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About this entry:

  • Updated 17 July 2007
  • Updates planned: 3

High King of the Noldor

A title of six lords of the Deep Elves

(1) Míriel
(2) Indis

Genealogical tree showing the descent of the High Kings of the Noldor. Those who held the office of High King are shown in bold text. This tree follows the convention in the The Silmarillion that Gil-galad was the son of Fingon: this is contentious, and other possible lines of descent exist.

The title of six Elf-lords of the Noldor. They held titular rulership over all the Noldor of Middle-earth, though in practice circumstances prevented the effective use of this power until the time of the Last Alliance. The Sons of Fëanor, in particular, while they acknowledged the Kingship, paid its bearer little heed; they preferred to follow their own policies under the general leadership of Maedhros.

I Finwë1 (ruled for approximately 4,000 years before the Years of the Sun)
The first lord of the Noldor awoke at Cuiviénen and led his people into the West to dwell in Valinor. He was slain by Morgoth at Formenos, and succeeded by his eldest son.
II Fëanor (ruled briefly before the rising of the Moon and Sun)
He led the host of the Noldor back to Middle-earth2 to avenge his father's death and recover the Silmarils from Morgoth. He was slain in his assault on Angband. After his death, the Kingship by right belonged to his eldest son Maedhros, but he refused it and the succession passed instead to Fëanor's half-brother.3
III Fingolfin (ruled 449 years to I 456)
Chosen to be High King by a council of the Noldor in I 7, he dwelt to the northwest of Beleriand with his sons, and ruled the Noldor during the Siege of Angband. When Morgoth broke the leaguer in the Dagor Bragollach, he rode in anger to the gates of Angband and died in single combat with Morgoth. He was succeeded by his eldest son.
IV Fingon (ruled 16 years to I 472)
His short reign was one of endless war with the forces of Morgoth. With Maedhros, he prepared a final assault on Morgoth, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, which ended in disaster for the Noldor and Fingon's own death. He was succeeded by his brother.4
V Turgon (ruled 38 years to I 510)
Turgon's Kingship was titular indeed, for even his own kin did not know the location of his Hidden City of Gondolin. Gondolin's location was discovered by Morgoth through the treachery of Maeglin, and Turgon died in its Fall. After his death, the Kingship passed back to Fingon's line, to his only son.
VI Ereinion Gil-galad (ruled 3,514 years to II 3441)
The last High King, Gil-galad held the Kingship longer than any of his forebears since Finwë. He formed the Last Alliance with Elendil, and died during the Siege of Barad-dûr at the end of the Second Age.

Gil-galad was the last High King; after his time the title is never used. In order of succession, the Kingship would presumably have fallen on Turgon's descendants; Eärendil (who was in the West and could not exercise it) or his eldest son Elrond (who never made claim to the Kingship).



Finwë ruled the Noldor in Aman, and during his rule they were not divided into lesser kingdoms. For this reason, Finwë himself may not have been formally styled 'High King' (and indeed the term is not recorded until the time of his son Fingolfin in Middle-earth). Nonetheless, Finwë is included in this list as the founder of the line of the High Kings and the source of their authority.


The succession of Fëanor was not acknowledged by all the Noldor; many took Fingolfin as their lord immediately after the loss of Finwë. Nonetheless, as natural heir to Finwë and lord of a part of the Noldor, Fëanor is included in this list.


Some few of the Noldor remained in Valinor when Fëanor returned to Middle-earth; they took Fingolfin's brother Finarfin as their king.


It may seem strange that the line of the High Kings should pass to Fingon's brother Turgon, and then back to his son Gil-galad (rather than Gil-galad inheriting the title directly from his father). This appears to arise from changes made by Tolkien to Gil-galad's parentage: in alternative (unpublished) versions, Fingon would have had no son, and the line of descent would thus have passed from Turgon to the House of Finarfin, and so down through Finrod's brother Orodreth to Gil-galad. For more on this rather involved topic, see note 1 to the entry for Ereinion Gil-galad.


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 July 2007
  • Updates planned: 3

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