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Twelve Houses of the Gondothlim

The Twelve Gondolin Houses by Shyangell

The Twelve Houses of the Gondothlim were the kindreds of Gondolin, according to the early version of the Legendarium in The Book of the Lost Tales. Their lords and deeds are described in the "The Fall of Gondolin" in great detail.

[edit] History

When the Gondothlim knew that Melko's armies were approaching Gondolin, all the folks and lords were reunited coming from all parts of the city. Here are named in the order they came when King Turgon called them to council:[1]:172-174

House Symbols and atributes Leader
House of the King Moon, Sun, Scarlet Heart Turgon
House of the Wing White Wing Tuor
House of the Mole (no emblem), Moleskin Meglin
House of the Swallow Arrowhead, Fan of Feathers Duilin
House of the Heavenly Arch Rainbow, Opal, Jewelled Boss Egalmoth
House of the Pillar A Pillar Penlod
House of the Tower of Snow A Tower Penlod
House of the Tree Tree, Iron-studded club, Slings Galdor
House of the Golden Flower Rayed Sun, Golden Flower (celandine) Glorfindel
House of the Fountain Fountain, Silver, Diamonds, Flute Ecthelion
House of the Harp Silver Harp, Tassels of silver and gold Salgant
House of the Hammer of Wrath Stricken Anvil, Red gold and Black iron, Maces Rog

During the council, all the lords agreed with Tuor to leave the city before the siege began, but Turgon was convinced by Meglin and Salgant to stay and fight in the city that they loved. Thus, all the houses prepared to battle.[1]:175-176

The Fall of Gondolin by Mysilvergreen

When the Fall of Gondolin began, all of them suffered great losses or were completely destroyed, except the house of the King, who remained in the palace to protect the King.[1]:183 First, the folk of the Mole was scattered after they attacked the folk of the Wing and Meglin was killed by Tuor. Later after the northern gate was lost, Duilin was killed and his house of the Swallow kept fighting without lord. Soon the folk of the Hammer and their lord Rog were butchered outside the walls; this caused that Penlod suffered the next attack, so he was killed and both of his houses lost many men.[1]:178-179 Meanwhile, the folk of the Harp abandoned their treacherous lord Salgant and went to save to the folk of the Golden Flower, being mostly destroyed in the Great Market.[1]:182-183

Thereafter the survivors of all kindreds were reunited in the Square of the Palace, save of the Hammer of Wrath alone. In that square, Ecthelion and Gothmog killed each other. There also King Turgon proclaimed the fall of Gondolin and ordered to the survivors to follow Tuor, but his royal folk stayed with him.[1]:183-184 Later he and his house were killed when the Tower of the King falled.[1]:187 After the exiles of Gondolin escaped, Glorfindel died saving them from a Balrog.[1]:194

Thus, apart from Tuor, the only lords who survived the Fall of Gondolin were Egalmoth and Galdor. Egalmoth was later killed in a battle at the Mouths of Sirion, but Galdor could reach Tol Eressëa and even kept followers.[2]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

Tolkien never wrote again about the Houses of Gondolin in later texts, because his writings never include details about the city. The only exception is in the Quenta Noldorinwa, where there is a simple mention of "the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors"[3] (notice that this is the text used in the twenty-third chapter of the published Silmarillion).

Christopher Tolkien explains that the idea would have re-emerged if his father had finished Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin: in the description of the Seven Gates, there are seven groups of guards, each one with rich 'heraldic' descriptions.[4] But Tolkien didn't finish the tale, so beyond the Lost Tales the only vestiges are the titles Ecthelion 'of the Fountain' and Glorfindel 'chief of the House of the Golden Flower of Gondolin'.[5] They are the only chaptains of Turgon mentioned in the published Silmarillion, but there are also later texts of the Legendarium that include individual mentions to Rog[3] and Egalmoth.[6]

The Gnomish name Gondothlim for the people of Gondolin was later changed by the Sindarin Gondolindrim.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", Entries in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin, p. 215
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: §16 in the Q II version", p. 144
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 46-50
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", p. 211
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: III. Maeglin", p. 318