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If I understand correctly, Gondolin was not protected by any magical or godly means hiding it from Melkor and his forces.

Now, the Echoriad mountains were pretty far up North, and also not that far (by flight) from Tol Sirion.

Why is it, that none of Melkor's servants/minions/supporters were able to just fly around and notice Gondolin? Was Melkor particularly lacking when it came to creatures of the air? He at least had Dragons, and maybe bats (Sauron had a vampire bat form).

2 Answers 2

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Gondolin was protected by the Great Eagles, and in any case Morgoth lacked airborne servants. According to the Unfinished Tales

They [Great Eagles] alone save the Noldor know the Hidden Kingdom and guard the skies above it, though as yet no servant of the Enemy has dared to fly into the high airs...

(Of Tuor and his coming to Gondolin).

Note that winged dragons did not appear until the War of Wrath.

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    If the skies above Gondolin had a bunch of Eagles flying around, wouldn't that be a dead giveaway? :-(
    – einpoklum
    Apr 20 at 16:01
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    @einpoklum only if the mountains of Gondolin where the only home of eagles
    – Po-ta-toe
    Apr 20 at 16:05
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    @einpoklum --- The Eagles would see you before you saw them. Then you would die. Apr 20 at 16:36
  • @IanThompson: So basically you're saying that the entire region of Echoriad was off-limits to Morgoth's minions because of the eagles?
    – einpoklum
    Apr 21 at 10:45
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    @einpoklum --- Not me, Tolkien: "... because of the eagles no spy of his [Morgoth's] could yet come within sight of the land behind the Encircling Mountains" (Of the Ruin of Doriath). That said, the wider issue of why Morgoth didn't find Gondolin sooner is more nuanced; you might consider asking that as a separate question. Apr 22 at 0:24
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One possible explanation would be the influence of particular Vala on the elements. Ulmo, the lord of waters, apparently had something to do with how Melkor did not have much power over seas and rivers; so, maybe it's the same for Manwë and the air? Or at least, the skies and their creatures?

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    Evidence, not theories! Do you have any sources that back this up?
    – DavidW
    Apr 20 at 18:23
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    @DavidW: Literary symmetry.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 20 at 18:28

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