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Darcival - Aredhel.jpg
"Aredhel" by Darcival
Biographical Information
Other namesÍrissë (Q), Ar-Feiniel, "White Lady of the Noldor"
LanguageQuenya and Sindarin
BirthY.T. 1362[1]
DeathF.A. 400 (aged 1,722 years[note 1])
HouseHouse of Fingolfin
ParentageFingolfin and Anairë
SiblingsFingon, Turgon and (Argon)
Physical Description
Hair colorDark[2]
ClothingSilver and white[2]
GalleryImages of Aredhel

Aredhel, also called Ar-Feiniel or the White Lady of the Noldor, was the third child and only daughter of Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, and Anairë who herself was also a Noldo. Her elder brothers were Fingon and Turgon, and her youngest brother was (Argon), not mentioned in the published Silmarillion but in earlier versions. Much later in Beleriand, she became the mother of Maeglin whose father was Eöl, "the Dark Elf".

Aredhel was tall and strong, fond of hunting and riding in the forests. Her skin was pale and her hair dark; she always wore silver and white. She was fond of the sons of Fëanor, especially Celegorm and Curufin.


[edit] History

Aredhel was born in Valinor and most likely at Tirion, the city of the Noldor in Aman. In the flight of the Noldor from Aman, she followed her father Fingolfin and her brothers over the Helcaraxë to Middle Earth. But Aredhel's mother Anairë did not go, even though all of her children were going with her husband Fingolfin.

After arriving in Middle-earth, she dwelt for a time in Nevrast where her brother Turgon established the city of Vinyamar. Later, when Turgon built the hidden city of Gondolin Aredhel went with her brother and his daughter Idril her neice to dwell thereafter in Gondolin. After two hundred years, the longing for the forests and wide lands overcame her and she asked her brother, now King Turgon of Gondolin, for permission to leave. Nevertheless, Turgon was unwilling at first, because he feared for her safety and for the secrecy of his kingdom. He eventually relented, giving her a small escort of lords among his people for protection. Aredhel ignored her brother's plea that she would only go to see their eldest brother Fingon, desiring instead to meet the Sons of Fëanor again. They sought passage through Doriath, but were denied because they were of the Noldor. Aredhel and her companions were then forced to go northward through the treacherous region of Nan Dungortheb north of Doriath, where they were separated being entangled in the dark shadows. Notwithstanding, Aredhel continued alone onward to Himlad, the land of the Noldorin Elf-lords Celegorm and Curufin where they lived and upon reaching Himlad she only found them away in Thargelion. Aredhel dwelt in Himlad with the people of Celegorm who welcomed her while she waited for Celegorm and Curufin to return. But after awhile, she got tired of waiting for them, and began taking trips of her own to pass the time. It was on one such trip that Aredhel wandered into the dark forest of Nan Elmoth.

Ted Nasmith - Eöl Welcomes Aredhel

Eöl the Dark Elf lived there, and upon seeing Aredhel's beauty, wove a spell which caused her to become hopelessly lost and wander ever closer to his home. Eöl revealed himself when she arrived, and welcomed her to his house. They married and had a son named Maeglin. During this time, Aredhel was free to go where she pleased, with the sole restriction that she couldn't visit any of her kin. Her homesickness led her to tell Maeglin many stories about Gondolin and the Noldor, which only increased her longing for home. Thus, when Maeglin proposed that they abandon Nan Elmoth and return to Gondolin, she responded with pride and joy.

Waiting until Eöl was away, the two fled from Nan Elmoth for Gondolin, but were unknowingly tracked by Eöl, who had discovered their disappearance earlier than expected. Aredhel and Maeglin were received with joy in Gondolin, but the guards quickly caught Eöl and brought him to the King on Aredhel's bidding. Turgon was initially willing to spare Eöl and accept him as a kinsman if he remained in Gondolin, but Eöl would not accept this judgement and chose death for himself and Maeglin. He threw a javelin at his son, but Aredhel shielded Maeglin and was wounded. While she lay resting, she spoke to her niece Idril and begged her to ensure Turgon showed mercy to Eöl. This was not to be, as the weapon Eöl used had been poisoned. Aredhel died shortly after making this final plea, leaving the city and its King bereaved once more.

[edit] Etymology

Aredhel's name in Valinor used to be Írissë. In Sindarin this name was Íreth.[3]

The name Aredhel means "Noble Elf" in Sindarin.[4] Note on pronunciation: Aredhel should be pronounced ar-eth-el (voiced "th", [ð]), not ar-ed-hel.

[edit] Genealogy

d. Y.T. 1170
d. Y.T. 1495
b. Y.T.
Y.T. 1169 - 1497
b. Y.T.
Y.T. 1190 - F.A. 456
b. Y.T.
b. Y.T.
b. Y.T. 1230
d. F.A. 472
Y.T. 1300 - F.A. 510
d. Y.T. 1500
Y.T. 1362 - F.A. 400
d. F.A. 400
d. F.A. 1
b. F.A. 472
b. Y.T.
F.A. 320 - 510
b. F.A. 503

[edit] Other versions of the Legendarium

The names Aredhel and Ar-Feiniel ("noble white lady") were both originally intended to stand alone, and be used as the main name of Irissë. While preparing The Silmarillion for publication Christopher Tolkien could not discover which name was intended to be used as her final name, and he therefore chose to use both names: a decision he later stated in The History of Middle-earth series was possibly mistaken.

[edit] See also


  1. Years of the Sun. Each Year of the Tree is equal to 9.582 Years of the Sun, and the Years of the Trees ended in the year 1500. So, 400 + 9.582 x 138 = 1,722.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman", p. 102, notes 8 and 9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", p. 345
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 139