The Valinorean Connection?
May 27, 2002
Part 1 Further and deeper
In The Lord of the Rings
we read that Círdan gave Narya, the ruby Ring of Fire, to
Gandalf, because Círdan “saw further and deeper than any
other in Middle Earth
”. It was Círdan – not Elrond or Galadriel – who gave his ring
Gandalf, and indeed he chose to give that crucial item to Gandalf, not
Saruman who was considered by all to be the head of the order of
History proved that Círdan saw far and deep indeed. What if
would have kept Narya hidden or – worse – would have passed the Ring of
The Silmarillion is
even more specific about the eminent wisdom of Círdan: “
..there appeared in the west of Middle Earth the Istari, whom Men
the wizards. None knew whence they were, save Círdan of the
and only to Elrond and Galadriel did he reveal that they came over the
How are we to explain such superior knowledge and wisdom with
Círdan the Shipwright, a “mere” Grey Elf?
Of course, Círdan is not just your average Grey Elf. He is
akin to King Olwë, leader of the Teleri in Valinor
and King Elwë Singollo, leader of the Sindar in Beleriand. Under
initial name of Nowë he was among the first generation elves who
at Cuivienen and undertook the great journey westward. But are his
and age sufficient to explain his exceptional far-sightedness?
In the Third Age, Círdan and his people offer their ships and
to those elves that are weary of the world and want to go to
They apparently know the hidden way to the Holy Lands and probably the
back as well. Círdan gave his ring to Gandalf “for he
knew whence he came and whither at last he would return
364). And when it is decribed in The Lord of the Rings
how the ring-bearers are at last ready to sail to Aman, Círdan
them with a ship made ready, and “the stars are in his eyes”.
How deep and far precisely goes the link between Círdan and
Valinor? And how is this link to be established?
Research into a possible link between Círdan and Valinor leads
to a footnote to the article “The palantíri” in Unfinished Tales,
p. 535: “Only one [palantír] remained in the North,
Elendil Stone on Emyn Beraid (…) This stone and its tower were
by Círdan and the Elves of Lindon.”
In Appendix A (I,iii) to The
Lord of the Rings we read that the palantír of Emyn
was unlike the others and not in accord with them; it looked only to
sea. Elendil set it there so that he could look back with ‘straight
and see Eresseä in the vanished West.” And in the Silmarillion “
it is believed that thus he would at whiles see far away even the Tower
Avallonë upon Eresseä, where the Master-stone abode, and yet
There it is. Combining these three sources (Unfinished Tales, LOTR, Silmarillion)
we can establish a clear link between Círdan and the Undying
Círdan being the guardian of the palantír of Emyn Beraid,
stone that did not communicate with the other palantíri, but
the Master-stone at Avallonë!
Direct communication - by means of a Palantír - between
and Avallonë is a powerful explanation of Círdan’s deep
of both what is and what lies ahead, but there is even more. In the History
of Middle Earth, Part 12, we discover that among J.R.R.
Writings is a short manuscript titled “Círdan”. Here Tolkien
explicitly, that Círdan “seeing further and deeper into the
future than anyone else in Middle Earth (…) must include even Elrond,
Galadriel and Celeborn.”
Tolkien subsequently tells how Círdan remained behind as the
of those Teleri who sought longest for Elwë when he was lost (with
in Doriath). “Thus he forfeited the fulfillment of his greatest
to see the Blessed realm and find again there Olwë and his own
kin. Alas, he did not reach the shores until nearly all the Teleri of
following had departed.” Círdan - filled with longing for
lost kin and the lands of Aman – at a certain time makes ready to
a ship and to sail west.
“But even as he said this he received in his heart a message, which
knew to come from the Valar (…) And the voice warned him not to attempt
peril (…) “Abide now that time, for when it comes then your work will
of utmost worth, and it will be remembered in song for many years
“I obey”, Círdan answered, and then it seemed to him that he saw
a vision maybe) a shape like a white boat, shining above him, that
west through the air, and as it dwindled in the distance it looked like
star of so great a brilliance that it cast a shadow of Círdan
the strand where he stood.
As we now perceive, this was a foretelling of the ship which after
apperenticeship to Círdan, and ever with his advice and help,
built, and in which at last he reached the shores of Aman.
From that night onwards Círdan received a foresight touching all
of importance, beyond the measure of all other Elves upon Middle-earth.”
I rest my case. When we analyse the war of the Rings, and the hidden
of the Valar therein, the figure of Círdan cannot be
During the History of Middle Earth, Círdan the Shipwright playes
crucial role as a secret “Valinorean Connection”.
Part 2 Highlights from Cirdan’s thousands of years in Middle
Bliss of Valinor
The quendi that follow the call from Oromë to go west from
are the Vanyar, the Noldor and the Teleri. Círdan – who is then
as Nowë - is kinsman to the Kings of the Teleri, who are Olwë
Elves of the Teleri - some of whom stayed in Middle Earth out of love
Elwë Singollo, some of whom were persuaded to stay back by
- assemble at the Falas under the leadership of Círdan and
the havens of Eglarest and Brithombar in Beleriand. Friendly relations
between the people of Círdan and the Sindar of Doriath. They
together in the first two battles of Beleriand.
After the Dagor Bragollach Círdan comes to the aid of High-King
against the armies of Morgoth, thus causing a last victory in these
days. After The Unnumbered Tears Círdan is forced to give up his
and to retreat to the isle of Balar, where he is joined by High-King
He manages to keep a stronghold at the mouth of the Sirion, where later
Idril, Eärendil and Elwing find a refuge. After the voyage of
and the War of Wrath Círdan and Gil-Galad lead the remaining
to Lindon. Later some of the Noldor go with Celebrimbor to Eregion.
Círdan and Gil-galad refuse to negotiatiate with Sauron, however
his disguise. But Sauron succeeds in misleading the Noldor in Eregion.
Sauron discovers that Celebrimbor has sent two of the elvenrings to
and assails Eriador and Mithlond. He is driven back with help from
After the Akkâlabeth Sauron returns to Middle Earth.
and Gil-galad establish the Last Alliance with the Numenorean refugees
Isildur and Anarion.
After the death of Gil-galad there is no more (high-)king of the Eldar
Middle Earth. Elrond (Imladris), Galadriel (Lorien) and Círdan
lead the elves in their respective regions.
Círdan welcomes Gandalf at the Grey Havens and gives to him
Narya, the ring of Fire.
Círdan has a seat in the White Council, where the Istari and the
leaders of the Eldar have joined forces.
Glorfindel leads a combined force of Lindon and Imladris to victory
against the witch-king of Angmar.
After the War of the Rings the ringbearers join to depart for Valinor
find Círdan awaiting them at the Grey Havens “and took
ship that Círdan had made ready. In the twilight of the autumn
sailed out of Mithlond, until the seas of the Bent World fell beneath
and the winds of the round sky troubled it no more, and borne into the
West, and an end was come for the Eldar of story and of song.”
Círdan himself did not take that ship. It is told that he went
Aman later, accompanying the Last of the Ringbearers, the honorable Sam
taking the very last ship from Mithlond.
And then the Grey Havens were silent and empty.
But is has been rumored that yet Círdan was not the last of the
to sail for Aman – as would have been proper. For the legends say that
years later one of the Green Eldar undertook the journey and even that
was accompanied by a dwarf.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion (ed. Chr. Tolkien)
J.R.R. Tolkien, Unfinished Tales (ed. Chr. Tolkien)
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Peoples of Middle Earth (Volume 12 of the History
of Middle Earth) (ed. Chr. Tolkien)
(all published by HarperCollins)
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