House of the Golden Flower

From Tolkien Gateway
House of the Golden Flower
Noble House
General Information
Other namesFolk of the Golden Flower
LeaderGlorfindel
LocationsGondolin

There stood the house of the Golden Flower who bare a rayed sun upon their shield...

The house of the Golden Flower 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.

History

Glorfindel was the chief of this house. They bore the device of a rayed sun upon their shields. Their garments and weapons are not described in great detail, but it is said that their lord wore a mantle embroidered with celandines in golden threads, and his arms were damascened with gold.[1]:173

During the Fall of Gondolin, the balrog Gothmog led Melko's armies to the city's northern gate, which was soon knocked down.[1]:176 The Golden Flower's strongest troops were stationed in the Great Market, in the eastern part of the city, and at some point they decided to march to the fight about that gate. They marched there by a circuitous way with the idea of surprising the foe upon his left flank, but instead they were ambushed by a host of Orcs led by Balrogs. They fought for hours, until a fire-drake came and overwhelmed them. They had to cut their way out with great difficulty, as the dragon began to burn the entire market.[1]:182

Fortunately, Glorfindel had previously sent messengers to King Turgon explaining the urgency of the situation, so the house of the Harp was sent to aid the Golden Flower. However, Salgant, the lord of the Harp, betrayed his men, sending them to the Lesser Market in the southern part of the city. The men of the Harp fretted thereat, and broke from their lord to come before the king's hall right in the moment that Glorfindel and his folk were chased by a press of enemies. The troops of the Harp saved them, driving the enemy back into the market, but there they were trapped, burned to death or poisoned by the breath of the dragon.[1]:182-3

Thus Glorfindel and the last of his soldiers, along with all the remaining houses, barricaded themselves in the Square of the King. After Turgon proclaimed the fall of the city and ordered the survivors to follow Tuor, Glorfindel held the rear for those who retreated towards Idril's secret way, and many more of the Golden Flower fell there.[1]:186

Further on, while crossing Cristhorn, Glorfindel was behind the Exiles.[1]:192 The rearguard was attacked by a band of Orcs and a Balrog, and there happened the duel between Glorfindel and the Balrog, in which both fell into the abyss. After the body of Glorfindel had been recovered, Tuor had a cairn raised for him.[1]:194-5

Yellow flowers have fared thither and blow ever now about that mound in those unkindly places; but the folk of the Golden Flower wept at its building and might not dry their tears.

Other names

Their Gnomish name was Thlim Losglóriol, while in Qenya they were simply known as Lóter Kuluinai.[2]

Los Glóriol was later emended to Los'lóriol.[3]

Other versions of the legendarium

This is the only house of the Gondothlim properly named in the legendarium following the Lost Tales: in the Quenta Noldorinwa, Glorfindel is mentioned as "chief of the House of the Golden Flower of Gondolin".[4] This text was used by Christopher Tolkien for the twenty-third chapter of the published Silmarillion.[5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. 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
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry Los'lóriol
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: [Section] 16", p. 141
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", p. 211
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)