Girdle of Melian

From Tolkien Gateway
Girdle of Melian
Fence of enchantment
Mark Fisher - Girdle of Melian.png
General Information
Other namesLest Melian (S)
LocationCentral Beleriand, around Doriath
TypeFence of enchantment
CreatedY.T. 1497
DestroyedF.A. 502

The Girdle of Melian was the fence of enchantment set around Thingol's kingdom of Doriath by Melian his Queen, preventing entry into his land without his will and consent. Beren was unique in being the only person to pass through the Girdle without the approval of Doriath's rulers. The protection of the Girdle encompassed the Forests of Neldoreth and Region, the West March of Nivrim, and part of Aelin-uial, the Twilight Meres.[1]

The name of Doriath meant "Land of the Fence"[2][3] or "Land of the Girdle".[4] Accordingly, the Sindar who dwelt inside Doriath were called Iathrim, the "People of the Fence"[5] (iâth meaning fence in Sindarin).


Making the Girdle of Melian by Steamey

Upon the return of Morgoth from Valinor he sent his Orcs in a great army to assail King Thingol. Although the Elves defeated the eastern host of Orcs it was a costly victory (his ally, Denethor of Ossiriand, was killed with all his kin) and the western force of Orcs were successful in driving Círdan to the shores. Thingol therefore withdrew his people into Neldoreth and Region, and Melian used her power to encircle this dominion with an invisible wall of shadows and bewilderment. The land of Eglador was thereafter called Doriath, the guarded kingdom.[4]

After years of outlawry in Dorthonion, in F.A. 464,[6] Beren passed through the Girdle of Melian, able to do so because (as Melian had foretold) his doom was greater than her power.[7] After the Quest for the Silmaril Beren was in Doriath when the Girdle was again breached, this time by Carcharoth the Wolf, who penetrated the Girdle due to his fate and the power of the Silmaril he had swallowed.[8]

Upon the death of King Thingol in F.A. 502, Melian departed from Middle-earth and with her departure the Girdle vanished.[9]

Other names[edit]

The Sindarin translation for "Girdle of Melian" was Lest Melian, first written by Tolkien as List Melian.[10]