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Elwing (First Age c. 500 – 532, aged 32 years when she sailed into the West) was the daughter of Dior Eluchíl and Nimloth. When she was very young her father inherited the throne of Doriath, along with the Silmaril recaptured by Beren, and she moved with her parents to the caves of Menegroth. In First Age 505, three of the sons of Fëanor, driven by their terrible Oath, attacked Menegroth and slew her parents and two brothers. She escaped the Sack of Doriath with the Silmaril and fled to the Havens of Sirion. There she met and married Eärendil the Mariner and gave birth to twins Elrond and Elros.

In 529 the remaining sons of Fëanor attacked the Havens of Sirion to take the Silmaril. They captured Elwing's sons but as they came for her she cast herself into the Great Sea. Through the power of the Vala Ulmo, she took the form of a white bird and came to her husband in his ship Vingilótë with the Silmaril upon her breast.

Elwing means "Star-spray" in Sindarin (from êl = "star" and gwing = "foam, spray"). Her name comes from the waterfall of Lanthir Lamath, which lay near the home of her parents when she was born.