Glorfindel

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In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Glorfindel is a name used twice for an Elf appearing in the tales of Middle-earth. He is introduced in various material relating to the First Age of Middle-earth, including The Silmarillion. The second instance is for a character of The Lord of the Rings, which takes place in Middle-earth's Third Age. In later writings, Tolkien states they were one and the same, though this is not evident from The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.

The character and his name (meaning "blond, golden-haired") were among the first created, when Tolkien first conceived of what would become his Middle-earth legendarium in 1916–17.

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Appearances

Literature

Origins

Glorfindel first appears in Tolkien's fantasy in The Fall of Gondolin[1] about the conquest of the Elven city Gondolin by the Dark Lord Morgoth.[2] It was the first part of The Book of Lost Tales to be written, in 1916–17.[1] As his ideas evolved, Tolkien wrote about this event various times, and it appears in compressed form in The Silmarillion, when much of Tolkien's original ideas had been superseded or abandoned.

From the beginning, Glorfindel appears as a noble lord, known as one of King Turgon's chief lieutenants. In the original Fall of Gondolin, he is called the chief of the House of the Golden Flower. After fighting in the city's defence, Glorfindel escapes together with Tuor, Idril, Eärendil and many others. The survivors pass through the Encircling Mountains above Gondolin. However, they are ambushed by enemies, including a Balrog demon. Glorfindel duels and kills the Balrog, but is himself killed. His body is buried under a mound of stones. The Fall of Gondolin relates that "Glorfindel and the Balrog" became an Elven proverb to describe great skill and courage in battle.[1]

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