Elven rope

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Elven Rope refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Elven Rope (disambiguation).

‘What are these?’ asked Sam, handling one that lay upon the greensward. ‘Ropes indeed!’ answered an Elf from the boats. ‘Never travel far without a rope! And one that is long and strong and light. Such are these. They may be a help in many needs.’

John Howe - Elven rope

Elven rope was a rope made by the Elves of Lothlórien. During the War of the Ring, when the Company of the Ring were set to depart from Lothlórien, the Galadhrim presented them with many gifts, to aid them in their quest. Among the gifts there were coils of rope. The rope was slender, but strong, silken to the touch, and grey of hue like the elven-cloaks and was able to withstand the greatest weight. The rope was made of hithlain[1], which was a strong fibre made from the inner bark of mallorn trees.[2]

Later, when Frodo and Sam needed to descend a cliff in the Emyn Muil, Sam remembered the Elven rope he was carrying and unpacked it for the task. When Sam measured it, it came to 30 ells[note 1] in length, which was enough for them to reach the bottom of the drop. After they had made the descent Sam gave the rope a last tug and the startled hobbits watched as the rope slithered down. It showed no signs of having frayed so it was Sam's belief that the rope untied itself.[3]


  1. An "ell" was a unit of measurement, approximately the length of a man's arm. Since Sam measured it "with his arms" it may have been the Hobbit equivalent of a "fathom", the distance of a man's two arms. The English ell was usually 45 inches; if this was the length that Sam used then the Elven rope was 112.5 feet long. However, the value of the ell varied considerably from country to country in Europe and even within England.