Swans of Gorbelgod

From Tolkien Gateway
"I see what I see. And if they be not birds, what are they? Very great must they be, greater than the Swans of Gorbelgod, of which legends tell. And lo! I see another that comes behind, but less clearly, for its wings are black."
Tal-Elmar to Hazad in The Peoples of Middle-earth, Tal-Elmar

The Swans of Gorbelgod were a legendary race of swans mentioned in some unknown legends that Tal-Elmar had heard in Middle-earth.[1]:426 Little is known about these possibly fictitious swans, while even less is known about the nature of what the word Gorbelgod refers to.

History[edit | edit source]

During one spring morning, Tal-Elmar and his father, Hazad, sat on the green hill-top above Agar to watch the waves of a great bight of the sea. While Hazad's eyes were dim with age, Tal-Elmar was able to see looked to him like three strange birds sitting ontop of the sea, made white beneath the Sun. To this, Hazad claimed that the sun must be in his eye. While Tal-Elmar pointed out that the sun was behind them rather than in front of them, he speculates that, whether or not they were birds or something entirely different, they must be of a greater size than the legendary Swans of Gorbelgod. Hazad was proven right immediately afterwards when the fourth bird that follows the three in sight ends up having black wings. Yet, Hazad became troubled by this, believing that it was an ill-omen which he interpreted as a warning that the dangerous Go-hilleg were coming to Middle-earth with their dreaded black sailed Ship of the Dark.[1]:426-7

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

Christopher Tolkien mentioned in his sixth note that his father had originally typed the name as Dur nor-Belgoth, but later corrected it to Gorbelgod.[1]:437


Legendary races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Ettens · Giants · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Two-headed Trolls
Other:  Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless things · Spectres
Individuals:  Talking Gurthang · Talking purse · The Hunter · Lady of the Sun · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim · Tom · White cow