Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.
Last time, Morgoth finally learned the location of the hidden Elvish kingdom of Gondolin. Now it’s time for him to make his move.
Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 23 part 5
After being captured and released to help with Mogoth’s attack on Gondolin, Maeglin managed to not raise any suspicions. No one knew that he had secretly left the hidden kingdom, and no one had any idea that he had struck a deal with everyone’s greatest foe.
So when the Gates of Summer, a grand festival that includes feasting and waiting all night to watch the sun rise, arrives, the Elves of Gondolin have no idea that this is the last time they’ll celebrate the festival here. While everyone is perched atop the walls to wait for the sun, Morogth’s army approaches from behind. He’s sent his whole arsenal: Orcs, Balrogs, Wolves, and even Dragons. The people of Gondolin are taken completely by surprise.
While we’re told that there’s more on the details of the battle elsewhere, there is a short explanation of the major events. Tuor is separated from Idril and their seven-year-old son, Earendil. When he does find them, they’ve been captured by Maeglin, and Tuor isn’t about to let Maeglin haul his wife and son away. A fight ensues and ends with Maeglin thrown off the walls and killed.
Then Tuor and Idril gather everyone that they can and take them to a secret exit. A while back, Idril became very concerned about the safety of Gondolin (specifically when Hurin shouted outside of its gates) and had the exit constructed then. Because she wanted it to stay a secret, hardly anyone in Gondolin knew about it. Including Maeglin. So even though Maeglin spilled the beans on all of Gondolin’s other secrets, this is one he doesn’t know, which is the only reason why they are able to escape. The mist from the fountains being destroyed by the Dragons didn’t hurt either.
They reach the mountains around Gondolin, but unfortunately that’s where Tuor, Idril, Earendil, and their group is found by Orcs and a Balrog. A brave Elf named Glorfindel (not to be confused with the one in The Fellowship of the Rings) fights with the Balrog, and they both end up toppling off of the top of the cliff and into an abyss. The Eagles also arrive just in time to help, ensuring that the rest of the journey out of the mountains is a safe one.
Next week, the people of Gondolin find a new home.