Elves - Minor Characters: 6. Egalmoth

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6. Egalmoth

This character biography by Lyllyn 2.21.03

Name: Egalmoth
Meaning: Pointed helm-crest
Title: Lord of the folk of the Heavenly Arch
Race/Species: Elf
Type: Noldo
Dates: Probably Age of the Trees - First Age
Locations: Gondolin, Haven at Sirion (Arvernien)

Description: "But they of the Heavenly Arch being a folk of uncounted wealth were arrayed in a glory of colors, and their arms were set with jewels that flamed in the light now over the sky. Every shield of that battalion was of the blue of the heavens and its boss a jewel built of seven gems, rubies and amethysts and sapphires, emeralds, crysoprase, topaz and amber, but an opal of great size was set in their helms. Egalmoth was their chieftain, and wore a blue mantle upon which the stars were broidered in crystal, and his sword was bent - now none else of the Noldoli bore curved swords, yet he trusted rather to the bow, and could shot therewith further than any among that host."
A reconstruction of his shield is at Emblems and Heraldry

Egalmoth of Gondolin is mentioned as connected to two events only, the Fall of Gondolin, and in a version that Tolkien briefly considered and discarded, as one of the lords of Turgon's household who was sent to escort his sister Aredhel.

In the year 316 of the First Age Aredhel leaves Gondolin, telling Turgon she wishes to visit Fingon, but once en route insists that she is going south instead to visit the Feänorians. Her companions attempt to dissuade her, but are unsuccessful. The lords accompany her south, seeking to pass through King Thingol's lands; they are denied admittance to Doriath, and travel a more dangerous route "between the haunted valleys of Ered Gorgoroth and the north fences of Doriath." As they ride near "the evil region of Nan Dungortheb" the riders are "enmeshed in shadows" and Aredhel becomes separated from her companions. They search for her, but are pursued by "fell creatures of Ungoliant" and barely escape, making their way back to Gondolin. Aredhel reaches Himlad safely, alone.

In the discarded version, he considered specifying Egalmoth, Ecthelion, and Glorfindel as the three lords who escorted Aredhel.

There is more material about Egalmoth and his role in the Fall of Gondolin in year 507 of the First Age. In The Book of Lost Tales 2 there is the following account:

"Even from that region comes now Egalmoth. He had had charge of the engines on the wall; but long since deeming matters to call rather for hand-strokes about the streets than shooting upon the battlements he gathered some of the Arch and of the Swallow about him, and cast away his bow. Then did they fare about the city dealing good blows whenever they fell in with bands of the enemy. Thereby he rescued many bands of captives and gathered no few wandering and driven men, and got to the King's Square with hard fighting; and men were fain to greet him for they had feared him dead. Now are all the women and children that had gathered there or been brought in by Egalmoth stowed in the king's halls, and the ranks of the houses made ready for the last."

"Then there was carnage at the barriers, and Egalmoth and Tuor went from place to place of the defence, but Ecthelion lay by the fountain; and that stand was the most stubborn-valiant that is remembered in all the songs of in any tale."

"Tuor stood then in the way of that beast, but was sundered from Egalmoth, and they pressed him backward even to the centre of the square nigh the fountain."

"Idril was with these, and Eärendil who bore up well, but Tuor was in the midmost behind them with all his men of the Wing, and they bare some who were grievously hurt, and Egalmoth was with him, but he had got a hurt in that sally from the square."

This suggests that Egalmoth worked well with Tuor, and that he was trusted by other folk in Gondolin, given that warriors of the Swallow would put themselves under his command when everything was in disarray. It also suggests that he had some expertise or particular knowledge in order to be able to command the 'engines,' presumably trebuchets.

He might have been unusually skilled with weapons or unusually receptive to innovations since he used a curved sword while all of the rest of the Noldoli used only the straight sword. He is described as being the best shot of the host.

In 'Entries in the Name List' at the end of The Fall of Gondolin chapter, Egalmoth is said to have escaped the burning of Gondolin alive, and that he dwelt at the mouth of Sirion. In the early version where Sirion was attacked and Elwing captured by Melko, Egalmoth died in that battle.
HoME vol 2 - The Book of Lost Tales 2.

One reasonable speculation would be that he became an important person in the haven at Sirion, and may have been active in planning and commanding whatever defenses existed since he had experience in battle.

Additional Note - In a very early version of Tolkien's mythology, the Noldoli are first imprisioned by Melkor, then liberated after Tulkas defeats him at the Silent Pools. (This appears to be a foreshadowing of what later became the War of Wrath.) Tolkien's notes then say, "Nodoli led to Valinor by Egalmoth and Galdor."
HoME vol 2 - The Book of Lost Tales 2, The History of Eriol or Ælfwine.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Lyllyn

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/06/03

Original Post: 02/13/03

Go to Elves - Minor Characters overview


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