House of the Swallow

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House of the Swallow
Noble House
General Information
Other namesFolk of the Swallow
AffiliationHouse of the Heavenly Arch
Physical Description
ClothingWhite, blue, purple, and black
WeaponryBow and arrows

And those of the Swallow and the Arch poured arrows like the dark rains of autumn.

The house of the Swallow was one of the twelve houses of the Gondothlim, the kindreds of the elven city of Gondolin. Their story is recounted in the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales.


Their lord was Duilin, and the house was famed for their skill as archers: The emblem on their shields was that of an arrowhead, they wore a fan of feathers upon their helms, and were arrayed in white, dark blue, purple, and black. From this folk came the most numerous and best archers of Gondolin, along with the folk of the Heavenly Arch, so they were positioned in the broad places along the walls of the city.[1]:173

During the Fall of Gondolin, the balrog Gothmog gathered his armies at the northern gate and knocked it down. The folks of the Arch and the Swallow defended the northern walls, pouring rains of arrows over the hosts of Orcs and helping the houses that fought below. As the enemy's attack grew, Duilin fell from the walls, smitten by a fiery bolt from outside of the city.[1]:176-8

When the northern gate was lost, goblins held a great part of the walls, so many elves of both the Arch and the Swallow were thrust to their doom. The house of the Fountain arrived to help, but a great gap was opened in the western wall, and bands of the Arch and the Swallow battled amid the wreck against oncoming enemies.[1]:179-80 Slowly the battle in that part of the city was lost and they retreated towards the Square of the Folkwell, where the guard of the Arch, the Swallow and others gathered together, forming a good battalion. Led by Tuor, they marched to the Square of the King. There they met Egalmoth of the Heavenly Arch, who had been on the south walls with some of his troops and folk of the Swallow. They later helped him to rescue captives and wandering soldiers.[1]:182-3

Many of them likely survived as exiles, as while crossing Cristhorn, one of them informed Tuor that Glorfindel was being attacked by a band of Orcs and a Balrog.[1]:193

Other names

They were known as Nos Duilin in Gnomish, and Nossë Tuilinda in Qenya.[2]

Another Gnomish name was Thlim Duilin, while a simple Qenya name was Tuilindor.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Duilin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Alphabet of Rúmil & Early Noldorin Fragments", in Parma Eldalamberon XIII (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), p. 104
Twelve houses of the Gondothlim
King (leader: Turgon) · Wing (Tuor) · Mole (Meglin) · Swallow (Duilin) · Heavenly Arch (Egalmoth) · Pillar (Penlod) · Tower of Snow (Penlod) · Tree (Galdor) · Golden Flower (Glorfindel) · Fountain (Ecthelion) · Harp (Salgant) · Hammer of Wrath (Rog)