Fingon

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Fingon
Tolkien's legendarium character
MaedhrosRescue.jpg
Fingon rescues Maedhros
(Illustration by Jenny Dolfen)
Aliases Findecáno,
The Valiant,
High King of the Noldor
Race Elves
Gender Male
Book(s) The Silmarillion,
The Lays of Beleriand,
The Children of Húrin

Fingon (IPA: [ˈfiŋɡon]) (Y.T. 1280–Y.S. 472; died aged 2580) is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He is introduced in The Silmarillion. He was a Noldorin Elf, called "the valiant" in The Silmarillion,[1] and was named as one of "the great lords of the Noldor", along with Fingolfin, Maedhros, and Finrod Felagund.[2]

Biography[edit]

Fingon was the eldest son of Fingolfin and Anairë, born in Valinor probably between Y.T. 1240 and Y.T. 1245. He was the older brother of Turgon, Aredhel[3] and Argon,[4] and was impetuous and a great warrior. While in Valinor he became close to his cousin Maedhros son of Fëanor. After the Darkening of Valinor in Y.T. 1495, his uncle Fëanor returned from Formenos where he had been exiled to Tirion, claiming the High Kingship of the Noldor after his father Finwë's death at the hands of Morgoth and speaking fiery words leading the Noldor to Middle-earth; while Fingon did not love him, he was influenced by his words, though his father Fingolfin and brother Turgon spoke fiercely against Fëanor. Urged on by his son Fingon, Fingolfin chose to follow Fëanor when it became clear that nine-tenths of the people of Tirion would follow him, so as not to abandon his people, and Fingon led the vanguard of those following his father. Fingon and his people arrived at Alqualondë shortly after Fëanor began the First Kinslaying, and assuming that the Valar had ordered the Teleri to stop the Noldor from fleeing to Middle-earth, entered the battle. Fëanor, distrustful of the followers of his half-brothers, secretly left for Middle-earth in the stolen Telerin ships with his most trusted followers, disembarking at Losgar at the mouth of the Firth of Drengist, leaving them behind. His son Maedhros thought that they would sail back for those they had left behind, asking his father who they would sail back for, specifically mentioning Fingon and calling him "the Valiant", but his father burned the ships while Maedhros stood aside. When Fëanor's betrayal was discovered, Fingolfin's determination to reach Middle-earth increased, and he, with Finrod, Galadriel and his son Fingon, who was "bold and fiery of heart, and loath to abandon any task", led his people across the Helcaraxë.[5] Soon after they arrived in Middle-earth in Y.T. 1500, they were assailed by Orcs in the Lammoth; Fingon's youngest brother Argon was slain in this battle.[4]

Fingolfin and his followers met the sons of Fëanor in Mithrim; there they found out that Maedhros had been captured by Morgoth. Fingon decided to unite the Noldor before Morgoth was ready for battle, and remembering their friendship in Valinor, he went out to search for Maedhros in Y.S. 5. He climbed onto Thangorodrim, but found no way to enter Angband. He then took out his harp and started singing; Maedhros answered and Fingon found him hung by the wrist of his right hand upon Thangorodrim in great pain. Maedhros begged his friend to end his torment by shooting him with his bow; however, with the help of Thorondor, Fingon freed him by cutting off Maedhros's right hand. This daring rescue, along with Maedhros's repentance for the desertion of Fingolfin's hosts in Araman and relinquishment of his claim as Finwë's heir to kingship over all the Noldor in favour of his uncle (which caused the Fëanorians to be known as "the Dispossessed"), did much to repair the ill feelings between the House of Fingolfin and the House of Fëanor. Maedhros and his brothers then moved to East Beleriand after consulting with the houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin. Fingolfin assigned Fingon to the kingship of Dor-lómin in western Hithlum; however, Fingon stayed with his father at the fortress of Eithel Sirion where they monitored Ard-galen during the Siege of Angband after the Dagor Aglareb. Morgoth once attempted to surprise them with an army of orcs, but Fingon fought them off; he also drove the dragon Glaurung back to Angband when he first came forth in Y.S. 260.[6]

In Y.S. 455, Morgoth attacked in the Dagor Bragollach, and scattered the sons of Fëanor and took Dorthonion from Angrod and Aegnor, who were slain. Fingolfin and Fingon were stuck in Hithlum and much of northern Beleriand was taken by Morgoth. Fingolfin received false report that his allies had been routed on all fronts and he became filled with wrath and despair, taking his horse Rochallor and sword Ringil and riding to Angband to challenge Morgoth in single combat. He gave Morgoth seven permanent wounds, but was eventually slain, while his body was brought by Thorondor to Gondolin, the hidden city where Turgon the brother of Fingon had moved to in Y.S. 126. Fingon then in sorrow took up the High Kingship of the Noldor.[7]

Taking hope upon hearing the deeds of Beren and Lúthien, Maedhros gathered his brothers, and united with Fingon and the other Elven Houses to create the Union of Maedhros in Y.S. 468, an alliance of Elves, Men, and Dwarves to drive the Orcs from Beleriand and lay siege to Angband. Under Maedhros's leadership, the Union won several battles and regained the territory lost in the Dagor Bragollach. Their next goal in Y.S. 472 was to attack Angband in the battle that would become known as the Nírnaeth Arnœdiad, Maedhros from the east and Fingon from the west. On the day of battle, Maedhros had been delayed by false rumours of a traitor in his army, and Fingon waited for him according to plan, despite the armies' anxiousness to start the attack. Morgoth then commanded that Fingon's army be drawn into a rash attack by any means; his captain brought Gelmir the brother of Gwindor of Nargothrond out from Angband, where he had been a prisoner since the Dagor Bragollach, and he was mutilated and killed in front of Fingon's army. Gwindor, who was present at the battle, charged forward and Fingon followed him. His brother Turgon reached him and on the third day Maedhros finally arrived, attacking from behind, and Fingon was nearly victorious; but Morgoth sent forth his last resources. Gothmog, the lord of the Balrogs, came and separated Fingon from Turgon, surrounding the former, before attacking Fingon. Fingon's guard was eventually killed and he fought Gothmog alone until another Balrog came behind him and surrounded him with his thong of fire, and Gothmog clove the head and helm of Fingon with his black axe. "Thus fell the High King of the Noldor, and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood."[8]

His brother Turgon by right became the High King of the Noldor, although after the battle he returned to the secrecy of his hidden city of Gondolin.[8]

Etymology[edit]

Fingon's name was a Sindarin form of his Quenya name Findecáno (originally Finicáno, Findicáno)[4] for which Tolkien gave differing interpretations. Originally the etymology of Fingon's name was given as (Q. 'fin'=skill, 'káne'=hero) name="skilled hero";[9] this was later changed to (Q. 'finde'=hair, 'káno'=commander, chieftain).[10] In early versions of the legendarium his name was given as Finweg.[11] Fingolfin's choice of this name for his eldest son was as an "echo" of the name of his father Finwë, and because "[Fingon] wore his long dark hair in great plaits braided with gold".[4]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

In the published Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Fingon is the father of Gil-galad, and sent him to the Havens after the death of Fingolfin in the Dagor Bragollach.[7] In later texts Gil-galad is given as Orodreth's son. Originally Fingon was given an unnamed wife and two children, Ernis (later changed to Erien) and Finbor; in the final version, they were removed from the genealogies with a comment that Fingon was unmarried and childless. Fingon's youngest brother Argon does not appear in the published Silmarillion, as he only appears in very late writings of J. R. R. Tolkien.[4]

The House of Fingolfin[edit]

Míriel
Finwë
Indis
Fëanor
Fingolfin
Anairë
Finarfin
Fingon
Elenwë
Turgon
Aredhel
Eöl
Argon
Tuor
Idril Celebrindal
Maeglin
Eärendil

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J.R.R.Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, editor,The Silmarillion, Houghton Mifflin, 1977,p.109
  2. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of Beleriand and its Realms, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  3. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  4. ^ a b c d e Tolkien, J. R. R. (1996), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Peoples of Middle-earth, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The Shibboleth of Fëanor, ISBN 0-395-82760-4 
  5. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of the Flight of the Noldor, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  6. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of the Return of the Noldor, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  7. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  8. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of the Fifth Battle: Nírnaeth Arnœdiad, ISBN 0-395-25730-1 
  9. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1987), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Lost Road and Other Writings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, "The Etymologies", ISBN 0-395-45519-7 
  10. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1996), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Peoples of Middle-earth, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 344, ISBN 0-395-82760-4 
  11. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1984), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Book of Lost Tales 2, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-36614-3 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Fingolfin
High King of the Noldor
Y.S. 456 - Y.S. 472
Succeeded by
Turgon