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Alcuin 03-09-2018 02:35 AM

Was Gil-galad born in Middle-earth or Eldamar?
I cannot find anything about where Gil-galad was born. Is anyone aware of any indication by Tolkien or Christopher Tolkien?

Huinesoron 03-09-2018 03:30 AM

Interesting question! I don't think there's an explicit statement anywhere, but HoME XI (The War of the Jewels) includes multiple claims that his father 'sent his young son Gilgalad away to the havens' when the Bragollach broke out. That at least implies that Gil-Galad was born in Beleriand.

In fact, the Silmarillion itself says the same thing:


Great was the lamentation in Hithlum when the fall of Fingolfin became known, and Fingon in sorrow took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor; but his young son Ereinion (who was after named Gil-galad) he sent to the Havens.
The Dagor Bragollach took place in the year 455; would a 500+-year-old elf still be described as 'young'? I'd guess not, which says to me that Gil-Galad was almost certainly Middle-earth born.

As to where exactly he would have been born... that depends on who his father is! The Silmarillion went with Fingon, but as CT says in HoME XI:


That Gil-galad was the son of Fingon (The Silmarillion p. 154) derives from the late note pencilled on the manuscript of GA ($157), stating that when Fingon became King of the Noldor on the death of Fingolfin 'his young son (?Findor) [sic] Gilgalad he sent to the Havens.' But this, adopted after much hesitation, was not in fact by any means the last of my father's speculations on this question.
The usual accepted theory on Tolkien's ultimate thought is that Gil-Galad was the son of Orodreth, who may or may not have been the son of Angrod (and thus nephew rather than brother to Finrod). Quoting from Silm:


Finrod held the Pass of Sirion, and upon the isle of Tol Sirion in the midst of the river he built a mighty watch-tower, Minas Tirith; but after Nargothrond was made he committed that fortress mostly to the keeping of Orodreth his brother.
That implies that Orodreth spent most of his time at Minas Tirith in the ~350 years before the Bragollach. Obviously, Gil-Galad could have been born on a trip to Nargothrond, or Dorthonion, or anywhere else really; but the most likely answer is that he was born in Minas Tirith, and carried away from there when the tower fell.

HoME XI gives us this detailed view of the changing versions (not including the Fingon version):


"[Felagund] gave Barahir his ring. But fearing now that all strong places were doomed to fall at last before the might of Morgoth, he sent away his wife Meril to her own folk in Eglorest, and with her went their son, yet an elvenchild, and Gilgalad Starlight he was called for the brightness of his eye."

Felagund's wife Meril has not been named before, nor any child of his; and this is the first appearance of Gil-galad from The Lord of the Rings. Another note on the subject is found in the QS manuscript near the opening of the 'short' (i.e. condensed) version of the tale of Beren and Luthien (see V.293), pencilled rapidly at the foot of a page but clearly referring to the statement in the text that Felagund gave the crown of Nargothrond to Orodreth before his departure with Beren (The Silmarillion p. 170):

"But foreseeing evil he commanded Orodreth to send away his son Gilgalad, and wife."

This was struck out; and somewhat further on in the tale of Beren and Luthien in the same version is a third hasty note, without direction for insertion but evidently referring to the passage in which Orodreth expelled Celegorn and Curufin from Nargothrond (The Silmarillion p. 176):

"But the Lady wife of Inglor forsook the folk of Nargothrond and went with her son Gilgalad to the Havens of the Falas."

A blank space is here left for the name of Felagund's wife. In each of these mentions, taking them in sequence, her departure is displaced to a later point; but of course they need not have been written in that sequence (although the third presumably replaced the second, which was struck out). On the other hand it seems very unlikely that the three additions do not belong together, though there seems to be no way of discovering with certainty when they were written.
It's clear that Gil-Galad son of Orodreth went to the Havens with his mother, sometime in the aftermath of the Bragollach. It could have been immediately after (the first quote suggests it could even have been before Minas Tirith was captured), or it could be that she only left after the sons of Feanor were booted out. His mother might have been named Meril (Sindarin, 'Rose'), and she might have been from Cirdan's folk (and thus of Teleri heritage, and mostly of the Sindar). Or... she might not, and those might have been just as fleeting notions as Gil-Galad son of Fingon.


Anyroad, the short answer comes out to: the Silmarillion calls Gil-Galad 'young' at the time of the Bragollach, which means he was almost certainly born in Middle-earth. :)


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