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Cottage of Lost Play

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Cottage of Lost Play by Amani Warrington

The Cottage of Lost Play, was a dwelling located near the city of Kortirion on Tol Eressëa according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales. It housed many Mannish children and was kept by Lindo and his wife Vairë. Eriol the traveler visited it during his time on Tol Eressëa.


Eriol the mariner came to Tol Eressëa in search of strange lands. There he wandered until he came to the centre of the isle, where he visited many dwellings in hamlets he saw. As he grew tired one night, he made his way up a hill to a straight road bordered by a wall of grey stone topped with many flowers and yews. At the summit of the hill, he spotted a winding lane that led to The Cottage of Lost Play.[1]:13-4

There he knocked on the door, seeking information about it and wishing to lodge there for the night. The door was answered by Lindo and his wife Vairë who introduced themselves as masters of the house and gave its name as Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva. With them were many Mannish children, and a few other gnomes. They invited Eriol to stay there and have dinner with them.[1]:14

They entered the great hall where three great fires burned, and they were joined by many children at the sound of Tombo, the Gong of the Children, which stands outside of the Hall of Play Regained. It rings once to summon all to dinner and thrice to summon all to the Room of the Log Fire for story time. The three strikes make Littleheart, the Gong Warden happiest. They sang the song of the Bringing in of the Meats, and Lindo blessed the meal and company.[1]:15-6

At dinner Lindo explained where Eriol had come, and discussed the city of Kortirion and its maiden, Meril-i-Turinqi. He spoke of the gathering of the wisest and fairest of the Eldar in this region, including his father Valwë and his wife's father Tulkastor. All but Eriol drank limpë, which gave youth to the drinker, but that only Meril-i-Turinqi could give to those who were not already permitted to drink it.[1]:16-7

At the thrice ringing of the gong after dinner, they departed to the Room of Logs, where they gathered for story time. Lindo took to the chair and Vairë to a cushion beside him on the floor. The children followed in and Eriol asked to learn more of the Cottage of Lost Play. First, she told him of the cottage's predecessor, the Cottage of the Children, which lay in the fair gardens of Valinor beside a silver sea, not far from Kôr. She said this this cottage was often mistaken in songs of Men for the one they were in now.[1]:17-9

She described the original cottage as being reached by the path Olórë Mallë. The lane had a gate of lattice work that led to the fairest of the gardens, where the cottage stood. The cottage was white as if made of pearl, but that none knew what it was built of. Its roof was made of thatched gold. On the side stood a thicket of white lilac and at the other end, a mighty yew. The walls of the cottage were bent with age, and the many small lattice windows were twisted into strange shapes. No one dwelt in the cottage, and it was guarded secretly and jealously by the Eldar who watched the children play there.[1]:18-9

The children who played here were the children of the Men who had wandered into Valinor and either stayed or come back and stayed unsatisfied with the lands after seeing the glory of the undying lands. Some children would hear the piping of the Solosimpi and wander to Kôr. Though when the fairies left Kôr, the lane was blocked forever with impassable rocks and the cottage now stands empty and the garden bare and they will be until far after the Faring Forth.[1]:19-20

The Men grew sad at not seeing the children any longer, and so asked the Eldar to help. Hence came Meril-i-Turinqi to Lindo and Vairë and asked them to devise a solution. The two built the new Cottage of Lost Play, where children can come and go from to the Great Lands, to help others there and return if they want, though some do not.[1]:20


The cottage was described as being located down the western slope of a hill in the center of Tol Eressëa, near the city of Kortirion. Eriol first saw it on his travels and noticed it was a tiny dwelling with many small windows that were "curtained snugly, yet only so that a most warm and delicious light, as of hearts content within, looked forth."

Inside Eriol thought it to be spacious and delightful. It had several notable rooms: The great hall, wherein three great fires burned, the Hall of Play Regained, and the Room of the Log Fire, where the Tale-fire blazed magically, aiding the storytellers who spoke in there.


The name Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva is Qenya for "Cottage of the Lost Play", from mar ("dwelling"), vanwa ("gone, on the road, past, over, lost") and tyalie + adjectival ending -va.[2][3]

It's name in Gnomish is Bara Dhair Haithin.[4]:15

In a later text from the early 1950's, the name Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva is given as an alternative name of the House of Elrond in Rivendell and interpreted as "House of Past (or Departed) Mirth". The word Tyaliéva is here translated as tyalie ("mirth") + the possessive case ending -va.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, entry "Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Early Qenya and The Valmaric Script", in Parma Eldalamberon XIV (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), p. 47
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden)
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenya Noun Structure", in Parma Eldalamberon XXI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Patrick H. Wynne and Arden R. Smith), p. 80