Elves - Minor Characters: 16. Nellas

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16. Nellas

This character biography by Finch 3.06.03

Meaning: 'beech-leaf'?
Race/Species: Elf
Type: Sinda/Grey Elf
Dates: First Age (?)
Location: Doriath
The elf-maiden Nellas is only found in the Narn i Hîn Húrin (UT), the longer version of the story of Túrin Turambar. She was appointed by Melian to watch over Túrin, then fostered by Thingol, whenever he strayed in the forest, 'and often she met him there, as it were by chance. From Nellas Túrin learned much concerning the ways and the wild things of Doriath, and she taught him to speak the Sindarin tongue after the manner of the ancient realm, older, and more courteous, and richer in beautiful words.' But their friendship passed, for Nellas, who didn't like to have a stone roof over her head, never went to Menegroth. She kept watching over him, though, even if he didn't get to see her anymore.
And so, Nellas became the unseen witness of Túrin's final confrontation with his personal enemy Saeros in the woods near the River Esgalduin, a confrontation that ended with Saeros' death on a stone in the river. Túrin fled and was banished by Thingol. But Beleg, who must have known Nellas was constantly keeping an eye on Túrin, went to seek her and led her into Menegroth. Shy as she was, she felt afraid there, 'both for the great pillared hall and the roof of stone, and for the company of many eyes that watched her. And when Thingol bade her speak she said: "Lord, I was sitting in a tree," but then she faltered in awe of the King and could say no more.'
Eventually though, after some coaxing by Thingol, Nellas gave the true version of what had passed between Saeros and Túrin, revealing that it was Saeros who had sprung on the King's foster son at unawares, trying to kill him. She defended Túrin quite fervently: 'He is valiant, but he is merciful. They fought, lord, these two, until Túrin had bereft Saeros of both shield and sword; but he did not slay him. Therefore I do not believe that he willed his death in the end.'
In the end, because of Nellas' testimony, Thingol pardoned Túrin. Beleg managed to find him and told him what had transpired at Thingol's court. As it turned out, Túrin didn't remember Nellas at all, and when Beleg explained who she was, he wondered why he should have been walking with an elf-maiden. Beleg's reply strongly suggests that Nellas was in love with Túrin: "To learn what she could teach, maybe," said Beleg. "Alas, child of Men! There are other grieves in Middle-earth than yours, and wounds made by no weapon. Indeed, I begin to think that Elves and Men should not meet or meddle." At that, 'Túrin said nothing, but looked long in Beleg's face, as if he would read in it the riddle of his words. But Nellas of Doriath never saw him again, and his shadow passed from her.'
About Nellas' final fate, nothing is known. She may have perished when the sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath, or (if she escaped) when they attacked the Havens of Sirion. It is possible, though, that she survived and either went to the Undying Lands at some point, or remained in Middle-earth and faded.


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Lyllyn

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/06/03

Original Post: 02/13/03

Go to Elves - Minor Characters overview

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