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Jenny Dolfen - Earendil the Mariner
Eärendil the Mariner, by Jenny Dolfen


Biographical information

Other names
Azrubêl, Bright, Eärendil the Mariner, Star of High Hope, The Blessed
Lord of Arvernien
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Still Alive
Realms ruled

Physical description

Hair color
Eye color

Eärendil (Quenya; IPA: [e.aˈrendil]) was one of the most important figures in the mythology, a great seafarer who carries a star across the sky. His story is found in The Silmarillion, and there are several references to him throughout The Lord of the Rings.

He is the father of Elros, the first King of Númenor, as well as Elrond, the elven lord of Rivendell and an important figure in Middle Earth during the second and third age.


Eärendil was the Half-elven son of Tuor and Princess Idril daughter of Turgon. He was born in FA 503 and was raised in Gondolin. When he was seven years old, he and his parents escaped the sacking of Gondolin, living afterwards in Arvernien by the mouth of Sirion.[2][3] The survivors of Gondolin and Doriath mingled at the Havens of Sirion. In FA 530,[1] Eärendil wedded Elwing daughter of King Dior Eluchil. Two years later, Elros and Elrond were born to them, and Eärendil began his voyage in search for Tuor and Idril, who had departed earlier over the Sea. With the aid of Círdan the Shipwright, Eärendil built a ship, Vingilótë.[4]

Earendil Searches TirionA

Eärendil searches for Tirion, by Ted Nasmith

At this time, Elwing had in her possession the Silmaril that Beren had wrested from Morgoth. News of this came to the sons of Fëanor that were still living, and they attacked the people living in Arvernien, and slew most of them. But Elwing, rather than be captured, threw herself with the Silmaril into the sea, leaving her young sons behind.[4]

Hearing of the tragedy that had befallen Arvernien, Eärendil then sought after Valinor, and he and Elwing found their way there at last. Eärendil thus became the first of all mortals to set foot in Valinor. Eärendil then went before the Valar, and asked them for aid for Men and Elves in Middle-earth, to fight against Morgoth; and the Valar accepted his plea.[4]

Eärendil slays Ancaglon

Eärendil slays Ancalagon, by Ted Nasmith

Because Eärendil had undertaken this errand on behalf of Men and Elves, and not for his own sake, Manwë forbore to deal out the punishment of death that was due; and because both Eärendil and Elwing were descended from a union of Elves and Men, Manwë granted to them and their sons the gift to choose to which race they would be joined (a gift that was further passed to the children of Elrond, who became known as the Half-elven). Elwing chose to be one of the Elves. Eärendil would have rather been one of the Men; however, for the sake of his wife, he chose to be one of the Elves.[4]

The Valar, having listened to Eärendil's plea, went with a mighty host to Middle-earth, and overthrew Morgoth, and bound him. Eärendil took part in the battle, riding on Vingilot beside Thorondor and the Eagles. It was his blow that slew the great dragon Ancalagon and cast it down onto Thangorodrim, the event which, along with the sheer devastation caused by the War of Wrath, led to the Ruin of Beleriand.[4]

Later MentionsEdit

The Hobbit of the Shire, Bilbo Baggins, wrote a Song of Eärendil which was sung in Rivendell, the house of Eärendil's son, Elrond.[5]


His father-name Eärendil is a Quenya name which means "Lover of the Sea", from ("sea") and the suffix -ndil ("devoted to, friend, lover").[6][7] His mother-name is Ardamírë "Arda-jewel", from the Quenya mírë ("jewel").[8]

The Adûnaic translation of Eärendil is Azrubêl.[8]


Eärendil was given many epithets: Eärendil Halfelven, Eärendil the Mariner, Eärendil the Blessed, and Bright Eärendil.

Name HistoryEdit

However, Tolkien created the name based on Old English literature. Tolkien's himself states (Letters, 297) that the name is derived from Anglo-Saxon éarendel. He says that he was struck by the "great beauty" of the name as early as 1913, which he perceived as

entirely coherent with the normal style of A-S, but euphonic to a peculiar degree in that pleasing but not 'delectable' language.

There is a poem by Tolkien dated to 1914 entitled The Voyage of Eärendel the Evening Star (published in HoME 2 267 - 269). Tolkien was also aware of the name's Germanic cognates (Old Norse Aurvandill, Lombardic Auriwandalo), and the question why the Anglo-Saxon one rather than the Lombardic or Proto-Germanic form should be taken up in the mythology is alluded to in the Notion Club papers. The Old Norse together with the Anglo-Saxon evidence point to an astronomical myth, the name referring to a star, or a group of stars, and the Anglo-Saxon in particular points to the Morning Star as the herald of the rising Sun (in Crist Christianized to refer to John the Baptist).

Tolkien was particularly inspired by the lines in

Crist, éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended
"Hail Earendel, brightest of angels, sent over Middle-earth to men."

which can be taken as the inspiration not only for the role of Eärendil in Tolkien's work, but also for the term Middle-earth (translating Middangeard) for the inhabitable lands (c.f. Midgard).

The first line is paralleled by Frodo's exclamation in Cirith Ungol, Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! which is Quenya, and translates to "Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars." Frodo's exclamation was in reference to the 'Star-glass' he carried, which contained the light of Eärendil's star, the Silmaril. It also echoes Eönwë's exclamation who at the end of the First Age greeted Eärendil and his quest in Aman.


Eärendil was decribed as the following:

"Now this babe was of greatest beauty; his skin of a shining white and his eyes of a blue surpassing that of the sky in southern lands -- bluer than the sapphires of the raiment of Manwe;~ and the envy of Meglin was deep at his birth, but the joy of Turgon and all the people very great indeed"
The History of Middle-earth, The Fall of Gondolin

Concept and creationEdit


Eärendil the Blessed

In 1914, Tolkien wrote a poem The Voyage of Eärendil the Evening Star which was inspired by the "Crist" poem of Cynewulf. While studying at Oxford, Tolkien developed a constructed language that later became known as Quenya. Already around 1915 he had the idea that this language needed an internal history and was spoken by Elves whom his invented character Eärendil meets during his journeys. The next step in the creation of the underlying mythology was the Lay of Eärendil, a work composed of several poems that describes the mariner Eärendil and his voyages and how his ship is turned into a star. The mysterious land of Valinor and its Two Trees of gold and silver were first described in this cycle.

Tolkien's legend of Eärendil has elements resembling the medieval Celtic Immram legends or the Christian legend of St. Brendan the Navigator.

Humphrey Carpenter in his biography of Tolkien remarked that Eärendil "was in fact the beginning of Tolkien's own mythology".

Small Wikipedia logo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Eärendil. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with The One Wiki to Rule Them All, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

Line of the Half-elvenEdit

Eluréd and Elurín
Kings of Númenor
Lords of Andunie
Kings of Arnor
Kings of Gondor
Chieftains of
the Dúnedain

The marriages between Elves and Men are in bold.
The half-elven or the Peredhil are in italic.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels, V. The Tale of Years
  2. 2.0 2.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 2: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, III: "The Fall of Gondolin"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  5. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter I: "Many Meetings"
  6. The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin names
  7. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  8. 8.0 8.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor"

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