Tolkien Gateway

King of the Noldor

Finwë, first King of the Noldor (by Kimberly)

King of the Noldor was a title held by some of the rulers of the Noldorin Elves, though others used the title High King of the Noldor.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Founding of the kingship

The Noldor, that part of the Tatyarin Elves who participated in the Great Journey, were led by Finwë. Finwë was one of the three elves summoned to Valinor by Oromë to serve as messengers to their fellows,[1] and later became the ruler of the Noldor in Valinor, who lived in the city of Tirion upon Túna. He was known as the King of the Noldor, and had three sons from two marriages.[2]

Finwë followed his eldest son Fëanor into exile at Formenos,[3] and was killed by Melkor following the Darkening of Valinor. Following his father's death, Fëanor returned to Tirion even though the Valar had not lifted his exile. This cast Fëanor's inheritance of the kingship into question, but the rhetorical skill of Fëanor convinced the majority of the Noldor to follow him in his rebellion against the Valar, rendering the question moot.[4]

[edit] Title splits

After the Kinslaying at Alqualondë, the youngest son of Finwë, Finarfin, repented of the rebellion and was permitted to return to Tirion because his people had played no part in the Kinslaying. He subsequently became the King of the Noldor in Valinor. However, the hosts of Fëanor, the primary instigator of the Kinslaying, and Fingolfin, some of whose people were late participants in it, continued towards Middle-earth.[4]

[edit] Noldorin rulers in Beleriand

The hosts of Fëanor and Fingolfin arrived in Middle-earth separately, following Fëanor's betrayal of his half-brother by burning their captured fleet at Losgar, with Fëanor arriving first. Fëanor, while calling himself King of the Noldor, was killed in the Second Battle of Beleriand before he was able to establish a realm. His eldest son, Maedhros, presumably inherited his titles, but was soon after captured by Morgoth.[5]

The arrival of the host of Fingolfin, battered by the crossing of the Grinding Ice, complicated matters, as Fëanor's betrayal had driven a rift between the two hosts. This was resolved by Fingon, son of Fingolfin, rescuing Maedhros from his captivity in Thangorodrim. Maedhros subsequently apologised for the burning of the ships and ceded his claim to the kingship, and that of the entire House of Fëanor, to Fingolfin, despite the disagreement of some of his brothers.[5]

Subsequently, Fingolfin was named King of the Noldor in Beleriand. With the establishment of many different Noldorin realms, this title soon became High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth. Following Fingolfin's death in the Dagor Bragollach, the title passed to his son Fingon.[6] Following Fingon's death in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the title passed to his younger brother Turgon.[7]

[edit] Later history of the kingship

Following Turgon's death in the Fall of Gondolin, there were no more extant Noldorin realms in Beleriand. However, the young Ereinon Gil-galad was named High King once news of Turgon's death had spread.[8] In the published version of The Silmarillion, Gil-galad is said to be the son of Fingon.[6] 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,[9] and Turgon's closest living relative in the male line (excluding the dispossessed House of Fëanor).

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.[10] However, Gil-galad was the commander of almost all of the Elven forces who fought in the War of the Last Alliance.[11]

After Gil-galad's death in that war, the title of High King was no longer used.[12] He had fathered no children, and there were no other male line descendants of Finwë living in Middle-earth at that time. The Noldorin population of Middle-earth was greatly diminished in the Third Age, but Elrond Half-elven functioned in a similar role to Gil-galad throughout the Age.[13]

[edit] List of Kings

[edit] King of the Noldor in Valinor

The first two kings were not distinguished as being in Valinor, since the entire population of the Noldor lived in Valinor at that time.[2]

  1. Finwë, the first King, and ruler of all the Noldor
  2. Fëanor, legitimacy in question due to Exile
  3. Finarfin, the first king in Valinor who ruled only a fraction of the Noldor

[edit] High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth

Both Fëanor and Maedhros claimed to be King of the Noldor after arriving in Middle-earth, but neither's claim was universally accepted.[5]

  1. Fingolfin, first undisputed ruler of the Exiles
  2. Fingon
  3. Turgon
  4. Ereinon Gil-galad

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The parentage of Gil-galad"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"