The History of Galadriel and Celeborn

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Unfinished Tales
of Númenor and Middle-earth
Part One: The First Age
Part Two: The Second Age
Part Three: The Third Age
Part Four

The History of Galadriel and Celeborn and of Amroth King of Lórien is a chapter from the book Unfinished Tales, which includes texts by J.R.R. Tolkien, published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien. This chapter is not actually a "history", but a selection of texts in which Tolkien tried to develop the stories of the Elven realms of the Second Age and the place of Galadriel, Celeborn, and Amroth among them. The chapter includes three subsections and five appendices, but the synopsis here includes more subsections in square brackets for a better distintion of the texts presented.


[From The Shibboleth of Fëanor]

The first text included is an extract from a "very late and primarily philological essay",[note 1] written after the publication of The Road Goes Ever On (1967). The fragment expands much on the origin and exile of Galadriel, following closely what is seen in the published Silmarillion, but adding many new elements: her father and mother-names, her enmity with Fëanor, the influence of her Telerin kinship on her departing, her fight in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë defending her kin, and how pride moved her, even to reject the pardon of the Valar. Christopher also adds that in Middle-earth she chose the Sindarin name of Galadriel, because her lover Celeborn (here one of the Teleri) gave it to her.

[Unstained Galadriel]

Christopher proceeds to give a summary of a later hasty note, written in his father last month of life (August 1973), being probably his last writing related to the legendarium. Here Galadriel is described as a completely innocent Noldo: she was opposed to Fëanor from the beginning, and her legitimate desires to depart from Aman led her to Alqualondë, where she met Celeborn (again a Telerin prince), and both planned building a boat and seek the permission of the Valar to depart to Middle-earth. During the rebellion of the Noldor, she took no part and even fought heroically against Fëanor, defending Alqualondë. She and Celeborn could save a boat and departed from Aman without the permission of Manwë. Later they took no part in the war against Morgoth, but seek for the east lands beyond the Ered Lindon, where they departed before the end of the First Age. Later they were granted permission to return by the Valar, but they rejected it.

Christopher Tolkien explains that these changes have probably its roots on philosophical implications of Galadriel's power in Middle-earth. He is certain that his father had the intention of changing all the narrative of "The Silmarillion" related to the backstory of Galadriel, despite what was already written: after all, she was not part of the story of the Noldor in a first place and the book had not been published. The only notable problem was the backstory of Celeborn, which contradicts what was already published in J.R.R. Tolkien's life. However, this was a merely projected idea, so Christopher made use of the completed narratives for his edition of The Silmarillion.

Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn

Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn is a very hasty stub, probably written after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, being the only narrative source on the events happening in Middle-earth during the Second Age apart from the Tale of Years and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. The text is full of later corrections and additions, such as Amroth being described as the child of Galadriel and Celeborn, so in order to create a readable narrative, Christopher retells the material and adds some comments with square brackets.

The text does not mention any ban against the return of Galadriel to Aman, probably because the idea had not even been conceived. She stayed in Middle-earth for love of Celeborn, and together with a group of Elves they settled down in Eriador, founding the realm of Eregion in the year 700 due to Galadriel's sympathy towards the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm. In 1200, Sauron came to Eregion, moving against Celebrimbor to take control of the realm. Galadriel travelled to Lórinand and became its ruler. With the creation of the One Ring, Celebrimbor discovered the evil in Sauron and asked Galadriel for counsel, and they decided to hide the Three Rings. Sauron rose in arms against Eregion, overran it, stole the secondary Rings of Power and killed Celebrimbor. Gil-galad had sent too late an army led by Elrond, so Sauron's armies attacked it before it was saved by the Dwarves and the Elves of Lindon. As Elrond established Imladris, Sauron attacked Lindon, but the Númenóreans came and defeated Sauron, who fled to Mordor.

Galadriel abandoned Lórinand to her son Amroth because she wished to dwell beside the sea, and only returned in the Third Age when her son was lost.

Amroth and Nimrodel

Part of the Legend of Amroth and Nimrodel Recounted in Brief is a tale written in 1969 or later, expanding and changing notably the story of Amroth. Here he is no longer the son of Galadriel and Celeborn, but Amdír's, the Sindarin King of Lórien. After the death of his father in the Battle of Dagorlad, Amroth ruled Lothlórien in peace following the customs of the Silvan Elves, as he loved Nimrodel, who was not fond of the Elves that came from the West. She refused to marry him and lived apart till Orcs filled Moria, when she had to ran southwards. Amroth followed her and after they talked, she accepted marrying him when they reached a land of peace. He proposed to take her to the West and both travelled to Gondor, but Nimrodel got lost and Amroth reached the Elven haven alone. A last ship was preparing for depart, so no more ships would be built there thereafter. Amroth joined the crew and they waited for months, but Nimrodel did not come, and one day the ship was drifted away by a terrible storm. The crew was inside, so Amroth looked in despair to the land and jumped to the sea crying the name of Nimrodel and eventually drowning.

[From The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor]

Christopher explains that the story of Amroth and Nimrodel was derived from a text on etymologies of the rivers of Gondor,[note 2] so he includes some fragments of it related to the places related to Nimrodel and Amroth. In these fragments are told the legend of Nimrodel falling asleep near the river Gilrain, how Lórien received the Elves from Lindon before the death of Amdír, how Celeborn and Galadriel became the Lord and Lady of Lórien, the etymology of Amroth and its relation with the flets, and the story of Dol Amroth.

The Elessar

The last text of the chapter is The Elessar, a rough manuscript, probably written about the same time as Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn, which includes three different accounts of the Elfstone:

  • The Elessar was created by Enerdhil in Gondolin out of his desire to capture the light of the sun in a green stone. This stone had healing properties and was given to Idril, who gave it to her son Eärendil. Thus the Elessar was believed to have been taken for ever from Middle-earth, but Olórin brought it back and gave it to Galadriel as a gift from Yavanna. She could use it to help Middle-earth, but she was told to eventually give it to one called as the stone.
  • Instead of the Elessar being brought back, Celebrimbor made a second one for Galadriel, whom he loved. He knew Enerdhil in Gondolin, so he created a very close replica and put it in a silver brooch shaped as an eagle. Galadriel used it for enhance around her, till she received Nenya.
  • The first Elessar was made by Celebrimbor in Gondolin, and he made the second one also by request of Galadriel.


  • Appendix A, The Silvan Elves and Their Speech: a discussion about the names of Galadriel, Celeborn and Lórien, including information about the Silvan Elves and their speech.[note 3]
  • Appendix B, The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves: information about the Silvan Elves, their Sindarin rulers and their languages during the Second and the Third Ages.
  • Appendix C, The Boundaries of Lórien: some descriptions of the dominions of Lothlórien.
  • Appendix D, The Port of Lond Daer: another extract from the essay about the rivers of Gondor mentioned above, including info about the etymology and history of the rivers Gwathló and Glanduin.
  • Appendix E, The Names of Celeborn and Galadriel: information about the Elven naming in Aman, focused on Celeborn and Galadriel.


  1. This essay has no title, but Christopher Tolkien later tagged it as The Shibboleth of Fëanor and published it in full in The Peoples of Middle-earth (1996), pp. 331-366.
  2. This text is titled The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor. The rest of the essay was published later in Vinyar Tengwar 42 (2001), pp. 5-31; and in The Nature of Middle-earth, pp. 376-397; both edited by Carl F. Hostetter.
  3. The main quoted text from this Appendix, along with other quotes throughout the chapter, belong to a typescript titled "The names Galadriel, Celeborn & Lórien", which was published in full in The Nature of Middle-earth, pp. 349-352, edited by Carl F. Hostetter.