Valiantly fighting side by side with Tuor and his House of the Wing, they drove away the Orcs until almost the Gate was regained. As Dragons reinforced Morgoth’s army, Ecthelion killed three Balrogs and his sword did “hurt to their fire”. When doing so, Ecthelion’s left arm was wounded and his shield fell to earth. Tuor carried him away as they joined the remaining leaders in the Square of the Palace.
‘Tis said that Ecthelion’s folk there slew more of the goblins than fell ever in all the battles of the Eldalië with that race, and that his name is a terror among them to this latest day, and a warcry to the Eldar. The implication is that some supernatural effect cast over Tuor permits Ecthelion, as well as Voronwë, to see something remarkable in the destiny of this young Mortal. No account exists of the earlier history of Ecthelion, especially nothing of his life in Aman before the flight of the Noldor. The common and logical presumption is that he followed Fingolfin and/or Turgon from Tirion, crossing the Grinding Ice with them.
Ecthelion was captain and lord of the House of the Fountain in Gondolin. His people were noted for their use of silver and diamonds, and Ecthelion himself wore a silver helm capped by a long silver spike. He was an excellent singer, with “the fairest voice…and the most skilled in musics of all the Gondothlim.” The young prince Eärendil admired his flute playing, and it seems Ecthelion sometimes cut willow-whistles for him. In the battle over Gondolin, Ecthelion and his forces made their entrance from the South part of the city, after previously being held in reserve. So terrible was his voice when commanding the drawing of the swords and the killings, which followed, that his name became a terror among the enemy and a Warcry to the Eldar.
(The exception, of course, is Tuor the mortal who marries Idril the Princess of Gondolin.) Tolkien describes Ecthelion as first seen through the eyes of Tuor to be one of the great lords of his people. When Voronwë and Tuor reach Gondolin, the guardians of the city spot them. In TA 2984, Ecthelion died at the age of ninety-eight years old after a rule of thirty-one years and was succeeded by his son Denethor II.
Our first introduction to male unicorn names is within the walls of the Hidden City of Gondolin. We know that the Noldor who accompany Turgon to Nevrast, also make up a large part of the population of the city of Gondolin. When Turgon’s faction moves onto Gondolin, a significant number of Sindar may be found among its settlers. Tuor tried to stand in the way of Gothmog, but he was thrown aside. Then Ecthelion, fairest of the Ñoldor, but whose face now had the pallor of grey steel, duelled him.
The silver- and diamond-bedecked Ecthelion certainly sounds from the descriptions like a stereotypical Noldo. However, there are readers who enjoy speculating that Ecthelion, recognized as a musician, might have familial connections to the Teleri, who are known to be the most musical of the Eldar. It is unlikely after Alqualondë that many of the Teleri would choose to follow the Noldor to Middle-earth. It is not impossible that the offspring of intermarriage between a Teler and a Noldo or the spouse of a Noldo could decide to make the trek.