Who is Elrond? – More about one of the wisest Elves

by Feb 18, 2003Critical Viewpoints

Biography of Elrond
Dates: Born c.I 525, departed over the Sea 29 September III 3021
Race: Elves (Half-elven) Divisions: Noldor (through his father), Sindar (through his mother). Also descended from the Edain through both lines. Aragorn was a descendant of Elrond’s brother Elros through many generations of Men.
Cultures: Exiles of Gondolin, Elves of Lindon, Rivendell
Titles: Elrond Half-elven, Lord of Rivendell, Elrond Peredhil, Master Elrond
Meaning: In a much later letter (1972), Tolkien interprets the name “Vault of Stars” or “Vault of Heaven,” and Christopher Tolkien gives the similar “Star-dome” in his Appendix to The Silmarillion. Previously Tolkien translated it as “Elf of the Cave” (e’lrond pe’rethil). In a letter of 1958, Tolkien gives a very detailed derivation of Elrond. When the Sons of Fëanor attacked the Exiles of Gondolin, Elrond and his brother Elros (both at that time small children) were carried off, but later found near a waterfall; Elrond was discovered in a cave behind the fall – hence “Elf of the Cave.” In other texts it has been interpreted as Star King.
Elrond is directly descended from Finwe, the leader of the Noldor from the elves’ place of awakening (Cuivienen), and the King of the Noldor in Aman, the ancient blessed land of the west beyond the great sea (often referred to as the Blessed Realm). Elrond is descended directly from the only two known marriages of Eldarin elves with humans in elven history. The first of these is the marriage of Beren and Luthien. Beren is known for his recovering of one of the Silmarils from the dreaded enemy Melkor and Luthien is known for her stunning beauty, the like of which has only recently returned in Arwen Undomiel.

The union of the Eldar with humans was between Idril Celebrindal, daughter of Turgon, and Tuor, a relative of Beren. Their son was Eärendil, Elrond’s father. When he grew up, Eärendil married Elwing, and began seeking for Valinor to ask for the help of the other Valar against Melkor.

One of the greatest Elves in the history of Middle-earth, Elrond was born at the Havens of Sirion late in the First Age. During their sack, he and his brother Elros were taken captive by the Sons of Fëanor when they attacked Arvernien to recover the Silmaril. Maglor took pity on them and released them. When they were rescued, Elrond was found playing in a cave beneath a waterfall, and so received his name.

Both of Elrond’s parents, Eärendil and Elwing, were half-elven, and after the War of Wrath he was given a choice; whether to be counted amongst the kindred of Elves or of Men. He chose the Firstborn, joining the Elven-kind at the end of the First Age, and was made an Eldarin lord of great power and penetrating wisdom. (Elros, his brother, chose to live among Men and eventually died after a long life span as the first king of Númenor.) Elrond remained in Lindon with High King Gil-galad until 1695 of the Second Age.

When Eregion was overrun by the invasion of Eriador by Sauron in 1697, Elrond and the surviving Noldor fled and founded Imladris (known as Rivendell in the common speech), which became one of the greatest Elven refuges in all of Middle Earth. While Elrond lived there, it was said that “His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking, best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” (The Hobbit).

During the Last Alliance, Elrond was Gil-galad’s herald, standing by him when he fell. After Sauron’s defeat by Tar-Minastir of Númenor, Elrond remained in Rivendell, where he prospered with the aid of the Great Ring, Vilya, the Ring of Air, which he received from Gil-galad.

In 100 of the Third Age, Elrond married Celebrian, the daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn. They had three children: Elladen, Elrohir, and Arwen. In 2509, Celebrian and her party were attacked by Orcs in the Misty Mountains when they were traveling to Lórien. She was wounded by a poison arrow. Her sons rescued her and took her back to Rivendell where Elrond healer her. However, she had “lost all delight in Middle Earth and the next year went to the Havens and passed over the Sea,” leaving Elrond and her family behind in Rivendell.

In the Third Age, Elrond gave aid and counsel to the Dúnedain of the North, including military aid for the protection of Arnor and Arthedain and shelter for the Dúnedain (especially the Line of Isildur, his distant nephews).

Elrond secretly raised Aragorn in Rivendell until Aragorn was twenty, and then revealed to him his royal lineage. Just as Aragorn departed from Imaldris, he met Elrond’s daughter Arwen. It was love at first-sight; however, Elrond would not consent his daughter’s marriage to any Man who was less than the King of both Arnor and Gondor. Hence the two did not marry until after the WR.

Elrond played a great part in the histories of the Second and Third Ages; he marched with Gil-galad and Elendil to the War of the Last Alliance, and was a leading member of the White Council. He was renowned for his learning: he “knew all about runes of every kind,” and was consulted by Thorin Oakenshield and company on the same matter (The Hobbit) and he is “a master of healing”‘ (Fellowship), and, most obviously, it was at his home in Rivendell that the Free Peoples met to debate what to do about Mordor. At the time of the Council of Elrond in 3018 (Third Age), he had dwelt in Middle-earth for some 6,500 years. At the end of the Third Age, Elrond departed over Sea with the Last Riding of the Keepers of the Rings.

The information on this page comes from The Encyclopedia of Arda, The Silmarillion and The Complete Guide to Middle Earth.


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