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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... Gil-galad's Armor?
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Arwen's daughter

Jul 18 2008, 2:50am

Post #1 of 40 (11275 views)
Did You Ever Notice... Gil-galad's Armor? Can't Post

Let me transcribe what Weapons & Warfare has to say about this armor. It sounds a little made up to me (moreso than elves and dragons) but it may be a reflection of what the designers were thinking with this armor:

"Gil-galad's armor was similar in composition to that of all the Elves of the Second Age: a cuirass and fauld of interlocking lames of steel plate over a hauberk of fine mail, together with pauldrons and bracers. However, befitting his status as High-king, his armor was blued and etched with vinelike tracery, and the plates were embossed with tengwar symbols and included leather plates, which gave greater protection. At his throat he wore a steel collar that bore his heraldic insignia, twelve stars on a midnight-blue field. The color blue may have reflected an association with the sea; in any case, it was certainly a dye that was rare in Middle-earth, and it would have required a great deal of time and knowledge to locate enough flora or fauna with which to make it. His cloak was of a deep blue and his armor was golden, and instead of a helmet he wore a golden crown, fashioned for him by the smiths of Eregion, possibly by Celebrimbor himself, who made the Rings of Power."

I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of what's under the armor for this costume. In fact, finding anything that was not a head shot proved a little difficult for this costume.

His golden crown from the back:

Alley Cat Scratch has some more details on this costume.

So, any thoughts?

Did You Ever Notice? is a running look at some of the details that went into the costumes and armor of LOTR. It doesn't follow any particular order or appear on a specific day. You can always find past discussions at my Costume Discussion Archive.

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Jul 18 2008, 3:12am

Post #2 of 40 (7431 views)
killing in style.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Seems like a lot of the drapery part of the outfit would be a hassle in battle, but he would sure look good out there...

Didn't realize that he wore anything on his head, let alone that crown. What an interesting creation!

And the style does look "older" than what we see Haldir, Elrond or Celeborn wearing. It looks like an "historical" costume, I guess.

This is probably the most attention that Movie-Gilgalad has ever had on this board -- if he could thank you, I'm sure he would!


Superuser / Moderator

Jul 18 2008, 3:21am

Post #3 of 40 (7387 views)
Ah, thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just wondering if we would ever see what the reverse of that crown was like, and there it was at the end of your post! I wonder if any real-life cultures have used 'reverse crowns' like this? They're very styley.

I also wonder how the costumers feel to see all their work on this outfit reduced to maybe three seconds in the entire trilogy.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Jul 18 2008, 4:04am

Post #4 of 40 (7402 views)
Lovely [In reply to] Can't Post

It's the first time I've seen this costume properly and it is a nice shade of blue. We see so little of it in the movie. It does look as though it would be a bit cumbersome to wear in battle, but I guess elves are light on their feet and not likely to trip over their robes Tongue.


Jul 18 2008, 5:57am

Post #5 of 40 (7344 views)
Gorgeous [In reply to] Can't Post

 The colors of his armor make me think of the gold and lapis lazuli found in Egyptian tombs.


Jul 18 2008, 6:14am

Post #6 of 40 (7366 views)
The Crown [In reply to] Can't Post

I will preface my comment with this, that I am not trying to make a religious reference to Gil-Galad but in some ways the crown reminds me of a crown of thorns (and I know it is more branch like) that was placed on the head of Jesus prior to his flogging.

Also the shot of Gil-Galad's shield is included which is nice.

" . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

Come over to the LOTR Movie Thread and discuss the 1981 BBC Adaptation of the LOTR.


Jul 18 2008, 9:14am

Post #7 of 40 (7321 views)
Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

for another excellent post on costumes from the films.Its good to see so much of it as you really will miss it if you blink in the film.

Forth, Eorlingas!
Forth, Eorlingas

Tol Eressea

Jul 18 2008, 10:03am

Post #8 of 40 (7336 views)
I love the Elven armour [In reply to] Can't Post

from this battle especially. It flows so well, and looks sophisticated and elegant. Quite different from the usually clunky armour of Men and Dwarves!

*Jazminatar the Brown*

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jul 18 2008, 10:59am

Post #9 of 40 (7383 views)
I like how... [In reply to] Can't Post

... both Gil-galad and Elrond wear no "protective headgear" in that battle. I'd like to think that (something based on what Tolkien says), the keen piercing gaze of these Elven-lords in their wrath and battle-fury would be enough to cow the lesser soldiers and Orcs of Mordor. They wouldn't stand in his path. This guy looks like one Elf fit to face Sauron in combat. Stray arrows are another story Tongue

And as far as the flowing robes go, other than the fact that they probably hinder free movement, maybe they have other virtues that the naked eye cannot see - like the cloaks of Galadriel. Maybe they're not as heavy as they look and they serve as protection of some sort. Who knows...

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

frederica bolger

Jul 18 2008, 11:40am

Post #10 of 40 (7344 views)
it's all psy-ops... [In reply to] Can't Post

with looking larger and more frightening; swishing robes help as long as he doesn't have to move!
A truly regal-looking costume which has none of the tin-can shininess of some movie armour I could remember (points to R Taylor and the Wetas for getting this right almost always).
Strange though, the absence of headgear. The 'reverse crown' from the front looks like some very sophisticated hearing aid; or is it a communication device ? Wink

However, to compare him with his description in the 'Lay of Gil-Galad':
His sword was long (Don't get to see it)
His lance was keen (Definitely)
His shining helm afar was seen (Where's the helm???)
The countless stars on heaven's field were mirrored in his silver shield. (That's interesting. The stars are on his cloak clasp, and perhaps the inlay of lapis lazuli could be interpreted as stars on a night sky!)
But long ago he rode away... (Also interesting, the absence of horses in the battle, a design decision to make this battle look different from the 3rd age ones?)

Shame he is only on screen for a split second...

Rain may fall and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie
And watch the clouds go sailing by.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Jul 18 2008, 12:41pm

Post #11 of 40 (7353 views)
Psssst... [In reply to] Can't Post

That's the secret of the Elves' telepathic "powers". Poor Sauron never had a chance, his big iron crown being a mind block Sly

In Reply To
The 'reverse crown' from the front looks like some very sophisticated hearing aid; or is it a communication device ? Wink

Crows and Gibbets! What is The House Of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll around on the floor with their dogs! You are but a lesser son of greater Sires.

(This post was edited by Earl on Jul 18 2008, 12:45pm)

Arwen's daughter

Jul 18 2008, 3:30pm

Post #12 of 40 (7315 views)
Do you trip over your scarf in the winter? [In reply to] Can't Post

Consider this if you think Gil-galad is hindered by those robes. What do you wear in the winter (those of us who suffer through one)? Multiple layers? Scarves? Mittens? Do they hinder your movement or do you learn to work around them?

Firstly, most of Gil-galad's cape is held close to his body by that large belt. That's more than cool looking, it keeps the fabric away from his arms and spear. Secondly, I think it's safe to assume that he's wearing garments with long flowy bits on a regular basis. He probably even practices his spear technique in something like this. He knows how to move it to his advantage. A flick of his arm can move that cape away from him or into the enemies way, confusing them or blocking their sword.

The point is, it's all a matter of perspective. To us this seems ridiculously cumbersome. To someone used to this sort of garment it's perfectly natural. For someone who's never been through the winter a parka looks ridiculous. For those of us who've survived a few it's just part of everyday life.

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Jul 18 2008, 3:41pm

Post #13 of 40 (7284 views)
Thanks for posting this [In reply to] Can't Post

First time I've ever seen Gil-galad's armour up close, looks great. The actor doesn't look very elven though! Frown Tongue

"The city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed, FOR GONDOR!"


Jul 18 2008, 3:43pm

Post #14 of 40 (7302 views)
This costumes .. [In reply to] Can't Post

Looks very cumbersome and heavy, restrictive and a little 'tight across the chest' - though it is very regal!
The colour of the blue is very vivid compared to the rest of the elven tones of green and grey ...
I like the screened pattern on the cloak - though it doesn't look as fine as other elven patterns Ive seen - maybe a bit tudor meets paisley.

I find the crown interesting - another ornamental head piece which is not a full circlet - lots of the crowns and circlets were not joined to make a circlet, in the movies.
I keep thinking this crown would have had to be held in place in some way - (other than being designed to clamp around the head for stability). It makes sense that if Gilgalad had his hair drawn back, the pony tail may have either weaved into the crown to keep it in place - or there was an unseen mechanism (comb or pins, staple gun Wink) to keep it in place. The back would have reached the nape of the neck - so if Gil turned his head too quickly and it caught on his clothing, he could stab himself in the face with the front forks of the crown - Pirate Frown as his head would move but the crown would stay where it was ... ouch!!
Ive never seen this crown, so YaY AD for finding a pic! Cheers!

Lovely to see some attention shown to this character too - he reminds me of a gladiator in some way -'Less lembas-more meat' type of guy.

Thankyou for bringing him to light AD

Elven x

Were off to Hobbiton finally!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!


Jul 18 2008, 4:15pm

Post #15 of 40 (7316 views)
Ah, good point... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that analogy/explanation that this outfit is functional as well as stylish!

At the risk of sounding feminine, guess I was allowing my years of wearing high heels to influence me too much!


Arwen's daughter

Jul 18 2008, 4:19pm

Post #16 of 40 (7303 views)
You know, I can manage an elvish gown but I *cannot* walk in high heels! // [In reply to] Can't Post


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Goldberry of the river

Jul 18 2008, 5:07pm

Post #17 of 40 (7285 views)
Stunning [In reply to] Can't Post

His armour is completely stunning. I hadn't noticed it before because we only saw him for a few seconds in the film. I love that shade of blue, it's like a twilight blue.

Brian Blessed for Thorin!

(This post was edited by Rosie on Jul 18 2008, 5:14pm)


Jul 18 2008, 8:08pm

Post #18 of 40 (7280 views)
Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

for doing Gil-galad! I have yet to spot him in the prologue...I always seem to miss him Crazy , so I'm glad to have got a proper look at him Laugh.

I like the colors a lot, and I have to admit I'm not so sure that he would have had that much trouble swishing his sword around. If a big nasty orc was coming towards me I wouldn't worry too much about my "flappy" arms sleeves!!


Reading: I, Robot - Isaac Asimov, The letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

Listening: LOTR Trilogy Soundrack, The Silmarillion, Eden's Bridge - Celtic Worship

Random Delights: Tea, chocolate, summer sunsets and TORn


Jul 18 2008, 9:43pm

Post #19 of 40 (7267 views)
very nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

I got to see the spear up close at the museum exhibit (one of my favorite things, believe it or not) but I had never had such a good look at the armor. I like the Elven armor in general, and Gil-galad's is a wonderful variation on it. I love the blue! Very regal.

Tol Eressea

Jul 18 2008, 9:49pm

Post #20 of 40 (7267 views)
Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

On a trip once to Warwick Castle, they let us try on some medieval chain mail. I could barely lift it, let alone wear it, walk in it for miles, then do battle in it!! A wrestler friend of mine who counts himself as a pretty strong guy also admitted that walking in that chainmail, (not to mention helmet and any other bits of armour), would tire him out pretty quick.

I also remember reading about the amount Roman foot soldiers used to carry with them. Armour, weapons, supplies, it all counted, considering they had to lug it all about for quite a distance. It all depends on what you're used to really!

And I can't walk in high heels either! Especially stilettos!!

*Jazminatar the Brown*


Jul 18 2008, 10:08pm

Post #21 of 40 (7289 views)
Wonderful! This is terrific! Anyone who is not impressed by this is, well, asleep. Cool! [In reply to] Can't Post

You know I just love these, and this is just a great post - showing the brilliance of a costume we barely see on screen. A zillion thanks for this.
Also, A'sD, I've been meaning since you changed it to tell you how impressed I am with your new footer. Lovely!

However, as lovely as it is, this has to be said:

REAL MEN do indeed wear pink!!!!

You never said a truer thing, me dear!


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Tol Eressea

Jul 18 2008, 11:33pm

Post #22 of 40 (7253 views)
Oh, thank you for this! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is so nice to get a good look at this nice costume. If you blink during the EE, you will miss him.

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index


Jul 19 2008, 12:53am

Post #23 of 40 (7285 views)
It's so .... blue [In reply to] Can't Post

and gold and blue and gold ... and yes, his shield looks a bit like a giant scarab. I think you're on to something there pippinmaniac!

Makes me wonder, if this is what he wore into battle, what did he wear for formal occasions...

Arwen's daughter

Jul 19 2008, 12:56am

Post #24 of 40 (7293 views)
Maybe this was a formal battle? [In reply to] Can't Post

A black tie event? I, for one, am quite interested to see Elvish business casual wear. Do Elves wear polo shirts? Tongue

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Jul 19 2008, 12:56am

Post #25 of 40 (7278 views)
No, but once I tried to wear a long-ish dress to the office and [In reply to] Can't Post

the wheels of my roller chair rolled over the bottom of the dress and I was momentarily held captive by the weight of my own body in the chair.

It was quite a predicament. I have not worn such things to the office since!

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