From Tolkien Gateway
Jenny Dolfen - Crossing the Helcaraxë.jpg
"Crossing the Helcaraxë" by Jenny Dolfen
Biographical Information
PronunciationS, [fiŋˈɡolfin]
Other namesÑolofinwë (Q, fn),
Aracáno (Q, mn)
TitlesHigh King of the Noldor, King of the North
LocationTirion, Hithlum
LanguageQuenya, Sindarin
BirthY.T. 1190
RuleF.A. 7 - 456
DeathF.A. 456 (aged c. 3426)
HouseHouse of Finwë, founded the House of Fingolfin
ParentageFinwë and Indis
SiblingsFëanor (half-brother), Findis, Írimë and Finarfin
ChildrenFingon, Turgon, Aredhel and Argon
Physical Description
Hair colorDark[1]
ClothingSilver armour, blue shield set with crystals
GalleryImages of Fingolfin
"Fingolfin was the strongest, the most steadfast, and the most valiant."
Quenta Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"

Fingolfin was the first High King of the Noldor ruling in Beleriand, eldest son of Finwë and Indis, younger brother of Findis, older brother of Írimë and Finarfin, and the younger half-brother of Fëanor. His wife was Anairë and his children were Fingon, Turgon, Aredhel, and Argon.


Early life[edit]

Fingolfin was the strongest and most valiant of the sons of Finwë.[2] Having different mothers, he and his older half-brother Fëanor never felt a close bond with each other. This lack of affinity developed into rivalry when Melkor secretly told each of them that the other was planning on driving them out of Tirion.

Half Brothers by Tuuliky

During the days of the Two Trees in Valinor, as Melkor's lies were taking root in Noldor minds, a number of the Noldor started to believe that the Valar were somehow restraining them from going back to Cuiviénen in Middle-earth. Melkor's cunning had caused the suspicions he sowed to outweigh the Noldor's knowledge that the greatest Gift of the Valar was total free will.

Fëanor was the first to speak against the Valar, and Finwë summoned all of the lords of his house to resolve the issue. As Fingolfin was contending with his father to convince him to restrain Fëanor, the latter arrived fully armed with weapons he had secretly forged. Even though Fingolfin accepted him as his senior, Fëanor threatened Fingolfin, who was unarmed, with his sword, after which Fingolfin bowed to his father Finwë and left, only to be followed by Fëanor and threatened again in public.[3] This threat, in the main square in front of the Mindon, King Finwë's seat, was witnessed by many as Fëanor drew his sword and placed the point to Fingolfin's breast.

In the face of this public humiliation, Fingolfin turned quietly and walked away without a word to Fëanor, in an effort to avoid division and dissension within his father's House and among the Noldor.

After the escape of Melkor from Valinor, during the feast Manwë held for the reconciliation of the Eldar, Fingolfin publicly forgave Fëanor and called him "Half-brother in blood, full brother in heart".[4]

Journey to Middle-earth[edit]

After King Finwë died, murdered by Morgoth, Fëanor rallied up the Noldor and gave a passionate speech. Nearly all of the Noldor followed him to Exile, along with his two half-brothers. Fingolfin led the largest host of the Noldor when they fled Aman for Middle-earth, even though he thought this unwise; he did not want to abandon his people to Fëanor. As days passed in their exile, more and more of the Noldor started speaking against Fëanor, for their journey was difficult, and they feared the prophecy of Mandos. After Fëanor's Noldor acquired the ships of the Teleri following the First Kinslaying, Fëanor and his followers used them to sail across the sea. Fëanor burned the ships after reaching Middle-earth, stranding the others, for he thought the followers of Fingolfin would prove to be useless.[5]

Fingolfin and his people saw the smoke of the ships from afar, and chose to travel through the icy Helcaraxë, for they were ashamed to go back to Valinor, and were angry at Fëanor. The journey was hard and many died, yet they were filled with hope when they saw the Moon for the first time. Soon after, at the rising of the Sun, he came to the Gates of Angband and smote upon them, but Morgoth stayed hidden inside. Fingolfin and the Noldor, realizing they could not be victorious in this way, then came to the northern shores of Lake Mithrim, from which the Fëanorian part of the host had withdrawn.[6]


J.R.R. Tolkien - Fingolfin Heraldic Device.jpg

Shortly after Fëanor's death, his oldest son Maedhros was captured by Morgoth. Learning this, Fingolfin's oldest son Fingon rescued Maedhros, with whom he was a good friend. Maedhros consequently waived his claim to kingship at the council of the Noldor in Mithrim.[6] Thus Fingolfin became the first High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth.[6] He ruled from Hithlum, by the northern shores of Lake Mithrim.[6]

Morgoth and the High King of Noldor by Ted Nasmith

After defeating the Orcs in the Dagor Aglareb ("Glorious Battle"), Fingolfin maintained the Siege of Angband for nearly four hundred years. But the Siege was ended by the sudden assaults of Morgoth in the Dagor Bragollach ("Battle of Sudden Flame"), and many peoples of Beleriand fled. In the end, Fingolfin rode to Angband alone to challenge Morgoth to single combat. Those who saw him thought Oromë himself had arrived; for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar.[7]

In that vast shadow once of yore
Fingolfin stood: his shield he bore
with field of heaven's blue and star
of crystal shining pale afar.
In overmastering wrath and hate
desperate he smote upon that gate,
the Gnomish king, there standing lone,
while endless fortresses of stone
engulfed the thin clear ringing keen
of silver horn and baldric green.
Lay of Leithian, Canto XII, vv. 3538-3547

Fingolfin died there after a mighty duel, wounding Morgoth seven times with his sword Ringil, and struck one last punishing blow to Morgoth's foot before he broke the High King. Morgoth's wounds never healed after that battle, and he limped everafter. Thorondor, the King of Eagles, rescued Fingolfin's body and brought it to a mountaintop overlooking Gondolin, and Turgon built a cairn over the remains of his father.[7]

Fingon became High King of the Noldor after his death.


The name Fingolfin is Sindarin, but it is never glossed, although it is said that it is the Sindarized form of the name Finwë Ñolofinwë ("Wise Finwë").[8]

However, in the Noldorin phase of the language, Fingolfin is given as "Magical Skill".[9] In later versions, Tolkien considered changing the name to Ingolfin, as coming from Ingoldo, but the idea was soon discarded.[10]

Other names[edit]

His father-name was Ñolofinwë, with the stem ñolo (related to "wisdom") attached to the name of his father. Later, during the Exile of the Noldor, Fingolfin added Finwë to the beginning of this name, in pursuance of his claim to be King of the Noldor after his father's death.[8] This would result in Finwë·ñolofinwë.[10]

His mother-name was Aracáno ("High Chieftain"), which he gave to his son Argon.[11]

Earlier titles in Noldorin were Aran Chithlum ("King of Hithlum") and Taur Egledhrim ("King of the Exiles").[12]


d. Y.T. 1170
d. Y.T. 1495
b. Y.T.
Y.T. 1169 - 1497
b. Y.T.
Y.T. 1190 - F.A. 456
b. Y.T.
b. Y.T.
b. Y.T. 1230
Y.T. 1260 - F.A. 472
Y.T. 1300 - F.A. 510
d. Y.T. 1500
Y.T. 1362 - F.A. 400
d. F.A. 400
d. F.A. 1
b. F.A. 472
b. Y.T.
F.A. 320 - 510
b. F.A. 503

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The first appearance of Fingolfin in the Legendarium is in a prose fragment, in which he is called Golfin son of Gelmir, carring an emblem with a silver sword upon gold.[13]

External links[edit]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The case of the Quenya change of Þ to s", p. 336
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The names of Finwë's descendants", pp. 344-345
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry "PHIN"
  10. 10.0 10.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 118
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "Notes", p. 360. Cf. also p. 345
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry "TĀ"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "I. Prose Fragments Following the Lost Tales: (ii)", pp. 7-8
House of Finwë
Born: Y.T. 1190 Died: F.A. 456
Preceded by:
2nd King of the Noldor
Y.T. 1495 - 1497 (with Fëanor)
Y.T. 1497 - F.A. 7
Followed by:
New title
1st High King of the Noldor
F.A. 7456
Followed by: