Girdle of Melian

From Tolkien Gateway
Girdle of Melian
Fence of enchantment
General Information
Other namesLest Melian (S)
LocationCentral Beleriand, around Doriath
TypeFence of enchantment
History
CreatedY.T. 1497
DestroyedF.A. 503

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).

History

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. 503,[9] Melian departed from Middle-earth and with her departure the Girdle vanished.[10]

Other names

The Sindarin name for "Girdle of Melian" was Lest Melian, first written by Tolkien as List Melian.[11]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar", pp. 370, 378
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sindar"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: B. Meanings and use of the various terms applied to the Elves and their varieties in Quenya, Telerin, and Sindarin", 3
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part One. The Grey Annals": §174
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Three. The Wanderings of Húrin and Other Writings not forming part of the Quenta Silmarillion: V. The Tale of Years", p. 351
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West (Chapter 14)", "Commentary", p. 228