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The main part of this article relates to the last versions of Middle-earth's history, and as such may controvert parts of The Silmarillion. See Middle-earth canon for a discussion. This subject's portrayal in earlier or alternative versions is discussed in the other versions of the legendarium section.

Gli-Galad y Elrond

Elrond, Gil-galad, and their army of Ñoldorin elves

The Ñoldor (Quenya; IPA: [ˈŋoldor] or in Third Age Middle-earth [ˈnoldor]; meaning those with knowledge; adjectival Ñoldorin; [ˈŋoldorin] or TA [ˈnoldorin]) were the second clan of the Elves. According to legend, the clan was originally known as the Tatyar ([ˈtacar]; meaning second ones; adjectival Tatyarin; [ˈtacarin]) and was founded by Tata, the second elf to awake at Cuiviénen, his spouse Tatië, and their 54 companions - but it was Finwë, the first Ñoldo to come to Valinor with Oromë, who became their king and led most of them to Valinor. The Ñoldor who come to Aman spoke Quenya, or more specifically the widely-known Ñoldorin dialect of it. However, fully half the Tatyar refused the call of the Valar, and became counted among the Avari.

They were also known as Noldoli, Deep Elves, Golodhrim, Aulendur ('Servant of Aulë' [1]) and Golug. The singular form of the noun is Ñoldo and the adjective is Ñoldorin. They were the Second Clan of the Elves in both order and size, the other clans being the Vanyar and the Teleri. They typically had dark hair (except for those who had Vanyarin blood, most prominently the members of the House of Finarfin).

The Ñoldor are accounted as the greatest of the Elves in lore and smithcraft. Fëanor (son of Finwë by Míriel) was the greatest of their craftsmen, and their second and briefest-reigning High King. When Melkor killed Finwë and stole the Silmarils, Fëanor renamed Melkor: Morgoth ("Black Enemy"), and persuaded the Ñoldor to pursue him to Middle-earth and wage war against him.

HistoryEdit

WIP Lords of Noldor Finwe by aautio

Finwë, the first High King of the Ñoldor © Antti Autio, used with permission

In Valinor, the Ñoldorin Elves were ruled by the High King Finwë. The Ñoldor became the friends and students of Aule, due to their love of craft and the knowledge Aule imparted to them. Then Finwë's wife Miriel gave birth to her only son, Fëanor, and was spent in mind and spirit. Miriel's spirit passed to the Halls of Mandos, depriving Finwë of joy in Valinor. But Fëanor proved to be a mighty Elf Lord; subtle in speech, and the most skilled craftsmen of the Ñoldor. When he was come to his prime, Fëanor wrought the Silmarils, the great jewels that contained the light of the Two Trees. But he was prideful and arrogant, and did not take kindly to his father's second marriage to Indis of the Vanyar. From her Finwë fathered two more children who would found their own houses; Fingolfin and Finarfin. This was the first cause of disunion in the House of Finwë, as Fëanor had little love for his half siblings.

When Melkor was released from captivity, he sought to exploit that disunion in a bid to gain the Silmarils and estrange the Ñoldor from the Valar. He spread lies amongst the Ñoldor, claiming that the Valar were keeping them in Aman so they would not be able to rule the lands of Middle-earth, and that Fingolfin and Fëanor were plotting against each other. When Fëanor drew sword against Fingolfin, the Valar intervened and banished Fëanor from Valmar to the mountain fortress of Formenos. The Ñoldor grew restless as they began to hunger for the unguarded lands of Middle-earth.[2]

But worse was to come. When Melkor destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and slew Finwe, he also stole the Silmarils and fled to Middle-earth. An enraged Fëanor then spoke before all of the Ñoldor and gave an impassioned speech. He urged them to leave the land of the Valar and take up kingdoms in Middle-earth, where they could rule as they wished. Many of the royal line, including Galadriel, wished indeed to see Middle-earth and rule their own fair kingdoms. Fëanor then swore a terrible Oath to reclaim the Silmarils, with the promise of retribution for any who should withhold them. The Ñoldorin Host gathered, though the greater part followed Fingolfin, trusting his wisdom over Fëanor's arrogance.[3]

Before the First Age the Ñoldor led by Fëanor went north and demanded that the Falmari let them use their ships. When the Falmari refused, Fëanor and his host destroyed the port of Alqualondë, which had been built by the Teleri, committing the first Kinslaying. Fëanor's host then took possession of the ships. Not long afterwards, the Ñoldor were confronted by Mandos, the Doomsman of the Valar. Mandos delivered the Prophecy of the North, pronouncing doom on the Ñoldor for the Kinslaying and warning that if they continued they would not recover the Silmarils and moreover that there would be great grief in the tragedy that would befall them. At this, some of the Ñoldor who had no hand in the Kinslaying, including Finarfin son of Finwë by Indis, returned to Valinor, and the Valar forgave them. Other Ñoldor led by Fingolfin son of Finwë by Indis (some of whom were blameless in the Kinslaying) remained determined to leave Valinor for Middle-earth. Prominent among these others was Finarfin's daughter, Galadriel.

Fëanor and his host crossed the sea to Middle-earth leaving those led by Fingolfin, his half-brother, behind. Upon his arrival in Middle-earth, Fëanor had the ships burned. When Fingolfin and his host discovered their betrayal, they went farther north and crossed the sea by means of the Helcaraxë. Many of them died while crossing the paths of the Helcaraxë and the cruel hills of ice, including Turgon's wife Elenwë. The departure of the Ñoldor out of the Undying Lands marked the beginning of the First Age, and the years of the Sun. At last, the Host of Fingolfin arrived in Middle-earth, and their journey through the Helcaraxë was one of the greatest deeds of renown. Few deeds of the Ñoldor would ever surpass this, but the bitterness of the crossing had kindled fresh hatred for the House of Fëanor.[4]

Fëanor's company was soon attacked by Morgoth. When Fëanor rode too far from his retinue during the Battle under Stars (year 1 of the First Age) he was slain by Gothmog and the other Balrogs.

Because Fëanor had taken the ships and left the remaining Ñoldor in Aman, the royal houses of the Ñoldor were feuding. But recently Maedhros, eldest son of Feanor, had been captured by Morgoth. Fingon, son of Fingolfin, who remembered great friendship between himself and Maedhros, rescued him from the slopes of Thangorodrim. For this deed the Noldor rejoiced and their feud was ended. By right Maedhros had succeeded Fëanor as King, but in gratitude he renounced the Kingship to his uncle Fingolfin, who became the third High King of the Ñoldor. His brothers did not agree to this, and began to refer to themselves as the Displaced, because the High Kingship had passed them by. Nevertheless, the princes of the Ñoldor established great realms in Beleriand, and to many it seemed the words of Feanor were justified. Here the Ñoldor were mighty and lordly, rather than at the bottom of the hierarchy in Valinor. And for a while there was peace between the Houses of Fingolfin and Fëanor. But the House of Fëanor was still bound by the Oath, which in turn was tied to the Curse of Mandos.[5]

Fingolfin reigned long in the land of Hithlum, and his younger son Turgon built the hidden kingdom Gondolin. Fingolfin's reign was marked by warfare against Morgoth and in the year 75 of the First Age the Ñoldor started the siege of Angband, the great fortress of Morgoth. But in the year FA 455 the siege was broken by Morgoth (in the Dagor Bragollach), and Fingolfin perceived that the war against Morgoth was utterly futile. In his fury, Fingolfin rode to Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat. Reluctantly, Morgoth came forth to duel him. Fingolfin dealt Morgoth seven wounds from which he never healed, but at last Fingolfin was slain. Thorondor, Lord of Eagles, scratched Morgoth's face and took Fingolfin's body. His eldest son Fingon succeeded him as High King of the Ñoldor.

In the year 471, Maedhros organized an all-out attack on Morgoth and this led to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. The battle was a great disaster for the Ñoldor, and Fingon the Valiant was slain. He was succeeded by his brother Turgon, but Fingon's son Gil-galad was sent to the Havens.

Turgon had withdrawn to Gondolin and tried to keep the kingdom hidden from Morgoth. He was so successful that even most of the Ñoldor didn't know where it was located, and he was High King in name alone.[6] In FA 510, Gondolin was betrayed by Maeglin and sacked. During the attack Turgon was killed; however many of his people escaped and found their way south. As Turgon had no sons, the Kingship passed back to Fingon's son Gil-galad, becoming the sixth and last High King of the Ñoldor.[7]

Finally, the Valar came down to Middle-earth and in the year 583 the War of Wrath was fought and Morgoth was cast into the Void. However, Beleriand sank into the sea, except for a part of Ossiriand which became Lindon, and a few isles. The defeat of Morgoth marked the beginning of the Second Age. The Ñoldor were once again summoned to Valinor and the Curse of Mandos was laid to rest. Some departed because they had grown weary of grief, but many refused to leave the lands they had laboured in for so long. Moreover others refused out of pride, unwilling to relinquish their high status in Middle-earth. The last of the great leaders was Galadriel, who stayed due to her pride, reasoning that her family had never done any wrong and that she was mightier in Middle-earth.[8]

Galadriel en su jardin

Galadriel, a notable member of the Ñoldor

Gil-galad founded a new kingdom at Lindon, and ruled throughout the Second Age, longer than any of the High Kings except for Finwë. He was also accepted as High King by the Ñoldor of Eregion. But at the end of the Second Age his allies in Númenor lost their island and Elendil, Isildur and Anárion came to Middle-earth and they founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.

Despite their prosperity and power, the Ñoldor were not at peace. While they had refused Valinor in favour of retaining their lordship in the lands of Middle-earth, they still desired the bliss that Valinor promised. It was the doom of Elves that, though immortal, in the land of mortals they felt the weariness of time and change. This weariness only grew as the years went by. In Valinor the lands were hallowed and enchanted, allowing the Elves to live in eternal bliss, but in mortal lands there was no such power to sustain them.

It was at this time that Annatar, Lord of Gifts, came forth with the offer of the very bliss that the Elves desired. Gil-galad, Galadriel and Elrond distrusted this mysterious figure and shunned him. But in Eregion, Annatar's teachings were held in awe by the Ñoldor Elves and they received him gladly. Their leader was Celebrimbor, the grandson of Feanor himself, and he had inherited much of his grandfather's skill. Such was Annatar's knowledge that he was believed to be an emissary of Aulë, as he first proclaimed. Annatar taught Celebrimbor the art of crafting Rings of Power. In secret Celebrimbor forged the three greatest rings; Narya, Nenya, and Vilya. These rings were imbued with a spiritual power that could protect and preserve all things unstained, warding off the effects of time. Thus the desire of the Elves was fulfilled in the making of these rings. The three were secretly distributed to some of the High Elf Lords. Galadriel received Nenya, Gil-galad received Vilya and Narya was given to Círdan. But they were deceived, for Annatar had crafted the rings for a different purpose; to bind all the bearers together as slaves. Annatar was actually Sauron in disguise, and he treacherously forged a ruling ring to govern all the other rings and their respective bearers. However, when Sauron placed the One Ring on his finger, the Elves suddenly became aware of him due to the powerful connection between the rings. They heard Sauron speak the dreaded words of doom, and the Elves understood that he would be master of their own minds. The Elves narrowly avoided this trap and took off their rings. Gil-galad gave Vilya to Elrond for safekeeping, and to use it if Gil-galad should fall.

Enraged, Sauron declared war, demanding all the rings were his by right as they were made from his craft. Eregion was attacked and destroyed, and Celebrimbor perished. Before his death Sauron interrogated him as to the whereabouts of the Three Rings he had forged alone, but Celebrimbor withheld the truth and died from torture. Thus the knowledge of the craft perished with him also.

By this time Sauron had replaced his master Morgoth as the Dark Lord. He had deceived the Númenóreans and managed to return from Númenor to his refuge in Mordor. But in his absence he had overlooked the growing power of Gil-galad. Sauron hated both the Númenóreans and the Ñoldor, and tried to destroy Gondor before it could take root, but Gil-galad's forces thwarted him. Then Elendil and Gil-galad took counsel and formed the Last of Alliance of Elves and Men, a mighty host of Noldor and Numenoreans.

The host set out for Mordor and defeated Sauron's forces in the Battle of Dagorlad and finally in the Siege of Barad-dûr. There Gil-galad proved mighty enough to duel with Sauron himself, and with Elendil's help they inflicted enough wounds on Sauron that the Dark Lord's mortal form was destroyed. But Gil-galad was burned to death by the heat of Sauron's hand, and so ended the High Kingship of the Ñoldor. No new High King was elected, as Gil-galad left no heir and no one else had a strong enough claim. For this reason, the High Kingship of the Ñoldor was said to have passed overseas, to the Ñoldor of Valinor, ruled by Finarfin, the third son of Finwë who had never left. Because Tuor had been adopted by Turgon as a son, and had married his daughter Idril, Tuor's mortal descendants claimed the title High King: therefore, Elros became first High King of Númenor, signifying this with the prefix Tar- (and later in Adûnaic Ar-). After the Downfall of Númenor, Elendil and his heirs of the older, northern line named themselves High Kings of Arnor, later signifying this with the royal prefix Ar(a)- in their names. Tuor's heirs did not have a valid claim to the High Kingship of the Ñoldor, although his heir Elrond, who chose Elvish immortality, later was reckoned as a leader of the Ñoldor.[9][10]

With Sauron defeated and the One Ring lost, the Elves were free to use the three rings to create their enchanted kingdoms. However, Cirdan gave his to Gandalf to aid him in his labours. In at least two realms, Rivendell and Lothlórien, the bliss of the Eldar was preserved. Those Elves who dwelt within these regions again tasted the bliss of Valinor and did not feel the weight of time. In the Third Age, the Ñoldor dwindled, and by the end of the Third Age the only Ñoldor remaining in Middle-earth were in Rivendell, with the exception of Galadriel in Lothlórien.[10] The Three rings were free from any evil, having been made without Sauron ever seeing them. But since they were still made by the same art as the other rings, the Three were still bound to the One Ring. With the One Ring's destruction and Sauron's permanent defeat, the power of the three rings faded and the last of the Ñoldor Elves began to grow weary again. Eventually, Galadriel and Elrond took the ship for Valinor and departed Middle-earth and Lothlórien was abandoned. From the Fourth Age and beyond Rivendell was the only remaining Ñoldorian settlement left in Middle Earth, ruled by Elladan and Elrohir who remained behind when Elrond left.[11]

High KingsEdit

  1. Finwë, first High King
  2. Fëanor, first son of Finwë
  3. Fingolfin, second son of Finwë. Though some supported Maedhros, the eldest son of Feanor, Maedhros himself laid aside his claim and supported Fingolfin instead.
  4. Fingon, first son of Fingolfin.
  5. Turgon, second son of Fingolfin.
  6. Ereinion Gil-galad, son of Fingon according to the Silmarillion
Elf gil-galad

Gil-galad during the War of the Last Alliance

After Gil-galad's death, the High Kingship in Middle-earth under the Ñoldor came to an end. Of the descendents of Finwë, the descendants of Elros (the Kings of Arnor) did claim the title High King but there is no indication that this referred anything other than a High Kingship over the Dúnedain. It is unclear whether Elros and his brother Elrond were considered eligible at all, but Elrond never claimed Kingship, implying that they were not. However, at this point, the number of Ñoldor remaining in Middle Earth was few, and Elrond might have simply deemed the question moot.

According to the Silmarillion, Finarfin took the kingship of those Ñoldor who remained in Aman during the Exile, though whether he was considered a "High King" or not (either at the time of the Exile and after the War of Wrath) is unclear. Another possibility is that in Aman there was no High King other than Ingwë. Although Miriel had renounced her right to re-embody (as per the rules of the Statute of Finwë and Míriel), there is no reason that Finwë might not have done so (and, in fact, the text of the Silmarillion implies that eventually he did). Similarly, as lineal heir to Turgon, Earendil the Mariner might have made a claim. The question of who held kingship over the Ñoldor after the War of the Last Alliance remains unanswered.

Much of this speculation stems from attempts to divine the rules of inheritance and succession for the Ñoldor. Among humans, the "divine right" implied by Tolkien follows the rules of primogeniture. On the other hand, elves are immortal, and can reincarnate even if they are physically killed. Iron-clad rules for succession may simply not exist. Supporting this viewpoint is the controversy between Fingolfin and Maedhros. It can be read that Maedhros had, but gave up, the "right" to High Kingship; on the other hand, these might have simply been the two strongest contenders for the position. Asserting but giving up a right would automatically forestall claims from his younger brothers, and provide legitimacy to Fingolfin that elves of every party would recognize.

EtymologyEdit

Ñoldor is a Quenya term meaning 'those with knowledge'. Lachend was one Sindarin name that other Elves gave them, which translates as 'flame-eyed'. [12]

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

In the early versions of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology (see: The History of Middle-earth), the Ñoldor were most often called Noldoli (not Ñoldoli) or "Gnomes". They were still called Gnomes in early editions of The Hobbit. They were also the ones who spoke the language that later became Sindarin (then called Gnomish). Beren and Luthien (2017) reintroduces the use of Gnomes and Noldoli in the complete tale.

The spelling Ñoldor rather than Noldor is used in later writings, but even in earlier versions the name Ñoldo came from a Primitive Quendian stem *NGolodō, which led to NGoldo (Ñoldo) in Quenya and Golodh in Sindarin. However, by the Third Age, Quenya as it was spoken in Middle-earth had voiced the "ng" phoneme as a regular "n", making the effective pronunciation during the Age as Noldor.

The family tree given above is correct in the placement of Orodreth and Gil-galad: Orodreth was Angrod's son, and Gil-galad was Orodreth's son, thus the grandson of Angrod and great-grandson of Finarfin, and brother to Finduilas. These are wrongly placed in the published Silmarillion. (See Orodreth and Gil-galad articles for details). Argon, the third son of Fingolfin, does not appear in the published Silmarillion at all.

House of FinwëEdit

House of Finwe

Míriel
   
   
Finwë
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Indis
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fëanor
   
   
Nerdanel
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Findis
   
   
Fingolfin
   
   
Anairë
   
   
Irimë
   
   
Finarfin
   
   
Eärwen
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Maedhros
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Maglor
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fingon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Finrod
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Celegorm
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Turgon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Angrod**
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Caranthir
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Aredhel
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Aegnor
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Curufin*
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Argon
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Galadriel
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Amrod
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Amras

(*Father of Celebrimbor)
(**Father of Orodreth)


Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ኞልዶር
Arabic نولدور
Armenian Նոլդոր
Belarusian Cyrillic Нолдор
Bengali ণল্দর
Bosnian Noldori
Bulgarian Cyrillic Нолдори
Catalan Nóldor
Chinese (Hong Kong) 諾多
Dari نولدور
Georgian ნოლდორ
Greek Νολδορ
Gujarati ણોલ્દોર
Hebrew ןולדור
Hindi णोल्दोर
Japanese ノルドール
Kannada ಣೊಲ್ದೊರ
Kazakh Cyrillic Нолдор
Korean 놀도르
Kurdish نۆلدۆر (Arabic script) Noldor (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Нолдор
Macedonian Cyrillic Нолдор
Marathi णोल्दोर
Mongolian Cyrillic Нолдор
Nepalese णोल्दोर
Norwegian Noldoene
Persian نولدور
Polish Noldorowie
Punjabi ਣੋਲ੍ਦੋਰ
Russian Нолдор
Sanskrit णोल्दोर्
Serbian Нолдори (Cyrillic) Noldori (Latin)
Sinhalese ණොල්දොර්
Tajik Cyrillic Нолдор
Tamil ணொல்தொர்
Telugu ణొల్దొర
Thai โนลดอร์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Нолдор
Uyghur نولدور
Uzbek Нолдор (Cyrillic) Noldori (Latin)
Yiddish נאָלדאָר


ReferencesEdit

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth, chapter XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor"
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VII: "Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the Noldor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  7. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  8. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  9. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  11. The Lord of the Rings
  12. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: Part 4, "Quendi and Eldar"

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