|Tolkien's legendarium character|
|Book(s)||The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)|
Gildor Inglorion is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, appearing in The Fellowship of the Ring. He was a Noldorin Elf of the House of Finrod. In The Lord of the Rings, he met Frodo Baggins and his friends in the Shire. The appearance of his band (along with the chants to Elbereth) warded off the Black Rider searching for the Hobbits.
In "Three is Company" (chapter three of The Fellowship of the Ring), Gildor's company of elves had come from Rivendell and were returning home after a pilgrimage to the Emyn Beraid when they met Frodo. At that moment, the three hobbits, Frodo, Sam and Pippin, were in danger of being discovered by a Nazgûl. The approach of the elves and their song to Elbereth drove off the enemy. The elves provided food and shelter to the hobbits. Gildor advised Frodo not to wait for Gandalf, and to avoid the Black Riders – and he made a great impression on Samwise Gamgee. Gildor at this time named Frodo an elf-friend and pledged to advise other elves of his journey.
The next morning when the hobbits woke up, the elves had gone, but they left gifts of food for the hobbits. Gildor sent ahead news of Frodo's flight. Tom Bombadil learned of Frodo's plight through Gildor. Aragorn understood from him also that Gandalf was missing, that Frodo had left the Shire without Gandalf, that Black Riders were trailing Frodo, and that Frodo had not been seen leaving Buckland.
Gildor's ancestry appears to be a loose thread that Tolkien never properly tied up. Gildor calls himself "Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod". At the time Tolkien was writing this, the name Finrod referred to the third son of Finwë, and this Finrod had a son, Inglor Felagund. Since Inglorion means "son of Inglor", the straightforward reading is that "Gildor Inglorion" was the son of Inglor, son of Finrod, son of Finwë king of the Noldor – an elf of very high lineage, cousin to Elrond and Galadriel.
But this is not borne out in any of Tolkien's later versions of the genealogies. Finrod son of Finwë was renamed Finarfin, and the name Finrod was transferred to his son Inglor, who became Finrod Felagund. Most of the published references to Finrod were corrected to Finarfin, but this one was not. Moreover, Gildor appears in none of the genealogies, and no elf named Inglor is mentioned in any writings after the change of names. Although Gildor had some standing among the Exiles, as his leadership of his party indicates, the phrase "of the House of Finrod" now has no clear meaning. Hammond and Scull point out that this might mean merely that Gildor belonged to the household of Finrod. Whether Tolkien finally intended a blood connection is unknown.
Gildor does not appear in the theatrical release of Peter Jackson's film trilogy, but the extended edition briefly shows the exile Elves walking through the woods. They are identified by Frodo as Elves "going into the West".
In the musical version of The Lord of the Rings, the character of Gildor is female and given the name Elránien (one of two Elven-lords to be made female for the production, Glorfindel being the other). She was played in Toronto by Monique Lund and in London by Alexandra Bonnet. The character features in the musical number "The Road Goes On", along with other exile Elves. The name was changed because the name Gildor has the suffix 'dor', which in Tolkien's Elven languages is a masculine suffix used only in the names of male Elves. The name Glorfindel, the other Elf to receive a gender change in the musical, has a neutral suffix that could appear in male or female names. Therefore, there was no need to change the latter's name. The name Elránien translates roughly as "Wandering Elf", in reference to the nature of the character's life as an exile Elf.
In popular culture
A species of Elachista moths, Elachista gildorella, has been named after Gildor Inglorion by Finnish entomologist Lauri Kaila along with a number of other species that were given names inspired by Tolkien's characters.
- The Lord of the Rings does not state this explicitly; Tolkien spells it out in the notes to The Road Goes Ever On.
- Hammond and Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 103.
- Hammond and Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 104.
- Kaila, Lauri (1999). "A Revision of the Nearctic Species of the Genus Elachista s. l. III.: The bifasciella, praelineata, saccharella and freyerella groups (Lepidoptera, Elachistidae)". Acta Zoologica Fennica (211): 1–235.