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Concerning Hidden Realities and Human Destiny

The Silmarillion - A Beginner's Guide (Redux) - Part 19 - Of the Noldor in Beleriand

John Carswell | Thursday, November 02, 2017

It is said that Turgon appointed its name to be Ondolindë in the speech of the Elves of Valinor, the Rock of the Music of Water, for there were fountains upon the hill; but in the Sindarin tongue the name was changed, and it became Gondolin, the Hidden Rock.
(The Silmarillion, 125)

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This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walk through of The Silmarillion. This time, I examine the fifteenth chapter of The Silmarillion, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand". You can see all the posts in this series by clicking here. You can also find other Silmarillion resources here.

dream of Gondolin by breath-art

"dream of Gondolin" by breath-art © 2014 - 2017.

With this chapter, the relative peace of the siege of Angband continues in Beleriand. However, some key developments occur.

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

Key Events

  • The Hidden Rock: Turgon, brother of Finrod and second son of Fingolfin, establishes the secret and glorious city of Gondolin in the valley of the Encircling Mountains.
  • Galadriel and Melian: Galadriel dwells in Doriath for a long period, and becomes close with and learns much from Melian.
  • The Secret: Rumor eventually comes to Thingol that the Noldor had slain many of his Teleri brethren in the Blessed Realm.
Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

Key Takeaways

  • Ulmo’s Inspiration: Having inspired Finrod to create Nargothrond, Ulmo inspires Turgon to create Gondolin. Though the Noldor are cutoff from the Blessed Realm, it is he among the Valar that continues to have some interaction with them.
  • Melian’s Prophecy: Melian prophecies that the Silmarils will not be recovered by the Elves.
  • Thingol’s Ban: Upon learning of the kinslaying, Thingol pronounces a ban upon the use of the Quenya tongue. Thus, Sindarin becomes the common speech of the Elves in Beleriand.

Key Quotes

  • Ulmo came to him once again , and spoke with him. And he said: ‘Now thou shalt go at last to Gondolin, Turgon; and I will maintain my power in the Vale of Sirion, and in all the waters therein, so that none shall mark thy going, nor shall any find there the hidden entrance against thy will. Longest of all the realms of the Eldalië shall Gondolin stand against Melkor. But love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea.’ (25)
  • And on a time Melian said: ‘There is some woe that lies upon you and your kin. That I can see in you, but all else is hidden from me; for by no vision or thought can I perceive anything that passed or passes in the West: a shadow lies over all the land of Aman, and reaches far out over the sea. Why will you not tell me more?’ (127)
  • Then Angrod spoke bitterly against the sons of Fëanor, telling of the blood at Alqualondë, and the Doom of Mandos, and the burning of the ships at Losgar. And he cried: ‘Where-fore should we that endured the Grinding Ice bear the name of kinslayers and traitors?’ (129)

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this chapter in the comments below.

Tolkien's Requiem Concerning Beren and Lúthien by John CarswellWant to learn more about The Silmarillion? My book Tolkien's Requiem explores the stories of Middle-earth's First Age through the prism of Tolkien's most personal tale: Beren and Lúthien. It's designed to work as a "back door" approach for those who struggle to get a start on The Silmarillion. Click here to learn more!

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