Originally a member of the royal house of Doriath, and kin to Thingol himself, Eöl was unhappy in his native land. When the Girdle of Melian was placed around the forests of Doriath, Eöl took his leave, and went to dwell in the dark forest of Nan Elmoth, east of his homeland.
Eöl was a skilful craftsman and master swordsmith. Among his greatest works were two swords made from the iron of a meteorite, Anglachel and Anguirel. Anglachel he gave to Thingol as payment for dwelling in Nan Elmoth, and it would later become the sword borne by Túrin Turambar. Eöl's smithcraft was especially admired by the Dwarves, and he shared a rare friendship with the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost in the Blue Mountains.
One day in the early fourth century of the First Age, Eöl came upon a gleaming white figure in his woods. This was Aredhel, the sister of Turgon, who had travelled out of Gondolin and become lost. Eöl used his enchantments to draw her deeper into the wood and ensnare her. She became his wife, and bore him a son, Maeglin.
One midsummer, many years later, Eöl travelled into the Blue Mountains to feast with the Dwarves of Nogrod, and returned home to find that his wife and son had left two days earlier. Mounting a horse, he gave chase, and eventually discovered them at the ford called the Brithiach. Realizing that Aredhel was returning to Gondolin with his son, Eöl followed them. He found his way to the Dry River, and that secret way led him to the gates of Gondolin itself. There he was captured and taken to the King.
Turgon at first welcomed Eöl as a kinsman, but under the King's law one who had found the way to the Hidden City was not permitted to leave, on pain of death. Enraged at the loss of his freedom, Eöl chose death, for himself and his son, and cast a poisoned javelin at Maeglin. Aredhel took the dart instead, and soon passed away. In this way Eöl achieved the end he had sought; in punishment for his crime, the Gondolindrim cast him over the dark cliffs of the Caragdûr.
The name Eöl goes back to the earliest forms of the Silmarillion myths, but it seems to have emerged from Tolkien's imagination fully formed, without any particular meaning. Long after its first appearance, he wrote that it was 'Another name from prim[itive] FG - meaningless then and now...', and added, 'It isn't really absolutely necessary that names should be significant'. These notes come from The War of the Jewels (volume 11 of The History of Middle-earth); 'FG' here is a reference of an old form of the story of the Fall of Gondolin, given in volume 2 of the same series.
Anglachel, Anguirel, Aredhel Ar-Feiniel, Caragdûr, Dark Elf, Dwarves, Galvorn, Gondolin, Himlad, Lómion, Maeglin, Nan Elmoth
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