Reader: The Silmarillion. Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 5 “Of Eldamar And The Princes Of The Eldalië”

Reader deep thought: So of the three ambassadors to Valinor, their fates went different ways, as did the fates of their peoples. Insular Ingwë, secular Finwë, and sundered Elwë. Through this chapter, the Elves and Eldar were sundered repeatedly. With all the trials and tribulations to get the Eldar settled in Valinor, it’s clear Ulmo remained the only clear-headed one of all involved.

“…. And Ulmo granted their request, and at his bidding Ossë made fast the island and rooted it to the foundations of the sea. Ulmo did this the more readily, for he understood the hearts of the Teleri, and in the council of the Valar he had spoken against the summons, thinking that it were better for the Quendi to remain in Middle-earth. The Valar were little pleased to learn what he had done; and Finwë grieved when the Teleri came not, and yet more when he learned that Elwë was forsaken, and knew that he should not see him again, unless it were in the halls of Mandos….”



Because of the perennial ice and snowstorms Melkor made in the north, even though it was the shorter route as Thorondor would fly,  Oromë led the Eldar the other way. Unfortunately, the Eldar were spooked by the sight of the sea. So he left them on the shores of the Beleriand while he went back to Valinor for advice.

In time the hosts of the Vanyar and the Noldor came to the last western shores of the Hither Lands. In the north these shores, in the ancient days after the Battle of the Powers, bent ever westward, until in the northernmost parts of Arda only a narrow sea divided Aman, upon which Valinor was built, from the Hither Lands; but this narrow sea was filled with grinding ice, because of the violence of the frosts of Melkor. Therefore Oromë did not lead the hosts of the Eldalië into the far north, but brought them to the fair lands about the River Sirion, that afterwards were named Beleriand; and from those shores whence first the Eldar looked in fear and wonder on the Sea there stretched an ocean, wide and dark and deep, between them and the Mountains of Aman.


As it turned out, music therapy was the remedy, and in an inspired move, Ulmo literally moved the earth to ferry the Vanyar and Noldor to Aman.

Ulmo… spoke with the Eldar who waited there, gazing on the dark waves; and because of his words and the music which he made for them on his horns of shell their fear of the sea was turned rather to desire…. Ulmo uprooted an island… and with the aid of his servants he moved it, as it were a mighty ship, and anchored it in the Bay of Balar…. the Vanyar and the Noldor embarked upon that isle, and were drawn over the sea, and came at last to the long shores beneath the Mountains of Aman; and they entered Valinor and were welcomed to its bliss.


The island ship of Ulmo was not all there though; a piece of it remained in its original address and became the Isle of Balar, a favoured spot of Ossë, one of Ulmo’s people.

The Teleri, unfortunately, did not hear Ulmo’s concert of beckoning from where they were in East Beleriand. They were also still in a fluster looking for their lost king, Elwë, without whom they would not continue the journey. So the Eldar was sundered. But as Thingol and Melian stood in the suspended animation of their shared enchantment, finally things started moving. The main bulk of the Teleri host moved to the Mouths of Sirion, missing their friends among the Vanyar and Noldor  who had departed. Olwë, brother of Elwë, became their king.

They proved to be enviably talented in music and had great sea-legs (more’s the pity that they were not there when Ulmo was boarding the Eldar for the epic island boat cruise). And from his favoured spot, Ossë, along with Uinen taught them to sing and know of the sea.

Long they remained by the coasts of the western sea, and Ossë and Uinen came to them and befriended them; and Ossë instructed them, sitting upon a rock near to the margin of the land, and of him they learned all manner of sea-lore and sea-music. Thus it came to be that the Teleri, who were from the beginning lovers of water, and the fairest singers of all the Elves, were after enamoured of the seas, and their songs were filled with the sound of waves upon the shore.


Finally, the Teleri got a break. Ulmo organised another epic island boat cruise at the behest of Finwë and the Noldor missing their friends from across the sea. The Teleri were ready this time. But:

… great was the grief of Ossë when Ulmo returned to the coasts of Beleriand, to bear them away to Valinor; for his care was for the seas of Middle-earth and the shores of the Hither Lands, and he was ill-pleased that the voices of the Teleri should be heard no more in his domain. Some he persuaded to remain; and those were the Falathrim, the Elves of the Falas, who in after days had dwellings at the havens of Brithombar and Eglarest, the first mariners in Middle-earth and the first makers of ships. Círdan
the Shipwright was their lord.

So the first splinter of the Teleri became the mariners of Middle-earth, and Cirdan the first ruler not among the original three ambassadors to Valinor. But there was another part of the host:

The kinsfolk and friends of Elwë Singollo also remained in the Hither Lands, seeking him yet, though they would fain have departed to Valinor and the light of the Trees, if Ulmo and Olwë had been willing to tarry longer. But Olwë would be gone; and at last the main host of the Teleri embarked upon the isle, and Ulmo drew them far away. Then the friends of Elwë were left behind; and they called themselves Eglath, the Forsaken People. They dwelt in the woods and hills of Beleriand, rather than by the sea, which filled them with sorrow; but the desire of Aman was ever in their hearts.

So sundered the Elves for the third time. The Teleri had been twice sundered. The sadness of the Elgath surely must have been assuaged when Elwë finally woke from his “long trance” with Melian. Emerging from Nan Elmoth, the couple “dwelt thereafter in the woods in the midst of the land”, even though he too desired to see the light of the Trees again, for:

…. Greatly though he had desired to see again the light of the Trees, in the face of Melian he beheld the light Silm chap5-Thingol-1of Aman as in an unclouded mirror, and in that lSilm chap5-Thingol-2ight he was content. His people gathered about him in joy, and they were amazed; for fair and noble as he had been, now he appeared as it were a lord of the Maiar, his hair as grey silver, tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar; and a high doom was before him.


At the least, the Elgath were not totally forsaken. The faithful were rewarded, in a way, with a great king for the ages.

The departed Teleri, meantime, were facing a dilemma of their own. Ossë, made his move when the cruise reached the Bay of Eldamar. Hearing him, the Teleri asked Ulmo to stop, and he allowed Ossë to anchor the island right there. As the chief minority voice among those who were not for bringing the Firstborn to Valinor, “for he understood the hearts of the Teleri, and in the council of the Valar he had spoken against the summons, thinking that it were better for the Quendi to remain in Middle-earth.”

Naturally, the rest of the Valinor greats were not happy. And Finwë, rued the fates, when he learned also that Elwë was not among the cruise passengers.

For the passengers themselves, the island became their home, now named Tol
Eressëa, the Lonely Isle.

There the Teleri abode as they wished under the stars of heaven, and yet within sight of Aman and the deathless shore; and by that long sojourn apart in the Lonely Isle was caused the sundering of their speech from that of the Vanyar and the Noldor.


So the Teleri remained sundered from the other Eldar.

The other Eldar were granted a snazzy address in Valinor:

Even among the radiant flowers of the Tree-lit gardens of Valinor they longed still at times to see the stars; and therefore a gap was made in the great walls of the Pelóri, and there in a deep valley that ran down to the sea the Eldar raised a high green hill: Túna it was called. From the west the light of the Trees fell upon it, and its shadow lay ever eastward; and to the east it looked towards the Bay of Elvenhome, and the Lonely Isle, and the Shadowy Seas. Then through the Calacirya, the Pass of Light, the radiance of the Blessed Realm streamed forth, kindling the dark waves to silver and gold, and it touched the Lonely Isle, and its western shore grew green and fair. There bloomed the first flowers that ever were east of the Mountains of Aman.


Further, the Elven city of Tirion was raised upon Túna, “and the highest of the towers of that city was the Tower of Ingwë, Mindon Eldaliéva, whose silver lamp shone far out into the mists of the sea.” For them also, Yavanna made a facsimile of the Two Trees, Galathilion, which was planted in the courts beneath the Mindon. From Galathilion, a seedling came to be Celeborn on Tol Eressëa, from which came Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor.

So the Vanyar had the favour Manwë and Varda, while the Noldor were beloved of Aulë, and he delighted in them. Linguists and precocious students, their crafts enriched the beauty of the Blessed Realm.

Because the Noldor were such an impact on the history of Middle-earth, the who’s who of Noldor’s First Family entered stage right:



  • Finwë , King of the Noldor. His wives, sequentially, were:
    • Míriel Serindë, queen and mother of:
      • Fëanor, “mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame”. His seven sons were
        • Maedhros the tall
        • Maglor the mighty singer, whose voice was heard far over land and sea
        • Celegorm the fair, a friend of Oromë, who often went hunting with the Vala.
        • Caranthir the dark
        • Curufin the crafty, who inherited most his father’s skill of hand
        • Amrod and Amras, the youngest, who were twin brothers, alike in mood and face. They were also hunters.
    • Indis of the Vanyar, queen and mother of:
      • Fingolfin, “the strongest, the most steadfast, and the most valiant”. His children were:
        • Fingon (later to be King of the Noldor in the north of the world
        • Turgon (later lord of Gondolin)
        • Aredhel the White. “She was younger in the years of the Eldar than her brothers; and when she was grown to full stature and beauty she was tall and strong, and loved much to ride and hunt in the forests. There she was often in the company of the sons of Fëanor, her kin; but to none was her heart’s love given. Ar-Feiniel she was called, the White Lady of the Noldor, for she was pale, though her hair was dark, and she was never arrayed but in silver and white.”
      • Finarfin, “the fairest, and the most wise of heart; and afterwards he was a friend of the sons of Olwë, lord of the Teleri, and had to wife Eärwen, the swan-maiden of Alqualondë, Olwë’s daughter.” His children were:
        • Finrod the faithful (who was afterwards named Felagund, Lord of Caves)
        • Orodreth
        • Angrod
        • Aegnor
          (“… these four were as close in friendship with the sons of Fingolfin as though they were all brothers.”)
        • Galadriel, “most beautiful of all the house of Finwë; her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin”.


Proximity, and probably time, made the heart grow fonder in the case of the Teleri:

…. Through a long age they dwelt in Tol Eressëa; but slowly their hearts were changed, and were drawn towards the light that flowed out over the sea to the Lonely Isle. They were torn between the love of the music of the waves upon their shores, and the desire to see again their kindred and to look upon the splendour of Valinor; but in the end desire of the light was the stronger….


ted nasmith_the silmarillion_2_quenta silmarillion_5_of eldamar and the princes of the eldalie2_medFinally, Ulmo, again at the behest of the other Valar, sent Ossë, who “though grieving taught them the craft of ship-building.” And when they were ready, he brought strong-winged swans which “drew the white ships of the Teleri over the windless sea; and thus at last and latest they came to Aman and the shores of Eldamar.”

Finally, the Teleri had arrived. Their city was Alqualondë, the Haven of the Swans, built on the shores of Eldamar. Their city was also their harbour, “made in the likeness of swans, with beaks of gold and eyes of gold and jet. The gate of that harbour was an arch of living rock sea-carved; and it lay upon the confines of Eldamar, north of the Calacirya, where the light of the stars was bright and clear.”

Gradually, the Vanyar went local: “grew to love the land of the Valar and the full light of the Trees, and they forsook the city of Tirion upon Túna, and dwelt thereafter upon the mountain of Manwë, or about the plains and woods of Valinor, and became sundered from the Noldor.” And “Ingwë was ever held the High King of all the Elves. He abode thereafter at the feet of Manwë upon Taniquetil.”

For the Noldor though, “the memory of Middle-earth under the stars” remained in their hearts. They journeyed aboard often in discovery and exploration, Fëanor and his sons were among the most restless of explorers. Despite their penchant for travel, the Noldor grew close again with the Teleri dwelling in Alqualondë.

Thus, the Eldar were sundered yet again.

(Relevance: read-along schedule)

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