High King of the Noldor
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High King of the Noldor was the title of the head of the House of Finwë in Beleriand and Middle-earth, having overlordship over all the Noldorin realms. The title was mostly nominal; the Sons of Fëanor, in particular, while they acknowledged the Kingship, paid its bearer little heed, following their own agenda under the general leadership of Maedhros.
The forefather of the House of Finwë, and first King of the Noldor was Finwë, the first lord of the Tatyar who led his people in the Great Journey from Cuiviénen into the West to dwell in Valinor. He was slain by Morgoth at Formenos. His eldest son Fëanor claimed the kingship, but led a Rebellion of the Noldor back to Middle-earth to avenge his father's death and recover the Silmarils from Morgoth, but died before establishing a realm. After his death, the Kingship by right belonged to his eldest son Maedhros, but he refused it and the succession passed instead to Fëanor's half-brother, Fingolfin.
 High Kingship in Beleriand
Fingolfin became the first High King of the Noldor, ruling from the northwest of Beleriand with his sons, mostly during the Siege of Angband. When Morgoth broke the leaguer in the Dagor Bragollach, he rode in anger to the gates of Angband and died in single combat with Morgoth. He was succeeded by his eldest son Fingon who reigned during an endless war. With Maedhros, he prepared a final assault on Morgoth, which ended in disaster for the Noldor and Fingon's own death, after a short rule.
Fingon's brother Turgon succeeded Fingon nominally, but his kingship was titular at the least, as it was not possible for the "Hidden King" to rule from his Hidden City, the location of which was unknown by even his own kin. That was until Gondolin's location was discovered by Morgoth through the treachery of Maeglin.
Following Turgon's death in the Fall of Gondolin, there were no more extant Noldorin realms in Beleriand; the Kingship passed to the House of Finarfin, and the son of Orodreth, the young Ereinon Gil-galad was named High King once news of Turgon's death had spread. Seeing the end of the War of the Jewels, Gil-galad held the Kingship through the Second Age, longer than any of his forebears ruling.
After the cataclysmic War of Wrath that ended the First Age, the surviving Noldor who did not depart for the Undying Lands constituted the realms of Lindon and Eregion in northwestern Middle-earth. Gil-galad continued to reign as High King, though as in the First Age this title brought little real authority beyond the king's own direct realm. He was the chief enemy of Sauron in the Dark Years, at the end of which he formed the Last Alliance with Elendil, was the commander of almost all of the Elven forces who fought in the War of the Last Alliance. and died during the Siege of Barad-dûr at the end of the Second Age.
Gil-galad was the last High King; after his time the title is never used, as he fathered no children and obviously no heirs of the House of Finwe remained in Middle-earth. Galadriel of the House of Finarfin perhaps could have some rights. Elrond was a direct descendant of Turgon, but through his daughter Idril; he never made claim to the Kingship but ruled with all its authority. The Noldorin population of Middle-earth was greatly diminished in the Third Age.
 List of High Kings
- Fingolfin (ruled from F.A. 5 - 456)
- Fingon (ruled from F.A. 456 - 472)
- Turgon (ruled from F.A. 472 - 510)
- Ereinion Gil-galad (ruled from F.A. 510 - S.A. 3441)
 See also
For other and earlier rulers of the Noldor, see King of the Noldor.
 Other versions of the legendarium
In the published version of The Silmarillion, Gil-galad is said to be the son of Fingon. However, in some of Tolkien's later notes, published in The History of Middle-earth, Gil-galad is said to be the son of Orodreth and thus a junior member of the House of Finarfin, and Turgon's closest living relative in the male line (excluding the dispossessed House of Fëanor).
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
- ↑ Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "High King of the Noldor"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
- ↑ 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 Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The parentage of Gil-galad"