|Other names||Tuor Eladar|
Tuor the Blessed
|Titles||Lord of the House of the Wing|
|Birth||F.A. 472 |
|Death||Immortal, according to Noldor|
|House||House of Hador|
|Parentage||Huor & Rían|
- "I am Tuor son of Huor of the House of Hador and the kindred of Húrin, and these names, I am told, are not unknown in the Hidden Kingdom."
- ― Tuor to Elemmakil, captain of the Outer Guard of Gondolin.
Born in the winter of the 'Year of Lamentation', Tuor's life coincided with the final defeat of the Edain and the Noldor-in-Exile by the forces of Morgoth. He was of the House of Hador, but after the deaths of his parents Huor and Rían in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad was fostered by the surviving Elves of Mithrim. He passed his youth a refugee and an outlaw, before being chosen by the Vala Ulmo as his instrument and coming to the hidden city of Gondolin. There he rose high in the favour of the High King Turgon and wedded the elf-maiden Idril, the King's daughter. He escaped the fall of Gondolin along with Idril and their newborn son Eärendil and came to the Mouths of Sirion. After abiding in that refuge long enough to see Eärendil to manhood he finally succumbed to sea-longing and, with Idril, departed Middle-earth for the West. After that no definite tale is told of Tuor, but the tradition of the Noldor was that he became the only Man to be accepted as one of the elder kindred, and shared with them an immortal life in Valinor as long as Arda endured.
Tuor was "fair of face" and inherited the golden hair of the House of Hador. As a man he was "strong and tall and valiant" and skilled at arms. But being raised by Elves he also had great lore and skill.
Family and Early Life
Tuor was the only son of Huor, of the House of Hador, and Rían, of the House of Bëor. He was also descended from the House of Haleth through his grandmother Hareth. His paternal grandfather was Galdor the Tall, Lord of Dor-lómin. In their youth Huor and his elder brother Húrin Thalion were fostered with their kin in Brethil and from there they went to battle against the hordes of Morgoth that assailed that realm—and all of northern Beleriand—following the Dagor Bragollach. During one of these campaigns the brothers found themselves in mortal peril, but with the aid of Ulmo and Thorondor escaped and were brought to the Gondolin. In this way they became the first men to see the hidden city, and dwelt there for a year as the guests of Turgon – who had been counselled by Ulmo that help would come to him from the House of Hador. Though they learnt much from the Gondolindrim Huor and Húrin eventually sought to return to their own people, so Turgon reluctantly waived his law and let them leave on a condition of silence.
Huor was slain in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad. He fell defending the retreat of Turgon, speaking his last words to the Elven King: "...out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men... from you and from me a new star shall arise". After hearing news of the battle Rían became distraught and left Dor-lómin to wander alone in the wild. She was rescued by the Sindar of Mithrim who took her to their dwelling in the Mountains of Mithrim. Before the end of the year Tuor was born and was given to the Elves of Mithrim to be fostered. Rían, having heard from Annael the leader of the Elves the news of Huor's death, made her way to the Haudh-en-Ndengin, where she laid down in grief and died.
Soon after Hithlum was occupied by the Easterlings who had joined Morgoth in the Nírnaeth. Annael and his people therefore took refuge in the caves of Androth, where Tuor spent his youth. At the age of sixteen Tuor wished to make war upon the Orcs and Easterlings who oppressed the land of his fathers, but was forbidden by Annael. Rather in F.A. 488 the group resolved to flee Hithlum by the Annon-in-Gelydh and make their way to the Mouths of Sirion. Soon after setting out however they were assailed by Orcs and forced to scatter into the night, and Tuor was captured.
Journeys in the Wild
Tuor was thrall in the House of Lorgan, chief of the Easterlings of Dor-lómin, for three years. He was treated harshly because Lorgan knew of his lineage, but nevertheless endured the torment until he found his opportunity to escape. Upon being sent into the woods on an errand he slew his guards and, escaping pursuit, returned to the caves of Androth. There he dwelt there alone as an outlaw, slaying many Easterlings and accumulating a large price on his head. He was seeking the Annon-in-Gelydh – the 'Gate of the Noldor' through the Ered Lómin, by which Annael had intended to escape Hithlum unnoticed. After four years of searching the Vala Ulmo sent Tuor a sign that finally led him to the Gate of the Noldor. Upon reaching its entrance Tuor met Gelmir and Arminas, messengers of Círdan who were seeking a way to Gondolin, and they showed him the path through the mountains to Nevrast.
In F.A. 495 Tuor passed through Nevrast and became the first Man to reach the shores of Belegaer, the Great Sea, and felt for the first time the sea-longing that would stay with him the rest of his life. He lingered by Belegaer until the autumn, and then after receiving another sign from Ulmo followed seven swans southward. These led him to the abandoned city of Vinyamar where long ago Turgon had dwelt and, at the behest of Ulmo, left a sword, armour and a shield bearing the device of a white swan on a blue field. Tuor took these arms and made his way to the shore. Then during a great storm the Lord of Waters finally appeared to Tuor directly, ordering him to seek the city of Gondolin, and giving him a cloak that had a power to hide him from foes. The next morning he met Voronwë – an elf of Gondolin who had been shipwrecked off the coast of Beleriand and rescued and brought to Vinyamar by Ulmo. After hearing Tuor speak the words of Ulmo Voronwë agreed to guide him to the hidden gate of Gondolin.
Life in Gondolin
Voronwë led Tuor through Núath, a land desolated by the recent passing of Glaurung the Dragon to Nargothrond. At the Pools of Ivrin Tuor caught a brief glimpse of his ill-fated cousin Túrin, son of Hurin, as he cried for Finduilas – the only time their two paths ever crossed. Then after enduring a bitter winter Tuor and Voronwë finally reached the gate of Gondolin. They were taken as prisoners by Elemmakil and brought before Ecthelion of the Fountain who, recognising from his arms that Tuor had been sent by Ulmo, welcomed into the city with honour. Tuor then came before before the High King Turgon and delivered the message of Ulmo: the Doom of Mandos was nearing its fulfilment and Turgon should abandon his city and retreat to the Havens of Sirion.
Turgon however chose not to heed Ulmo's warning, though it did prompt him to block up the hidden door and make Gondolin's isolation complete. Therefore Tuor remained in Gondolin and like his father before him he learned much from the Elves. He fell in love with Idril Celebrindal, the daughter of the King, and she with him, and in F.A. 502 they were married. This union, as well as the favour of the King and the memory of his father, endeared Tuor to the people of Gondolin and he was made the leader of the House of the Wing. Only Maeglin and his followers harboured a secret hatred and jealousy of him.
Fall of Gondolin
Soon after their union Eärendil (Q: 'Sea-friend', reflecting the 'sea-longing' Tuor passed to his son) was born to Tuor and Idril. But in F.A. 510 Gondolin's secrecy finally failed. First Húrin, Tuor's uncle, released from Morgoth's long torment and attempting to enter the city, revealed its location in the Encircling Mountains. Still Morgoth would not have found an entrance to the city were it not for the treachery of Maeglin, who having defied the King's order and ventured outside the encircling mountains was captured by Orcs and brought to Angband – there he betrayed Turgon in return for the promise of the lordship of Gondolin and the possession of Idril.
During the subsequent siege Tuor fought valiantly. He rescued Idril from Maeglin, throwing the Dark Elf from the walls of the city to his death. But in the end Gondolin fell and Turgon was killed. Tuor and Idril led the survivors of the sack in a desperate escape through the secret way Idril had prepared and over the mountains. Protected by Ulmo they journeyed down the vale of Sirion to the Havens at its mouth – the last refuge of the Elves of Beleriand. On the way the remnant of Gondolin stopped in Nan-tathren to make a feast in memory of the fallen, and here Tuor composed The Horns of Ylmir for his son Eärendil.
Tuor and Idril dwelt for a while at the Mouths of Sirion. But eventually the sea-longing that had been instilled in him when he first came to the shores of Belegaer grew to strong. In F.A. 525 he built a ship, Eärrámë (Q: 'Sea-wing'), and sailed to the West with Idril, and possibly Voronwë also. It was a tradition under the Eldar and Edain that they arrived in Valinor, and that Tuor alone of Men was counted among the Eldar, immortal as other Elves.[note 1]
However Huor's prophecy on the field of Nírnaeth Arnoediad proved true. In the same year that Tuor and Idril departed Eärendil married Elwing in the third union of Elves and Men. At first seeking after his father, he sailed to Valinor and roused the Valar to the War of Wrath, and so became the prophesied saviour of the Elves and Men of Middle-earth. Through Eärendil Tuor was an ancestor of the Half-elven and the Kings of Númenor.
House of Hador
House of Haleth
House of Bëor
F.A. 417 - 462
born F.A. 417
born during YOTT
born during YOTT
F.A. 443 - c. 500
F.A. 439 - c. 500
F.A. 444 - 472
F.A. 450 - 472
F.A. 464 - 499
F.A. 466 - 469
F.A. 473 - 499
born F.A. 472
born during YOTT
born F.A. 503
born F.A. 503
F.A. 532 - S.A. 442
born F.A. 532
The precise etymology of Tuor is unknown. In an earlier phase of the legendarium Tolkien gave its Noldorin etymology as deriving from tū, 'strength', and gor, 'vigour' (via the older form tūghor). It is possible that the later Sindarin version has a similar meaning.
Other Versions of the Legendarium
Tuor is intimately connected with the tale of 'The Fall of Gondolin', one of the core legends of the Elder Days and the earliest narratives of the legendarium to be composed by Tolkien. A compressed version of the story written between 1926 and 1930 was edited by Christopher Tolkien and included in the published Silmarillion as Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin. There also exists a more substantial but unfinished narrative, started by Tolkien in 1951, which was published in Unfinished Tales under the title Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin.
The Fall of Gondolin
The only 'complete' source on Tuor therefore remains the very early The Fall of Gondolin, written while Tolkien was on sick-leave from the army in 1917 and later incorporated into The Book of Lost Tales. In this version nothing is said about Tuor's early life and lineage, though later he introduces himself to the Gondothlim as "Tuor son of Peleg son of Indor of the house of the Swan of the sons of the Men of the North". He is described as a hermit ("Tuor of the lonely heart") living in the woods of Mithrim who simply happened upon the Gate of the Noldor and so came to live in a cave by the sea. Ulmo—employing swans, which Tuor as in later versions took as his emblem—then guided Tuor from the shores of the sea to a group Noldor, who took him through the fenland region of Arlisgion and hence to the Land of Willows. Here Tuor would have stayed, but Ulmo appeared to him directly and ordered him to seek Gondolin. In this version he did not receive his arms from Turgon until he reached Gondolin.
Conversely Tuor's years in Gondolin are described more fully in the Lost Tale than in any subsequent text. He bore an axe called Dramborleg and is said to lived in a house on the southern wall of the city. He is also named as the leader of one of twelve Houses of Gondolin, the House of the Wing, whose emblem was the wing of a swan or gull. Tuor's deeds in the battle for the city are also given. After rescuing Idril and Eärendel from the treacherous Meglin, and leaving Voronwë to guard them, he and his company made their way to the battle at the gate. Here they fought alongside Ecthelion of the Fountain as dragons pulled down the walls of the city and enemies poured in. Tuor is said to have slain three orc-lords: Othrod, Balcmeg and Lug; as well as five balrogs. Eventually however he was forced to retreat bearing the injured Ecthelion. After being rescued by Galdor in the Square of the Folkwell, he rallied what remained of the defenders of the city and made for the King's Square. During its defence Tuor was set upon by Gothmog, lord of Balrogs and would have perished, but Ecthelion came to his aid and slew the Balrog, going to his own death in the attempt. At this point Turgon conceded the city was lost, as Mandos had foretold, and though he himself resolved to stay in the city ordered Tuor to lead the survivors through Idril's secret way. When they emerged onto the plain of Tumladin a miraculous mist, and Tuor rescued Eärendel, who had fled the city earlier with a servant called Hendor, from a pack of wolf-riders. Tuor and the refugees were then attacked once more as they fled over the encircling mountains, by a balrog, but Thorondor and his eagles came to their aid. Glorfindel slew the balrog but was himself killed when its body fell on him.
The Fall of Gondolin ends with Tuor, Idril and Eärendel living at the Mouths of Sirion, however in Tolkien's notes for what was to be the next chapter of The Book of Lost Tales he mentions that Tuor disappeared while at sea.
In the different manuscripts of The Fall of Gondolin Tolkien alternated between Tuor and Tûr, but eventually settled on Tuor in the 1930s Silmarillion.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin".
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals". (Dates).
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Tale of Years". (Dates).
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin". (Non-canon).
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin".
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 153, (dated September 1954).
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin".
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Of the Coming of Men into the West".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels "The Grey Annals", §144.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 23-24.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears", p. 58.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Wanderings of Húrin", note 18.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 297, (dated August 1967).
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Tale of Years".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, The Etymologies.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Introduction".
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Eärendel".