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  • Updated 16 March 2021
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Queen of Gondolin

The empty seat of lost Elenwë

At no time in its history did the city of Gondolin have a Queen. It was ruled throughout its existence by its founder King Turgon, and Turgon had indeed had a wife at one time. During the time he dwelt in Valinor, Turgon wed Elenwë of the Vanyar, and together they had a daughter named Idril, but Elenwë never came to Gondolin.

When the Noldor departed from Valinor to cross back into Middle-earth, Turgon and his family, including his sister Aredhel, accompanied them. They made their way across the treacherous Grinding Ice of the Helcaraxë, their only way into Middle-earth. Turgon, Idril and Aredhel all survived the dangerous journey, but Elenwë was lost in the crossing.

Turgon never remarried, and so when he built the Hidden City of Gondolin and took up its rule, more than a century after Elenwë's loss, he ruled it alone. Beside him were his daughter Idril and his sister Aredhel, but no Queen ever took the throne that would have been Elenwë's.


We're not told why Turgon never chose to remarry, but Tolkien does seem to have devised an explanation. In his notes regarding the story Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin (in Unfinished Tales) Tolkien hints that there was a specific reason, and it would have been revealed in that tale. However, the story never reached the point where the explanation was given, so whatever the reason was, it will remain a mystery.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 16 March 2021
  • Updates planned: 2

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