Elwë and Melian – A re-telling of their Story.

by Aug 2, 2002Stories

*Author’s note: I have always loved the story of Thingol and Melian, and so I wrote my own version. The storyline and names are Tolkien’s, but the rest is mine.*

When the Elves awoke in the dusk of starlight beside Cuiviénen, they beheld in wonder the fashion of the World and all therein, and beholding it they loved it with the thought that was given unto them; and they will not suffer, save by a high doom, to be seperated from Arda, which they hold as a part of their own Being. Yet most of all did they love the stars, for when they awoke, they beheld first the stars of heaven, and loved them. Never yet has that love faded from the Elves, nor will.

Yet the Valar, seeing that while they lived in the bliss of the light of the trees in Valinor, but that the Elves wandered homeless beneath the star-lit dusk in the wild, uncharted lands, invited them to live within the light of the Trees in the farthest West upon the confines of the World. And so three emissaries were sent to the land of the Valar, and these were Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë. Upon returning to Cuiviénen, these three, who later became kings, urged their folk to travel with them back to Valinor, for their hearts were filled with wonder and love of all that they had seen there.

Thus most of the Elves forsook Cuiviénen and travelled behind the trail of the lord Oromë upon Nahar, his white horse shod with gold. At the sound of the Valaróma all things vile and evil fled away into the darkness, for fear of the wrath of the Valar. Yet even so, many perils they met upon their travels, remnants of the foul offspring that Melkor bred in Utumno ere he was over-thrown. A great impediment upon that long road was the Hithaeglir, the Mountains of Mist, that Melkor had reared to hinder Oromë’s riding forth. In the face of these looming, dark mountains, many of the people of Elwë, the Teleri, quailed, and would go no furthur, but dwelt under the shadow of the mountains in fear. But Elwë would not stay, but went on with the remnant of his people and the rest of the company over the mountains, for he longed to dwell in the Blessed Realm and behold again the Two Trees that he had seen with his own eyes.

Once they passed the Blue Mountain, Ered Luin, which marked the far western lands of Middle-earth, his people would go no further, but dwelt for a time in Thargelion, for the Lord Oromë was away upon an errand and was not there to lead them further. And Elwë was restless, wishing to return unto the lands of the Valar; and so at times he would leave his people and ride west alone to the forests of Neldoreth and Region where Finwë lord of the Noldor dwelt, for they were close in friendship.

Yet on a time upon one of these journeys, Elwë strayed into the wood of Nan Elmoth, whose large trees and boughs opened wide under the firmament, and the starlight streamed in silver waves through their branches, so that it was filled at all times as with the light of gloaming, and the silver light played softly upon the leaves and grass.

But as Elwë walked through the forest, he was in amaze for its beauty, but even more so for the silence of the wood around him. Yet suddenly, as a sweet smell is lofted from towers of mist beyond the margins of the world to the lands below, he heard a voice lilting through the trees, and it was a song more beautiful that aught he had ever heard. His feet stood rooted to the ground, and his silver hair shone under the starlight, and he payed heed to naught else but that voice, enchanted. It was as a constant flow of weaving and interchanging melodies that formed the quintessential polyphemic antistrope; as a weaver, who, sitting at the loom, with fingers like lightning weaves a myriad of brilliant colours in intricate design betwixt each other. Hearkening unto it, it seemed that he saw fair visions and lands unfold before his living eyes. The very air was of timelessness and it resonated with the joy of Arda and all the fair things within it that Ilúvatar made. It seemed he heard afar off the chiming of the bells in the citadels of Valmar within the golden and pearl streets, and saw the blossoming of the Trees, when the lights mingled at end of day. The words he understood not, yet still his heart overflowed with the deep rippling music.The trees were silent, the leaves were silent; the very stars wheeling in their dome seemed to stop and hearken unto that voice. No blade of grass or chirping criket stirred.

Unseeing, unhearing aught but that voice, his feet, loosed from their enchantment, moved swiftly and silently through the wood, seeking the singer of the music. At last he came to a glade, open under the gleaming stars, and he saw her whom none of the Children of Ilúvatar had yet seen, save he alone: Melian.

Melian was of the race of the Maiar, those that were with Ilúvatar before Eä was made. In the gardens of Irmo in Lórien she dwelt, and served Estë the Pale, until, for love of the starlit dusk and shadows of the trees, she departed from Valinor and went to Middle-earth. Her song wove wonder and enchantment around the forests of the world, and all else in propinquity fell silent when Melian sang, save the nightengales that fluttered about her, and Nan Elmoth was woven with her song and enchantments.

It was she whom Elwë came upon in the forest, and as he stepped through the trees and saw her he gazed in wonder upon her beauty, for she was more beautiful than any Child of Ilúvatar that he had yet seen. She was clad in pale grey, and silver glinted upon her girdle and the edges of her garments, giving off a diaphanous sheen. No shoon she wore, and her dark hair fell over her shoulders even unto her silver feet. Then Elwë beheld her face, and a light shone from it, that was the light of the Blessed Realm, and her eyes were grey as the starlit dusk about them, yet deep as the deepest waters of Cuiviénen. Great love stirred in his heart, and he came towards her, and she fled not from him, but stood still, silent, and he took her hand in his. And once again he fell under a spell, and stood rooted to the ground, and he forgot his people in the east, and the riding of Oromë, and his friend Finwë, but saw and knew only the beauty of Melian and gazed into her deep grey eyes.

Many years passed, and still he stood there, with his hand in Melian’s, fallen under the enchantment of her music and beauty. And his people, seeing that he returned not from Neldoreth and that no tidings of him had been heard, searched for him, but found him not. And in vain they searched until at last Oromë returned to lead them over the Sundering Seas into Valinor. Many of his people then departed in sorrow, taking Olwë brother of Elwë as their lord, and they came at last to Valinor and made their abode at Alqualondë, the Haven of the Swans. Yet some would not forsake their lord, and remained in the starlit lands of Middle-earth still seeking Elwë, the lord that they had lost; and Elwë came never, as long as he lived, unto the Blessed Realm that he had seen and for which he had so longed.

When Elwë emerged at last from Nan Elmoth, his people greeted him with joy and wonder, for Melian was with him. And Elwë took the name Singollo, (which in the language of the Sindar is Thingol), Greymantle, and his realm was the forests of Neldoreth and Region, that was called Doriath, and Melian was his wife. Her enchantments she wove in a girdle about Doriath so that no evil from without could enter in.

And beneath the beeches of Neldoreth in the starlight was born Lúthien, daughter of Thingol and Melian, she who was called Tinúviel, Daughter of Twilight. Her beauty and enchantment was like unto her mother, and her lilting voice was more beautiful than a nightengale; yet she was hard as steel and firm of will as her father. She was more beautiful than any other Child of the World, and a high doom was upon her.


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Found in Home 5 Reading Room 5 Stories 5 Elwë and Melian – A re-telling of their Story.

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