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High King of the Noldor

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The name High King refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see High King (disambiguation).

High King of the Noldor was the title of the head of the House of Finwë in Beleriand and Middle-earth. It was held by Elf-lords of the Noldor who held rulership over all the Noldorin realms. The overlordship was mostly titular; the Sons of Fëanor, in particular, while they acknowledged the Kingship, paid its bearer little heed; they preferred to follow their own policies under the general leadership of Maedhros.

The forefather of the House of Finwë was Finwë, the first lord of the Tatyar who led his people in the Great Journey from Cuiviénen into the West to dwell in Valinor. He was slain by Morgoth at Formenos.[1]

  1. Finwë (ruled c.4,000 years before the beginning of the First Age)
    The first lord of the Noldor awoke at Cuiviénen and led his people into the West to dwell in Valinor. He was slain by Morgoth at Formenos, and succeeded by his eldest son.
  2. Fëanor (ruled briefly before the rising of the Moon and Sun)
    He led the host of the Noldor back to Middle-earth to avenge his father's death and recover the Silmarils from Morgoth. He was slain in his assault on Angband.[2] After his death, the Kingship by right belonged to his eldest son Maedhros, but he refused it and the succession passed instead to Fëanor's half-brother, Fingolfin.
  3. Fingolfin (ruled 454 years to First Age 455)
    He dwelt to the northwest of Beleriand with his sons, and ruled the Noldor during the Siege of Angband. When Morgoth broke the leaguer in the Dagor Bragollach, he rode in anger to the gates of Angband and died in single combat with Morgoth. He was succeeded by his eldest son.
  4. Fingon (ruled 16 years to First Age 472)
    His short reign was one of endless war with the forces of Morgoth. With Maedhros, he prepared a final assault on Morgoth, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, which ended in disaster for the Noldor and Fingon's own death. He was succeeded by his brother.
  5. Turgon (ruled 39 years to First Age 510)
    Turgon's kingship was titular indeed, as it was not possible for him to rule from his Hidden City, the location of which was unknown by even his own kin. That was until Gondolin's location was discovered by Morgoth through the treachery of Maeglin, and Turgon died in its Fall. After his death, the Kingship passed to the Finarfin line, with the son of Orodreth.
  6. Ereinion Gil-galad (ruled 3,514 years to Second Age 3441)
    The last High King, Gil-galad held the Kingship longer than any of his forebears ruling through the Second Age. He was the chief enemy of Sauron in the Dark Years, at the end of which he formed the Last Alliance with Elendil, and died during the Siege of Barad-dûr at the end of the Second Age.

Gil-galad was the last High King; after his time the title is never used, as obviously no heirs of the House of Fëanor or House of Fingolfin remained in Middle-earth. Galadriel of the House of Finarfin perhaps could have some rights.[3] Elrond was a direct descendant of Turgon, but through his daughter Idril; he never made claim to the Kingship but ruled with all its authority.

For other and earlier rulers of the Noldor, see King of the Noldor.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  3. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "High King of the Noldor"