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Thread: Whose Gil-Galad's daddy?

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Findekanu began this thread with the following post

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Gil-Galadís parentage was one of the most controversial, contradictory and changeable aspects of Tolkienís work on the Silmarillion. We can see that in ĎThe Return of The Shadowí (HoME 6) that in early draftingís Gil-Galad was a descendant of Feanor

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: ď And he made an alliance with the elf king of those landsÖGilgaladÖa descendant of Feanor..Ē


HoME 6;ĎAt Rivendellí

Of who he was descended from ,we donít know, but Tolkien tells us that of all the sons of Feanor, only Caranthir, Maglor and Curufin (Father of Celebrimbor) were married, though I doubt whether the genealogies of the Finweans had been developed much at this point. (The early drafts of LoTR) At first I thought he may be a Feanorian because Tolkien wanted Gil-galad and Celebrimbor to be related, but in these versions, Celebrimbor is a descendant of Daeron, the Sindarin loremaster. (Iím unsure as to if he was a brother of Luthien here, as he was in BoLT.)

But Tolkien began to shift away from this and by the time of the end of LoTR he had been made into a son of Finrod. (Who here is known as Inglor or his later nickname Felagund)

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: But fearing now that all strong places were doomed to fall at last before the might of Morgoth, he (Finrod) sent away his wife Meril to her own folk in Eglorest, and with her went their sonÖGilgalad starlight he was calledÖĒ


HoME 11;The Later Quenta Silmarillion.

We can see that this conception (that Gil-Galad was the son of Finrod) was unchanged for some time, as HoME 5 shows us:

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:ďBu Elrond the Half-Elven remained with Gilgalad son of Inglor FelagundÖĒ




But when the story of Finrod and Amarie was developed (Grey Annals, HoME 11, also present in HoME 10), and her not being able to go with him into exile, a new story had to be developed.

So he was made into the son of Orodreth. Originally Orodreth was a son of Finarfin, but Unfinished Tales tells us that Tolkien wanted to put him down a generation:

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: For some reason unknown to me, my father displaced the second king of Nargothrond and made him a member of the same family in the next generation


Unfinished tales; Of Galadriel and Celeborn.

The parentage of Orodreth was also switched, but only twice. Firstly he was a son of Finrod, and his name was ĎArtanaro Rhodothirí (HoME 12), but Tolkien ,realising his mistake, changed his parentage to Angrod. (Aegnor not being married, as he fell in love with Andreth, the Beorian wise-woman, so his parentage was assigned to the only son of Finarfin available.)

Iím going to side-track a bit here, if you donít mind and discuss the idea that Fingon was the father of Gil-galad, which is stated in the Published Silmarillion:

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:Fingon in sorrow took the lordship of house of Fingolfin; but his young son Ereinion ( who was after named Gil-Galad) he sent to the havens


The Silmarillion; ĎOf the ruin of Beleriandí

And it seems this idea of Chris Tolkien was developed from this ephemeral (short-lived) idea in The Grey Annals

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: But his young son Findor Gilgalad he sent to the havens


HoME 11; The Grey Annals

But this, was though, a forgivable mistake by Chris Tolkien, since a lot of the published ĎSilmarillioní is derived from the ĎGrey Annalsí it was a mistake that he would rue. He later comments on his mistakes in the Grey Annals (HoME 11) and the Shibboleth of Feanor (HoME 12)

Also in the Shibboleth of Feanor (HoME 12)[/ Tolkein states that Fingon (Here 'Findekano' his Quenya name, of which 'Fingon' is the Sindarin translation) had no wife and thus no child:

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: Findekano had no wifer or child


So, we can see that Tolkienís last take on Gil-galadís family tree is as follows:

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: Finarfin-> Angrod -> Orodreth-> Gil-Galad and Finduilas


HoME 12; The Shibboleth of Feanor

THAT is Tolkienís final word on it. Gil-Galad IS NOT the son of Fingon, as the Published Silmarillion states, and so Gil-galadís father is most definetly Orodreth, son of Angrod.



Peredhil replied


Thank you for that information Findekano. Keep those onformative posts coming. Cool Smilie

Thanks Peredhil Smile Smilie

And Amarie, thou hast confused me. Findekano/Fingon is a bachelor. No hold does any woman have over him. Tongue Smilie
Oh what silly things I do. So silly in fact that I deleted the post. Thought Findekano=Finrod in moment of brain-lessness. Sorry! Elf Rolling Eyes Smilie
Interesting post Findekano, I enjoyed reading it! Good job playing detective.
Elf Winking Smilie
See, as I've said elsewhere, there are a few errors or out of date facts in the Silmarillion. which is not to denigrate the book or young Chris. The one responsible for this is Death, who took the Master away before he had time to finished it.

I hope that, just like Niggle, J.R.R.Tolkien found the completed version of his Silmarillion upon his arrival in heaven. That it read just as he had always imagined, filled with all the corrections and updates that he had been unable to add during his lifetime, and which his son missed before the earthly version was published. Angel Smilie
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See, as I've said elsewhere, there are a few errors or out of date facts in the Silmarillion. which is not to denigrate the book or young Chris. The one responsible for this is Death, who took the Master away before he had time to finished it.

I hope that, just like Niggle, J.R.R.Tolkien found the completed version of his Silmarillion upon his arrival in heaven. That it read just as he had always imagined, filled with all the corrections and updates that he had been unable to add during his lifetime, and which his son missed before the earthly version was published. Angel Smilie


Well said Grondy, I completely agree! What a nearly impossible task it was for Christopher to pull all of those notes together, and to double check all of the facts, and to try and make sure that everything was in agreement and cohesive.

Hereís a quote from page 289 of ROTK, in the chapter Many Partings where Iíve often thought that J.R.R. was talking about himself, and perhaps sending a postBody to Christopher;
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I wonder Frodo my dear fellow, if you would very much mind postThreadIDying things up before you go? Collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will. You see, I havenít much time for the selection and arrangement and all that.


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but who is to say that before finishing his work he wouldn't go back to what is said in the Silmarillion again?? (he DID change his mind about things quite often really)
So IMHO it's not always what H.O.M.E series says that is the right one.... (i've noticed that you refer to that one a lot Findekano)
To me the Silmarillion is a great book, and until JRR himself tells me he really meant to change all it says i think i will keep on beliveing what it says!
Sorry if this is sounds offending to anyone who's researched HOME-series a lot, it is in no way intended that way it is just my personal opinion!!


I tend to think in this case Findekano is correct, and that probably is the definitive place Tolkien arrived at in regards to that matter after many years of thought, and writing. J.R.R. often said himself that he had a difficult time remembering some of his earlier writing towards the end of his life (who could blame him?), and as he continued developing stories, and family histories, and strove for more consistency and cohesiveness, he would often go back and check his earlier writings and find errors, or earlier ideas that had become outdated. However, I tend to agree with your overall statement on a general level Perwing.
Elf Smilie


Gil-Galad's being Fingon's son was a ephermal idea. It was stated in the Grey annals not in the prose Quenta itself. Tolkien made repeated references to G-il-Galad being either of Orodreth's house (His letter to Tar-Meledur was enititled 'Finnelach Gil-Galad of the House of Finarfin' , but C.T changed it to son of Fingon, because thats what he thought the parentage was, and was confused. Tolkien said on several different occaisions that he was Orodreth's son-or do you choose to belive a old, long discarded idea? Thats fine.
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Tolkien said on several different occaisions that he was Orodreth's son-or do you choose to belive a old, long discarded idea? Thats fine.


Heh Findekano, take a deep breath buddy. If you look at my post, I said that I personally thought you were correct in this matter!

However, I stand by statement that I also agree on a general level with things Perwing said in his post. Specifically what I mean is, there was a form of The Silmarillion in existence in 1937 that Tolkien submitted to Allen & Unwin for publishing, and they shot it down. Had they published whatever form it was in at that time, most likely he was still set on the idea that Fingon was Gil-Galadís father in 1937. Iím assuming Tolkien didnít come to the ultimate conclusion that Orodreth was Gil-Galadís father until sometime in the last 10 years of his life (I donít know for sure because I havenít read HoME yet, so I guess that makes me a total idiot). Dunce Smilie

What Iím getting at is, if Allen & Unwin had published The Simarillion in 1937, or shortly there after, anything that would have been documented in print and published, I feel Tolkien would have stuck with as fact, and any additions, corrections, changes, etc., he might have made after that, he would have worked around, and made them agree with what was published. Again though, I feel that you are correct in this matter, and I appreciate the time you have put in researching, and reading Tolkienís works. I think you have proved your point conclusively, and as far as Iím concerned Orodreth is the father of Gil-Galad case closed.
Happy Elf Smilie
Sorry for the misunderstanding-i was talking to Perwing. Should've made that clearer.
No problem here, besides we're all Tolkien fans anyway! One thing all of your posts have taught me for sure is that HoME is definitely worth reading, and I'm looking forward to that part of my journey. Keep those posts coming; it's good to shake the foundations once in a while!
Elf Winking Smilie
Just to add something. I dont think Gil-Galad existed in the Quenta Silmarillion (he first came to be in the time-travel story of the Lost Road (HoME 5)) that existed when he sent if for publishing. Gil-Galad was son of Finrod for a VERY long time, a descendant of Feanor and son of Fingon for a short-ish time and son of Orodreth in 1965, after he had ceased work on the Silmarillion, that was 8 years before his death.
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I just wanna say that after reading a fabulous book like the Sil, I`m very disheartened to know that some of the stuff in there is not even true. But until I read the HoME series, it`s gonna stay the way it is in my mind.


Iím very saddened to hear that statement Ringy. I havenít read anything from HoME yet so I really canít say, but Iím guessing that well over 90% of what is in The Silmarillion still holds true. As Tolkien continued to expand his writings on M.E. in the last 10 years of his life, he inevitably came across certain inconsistencies, and things he wanted to change for the sake of a more finite cohesiveness.

Anything that is in HoME, as far as changes that might prove something in the published version of the Sil. is ďuntrueĒ is probably very minor in the overall scheme of things. A great example is what we have been talking about in this thread. The fact that Tolkien decided to have Orodreth be Gil-galadís father later on is really not that big of a deal. It certainly doesnít change any of the stories, or events told in the Sil. in any significant manner.

I think the important thing to remember is that Christopher Tolkien used completed narratives of his fatherís for the published version of the Sil. Iím sure there are some completed narratives in HoME as well, but from what I understand, itís largely just essays, and musings, and undeveloped writings. Like I said, I havenít read HoME yet, so I really canít say, but I would love to hear Valís opinion on this, as I would very much trust his opinion to be the final say.

Elfstone stands on the beach near his home in S.B., and calls out to the sea for Val, humble servant of Ulmo, and Eru.
Serching Smilie
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It`s exactly the fact that Gil-Galad is not Fingon`s son that was disturbing to me Elfstone. But I suppose you`re right. It`s not that big of a deal and most of the stuff is true, so I guess it`s okay.


Oops, my bad! Please forgive me! I guess that was the wrong example for me to use in your case, but it is a minor detail in the overall scheme of things.
Happy Elf Smilie
I agree, the inconsistancies certainly don't lessen the greatness of The Silmarillion. They just provide us with more fodder for discussion.
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Like I said, I havenít read HoME yet, so I really canít say, but I would love to hear Valís opinion on this, as I would very much trust his opinion to be the final say.
Sorry, Elfstone, I cannot be too much of an help on this one. I only began reading the HOME series myself this year, and there's rather a lot of them. My knowledge of Tolkien has come come mainly from the Silmarillion and UT, so many of my own "beliefs" are being shattered as a read HOME.

To be honest, Findekanu's knowledge of HOME far suppasses my own. I've only browsed certain sections of certain books so far. I'm finding I read something really mindblowing, and then discover a few days later that that particular version was scrapped and replaced by something else totally different (for example, Feanor being the first elf to be born, rather than awakening etc).

What I am discovering, much to my concern, was Tolkien began reworking some fundamental basics of his world quite late on in his life. I'm talking here about the Sun and the Moon no longer being created from the Two Trees, but in actual fact pre-dating Arda itself. Tolkien seems to be explaining the old versions of his work away as Numenorian myths rather than truths.

I'm now in two minds about what to believe. Do I stay with the Silmarillion versions that I grew up with, that everyone else knows, or do I continue digging deeper and finding changes I don't really like. Tolkien, as we know, never completed the Silmarillion. He never completed all his notes either though. Who's to say these changes he made at the end would not have been scrapped too if he had been able to continue longer.

I think what I will do is continue with the Silmarillion versions most of the time, but in some cases perhaps mention alongside such information, that Tolkien later had different feelings on such matters. Thus, to me, Gil-Galad will always be the son of Fingon, although I know now that this was something Christopher possibly got wrong, and JRR had changed the family lineage at a later date.

A case of, "You want the truth? You cannot handle the truth!" Smile Smilie
Actually Val, you have been a big help, and your response on this matter has provided quite the answer I was looking for, the same with Grondyís! Iím obviously in complete agreement with Grondy in that the inconsistencies certainly don't lessen the greatness of The Silmarillion, and that they just provide us with more fodder for discussion. Grondyís statement basically sums up my feelings in a nutshell, without even having to say anything more, but me being meÖ

Anyway Val, why I really wanted to hear your thoughts on this, and why I deem your opinion to be sort of the final say, is because I at least knew that you had begun reading HoME, and you obviously have a tremendous love, and knowledge of The Silmarillion, so I was really interested to see where youíre finding yourself now in regards to this matter. I wanted someone with a tremendous amount of knowledge when it comes to Tolkienís works, but not someone like myself, whose favorite book is The Silmarillion, but has no knowledge of what is in HoME, or on the flip side, someone who has read everything in HoME, and regards HoME to be the holy bible of Tolkienís writings on M.E. I think your opinion represents a fair, and balanced take on the issue, and I think your thoughts accurately reflect the conflict the majority of us are going to face should we decide to tread the deep waters of HoME.

I absolutely agree that whoís to say the changes Tolkien made at the end wouldnít have been scrapped too if he had been able to continue longer. This is my big problem with HoME, and why Iím not even sure I want to read it, even though I know eventually I will. Yes, Tolkien himself never completed The Silmarillion, but the published version is composed of his completed narratives. What in HoME is really completed? I view HoME a lot like Unfinished Tales in this regards. Iím sure that there are some new completed narratives in HoME that shed light on some new subjects, and characters, but then the majority of it is like some gigantic sketch pad, where Tolkien was just thinking out loud, and constantly erasing things, and making changes. I mean how much of that can you really accept as being canon? Again, whoís to say that whatever he wrote in HoME that one chooses to ultimately hang their hat on as being definitive, he wouldnít have turned around and changed many of the things he had mused?

Itís sort of like UT in the sense that Iím sure there are things in HoME that Tolkien ultimately arrived at, and settled on that can be accepted as being canon, like for instance the chapterís on The Palantiri, and The Istari in UT I think can be accepted as canon, whereas something like The History of Galadriel and Celeborn for obvious reasons can not.

Once again I also have to go back to the fact that there was a form of The Silmarillion in existence in 1937 that Tolkien submitted to Allen & Unwin for publishing, and they shot it down. If Allen & Unwin had published The Simarillion in 1937 (or Collins later in the 50ís in conjunction with LOTR as Tolkien wished), anything that would have been documented in print and published, I feel Tolkien would have stuck with as fact, and any additions, corrections, changes, etc., he might have made after that, he would have worked around, and made them agree with what was published. Certainly the vast majority of the narratives that appear in the published form of The Silmarillion were in existence at the very least by the time in the 50ís that Collinís was expressing interest in publishing The Silmarillion, so it is for this reason that I feel the great bulk of the writings in the Sil. can, and should be accepted as canon.

The example you mentioned on the Sun and Moon concerns me as well, because I by far prefer the version that is in the published form of The Silmarillion, because it directly correlates with the fate of the Two Trees, and is so much cooler from a story telling point of view. The idea of the Sun, and Moon predating Arda itself seems stupid to me, because as you pointed out, this idea would have caused serious conflicts with fundamental basics in the already completed narratives of The Silmarillion. I have to believe that had Tolkien pondered this concept longer, he would have scraped that idea because he would have ultimately realized that it created too many conflicts with his earlier writings (a lot of which he unfortunately didnít remember in the latter years of his life which I think added to creating more problems). I personally am always going to believe that the Sun and Moon were created from the Two Trees, because thatís what I like the best, and no offense to anyone, but I donít give a goodgulf what anyone else says!

So once more I have to say IMHO, HoME is nothing more than a gigantic sketch pad, a think tank of ideas if you will, whereas the Sil. is composed entirely of completed narratives. It seems to me (based on everything Iíve heard) that if you want to read HoME, you have to accept those writings with a grain of salt, and probably need to view the majority of itís contents a lot like The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, as being undeveloped, and unfinished. I think what I also will do is to accept The Silmarillion versions, and then when I do read HoME, I will also mention alongside of that information that Tolkien later had different feelings on some of those matters, some of which through deduction, and common sense that I will accept as being canon, but a lot of which I will regard as being unfinished, and undeveloped.
Elf Smilie


[Edited on 15/6/2003 by Elfstone]
I definitely agree with Val. Most of my knowledge has been based on Sil and UT and i've just started reading HOME. It augments my reading and understanding of Tolkien's work: supplemental material into understanding the workings of a writer. Every good writer revises and rethinks and this is a way of letting us get into the brain of the man himself. I just like to see what it was that C.T. had to draw from to compile a marvelous work like Sil
What it does highlight is the lengths that Christopher Tolkien must have gone to in order to pull the Silmarillion out of it all. I must admit for many years I viewed Christopher as someone who was riding on his father's laurels. Indeed, I also assumed he had pulled the almost completed script of the silmarillion out of one notebook, added a few bits here and there like the page numbers, and then jumped on the band wagon.

Having started pawing through HOME, however, I must say my opinion has totally changed now. In HOME he describes where the notes have come from (for instance, he'll say this came from an old hardbacked note pad written in pencil, or this was scribbled out and replaced in pen.)

I get the impression JRR was a proliffic writer who jotted down every thought and idea that came to him. These he wrote in whatever book was available, and after all those years he had a huge pile of notes scattered throughout them. Christopher has pulled these stories together to make the Silmarillion what it is today. He can be forgiven for getting some bits wrong, for even reading through HOME (which is in effect an easy to read, typed and ordered version of these said notes), it is still difficult to judge what was JRR's final decisions.
As someone said recently, Young Christopher's editing of The Silmarillion was more than comparable to Frodo combining Bilbo's shoebox of notes into the Red Book of West March. I also have started becoming more impressed with the amount of work this entailed. Like Val, I always felt he had just blacked a few eyes and topped a few tees but having just today finished UT, I see there are was much ambiguous information that could not be dated as to what was JRRT's last word on a subject.
Yes again, that's why I love this quote from page 289 of ROTK, in the chapter Many Partings where Iíve often thought that J.R.R. was talking about himself, and perhaps sending a postBody to Christopher;
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I wonder Frodo my dear fellow, if you would very much mind postThreadIDying things up before you go? Collect all my notes and papers, and my diary too, and take them with you, if you will. You see, I havenít much time for the selection and arrangement and all that.


I have nothing but the utmost respect for Christopher. He should be highly respected, and commended for his colossal efforts, and all of us hardcore Tolkien fans that read everything we can get our grubby little paws on, are deeply indebted to his efforts. Christopher has always struck me as being highly intelligent, and articulate, and I would honestly have to say, out of all of us still breathing on this planet, Christopher knows more about M.E. than any of us ever will. I just wish I could tell him that!
Elf Smilie
Guys, you are all right about one thing: Christopher is the man (other than THE man himself) on M.E. My poetry teacher, David Clewell (one of the best modern poets of the day, who got kudos from poet Laureat of America for his new book), told me that Chris is not just some wannabe who is living off his dad's name: he's been in it since the early days of its conception. The man lived and breathed this stuff!