Gondolin and Minas Tirith
I am always intrigued by the common mythological themes and the names that Tolkien repeats throughout his tales from the very beginning in the Silmarillion
, “There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar…
” through the very end of his writings, found in that wonderful volume, The Peoples of Middle-earth
, in the final chapters, Last Writings
(where he expounds on Glorfindel, The Five Wizards, and Círdan), and The New Shadow
, (where he began his sequel the The Lord of the Rings).
Always intertwining his stories is confusing at times, but I love the similarities like those found between Gondolin and Minas Tirith,
Gondolin, to me, is the obvious Elven precursor to Minas Tirith.
• Gondolin means ‘Hidden Rock’ and was the most beautifulof the Elven city-kingdoms. Minas Tirith (Minas Anor) was built in the eastern spur of Mt Mindolluin (rock). In the First Age Minas Tirith was the name of the fortress built by Finrod Felagund on the Island of Tol Sirion. Sirion, of course is the name of the great river circling Gondolin to the west and south. Finrod befriended Barahir and Beren. Aragorn brought the Ring of Barahir to Minas Tirith. Lovely circles.
• Gondolin had seven magnificent Gates through which one passed to get to the city. Minas Tirith also had seven Gates, though not as magnifcent (although Gimli and the Dwarfs’ rebuilding of the Great Gate with mithril may have rivaled the Eleven gates), for Men built them…not Elves.
• Echthelion greeted Tuor when he entered Gondolin. He was the Captain of the Fountain. The Tower of Echthelion (named for the Man, Echthelion I) stood over Minas Tirith, indeed over the courtyard and the fountain and the White Tree.
• Above the Fifth Gate of Gondolin, was the image of the White Tree of Telperion. The White Tree was preserved by Aragorn and the Númenorean Kings at Minas Tirith.
• Gondolin was encircled by the Echoriath (ancient volcanic caldera). Minas Tirith was encircled by the Rammas Echor...built by Echthelion II. So many circles.
Lindariel, I relish a lively discussion of strategic strategy in The War of the Ring when we get to the chapter on Erebor. I am a firm believer that Sauron was neither a victim of chance when Smaug was slain and he was driven out of Dol Guldor, nor was he as smart as they feared him to be. Morgoth seemed to pass on some of those fine traits of arrogance and an inability to dot his I’s and cross his T’s.
Aaaahhh…let the debate begin.
Meanwhile...back to Tuor.