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Gothmog (balrog)

This article is about the Balrog of the First Age. For the the Lieutenant of Morgul, see Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul).
Gothmog
Maia (Balrog)
Ted Nasmith - Fingon and Gothmog.jpg
"Fingon and Gothmog" by Ted Nasmith
Biographical Information
PronunciationS, [ˈɡoθmoɡ]
PositionLord of Balrogs
High-captain of Angband
LocationAngband
AffiliationMorgoth
BirthCreation of the Ainur
DeathF.A. 510
Fall of Gondolin
Notable forKilling Fëanor, Fingon and Ecthelion
Capturing Húrin
Being victorious in Nirnaeth Arnoediad
Leading the assault on Gondolin
Physical Description
RaceMaia (Balrog)
GenderMale
HeightPossibly twice man-height
WeaponryBlack axe and whip
GalleryImages of Gothmog

Gothmog was the Lord of Balrogs and the High-captain of Angband, one of the chief servants of the Dark Lord Morgoth during the First Age.

Contents

[edit] History

Gothmog was apparently one of the Maiar that followed Melkor against the other Valar, 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.[1] He next appeared at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where he was also named high-captain of Angband, again inferring his power and status as essentially Morgoth's right-hand Balrog (Sauron, another spirit, played 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.[2] He also captured Húrin Thalion alive in this battle on Morgoth's command, despite this order allowing Húrin to slaughter many of Gothmog's troll-guards.[3]:59

He was again deployed as Morgoth's front-line commander in the Fall of Gondolin, where he was slain by Ecthelion.[4]

[edit] Etymology

The name Gothmog is derived from the roots GOS-/GOTH- ("dread"), and MBAW- ("compel, force, subject, oppress") (found also in the title for Morgoth Bauglir: the tyrant or oppressor).[5]:359, 372

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

[edit] The Book of Lost Tales

Ecthelion and Gothmog by Abe Papakhian

Gothmog already appears in the earliest stage of the legendarium of The Book of Lost Tales. His name is Gnomish and means "Strife-and-hatred".[6] Other Qenya names were Kalimbo,[7] Kosomot[8] or Kosmoko.[6]

In the character list appended to The Fall of Gondolin Gothmog was described as "a son of Melko and the ogress Fluithuin,"[9]:216 but eventually, the idea that the Valar had children was discarded altogether.

According to the own Lost Tale, when the armies of Melko attacked Gondolin and surrounded it, they could not climb the slippery stone of Amon Gwareth. Then Gothmog led them to the northern gate of the city and piled his iron siege equipment against it until it broke from sheer pressure.[10]:176 He also took a front-line position against Rog, and with treacherous strategy he cut off the rearguard of the House of the Hammer of Wrath, destroying them completely.[10]:179 Later he beat down Tuor in single combat in the Square of the Palace, 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.[10]:183-4

[edit] Later concepts

In one of Tolkien's early Middle-earth writings, The Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Lungorthin, Lord of Balrogs" is mentioned.[11] 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 writings, as well as the final version of Tolkien's mythology.[12]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", p. 216
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), p. 12
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor": "Notes and Commentary", p. 93
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "I. The Lay of the Children of Húrin, Second Version of the Lay: I. (Húrin and Morgoth)", p. 98
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "I. The Lay of the Children of Húrin, Second Version of the Lay: I. (Húrin and Morgoth)", Commentary on Part I of the second version, pp. 102-103