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This article is about the valley of Gondolin. For the valley in Gondor, see Tumladen (Gondor).
Fields of Gondolin by Sara M. Morello

Tumladen was the hidden valley within the Encircling Mountains where the Elven city of Gondolin was built during the First Age.


[edit] Description

The valley was hidden between the mountain range of the Echoriad, with the Crissaegrim in the south. The only entry to the valley was Orfalch Echor, the pass formed by the Dry River.[1] In the middle of the green plain there was the rocky height of Amon Gwareth, and upon it the city of Gondolin.[2]

[edit] History

In ancient days, the valley was a great lake between the mountains, but was emptied through the Dry River.[1] In F.A. 53, Turgon, a lord of the exiled Noldor, discovered Tumladen under the divine guidance of the Vala Ulmo, Lord of Waters.[3] There he began to build the city of Gondolin in the top of Amon Gwareth, and after fifty years of work he moved there from Nevrast with all his people.[1]

During the Quest of the Silmaril, Beren and Lúthien could see the valley while being carried by Eagles. Tears fell from Lúthien's eyes into the plain, and from them a fountain sprang to life: the Fountain of Tinúviel, or Eithel Nínui.[4]

During the Fall of Gondolin, the valley was covered with mists due the fume of the burning and the steam of the fountains in the flame of the dragons. This allowed the survivors to escape from the slaughter through the plain without being noticed and reach the mountains.[2]

[edit] Etymology

Tumladen is Sindarin for "Wide Valley"[5] or "a flat valley with steep sides",[6] from tum ("valley, vale")[7] + laden ("flat, wide"). An alternate Sindarin spelling is Tumladhen.[8]

In the early Etymologies, Tumladen was given as Noldorin for "Level Vale".[9]

[edit] Other names

The Quenya name for the vale was i Tumbo, short form of i Tumbo Tarmacorto ("the Vale of the High Mountain Circle"). Its Sindarin cognate was Tum Orchorod.[8]

An early Q(u)enya name was Tumbolatsin.[9]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In the earliest version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales, the vale was called Tumladin ("Valley of Smoothness") in Gnomish. The vale had been leveled by the Gnomes with great toil, so everything there could be watched from Amon Gwareth.[10]:163 Tuor and Voronwë had to walk a day's light march to reach Amon Gwareth from the entrance of the Way of Escape. The plain "was of a marvellous level, broken but here and there by boulders round and smooth which lay amid a sward, or by pools in rocky beds. Many fair pathways lay across that plain."[10]:158


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 301
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", entry "Tumladen"
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 251
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry tum
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVI. Galadriel and Celeborn", p. 351
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry "LAT-"
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"