My Favorite Aragorn Stories
Playlist Navigation Bar
Water and Stone: 30. Glossary
(Beware: possible spoilers for The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings)
If you are already familiar with the characters of Middle Earth, you will know most of this, but there is a small section on some of the OCs, elves of the Galadhrim, and Men.
Galadriel was a Noldorin elf born in Valinor in the time of the Two Trees. She travelled to Middle-earth at the beginning of the First Age with her four brothers and lived some of the time at Doriath, the kingdom of her kinsman Thingol in Beleriand, which is where she might have met Celeborn who later became her husband.
After Beleriand was destroyed after the War of Wrath, most of the Noldor returned to Valinor, but Galadriel, who already knew she wanted to rule in her own right, and Celeborn remained in Middle-earth, and they may have lived in and ruled Eregion, an elvish settlement to the west of Moria, also called Hollin, until its destruction by Sauron in 1697 (Second Age). After the loss of Amroth, ruler of Lothlorien, in 1981 (Third Age), Galadriel and Celeborn became Lady and Lord of Lothlórien, which they had probably visited frequently before that time, and lived there until the end of the Third Age.
Galadriel was the keeper of one of the three elven rings made at Eregion by Celebrimbor, (grandson of Feanor who made the Silmarils, and himself a jewelsmith) who was shown by Sauron in his guise of Annatar, Lord of Gifts, how to cast the rings which could unknown to Celebrimbor later be under the control of the One Ring, which Sauron himself cast in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor. However Sauron had no part in the making of the three elven rings and so they were to some extent uncorrupted by his evil.
Galadriel was given Nenya, the ring of water or Adamant, set with a diamond, and used it to maintain the elven home of Lothlorien from the changes which might have come about as a result of the natural movement of time, to which the elves were not subject in the same way as men or other mortal creatures. This made Lorien a sanctuary for the elves, but they were still threatened by the presence of Sauron and the Nazgul in southern Mirkwood, and the orcs who lived in the Misty Mountains, as well as by any other natural threats of the territory or by the machinations of Sauron.
Galadriel had the use of a mirror which enabled her to have some idea of events taking place in Middle Earth, although it did not directly foretell them. She could also speak mind-to-mind with others. It is possible that she learnt some of these skills when she lived in Doriath, where Thingol’s wife, Melian, a Maia (a sort of spirit of the gods with greater than earthly powers) had been able to protect Doriath from attack with a kind of force field called the Girdle of Melian.
Her name means ‘radiant woman’ and refers to her beautiful golden hair.
Husband of Galadriel, whose origins are not clear. He might have lived in Valinor as she did, or might have been an elf who did not cross the Sea after the great journey. Celeborn means ‘Silver Tree’ and he is known as a forester, which seems important for the forest of Lothlorien.
When Galadriel went over Sea at the beginning of the Fourth Age, Celeborn remained behind, going to live in Rivendell (Imladris) with the sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir. His final end is not described by Tolkien.
Born in 525 of the First Age at the Havens of Sirion, where the remains of the exiles of two elvish communities, Gondolin and Doriath. His father Earendil was the lord the Havens, and had managed to escape the fall of Gondolin with his parents Tuor (a man) and Idril (an elf-woman) partly because of the sacrifice of Glorfindel, the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, who died fighting a balrog, a primordial fire spirit sent by Morgoth, the god who Sauron later served.
Later the Havens were sacked by the Sons of Feanor, searching for a Silmaril in the possession of Elrond’s mother, Elwing. Elrond’s father had for a long time tried to find a way back to Valinor to seek the help of the Valar against Morgoth, and Elwing took the Silmaril to him, leaving Elrond and his brother Elros behind, where they were taken captive by the sons of Feanor but one of them, Maglor, took pity on them and released them. Later they were found playing in a cave beneath a waterfall, and that is how Elrond received his name, which means ‘star-dome’.
Since Elrond and his brother were half-elven and half-men, they were given the choice as to which of the peoples to belong. Elrond chose the Firstborn, elven kindred, but is still known as Peredhil (Halfelven), while Elros chose to be counted among Men and was the first King of Numenor, from whom Aragorn was descended many thousands of years later. Elrond stayed in Lindon, the land that remained on the west coast of Middle Earth after the destruction of Beleriand in the war against Morgoth, and served as herald to the High King of the elves, Gil-galad.
When Eregion fell at the end of the Second Age, and war broke out between Sauron and the peoples of Middle Earth, Elrond fought in the war, and founded the haven of Rivendell (Imladris) on the western side of the Misty Mountains. After the War of the Last Alliance and the death of Gil-galad at the Siege of Barad-Dur, Sauron’s stronghold in Mordor, and the accession as King of Gondor and Arnor of Elendil’s son, Isildur, who kept possession of the One Ring which he had cut from Sauron’s hand during the battle of Dagorlad, Elrond withdrew to Rivendell and became known as a healer and lore-master, fostering several generations of the heirs of Isildur once the kingdom of Arnor became too weak to maintain itself in its earlier power and dignity, and the line of Gondor failed, to be replaced by Stewards.
At the beginning of the Third Age Elrond married Celebrian, daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel, and their twin sons Elladan and Elrohir were born in 130, and their daughter Arwen in 241. In 2509 Celebrian was travelling back from Lorien when she was captured and tortured by orcs, and though rescued by her sons and healed of a poisoned wound by Elrond, she decided to leave Imladris and went over Sea the following year.
It is assumed that Gil-galad must have been the holder of the second of the elven rings, Vilya, the ring of Sapphire, also called the ring of Air, and that it passed to Elrond after his death. Elrond was a member of the White Council which was formed in the Third Age by the Wise, comprising the chief among the elves, together with the Istari or wizards, to combat the growing power of Sauron after his earlier defeat.
Tolkien seems to have decided that the Glorfindel who died at Gondolin, enabling Elrond’s father to flee with his parents and so ensuring Elrond’s own existence, is the same one who was sent back from Mandos either in the middle of the Second Age or with the Istari in the Third Age. In his earlier incarnation, Glorfindel was the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, a noble house, and a captain of Gondolin, the elven city founded in the early years of the First Age by Turgon, Elrond’s great-grandfather.
Although he is Noldor, Glorfindel (which means golden-haired) does not have the usual Noldor dark hair, and may be related to the Vanyar, the first elves to reach Valinor after the great journey to which they were called by the Valar after their awakening at Lake Cuivienen in the time of the stars, before the sun and moon were made. If this is the case, Glorfindel may be related to the royal line.
Aragorn is the last heir of Isildur, the his father Arathorn was killed hunting orcs with Elrond’s sons, Elladan and Elrohir, when Aragorn was two years old, and he and his mother Gilraen came to live at Imladris, where Elrond gave him the name Estel (Hope) and concealed his royal ancestry from him, partly to prevent it becoming known to any who might wish to harm him.
When he was twenty years old, Elrond told him his true name and ancestry and entrusted to him the heirlooms of his royal house. Since his father’s death Aragorn had been the Chieftain of the Dunedain, the descendants of Isildur’s line, and at the beginning of this story, he is embarking on his career as potential King of the joint kingdoms of Arnor (a kingdom in name only) and Gondor (still a famous city, now ruled by Stewards who technically hold the throne in anticipation of the King’s return), in conflict with the rising power of Mordor.
Just after learning of his ancestry, Aragorn meets Elrond’s daughter, Arwen, who has lived with her grandparents Galadriel and Celeborn in the time since his birth, and whose existence was unknown to him, in the woods of Imladris, and mistakes her for Luthien, the daughter of Melian and Thingol, an elf-woman who married a man of the Edain, Beren, during the First Age. Aragorn falls in love with her, but there are problems ahead.
Daughter of Elrond, sister of Elladan and Elrohir. Known as Undomiel or Evenstar, and bearing a great resemblance to earlier elven noblewoman, Luthien Tinuviel (nightingale).
An elf of the Galadhrim. These were the tree-dwelling elves of Lorien, who did not cross the Misty Mountains when summoned by the Valar to Valinor, but remained in the east and established Lorien long before the First Age, where it existed in unbroken continuity since that time.
Haldir was a marchwarden who guarded the northern borders of Lorien with his brothers Rumil and Orophin. He describes them as among the few who are willing to meet those who live outside Lorien, suggesting an inward-looking and self-contained community. Haldir is also known as (but I can’t find the reference) the Guardian of Lorien, so I’m assuming a sort of commander-in-chief role for him as far as the defence of Lorien goes, and maybe also in relation to Lorien’s involvement of conflict outside its own borders involving the war against Mordor. In ‘Unfinished Tales’ Tolkien refers to the part played by the army of Malgalad, who could have been the ruler of Lorien, in the battle of Dagorlad, so they do participate in life outside their own borders.
Haldir means ‘Tall’.
Orophin and Rumil
Brothers of Haldir, marchwardens of Lorien.
Elladan and Elrohir
Twin sons of Elrond, born at the beginning of Third Age. Never mentioned apart in LOTR. After their mother was captured and tortured by orcs and, though rescued and healed, decided to leave Middle Earth, they were filled with hatred for them and often hunted them with the Dunedain. Later took part in War of the Ring.
The fourteen spirits who entered Arda to take part in its creation and continuation, each with a specific role. Some important ones are Manwe, lord of the airs, and his wife Varda, also called Elbereth or Starkindler, who caused the stars to shine, and is specially beloved of the elves since the stars were the first things they saw when they woke after their creation. Ulmo is in charge of waters and Aule of the substance of Middle Earth, such as rock and metal, and so also of any kind of craft or making. He created the dwarves. His wife Yavanna (giver of fruits) is in charge of all growing things on the earth. Orome is the lord of hunting. Namo or Mandos is the keeper of the Halls to which Elves go to wait when they are slain, before going to Aman, the Blessed Realm, or very occasionally being sent back to Middle Earth. Melkor was a great Valar, brother to Manwe, but chose to oppose what emerged from the mind of Eru, the creator, called the One, bringing discord and wanting power for himself alone until finally he wished only to destroy everything that had been made by Eru, also known as Iluvatar, and the Valar. He was later called Morgoth.
Maiar or spirit beings sent by the Valar to assist the inhabitants of Middle Earth in their struggle against Sauron. Main characters are Gandalf the Grey (Mithrandir, Olorin) and Saruman the White (Curunir) who is chief of the Istari, and lived at Orthanc, a tower built by the men of Gondor, and protected by the rocky walls of the Ring of Isengard. Gandalf had no fixed home, preferring to travel wherever he was needed.
Sauron was also a Maia in the service of Aule, and learnt many crafts from him, including the skill of forging rings. He later served Melkor, and after his master’s defeat, worked on his own account against the peoples of Middle Earth.
Other non-Tolkien characters
ELVES OF LORIEN
A Silvan elf of Lorien, born Third Age, 333. His name means ‘running song’ or ‘swift song’ and can be used to refer to the sound of water. Brother Aiglin, sister Alfirin.
A Silvan elf of Lorien, born Third Age, 323. His name means. ‘mountain peaks’. Brother Celinn, sister Alfirin.
A Silvan elf of Lorien, born Third Age, 372. Her name is that of a golden field flower. Brothers Celinn and Aiglin.
A Noldor elf, born in Eregion, Second Age, 1273. Came to Lorien after the fall of Eregion with his brother Luinil. His name is from the Sindarin word for the month of April.
A Noldor elf, born in Eregion, Second Age, 1285. His name comes from the word ‘luin’, blue, and relates to his very dark hair with blue lights. Brother Gwirith.
A Silvan elf of Lorien, born in Third Age, cousin to Celinn, Aiglin and Alfirin. His name means ‘red-haired.’ No particular logic behind it, I just wanted him to have red hair.
A Noldor elf, born Eregion, married to Siriel, who has a sister, Falariel. His name comes from a great river in Beleriand.
Aelindor, Silivren, Heleghen, Haelon, Gwaerindal and Haroth
Other Silvan elves of Lorien
Helevorn and Tathrenil
Healers who work in the healing house of Lorien.
Man who in this particular story stood in as Chieftain of the Dunedain while Aragorn was growing up at Imladris. The Dunedain were men who originally lived at Numenor, an island raised from the sea by the Valar as a reward to the men who stayed faithful to them during the conflicts of the First Age. Their first king was Elros, Elrond’s brother, and they became a powerful nation, returning to Middle Earth during the Second Age and founding settlements. Later lost Numenor after defying the Valar at Sauron’s instigation. Elendil, and his sons Isildur and Anarion were among those who survived the Downfall of Numenor, and founded Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor, but over time the line of the Dunedain dwindled and they became wandering rangers whose true lineage began to fade into legend, until it was given to Aragorn to try to revive their fortunes.
Man who hates orcs and elves equally. His name means ‘man of shadow’.
Other lands of Middle Earth
Inhabited by Dunlendings, enemies of neighbouring Rohan, Dunland is situated to the west of the Misty Mountains. Known as unfriendly and troublesome, but had lost some of their land to Rohan, so perhaps wasn’t surprising.
Land bounded by the Misty Mountains in the west, Gondor and the White Mountains in the south and the river Anduin in the east. Inhabited by the Rohirrim, or Horse Lords, and also known as the Mark or the Riddermark. The land was gifted to them by Gondor after the Rohirrim helped them in time of need. Kings of Rohan lived at Edoras, in the Golden Hall of Meduseld.
The eastern land, a part of Gondor, which Sauron took on his return to Middle Earth in about 1000 of the Third Age, and where he built Barad-Dur, the Dark Tower, and gathered his forces.
An elvish kingdom to the north east of the Misty Mountains, ruled by Thranduil and blighted from about 1000 of the Third Age by a shadow which darkened its southern parts, especially around Dol Guldur, a tower built at its southern edge by Sauron and inhabited by him in his guise of the Necromancer or by his servants the Nazgul, kings of men who had accepted the gift of a ring from him and had gradually been brought under his power by it. Thranduil’s son Legolas was one of the Nine Walkers who accompanied the Ringbearer on his journey to Mordor. Mirkwood was also inhabited by large spiders and other creatures of shadow.
Sources: The Silmarillion; The Lord of the Rings; An Introduction to Elvish by Jim Allan; The Encyclopaedia of Arda www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
Playlist Navigation Bar