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Gothmog (balrog)

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This article is about the Balrog of the First Age. For the the Lieutenant of Morgul, see Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul).
Balrogs (Maiar)
Ted Nasmith - Fingon and Gothmog.jpg
Biographical Information
Other namesLord of Balrogs
High-captain of Angband
Physical Description
RaceBalrogs (Maiar)
GalleryImages of Gothmog

Gothmog (S, pron. [ˈɡoθmoɡ]) was the Lord of Balrogs and the High-captain of Angband, one of the chief servants of the Dark Lord Morgoth with a rank equal to that of Sauron. While he was not as powerful as the Dark Lords, he surpassed them in brute strength and possibly strategy.

Gothmog's Quenya name was Oþombauko ([ˌoθomˈbaʊko]) or later Noldorin Osombauko ([ˌosomˈbaʊko]).


Gothmog was apparently one of the Maiar that followed Melkor to exile, and because of either his brilliant mind or because of his ability to assume an immensely powerful physical form, he was made the Lord of Balrogs.

At the Dagor-nuin-Giliath he mortally wounded Fëanor, but called a retreat upon the approach of the Sons of Fëanor with a sizable force. He next appears in the texts at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where he is also named high-captain of Angband, again inferring his power and status as essentially Morgoth's right-hand Balrog (Sauron, another spirit, playing a more domestic than front-line role for his master). There at the Nirnaeth he slew Fingon, thus allowing him to boast of having slain two of the five High Kings of the Noldor. He also captured Húrin Thalion there.

He was again displayed as Morgoth's front-line commander as he played an active role in the Fall of Gondolin. According to the (albeit uncanonical) text, he piled his iron siege equipment against the gate until it broke from sheer pressure. According to the same text he also took a front-line position against Rog, turning the tide in that part of the battle. More confirmed canonically, he beat down Tuor in single combat, but the elf-lord Ecthelion of the Fountain, who was badly wounded, rose and stood over him. Ecthelion stood no chance against the Lord of Balrogs, and lost his sword in the brief struggle. But then Ecthelion leaped forward, and stabbed Gothmog in the breast with the spike atop his helm. They both fell into the Fountain of the King, where Gothmog, if not already killed by the spike, drowned with his opponent.

Other versions of the Legendarium

In the character list appended to The Fall of Gondolin Gothmog is described as "a son of Morgoth and the ogress Fluithuin",[1] but the idea of the children of Valar was abandoned in later writings.

In one of Tolkien's early Middle-earth writings, Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Lungorthin, Lord of Balrogs" is mentioned. It is not, however, certain if it was another name for Gothmog, or it simply meant "a Balrog lord". According to Christopher Tolkien, the latter is more probable, as the name Gothmog was mentioned in the earliest Middle-earth writings, as well as the final version of Tolkien's mythology.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin".