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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 248 - Trial

22nd October 2015 (22:05)

Aulë's reaction to the Kinslaying is taken from the Book of Lost Tales version of this story, which is a little more detailed than the one that made it into the Silmarillion.

    Part 248 Trial

    Next time: Part 249: Verdict

    Chibis by the now-dead website formerly known as tektek.org
    Original story by and copyright to J R R Tolkien, ed. C Tolkien: Primarily based on the Silmarillion, but incorporating ideas from the 12-volume History of Middle Earth series.
    Questions and comments welcome!


    Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
    Posted at: 23rd October 2015 14:18 (UTC)

    Was it ever mentioned how many were killed in the Kinslaying?

    Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
    Posted at: 23rd October 2015 15:08 (UTC)

    No. Precise numbers are almost completely absent from the Silmarillion. The only one i'm aware of is that at the battle of Nirnaeth Arnoediad, "Turgon had opened the leaguer of Gondolin, and was come with an army ten thousand strong, with bright mail and long swords and spears like a forest".

    So Gondolin had a population at least 10,000, but how much more is only speculation. Did Turgon lead out every adult in the city? Just the men? 10% of the men? 2% of the men? Those percentages would mean that Gondolin could have a population anywhere between 10,000 and one million. "Half the men" would give a population of 40,000, which is about the size of mediaeval London, which feels right to me.

    We're also told that Turgon led 'a third part of the Noldor of Fingolfin's following', and also many Sindar - in fact, more Sindar than Noldor. So if we assume 15-20,000 Noldor under Turgon, that's 50-60,000 or so under Fingolfin. After reaching Middle-earth, that is.

    So let's assume (entirely at random) that a quarter of Fingolfin's following died crossing the Helcaraxe, so he had 80,000 at the time of the Kinslaying. Fëanor's following was smaller, but we don't know by how much - half (40,000)? Two thirds (60,000)?. Also, a tithe of the Noldor remained behind in Tirion. (10-15,000?)

    So what we come down to, based entirely on those two throwaway comments by Tolkien about Gondolin, is I think there were in the region of 150,000 Noldor in total in Valinor before the Kinslaying.

    We know the Noldor who joined the Great Journey outnumbered the Vanyar by two to one (or by 28/144 to 14/144 if you want to get technical!) so there are about 75,000 Vanyar.

    The Teleri had been the largest kindred originally, but so many stayed behind in Middle-earth that I suspect they were the smallest by the time they reached Aman. Maybe 50,000? And many would live along the shoreline, not in Alqualondë itself.

    So you have a city of maybe 20,000 Teleri, with 30,00 more living in the surrounding region, being approached by a moving horde of 130,000 or more Noldor. Olwë was quite brave to say "No"...

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