From Tolkien Gateway
"Maeglin" by Lorraine Brevig
Biographical Information
Other namesLómion (Q, mn)
LocationNan Elmoth, Gondolin
BirthF.A. 320[1]
Nan Elmoth
DeathF.A. 510 (aged 190)
Fall of Gondolin
Notable forBetraying the location of Gondolin to Morgoth
HouseKin of Thingol[2][3]
ParentageEöl & Aredhel
Physical Description
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorDark
GalleryImages of Maeglin

He resembled in face and form rather his kindred of the Noldor, but in mood and mind he was the son of his father. His words were few save in matters that touched him near, and then his voice had a power to move those that heard him and to overthrow those that withstood him.

Maeglin was an Elf, the son of Eöl the Dark Elf and Aredhel sister of Turgon. Born in Nan Elmoth, he became mighty in Gondolin and betrayed it to Morgoth.


Early history

When Aredhel left Gondolin to wander through Beleriand, she met Eöl in Nan Elmoth. She stayed with him, eventually giving birth to Maeglin. The child grew up hearing tales of Gondolin, the Hidden City, and his uncle, Turgon. Most importantly, he heard that he had no heir to the throne, thus the idea of leaving the dark places of Nan Elmoth was born in his mind. Years later, Aredhel left Eöl and she took Maeglin (who stole his father's sword, Anguirel) with her, both of them returning to Gondolin. However, Eöl had followed her. In judgment before Turgon, he was told that he could not leave Gondolin, and attempted to kill Maeglin with a poisoned dart. But he hit Aredhel instead when she sprang before Maeglin to protect him. She later died, and Eöl was cast down to his death from the city walls under Maeglin's eyes; his father prophesied that he would die the same death.[4]

He was now an orphan, but Turgon held him in honor, and Maeglin both learned and taught much. He found rich lodes of metals in the Echoriath surrounding the city, and forged weapons of steel stronger than had been seen before. His mine in the northern Echoriath was named Anghabar, which provided a great wealth of steel and forged metals.[4]

In the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, also known as the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Maeglin refused to remain behind as regent, and went forth to battle with Turgon, proving valiant at need, though he was wise in council as well.[4] He was present when Turgon and Húrin met in the middle of the battle, and heard the prophetic words of his king, and he didn't forget them.[5] After the army of the Gondolindrim came back from battle, the seventh and final gate of Gondolin, the Gate of Steel, was created by Maeglin.[6]

Evil in his heart by Peter Xavier Price

Even though he was one of the mighty of Gondolin, he most desired Turgon's daughter Idril, who was his first cousin. But there was no hope for him, as the "Eldar wedded not with kin so near". Moreover, Idril perceived an evil coming from him, and for as long as Gondolin existed, she avoided him. Thus, the love inside Maeglin's heart turned to darkness. Though he had neither her nor the kingship of Gondolin, he endured it in silence, waiting for an opportunity to seize them both.[4]

Fall of Gondolin

When Tuor came, carrying Ulmo's warning of the danger to Gondolin, Maeglin sat on the right hand of Turgon and argued against Tuor. Tuor's marriage with Idril further incensed Maeglin, who rebelled against Turgon and Tuor. Later, seeking after metals, Maeglin defied Turgon's order to stay within the mountains, and was captured by Orcs and brought to Angband. Morgoth promised both Gondolin and Idril in return for the location of the hidden city, thus luring Maeglin into the greatest treachery done in the Elder Days.

Maeglin returned to Gondolin saying nothing about his encounter, but many people noticed a change. Most thought it was for the better, though Idril suspected something and began work on Idril's secret way. When the Fall of Gondolin took place, Maeglin laid hands on Idril and on her son Eärendil. But Tuor caught up with him and they fought upon the walls of the city. Maeglin lost and he was thrown down to his death, striking the mountain three times before falling into the flames.[7]


Maeglin means "Sharp Glance" in Sindarin, a name which he received from his father when he was twelve. It is formed by the union of maeg ("sharp, piercing, "penetrating") and glîn ("gleam, glint (of eyes)").[8]

At birth, Aredhel gave Maeglin the mother-name of Lómion, meaning "Child of Twilight" in Quenya. It comes from lómë ("twilight")[9] + -ion (patronymic suffix). This name was given to him in secret, as Quenya was forbidden and because only Eöl gave a name to his son when he was twelve years old.[4]


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

The Book of Lost Tales

Maeglin laid hands on Idril, and on Earendil by Catherine Karina Chmiel

Maeglin is called Meglin in the early versions of the legendarium. This Gnomish name is not glossed and its Qenya cognate was Mailin/Mailindo.[10]

The most detailed text about Meglin and his evil deeds during the Fall of Gondolin is the chapter "The Fall of Gondolin", in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two. There it is told that he was a Gnome-lord, son of Isfin and Eöl, and nephew of king Turgon, although some whispered he had Orc's blood in his veins. His sign was a sable Mole and he was a chief of the delvers, and many of them beloged to his house.[11]:165 This house was the folk of the Mole, one of the twelve houses of the Gondothlim. He had gathered them chosing warriors of dark countenance and lowering gaze.[11]:173 At some point he was captured by Orcs while looking for ore, and knowing he was of the Gondothlim, they would kill him, but he offered himself to Melko and was taken to the Hills of Iron. Hearing the treachery, Melko was pleased, and together they planned how to take the city. Meglin gave Melko the idea of building Iron Dragons to carry Orcs. Then he came back to the city, but Melko wove upon him the spell of bottomless dread.[11]:169

Seven years later, the armies of Melko approached Gondolin and Turgon called a council. All the lords supported Tuor, who wanted to leave the city and save the women and children, but Meglin and Salgant alone convinced Turgon to hold the city and guard the treasures, and while he spoke Salgant backed him up.[11]:175-6

When the Fall of Gondolin began at the northern gate, Meglin led his folk to Tuor's house at the south of the city. He knew of Idril's secret way and wanted to use it for his own purposes. There he tried to kill Eärendel throwing him from the walls, and dragged Idril of her hair to make her see it. But Eärendel and Idril fought him, delaying him. Tuor soon arrived with his folk of the Wing. But a press of the Mole-folk was in front of the house, and these were the grimmest Noldoli that Meglin could get, doing nothing to stop their lord. Then the folk of the Wing attacked and the folk of the Mole was stricken asunder, and Tuor could run upon Meglin. When Meglin saw this, he stabbed Eärendel, but the child was wearing a coat, and Tuor broke Meglin's arm. Finally, Tuor took Meglin and flung him far out. The body smote Amon Gwareth three times before reaching the flames, "and the name of Meglin has gone out in shame from among the Eldar and Noldoli".[11]:177-8


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part One. The Grey Annals": §119, p. 48
  2. 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: III. Maeglin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Editorial Notes [to Quendi and Eldar]", Note 33
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Maeglin"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 49-50
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entries maeg, glîn
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry lómë
  10. 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), pp. 103-4
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
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)