed, as if it were studded with gems like living stars. The rider's cloak streamed behind him, and his hood was thrown back; his golden hair flowed shimmering in the wind of his speed.... it appeared that white light was shining through the form and raiment of the rider, as if though through a thin veil.
The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Flight to the Ford

Glorfindel and the Nazgûl

A thousand years later, Glorfindel was sent by Lord Elrond to search for Frodo and his companions. He pursued some of the Nazgûl and drew them away from the Ford of Bruinen. He then found and led the company for days stopping only briefly to let the Hobbits rest. When the Nazgul approached again, Glorfindel put Frodo on his white horse Asfaloth, and bade the horse take Frodo to Rivendell. Asfaloth outran the black horses of the Nazgûl and managed to cross the Ford of Bruinen which led to Rivendell. A severely weakened Frodo, conscious but delirious due to the wound he bore from the Morgul-knife, turned back to defy the Riders who pleaded for him to come with them. The Nazgûl entered the shallow ford but were there un-horsed and swept away by a torrent of enchanted water which guarded the entrance to Imladris charged with the power of the Half-elven and indeed by Gandalf the Grey.[11] He later led the injured Frodo and the rest of the company safely to Rivendell.

At the Council of Elrond, Glorfindel sat in a position of honour alongside Elrond and Gandalf. He suggested that the One Ring should be either sent to Tom Bombadil or cast into the depths of the Sea, but Gandalf believed that the One may resurface on land after a hundred or thousand years. He was briefly considered to be a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, but was later ruled out: his power would be of no use in a mission of secrecy to Mordor.[12]

After the War

After the Ring's destruction, Glorfindel, along with Erestor and the sons of Elrond, witnessed the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen.[13] His ultimate fate is not known, but it is reasonable to assume that he eventually sailed to Valinor with the rest of his kin.

Character

Glorfindel, by Magali Villenueve

Glorfindel was known for his golden hair, which at some point was described as yellow. He was an elf of great bodily strength and heroism. The Gondolindrim loved him dearly and wept upon witnessing his passing at Cirith Thoronath.[2] He was a capable leader, as seen when he led his House during the Fall, and loyal to his King and brothers-in-arms. He was very courageous and mindful of the refugees of Gondolin as they escaped; he chose to protect the escaping Gondolindrim (especially Tuor and Idril), but "would have defended them even had they been fugitives of any rank".[8] He displayed more of his power and courage when, millennia later, he faced against the Nine Riders to save Frodo.

Powers

Glorfindel was a very capable fighter, with great endurance; he fought for hours during the Fall of Gondolin and managed to face against a Balrog on his own.[2]

After his re-embodiment, Manwë had given Glorfindel powers nearly equal to the Maiar's, to help him in his missions in Middle-earth.[8] He was considered one of the most powerful Elves from Rivendell, given by his powerful and almost "angelic" presence, which had made the Black Riders flee many times.[9] He also had medicinal knowledge, as seen when he tends to Frodo's wounds.[11]

Etymology

His original name is said to have been Laurefindil, Quenya for "Golden-haired" from laurë ("golden") and findilë ("head of hair").[14] Glorfindel is simply the Sindarin translation of Laurefindil, from glaur ("golden") and fîn or find ("lock of hair").[15][16]

Parentage

Glorfindel was said to be descended from a house of princes and one of the noble Elves in Gondolin. Due to his golden hair, he might be descended from a Ñoldorin-Vanyarin intermarriage, like Finrod and Galadriel. His loyalty and following Turgon also indicated that he could be one of Turgon's kin, despite Turgon and the House of Fingolfin having dark hair. In The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, it is suggested that Glorfindel is a member of the House of Finarfin.[17]

Other versions of the legendarium

In Tolkien's early drafts, there were two separate Glorfindels: a Glorfindel of Gondolin and a Glorfindel of Rivendell. These two were initially thought to be different individuals. While writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien borrowed a name from one of the earlier Elves. As the legendarium grew more diverse, however, Tolkien decided that an elf who had fought in many wars might be a good companion for Gandalf. He explained in The Last Writings that the Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Rivendell are one and the same:

He then became again a living incarnate person, but was permitted to dwell in the Blessed Realm; for he had regained the primitive innocence and grace of the Eldar. For long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.
The History of Middle-earth, The Last Writings, Glorfindel

Upon deciding Glorfindel's return to Middle-earth, Tolkien came up with three options regarding Glorfindel's return to Middle-earth: SA 1200 (during Annatar's appearance in Númenor), SA 1600 (the completion of Barad-dûr), or TA 1000 (with the five Istari). Although all were probable, Tolkien favoured the SA 1600 date.[8]

In the first draft of the Council of Elrond, Glorfindel became a part of the Fellowship of the Ring, along with Durin son of Balin (who later became Gimli son of Glóin) and Trotter (later named Strider or Aragorn).[18]

Portrayal in adaptations

Glorfindel was left out of Ralph Bakshi's version of the Lord of the Rings, with Legolas in place of him when Aragorn was supposed to meet him before the attack at the Ford of Bruinen.

Lord of the Rings film trilogy

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Glorfindel's role in guiding Frodo Baggins to Rivendell is filled by Arwen, though he does appear during the prologue when Sauron is defeated. In The Return of the King, Glorfindel is seen walking next to Arwen as she is having her vision of her son Eldarion during the journey to The Grey Havens. In his last appearance, he is seen at the crowning of King Elessar, behind Legolas and in front of Arwen. In all appearances in the movies he has no speaking lines.

Radio versions

He was included in the BBC's Lord of the Rings radio serial in 1981, and was voiced by John Webb.

Video games

Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings Online

In The Lord of the Rings Online, Glorfindel is featured in an extended flashback sequence depicting the War of the Last Alliance. During this time, he is the leader of the Bright Company, a group of High Elves who fighting to rid Middle-earth of Sauron's evil long before that war and who continue their duty long after. In the present day, Glorfindel can be found in Rivendell just south of the Last Homely House. He is involved in the campaign against Angmar during the main story and also talks to the player after defeating the balrog Thaurlach. Glorfindel disappears in the final weeks of the War of the Ring and the player tracks him across Middle-earth to summon him to the Council of Elf-lords between Thranduil, Celeborn, and Galadriel. He joins the procession that escorts Lady Arwen to Minas Tirith for her wedding; along the way Glorfindel and Elrond assist Gandalf and the player in uncovering a mystery within the Gladden Fields.

Glorfindel is mentioned in the Wii and PlayStation 3 version of The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, particularly in the sixth level, Helm's Deep. In that level, the player can open a chest containing his quiver, which will increase Legolas' firing rate.



The Battle for Middle-Earth II

Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II.

In Electronic Arts' The Battle for Middle-earth II, Glorfindel is the first hero the player commands in the Good Campaign, and the chief protector of Rivendell. He is depicted with silver armour and a sword. His powers include the ability to mount his horse "Asfaloth" and the ability to heal and strengthen allied warriors.

With the dwarf leader Glóin, he is sent to muster the Dwarves to fight against Sauron. While Glorfindel and Glóin make their travels, however, they also make astounding and important victories against the Goblins in the north, driving them out and clearing the roads to inhibit Sauron's dominance over the regions of the Misty Mountains.

Mission 1, Rivendell

Glorfindel meeting Glóin in the BFME II campaign

The mission begins when Glorfindel, along with a few Lorien Warriors, make their way to Rivendell to warn Arwen Undómiel of the approaching Goblins. Along the way, they encounter and slay many Goblins, which is disturbing because Goblins have never been sighted this close to Rivendell before. Once making his way to Elrond, Glorfindel warns him of the approaching Goblins. In response, more warriors are trained in Barracks to repel the assault. After waves of Goblins, a Cave Troll, and a Mountain Giant attack and fail to break the Elven defenses, Arwen arrives with Rivendell Lancers and Lorien Archers. Eagles also join the fight. With these new forces, the Elven leaders direct the Elves to destroy the Goblin camp. Under Glorfindel's sword, no Goblins survive and the camp is destroyed. A Wyrm appears, but Glorfindel repeatedly strikes at it, and the combined efforts of the Elves bring the Wyrm down, leaving victory with the Elves.

Mission 2, High Pass

Glorfindel gather his forces against their enemies.

To prevent further invasions on Rivendell, Glorfindel and Glóin set out for the High Pass to rally the Dwarves and eliminate the Goblins. After a sturdy base is created, Glorfindel sets out on the High Pass with new Elven Warriors and Glóin. While journeying, they destroy any Goblin sentries and lairs that they find. Towards the end of the High Pass, they find Haldir under ambush from Goblins, and Glorfindel defeats the Goblins to rescue his friend. Together, they make their way to the Goblin base on the other side of the pass. Although a Watcher in the Water appears and attacks, Glorfindel defeats it with the help of his forces. The rest of the Goblins are then routed out, and complete victory goes to the Elves.

Mission 3, Ettenmoors

The Goblins have a new leader, Gorkil and Glorfindel and Glóin decide to lead their forces to assail and slay him, rendering the Goblins demoralized and confused. Upon arriving, Glorfindel learns that an Elven settlement is under attack from Goblins. Outraged, he leads his remaining forces from the High Pass to save the settlement and drive the Goblins away once and for all while Haldir gets reinforcements. Glorfindel and his forces (including Glóin) drive the Goblins away from the settlement, and prepare a base to assist their assault. Once the necessary preparations have been made, the Elven forces (with Haldir's reinforcements) set out to free a dormant Ent and destroy the Goblin King's stronghold, laying waste to an Ettenmoors drum, Goblin settlements, and sentry towers. They soon free the Ent Moot, and call forth the mighty Ent Treebeard to aid them. The assault upon the Goblin King's lair now begins in full swing. Despite heavy resistance from Goblins and their Giant and Troll allies, the fortress is taken and the Goblin King slain.

Soon after, Glorfindel and Glóin free a lone Dwarf prisoner who tells them that the Blue Mountains are under attack from Drogoth the Dragon Lord, and quickly rush to the Blue Mountains to aid their allies.

Mission 4, Blue Mountains

Glorfindel, Elrond and Men's King Earnur unite against the Witch-king of Angmar.

Glorfindel and Glóin arrive with a few Elves, but are attacked by Drogoth. They and their Dwarven warriors flee to the inside of cave. They quickly eliminate spiders that are inside the cave, and then build a mighty base in it. After resting and preparing their armies, they march upon the Blue Mountains to slay Drogoth. Many Goblin spider riders, spiders, and Fire Drakes attempt to defeat them, but the army eventually makes it to the throne room, where Drogoth awaits. Upon encountering him, the Mirkwood Archers and Dwarven Axe-throwers immediately fire upon him, eventually slaying him.

With Drogoth defeated, the Blue Mountains are free and Sauron's hold is further lessened. However, Glorfindel and Glóin are astonished to learn that the Dwarves refuse to help them. They then make their way to the Grey Havens, hoping for a better reception from the Elves.

Mission 5, the Grey Havens

Glorfindel and Glóin, upon arriving at the Grey Havens, immediately sense trouble, and discover that the Corsairs have assaulted the city. While some Dwarven Axe-throwers return to the Blue Mountains to alert the Dwarves, Glorfindel and the Elves defeat the Corsairs. Afterwards, they recreate their armada and prepare to counterattack the Corsair fleet. After the naval blockade is removed, Glorfindel sends some Elves to capture the Corsair shipwrights.

After these shipwrights are captured, the Corsair (and Goblin) armada begins its assault. Glorfindel, Glóin, and the Elves rush to the beach to intercept the assault, with the help of the Elven ships. The Dwarves arrive after the first wave is destroyed, and, after two more waves, the forces of Evil are routed. Glorfindel cements the alliance between Dwarf and Elf, and Arwen arrives with news of an invasion of Mirkwood. Glorfindel and Glóin ride on Eagles to go and defend Thranduil's kingdom.



Trivia

Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.
  • In the 1978 film of The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel's part was taken by Legolas when leading the Hobbits and Strider to Rivendell.
  • At one stage Tolkien considered whether Glorfindel was one of the Blue Wizards, but he later decided against this.
  • In July 2007, 3-D entertainment model producer Gentle Giant Studios, Inc., headquartered in Burbank, California, released an exclusive sculpted Glorfindel bust, limited to 500 pieces, for the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con. Licensed under New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings franchise. GLORFINDEL BUST - Gentle Giant Studios

Gallery

Anna Lee - Glorfindel.jpg
Glorfindel, by Anna Lee
GlorfindelandBalrog.jpg
Glorfindel and the Balrog, by John Howe
Līga Kļaviņa - Glorfindel.jpg
Glorfindel and Asfaloth, by Līga Kļaviņa
Glorfindel by Tolrone.jpg
Glorfindel, by Tolrone
Glorfindel Balrog by Moumou38.jpg
Glorfindel versus the Balrog, by Moumou38
200403121648 Glorfindel.jpg
Glorfindel - LOTR The Card Game (Hero-Lore).JPG
Glorfindel - LOTR The Card Game (Hero-Spirit).JPG
Glorfindel from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Foundations of Stone Adventure Pack
Glorfindel - LOTR The Card Game (ally).JPG
Glorfindel from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Flight of the Stormcaller Adventure Pack
Glorfindel - LOTR The Card Game (Fanmade).JPG
Glorfindel from The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, The Wizard's Quest Standalone Scenario

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ጝሎርፊንደል
Arabic جلورفينديل
Armenian Գլորֆինդել
Belarusian Cyrillic Гларфіндэйл
Bengali গ্লোরিফান্ডেল
Bosnian Glorofindel
Bulgarian Cyrillic Глорфиндел
Catalan Glorfíndel
Chinese (Hong Kong) 葛羅芬戴爾
Georgian გლორფინდელი
Greek Γλορφινδελ
Gujarati ગ્લોફિન્ડલ
Hebrew גלורפינדל
Hindi ङ्लोर्फ़िन्देल
Japanese グロールフィンデル
Kannada ಗ್ಲೋಫಿನ್ಡೆಲ್
Kazakh Глорфиндел (Cyrillic) Glorfïndel (Latin)
Korean 글로르핀델
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Глорфиндэл
Macedonian Cyrillic Глорфиндел
Marathi ग्लोर्फ़िन्देल
Mongolian Cyrillic Глорфíндел
Nepalese ङ्लोर्फ़िन्देल ?
Pashto علورفیندېل ?
Persian گلورفیندل
Punjabi ਗਲੋਫਿੰਡਲ
Russian Глорфиндель, Всеславур, Гореслав
Sanskrit ङ्लोर्fइन्देल्
Serbian Глорфиндел (Cyrillic) Glorfindel (Latin)
Sinhalese ග්ලොර්ෆිඳෙල්
Tajik Cyrillic Глорфиндел
Tamil குலாபின்டேல்
Telugu గ్లోరిఫైన్డ్ల్
Thai กลอร์ฟินเดล
Ukrainian Cyrillic Глорфіндел
Urdu گلورفنڈل
Uzbek Глорфиндел (Cyrillic) Glorfindel (Latin)
Yiddish גלאָרפינדעל

References

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, V. The Tale of Years
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, III: "The Fall of Gondolin"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter I: "Many Meetings"
  5. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part Three: The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings..., III. Maeglin
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  7. The Children of Húrin, Narn i Chîn Húrin, The Tale of the Children of Húrin, II: "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XIII: "Last Writings"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (iv): "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  10. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter VI: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter XII: "Flight to the Ford"
  12. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
  13. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter V: "The Steward and the King"
  14. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  15. The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names
  16. Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  17. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry G
  18. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 6: The Return of the Shadow, The Story Continued, XXIII: "In the House of Elrond"
Advertisement