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J.R.R. Tolkien - Rivendell.jpg
General Information
Other namesImladris, the Last Homely House
LocationWest of Hithaeglir
DescriptionHidden valley with permanent elven settlement
RegionsElrond's dominion
People and History
EventsFirst and Second Siege of Imladris, Quest of Erebor, Council of Elrond
GalleryImages of Rivendell

Rivendell was an Elven dwelling in the Misty Mountains on the eastern edge of Eriador. It was also called "The Last Homely House East of the Sea", a reference to Valinor, which is west of the sea. It was established by Elrond in the Second Age as a refuge from Sauron after the fall of Eregion. Besides Elrond himself, notable Elves who lived there include Arwen and Glorfindel.



Rivendell is located at the edge of a narrow gorge of the Bruinen River, but well hidden in the moorlands and foothills of the Misty Mountains.


Elrond founded Rivendell in the year 1697 of the Second Age after Sauron destroyed the realm of Eregion, where the Rings of Power had been forged. Two years later in 1699, Sauron's forces invaded Eriador. Rivendell was besieged but Sauron was unable to conquer it. At last in 1701, Sauron was driven out of Eriador. That year a Council was held at Rivendell attended by Gil-galad, Elrond, Galadriel and others. It was decided that Rivendell would be the stronghold of the Elves in eastern Eriador. Elrond was the bearer of Vilya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves, and he used the power of his Ring to maintain the beauty and safety of Rivendell.

At the end of the Second Age in 3431, the armies of the Last Alliance under the command of Gil-galad and Elendil gathered at Rivendell. No greater host was ever again assembled in Middle-earth. From Rivendell they marched to Mordor and fought the War of the Last Alliance which ended in Sauron's temporary defeat.

Isildur was slain after the war and the One Ring he had taken from Sauron was lost, but the line of Isildur was preserved in Rivendell where his wife and his youngest son Valandil remained safe. When the North-kingdom ended and the line of Isildur was continued by the Chieftains of the Dunedain, the sons of the Chieftains were fostered at Rivendell in their youth. Elrond also had in his keeping the emblems of the House of Isildur: the Sceptre of Annuminas, the Elendilmir, the Ring of Barahir, and the shards of Narsil.

Around 1300 of the Third Age, the Lord of the Nazgul came to Eriador and established the realm of Angmar. At one point, Rivendell was besieged by forces aligned with Angmar. In 1409, the forces of Angmar attacked the three kingdoms of the Dunedain. Elrond brought help from Rivendell and Lothlorien and they joined forces with Cirdan from the Grey Havens to help the Dunedain. The Lord of the Nazgul was finally driven from Eriador after the Battle of Fornost in 1975, to which a force from Rivendell was led by Glorfindel.

In 2933, when Aragorn became the sixteenth Chieftain of the Dunedain at the age of two, Elrond accepted the boy as a foster son. Aragorn lived at Rivendell until he was twenty and he met and fell in love with Elrond's daughter Arwen there. Though he went on many journeys, Aragorn often returned to Rivendell.

Gandalf came to Rivendell in 2941 with Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves of Thorin & Company. There they had a short rest before continuing on their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the Dragon. One of the reasons Gandalf had encouraged the quest was that he feared that Smaug might be used as a tool by Sauron to wreak havoc in the north and allow Sauron to attack Rivendell and Lothlorien. After the successful completion of the quest, Gandalf and Bilbo stopped at Rivendell on their way home.

Bilbo settled in Rivendell in 3002. He lived there until 3021 and he wrote a history of the First Age called Translations from the Elvish using the lore preserved at Rivendell.

Frodo Baggins headed for Rivendell when he left the Shire with the One Ring in September of 3018. He was pursued by the Nazgul and at the Ford of Bruinen on October 20, Elrond caused the waters of the river to rise and the Nazgul were swept away.

On October 25, the Council of Elrond was held at Rivendell to determine what should be done with the Ring. In attendance were several people who had come to Rivendell with news and for counsel including Legolas of Mirkwood, Gloin and Gimli of the Lonely Mountain, and Boromir of Gondor, who had learned in a dream that the shards of Narsil were in Rivendell. Frodo volunteered to take the Ring to Mordor and destroy it, and a Fellowship of eight companions was chosen to accompany him. Narsil was reforged by the Elvish smiths of Rivendell and Aragorn renamed it Anduril. The Fellowship left Rivendell on December 25.

After Sauron's defeat, Elrond decided it was time for him to leave Middle-earth. In September of 3021, he left Rivendell accompanied by Bilbo and sailed into the West from the Grey Havens. During the Fourth Age, Merry Brandybuck visited Rivendell from time to time and gathered information that was used to compile The Tale of Years.

Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir remained in Rivendell for a while and their grandfather Celeborn came to dwell there with them. Celeborn eventually left Middle-earth. It is not known whether Elladan and Elrohir did so as well. One source (App. A of LotR, p. 343) implies that Rivendell was deserted by the time of Aragorn's death in 120 of the Fourth Age.


Elrond established Imladris in S.A. 1697 during the War of the Elves and Sauron.[1] In Elrond's following at that time were both Elves from Lindon whom he had led in battle to defend Eregion and those Elves who had fled Eregion when it was destroyed. Many more refugees joined Elrond's host as Sauron ravaged Eriador during the course of the war. By S.A. 1700, Imladris, despite being besieged, was the only part of Eriador not under Sauron's control. It was was liberated after Gil-galad's forces, strengthened by the armament sent by Tar-Minastir, routed Sauron's armies and drove him out of Eriador. A Council was held at that time, establishing Elrond as Gil-galad's vice-regent in Eriador and that Imladris should be maintained as an Elvish stronghold.[2]

At the end of the Second Age, Elendil and Gil-galad formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men to challenge Sauron, and their host halted for a while at Imladris before crossing the Misty Mountains.[3] Isildur's wife and his youngest son, Valandil, were in Imladris at that time, and Isildur was journeying back to them after Sauron's defeat when he was ambushed at the Gladden Fields.[4] After receiving the shards of Narsil, Valandil took up his role as King of Arnor and left Imladris for Annúminas.[3]

Third Age

After the fall of Gil-galad, Elrond remained in Imladris. During the Third Age it was a refuge and sanctuary; many Elves gathered there, and it was the chief dwelling of the High Elves in Eriador. The heirs of Isildur were also harbored there due to their kinship with Elrond, as descendants of his brother Elros.[3] Rivendell maintained this special relationship with the North Kingdom throughout the Third Age, and Elrond and his people remained steadfast allies to the heirs of Isildur.

Situated on the western slopes of the Misty Mountains, Rivendell was on the eastern edge of Arnor, close to the province of Rhudaur which became independent during the disintegration of the North Kingdom in T.A. 861. Danger came to Eriador around T.A. 1300 when the witch-kingdom of Angmar was established in the north-east beyond the Ettenmoors. It was during the late reign of Arveleg I that Rivendell was besieged by Angmar. After an incursion by Angmar into Eriador in T.A. 1409, the Elvenfolk of Rivendell joined those of Lindon in subduing the power of the Witch-king for many years.[5]

After the end of the North-kingdom in T.A. 1975 Aranarth, the first Chieftain of the Dúnedain, had is son fostered in Rivendell, as were all subsequent sons of the chieftains. The heirlooms and treasures of the house of Isildur were also kept in Rivendell, including the shards of Narsil, were also kept there after Arvedui's death.[5] Among these were also some of the few remaining documents containing the history of Númenor.[6]

There was traffic across the Misty Mountains in the Third Age between Imladris and Lórien, for Elrond's wife was Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn.

The One Ring

In the Quest of Erebor, Bilbo Baggins stopped off at Rivendell with the Dwarves on the way to the Lonely Mountain and also on the way back to the Shire with Gandalf.

Years later, Frodo Baggins and his companions journeyed to Rivendell, where they met with Bilbo, who had retired there after his 111th birthday, spending his time on his memoir, There and Back Again. Several other Elves, Dwarves and Men had also arrived at Rivendell on separate errands; at the Council of Elrond they learned that all of their errands were related to the fate of the One Ring, and they had to decide what to do about it. In the end, the Hobbits who influenced the decision.


The name Rivendell is English meaning "torn valley". It is the translation of Westron Karningul.

The Sindarin name of Rivendell is Imladris of the same meaning. Tolkien gives the literal meaning "Deep Valley of the Cleft".


A possible inspiration could have been Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, which Tolkien visited in 1911:

"I am... delighted that you have made the acquaintance of Switzerland, and of the very part that I once knew best and which had the deepest effect on me. The hobbit’s journey from Rivendell to the other side of the Misty Mountains, including the glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods, is based on my adventures in 1911 (he was 19 and traveled to Lauterbrunnen)... Our wanderings mainly on foot in a party of 12 are not now clear in sequence, but leave many vivid pictures as clear as yesterday." (He talks of similar conditions of the travel of Bilbo camping out, walking mountain paths, carrying packs)."
― Tolkien[7]

Portrayal in Adaptations

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Rivendell is the fifth level, and the first where no fighting is required. After Frodo is taken to Rivendell by Glorfindel, he is first woken by Gandalf; after that, the Council of Elrond starts. After the council, there is an opportunity to speak to the NPCs - Aragorn, Arwen, Boromir, Elrond, Gandalf, Gimli, Legolas, Merry, Pippin and Sam. The gameplay continues by entering a door. A short cutscene follows in which Bilbo gives Sting and the mithril shirt.[8]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Rivendell is one of the major cities in the game, located between Trollshaws and the Misty Mountains. Elves are able to quick travel to the city if they have earned the trait, have it equiped and have one travel ration. Rivendell is also one of the places that players can choose as Elven character's homeland.

See also

External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 306, (undated, late 1967 - early 1968)
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game), "Rivendell"