|"Turgon Aran Gondolin" by Antti Autio|
|Other names||Turukáno (Q, fn)|
|Titles||King of Gondolin|
High King of the Noldor
|Birth||Y.T. 1300 |
|Rule||F.A. 116 - 510 (Gondolin)|
F.A. 472 - 510 (High King)
|Death||F.A. 510 (aged c. 2426[note 1])|
Fall of Gondolin
|House||House of Fingolfin|
|Parentage||Fingolfin and Anairë|
|Siblings||Fingon, Aredhel and Argon|
|Height||Taller than all but Thingol|
|Gallery||Images of Turgon|
- "And most of all his kin Morgoth feared Turgon; for of old in Valinor his eye had lighted upon him, and whenever he drew near a shadow had fallen on his spirit, foreboding that in some time that yet lay hidden, from Turgon ruin should come to him."
- ― Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
He was often called "the Wise" and is described as "tallest of all the Children of the World, save Thingol"; with a white and gold sword in an ivory sheath. He sat in a high throne, holding his staff of doom.
Life in Aman
After the Darkening of Valinor, Fëanor gave his famous speech in Tirion and proclaimed his Oath. Turgon and his father Fingolfin spoke against Fëanor, and the Fëanorians almost unsheathed their swords, but Finarfin intervened and invited the Noldor to ponder the matter. Turgon and his friend Finrod were together against the departure of the Noldor from Aman, but the Noldorin assembly chose Exile. So Turgon set out on the journey, and although he was originally against it, he did not come back after the Doom of Mandos because "Fingon and Turgon were bold and fiery of heart, and loath to abandon any task to which they had put their hands until the bitter end, if bitter it must be". After Fëanor and his sons departed using the only ships, abandoning the remaining Noldor, Turgon went with his people across the dangerous Helcaraxë alongside his father Fingolfin. During the crossing, Turgon's wife Elenwë, and their daughter Idril fell into the bitter waters. Turgon risked his life to save them, but he only could save Idril, and Elenwë was lost. Turgon was always hostile to the House of Fëanor thereafter.
Building of Gondolin
Once they arrived in Middle-earth, Turgon and his followers settled at Vinyamar in Nevrast. In F.A. 50, he and Finrod journeyed together along Sirion, and while they slept near the Aelin-uial, Ulmo sent both of them a dream to look for a hidden place where they could be safe from the power of Morgoth. Then, in the following year, Ulmo appeared directly to Turgon and guided him to the vale of Tumladen in the Encircling Mountains. Initially, Turgon left Tumladen and returned to Vinyamar, keeping his discovery a secret for many years and planning the construction of a city.
After the Dagor Aglareb, Turgon began to once again feel the restlessness set in his heart by Ulmo, and his thought turned to Tumladen. He secretly moved many of the most skilled Noldor to the valley, and had them build Gondolin. When it was completed in F.A. 116, he abandoned Vinyamar with all his people and led them to Tumladen in secret, hidden by the power of Ulmo. Before leaving, however, he left in Vinyamar a sword, mail and helm for one who would come in the hour of direst need of the Noldor and deliver hope, following Ulmo's prophecy. In his Hidden City, Turgon was King of the Gondolindrim, and all kept working on embellishing Gondolin. He even personally created the two trees Glingal and Belthil in the image of the Two Trees.
Doom of the Noldor
In F.A. 458 Turgon took in Húrin and Huor, who were saved by the Eagles. They forged a strong friendship, but after a year he allowed them to leave the city, although it was against his law. Turgon and the two brothers met again in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad: in the middle of the battle, they rejoiced in their meeting. When Fingon was killed and the battle seemed lost, Huor urged Turgon to leave, prophesying that from both of them a new star would rise. Thanks to the men of the House of Hador in the Fen of Serech, the Gondolindrim escaped, but Huor was killed and Húrin captured. Although the battle was still lost, Turgon's unexpected intervention prevented the rout from completely destroying the armies of the Noldor and their allies.
With the death of his brother Fingon, Turgon became the new High King of the Noldor, and he was the most feared of the enemies of Morgoth, as he remained hidden. In those times, Círdan settled in the Mouths of Sirion, and with his help, Turgon sent seven boats to the West to ask help to the Valar, but all of them were wrecked.
In F.A. 495, Voronwë, the only survivor of the shipwrecks, brought into the Hidden City a man: Tuor, son of Huor. The King received him in the Tower of the King, and when Tuor spoke, his cloak fell, revealing the arms Turgon had left in Vinyamar following Ulmo's orders nearly 400 years earlier. Tuor gave him Ulmo's warning: the Doom of the Noldor was approaching, so the Gondolindrim had to leave their fair city and go down Sirion to the sea. But the King had become proud and loved his kingdom, so he rejected the counsel of the Vala. However, he ordered the blocking up of the Seven Gates, so that no one could enter the city, and the only news that came in was that brought by Thorondor.
Some years later, Húrin was released by Morgoth, and he approached the Echoriad with the hope of returning to Gondolin. Thorondor informed Turgon, but he distrusted Húrin and did not help him. Turgon later regretted it, but it was too late; through Húrin's wanderings, the location of the Hidden City became known to Morgoth.
Seven years after his coming, Tuor married Idril. Turgon blessed their union, as he held Tuor in great esteem and he had not forgotten the words of Huor in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
Morgoth attacked the city in F.A. 510. In the Quenta Silmarillion, little is mentioned of the deeds of the chieftains of Gondolin, but much is told in The Fall of Gondolin: of the defence of the Tower of the King by the people of his stronghold, until this fell; "and mighty was its fall and the fall of Turgon in its ruin".
A group of Exiles survived the Fall of Gondolin and reached the Mouths of Sirion. There Ereinion Gil-galad was named the next High King of the Noldor. Turgon's grandson Eärendil the Blessed would later bring salvation to Middle-earth, fulfilling Morgoth's fears about him.
However, in The Shibboleth of Fëanor, Tolkien translated Turgon as "Master Shout". There it is explained that the name is the Sindarized version of his Quenya father-name, Turukáno, clearly meaning "Victory Commander".
A rejected Quenya name was Turondo ("Lord of Stone"). In the earliest stage of the Elvish languages, the Qenya name was the same, and the Gnomish name was also Turgon, which Christopher Tolkien suggests to be derived from the root TURU ("be strong").
Other versions of the legendarium
The Book of Lost Tales
- "But I Turgon will not leave my city, and will burn with it."
- ― The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin"
Turgon already appears in the earliest stage of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales. He is the son of Finwë Nólemë, lord of the Noldoli (precursor of both Finwë and Fingolfin). Before Turgon (or Turondo in Qenya) was born, Amnon prophesied the fall of Gondolin and the fade of Turgon. Turgon was born soon after the Flight of the Noldoli in Lake Mithrim or near Sirion. Later he participated in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, and there his father was isolated and slain by the enemy, and the Orcs cut out Nólemë's heart. But Turgon rescued the body, and the Scarlet Heart became his emblem. With terrible wrath, he ran out of the battle, and went to save the women and children of the camps. Then he fled south along Sirion, and aided by its magic waters, he escaped into a secret place away from Melko. There the Noldoli built the secret city of Gondolin and Turgon became their king.
Many years later, when Tuor came to the city, he found Turgon in the Square of the Palace. "Then Turgon king of Gondolin robed in white with a belt of gold, and a coronet of garnets upon his head, stood before his doors and spake from the head of the white stairs that led thereto." Tuor was well received, as his coming was prophesied, but Ulmo's warning was not attended by the king, who answered that he had already sent boats to the West which had never come back. However, Turgon knew that Tuor had the favour of the Valar, and invited him to dwell in Gondolin, even in the royal halls.:160-2
Many years later, Turgon allowed the wedding of Tuor and his daughter Idril. All the Gondothlim and the king were overjoyed when Eärendel was born, except Meglin, the king's nephew and close counsellor.:164-5 One year later, news came about spies of Melko near Tumladin, and the king remembered the words of Tuor, so he tripled the watch and ordered preparations for war.:167 However, more years passed and his fear softened, and the watch was reduced again, as the Gondothlim became confident after Melko withdrew the spies.:170
During the Tarnin Austa, news came about the armies of Melko approaching the city, so Turgon called a council and all the twelve houses of the Gondothlim came to his palace. Among them were his personal guard, the House of the King, who wore his emblems: the Sun, the Moon and the Scarlet Heart.:172 In the council, all the lords of Gondolin supported Tuor, who wanted to leave the city to save all the people; but the king was convinced by Meglin and Salgant alone, because they appealed to the wealth and strength of the city.:175-6
Thus, the Fall of Gondolin began. Turgon watched most of the battle from his tower,:180 while his folk was held in reserve in the Square of the Palace, waiting in order to defend him.:183 Throughout the siege, the king sent the different reserved hosts to help where necessary, until the remnants of all the surviving houses finally gathered in the Square. After Ecthelion of the Fountain there killed Gothmog, the king came down in splendour and helped his house to cleanse the square. But the steam of the fountains killed some men, so the king was saved and taken under Glingol and Bansil. Then said the king: "Great is the fall of Gondolin!", the words of the prophet Amnon. Seeing he had brought ruin upon his city, he proclaimed he would not fight against Doom, so he ordered the survivors to follow Tuor and threw down his crown at the roots of Glingol. Galdor picked it up, but Turgon rejected it and climbed to the pinnacle of his tower.:184-5
There he shouted in a voice like a horn blown among the mountains, and all that were gathered beneath the Trees and the foemen in the mists of the square heard him: "Great is the victory of the Noldoli!" And 'tis said that it was then middle night, and that the Orcs yelled in derision.
Now, Tuor wanted to escape from the city to save the women and children, but he could not leave the king, so messengers were sent to convince Turgon to flee. But Turgon refused thrice, saying he would not leave his city and would burn with it. His royal house remained at his side, protecting the tower.:185 Later, Tuor and Idril could see from the Gar Ainion how the Square of the King was taken by enemies. Dragons crushed the base of the tower and this fell, covered in flames. "Great was the clangour of that terrible fall, and therein passed Turgon King of the Gondothlim". Idril wept for her father, saying "Sad is the blindness of the wise"; and Tuor answered "Sad too is the stubbornness of those we love — yet 'twas a valiant fault".:187
There is a clear correlation between Turgon and the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI, especially in The Book of Lost Tales as summarized above. When he was asked to escape during the Fall of Constantinople, Constantine XI pronounced himself in the same terms as Turgon:
God forbid that I should live as an Emperor without an Empire. As my city falls, I will fall with it. Whosoever wishes to escape, let him save himself if he can, and whoever is ready to face death, let him follow me.
- Years of the Sun. Each Year of the Tree is equal to 9.582 Years of the Sun, and the Years of the Trees ended in the year 1500.
- The Hobbit, "A Short Rest", Elrond explains that it once belonged to the King of Gondolin
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", "Notes", p. 56, note 31
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Maeglin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "The Annals of Aman": Note on §85, p. 106
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The names of Finwë's descendants", pp. 345-346
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §111
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Noldor in Beleriand"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §120
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", p. 18
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §299
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: I. The Wanderings of Húrin", pp. 271-272
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: V. The Tale of Years", p. 351
- 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), pp. 112-113
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry tur
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The names of Finwë's descendants", p. 345
- Paul Strack, "Q. Turucáno m.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 2 June 2020)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, entry "Tuor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VII. The Flight of the Noldoli", pp. 167, 172
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "X. Gilfanon's Tale: The Travail of the Noldoli and the Coming of Mankind", pp. 238-242
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
- Nicolle, David; Haldon, John; Turnbull, Stephen (Osprey Publishing, 2007). The Fall of Constantinople: The Ottoman Conquest of Byzantium, p. 228
House of Fingolfin
Cadet branch of House of Finwë
|King of Gondolin|
F.A. 116 - 510
|3rd High King of the Noldor|
F.A. 472 – 510
|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)|