|Other names||Lord of Balrogs |
High-captain of Angband
|Gallery||Images of Gothmog|
Gothmog (S, pron. [ˈɡoθmoɡ]) was the Lord of Balrogs and the High-captain of Angband, one of the chief servants of the Dark Lord Morgoth with a rank equal to that of Sauron. While he was not as powerful as the Dark Lords, he surpassed them in brute strength and possibly strategy.
Gothmog was apparently one of the Maiar that followed Melkor to exile, 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. He next appears in the texts at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where he is also named high-captain of Angband, again inferring his power and status as essentially Morgoth's right-hand Balrog (Sauron, another spirit, playing 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. He also captured Húrin Thalion there.He was again displayed as Morgoth's front-line commander as he played an active role in the Fall of Gondolin. According to the (albeit uncanonical) text, he piled his iron siege equipment against the gate until it broke from sheer pressure. According to the same text he also took a front-line position against Rog, turning the tide in that part of the battle. More confirmed canonically, he beat down Tuor in single combat, 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.
Other versions of the Legendarium
In the earliest version of his mythology (The Book of Lost Tales), Tolkien describes Gothmog as a son of Morgoth and the ogress Fluithuin, but the idea of the children of Valar was abandoned in later writings.
In one of Tolkien's early Middle-earth writings, Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Lungorthin, Lord of Balrogs" is mentioned. 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 Middle-earth writings, as well as the final version of Tolkien's mythology.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales Part 2, "The Fall of Gondolin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, The Children of Húrin, "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears"
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