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Extant during the later First Age1
Not certainly known2
Probably 'ga'mil zi'rak'


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 August 2020
  • Updates planned: 1

Gamil Zirak

The master of Telchar the smith

A Dwarvish smith, the master of Telchar of Nogrod, the maker of many renowned works. Gamil Zirak was a great craftsman himself, and the treasuries of Thingol were known to hold examples of his work.



We have no specific dates for Gamil Zirak, so we can do more than infer his approximate lifetime based on the minimal clues we have in the text. We know that he was the teacher of Telchar, so he must have been active earlier than that famous master. Further, we know that Telchar was a contemporary of Azaghâl, who died in battle in I 472. On that basis, Telchar was probably working during the fifth century of the Years of the Sun, and so we might tentatively suggest that his master Gamil Zirak was likely working during the preceding fourth century.


Unlike most named Dwarves, Gamil Zirak did not belong to the Longbeard clan (or Durin's Folk, as they're often called). According to late notes (in the essay Of Dwarves and Men in volume XII of The History of Middle-earth) he would instead have belonged to either the Firebeard or the Broadbeam clans. That source is not definitive on which clan dwelt in which city of the Blue Mountains, but based on the word order used there, Gamil of Nogrod would have been a Firebeard Dwarf.


For the name Gamil, we have no information at all on its origins (indeed, we cannot even be sure which language it comes from, though given the connection to the Dwarvish Zirak, it is presumably from the same tongue). Zirak also appears in the mountain name Zirakzigil, but even here the meaning is not completely clear. At one time Tolkien interpreted the word as 'silver', which would make perfect sense as a sobriquet for a great metalsmith. However, he later reconsidered, suggesting that it meant 'pinnacle', which fits a narrow mountain peak, but is harder to square with the title of a master craftsman. On this reading, perhaps Gamil was unusually tall (for a Dwarf) or considered to be at the 'pinnacle' of his craft.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 20 August 2020
  • Updates planned: 1

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