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Battle of Tumhalad

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Battle of Tumhalad
Ted Nasmith - Túrin Bears Gwindor to Safety.jpg
Conflict: Wars of Beleriand
Date: F.A. 495[1]
Place: Tumhalad
Outcome: Victory for Morgoth

Elves of Nargothrond

Forces of Morgoth






Greater than the Elves[2]


Complete destruction of the host, few survivors


The Battle of Tumhalad was the last battle of the Elves of Nargothrond against the Forces of Morgoth. It was fought on the plain of Tumhalad between the Narog and its tributary, the Ginglith. The defeat in this battle derived directly into the Fall of Nargothrond.


[edit] Background

Nargothrond was the hidden stronghold of Finrod Felagund, who built it as a safe haven for the Noldor against the forces of Morgoth. Túrin was led there by Gwindor, a lord of Nargothrond, and during his stay there Túrin becoming mighty among the Elves and grew in favour with King Orodreth, becoming his chief counsellor and ruling all matters of war. Túrin had no liking for their manner of warfare of stealth and ambush,[3] preferring battle in the open. He caused the Noldor to build a mighty bridge over the Narog for swifter passage. A great store of weapons were made and the Elves forsook their secrecy and went into open war.

[edit] History

[edit] Prelude

Five years after the arrival of Túrin in Nargothrond, they were visited by Gelmir and Arminas of the people of Finarfin who had dwelt with Angrod. They gave warning of a great gathering of Orcs about Sauron's Isle[4] and a message from the Vala Ulmo to shut their doors and go not abroad. Túrin rebuffed the Vala's warning and kept fighting against the Orcs.

In the same year, the hosts of Morgoth had defeated Handir and the Men of Brethil, causing them to retreat deeper into the woods.[4] Therefore, the way to Nargothrond was open, and in autumn Morgoth sent forth his host of Orcs with Glaurung at its head. On their way, the dragon burned Talath Dirnen, so their coming was soon known to the Elves.

[edit] Battle

Túrin counselled Orodreth to meet them in open battle. The host of Nargothrond went forth with Orodreth leading alongside Túrin and Gwindor. The host of Orcs was much larger than anticipated, and none could withstand the assault of the dragon Glaurung except for Túrin and his dwarf-mask. The Elves were driven back into the field of Tumhalad.

In between Narog and Ginglith the host of Nargothrond was defeated. Orodreth was slain in the forefront of the battle, and Gwindor was mortally wounded.

[edit] Aftermath

Túrin bore a wounded Gwindor on his horse and fled the battlefield. In the woods, Gwindor urged Túrin to make haste back to Nargothrond and save Finduilas, before dying from his wounds. Túrin gathered as much of the rout as possible and sped back to the fortress. The few survivors of the battle fled to Nargothrond. Some of those that escaped the destruction eventually made their way into Doriath[3] and some possibly fled as far as the Mouths of Sirion.

After the defeat of the Elven host, Glaurung turned towards the stronghold, inevitably sacking the city.

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

The battle appears in Tolkien's earliest writings of the Tale of Turambar; "Turambar and the Foalókë".[5] The site of the battle is not explicitly made clear, though the text implies that the battle took place at the home of the Rodothlim (Elves of Nargothrond) or at least in the vicinity. Moreover it is worth mentioning that certain place-names are absent in the tale, one of which includes Tumhalad. The main elements remain; the Rodothlim's policy of secrecy and Túrin changing that, which ultimately leads to their destruction.

In the account of the battle told in The Silmarillion, Orodreth was slain at Tumhalad and Gwindor was carried away and died later. In the earliest version Orodreth is carried off from the battle with the help of Flinding (Gwindor) and Orodreth reproaches Túrin for his role in the downfall of the Rodothlim - as does Gwindor in The Silmarillion. It is noted that Gwindor took over most of the role of Orodreth when the story evolved, whilst Orodreth takes over the role of another character in the tale: Galweg, who is absent entirely in The Silmarillion.[6] Galweg is notable for being the father of Failivrin (Finduilas), much as Orodreth was her father in The Silmarillion.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §275
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Fall of Nargothrond", pp. 176 'But greater far was the host of Morgoth than any scouts had told'
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Fall of Nargothrond"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "II. Turambar and the Foalókë"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "II. Turambar and the Foalókë": "Notes and Commentary"