Legolas of Gondolin
Legolas > Legolas of Gondolin
Lived during the First Age
Legolas of Gondolin
Legolas of the Fellowship was probably taken by JRRT from an
earlier idea of a keen-eyed Legolas Greenleaf who was a guide in Book
Lost Tales 2, an elf of Gondolin.
Feb. 7, 2003, additions Nov.
This character was of the House of the
Tree in Gondolin. He is not mentioned until the destruction of
Gondolin in FA 511. How bad was that? It is said:
"its ruin was the most dread of all the sacks of cities upon the face
of Earth. Nor Bablon, nor Ninwi, nor the towers of Trui, nor all the
many takings of Rum that is greatest among Men, saw such terror as fell
that day upon Amon Gwareth in the kindred of the Gnomes; and this is
esteemed the worst work that Melko has yet thought of in the world."
Legolas was night-sighted and knew all the plain by light or dark. He
tiny remnant of eight-hundred survivors whom he led from the ruin of
Gondolin were swift and hardy.
The refugees were mostly men,
as the women had been hidden in supposedly safe places in Gondolin,
trapping them unintentionally. These women were exceptionally beautiful
"as fair as the sun and as lovely as the moon and brighter than the
stars" according to BoLT 2 "Fall of Gondolin". This suggests their
menfolk would also have been of such a nature. Earendil was among them,
born FA 504, so he was then seven years old.
Lost Tales 2 "Fall of Gondolin"
"eyes were like cats' for the dark, yet could they see further."
He traveled ahead of the group with Galdor's spearmen to help them see
Glorfindel helped in the equally dangerous task of bringing up the
The refugees were ambushed in the rocks of the
mountains where they could not see, and Glorfindel and a Balrog killed
each other. Then
the refugees were aided by the King of Eagles, Thorondor, and his
people. Afterwards many of the survivors took the symbol of the Eagle
in sign of their joy,
including Earendil's mother Idril (daughter of Turgon), although
Earendel (later written "Earendil") kept the Swan-wing of his
father Tuor. This suggests Legolas of that time probably changed from
the Swan-wing to the Eagle symbol.
With the aid of Ulmo's visions through Voronwe and
Tuor, they found their way
through confusing magics into the Land of Willows where the
slightly over five-hundred survivors of the
trip recuperated. There the sea-longing came on Tuor and Earendil.
Then Ulmo led them, using Tuor, along the River
Sirion to the
Sea on the coasts of Avernien. They joined with the remnants of Doriath
who were led by Elwing, and among the colony sometimes came Cirdan's
mariners from Balar.
There at the mouths of River Sirion they settled,
taking up the name of the People of the Flower, the
Lothlim, because the old name
of Gondothlim was a name too
sore to their hearts. There
Earendil grew, nurtured to become the savior of elves and men, the
return link to the Valar from whom the Noldorian exiles were estranged.
Legolas would have known Earendil. According to the Silmarillion, the
colony learned from Cirdan's mariners to build ships, and they took to
After the terrible destruction of the colony at the
mouths of Sirion by the sons of Feanor, the few survivors joined
themselves to Gil-galad
(High King of the Noldor after Turgon's death in Gondolin). Gil-galad
and Cirdan came too late to save the Elves of Sirion, but took them
back to Balar (Silmarillion)
was there called Laiqalasse.
For Legolas of Gondolin to be the same person as
Legolas of the Fellowship, he would have had to die and be reborn
without memory, although perhaps retaining some skills from his first
One might have been the making of the ships that
could go to Valinor, as he was probably one of those helping Cirdan's
people build ships on Tol Eressea. We know that in Return of the King, Legolas
built such a ship with which he and Gimli sailed to Valinor.
Another might have been his exceptional eyesight and
abilities as a guide in the wild.
Since his contemporary, Glorfindel, was reborn into
Middle-earth, it is within the realm of possibility that Legolas was
purposely sent back without memory baggage to be a better help to the
The Legolas name is of very unusual construction and
was not used that we know of except on these two occasions.
Even though no mention is made of any such re-birth,
it is possible. It is also possible that JRRT lifted the character from
these notes that he did not expect to publish, which could be why any
mention of Legolas in Gondolin in the Silmarillion was dropped.
And yet again, Legolas may have been dropped from the Silmarillion in the same
manner a huge host of other details were dropped, to fit into one book
the notes that became the twelve volumes of Histories of Middle-earth
and the Unfinished Tales.
Lord of the Rings
Silmarillion "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin", "Of the
Voyage of Earendil"
Book of Lost Tales 2:
"Fall of Gondolin"
Letters of JRR Tolkien
See also Stories (fan fiction): Legolas