Sundering of the Elves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Sundering of the Elves as perceived after the Exile of the Noldor. The width of branches accords with the proportions.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Elves are a sundered (divided) people. They awoke at Cuiviénen on the continent of Middle-earth (see: Awakening of the Elves), where they were divided into three tribes: Minyar (the Firsts), Tatyar (the Seconds) and Nelyar (the Thirds). After some time, they were summoned by Oromë to live with the Valar in Aman. That summoning and the Great Journey that followed split the Elves into two main groups (and many minor ones), which were never fully reunited.

The name Quendi refers to all elves.

Avari[edit]

The Avari are Those who Refused the Summoning of Oromë, or simply The Unwilling. Half of the Avari came from the largest tribe, the Nelyar, but most of the Nelyar went on the journey.[1] Half of the Tatyar remained as well.

After the Separation the Avari became divided even more than the Eldar, though little of their history became known to the Elves and Men of the West of Middle-earth. At least six kindreds existed, and they continued to call themselves 'Quendi',[2] considering those who went away as deserters. Some of these tribes later also journeyed westward, intermingling with the Nandor, and a few even reached Beleriand, though usually remaining in unfriendly relationship with the Sindar.

Eldar[edit]

The Eldar are those who accepted the summons. Their name, literally Star People, was given to them by Oromë in their own language.[3]

  • All of the Minyar became the Vanyar (Fair Elves - referring to their golden-blond hair).
  • Half of the Tatyar became the Noldor (Deep Elves - referring to their knowledge).
  • More than half of the Nelyar became the Teleri (Those who come last) or, as they referred to themselves, the Lindar (The Singers).
    • Those of the Teleri who reached Beleriand by the Great Sea but chose not to cross to Aman were later called the Sindar (Grey Elves).
      • Many of the Teleri (Sindar) chose to remain behind in order to look for their lord Thingol, who disappeared near the end of the journey. These later inhabited Doriath and were named the Iathrim (People of the Girdle), referring to the magical 'Girdle of Melian' that surrounded the kingdom.
      • Those of the Teleri (Sindar) who came to the shores of the Great Sea but decided to stay there or arrived too late to be ferried were called the Falathrim (People of the Shore).
      • Those of the Teleri (Sindar) who chose to remain behind and populated the lands to the north-west of Beleriand were called Mithrim (Grey People), giving their name to the region and the great lake there. Most of them later merged with the Noldor who returned to Middle-earth, especially those of Gondolin.
    • Those of the Teleri who refused to cross the Misty Mountains and stayed in the valley of Anduin were called the Nandor (Those [Elves] who turn back).
      • Those of the Nandor who later entered Beleriand were called the Laiquendi (Green Elves or Green People, so named because their attire was often green.)[4] "Laiquendi" was the term in Quenya, while the Sindarin version was "Laegrim". They settled in Ossiriand, an eastern region of Beleriand, and were famous for their singing.[5] Hearing of the peaceful territories of King Thingol, Denethor, son of Lenwë, collected as many of his scattered people as he could and finally ventured westward over the Ered Luin, where he was accepted by the King as ancient kindred (King Elu Thingol being in fact Elwë, brother of Olwë) and were given Ossiriand to reside in. Although there are some instances where the Green-elves of Ossiriand did participate in the battles and strife concerning Morgoth (the First Battle of Beleriand for example), they were for the most part a simple, peaceful, and reclusive people.
      • The other Nandor who stayed around Anduin became known as the Tawarwaith, living in the forests of Wilderland, also called the Silvan or Wood Elves. They were joined there by those Avari who eventually passed to the West.
    • Those of the Teleri who reached Aman were called Amanyar Teleri or Falmari (People of the Waves).

The Vanyar, the Noldor, and those of the Teleri who reached Valinor are called the Calaquendi (Elves of Light) because they saw the Two Trees. In the language of the Noldor in Aman all other Elves were called the Moriquendi (Elves of Darkness) in recognition of the fact that they did not see (and did not desire) the Light of Valinor, but later the Sindar were counted among neither of these groups. Instead, Moriquendi was used for all other elves except Noldor, Vanyar, and Sindar.[6]

Most of the Noldor returned with Fëanor to Middle-earth before the raising of the Sun. These became known as the Exiles. In Beleriand they were divided by the place of dwelling, namely Hithlum, Gondolin, Dorthonion, Nargothrond and the March of Maedhros.

After the War of Wrath the greater part of the surviving Noldor and Sindar (mostly mingled into a single people) returned into the West to dwell in Tol Eressëa. Many remained in Middle-earth throughout the Second and Third Ages, entering the realms of Lórinand and Eryn Galen of the Wood Elves or establishing the kingdoms of Lindon, Eregion, Lothlórien and Imladris.

The Havens of the Eldar are as follows:

Internal timeline[edit]

The divisions of the elves by where they left the Great Journey

Concept[edit]

It has been observed in the Lhammas and other writings like "The Etymologies" that Tolkien employed the Indo-European type of proto-languages with branches and sub-branches of language families while inventing his various languages of Middle-earth. This "concept of increasing separation" is analogous to the Sundering of the Elves.[7]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The War of the Jewels: Quendi and Eldar, p. 381, "The proportions, out of 144, that when the March began became Avari or Eldar were approximately so: Minyar 14: Avari 0, Eldar 14; Tatyar 56: Avari 28, Eldar 28; Nelyar 74: Avari 28, Eldar 46: Amanyar Teleri 20, Sindar and Nandor 26." (Nandor 8 - p. 412) It can be seen that the Avari are made up of a proportion of 28 Tatyar and 28 Nelyar.
  2. ^ This name evolved into different forms in the language of each kindred: Kindi, Cuind, Hwenti, Windan, Kinn-lai and Penni. (Quendi and Eldar, p. 410)
  3. ^ Tyler, J. E. A. (1980). The New Tolkien Companion. Avon Books. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-380-46904-8. 
  4. ^ Foster, Robert (1971), The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, New York: Del Rey, ISBN 0-345-32436-6 
  5. ^ Day, David (2001). Tolkien: the illustrated encyclopaedia. Fireside. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-684-83979-0. 
  6. ^ Fimi, Dimitra (2008). Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits. Palgrave. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-230-21951-9. 
  7. ^ Flieger, Verlyn (2002). Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World (revised ed.). Kent State University Press. p. 71. ISBN 9780873387446.