Ælfwine of England
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|First appearance||The Book of Lost Tales|
Ælfwine is a fictional character found in various early versions of J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. Tolkien envisaged Ælfwine as an Anglo-Saxon who visited and befriended the elves and acted as the source of later mythology. Thus, Ælfwine is given as the author of the various translations in Old English that appear in The History of Middle-earth Series. The Old English name Ælfwine means "Elf-friend". It is a well attested historical Germanic name, alongside its Old High German and Lombard equivalents, Alwin and Alboin, respectively.
The unfinished The Lost Road was intended as a tale of "time travel" where descendants of Ælfwine experience memories or visions of their ancestors, connecting the present time with the mythological back to the fall of Atlantis (Númenor).
In the continuity of The Book of Lost Tales, the character's real name was Ottor Wǽfre (called by the Elves Eriol). He found Eressëa with the directions of an old man on an island, and the Elves hosted him and narrated their tales to him. He afterwards learned from the Elves that the old man he met was actually "Ylmir".
The character "Ælfwine" of the later continuity was not invented until sometime after the writing of "The Book of Lost Tales".
Ælfwine in the later continuity
There is no such framework in the published version of The Silmarillion; Tolkien eventually changed the intended framework of the saga, altering its mode from tales told by Ælfwine to one based around Bilbo Baggins's Red Book translations of "Elvish lore".
However the later writings of Tolkien indicate that he didn't fully abandon the idea of a framework akin to the Ælfwine-tradition, far into the latter years of his life; there is some evidence that, even after the "Red Book" concept was introduced, Ælfwine continued to have some role in the transition of The Silmarillion and other writings from Bilbo's translations into Modern English. For example, the Narn i Hîn Húrin, which Christopher Tolkien dates to the period after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, has this introductory note: "Here begins that tale which Ǽlfwine made from the Húrinien."
- The War of the Jewels p. 314
- The War of the Jewels p. 311