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This essay has been composed mostly of some of my posts in the thread "Amroth and Nimrodel" at the Tolkien message board Minas Tirith.


The issue concerning the fates of Amroth and Nimrodel screams for more research. It seems that it has much to do with the characteristics of Lothlórien/Cerin Amroth.

"They [Haldir, Frodo and Samwise] entered the circle of white trees [of Cerin Amroth]. As they did so the South Wind blew upon Cerin Amroth and sighed among the branches. Frodo stood still, hearing far off great seas upon beaches that had long ago been washed away, and sea-birds crying whose race had perished from the earth."
'Lothlorien', The Fellowship of the Ring


I believe that there is an 'echo' of Amroth here. He was lost in the Bay of Belfalas in the South. The passage is a reference to this line by Legolas in the same chapter:

And when the wind is in the South the voice of Amroth comes up from the sea; for Nimrodel flows into Silverlode, that Elves call Celebrant, and Celebrant into Anduin the Great. and Anduin flows into the Bay of Belfalas ...


The beaches might be beaches at the coasts of Belfalas. In PoMe, 'The Tale of Years of the Second Age' there is a reference to the coasts of Belfalas being much changed at the Downfall of Númenor:

These [the shores of Middle-earth] were much changed in the tumult of the winds and seas that followed the Downfall; for in some places the sea rode in upon the land, and in others it piled up new coasts. Thus while Lindon suffered great loss, the Bay of Belfalas was much filled at the east and south, so that Pelargir which had been only a few miles from the sea was left far inland …


But since the beaches 'had long ago been washed away', the Bay of Belfalas should perhaps get bigger and not the other way around. Also, this happened at the end of the Second Age. Amroth was lost in TA 1981.

What this 'echo' really is is hard to say though. Amroth's spirit, or just some memory? It may very well have to do with Aragorn's line at the end of the chapter, when they leave the hill of Cerin Amroth:

`Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth,' he [Aragorn] said, `and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come with me! ' And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.


If so, it probably also has to do with the fact that Arwen laid her down on Cerin Amroth to die.


I also believe that the 'music' of the fall of Nimrodel (the stream) is an 'echo' of Nimrodel (the Elf-maiden).

'Lothlórien':

... they [the Fellowship] heard the music of the waterfall running sweetly in the shadows. Almost Frodo fancied that he could hear a voice singing, mingled with the sound of the water.
`Do you hear the voice of Nimrodel? ' asked Legolas.
It seemed to him [Frodo] that he would never hear again a running water so beautiful, for ever blending its innumerable notes in an endless changeful music.


UT, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn', ‘Amroth and Nimrodel':

… she [Nimrodel] dwelt alone beside the falls of the river Nimrodel to which she gave her name …


Note that according to the index in the published Silmarillion, Nimrodel means 'lady of the white cave’. Perhaps she dwelt in a cave at some point in her life, perhaps beside the waterfall? Or behind it, and the voice is just some memory of her? Or did her spirit still dwell there at the end of the Third Age? Or was she even still alive and lived behind the waterfall in a cave?? But according to Legolas:

… neither Nimrodel nor Amroth ever came back.


That might just be a common belief though, and he and the Galadhrim might not know the truth. It is pretty much certain though that Amroth drowned:

UT, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn', ‘Amroth and Nimrodel':

After the disaster in Moria [in the year 1980] and the sorrows of Lórien, which was now left without a ruler (for Amroth was drowned in the sea in the Bay of Belfalas and left no heir), Celeborn and Galadriel returned to Lórien, and were welcomed by the people.


Also remember the Drúedain's transferring of their power to their statues. Was a part of Nimrodel's power in the waterfall?

Nimrodel was lost in the White Mountains – did she get her name from a cave in that region? But according to a story in UT, ‘The History of Galadriel and Celeborn’, ‘Amroth and Nimrodel’, she found a river, Gilrain, that reminded her of her stream in Lórien, and stayed there for a long time.

I do not know if this is anything special that might have to do with her name, or if it is common with waterfalls. When the Company is leaving the tree where they spent the night:

‘Lothlórien’:

Frodo looked back and caught a gleam of white foam among the grey tree-stems.


An Elven-maid [Nimrodel] there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver-grey.


It is a mystery from what Nimrodel got her name ('lady of the white cave'). According to UT, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn', 'Amroth and Nimrodel' Amroth means "upclimber, high climber" and that his name was most probably derived from his living in a high talan.

In any case I would guess though, that the fates of Amroth and Nimrodel are similar. If there is just some memory of one of them, there is just some memory of the other. I have a strong suspicion that Lothlórien does have some ‘memory preservation’ property. Frodo at Cerin Amroth:

Frodo felt that he was in a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness. When he had gone and passed again into the outer world, still Frodo the wanderer from the Shire would walk there, upon the grass among elanor and niphredil in fair Lothlórien.


And Aragorn:

At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. Arwen vanimelda, namárië! he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.


Frodo saw an image of Aragorn as he came to Lothlórien and proposed to Arwen after having been out in the wild for many years:

LOTR, Appendix A, I – ‘The Númenorean Kings’, (v) ‘The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen’:

But Aragorn was grown to full stature of body and mind, and Galadriel bade him cast aside his wayworn raiment, and she clothed him in silver and white, with a cloak of elven-grey and a bright gem on his brow. Then more than any kind of Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of the West. And thus it was that Arwen first beheld him again after their long parting; and as he came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden with flowers of gold, her choice was made and her doom appointed.


When Aragorn said "Arwen vanimelda, namárië!" ("Arwen Lady beloved, farewell!") he probably recollected his farewell to Arwen when he departed from her after their betrothal. Or, he was sort of the memory of himself; to Frodo he seemed clothed in white as he indeed was at the betrothal, and maybe he spoke those words to Arwen at their parting. It does seem that Aragorn saw a memory of Arwen, and spoke to her:

For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke words in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see.


After their betrothal Aragorn departed, so 'Arwen vanimelda, namárië!' would be an appropriate line for Aragorn to say at that point.

LOTR, Appendix A, I – ‘The Númenorean Kings’, (v) ‘The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen’:

Then for a season they [Aragorn and Arwen] wandered together in the glades of Lothlórien, until it was time for him to depart.


First I was thinking that by the line Aragorn, amazingly, made a memory or image of himself, a message, on purpose so that Arwen would see it when she was about to lay her down on Cerin Amroth to die. But since Tolkien makes it clear that Aragorn apparently was speaking to a memory of Arwen, this theory is not believable. But it would be logical if Arwen did see a memory of Aragorn, due to the memory preservation aspect of Cerin Amroth/Lothlórien.

So, there might also be preserved ‘memories’ of Amroth and Nimrodel. It might have to do with the preservation aspect of Lothlórien caused by Galadriel and her Ring Nenya. Perhaps the preservation is so strong that it even preserves ‘memories’ or ‘prints’ of people and events.

However, Legolas also says that Nimrodel lived in a tree-house (or at least had one built) near the fall of the stream:

It is told that she [Nimrodel] had a house built in the branches of a tree that grew near the falls


I strongly believe that the Fellowship even spent the following night in the same tree, on Nimrodel's ancient talan:

Not far from the falls of Nimrodel they [the Fellowship] found a cluster of trees, some of which overhung the stream. Their great grey trunks were of mighty girth, but their height could not be guessed.
`I will climb up,' said Legolas.


UT, 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn', 'Amroth and Nimrodel':

But the dwelling in trees was not universal even in Lórien and the telain or flets were in origin either refuges to be used in the event of attack, or most often (especially those high up in great trees) outlook posts from which the land and its borders could be surveyed by Elvish eyes …


Such an outlook post, used by wardens of the north-marches, was the flet in which Frodo spent the night. The abode of Celeborn in Caras Galadhon was also of the same origin: its highest flet, which the Fellowship of the Ring did not see, was the highest point in the land. Earlier the flet of Amroth at the top of the great mound or hill of Cerin Amroth, piled by the labour of many hands, had been the highest, and was principally designed to watch Dol Guldur across the Anduin. The conversion of these telain into permanent dwellings was a later development …


Living in such lofty houses was no doubt at first thought remarkable, and Amroth was probably the first to do so.


Unless it was Nimrodel. Her motives were different. She loved the waters and the falls of Nimrodel from which she would not long be parted; but as times darkened the stream was too near the north borders, and in a part where few of the Galadhrim now dwelt. Maybe it was from her that Amroth took the idea of living in a high flet.


So, the talan on which the Fellowship spent the night was in origin an outlook post. Afterwards it probably became the permanent dwelling of Nimrodel. After she was lost, it became an outlook post again.

Frodo and Samwise also climbed up to Amroth's talan on Cerin Amroth. It would be typical of Tolkien to have them visit Nimrodel's talan as well.


The 'song' of the fall of Nimrodel might have to do with the association of Lothlórien with song. Two ancient names of Lothlórien, Lindórinand and Laurelindórenan mean 'Vale of the Land of the Singers' and 'Valley of Singing Gold' respectively. Also remember Samwise's remark at Cerin Amroth:

`I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.'


The Nandor of the land were in origin Teleri, who called themselves Lindar, 'the Singers'. Though I am not sure how much the Elves of Lórien themselves, and how much Galadriel and Cerin Amroth contributed to the 'song' reference. The well known Tolkien scholar Michael Martinez has speculated [1] that the power of Galadriel and Nenya "might be more akin to the power of Elvish minstrels Tolkien alludes to in 'The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen'":

And suddenly even as he [Aragorn] sang he saw a maiden walking on a greensward among the white stems of the birches; and he halted amazed, thinking that he had strayed into a dream, or else that he had received the gift of the Elf-minstrels, who can make the things of which they sing appear before the eyes of those that listen.


Further discussion touching this topic can be found in the thread "Lothlórien time and again" at the Tolkien and the Inklings section at SF-Fandom.


Music, memories and dreams 'coming alive' seems to be a theme in Tolkien's works (remember the Ainulindalë). Treebeard also calls Lothlórien 'the Dreamflower', which I think is a reference to Cerin Amroth. Generally, song or word is used as a magical element, for example by Lúthien, Finrod Felagund and Sauron, Old Man Willow and Tom Bombadil.


Side note:

Both Gandalf and Aragorn were clothed in white by Galadriel when they came to Lothlórien.

LOTR, 'The White Rider':

I [Gandalf] tarried there in the ageless time of that land [Lothlórien] where days bring healing not decay. Healing I found, and I was clothed in white.


LOTR, Appendix A, I – ‘The Númenorean Kings’, (v) ‘The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen’:

But Aragorn was grown to full stature of body and mind, and Galadriel bade him cast aside his wayworn raiment, and she clothed him in silver and white, with a cloak of elven-grey and a bright gem on his brow.


Like Gandalf, Aragorn was most likely also healed:

'It came to pass that when Aragorn was nine and forty years of age he returned from perils on the dark confines of Mordor, where Sauron now dwelt again and was busy with evil. He was weary and he wished to go back to Rivendell and rest there for a while ere he journeyed into the far countries; and on his way he came to the borders of Lórien and was admitted to the hidden land by the Lady Galadriel.


The scene of Aragorn returning from the confines of Mordor, being weary and admitted to Lórien is also reminiscent of Beren's escaping from the Mountains of Terror and the admittance of him to Doriath.