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Elf gil-galad
Mark Ferguson as Gil-galad in the film

Gil-galad

Biographical information

Other names
Artanáro, Rodnor, Ereinion Gil-galad
Titles
High King of the Ñoldor, King of Lindon, High King of the Elves of the West, King of the High Elves, King of the Golodhrim, Lord of Eriador
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Spouse
Weapon

Physical description

Race
Gender
Male
Height
Tall
Hair color
Possibly golden (book),[note 1] Dark brown (movie)
Eye color
Voice
Character

Gil-galad, also called Ereinion Gil-galad, was a Ñoldorin Elf, son of Orodreth[note 2], and last High King of the Ñoldor in Middle-earth and bore many titles, including, High King of the Elves of the West, King of the Eldar, King of Lindon, Lord of the High Elves, and the Lord of Eriador.

Gil-galad held the highest authority among the Elves and he ruled and was respected by both the Noldor and the Sindar. He was considered the High King of the Elves in Middle Earth. He formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil, and he led the Elves, who were undivided, to war against Sauron during this time. His death marked the end of the Ñoldor Kingdoms in Middle-earth, though many Noldor still dwelt in Imladris throughout the Third Age.

BiographyEdit

First AgeEdit

Gil-galad was most likely born in the fifth century of the First Age was still young during the times of the battles of the Dagor Bragollach and Nirnaeth Arnoediad. He was the son of Orodreth and a Sindarin lady of the North, and the brother of Finduilas. He lived in Nargothrond until its fall and escaped, and eventually came to the Mouths of Sirion.[1]

After the death of Turgon during the Fall of Gondolin, Gil-galad received the Kingship of the Ñoldor.[2]

Second AgeEdit

In year 1 of the Second Age, Gil-galad remained in Middle-earth and established Lindon, which was strong and secure against its enemies. At its height, his realm extended eastward as far as the Misty Mountains and the western parts of Greenwood the Great, though most of the Eldar remained in Lindon and in Elrond's refuge of Rivendell.

Gil-galad had alliances with the Men of Westernesse, especially with Tar-Aldarion (the Mariner), The Faithful and Elendil. With Elendil he formed the Alliance of Elves and Men at the great watchtower of Amon Sul, which was so powerful as to be compared to the army which defeated Melkor at the end of the First Age. He reigned as High King of the Ñoldor throughout the Second Age. During this time Gil-galad was given the seeds of mellyrn, or mallorn, trees by Tar-Aldarion, who was, during this time, High King of Numenor. But the seeds wouldn't grow in his land so he gave them to Galadriel before she left Lindon. She carried these seeds for a long time, finally planting them in Lindórinand. When they grew in the land, it was renamed Lothlórien, Lórien of Blossom. Later on, Gil-galad was entrusted by Celebrimbor with the rings Vilya (Ring of Air) and Narya (Ring of Fire), two of the Three Rings, which he passed on to his herald Elrond and his lieutenant Cirdan prior to his demise at the Siege of Barad-dûr.[3]

Lotr gilgalad

Gil-galad as depicted in the War of the Last Alliance

With the emergence of Sauron, Gil-galad joined forces with the Dúnedain King Elendil to defeat the forces spreading from Mordor. Their large and well-trained combined forces engaged Sauron's armies multiple times in the conflict known as the War of the Last Alliance. Gil-galad's famed weapon was a spear known as Aeglos - which meant ' Icicle ; none could stand against it. Finally, at the end of the war, the Elves and Men marched on Mordor itself and laid siege to Barad-dûr, where Gil-galad was destroyed at the hands of Sauron. He and Elendil fought the Dark Lord, but according to a scroll written afterwards by Isildur Gil-galad perished due to "the heat of Sauron's hand", and so Gil-galad passed on to the Halls of Mandos. He was not known to have a wife, nor any children, so the kingship of the Ñoldor ended in Middle-earth and Círdan was from then on the Lord of the Grey Havens and Lindon.[4][5]

Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing;
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.

His sword was long, his lance was keen.
His shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.

But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.

― From The Fall of Gil-galad, as translated by Bilbo Baggins[6][note 3]

EtymologyEdit

Gil-galad was a Sindarin word that means "Star of High Radiance".[7] His name in Quenya was Artanáro which means "High Flame". In Sindarin, Artanáro translates to Rodnor.[1]

It was first conceived that Gil-galad's birth name was Ereinion instead of his epessë.[8] Ereinion means "Scion of Kings".[7]

House of FinarfinEdit

House of Finarfin

Finwë
   
   
Indis
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fingolfin
   
   
Finarfin
   
   
Eärwen
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finrod
   
   
Angrod
   
   
Eldalótë
   
   
Aegnor
   
   
Galadriel
   
   
Celeborn
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Orodreth
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Celebrían
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finduilas
   
   
   
   
   
   
Gil-galad

ParentageEdit

Gil-galad's parentage had many versions:

  • Gil-galad was originally, and briefly, conceived as a descendant of Fëanor.
  • In some notes in the History of Middle-earth, he was briefly the son of Finrod Felagund. It was said that Felagund sent his wife and son away for the Falas for their safety. in this version, Galadriel was Gil-galad's sister and daughter of Felagund.[1] However, Tolkien decided that Felagund was unmarried and childless.
  • In another, Angrod had a son Artaresto (later called Orodreth) whom Finrod made his steward and succeeded in Nargothrond. His wife was a Sindarin lady of the North, and had two children, Finduilas and Gil-galad, whom she called Rodnor.[1]
  • In the last, the name Artaresto was replaced by Arothir (Orodreth), the nephew of Finrod and father of Gil-galad. Finduilas remained as Orodreth's daughter and became sister of Gil-galad.[1]
Gil-galad 1

Gil-galad

A marginal note by Tolkien from around this time (the late 1950s) suggested that Gil-galad might be the son of Fingon. This suggestion was taken up by Tolkien's son and literary executor Christopher Tolkien in the published version of The Silmarillion, which states that Gil-galad is the son of Fingon. After the Dagor Bragollach and the ruin of Beleriand which results in the death of his grandfather Fingolfin, then High King of the Noldor, Fingon becomes the High King and sends a young Gil-galad to the Havens of the Falas under Círdan.[8] This idea of Gil-galad being sent to the Havens was derived from material which the elder Tolkien had written at the time when he saw Gil-galad as the son of Finrod.

After the disaster of the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, the title passes to Fingon's brother Turgon. Morgoth assaults the Falathrim in great force after that battle but Círdan and Gil-galad manage to flee in their ships to the Isle of Balar. When tidings come to Balar about the sack of Gondolin and the death of Turgon, Gil-galad becomes the King. Gil-galad's name in the chapter "Aldarion and Erendis" in the Unfinished Tales was also changed by the younger Tolkien in order to keep consistency with the published version of The Silmarillion. — in the original version of that work he was noted as a son of Finrod. Christopher later stated in The Peoples of Middle-earth that this decision to make Gil-galad a son of Fingon was an editorial mistake on his part, and did not represent his father's conception of the character. He suggested that it would have been better to have left Gil-galad's parentage obscure.

Tolkien's final decision for Gil-galad's parentage appears to have been that he was a son of Orodreth, who was at the same time changed from being a son of Finarfin to a son of Angrod. This conception, however, was never incorporated into the written stories of The Silmarillion, and aspects of it — notably the downgrading of Orodreth into a son of Angrod — would have required considerable reworking of the existing text.

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Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit

In the booksEdit

In the filmsEdit

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

In Fellowship of the Ring, Gil-galad's (played by Mark Ferguson) death scene was deleted, however he makes a brief appearance when he fights multiple orcs with his spear.

Non-canonical weaponsEdit

ArmorEdit
Gilgalad

Gil-galad's armor and spear Aeglos in the 2001 film The Fellowship of the Ring.

Gil-galad's armor was similar in composition to that of all the elves of the Second Age: a cuirass and fault of interlocking lames of steel plate over a hauberk of fine mail, together with pauldrons and braces. However, befitting his status as High-king, his armor was blued and etched with vine like tracery, and the plates were embossed with Tengwar symbols and included leather pants, which gave greater protection. At the throat, he wore a steel collar that bore his heraldic insignia, twelve stars on a midnight blue field. The color blue may have reflected an association with the sea; in any case, it was certainly a dye that was rare on Middle-earth, and it would have required a great deal of time and knowledge to locate enough flora or fauna with which to make it. His cloak was of a deep blue and his armor was golden, and instead of a helmet, he wore a golden crown, fashioned for him by Celebrimbor, who made the Rings of Power.

ShieldEdit
Shield

The Shield of Gil-galad.

The shield of the High-king was the same shape as the regular elven shield, but like his armor it was more richly adorned: it was enameled in blue on and around the boss and decorated in gold with the twelve stars of his house. Because Aeglos(his spear) was wielded two-handed, it is likely that the shield was carried only to the field of battle rather onto it, to be left with one of Gil-galad's attendants. It may have been used by him when he fought with a sword.

Preceded by:
Turgon
High King of the Ñoldor
FA 510 - SA 3441
Followed by:
none, title abandoned in Middle-earth

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", Parentage of Gil-galad
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  3. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)
  4. The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter XI: "A Knife in the Dark"
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Silmarillion, Index of Names
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XVIII: "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"

Notes

  1. His membership to the House of Finarfin might support this.
  2. Even though Gil-Galad was mentioned in The Silmarillion as the son of Fingon, Christopher Tolkien has stated that this was a mistake and that Gil-galad was actually the son of Orodreth.
  3. The poem apparently goes on longer, but the remainder was mainly about Mordor, and was therefore not recited because Sam didn't think he'd be going there himself.

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