|"Ecthelion" by Anna Lee|
|Titles||Lord of the House of the Fountain|
|Position||Warden of the Great Gate|
|Death||F.A. 510 |
Fall of Gondolin
|House||House of the Fountain|
|Clothing||Silver-spiked helmet, silver garb|
|Gallery||Images of Ecthelion|
- "And high and noble as was Elemmakil, greater and more lordly was Ecthelion, Lord of the Fountains, at that time Warden of the Great Gate. All in silver was he clad, and upon his shining helm there was set a spike of steel pointed with a diamond; and as his esquire took his shield it shimmered as if it were bedewed with drops of rain, that were indeed a thousand studs of crystal."
- ― Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
Ecthelion was an Elf-lord of Gondolin, leader of the People of the Fountain and slayer of Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. He was also at one point Warden of the Great Gate of Gondolin. Ecthelion had the most beautiful voice and greatest musical talent with the flute of all the people of Gondolin.
 Aredhel's escort
Two hundred years after Gondolin was wrought, Ecthelion, Glorfindel and Egalmoth, along with Aredhel, left the Hidden City due to Aredhel's yearning for the freedom she once had in Valinor.:318 Their orders were to lead her towards Hithlum, where she would meet her elder brother Fingon. When coming upon the Ford of Brithiach, Aredhel ordered them to turn South, for she desired to see the Sons of Fëanor. Thus Ecthelion and his companions sought admittance to Doriath, but the wardens refused them entrance inside the Girdle of Melian. Having no other choice, they took the dangerous road between the haunted valleys of Ered Gorgoroth. Near Nan Dungortheb, the Valley of Dreadful Death, the riders were caught in a mesh of shadows and they were lost from Aredhel. In vain they sought her afterwards, but the fell offsprings of Ungoliant that dwelt in that place pursued them. Barely escaping alive, the three lords returned to Gondolin without the princess, where they were received in sorrow.
 Lord of Gondolin
In the year F.A. 472, Ecthelion fought alongside Turgon in the battle Nirnaeth Arnoediad, leading a wing of Gondolin's forces. Upon the defeat of the Noldor, he defended a flank as Turgon retreated. Surviving the disastrous battle, Ecthelion returned towards the Hidden City where he next appeared as Warden of the Great Gate.
Twenty-three years after Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Tuor and Voronwë traveled towards the Hidden City. After being led by Elemmakil through the Seven Gates, Ecthelion appeared before them. He is portrayed as great and lordly, all clad in silver and having a bright glance. Upon his helm there was a spike with a diamond point which shimmered as "a thousand studs of crystal". At first denying passage for Tuor, he allows it after the later shows the arms of Vinyamar and mentions Ulmo, saying that the Lord of the Fountains should not oppose the Lord of the Waters.
In the year F.A. 510, Morgoth attacked the city. Ecthelion battled there against Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs in the very square of the King, where they slew each other. His death is only mentioned in the Quenta Silmarillion, but the own text explains that much more is told in The Fall of Gondolin.
 Other versions of the legendarium
 The Book of Lost Tales
The most detailed text about Ecthelion and his deeds during the Fall of Gondolin is the chapter "The Fall of Gondolin", in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two. There it is told that he is the Lord of the House of the Fountain, one of the Twelve Houses of the Gondothlim. Its people found delight in diamonds and the silver of their arrays was most beautiful to the sight.:173
During the siege of the city, Ecthelion led his folk into battle accompanied by the music of their flutes, and great were the damages caused to the enemy by their long, bright swords.:173 He and his forces made their entrance from the South part of the city, after previously being held in reserve. So terrible was his voice when commanding the drawing of the swords and the killings which followed, that his name became a terror among the enemy and a war-cry to the Eldar. Valiantly fighting side by side with Tuor and his House of the Wing, they drove away the orcs until almost the Gate was regained. It's said that Ecthelion and his House of the Fountain slew more orcs than had ever been slain, in all the battles of elves and orcs combined. As Dragons reinforced Melko's army, Ecthelion killed three Balrogs and his sword did "hurt to their fire". Outnumbered, they had to retreat. When doing so, Ecthelion's left arm was wounded and his shield fell to earth. Tuor carried him away as they joined the remaining leaders in the Square of the King.:180-182
In that place the great Fountain of the King stood and Ecthelion regained his strength by drinking from it. As seven dragons lead the enemy's forces towards the Square, the remaining army of Gondolin began retreat. All but Ecthelion, who remained near the fountain in a stand which was remembered as the most valiant "in all the songs or in any tale". It was there that he faced Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. During the duel, Ecthelion lost his sword. Gothmog then was about to deliver the final blow when Ecthelion jumped and drove the spike of his helmet into Gothmog's body. Gothmog then lost his balance and he, along with Ecthelion, fell into the Fountain of the King. Gothmog and Ecthelion both drowned.:183-184
Later, during the escape of the Exiles of Gondolin, the young Eärendel asked about him, saying that he wished Ecthelion were there, "to play to me on his flute, or make me willow whistles! Perchance has he gone on ahead?" After he was informed of Ecthelion's death he "wept bitterly" and said that he cared no more to see the streets of Gondolin.:191
 Aredhel's escort
In the published Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien didn't mention any of the escorts of Aredhel, based on a note in which his father discuss about the motives of Celegorm and Curufin of not sending any message to Gondolin about Aredhel. Tolkien decides that it is necessary not to name the most eminent and bravest chieftains as Aredhel's escort, as they would have seek for her beyond the Bridge of Esgalduin.:328
There are three different sources that offer a translation of Ecthelion and they all differ substantially.
The early Gnomish conception came from ecthel ("issue of water, spring"). Tolkien wrote that this early Qenya name sounded good and it had already been used in publication (with the name of two ruling stewards in The Lord of the Rings), so he didn't applied the Sindarin development to it.:318-319
The Sindarin version should have been Ægthelion, derived from aeg ("sharp") + thel ("intent, resolve") + -on (masculine suffix).:318-319 But as explained above, Tolkien let Ægthelion as an archaic form, which can be translated as "One with Sharp Will".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: III. Maeglin"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Maeglin"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 50-51
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Ecthelion"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", entries "EK-", "STELEG-"
- ↑ David Salo (2004), A Gateway to Sindarin, p. 339