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In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, Gorlim the Unhappy was the son of Angrim and one of the twelve companions of Barahir. In the Lay of Leithian it is told how Barahir, last lord of the Men of Ladros (Dorthonion), remained as an outlaw in his own land after it was lost to Morgoth in the Dagor Bragollach. (See Barahir)

Tolkien character
Aliasesthe Unhappy
Book(s)The Silmarillion,
The Lays of Beleriand
(The Lay of Leithian)

Gorlim had a wife named Eilinel whom he had left when he went off to war against Morgoth. He returned from battle to find his house destroyed and plundered, and his wife gone. However, he maintained a hope that Eilinel was not dead or captured, and occasionally would return from Barahir's camp at Tarn Aeluin to his old house, seeking his wife. This soon became known to Sauron, the chief servant of Morgoth in Dorthonion and master of shapes and phantoms. One night, as he returned to the house, he saw Eilinel at the window, weeping and calling his name. He called back to her, but at that moment she disappeared and he was captured by orcs.

He was brought captive before Sauron, who sought to know Barahir's hiding-place. He violently tortured Gorlim until he agreed that he would tell where Barahir was hiding if he could be reunited with Eilinel, whom he supposed now to be captured. Sauron accepted, and Gorlim betrayed Barahir. Sauron revealed then to Gorlim that Eilinel was long dead, and that what he had thought was his wife was a phantom intended to trick him. But Sauron remembered that he had agreed to reunite Gorlim with his wife, and put Gorlim to death.

And Gorlim then they dragged away,
and cruelly slew him; and at last
in the dark mould his body cast,
where Eilinel long since had lain
in the burned woods by butchers slain.
   Thus Gorlim died an evil death,
and cursed himself with dying breath.

— (The Lay of Leithian)

Gorlim appeared as a spectre before Beren, who was out hunting, and confessed his deeds, "begging forgiveness, wept, and passed out into darkness". Beren came too late, after orcs had slain all of Barahir's remaining men, but later reclaimed the Ring of Barahir, heirloom of his house, and escaped alive.


  • Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Of Beren and Lúthien, pp. 162-3, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
  • Tolkien, J. R. R. (1985), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The Lay of Leithian recommenced, pp. 336-341, ISBN 0-395-39429-5

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

In the first version of the Lay of Leithian, it was Morgoth himself, not Sauron, that tricked Gorlim into betraying Barahir.