June 25, 2001
Back to: Elves
In my efforts to find answers to the problem of the two Glorfindels (see under Glorfindel) I stumbled upon another question: what about the two Galdors?
In The Lord of The Rings we meet Galdor of the Havens, sent by Cirdan to the council of Elrond. He is not very wise and even a bit querulous. And in the original tale of The Fall of Gondolin (1916-17) we meet Galdor, who is Lord of the House of the Tree, and as such he leads the fugitives out of Gondolin, while Glorfindel guards the rear. He is very wise and very brave. In fact, he ‘was held to be the most valiant of all the Gondolithlim save Turgon alone’
Are the Galdor from The Lord of The Rings and the Galdor from The Fall of Gondolin one and the same?
Now this question has been treated explicitly by JRR Tolkien, and he did this in a note to the article on Glorfindel, which was published under Last Writings in Volume 12 of The History Of Middle Earth. I quote this note, followed by the commentary of his son and editor Christopher.
It may be noted that Galdor is another name of similar sort and period of origin, but he appears as a messenger from Cirdan and is called Galdor of the Havens. Galdor also appeared in The Fall Of Gondolin, but the name is of a more simple and usual form (than Glorfindel) and might be repeated. But unless he is said in The Fall of Gondolin to have been slain, he can reasonably be supposed to be the same person, one of the Noldor who escaped from the siege and destructions, but fled west to the Havens, and not southward to the mouths of the Sirion, as did most of the remnant of the people of Gondilin together with Tuor, Idril and Earendil. He is represented in The Council Of Elrond as less powerful and less wise than Glorfindel, and so evidently had not returned to Valinor, and been purged, and reincarnated.
These parts give us a fine insight of the working ways of the professor, working entirely from memory most of the time. Rather than undertaking the immense effort of trying to look things up in his vastly spread collection of notes and manuscripts, he raises the question of what it was that had been written (by himself:]). And when he wrote these notes, he was already 81 years old!
The Lord of The Rings
Book Of Lost Tales 2 (History of Middle Earth Volume 2)
The Peoples Of Middle Earth (History of Middle Earth Volume 12).