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Slain in the Fall of Gondolin in I 510
Presumably Noldor, though this is nowhere stated explicitly
From ecthel, meaning either 'fountain' or 'spear-point'1


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  • Updated 8 December 2002
  • Updates planned: 3

Ecthelion of the Fountain

Slayer of the Lord of Balrogs

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A lord of Gondolin, famed as the slayer of Gothmog Lord of Balrogs in the Fall of that city.



There are two explicit explanations of Ecthelion's name given by Tolkien in material reproduced within the volumes The History of Middle-earth. Both derive the name from the Elvish ecthel, but in one case (in volume 2) that word is interpreted 'fountain', whereas in the other (in volume 5) it is defined as 'spear-point', with a quite different etymology.

It seems certain that 'fountain' was the earlier interpretation, and given that Ecthelion is consistently referred to as 'Ecthelion of the Fountain', it hardly seems plausible that the original definition simply slipped Tolkien's mind. Rather, at least as far as the limited evidence suggests, it does appear that the later 'spear-point' interpretation was a deliberate change, or at least intended as a secondary meaning that happened to coincide with the first.

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