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|"Tuor at Vinyamar" by Ted Nasmith|
|Other names||Eladar (S)|
|Titles||Lord of the House of the Wing|
|Location||Dor-lómin; Gondolin; Mouths of Sirion|
|Language||Sindarin, Orkish and Quenya|
|Birth||F.A. 472 |
|Sailed west||F.A. 525 (aged 53)|
Mouths of Sirion
|House||House of Hador|
|Parentage||Huor & Rían|
fostered by Annael
|Height||Tallest of all the Edain|
|Clothing||Elven armour, including shield|
|Gallery||Images of Tuor|
- "I am Tuor son of Huor of the House of Hador and the kindred of Húrin, and these names, I am told, are not unknown in the Hidden Kingdom."
- ― Tuor to Elemmakil in Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin
Tuor Eladar was a hero of the Edain in the last years of the First Age and the father of Eärendil. In spite of being a Man, he was chosen by the Vala Ulmo to be the last hope of the Noldor in the face of annihilation by the forces of Morgoth.
Born in the winter of the Year of Lamentation, Tuor's life coincided with the final defeat of the Edain and the Noldor-in-Exile by the forces of Morgoth. He was of the House of Hador, but after the deaths of his parents Huor and Rían in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, he was fostered by the surviving Elves of Mithrim. He passed his youth a refugee and an outlaw, before being guided by the Vala Ulmo to the hidden city of Gondolin. There he rose high in the favour of the High King Turgon and wedded the elf-maiden Idril, the King's daughter. Escaping the Fall of Gondolin, he and his family came to the Mouths of Sirion. After abiding there long enough to see Eärendil to manhood, Tuor finally succumbed to his sea-longing and, with Idril, departed Middle-earth for the West. The tradition of the Noldor was that he became the only Man to be accepted as one of the elder kindred and will share with them an immortal life in Valinor as long as Arda will endure.
Family and heritage
His father Huor and his elder brother Húrin were fostered with their kin in Brethil. They were of the House of Hador, but also descended from the House of Haleth through their mother Hareth. During a battle following the Dagor Bragollach, the brothers escaped the hordes of Morgoth with the aid of Ulmo, and Thorondor brought them to Gondolin. Ulmo counselled King Turgon to treat them as guests, as help would come to him from their House. After they learnt much from the Gondolindrim, Turgon reluctantly waived his law and let them leave on a condition of silence.
On his return, Huor married Rían of the House of Bëor. Thus Tuor was a descendant of all the Three Houses of the Edain. When Tuor was conceived, Huor gave him his name before he was born. Months later Huor fell in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad defending the retreat of Turgon, speaking his last words to the Elven King: "...out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men... from you and from me a new star shall arise".
After hearing news of the battle, Rían became distraught and left Dor-lómin to wander alone in the wild. She was rescued by the Sindar of Mithrim who took her to their dwelling in the mountains. Before the end of the year Tuor was born and was given to the Elves of Mithrim to be fostered. Rían, having heard from Annael, the leader of the Elves, the news of Huor's death, made her way to Haudh-en-Ndengin, where she laid down in grief and died.
Soon after, Hithlum was occupied by the Swarthy Men who had joined Morgoth in the Nírnaeth. Annael and his people therefore took refuge in the caves of Androth, where Tuor spent his youth. At the age of sixteen, Tuor wished to make war upon the Orcs and the Incomers who oppressed the land of his fathers, but was forbidden by Annael. Rather, in F.A. 488, the group resolved to flee Hithlum by the Annon-in-Gelydh and make their way to the Mouths of Sirion. Soon after setting out, however, they were assailed by Orcs and forced to scatter into the night. Tuor, however, refused to flee, and stood his ground, slaying many enemies before being captured.
Journeys in the Wild
Tuor was thrall in the House of Lorgan, chief of the Easterlings of Dor-lómin, for three years. He was treated harshly because Lorgan knew of his lineage, but nevertheless endured the torment until he found his opportunity to escape. Upon being sent into the woods on an errand, he slew his guards and, escaping pursuit, returned to the caves of Androth. For the next four years he dwelt alone there as an outlaw, slaying many Easterlings and accumulating a large price on his head. He was seeking the Annon-in-Gelydh – the 'Gate of the Noldor' through the Ered Lómin, by which Annael had intended to escape Hithlum unnoticed. After years of searching, the Vala Ulmo, who had long ago chosen Tuor as his instrument, sent him a sign that finally led him to the Gate of the Noldor. Upon reaching its entrance, Tuor met Gelmir and Arminas, messengers of Círdan who were seeking a way to Gondolin, and they showed him the path through the mountains to Nevrast.
In F.A. 495, Tuor passed through Nevrast and became the first Man to reach the shores of Belegaer, the Great Sea, and felt for the first time the sea-longing that would stay with him the rest of his life. He lingered by Belegaer until the autumn, and then after receiving another sign from Ulmo, followed seven swans southward. These led him to the abandoned city of Vinyamar where long ago Turgon had dwelt and, at the behest of Ulmo, left a sword, armour and a shield bearing the device of a white swan on a blue field. Tuor took these arms and made his way to the shore. Then during a great storm the Lord of Waters finally appeared to Tuor directly, ordering him to seek the city of Gondolin, and giving him a cloak that had a power to hide him from foes. The next morning he met Voronwë, an elf of Gondolin who had been shipwrecked off the coast of Beleriand, rescued, and brought to Vinyamar by Ulmo. After hearing Tuor speak the words of Ulmo, Voronwë agreed to guide him to the hidden gate of Gondolin.
Life in Gondolin
Voronwë led Tuor through the Woods of Núath, a land desolated by the recent passing of Glaurung the Dragon to Nargothrond. At the Pools of Ivrin Tuor caught a brief glimpse of his ill-fated cousin Túrin, son of Hurin, as he cried for Finduilas – the only time their two paths ever crossed. Then after enduring a bitter winter Tuor and Voronwë finally reached the gate of Gondolin. They were taken as prisoners by Elemmakil and brought before Ecthelion of the Fountain who, recognising from his arms that Tuor had been sent by Ulmo, welcomed them into the city with honour. Tuor then came before the High King Turgon and delivered the message of Ulmo: the Doom of Mandos was nearing its fulfilment and Turgon should abandon his city and retreat to the Havens of Sirion.
Turgon however chose not to heed Ulmo's warning, though it did prompt him to block up the hidden door and make Gondolin's isolation complete. Therefore Tuor remained in Gondolin, and like his father before him, he learned much from the Elves. He fell in love with Idril Celebrindal, the daughter of the King, and she with him, and in F.A. 502 they were married. This union, as well as the favour of the King and the memory of his father, endeared Tuor to the people of Gondolin and he was made the leader of the House of the Wing. Only Maeglin harboured a secret hatred and jealousy of him.
Fall of Gondolin
But in F.A. 510, Gondolin's secrecy finally failed. First Húrin, Tuor's uncle, released from Morgoth's long torment and attempting to enter the city, revealed its location in the Encircling Mountains. Still Morgoth would not have found an entrance to the city were it not for the treachery of Maeglin, who having defied the King's order and ventured outside the encircling mountains was captured by Orcs and brought to Angband – there he betrayed Turgon in return for the promise of the lordship of Gondolin and the possession of Idril.
During the subsequent siege Tuor fought valiantly. He rescued Idril from Maeglin, throwing the Elf from the walls of the city to his death. But in the end Gondolin fell and Turgon was killed. Tuor and Idril led the survivors of the sack in a desperate escape through the secret way Idril had prepared and over the mountains. Protected by Ulmo they journeyed down the vale of Sirion to the Havens at its mouth – the last refuge of the Elves of Beleriand. On the way the remnant of Gondolin stopped in Nan-tathren to make a feast in memory of the fallen, and here Tuor composed The Horns of Ylmir for his son Eärendil.
Tuor and Idril dwelt for a while at the Mouths of Sirion. But eventually the sea-longing that had been instilled in him when he first came to the shores of Belegaer grew too strong. In F.A. 525 he built a ship, Eärrámë (Q: 'Sea-wing'), and sailed to the West with Idril, and possibly Voronwë also. It was a tradition under the Eldar and Edain that they arrived in Valinor, and that Tuor alone of Men was counted among the Eldar, immortal as other Elves.[note 1]
However Huor's prophecy on the field of Nírnaeth Arnoediad proved true. In the same year that Tuor and Idril departed, Eärendil married Elwing. At first seeking after his father, he sailed to Valinor and roused the Valar to the War of Wrath, and so became the prophesied saviour of the Elves and Men of Middle-earth. Through Eärendil, Tuor was an ancestor of the Half-elven and the Kings of Númenor.
Tuor was "fair of face" and inherited the golden hair of the House of Hador. As a man he was "strong and tall and valiant" and skilled at arms. But, being raised by Elves, he also had great lore and skill.
In The Etymologies, Noldorin Tuor ("strength-vigour") derives from Common Eldarin tūghor, tū-gor (root TUG-). In the context of this etymology, Tuor can likely be analysed as tû ("strength") + a derivative of root GOR ("violence, impetus, haste").
His paternal grandfather Galdor was the Lord of Dor-lómin, so Tuor technically inherited that title after the death of his cousin Túrin Turambar in F.A. 499, though by that time Dor-lómin had long since ceased to exist as a realm of the Edain. In Gondolin he was made the Lord of the House of the Wing.
Other versions of the legendarium
The Book of Lost Tales
The tale begins without mentioning Tuor's early life and lineage, though later he introduces himself to the Gondothlim as "Tuor son of Peleg son of Indor of the house of the Swan of the sons of the Men of the North".:160 He was from the folk of Dor Lómin, but he did not dwell with them, but lived in the woods of Mithrim, singing with is harp. Now, his singing called the attention of other men, so he departed to lonely places. Thus destiny brought him to a cavern, and guided there by some Noldoli, he crossed the Golden Cleft to the sea. There he built a house, which was called Falasquil. One day he saw three swans flying by the shore, and decided to follow them, for he had chosen the Swan as a emblem. Thus he reached a river, full of birds, and amid them he lost the sight of the swans. Then a group of Noldoli took him through the fenland region of Arlisgion and hence to the Land of Willows. Here Tuor tarried long time, for he was amazed with the trees and insects that lived there, but Ulmo appeared to him directly and ordered him to seek Gondolin.:149-155
Tuor began his journey northwards seeking for the city with the help of wandering Gnomes, but all of them abandoned him fearing Melko's creatures, but the Gnome Voronwë remained faithful and encouraged Tuor. Thus they reached an enchanted gate, which was hidden to any eye save for those Noldoli who escaped from Melko. After crossing a long and dark tunnel, they came to the light of a great plain, and in the middle they saw the city upon Amon Gwareth. The guards welcomed them and explained Tuor the seven names of the city.:156-158
After a day of march, Tuor and Voronwë entered Gondolin, greeted with awe by its people, and were taken before King Turgon. There Tuor, given the power and majesty of Ulmo's own voice, told Turgon to gather his forces and attack Melko as the time for his overthrow was ripe. Turgon refused this counsel and so Tuor warned him that both Elves and Men would suffer for a long time before the Valar could contrive another means of salvation. However Tuor voiced Ulmo's other counsel: to leave Gondolin, travel down the Sirion, build ships and sail back to Valinor to ask the Gods for help against Melko. Again Turgon refused, which caused Tuor a great sadness. Sitting beside the fountain of the king, he longed for the sea, but Turgon invited him to dwell in Gondolin, even in the king's halls, and he accepted, as he was weary. There he learned many things that would otherwise be kept secret from the race of Men. Matters of music, lore, architecture and culture were all taught to him and he became beloved in the city. Turgon had a suit of armour made for him and an axe, Dramborleg. Some years later he married Turgon's daughter Idril at Gar Ainion, and Meglin, the king's nephew, became jealous of them. In those days the desire of the Valar was fulfilled because Idril bore Tuor a son: Eärendel.:160-165
At some point, a worried Idril asked Tuor to build a secret tunnel from their house to out of the city. He did not understand its purpose clearly, but answered "better is any plan than a lack of counsel".:168 Some years later, Idril's concerns increased, and she foretold him that the day was coming in which he would have to make a choice. She also asked him to gather a guard of faithful men and gave them his emblem, while she convinced his father to allow Tuor to make his own house and become a lord of the city.:170-171 Thus was made the bodyguard of Tuor, the house of the Wing which was counted as the twelfth house of Gondolin.:174
When the Fall of Gondolin began, Tuor proposed to abandone the city to save its women and children, but King Turgon followed Meglin's advice of facing siege.:175 Tuor led his men to his house to say farewell to Idril and Eärendel before joining battle. But once there he found Meglin and the folk of the Mole capturing his family, "and lo! Tuor gives a shout so great that the Orcs hear it afar and waver at the sound of it". Seeing Tuor, Meglin tried to stab Eärendel, but the father jumped across the enemy and seized Meglin, took him by the middle and ghim out the walls to the fire. Then Tuor left Voronwë and some of his men with Idril, and took the rest to the battle in the gate.:177-178
Near the gate Tuor and his folk joined the battle alongside the house of the Fountain, but soon some dragons pulled down the wertern walls of the city and enemies poured in. The wings in Tuor's helm blackened witht the dragon flames, but he stood commanding all the men around. There he slain three orc-lords: Othrod, Balcmeg and Lug; as well as five Balrogs. Eventually he was forced to retreat bearing the injured Ecthelion. After being rescued by Galdor in the Square of the Folkwell, he rallied what remained of the defenders of the city and made for the King's Square.:180-182
Tuor, with help of Glorfindel, cleansed the Square of enemies, and later kept its defence with the help of Egalmoth in what is known as the bravest stand in all stories. However, a dragon entered followed by Gothmog, lord of Balrogs and Tuor and Egalmoth would have perished, but Ecthelion came to their aid and slew the Balrog, going to his own death in the attempt. At this point Turgon conceded the city was lost and refused to fight or leave, ordering Tuor to lead the survivors out of the city. Tuor was divided between his loyalty to the King and the love to his family, but chose to lead the survivors.:183-186 After they crossed the secret tunnel, they emerged onto the plain of Tumladin and ran to the Mountains for the whole night. With the rising of the sun, Tuor rescued Eärendel, who had fled the city earlier with a servant called Hendor, from a pack of wolf-riders. Once reunited with their son, Tuor and Idril explained him the end of Gondolin. :189-191
Tolkien never finished The Book of Lost Tales, so there are contradictory outlines about the end of Tuor: first he sails alone in secret in his ship Alqarámë. But later it is given a more detailed outline of his depart:
One evening he calls Eärendel and they go to the shore. There is a skiff. Tûr bids farewell to Eärendel and bids him thrust it off — the skiff fares away into the West. Eärendel hears a great song swelling from the sea as Tûr's skiff dips over the world's rim.
—The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Eärendel", p. 260
In the different manuscripts of The Fall of Gondolin Tolkien alternated between "Tuor" and "Tûr", but eventually settled on "Tuor" in the 1930s Silmarillion.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 47
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 153, (dated September 1954)
- 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 Children of Húrin, "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears", p. 58
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
- 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", note 18.
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 297, (dated August 1967)
- 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"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 23-24
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", pp. 348, 364 (note 49)
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entries "GOR-", "TUG-"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West (Chapter 14)", (ii) The House of Hador, p. 235
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §144
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West".
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "V. The Tale of Eärendel", pp. 253-254
|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)|