Aredhel

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Aredhel
Tolkien's legendarium character
Eöl and Aredhel.jpg
Eöl and Aredhel
Aliases The White Lady of the Noldor,
Ar-Feiniel,
Írissë
Race Elves
Gender Female
Book(s) The Silmarillion,
The History of Middle-earth

Aredhel Ar-Feiniel (Y.T. 1362–Y.S. 400; died aged 1738) (born and known in Quenya as Írissë) is a fictional character created by J. R. R. Tolkien.

She is called Ar-Feiniel, the White Lady of the Noldor. She is the daughter of Fingolfin and Anairë, sister of Fingon, Turgon and Argon, and mother of Maeglin. She was born and raised in Tirion.

Aredhel is tall and strong, beautiful, extremely willful, adventurous and fickle, easily bored and restless, fond of hunting and riding in the forests:

"I am your sister and not your servant, and beyond your bounds I will go as seems good to me." [1]

Her skin is pale and her hair dark; she always wears silver and white. Though fond of the sons of Fëanor, she never weds any one of them.

After arriving in Middle-earth, Aredhel dwells in Nevrast with Turgon, and goes with him to Gondolin. But after two hundred years she tires of the city and longing for the forests and wide lands overcomes her. Aredhel asks leave to depart. Turgon is unwilling, fearing the exposure of the Hidden Kingdom, but eventually relents.

Riding with companions, they are denied safe passage through Doriath because they seek the sons of Fëanor. And so they travel the East Road along the North March of Doriath.

There Aredhel Ar-Feiniel is separated from her escort in the dangerous region of Nan Dungortheb. She reaches Himlad safely, and waits there to meet Celegorm who is abroad. Ever restless, she wanders off and becomes lost in the forest of Nan Elmoth.

Eöl Mornedhel, the Dark Elf is the lord of those woods. By his enchantments, they meet, and he leads her to his dark home near Gladuial. This was similar to Melian's enchantment of Thingol, but not as innocent on Eöl's part.

There they wed and she stays for many years. Aredhel gives birth to a son, Maeglin. Telling him of her former life and home, and weary of Nan Elmoth, Aredhel Ar-Feiniel desires to see them again. Without Eöl's leave, or knowledge, she departs Nan Elmoth with Maeglin while Eöl is away.

They reached the hidden entrance to Gondolin pursued by Eöl, and are received with rejoicing. Eöl is captured and brought before Turgon. Turgon will not allow Eöl to leave Gondolin, offering him only the choice to stay, or to die. Eöl refuses this judgement, choosing death for himself and his son. He attempts to kill his son with a javelin. Aredhel steps in front of the dart to shield Maeglin. She saves her son, and begs Turgon to forgive her husband, but it is poisoned and she dies that night after Eöl is led away by Turgon's guards.

Eöl is executed by being cast down from the city walls. Maeglin becomes a mighty prince in Gondolin, later only to betray the city and become even more hated than his father.

Etymology[edit]

The names Aredhel = 'noble Elf' and Ar-Feiniel = 'noble white lady' were both originally intended to stand alone replacing Isfin.[2]

Her name, at one point, was Írissë in Quenya, Írith in Goldogrin.

The original name from the original Fall of Gondolin of 1916 and in most use into the 1950s is Isfin meaning snowlocks or exceedingly cunning.[3]

The House of Fingolfin[edit]

Míriel Finwë Indis
Fëanor Fingolfin Anairë Finarfin
Fingon Elenwë Turgon Aredhel Eöl Argon
Tuor Idril Celebrindal Maeglin
Eärendil

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Silmarillion, p.131
  2. ^ History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI, pp.317-18. While preparing The Silmarillion for publication Christopher Tolkien could not discover which name was intended to be used as her final name, and he therefore chose to use both names; he later stated in the History of Middle-earth series that this decision was possibly unwarranted.
  3. ^ Parma Eldalamberon No. 15, Name List to The Fall of Gondolin, p.28