Gil-galad and Nargothrond

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Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:46 pm

The parentage of Gil-galad has often been debated, but I think it is safe to assume that Tolkien always wanted him to be of the House of Finarfin. Perhaps to keep the parallel of the House of Finarfin ruling both in Aman and Middle Earth. Christoper Tolkien says without doubt his father's last thoughts were that Gil-galad was the son of Orodreth, the son of Angrod, the son of Finarfin. This would make him the brother of Finduilas and present in Nargothrond during Turin's time there. Finduilas at least was fully grown at the time, but we don't know about her brother Gil-galad. It makes sense for him to be have been the younger sibling and not at the fullness of his power. How do you think his relationship with was Turin? How did he feel about his father's policy of open war? We know Gil-galad grew to be a great warrior, but he was also a wise king. He wisely refused Sauron entry into his land and was quick to guess he was a servant of Morgoth. Under him the elvish kingdoms grew in size and power. It strikes me as odd that such a powerful and charismatic leader would not play a bigger role in Nargothrond, unless he was very young. Gil-galad was able to hold the Noldor under his sway, though he was only 6.25% Noldor. From Caranthir's proud words we know certain parties of the Noldor would have been displeased with this. Is it possible that a young Gil-galad was left as the regent of Nargothrond whilst his father went to war? Instead of the story of him being sent to Cirdan young, it seems more likely he was one of the few to survive the rout of Glaurung and flee south. In later days Gil-galad was ever ready to have the friendship with the Men. He became great friends with Elendil and Adarion. Was he influenced by seeing Turin in Nargothrond? Did he learn from his father's mistakes as King?
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby Galin » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:55 am

Welcome mrunderhill!

I think part of the problem here is that while Tolkien intended Gil-galad to be a Finarfinian, he didn't get around to revising everything with this conception in mind. Although it's possible, I think, that he might have left things rather sparse here in any case.

Gil-galad barely appears in QS, and (Of The Ruin Of Beleriand) 'but his young son Ereinion (who was after named Gil-galad) he sent to the Havens' could be noted of Orodreth rather han Fingon, for Orodreth (same chapter) is noted as the warden of Tol Sirion before being forced to flee to Nargothrond.

Other manipulations regarding Orodreth's place in the family tree seem slight enough: alter 'brother' to nephew where Finrod or other brothers are involved, and from Of The Flight Of The Noldor: 'and Orodreth, alone of his sons spoke in like manner' -- one could alter 'sons' to 'kin' or 'house' perhaps, or simply delete this reference (as he would now be Angrod's son).

When Turgon is slain, the kingship passes to Gil-galad, who remained out of harm's way where Finrod and Orodreth had not. Well, if he was sent to the Havens. In a note dated 1965 Gil-galad 'escaped' [note also a comment that follows the following citation: 'In the last of the genealogical tables Artanaro (Rodnor) called Gil-galad appears, with the note that 'he escaped and dwelt at Sirion's mouth']

Finrod left his wife in Valinor and had no children in exile. Angrod's son was Artaresto, who was beloved by Finrod and escaped when Angrod was slain, and dwelt with Finrod. Finrod made him his 'steward' and he succeeded him in Nargothrond. His Sindarin name was Rodreth (altered to Orodreth because of his love of the mountains). His children were Finduilas and Artanáro = Rodnor later called Gil-galad. (Their mother was a Sindarin lady of the North. She called her son Gil-galad). Rodnor Gil-galad escaped and eventually came to Sirion's Mouth and was King of the Noldor there.

JRRT, August 1965, reproduced in The Shibboleth of Feanor, The Peoples of Middle-Earth


Granted, considering this last sentence, if JRRT was going to have Gil-galad escape the Fall of Nargothrond then one assumes some new writing awaited to flesh this out.

In alterations made to QS, where Gil-galad is Felagund's son, Felagund, fearing that all strong places were doomed to fall, sends away his wife Meril to her own folk in Eglorest, and their child ('yet an Elvenchild') Gil-galad. And another note: 'But forseeing evil he [Felagund] demanded Orodreth to send away his son Gil-galad, and wife.' This was struck out, but yet a third note states that the wife of Felagund '... forsook the folk of Nargothrond and went with her son Gilgalad to the Havens of the Falas.' And this forsaking of Nargothrond seemingly takes place when Orodreth expells Celegorn and Curufin from Nargothrond.

The note in which Fingon becomes King of the Noldor and sends his son Gil-galad to the Havens [compared to the 1977 Silmarillion, the line reads: ['… Fingon took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor. [Late penciled addition: But his young son (?Findor) [sic] Gilgalad he sent to the Havens]' War of the Jewels. p. 56] is present on the GA typescript, itself dating to 1958.

So the external progression seems to be:

A) Felagund sends his wife and son to the Havens for safety -- A1) or demands that Orodreth do so -- A2) or Felagund's wife forsakes Nargothrond with Gil-galad

B) Then later the idea re-emerges that Gil-galad was sent to the havens, by his father Fingon.

C) Then later again Gil-galad is back as a Finarfinian, but now 'escapes'... I assume escapes the fall of Nargothrond.

So the later idea might not raise the question of why Finduilas -- she becoming the sister of Gil-galad -- did not journey with him to the Havens; or why, if A2 were to be the case, why a wife and child forsaking Nargothrond would not include the female child Finduilas. But again if Gil-galad is present at the Fall of Nargothrond, Tolkien would arguably provide a way in which he escaped, but Finduilas did not.

Anyway, stripping Finduilas of her line to Turin (or altering it) does not seem that invasive in my opinion, for example -- and this does not occur in QS itself if I recall correctly [referring to: 'But you are kingly,' said she, 'even as the lords of the people of Fingolfin; I would I had a brother so valiant.' The Children of Hurin].

And one might wonder how old Gil-galad was at this point. Here I would note than Tolkien's 50 or (for some) 100 Sun Years for an Elf child to grow to be a man or woman not only wasn't published by the author, but this idea doesn't seem to be his last word on the matter. In other words, when looking at Gil-galad's age relative to what's going on in history, in my opinion the reader need not be forced to imagine that 50 years must elapse before Gil-galad could be said to be 'grown up', nor was Tolkien bound by this necessarily, as this notion was still private from his perspective, and thus easily enough ignored.

Within the Fingon conception, Fingon sent his 'young son' Gil-galad away in SY 456. Within the Felagund conception, Felagund's wife seems to forsake Nargothrond about the time Celegorn and Curufin were driven out of Nargothrond, which according the the Grey Annals was in year 465, nine years later, and Glaurung assailed Nargothrond in SY 493. So that's 28 years later, even if we (admittedly arbitrarily) adopt this year and, lifted from one of the 'Felagund notes', also adopt that Gil-galad was but an elvenchild in year 465 [when he was sent to Eglorest in that conception].

If he was only 2 in 465 that still makes him 30 years old when Nargothrond fell: notably young for an Elf in general; young for an Elf, in another sense, if we implement Tolkien's idea of it taking 50 to 100 years for an elvenchild to grow to be an adult; but if Elves grew at about the same rate as Men (as seems to be JRRT's latest thought on the matter), still Gil-galad would be old enough to do battle in Nargothrond.

What I did was check out every instance of Orodreth (using the index) in the 1977 Silmarillion and adjust the text slightly: 'brother' to 'nephew' and so on, possibly simply deleting the sentence in Of The Flight of the Noldor. Doing that (or that much) didn't seem too difficult, and I tried to be aware of any notable conflicts in the story itself that might be raised by simply changing the relationship -- at least surrounding the text I mentally tinkered with.

That said, maybe there are notable conflicts that I've missed. If so I would welcome them being noted, to see if they could be dealt with in some measure.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:57 am

Galin wrote:Welcome mrunderhill!

Thanks for the welcome.

I think part of the problem here is that while Tolkien intended Gil-galad to be a Finarfinian, he didn't get around to revising everything with this conception in mind. Although it's possible, I think, that he might have left things rather sparse here in any case.

Gil-galad barely appears in QS, and (Of The Ruin Of Beleriand) 'but his young son Ereinion (who was after named Gil-galad) he sent to the Havens' could be noted of Orodreth rather han Fingon, for Orodreth (same chapter) is noted as the warden of Tol Sirion before being forced to flee to Nargothrond.

Other manipulations regarding Orodreth's place in the family tree seem slight enough: alter 'brother' to nephew where Finrod or other brothers are involved, and from Of The Flight Of The Noldor: 'and Orodreth, alone of his sons spoke in like manner' -- one could alter 'sons' to 'kin' or 'house' perhaps, or simply delete this reference (as he would now be Angrod's son).

When Turgon is slain, the kingship passes to Gil-galad, who remained out of harm's way where Finrod and Orodreth had not. Well, if he was sent to the Havens. In a note dated 1965 Gil-galad 'escaped' [note also a comment that follows the following citation: 'In the last of the genealogical tables Artanaro (Rodnor) called Gil-galad appears, with the note that 'he escaped and dwelt at Sirion's mouth']

Finrod left his wife in Valinor and had no children in exile. Angrod's son was Artaresto, who was beloved by Finrod and escaped when Angrod was slain, and dwelt with Finrod. Finrod made him his 'steward' and he succeeded him in Nargothrond. His Sindarin name was Rodreth (altered to Orodreth because of his love of the mountains). His children were Finduilas and Artanáro = Rodnor later called Gil-galad. (Their mother was a Sindarin lady of the North. She called her son Gil-galad). Rodnor Gil-galad escaped and eventually came to Sirion's Mouth and was King of the Noldor there.

JRRT, August 1965, reproduced in The Shibboleth of Feanor, The Peoples of Middle-Earth


Granted, considering this last sentence, if JRRT was going to have Gil-galad escape the Fall of Nargothrond then one assumes some new writing awaited to flesh this out.[/QUOTE]
I agree changing Orodreth from Finrod's brother to his nephew is easily done. The close relationship the two have would not really change much from a beloved brother to a nephew.

I don't think Orodreth's support of his grandfather Finarfin needs to be struck out either. Idril and Celebrimbor were both 2nd generation descendants of Finwe, who were adults at the time of the Noldor rebellion. There is no reason why Orodreth would not be amongst them.

As for the kingship passing to Gil-galad this would make sense if the elves followed a Agnatic succession when it came to the High Kingship. Thus the throne would always go to the oldest male descendant from a male line of Finwe. The Feanorians were regarded as being disposed after Maedhros's words whether that was what he meant or not. The problem is why would the Noldor practice Agnatic succession? Unless the High Kingship was viewed as a military position and best suited for a male. Though there was not a great difference between male and female Noldor's, they did differ in the roles they by nature or nurture took up.
In alterations made to QS, where Gil-galad is Felagund's son, Felagund, fearing that all strong places were doomed to fall, sends away his wife Meril to her own folk in Eglorest, and their child ('yet an Elvenchild') Gil-galad. And another note: 'But forseeing evil he [Felagund] demanded Orodreth to send away his son Gil-galad, and wife.' This was struck out, but yet a third note states that the wife of Felagund '... forsook the folk of Nargothrond and went with her son Gilgalad to the Havens of the Falas.' And this forsaking of Nargothrond seemingly takes place when Orodreth expells Celegorn and Curufin from Nargothrond.

The note in which Fingon becomes King of the Noldor and sends his son Gil-galad to the Havens [compared to the 1977 Silmarillion, the line reads: ['… Fingon took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor. [Late penciled addition: But his young son (?Findor) [sic] Gilgalad he sent to the Havens]' War of the Jewels. p. 56] is present on the GA typescript, itself dating to 1958.

So the external progression seems to be:

A) Felagund sends his wife and son to the Havens for safety -- A1) or demands that Orodreth do so -- A2) or Felagund's wife forsakes Nargothrond with Gil-galad

B) Then later the idea re-emerges that Gil-galad was sent to the havens, by his father Fingon.

C) Then later again Gil-galad is back as a Finarfinian, but now 'escapes'... I assume escapes the fall of Nargothrond.

So the later idea might not raise the question of why Finduilas -- she becoming the sister of Gil-galad -- did not journey with him to the Havens; or why, if A2 were to be the case, why a wife and child forsaking Nargothrond would not include the female child Finduilas. But again if Gil-galad is present at the Fall of Nargothrond, Tolkien would arguably provide a way in which he escaped, but Finduilas did not.

Anyway, stripping Finduilas of her line to Turin (or altering it) does not seem that invasive in my opinion, for example -- and this does not occur in QS itself if I recall correctly [referring to: 'But you are kingly,' said she, 'even as the lords of the people of Fingolfin; I would I had a brother so valiant.' The Children of Hurin].

And one might wonder how old Gil-galad was at this point. Here I would note than Tolkien's 50 or (for some) 100 Sun Years for an Elf child to grow to be a man or woman not only wasn't published by the author, but this idea doesn't seem to be his last word on the matter. In other words, when looking at Gil-galad's age relative to what's going on in history, in my opinion the reader need not be forced to imagine that 50 years must elapse before Gil-galad could be said to be 'grown up', nor was Tolkien bound by this necessarily, as this notion was still private from his perspective, and thus easily enough ignored.

Within the Fingon conception, Fingon sent his 'young son' Gil-galad away in SY 456. Within the Felagund conception, Felagund's wife seems to forsake Nargothrond about the time Celegorn and Curufin were driven out of Nargothrond, which according the the Grey Annals was in year 465, nine years later, and Glaurung assailed Nargothrond in SY 493. So that's 28 years later, even if we (admittedly arbitrarily) adopt this year and, lifted from one of the 'Felagund notes', also adopt that Gil-galad was but an elvenchild in year 465 [when he was sent to Eglorest in that conception].

If he was only 2 in 465 that still makes him 30 years old when Nargothrond fell: notably young for an Elf in general; young for an Elf, in another sense, if we implement Tolkien's idea of it taking 50 to 100 years for an elvenchild to grow to be an adult; but if Elves grew at about the same rate as Men (as seems to be JRRT's latest thought on the matter), still Gil-galad would be old enough to do battle in Nargothrond.

What I did was check out every instance of Orodreth (using the index) in the 1977 Silmarillion and adjust the text slightly: 'brother' to 'nephew' and so on, possibly simply deleting the sentence in Of The Flight of the Noldor. Doing that (or that much) didn't seem too difficult, and I tried to be aware of any notable conflicts in the story itself that might be raised by simply changing the relationship -- at least surrounding the text I mentally tinkered with.

That said, maybe there are notable conflicts that I've missed. If so I would welcome them being noted, to see if they could be dealt with in some measure.


I think we can rule out the first case A)

Tolkien seems fairly firm in that he did not want Finrod to have any descendants at Beleriand. The tragic story of Finrod abandoning the Vanyar he loved seems to have stuck. Now Finrod being wise would certainly counsel his brother to save his young son from war. The problem with this is Finduilas. I cannot see any reason why Orodreth would send his wife and young son, but leave his young daughter in danger.

In the case of B) this seems to have been a very brief idea. In the POME, Christopher says it was just an ephemeral idea.

It is C) for me which, seems the only workable narrative. Orodreth with his family flee to Nargothrond with Finrod. There they are raised and Orodreth is made Finrod's steward. Since there is little reason for Orodreth so send his son away and leave his daughter in peril, I am inclined to think they both stayed until the city was sacked by the dragon. After this Orodreth's wife is perhaps killed, Finduilas taken captured and Gil-galad forced to flee to Cirdan.

As for Gil-galad's age perhaps we should compare him with other young elves born in Beleriand. A good example as any is Maeglin. Maeglin was born in 320 FA. By the time of 400 FA he is grown strong and powerful enough to act as his mothers bodyguard. He also falls in love with Idril at this point. So we do have an example of an Noldor Elf Lord being fully grown by the time of 80.

Minas Tirith was captured by Sauron in 457. If we are to assume that Gil-galad was already born at this time, it would make him at least 40 or so at the sacking of Nargothrond. A valiant and courageous prince like Gil-galad would fight in defense of his city, even if we take Tokien's previous age of 50 (the age where elves came into adulthood). Finduilas was an adult before Gwindor left. So it would seem she was his older sister.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby Galin » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:41 pm

Hmm, thinking about it a bit more, I'm not sure about Tolkien's later reference to Gil-galad's escape, as even if we have a young Gil-galad, this would not only be reminiscent of the later Earendil escaping Gondolin, but would raise the question of why the women, or at least some including Finduilas, could not have escaped with him.

And if we were to have an older Gil-galad present, then one would wonder how it was that Turin became so high in commanding the forces of Nargothrond. I think it might be easier to have Gil-galad at another location, before Turin even arrives. In The Children of Hurin Gelmir says to Orodreth that 'we were of Angrod's people' and of late have dwelt among Cirdan's following. Could Gil-galad have been among these folk, at the time concerned, simply by choice (for some period of time I mean, not that he had left for good) they being of his grandfather's people?

Granted it's speculation, but if Gil-galad was in Nargothrond before and during its fall, wouldn't this arguably impact Turin's influence? As late as the Grey Annals Haldir son of Orodreth still appeared, although he was trapped and hung on a tree by orcs before Turin came to Nargothrond.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:12 pm

Galin wrote:Hmm, thinking about it a bit more, I'm not sure about Tolkien's later reference to Gil-galad's escape, as even if we have a young Gil-galad, this would not only be reminiscent of the later Earendil escaping Gondolin, but would raise the question of why the women, or at least some including Finduilas, could not have escaped with him.

And if we were to have an older Gil-galad present, then one would wonder how it was that Turin became so high in commanding the forces of Nargothrond. I think it might be easier to have Gil-galad at another location, before Turin even arrives. In The Children of Hurin Gelmir says to Orodreth that 'we were of Angrod's people' and of late have dwelt among Cirdan's following. Could Gil-galad have been among these folk, at the time concerned, simply by choice, they being of his grandfather's people?

Granted it's speculation, but if Gil-galad was in Nargothrond before and during its fall, wouldn't this arguably impact Turin's influence? As late as the Grey Annals Haldir son of Orodreth still appeared, although he was trapped and hung on a tree by orcs before Turin came to Nargothrond.

Well Earendil was only able to escape due to the great heroism of Glorfindel. Without Glorfindel, the Balrog would have likely destroyed most of the remnants fleeing. Perhaps Gil-galad was present at the battle and was one of those Turin mustered on the return back to Nargothrond. To approach the dragon was impossible for anyone except Turin due to the Dragon Helm. There is bravery and then there is stupidity. As brave and valiant as Gil-galad may have been, he could not charge dragon fire.

I don't see how Gil-galad's presence would change Turin's rise. Tuor his cousin (though a positive infuence) had a similar rise even among such elves as Glorfindel, Galdor and Ecthelion. Turin despite lacking social skills, seems to be inspire great love and loyalty in people; Mablung, Beleg, Thingol, Mim, the men of Brethil, the outlaws, Orodreth etc all end up going against their wisdom for Turin. If Turin could gain the favour of all the people why would Gil-galad make any difference? Beleg strong bow pretty much (though with kings leave) abandons his own people to protect Turin.

Sending away Gil-galad from his father without Finduilas is far more problematic to me. In times of war why would Orodreth send his warrior son away, but leave his daughter. We cannot ignore the words of Gwindor either, in the COH.

'They will not be parted of from us' said Gwindor


In the case of Gelmir only the urgent errand of Cirdan stopped him fighting in the battle alongside Orodreth. Are we to really believe, that Gil-galad would ideally stand by whilst his father and all his other close kin went off to battle? Also what better messenger could Cirdan send than the son of the king? No for me it is harder to believe that Gil-galad would not be involved fighting with his father.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby Galin » Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:24 pm

I don't see how Gil-galad's presence would change Turin's rise. Tuor his cousin (though a positive infuence) had a similar rise even among such elves as Glorfindel, Galdor and Ecthelion. Turin despite lacking social skills, seems to be inspire great love and loyalty in people; Mablung, Beleg, Thingol, Mim, the men of Brethil, the outlaws, Orodreth etc all end up going against their wisdom for Turin. If Turin could gain the favour of all the people why would Gil-galad make any difference? Beleg strong bow pretty much (though with kings leave) abandons his own people to protect Turin.


But a rise in favour, or even a rise to become a notable counsellor to the king, which I don't think Gil-galad need hinder, I agree, is yet very different from command of all of Orodreth's forces. Moreover, now it would seemingly have to be Gil-galad who is also swayed by Turin's policies, which ultimately don't end well. This arguably might put a dent in the perception of the High King?

Sending away Gil-galad from his father without Finduilas is far more problematic to me. In times of war why would Orodreth send his warrior son away, but leave his daughter. We cannot ignore the words of Gwindor either, in the COH.


Well, admittedly I can't think of a good reason yet to have Gil-galad out of Nargothrond when actual war strikes :)

Tolkien's reason of safety might have to do, but for this I would make Gil-galad an elvenchild at the time; although if safety is a concern, then I am back to wondering why Finduilas and other women weren't sent away.

I agree, when considering Finduilas' capture it's better to have Gil-galad in Nargothrond and 'escape' -- especially as this seems to be Tolkien's latest idea -- and Tolkien could certainly rewrite this material [Turin in Nargothrond] to incorporate an older Gil-galad here, but Gil-galad would have to still outrank the popular Turin (possibly why Haldir son of Orodreth was slain? before Turin arrived in Nargothrond), and that, I think, puts the question to Tolkien if he is going to have the eventual High King side with Turin's policies.

Or am I off the path with this?
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:30 pm

Galin wrote:
I don't see how Gil-galad's presence would change Turin's rise. Tuor his cousin (though a positive infuence) had a similar rise even among such elves as Glorfindel, Galdor and Ecthelion. Turin despite lacking social skills, seems to be inspire great love and loyalty in people; Mablung, Beleg, Thingol, Mim, the men of Brethil, the outlaws, Orodreth etc all end up going against their wisdom for Turin. If Turin could gain the favour of all the people why would Gil-galad make any difference? Beleg strong bow pretty much (though with kings leave) abandons his own people to protect Turin.


But a rise in favour, or even a rise to become a notable counsellor to the king, which I don't think Gil-galad need hinder, I agree, is yet very different from command of all of Orodreth's forces. Moreover, now it would seemingly have to be Gil-galad who is also swayed by Turin's policies, which ultimately don't end well. This arguably might put a dent in the perception of the High King?

In virtually every city of the Noldor the king commanded the forces, whether it be Feanor, Fingolfin, Maedhros, Fingon, Turgon or even Orodreth. In the last battle with the dragon it is Orodreth, who leads the army out and Turin is at his right hand. Orodreth is at the forefront of the fighting and is slain. So it is safe to state Orodreth was the commander of the forces. Turin was an exceptional fighter. His physical strength does seem unmatched and the elves of Nargothrond choose him as their champion.

Having Gil-galad be swayed by Turin's words is a greater problem, that Turin being the champion of the city. From what we know of the Second Age, Gil-galad was a wise and prudent ruler. He refused to treat with Sauron and his realm grew in power, though a number of elves were leaving. However, even if he is from the House of Finarfin, he is still from the line of Finwe. ALL of Finwe's descendants were proud and the doom of Mandos would be upon Gil-galad at that point too. Even Turgon, who was a wise king rejected the inspired council of Tuor. A young Gil-galad eager to proof himself in war might have been swayed by Turin's words.
Sending away Gil-galad from his father without Finduilas is far more problematic to me. In times of war why would Orodreth send his warrior son away, but leave his daughter. We cannot ignore the words of Gwindor either, in the COH.


Well, admittedly I can't think of a good reason yet to have Gil-galad out of Nargothrond when actual war strikes :)

Tolkien's reason of safety might have to do, but for this I would make Gil-galad an elvenchild at the time; although if safety is a concern, then I am back to wondering why Finduilas and other women weren't sent away.

I agree, when considering Finduilas' capture it's better to have Gil-galad in Nargothrond and 'escape' -- especially as this seems to be Tolkien's latest idea -- and Tolkien could certainly rewrite this material [Turin in Nargothrond] to incorporate an older Gil-galad here, but Gil-galad would have to still outrank the popular Turin (possibly why Haldir son of Orodreth was slain? before Turin arrived in Nargothrond), and that, I think, puts the question to Tolkien if he is going to have the eventual High King side with Turin's policies.

Or am I off the path with this?


Rank seems to have had little meaning with Turin. Orodreth outranked him, but there is some element of truth in Glaurungs taunt. Turin did tend to usurp power wherever he went.

Turin now commanded all the forces of Nargothrond, and ruled all matters of war; indeed he was become stern and proud, and would order all things as he wished or thought good.

The elves and the Noldor in particular have always followed who they wished rather than lineage. Feanor lost out to Fingolfin, even the loved Finrod was ousted by Celegorm and Curufin. I don't think Turin had an official position above other Lords, but he was the De Facto leader.

The greater concern is Gil-galad following Turin's council. I have given reasons why he being caught up in the Doom of Mandos might be swayed by Turin's words.

Another important point can be seen in the Silmarillion is how low the elves of Nargothrond had fallen. Remember the effect that Curufin's words had.

So great a fear did he set in their hearts that never after until the time of Turin would any elf of that realm go into open battle: but with stealth and ambush, with wizardry and venomed dart, they pursued all strangers, forgetting the bond of kinship. Thus they fell from the valour and freedom of the Elves of Old, and their land was darkened.

Now this quote would need some revising since Gwindor and a few from Nargothrond did ride out to Maedhros' summons, but it is probably true for the most part. A young Gil-galad seeing the dishonour his people had fallen into might be over ego to see them reclaim some of their former valour and pride.

Perhaps changing the topic, but Gil-galad was known as a mighty warrior. Did he fight in the War of Wrath? The evidence suggest that none of the exiles took part. For him to gain such a reputation, valiantly leading the elves in Nargothrond may have helped.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby Galin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:34 am

mrunderhill wrote: In virtually every city of the Noldor the king commanded the forces, whether it be Feanor, Fingolfin, Maedhros, Fingon, Turgon or even Orodreth. In the last battle with the dragon it is Orodreth, who leads the army out and Turin is at his right hand. Orodreth is at the forefront of the fighting and is slain. So it is safe to state Orodreth was the commander of the forces. Turin was an exceptional fighter. His physical strength does seem unmatched and the elves of Nargothrond choose him as their champion.


But even if Orodreth commanded at this battle, you already provided the quote I was thinking of, only now to be viewed within the context of dropping Gil-galad into the mix: 'Turin now commanded all the forces of Nargothrond, and ruled all matters of war; indeed he was become stern and proud, and would order all things as he wished or thought good.'


Having Gil-galad be swayed by Turin's words is a greater problem, that Turin being the champion of the city. From what we know of the Second Age, Gil-galad was a wise and prudent ruler. He refused to treat with Sauron and his realm grew in power, though a number of elves were leaving. However, even if he is from the House of Finarfin, he is still from the line of Finwe. ALL of Finwe's descendants were proud and the doom of Mandos would be upon Gil-galad at that point too. Even Turgon, who was a wise king rejected the inspired council of Tuor. A young Gil-galad eager to proof himself in war might have been swayed by Turin's words.


That might be a path to take. At least we seem to agree that this is problematic. I'm not sure Tolkien would find this path acceptable, but who knows.

Christopher Tolkien notes that from The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Orodreth 'underwent a steady decline into weakness and insiginificance' and that many years later Tolkien himself noted that '... Orodreth was rather a weak character' cf. the Narn, p.160: 'he turned as he ever did to Turin for counsel.' [Christopher Tolkien, commentary, The Lays of Beleriand]. Hmm, again I'm just not sure Tolkien would want Gil-galad here, despite Turin's obvious greatness. And I still think Turin's influence is due, in part, to Orodreth losing his son to Orcs, although at the time of the Lay [external time] this was also likely part of what fueled Orodreth's wrath.

Perhaps the 'Finduilas question' (why she was left in 'harm's way' [as it turned out anyway]), might be mitigated somewhat if she is not Orodreth's daughter. In an older version of the tale she was the daughter of Galweg rather. And if we incorporate A2) above, which still hails from Tolkien at least [but now we have Orodreth's wife of course], we can get a young Gil-galad out of Nargothrond with his mother, and as Finduilas is not Gil-galad's sister there should be no wondering why she hadn't been secreted away with him.

Or something :)
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:25 am

Galin wrote:
mrunderhill wrote: In virtually every city of the Noldor the king commanded the forces, whether it be Feanor, Fingolfin, Maedhros, Fingon, Turgon or even Orodreth. In the last battle with the dragon it is Orodreth, who leads the army out and Turin is at his right hand. Orodreth is at the forefront of the fighting and is slain. So it is safe to state Orodreth was the commander of the forces. Turin was an exceptional fighter. His physical strength does seem unmatched and the elves of Nargothrond choose him as their champion.


But even if Orodreth commanded at this battle, you already provided the quote I was thinking of, only now to be viewed within the context of dropping Gil-galad into the mix: 'Turin now commanded all the forces of Nargothrond, and ruled all matters of war; indeed he was become stern and proud, and would order all things as he wished or thought good.'


Having Gil-galad be swayed by Turin's words is a greater problem, that Turin being the champion of the city. From what we know of the Second Age, Gil-galad was a wise and prudent ruler. He refused to treat with Sauron and his realm grew in power, though a number of elves were leaving. However, even if he is from the House of Finarfin, he is still from the line of Finwe. ALL of Finwe's descendants were proud and the doom of Mandos would be upon Gil-galad at that point too. Even Turgon, who was a wise king rejected the inspired council of Tuor. A young Gil-galad eager to proof himself in war might have been swayed by Turin's words.


That might be a path to take. At least we seem to agree that this is problematic. I'm not sure Tolkien would find this path acceptable, but who knows.

Christopher Tolkien notes that from The Lay of the Children of Hurin, Orodreth 'underwent a steady decline into weakness and insiginificance' and that many years later Tolkien himself noted that '... Orodreth was rather a weak character' cf. the Narn, p.160: 'he turned as he ever did to Turin for counsel.' [Christopher Tolkien, commentary, The Lays of Beleriand]. Hmm, again I'm just not sure Tolkien would want Gil-galad here, despite Turin's obvious greatness. And I still think Turin's influence is due, in part, to Orodreth losing his son to Orcs, although at the time of the Lay [external time] this was also likely part of what fueled Orodreth's wrath.

Perhaps the 'Finduilas question' (why she was left in 'harm's way' [as it turned out anyway]), might be mitigated somewhat if she is not Orodreth's daughter. In an older version of the tale she was the daughter of Galweg rather. And if we incorporate A2) above, which still hails from Tolkien at least [but now we have Orodreth's wife of course], we can get a young Gil-galad out of Nargothrond with his mother, and as Finduilas is not Gil-galad's sister there should be no wondering why she hadn't been secreted away with him.

Or something :)


Yes Orodreth certainly does not come off as particularly strong. He basically does hand over power to Turin. That being said the elves governed with the approval of the people. I cannot see any of the Noldor settlements tolerating a situation like that of Numenor; where the Faithful were wholly against the King's policies, but stayed loyal out of respect to the crown. As previously mentioned Feanor, Finrod and Galadriel are three of the strongest descendants of Finwe, but they were powerless when popular opinion turned against them and were ousted from power or at the least had greatly reduced following.

If Gil-galad was a young elf, newly reached to manhood, then even though he was the son of the King I doubt his voice would have much sway. Nor is it likely he would be given command of the army over experienced leaders. I think a young Gil-galad performing great feats in battle and leading the refugees with skill to Cirdan would be in character with the High King. Gil-gald more than any other Elf King seemed to have a great relationship with men; Aldarion and Elendil being the two stand outs.

I don't think we can go as far as to presume to change Finduilas' heritage. All the later sources have her as the daughter of the king and he never seems to have changed his mind. The blond hair is another sign she was from the House of Finarfin. Plus having Finduilas being the daughter of the king parallels well with Idril the daughter of Turgon.


The problem with A2) is as I said I think it is too presumptuous to change Finduilas' heritage. In the published COH, Turin actually DOES counsel them to send away the women and the children. Yet the people are against this. Hard to believe that Gwindor would say this if the King's own son and wife had already fled.

Again we can use Gondolin as a comparison. Gil-galad's position can be compared to a young Maeglin. Maeglin was a young elf in a hidden city too. Like Gil-galad he was wise, strong and valiant. Where as Gil-galad was the king's son, Maeglin was the son of a beloved sister. Maeglin was important enough to be the regent if anything were to happen to Turgon, but he was still not a commander of the forces; he was part of Turgon's guard, Glorfindel and Ecthelion seemed to be the high commanders. I can see a similar situation with Gil-galad. Being still young, he was not given as much responsibility as tried and tested warriors, but was with King during battle.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby Galin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:00 pm

Hmm, I don't know, perhaps.

But I keep in mind that while Turin was great he was fairly young too, and I would think an Elven youth 'old' enough to do battle, and the King's own son (and the young version of so notable an Elf of later legend), would have considerable sway with the King and the people. But of course, Tolkien can write things as to keep whatever he can of the Turin story in.

Perhaps Gwindor's answer to Turin's statement about sending some folk away can serve A2. I'm not giving that one up so easily :wink:

If we keep Finduilas as the golden daughter of Orodreth, and she is old enough to have her own say in things, that might work well enough I think. I mean if it works well enough in the tale that the women and children will not leave, as it is, it can still work with A2.

The reason I like A2 is because it differs from Earendil in that Gil-galad will not need a tunnel or a heroic Glorfindel to aid his escape. If Orodreth has become a 'weak' character, his wife need not be, and she can be the main actor here. In other words, make Gil-galad a young elvenchild as seemingly in one of the Felagund scenarios, and so too young to have any real say in the matter; and his mother persuades Orodreth, or even defies him possibly, and truly 'forsakes' Nargothrond with Gil-galad. Finduilas she cannot convince to leave, however.

Thus we have Orodreth's wife (I'll call her Meril) ultimately rescuing Gil-galad (and in a sense taking Turin's own advice), who never would have left of his own accord, and who will later become High King. And this removes him from being very young at the time of the actual fall of Nargothrond -- thus he will not need to also require 'special circumstances' [I don't mean that they are so special, in the Fall of Gondolin tale, as to be difficult to believe, but more that the escape was notably difficult and required foresight and much heroism] to escape like the young Earendil -- and this also removes him from impacting the Turin part of the tale.

As far as I'm aware anyway, people don't seem to find anything too problematic with the idea of Fingon sending his young son away, as Christopher Tolkien chose to publish in the 1977 Silmarillion, and this scenario is generally along those lines, very generally speaking of course. Again it's not Tolkien's last known thought on the matter, but it might allow less tinkering with Turin's part of the tale, as it stands.

Perhaps 'Meril' and Gil-galad leave with Gelmir and Arminas, forsaking Nargothrond.
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Re: Gil-galad and Nargothrond

Postby mrunderhill » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:20 pm

Galin wrote:Hmm, I don't know, perhaps.

But I keep in mind that while Turin was great he was fairly young too, and I would think an Elven youth 'old' enough to do battle, and the King's own son (and the young version of so notable an Elf of later legend), would have considerable sway with the King and the people. But of course, Tolkien can write things as to keep whatever he can of the Turin story in.

Turin was young, but at the fullness of his strength for a man. Turin had remarkable accomplishments and I dare say was a more magnetic personality than even Gil-galad.
Perhaps Gwindor's answer to Turin's statement about sending some folk away can serve A2. I'm not giving that one up so easily :wink:

If we keep Finduilas as the golden daughter of Orodreth, and she is old enough to have her own say in things, that might work well enough I think. I mean if it works well enough in the tale that the women and children will not leave, as it is, it can still work with A2.

The reason I like A2 is because it differs from Earendil in that Gil-galad will not need a tunnel or a heroic Glorfindel to aid his escape. If Orodreth has become a 'weak' character, his wife need not be, and she can be the main actor here. In other words, make Gil-galad a young elvenchild as seemingly in one of the Felagund scenarios, and so too young to have any real say in the matter; and his mother persuades Orodreth, or even defies him possibly, and truly 'forsakes' Nargothrond with Gil-galad. Finduilas she cannot convince to leave, however.

Thus we have Orodreth's wife (I'll call her Meril) ultimately rescuing Gil-galad (and in a sense taking Turin's own advice), who never would have left of his own accord, and who will later become High King. And this removes him from being very young at the time of the actual fall of Nargothrond -- thus he will not need to also require 'special circumstances' [I don't mean that they are so special, in the Fall of Gondolin tale, as to be difficult to believe, but more that the escape was notably difficult and required foresight and much heroism] to escape like the young Earendil -- and this also removes him from impacting the Turin part of the tale.

As far as I'm aware anyway, people don't seem to find anything too problematic with the idea of Fingon sending his young son away, as Christopher Tolkien chose to publish in the 1977 Silmarillion, and this scenario is generally along those lines, very generally speaking of course. Again it's not Tolkien's last known thought on the matter, but it might allow less tinkering with Turin's part of the tale, as it stands.

Perhaps 'Meril' and Gil-galad leave with Gelmir and Arminas, forsaking Nargothrond.


I think this A2) where Gil-galad is a young child is very possible. There are no inherent problems with it. Though not even Idril actually left Gondolin. She had stronger reasons to go. Not only had her husband delivered a warning from Ulmo, but she had her own misgivings. The furtherest she ever went was to have the secret tunnel passages built.

A2) is possible but would require a serious break down in Orodreth's family. Yet there is no reason to reject it.


The difference with Fingon and Orodreth, is that there is no evidence saying the people of Fingon did not want to leave. Nor did one of Fingon's children refuse to leave him. Further more there is that text implying Gil-galad left at the sacking of Nargothrond.

If Gil-galad did not participate in the wars of Nargothrond it seems odd to me that the elves were keen to follow him over Elrond. Elrond at least fought at the War of Wrath where as Gil-galad would have played no part in the great deeds of the First Age.
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