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Fíriel (The Last Ship)

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The name Fíriel refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Fíriel (disambiguation).


Fíriel was the main character of the poem "The Last Ship" from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. She awoke before dawn one morning and was drawn downstairs to the nearby river. Running through the morning dew her gown became bejeweled upon its hem. As she stood gleaming with her hair upon her shoulders, watching a kingfisher, she heard music – flutes, harps, and the voices of Elves. Soon an Elven ship appeared with some rowing and three wearing crowns. The oarsmen sang of the green land, asked themselves where they are going, and answered that they are off to Elvenhome.

However, the oars are halted as they spy Fíriel on the shore. Calling the Earth-maiden elven-fair, they offered to take her with them since there was room for one more. Fíriel took one step towards them, but when her foot sank deep into the clay at the water's edge she halted and cried that she could not come, being born a daughter of Earth. Turning away, she walked back to her house, the dew-jewels gone. She put on a russet brown smock, braided her hair, and began that day's chores.

At the critical moment when Fíriel almost joined the departing Elves, it was the sinking of her foot deep into the clay of the riverbank that recalled to her the fact that she was but a mortal.

Etymology

In Morgoth's Ring, it was said that Míriel Serindë, the first wife of Finwë, was renamed Fíriel, meaning "She that died". Thus the name “Fíriel” is associated with the idea of a mortal woman.[1]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Laws and Customs among the Eldar, [Text A]"