He was the third son of Fëanor and Nerdanel, most closely associated with another brother, Curufin. Celegorm is described as "the fair." It is not clear whether 'fair' in this case refers to pale coloring or to beauty. The color of his hair is a point of contention among readers. However, the fact that he was known as 'the Cruel', along with his servants leaving twin elflings (Eluréd and Elurín) to starve makes it doubtful that he had a strong sense of justice.
His name Celegorm (in Sindarin form; originally Tyelkormo in Quenya) meant "Hasty-riser", describing his quick temper, as well as his habit of leaping up when angered. His father-name in Quenya was Turkafinwë, or "Strong[-willed] Finwë". ("Finwë" was a common name-element among his House, being the name of his grandfather Finwë, High King of the Noldor.)
Celegorm was a great huntsman, and was a friend of the Vala Oromë. From Oromë he learned great skill of birds and beasts, and could understand a number of their languages. He had brought with him from Valinor the great hound Huan, a gift from Oromë.
In The Silmarillion, Celegorm was bound by an oath to recover his father's Silmarils, which had been stolen by the Dark Lord Morgoth. His oath took him and his brothers to Middle-earth during the First Age where they established realms in exile, waged war against the armies of Morgoth, fought their own Elvish kind, and eventually brought ruin upon themselves and their followers.
Celegorm had taken part in the Kinslaying in Alqualondë, and he had ambushed the Orc armies in Dagor-nuin-Giliath as they marched north from the havens of Círdan to aid the forces already being decimated by the Noldor. Celegorm, along with all his brothers, followed Maedhros to East Beleriand after the council of Mithrim, where upon the abdication of Maedhros Fingolfin became the High King of all Noldor. Celegorm, his brother Curufin, and nephew Celebrimbor settled in Himlad, and fortified the Pass of Aglon. Orcs tried to breach the pass, but were beaten back by the combined forces of Dorthonion and Himring.
In Dagor Bragollach, the great battle at the end of the book, the pass was breached despite fierce resistance. Celegorm, Curufin and Celebrimbor, with the survivors of Himlad, marched west towards Minas Tirith. They rescued their friend Orodreth from Sauron's assault at Tol Sirion. Although Minas Tirith ultimately fell to the forces of Angband, Orodreth, Celegorm, Curufin and Celebrimbor escaped the battle with a small following.
Celegorm and Curufin lived in Nargothrond, aiding Finrod in all events and needs of the kingdom, and won a large following because of their activities. The oath and the curse of the Valar poisoned their minds after Beren sought Finrod's help in recovering a Silmaril. They opposed Finrod's mission, and their words caused the people to turn against their cousin.
They captured Lúthien Tinúviel, daughter of King Thingol of Doriath. Celegorm wished to marry her, thus forcing a bond of kinship with Thingol. Celegorm sent messages declaring his intentions to Thingol. Huan, however, broke with his master and helped Lúthien escape. Celegorm and Curufin were driven from Nargothrond after their deeds were revealed. They vowed to destroy Thingol after he had scornfully denied to give up the Silmaril. Their deeds are also responsible for Nargothrond and Doriath not joining the Union of Maedhros.
Celegorm fell in the Second Kinslaying, when the Sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath to seize a Silmaril in the possession of the Elvish King Dior the Beautiful of Doriath. Celegorm had been instrumental in stirring up his other brothers and causing them to assault Doriath. Dior and Celegorm slew each other in the halls of Menegroth.
The House of Fëanor
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
- "Celegorm". Encyclopedia of Arda.