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Gil-galad, last High King of the Ñoldor

High King of the Ñoldor was the title of the head of the House of Finwë in Beleriand and Middle-earth, having overlordship over all the Ñoldorin realms. The title was mostly nominal; the Sons of Fëanor, in particular, while they acknowledged the Kingship, paid its bearer little heed, following their own agenda under the general leadership of Maedhros.


The forefather of the House of Finwë and the first King of the Ñoldor was Finwë, the first lord of the Tatyar who led his people in the Great Journey from Cuiviénen into the West to dwell in Valinor. He was slain by Morgoth at Formenos. His eldest son Fëanor claimed the kingship, but led a Rebellion of the Ñoldor back to Middle-earth to avenge his father's death and recover the Silmarils from Morgoth.[1]

Fëanor died before establishing a realm and the Kingship by right belonged to his eldest son Maedhros who was captured by Morgoth. After Fingon saved his life, in gratitude (and regretting that his father had abandoned the other Ñoldor in Araman) Maedhros passed his titles to Fingon's father, Fingolfin, being the eldest and wisest of all. Thus the Kingship passed from the House of Fëanor to the House of Fingolfin (fulfilling the Doom of Mandos that the Sons of Fëanor would become the Dispossessed) and the two Houses made peace.[2]

High Kingship in Beleriand

Fingolfin became the first High King of the Ñoldor, ruling from the northwest of Beleriand with his sons, mostly during the Siege of Angband. When Morgoth broke the leaguer in the Dagor Bragollach, he rode in anger to the gates of Angband and died in single combat with Morgoth. He was succeeded by his eldest son Fingon who reigned during an endless war. With Maedhros, he prepared a final assault on Morgoth, which ended in disaster for the Ñoldor and Fingon's own death, after a short rule.

Fingon's brother Turgon succeeded Fingon nominally, but his reign was titular at the least, as it was not possible for the "Hidden King" to rule from his Hidden City, the location of which was unknown by even his own kin. That was until Gondolin's location was discovered by Morgoth through the treachery of Maeglin.

Following Turgon's death in the Fall of Gondolin, there were no more extant Ñoldorin realms in Beleriand; the Kingship passed to the House of Finarfin, and the son of Orodreth, the young Ereinon Gil-galad was named High King once news of Turgon's death had spread.[3] Seeing the end of the War of the Jewels, Gil-galad held the Kingship through the Second Age, ruling longer than any of his forebears.

In the Westlands

After the cataclysmic War of Wrath that ended the First Age, the surviving Ñoldor who did not depart for the Undying Lands constituted the realms of Lindon and later Eregion in northwestern Middle-earth. Gil-galad was acknowledged as "High King of the Elves of the West"[4], though as in the First Age this title brought little real authority beyond the king's own direct realm.[5] He was the chief enemy of Sauron in the Dark Years, at the end of which he appointed Elrond as his vice-regent in Eriador.[6] He formed the Last Alliance with Elendil, being the commander of almost all of the Elven forces who fought in that War.[7] and died dueling Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom at the end of the Second Age.

Gil-galad was the last High King; after his time the title was never used,[8] as he fathered no children and no obvious heirs of the House of Finwë remained in Middle-earth. Galadriel of the House of Finarfin perhaps had some rights,[9] but did not claim them. Elrond was a direct descendant of Turgon, but through his daughter Idril; he never made claim to the Kingship but ruled Rivendell with all the authority of a king.[10] The Ñoldorin population of Middle-earth was greatly diminished in the Third Age, which was partly why the kingship remained unclaimed.

List of High Kings

# Name Reign Lifespan Note
Kings of the Ñoldor in Aman
I Finwë YT 11051495 c. YT 1086 — 1495 † Descendant of Enel of the Tatyar, who was killed by Morgoth
II Fëanor YT 1495 — 1497 YT 11691497 Eldest son of Finwë, who was killed by the Balrogs of Morgoth
III Finarfin From YT 1496 From YT 1230 Third son of Finwë, who resides in Valinor after the Changing
High Kings of the Ñoldor in Middle-earth
I Fingolfin YS 7456 YT 1190 — FA 456 † Second son of Finwë, who was killed by Morgoth after Dagor Bragollach
II Fingon FA 456 — 472 YT 1260 — FA 472 † Eldest son of Fingolfin, who was killed by Gothmog in Nirnaeth Arnoediad
III Turgon FA 472 — 510 YT 1300 — FA 510 † Second son of Fingolfin, who ruled in Gondolin and perished at its Fall
IV Gil-galad FA 510 — SA 3441 YT 1481 — SA 3441 † Son of Orodreth of the House of Finarfin, who was killed by Sauron at the Siege of Barad-dûr

Other versions of the legendarium

In the published version of The Silmarillion, Gil-galad is said to be the son of Fingon.[11] However, in some of Tolkien's later notes, published in The History of Middle-earth, Gil-galad is said to be the son of Orodreth and thus a junior member of the House of Finarfin,[12] and Turgon's closest living relative in the male line (excluding the dispossessed House of Fëanor).


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Hoë Koning van die Noldor
Albanian Mbreti i Lartë i Noldorit
Arabic الملك عالية من نولدور
Basque Noldorko errege nagusia
Belarusian Cyrillic Высокі кароль Нолдорa
Bosnian Vrhovni Kralj Noldora
Bulgarian Cyrillic Върховният Крал на Нолдор
Catalan Rei Suprem dels Ñoldor
Cebuano Hataas nga Hari sa Noldor
Chinese 諾多族最高君王
Corsican Re di Rè di Noldor
Croatian Visokikralj Noldora
Czech Velekrál Noldor
Danish Noldor Stor-konge
Dutch Hoge-Koning van de Noldor
Esperanto Supera Reĝo de Noldor
Estonian Noldor Kõrge kuningas
Filipino Mataas na hari ng mga Noldor
Finnish Noldorin korkea kuningas
French Haut Roi des Noldor
Frisian Hege Kening fan 'e Noldor (Western)
Galician Altos Rei dos Noldor
Georgian ნოლდორის მაღალი მეფე
German Hoher König der Noldor
Greek Ανώτατο βασιλιάς των Νόλντορ
Gujarati નોલ્ડરના ઉચ્ચ રાજા
Haitian Creole Anwo nan syèl la wa peyi Noldor
Hausa Babban Sarki na Noldor
Hebrew העליון קינג של הנולדור
Hmong Huab tais siab ntawm qhov Noldor
Hungarian Noldor nagy királya
Icelandic Hákonungur af Noldor
Indonesian Raja Tinggi Noldor
Irish Gaelic Ard Rí na hNoldor
Italian Re Supremo dei Noldor
Japanese ノルドールの高い王
Javanese Raja Agung saka Noldor
Kannada ನೊಲ್ಡರ್ನ ಉನ್ನತ ರಾಜ
Kazakh Нолдордың Жоғары Патшасы (Cyrillic) Noldordıñ Joğarı Patşası (Latin)
Korean 놀도르의 높은 왕
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Нолдордын Жогорку падыша
Latvian Augsts Noldoras karalis
Lithuanian Aukštas Noldoro karalius
Luxembourgish Héijer Kinnik vun Noldor
Macedonian Cyrillic Висок Крал на Нолдор
Malagasy Mpanjaka avo ao amin' ny Noldor
Malayalam നോൾഡോർ ഉന്നത രാജാവ്
Malaysian Raja Tinggi Noldor
Maltese Re Għoli tal-Noldor
Marathi नोल्डरचा सर्वोच्च राजा ?
Mongolian Cyrillic Нолдор-ийн Өндөр хаан
Nepalese णोल्दोर को उच्च राजा
Norwegian Overkonge av Noldoene
Persian پادشاه بزرگ نولدور
Polish Najwyższy Król Noldorów
Portuguese Alto Rei dos Noldor
Punjabi ਨੋਲਡਰ ਦਾ ਸਭ ਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਰਾਜਾ
Romanian Marele rege al Noldorii
Russian Верховный король Нолдор
Samoan Le tupu Maualuga o le Noldor
Scottish Gaelic Àrd Rìgh de na Noldor
Serbian Велики краљ Нолдора (Cyrillic) Veliki kralj Noldora (Latin)
Slovak Vysokýkráľ Noldor
Slovenian Nadkralj vseh Noldorov
Spanish Rey Supremo de los Noldor
Sundanese Tinggi Raja tina Noldor
Swahili Mfalme mkuu wa Noldor
Swedish Högkung av Noldor
Tajik Cyrillic Нолдор баландтарин Подшоҳи ?
Telugu ణొల్దొర యొక్క ఉన్నత రాజు
Turkish Yüce Noldor Kralı
Ukrainian Cyrillic Верховний король Нолдор
Urdu ہائی شاہ نولڈاور
Uzbek Нолдорнинг Олий қирол (Cyrillic) Noldorning Oliy qirol (Latin)
Vietnamese Vua cao của Noldor
Welsh Uchel Frenin Noldor
Yiddish הויך מלך פון די נאָלדאָר
Zulu INkosi ephakeme ye-the Noldor


  1. The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  2. The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  3. The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  5. The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  6. Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  7. Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
  9. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "High King of the Noldor"
  10. The Lord of the RingsThe Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  11. The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  12. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The parentage of Gil-galad"