I read a little bit, but I'm not sure. Did he die, and how? If he didn't die, then is it known what happened to him?

  • Elves don't really die, technically. Feb 2, 2018 at 20:04
  • @Sebastian_H They can be "disembodied" the same as Men (just not due to old age); the main difference between Men and Elves is where their fëar go afterwards.
    – chepner
    Feb 12, 2018 at 16:47
  • @chepner Indeed. Though there is another difference. With some exceptions, most elves are given a new body and reside afterwards in Valinor. I think the special circumstances envisioned by Tolkien for the elves make it hard to apply the word "die" the way we usually do. Is the destruction of the body really enough to speak of dying, when in fact the elf does not cease to exist? Which at least in my opinion constitutes dying. Of course this is rather philosophical but I just wanted to throw it out there. Feb 16, 2018 at 9:39
  • Men don't cease to exist, either. Their feär just aren't bound to Arda when their physical bodies die, and they typically aren't eligible to receive a new body within Arda (Beren being a notable exception, IIRC).
    – chepner
    Feb 16, 2018 at 14:54
  • But long ago he rode away, | and where he dwelleth none can say; | for into darkness fell his star | in Mordor where the shadows are.
    – ibid
    Nov 22, 2021 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


We learn of Gil-Galad's fate during the exposition scene Council of Elrond. According to Isildur's chronicle of the battle with Sauron, Gil-Galad was burned to death by Sauron's hand.

What evil it saith I do not know; but I trace here a copy of it, lest it fade beyond recall. The Ring misseth, maybe, the heat of Sauron's hand, which was black and yet burned like fire, and so [with which] Gil-galad was destroyed;

The Fellowship of the Ring: The Council of Elrond

And from The Silmarillion we have a third-party account. Sauron was facing two enemies and managed to kill both but was knocked down in the process.

But at the last the siege was so strait that Sauron himself came forth; and he wrestled with Gil-galad and Elendil, and they both were slain, and the sword of Elendil broke under him as he fell. But Sauron also was thrown down, and with the hilt-shard of Narsil Isildur cut the Ruling Ring from the hand of Sauron and took it for his own.


There's a nice concept art image from the recent Peter Jackson film that illustrates what (probably) happened.

enter image description here

  • 7
    For the record, there's about four other places where Tolkien says that Gil-Galad was killed by Sauron (and countless earlier drafts of those passages in HoME), but none of the other ones specify how he was killed. The only way I can see how to improve this answer would be to remove the movie pictures. +1
    – ibid
    Feb 2, 2018 at 19:45
  • 3
    @ibid - Aww. Don't be such as spoilsport.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2018 at 19:48
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    Actually he is. You cannot kill him, just reduce him to a spirit.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2018 at 21:25
  • 1
    To isildur. Not Gil-galad... you imagenis a misrepresentation. The same image you used in this answer here
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 2, 2018 at 22:57
  • 1
    Elemdil, it’s all the same...the purpose is 1 image, two characters. Unlikely...
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 2, 2018 at 23:45

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