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Abiadan
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re: Gabennas Na' Ennor (The History of Middle Earth)

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The Story of Earendil

Earendil was the son of Tuor and Idril, and born in Gondolin during the First Age before its fall. Earendil lived at the court of Gondolin, the Hidden City, until he was 7 years old. In FA 510, Morgoth found Gondolin and utterly destroyed it. Earendil and his parents along with a remnant of the Gondolindrim escaped Morgoth's hordes, heading south along the Vales of Sirion where they were protected by the power of Ulmo that still ran in the river.

   Arriving in Nan-tathren (Land of the Willows), the survivors of Gondolin stayed for a while. From Nan-tathren, Tuor and Idril led their son and people further south to the Mouths of Sirion joining with Elwing and other survivors of the Ruin of Doriath. There they settled on the shores of the sea.

 

Earendil, FA 511 - 538

The Golondrim were taken in by the elves on the nearby Isle of Balar. Cirdan the Shipwright took Earendil as an apprentice and taught him shipbuilding and navigation.

In 525 Earendil married Elwing, uniting the royal houses of Gondolin and Doriath. At this time Tuor and Idril decided to leave Middle Earth. Idril gave Earendil the Elessar, made by Celebrimbor, and then left with her husband Tuor on his great ship Earrame. It is believed that they sailed for Aman never to be seen again in Middle Earth. Tuor is said to have been accepted into Aman as one of the Firstborn, a gift never given to any other of the race of Man.

Earendil became the lord of the people at the Mouths of Sirion when his mother and father sailed for the lands of the Valar. In 532 he became father to twins: Elrond and Elros.

With the help of his friend Círdan, he began building a ship of his own, using wood from the birches of Nimbrethil. He named that ship Vingilot, 'Foam-flower', and aboard it he set out to voyage the Western Sea.

 

Earendil, The Voyages

 Taking three friends, Falathar, Erellont and Aerandir, Eärendil left Middle-earth to sail the Great Sea and find a way, if he could, to Valinor in the West. According to one historical source Eärendil encountered, and slew, the monstrous spider Ungoliant.

Long before, the Valar had hidden their land from seafarers, and Eärendil could find no way past the Enchanted Isles and the Shadowy Seas that blocked the way westwards. Giving up, he turned around and sailed towards his home in Middle-earth.

One night, as Eärendil stood at the Vingilot's helm, he saw a great white bird bearing a light that shone as brightly as a star. The bird landed on the deck of his ship, but in the morning he discovered that the bird was Elwing his wife with a Silmaril. The Sons of Fëanor had attacked the Mouths of Sirion to take the jewel per their Oath, and Elwing had thrown herself into the Sea with it. Ulmo changed her into the form a white bird, enabling her to reach Eärendil out on the ocean.

With his home gone, Eärendil turned back around to the West. Putting the Silmaril in a circlet on his head, he found that it shone more brightly as Vingilot passed further westward. After four years of searching, through the power of the Silmaril, Eärendil found his way to the coasts of Aman. He left his crew aboard the ship to avoid any punishment he might incur by setting foot in the Blessed Realm, but Elwing would not remain behind, and followed him ashore.

Leaving Elwing to wander the shore, Eärendil entered the Pass of Light and reached the city of Tirion, but the city was empty of people. At last he turned away from the city and began his journey back to Vingilot, but at that moment he was hailed by a figure on the hill of Túna: Eönwë the herald of Manwë, who summoned Eärendil to stand before the Valar.

 

The Judgement of the Valar and the War of Wrath

 The Valar heard Eärendil's plea, and agreed to send aid to Middle-earth. They also judged Eärendil himself and Elwing his wife. Being descended from both Elves and Men, they were required to choose one of the two kindreds. Elwing elected to be counted among the Firstborn, and Eärendil followed her choice. The same choice was granted to all of their descendants, thus giving rise to the so-called Half-elven in Middle-earth, though neither Eärendil nor Elwing were permitted to set foot again in mortal lands.

Eärendil's companions were returned to Middle-earth, and his vessel Vingilot was carried through Valinor and transformed by the Valar. Aboard his shining ship Eärendil set out into the airs that surrounded Arda with the Silmaril shimmering on his brow. His light was visible even from Middle-earth, and as he voyaged the skies of the distant West he became the Evening Star. When that shining star was first glimpsed from Mortal Lands, those who saw it gave it the name Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope, as a sign that the Valar remembered their plight.

The hopes raised by the Star were fulfilled. The Valar sent an overwhelming host into Middle-earth under the leadership of Eönwë, a force so great that even Morgoth could not hope to withstand its assault. There followed the War of Wrath, a conflict lasting more than forty years that broke the land itself, but at its end Morgoth was captured by the force of the Valar and thrust into the Void. Eärendil played his part in this victory: sailing through the airs he joined battle with the great Dragon Ancalagon, and slew him,

 

The Legacy of Eärendil

 After the War of Wrath, Eärendil and Elwing remained in the West, but their twin sons Elrond and Elros still lived in Middle-earth. They were also given the choice of their father and mother, whether to be counted among Elves or Men.

Elrond elected to be considered one of the Firstborn, and after the War he remained for a time in Lindon with High King Gil-galad. During the War of the Elves and Sauron he founded a refuge at Imladris, better known as Rivendell, and there he bore the Blue Ring Vilya until the end of the Third Age.

Elros took a different path, choosing to be considered a Man, and he became the lord of the surviving Edain. As a reward for their part in the conflict with Morgoth, these Edain were granted a new land, a Land of Gift across the Great Sea, and Elros became their first King, taking the name Tar-Minyatur. He enjoyed an extraordinary lifespan of five hundred years, and from him sprang the line of Kings of Númenor. Elendil was also a descendant of Elros, and thus the line of Eärendil continued among the Heirs of Isildur and Anárion, down even to Aragorn and his own descendants.

In the Undying Lands, Eärendil lived on, and could still often be seen by those who remained in Middle-earth: the gleaming of the Silmaril on his brow shone in the West as the Evening Star. Some of that light was captured in a phial by Galadriel, and given as a gift to Frodo Baggins as he passed through her land; without the light in that Star-glass, Frodo would not have succeeded in the Quest of Mount Doom. So, Eärendil still had a vital (if indirect) part to play in history, even at the end of the Third Age.

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re: Gabennas Na' Ennor (The History of Middle Earth)

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Nice Recap!

I must admit it's been years since I read the Silmarillion, so nice to read this.

 

I was wondering about the line of half-elves.

The descendants of Earendil and Elwing had to choose whether to live like elves or like men. Elrond choose to live like an elf and his daughter Arwen was able to make the same choice.

now my question is:

Did Tolkien say whether the descendants of Elros were able to choose between a mortal and immortal life as well?

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re: Gabennas Na' Ennor (The History of Middle Earth)

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Hail kald

 

From second-to-last paragraph of above posting:  "Elros took a different path, choosing to be considered a Man, and he became the lord of the surviving Edain. As a reward for their part in the conflict with Morgoth, these Edain were granted a new land, a Land of Gift across the Great Sea, and Elros became their first King, taking the name Tar-Minyatur. He enjoyed an extraordinary lifespan of five hundred years, and from him sprang the line of Kings of Númenor. Elendil was also a descendant of Elros, and thus the line of Eärendil continued among the Heirs of Isildur and Anárion, down even to Aragorn and his own descendants."

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re: Gabennas Na' Ennor (The History of Middle Earth)

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The first Elves woke up by Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening far east in Middle-earth, many Ages before the Rising of the Sun or Moon. This part of Ennor no longer exists as it was destroyed during the wars with Morgoth.  Unlike Men, the Elves did not get sick or die, and at the time of the Lord of the Rings, there were still at least two Elves in Aman who had woke up by Cuiviénen in the first days: Ingwë, Lord of the Vanyar, and Olwë, brother of King Elu Thingol.  This would put the age of these elves at well over 20,000 years.


Origins and Early History


     In Cuiviénen, on the shores of the Inland Sea of Helcar beneath the mountains of the Orocarni, the Elves woke up under starlight during the Years of the Trees. The Valar at first knew nothing of their coming, but they were soon discovered by the spies of Melkor, who sent his creatures to watch and harrass them.
How long they lived this way is not known, but the legends of those times, of the Hunter and of a dark Rider, were preserved in Valinor by the Eldar that came there. It is known that many of the ancient Elves were captured by Melkor and imprisoned in Utumno - it is generally thought that these were the origins of the race of Orcs.
     The Valar discovered that the Elves had woke up when Oromë, hunting in the lands of Middle-earth, heard their singing voices. He named them Eldar, the People of the Stars, but the Elves' own name for their kind was Quendi, those who speak with voices. Because of Melkor, many of the Elves were at first suspicious of the Vala, but after briefly returning to Valinor to tell the other Valar of his discovery, he remained with them and protected them for a while.  Concerned for the safety of the Elves in Middle-earth, which was at that time under the control of Melkor, the Valar left Valinor and made war against the Dark Lord: this was the Battle of the Powers in which Melkor taken as captive back to Valinor.


The Great Journey


     After the defeat of Melkor, the Valar debated the fate of the Elves - whether they should be left to live in Middle-earth, or brought to Valinor to be kept under the direct protection of the Valar. It was decided to bring them to the land of the Valar, and Oromë was sent back to Cuiviénen to bring them back to Aman.
When he returned, though, he found that the Elves feared the Valar, and were reluctant to make the journey. Three ambassadors were chosen, Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë, to travel to Aman with Oromë, and help the Elves decide on their course. These three were filled with awe by what they saw there, and by the light of the Two Trees, and asked their people to follow the summons.
     The followers of Ingwë, and most of the elves of Finwë and Elwë agreed, and they set out on the Great Journey west across Middle-earth. These elves were later known as the Three Kindreds, the Vanyar, the Noldor and the Teleri. Not all the Elves obeyed the summons; those who refused are known as the Avari, the Unwilling.
     Oromë led the elves of the Three Kindreds out of the east. The Vanyar were the smallest number and the most eager to reach Aman, and they came first on the Journey, followed by the Noldor of Finwë.
The Teleri, led by Elwë and his brother Olwë, were the largest percentage of the elves, and many were uncertain and doubtful. Many of them  left the Journey and remained in Middle-earth. The most notable of those who turned from the Journey were the Nandor, who were led away down the Vales of Anduin by Lenwë.
     The Vanyar and the Noldor finally arrived at the shores of the Great Sea, in the regions between the Bay of Balar and the Firth of Drengist (regions later known as the Falas). Ulmo brought a great island to the shores, and on it transported the first two groups of  Elves to Aman.
     The Teleri were the last ones to arrive, and made it to Beleriand too late to leave on Ulmo's island. They dwelt for a while on the banks of the Gelion in eastern Beleriand, but later spread to the shores. In this time, two important events happened - their lord Elwë was lost for a time in Nan Elmoth, and they encountered Ossë, a Maia of the Sea.
     Many of the Teleri decided to remain in Beleriand, some to look for Elwe, and others because of  Ossë. When the time came for Ulmo to return to Beleriand to take the Teleri to Valinor, then, many of them decided to stay. These people became known as the Sindar, the Grey-elves, and those who dwelt by the shores under the lordship of Círdan became known as the Falathrim.


Melkor Chained for Three Ages


     With the defeat of Melkor (Morgoth) in the great wars to protect the Elves, the houses of the elves both east and west of the Great Sea lived in peace for three ages. In Valinor, the Vanyar and the Noldor, and those of the Teleri who came to Aman, lived with the Valar and learned from them. They dwelt in the jewelled city of Tirion in the Pass of Light, and at the Swanhaven of Alqualondë, and beneath the tower of Avallónë on the Lonely Isle of Tol Eressëa. While the Two Trees still gave light to the realm of the Valar, three ages passed, and the Elves of Valinor became the most glorious of all the Children of Ilúvatar.
     Meanwhile, in Beleriand, the Sindar lived beneath starlight. While most of Middle-earth still slept, awaiting the coming of the Sun and Moon, Melian the Maia brought life to the forests and plains of Beleriand under Thingol's rule, and Oromë would still ride at times across the star-lit lands of Middle Earth.

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re: Gabennas Na' Ennor (The History of Middle Earth)

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These are great summaries, Abiadan. Thanks for posting them.

I know some readers of Lord of the Rings were unsatisfied with the Silmarillion as published, comparing it to a biblical drawl. But I think this was necessary to establish its antiquity, creating the effect of great swathes of time having passed between the told and the telling. I have an audio of the actor Martin Shaw reading it which is really well done.

For the past few years I've been having an ongoing debate with some friends over whether or not the Silmarillion could be adapted to the screen. I say it could be done in a small number of films, if simplified to focus exclusively on the Silmarilli and the way they are bound up in the destiny of the elves. So the first film, for example, would begin with the difficult birth of Feanor, establish him as a main character, jump to the forging of the Silmarils, and unfold from there. Perhaps this first instalment could end with the Oath of Feanor. Anyway, details aside, my point is that the narrative could be suitably dramatised for the big screen if the screenplay extracted, as a skeleton, the movements and ownership of the Silmarils and the lives and deaths of those whose lives they touched -- if it was told from their point of view, so to speak, rather than focused on characters, of which there would be too many to characterise them all.

Alternatively, Narn i Chîn Húrin would make an interesting, if unremittingly bleak, movie. It also has the benefit of already having been given a more cinema-friendly treatment by Christopher Tolkien so the transition to screenplay might not be as difficult as the (his)story of the Silmarils. 

Please, tell me I'm not mad. These stories are every bit as good (secretly, I feel they are better) as the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and deserve a much wider public. :)

 



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re: silmarillion movie

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thx pand

 

firstly, i agree that a big-screen adaptation of the Silmarillion is very doable.  they said that the LoTR couldn't be done properly until PJ did it, so i really don't see why this man who's already proved that he can work with and adapt Tolkien into big-screen productions couldn't do it with the "Bible" of Middle Earth.

personally, i think a Silmarillion-based series of movies would be very doable if they concentrated on 2 or 3 elven houses; i.e. house of Earendil (elrond, elros), and Galadriel.  these 2 families would cover the numeanorians, the kin-slaying, the simarils, and the exile of the Valar.

but, i'd be happy with any way of covering the Silmarillion, as long as it is done :D

and i agree with u also on the way that JR wrote the Silmarillion.  It was absolutely his intent to create the history of the elves/valar/man/dwarfs/Middle Earth as a formal, almost biblical approach.  IMO, it gives it more authenticity, making it less of a story and more of a written-down oral history.

 

P.S.  i've been arguing this with friends for years also.  i do think it will eventually be done as the demand for Tolkien based material is at an all-time high in the world.

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