Of Gorthaur and Gothmog

by Enerdhil-(TV)
February 10, 2007

Y.S. 509
To the Lord of the Fountain:
    Of all the minions that flock to the banner of the Black Foe, none are more terrible than Gorthaur, the Abhorred, and Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. While, by title and rank, Gorthaur is the greater, being the Black Foe’s lieutenant, Gothmog is undoubtedly Morgoth’s champion in arms, and therefore may be greater in battle prowess. This has led to some contention among our foe’s ranks, for, as far as we know, Gorthaur exercises no control over Gothmog and his actions, nor his lesser Balrog warriors. Instead, Gorthaur controls his own Maiar, of similar mind to his, and, indeed, does not even reside with his lord and master. Therefore, there may be exploitable weaknesses in our enemy’s ranks.
    First, Gorthaur’s very nature is cunning and manipulative. It is highly likely that Gorthaur ever plots for more power, sapping it from us and, should he be audacious enough, his own master, but in great secret. Gothmog, though by no means a simpleton, having shown devastating skill and military strategy against many of our kin, has simpler desires. It is unlikely that he plots against his master in any way, and is content with murder and mayhem towards his ends. Note that when Morgoth had slain the Two Trees and Finwë, and fled north with that Great Shadow, it was his Balrogs, presumably led by Gothmog, who faithfully came to their master’s aid when his pet turned upon him. Gorthaur is not mentioned whatsoever. It is the conclusion of this author, therefore, that Gorthaur did not rush to aid because, perhaps, he was afraid, and lesser in loyalty. This leaves open the window for thoughts of secret plots and insubordination.    
    Such is the cunning of our Black Foe that he would perceive this. The Lay of Leithian seems to support such a claim, as Gorthaur greatly loathes the thought of returning to his master after his body is pinned by the Hound. So it is not inconceivable that, while tolerating such secret insubordination, and perhaps reveling in the thought of one day punishing Gorthaur, he would favor Gothmog over Gorthaur in action and reward, if not in title, going so far as to once being recorded as Morgoth’s son, though not literally. Let this author stress that Gorthaur is undoubtedly of greater rank than Gothmog, and this letter does not in any way support such a claim as radical adjustment of the enemy’s forces.
    Envious as ever, Gorthaur would no doubt loathe Gothmog as a rival for his master’s favor. Gothmog would be aware, but would likely trust his own strength and Morgoth’s support should it become violent, which is the only kind of conflict Gothmog completely understands. He most likely believes that, if treachery ever occurs, Gorthaur will have the honor to face him face to face, and will then lose. He is wrong. Gorthaur is of clever mind, like the Great Worm was, and will build and spring a trap millennia in the making, and ensure Gothmog’s demise. It is highly likely that, deep within Tol-in-Gaurhoth, Gorthaur the Cruel has already planned for that day when the Hidden Kingdom is found and razed, the last remnants are broken, and all elves are scattered. On that day, Gothmog will likely find himself of little use to the now triumphant Morgoth, and will get little assistance from he who repays loyalty with treachery. And on that day, a trap inescapable will close upon that mightiest of beings, and end him.
    Unless we can make a move.
    In two years time, it will be possible, my High King believes, to exploit Morgoth’s impatience, and reveal Gondolin to him where it is not. We will make it seem very near to Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and so shame Gorthaur by appearance of lack of vigilance. To regain face, Gorthaur will take his armies and attempt to make an end of this farce kingdom, while Morgoth, greatly angered with his lieutenant, will not trust him, and send Gothmog and his forces to end Gondolin. When they converge where Gondolin is not, it is the opinion of this author that Gothmog will make an executive decision, and punish Gorthaur by ending him. There they will quarrel, and Gorthaur will likely fall, but at great expense to Morgoth’s twin vast armies, now crippled smaller than a sortie party in a battle that would rock the very foundation of the world. Then, perhaps, we may have some hope for victory.
        Glacies of the White Fountain

Y.A. 510
To Whom It May Concern:
    I have come upon this letter, stuffed within the belongings of the survivors. Gondolin is fallen. The plot outlined above is useless in more ways than one, as Gothmog found his match in Ecthelion, Lord of the Fountain, who is fallen. Whether Gorthaur had any hand in this fate of his rival, it is impossible to tell. I am tired beyond reckoning; we have marched long from our crushed home. Alas for Gondolin.

T.A. 3021
Excerpt from “The Minions of Sauron”:
    In my studies on the One Ring of Sauron and the ending of the Third Age, I have come back to this letter to record something of interest. The Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, who took command of the armies on Pelennor after the fall of the Witch-King, was named Gothmog. Named undoubtedly by Sauron, it is interesting and perhaps amusing to speculate why Sauron would name such a beast after one whom he had hated so much. Perhaps it gave him some perverse pleasure to have subservient to him one named as another whom he would have made crawl on hand and foot before him.

The End