House of the Heavenly Arch

From Tolkien Gateway
House of the Heavenly Arch
Noble House
Rondador - House of the Heavenly Arch.png
General Information
Other namesFolk of the Arch, of the Rainbow
AffiliationHouse of the Swallow
Physical Description
ClothingMany bright colors
WeaponrySword, bow and arrows
"But they of the Heavenly Arch being a folk of uncounted wealth were arrayed in a glory of colors."
The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin"

The house of the Heavenly Arch 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 leader was Egalmoth, and they were a folk of "unaccounted wealth"; they arrayed themselves in many bright colours, for the "heavenly arch" referred to a rainbow, and their weapons were set with jewels that flamed in the light over the sky. Their shields were the blue of the heavens, and the boss of each one contained an arrangement of seven individual gems: rubies, amethysts, sapphires, emeralds, chrysoprases, topazes, and amber. An opal of great size was set in each of their helms. They were skilled swordsmen, but they also had the best archers of the twelve houses, along with the folk of the Swallow, 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, helping the houses that fought below.[1]:176-7 When the northern gate was lost, goblins held a great part of the walls, so many elves of both folks 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 the elves 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, where they met their lord Egalmoth. He had been in charge of the engines of the wall in the south part of the city, and when he saw they had to fight in the streets, he had taken some men of the Arch and of the Swallow and marched to the Square, rescuing captives and wandering troops on the way.[1]:182-3

After the fall of the city, many of them probably survived as exiles, as it is said that their lord dwelt after in the Mouths of Sirion.[2]

Other names[edit]

Their Gnomish name was Thlim Quing lion, while in Qenya they were simply known as Ilqingi.[3]


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)