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Fall of Gondolin

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Fall of Gondolin
Conflict: War of the Jewels
Date: FA 510
Place: Gondolin
Outcome: The demise of the great city of Gondolin
Elves of Gondolin Army of Melkor
Turgon †, Tuor, Ecthelion †, Glorfindel †, Duilin †, Rog †, Egalmoth, Penlod †, Galdor, Legolas of Gondolin Morgoth, Gothmog †,Beast of Gondolin †, Maeglin †, Salgant of the Harp
12 Houses of the Gondolindrim Thousands Dragons, Orcs, Balrogs
Heavy Very Heavy

The Fall of Gondolin was the battle between the forces of Turgon and Melkor, after Maeglin betrayed the location of the Hidden Kingdom to the enemy. After the battle, most of the Gondolindrim (including Turgon and his captains) died, while some survived, such as Tuor, Idril, and their son Eärendil.


When the Noldor cities of Beleriand fell to the wrath of Morgoth one by one, Gondolin, hidden within the Crissaegrim, remained as a last bastion of hope for those who opposed Morgoth. But in 551 FA, Turgon's nephew, Maeglin, divulged the secrets of Gondolin and its passes to Morgoth, who planned the assault for many years before finally unleashing his armies upon the unprepared Elves. Due to information passed by Maeglin, Morgoth's forces managed to surround the city without being detected, and it was besieged without any hope of victory or escape on the part of the Elves.

For many days the elves of Gondolin held their ranks and the city. Bloody and terrible were the battles that raged beneath its walls - courageous leaders and warriors, most predominantly Ecthelion and Tuor, became legends, and later songs and epic poems would be written of them. Swords like Orcrist and Glamdring earned their reputations and became feared among orcs.

However, Morgoth's armies were 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. The defenders of the city managed to leave their mark on the attackers, slaying two Balrogs, one of whom was Gothmog himself, but ultimately, the battle was a complete and decisive victory for Morgoth. With Gondolin's fall, the last of the great Elven kingdoms in Middle-earth was destroyed, and with it was destroyed any terrestrial hope of resisting Morgoth's power.

As a chapterEdit

The Fall of Gondolin is a chapter of both The Book of Lost Tales II and the Silmarillion that tells 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.[1][2] The chapter of The Book of Lost Tales II goes more into depth than the account of the Fall in The Silmarillion, telling in detail of Tuor's and Ecthelion's feats in battle.

Behind the scenesEdit

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 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 II) 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.


  1. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  2. Unfinished Tales, Part One: The First Age, I: "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"

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