Twelve houses of the Gondothlim

From Tolkien Gateway
The Twelve Gondolin Houses by Shyangell

This was the fashion and the array of the eleven houses of the Gondothlim with their signs and emblems, and the bodyguard of Tuor, the folk of the Wing, was accounted the twelve...

The twelve houses of the Gondothlim were the kindreds of Gondolin, according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales. Their lords and deeds are described in the tale of "The Fall of Gondolin" in great detail.


When the Gondothlim knew that Melko's armies were approaching Gondolin, all the folks and lords were reunited coming from all parts of the city. Here are named in the order they came when King Turgon called them to council:[1]:172-4

Emblem House Leader Symbols and attributes
House of the King Turgon Moon, Sun, scarlet heart
House of the Wing Tuor White wing
House of the Mole Meglin (No emblem), moleskin
House of the Swallow Duilin Arrowhead, fan of feathers
House of the Heavenly Arch Egalmoth Rainbow, opal, jewelled boss
House of the Pillar Penlod A pillar
House of the Tower of Snow Penlod A tower
House of the Tree Galdor Tree, iron-studded club, slings
House of the Golden Flower Glorfindel Rayed sun, golden flower (celandine)
House of the Fountain Ecthelion Fountain, silver, diamonds, flute
House of the Harp Salgant Silver harp, tassels of silver and gold
House of the Hammer of Wrath Rog Stricken anvil, red gold and black iron, maces

During the council, nearly all the lords agreed with Tuor that the Gondothlim should leave the city before the siege began, but Turgon was convinced by Meglin and Salgant to stay and fight in the city that they loved. Thus, all the houses prepared to battle.[1]:175-6

The Fall of Gondolin by Mysilvergreen

When the Fall of Gondolin began, all of them suffered great losses or were completely destroyed, except the House of the King, who remained in the palace to protect the King.[1]:183 First, the folk of the Mole were scattered after they attacked the folk of the Wing and Meglin was killed by Tuor. Later, after the northern gate was lost, Duilin was killed, but the house of the Swallow kept fighting without their lord. Soon the folk of the Hammer and their lord Rog were butchered outside the walls; Penlod suffered the next attack, so he was killed and both of his houses lost many men.[1]:178-9 Meanwhile, the host of the Harp abandoned their treacherous lord Salgant and went to save the folk of the Golden Flower, being mostly destroyed in the Great Market.[1]:182-3

Thereafter the survivors of all kindreds were reunited in the Square of the Palace, save those of the Hammer of Wrath alone. In that square, Ecthelion and Gothmog slew each other. There also King Turgon proclaimed the fall of Gondolin and ordered the survivors to follow Tuor, but his royal folk stayed with him.[1]:183-4 Later he and his house were killed when the Tower of the King fell.[1]:187 After the exiles of Gondolin escaped, Glorfindel died saving them from a Balrog.[1]:194

Thus, apart from Tuor, the only lords who survived the Fall of Gondolin were Egalmoth and Galdor. Egalmoth was later killed in a battle at the Mouths of Sirion, but Galdor would reach Tol Eressëa and even keep some followers.[2]

Other versions of the legendarium

Tolkien never wrote again about the houses of Gondolin in later texts, because his writings never include details about the city. The only exception is in the Quenta Noldorinwa, where there is a simple mention of "the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors"[3] (notice that this is the text used in the twenty-third chapter of the published Silmarillion).

Christopher Tolkien explains that the idea would have re-emerged if his father had finished Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin: in the description of the Seven Gates, there are seven groups of guards, each one with rich 'heraldic' descriptions.[4] But Tolkien did not finish the tale, so beyond the Lost Tales the only vestiges are the titles Ecthelion 'of the Fountain' and Glorfindel 'chief of the House of the Golden Flower of Gondolin'.[5] They are the only captains of Turgon mentioned in the published Silmarillion, but there are also later texts of the legendarium that include individual mentions to Rog[3] and Egalmoth.[6]

The Gnomish name Gondothlim for the people of Gondolin was later changed by the Sindarin Gondolindrim.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", Entries in the Name-list to The Fall of Gondolin, p. 215
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: §16 in the Q II version", p. 144
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin", pp. 46-50
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin": "Notes and Commentary", p. 211
  6. 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", p. 318
Realm of Gondolin
Ondolindë · Hidden City · City of Seven Names
Outside locations Amon Gwared · Anghabar · Echoriad (Crissaegrim · Eithel Nínui · Fingolfin's cairn) · Seven Gates of Gondolin (Gate of Wood · Gate of Stone · Gate of Bronze · Gate of Writhen Iron · Gate of Silver · Gate of Gold · Gate of Steel) · Orfalch Echor · Tumladen
Inside locations Alley of Roses · Arch of Inwë · Caragdûr · Fountains of the South · Gar Ainion · Great Market · Lesser Market · Idril's secret way · Place of the Fountain · Place of the Well · Road of Arches · Road of Pomps · Tower of the King · Way of Running Waters
Objects Anguirel · Axe of Tuor · Crown of the Hidden Kingdom · Elfstone · Glamdring · Glingal and Belthil · Orcrist · Sting
Houses House of the King · House of the Wing · House of the Mole · House of the Swallow · House of the Heavenly Arch · House of the Pillar · House of the Tower of Snow · House of the Tree · House of the Golden Flower · House of the Fountain · House of the Harp · House of the Hammer of Wrath
People Aranwë · Aredhel · Dark Guard · Duilin · Eärendil · Ecthelion · Egalmoth · Elemmakil · Elenwë · Enerdhil · Eöl · Exiles of Gondolin · Galdor · Glorfindel · Huor · Húrin · Hendor · Idril · Legolas · Maeglin · Meleth · Pengolodh · Penlod · Rog · Salgant · Tuor · Turgon · Ulmo · Voronwë · Warden of the Great Gate
Events Fall of Gondolin · Gates of Summer · Nirnaeth Arnoediad · Ulmo's warning · Wanderings of Húrin
Main texts Lost Tale of The Fall of Gondolin (1916-20) · The Lay of the Fall of Gondolin (c. 1920) · Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin (1950) · Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin (1977) · The Fall of Gondolin (2018)
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)