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Celeborn (pronounced with a hard c as in cat; IPA: [ˈkeleborn]) is a fictional character in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He appears in The Lord of the Rings as the Elven husband of Galadriel, Lord of the Galadhrim, and co-ruler along with Galadriel of Lothlórien. He was the father of Celebrían, the wife of Elrond, and thus the grandfather of Arwen Evenstar and her older brothers Elladan and Elrohir. He was also a kinsman of the First Age Elven King Thingol. Celeborn means "(tall) silver tree" in Tolkien's invented language of Sindarin.
He is also referred to as Lord of Lothlórien or Lord of the Wood interchangeably. Within Lothlórien itself he is called simply Lord Celeborn or The Lord (more often with Galadriel as The Lord and Lady). He is called Celeborn the Wise by Galadriel.
Celeborn is also the name of the White Tree that flourished in Tol Eressëa. It was a seeding of the tree Galathilion, which in turn was made by Yavanna in the image of Telperion, the elder of the Two Trees of Valinor. Celeborn was an ancestor to the White Trees of Númenor and of Gondor.
Celeborn's ancestry is not exactly certain. He first appears in The Lord of the Rings, and he does not appear at all in Tolkien's (at the time unpublished) existing legends of the First Age, The Silmarillion. Tolkien felt that an Elf of Celeborn's importance should have noble ancestry, and spent several years trying to resolve his origins.
Most existing writings portray Celeborn as a Sindarin Elf from Doriath, the kingdom of Thingol. In one speculative text by Tolkien, published in Unfinished Tales, Celeborn is the grandson of Thingol's younger brother Elmo (who appears nowhere else). That Celeborn and Thingol are related is suggested by their silver hair, a colour associated with the House of Elwë and Olwë and rarely mentioned outside of the royal house of the Sindar. Míriel Serindë, mother of Fëanor, also has silver hair, as did Eärwen, daughter of Olwë and mother of Galadriel. This Sindarin origin for Celeborn was adopted by Christopher Tolkien for The Silmarillion, which describes Celeborn as "a kinsman of Thingol" and adds a paragraph about Celeborn's marriage to Galadriel.
Late in his life Tolkien proposed a different scenario (also described in Unfinished Tales): Celeborn is a Telerin Elf from Valinor, the grandson of Olwë, named Teleporno in Telerin. (This brings him closer to being a peer and equal of Galadriel and makes their partnership more balanced.) He meets Galadriel when she is living in the Telerin city Alqualondë, before the rebellion of the Noldor. They decide to travel together to Middle-earth, without asking permission from the Valar to do so. They make their way to Middle-earth independently of Fëanor, and in some versions of the story Galadriel falls under the Ban of the Valar, in other versions not. Tolkien never mentions the Ban applying to Celeborn. According to this narrative, the name Teleporno was "Sindarized" as Celeborn: Telerin telpe ("silver") (Noldorin Quenya tyelpe) was translated to Sindarin keleb (or celeb).
This altered origin was not adopted in the published Silmarillion, primarily because it would have necessitated a major rewrite of the earlier parts to account for a separate departure of Galadriel. A further problem was that this descent would have made Celeborn Galadriel's first cousin, and Elves never married close kin.
At the end of the Third Age Celeborn crossed the Anduin with many elves of Lothlórien to found "East Lórien". When Galadriel left Middle-earth shortly afterward, Celeborn settled in Rivendell to join his grandsons Elladan and Elrohir. The prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring states that "there is no record of the day when at last he sought the Grey Havens, and with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth."
Portrayal in adaptations
In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Celeborn is played by New Zealand actor Marton Csokas. In Jackson's adaptation of The Return of the King, he joins Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel on the ship to Valinor, which does not occur in Tolkien's original novel.
In the video game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, Celeborn appears in both the Good and Evil Campaigns, being one of the many casualties of the forest of Lórien, along with Haldir, as it is burned to the ground and captured, while his wife Galadriel flees to Rivendell, when the Mouth of Sauron attacks with his goblin forces.
Names and titles
The name Celeborn means "silver tree", combining two elements: "celeb" meaning "silver" and "orne" meaning "tree". Another interpretation reads this as "silver-tall" (referring to his silver hair and his height), where "orn" is originated from "orna" meaning "tall".
Celeborn is referred to by other names, including Teleporno (the Telerin version of Celeborn), "Prince of Doriath", "Celeborn the Wise" (a name given him by Galadriel, as she said he was the wisest of the Elves in Middle-earth), and "Lord of Lothlórien" or "Lord of the Wood".
- Unfinished Tales, p 231, 266.
- Encyclopedia of Arda
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 233–4, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 234, 321, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "Prologue", p. 25, ISBN 0-395-08254-4
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Appendix E, "The Names of Celeborn and Galadriel", p. 266-67; "Númenórean Linear Measures", p. 286, ISBN 0-395-29917-9.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 371, ISBN 0-395-08254-4
CelebornBorn: ? Years of the Trees|YT
None; realm established
|Lord of Eregion (with Galadriel)||Succeeded by
|Lord of Lórien (with Galadriel)||Succeeded by
None; realm abandoned
Title last held byNone; realm established
|Lord of East Lórien|
- at the
- Celeborn at The Thain's Book