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Tal-Elmar (chapter)

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This article is about the chapter of The Peoples of Middle-earth. For the character, see Tal-Elmar (disambiguation).
The Peoples of Middle-earth
  1. The Prologue
  2. The Appendix on Languages
  3. The Family Trees
  4. The Calendars
  5. The History of the Akallabêth
  6. The Tale of Years of the Second Age
  7. The Heirs of Elendil
  8. The Tale of Years of the Third Age
  9. The Making of Appendix A
  10. Of Dwarves and Men
  11. The Shibboleth of Fëanor
  12. The Problem of Ros
  13. Last Writings
  14. Dangweth Pengoloð
  15. Of Lembas
  16. The New Shadow
  17. Tal-Elmar

Tal-Elmar is the title of an incomplete narrative written in two manuscripts separated by several years, in which he is the main character. The story offers a glimpse of the Númenórean colonization of Middle-earth from the perspective of its indigenous inhabitants and was published in the volume The Peoples of Middle-earth.

Synopsis

The story begins with a description of Tal-Elmar's father, Hazad Longbeard, a "harsh-tongued, heavy-handed, and quick to violence" man who had seventeen sons, but found even more joy in his five feet long beard. His youngest son was unlike his brothers, being tall, slender and fair skinned. He mostly stood aside those of his own kind and when angered he had a fierce look in his eyes, for which the people called him "Flint-eye". Hazad loved Tal-Elmar dearly, for he reminded him of his late mother Elmar and it was because of this reason he named him so. She was not from the same kind as Hazad's father, but of the Fell Folk of the East and after an ambush she was taken prisoner and later wedded by Buldar, mostly against her wish.

Tal-Elmar's land was a region of green hills placed in the Mouths of Anduin and Langstrand area, situated "three leagues away" from the shores of the Great Sea. It was called Agar. From the top of a hill, in one Spring morning, Tal-Elmar and Hazad spotted four Númenórean ships, of which one had black sails, heading towards their lands. The two rushed towards their town to alert the rest of the people. In the time of the tale the "High Men of the Sea", as Númenóreans were called, were greatly feared, because they attacked and plundered the mortal fractions who dwelt on the shores of the sea.

Most of the town's inhabitants were out on the field and thus the only one who listened to the warning was the town-master Mogru, who mocked them and the ill news, for the Númenóreans hadn't arrived in those lands during his lifetime. However, at their request he walked towards the hill and saw with his own eyes the threat. Wishing to endanger Tal-Elmar, he sent him towards the shore as a scout. After crossing the dark forest which all his people dreaded, he came closer to the shore and observed the ships from the top of a hill.

After gaining courage, he raised and walked towards the Númenóreans who had camped there already. From the distance, he resembled the Eldar and thus they restrained from attacking him, but once he spoke not in their tongue he was taken prisoner and the captain interrogated him. The story of Tal-Elmar was not finished during the author's life and thus the hero's fate remained unknown. The last published words of it reveal the intention of the Númenóreans to occupy Tal-Elmar's region and kill its inhabitants, if they should oppose them.