Tolkien Gateway

The Fall of Gil-galad

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The name The Fall refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Fall (disambiguation).
"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."
― The Fall of Gil-galad, spoken by Samwise Gamgee[1]

The Fall of Gil-galad is the lay that tells of the loss of Ereinion Gil-galad in the Siege of Barad-dûr at the end of the War of the Last Alliance.


Little is known of the lay itself. According to Aragorn, it was originally written in an ancient tongue - presumably Quenya. But Bilbo Baggins later translated it into the Common Tongue, and taught it to Samwise Gamgee in his youth. It seems to have told the story of the War of the Last Alliance, at least to the point where Gil-galad aided in the overthrow of Sauron, and was himself slain. Its content, however, is largely unknown to us: Sam confirms that it was a long poem, but apart from three introductory stanzas, the text of the lay is lost. Aragorn says that he knows more of the text, as does Frodo, but he refuses to share it as he and the Hobbits approached Weathertop.[1]

Portrayal in Adaptations

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

Sam sang the song during his trip to Rivendell.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"