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Rings of Power: the Elven king Gil-Galad explained

Rings of Power: tIn the Lord of the Rings the Elves, have always been seen as haughty and few are stuffier than High-King Gil-Galad

Who is Gil-Galad? In Tolkien’s books and the Lord of the Rings movies the Elves are an imperious bunch. As the eldest children of Eru Iluvatar and the closest to the Valar, the Elves have always been seen as haughty by races of Dwarves and Man, and none are stuffier than Gil-Galad.

In the Rings of Power fantasy series, we’ve seen the Elven king try and manipulate Elrond into investigating Durin’s dwarven mines in the hope of discovering Mithril and generally being a bit of a dick. But there’s far more to Gil-Galad than the stick up his Elvish arse (Editor: Do Elves even have arses?).

So we thought we’d explore the history Gil-Galad from his early life and through the First and Second Ages as he helped the forces of good in the war against Sauron and Morgoth. Here’s the full history of Gil-Galad.

Gil Galad’s early life

Gil-Galad was born a Noldor elf to Fingon (though alternate versions of Tolkien’s writing suggest he was the son of Orodreth) and was a member of the House of Finarfin. Following the destruction of the Two Trees when he was young, his family moved from Eldamar to Middle-earth, where his father established the original Minas Tirith.

As Minas Tirith became the focus of Morgoth’s campaign and fearing for his son’s life, Orodreth sent Gil-Galad away to an area of the coast known as Havens of Falas. There Gil-Galad was cared for by Círdan the Shipwright.

Rings of Power: the elven king Gil-Galad explained

Gil-Galad in the First Age

Yet war followed Gil-Galad to the Havens, and before long, the orcs and forces of evil were once again on the march. To escape Morgoth, who had busied himself destroying all the elven cities in the Havens, he fled to the Isle of Balar.

Yet on the mainland, Morgoth was about to have his greatest victory. After centuries of hunting for it, he finally found the Kingdom of Gondolin, the last city of the Noldor elves.

Morgoth’s forces razed the city, and with Turgon, the Noldorian King, dead, the line of succession fell to Gil-Galad. Now the king of the Noldor elves and a grown Elf, he led his people to war, fighting in many battles during The War of Wrath.

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When the Valar finally intervened and brought the war to an end, throwing Morgoth through the Door of Night into the Timeless Void, Gil-Galad discovered Elrond and Elros, the sons of Eärendil, the hero who’d travelled to Valinor and convinced the gods to save Middle-earth.

While Elros chose to become a Man – and founded the kingdom of Numenor – Elrond remained an Elf, and Gil-Galad took him in, making him a captain in his armies.

Rings of Power: the elven king Gil-Galad explained

Gil-Galad in the Second Age

Gil-Galad spent the first part of the second age building the realm of Lindon. His people were initially close to the Numenoreans through Elrond and Elros, yet as the decades went by, that began to change as the Men there grew jealous of the Elves’ immortality.

The King had other things to worry about, however. In the TV series Rings of Power, Gila-Galad reveals that the Elves are slowly losing the light of the Valar, which means his people will soon have to leave Middle-earth or die.

He believes that the Elves may be saved by the light of the Mithril, a rare metal the Dwarves of Khazad-Dum discovered. This is why Gil-Galad dispatched Elrond to the Dwarves so he could see if the whispers were true about Mithril. In the season one finale, the Rings of Power character Halbrand went to Lindon and taught the elves how to create the Three Rings.

Rings of Power: the elven king Gil-Galad explained

Through Tolkien’s literature, we know that Gil-Galad will go on to help Galadriel found Lothlórien. Eventually, Gil-Galad will be approached by a stranger called Annatar, who claims to be the “lord of gifts”. Elrond councils Gil-Galad not to trust the stranger and send him on his way.

Celebrimbor, however, will be enthralled by this stranger who will teach the smith how to forge the titular Rings of Power. Eventually, though, Annatar will be revealed to be the Dark Lord Sauron. Through the magic rings, Sauron hopes to conquer the world.

With Sauron’s scheme exposed, Celebrimbor will give the Three Elven rings. In the following wars against the forces of evil, Gil-Galad fought in many battles and helped good triumph over the darkness. When the Numenoreans capture Sauron, Gil-Galad uses the opportunity to grow his kingdom which we’ll probably see in Rings of Power season 2.

Rings of Power: the elven king Gil-Galad explained

When Numenor sank beneath the waves, the exiled race of Men was welcomed by Gil-Galad, who befriended their leaders. This friendship would pay off when Sauron finally reemerged greater and more terrible than ever before.

The remaining Men, Elves, and Dwarves formed the Last Alliance and attacked Sauron in Mordor. While the Alliance was successful Gil-Galad, unfortunately, died in battle.

Rings of Power: the elven king Gil-Galad explained

Gil-Galad’s powers and abilities

As an Elf, Gil-Galad was biologically immortal and immune to the passage of time. He possessed an ethereal grace and beauty and was stronger than the average man. Gil-Galad was a wise leader and a skilled fighter who preferred the spear to the sword.

For more Middle-earth fun, here is everything we know about The Rings of Power season 2 release date, or if you want to know more about the actors who brought Middle-earth to life, we have a guide to the Rings of Power cast.