Grey Havens

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Grey Havens refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Grey Havens (disambiguation).
Grey Havens
Jef Murray - At the Grey Havens.jpg
"At the Grey Havens" by Jef Murray
General Information
Other namesMithlond
LocationThe shores of the Gulf of Lune
DescriptionThe harbours of Círdan in Lindon
People and History
InhabitantsElves of Lindon
CreatedS.A. 1[1]
GalleryImages of Grey Havens

The Grey Havens, also known as Mithlond, were seaports on both sides of the end of the Gulf of Lune[2] near the mouth of the River Lhûn in western Eriador.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

Second Age[edit | edit source]

Founded by the Elves of Lindon in S.A. 1,[1] the Grey Havens were known for their good harbourage and many ships; these were used by any of the Eldar to leave Middle-earth for Eressëa or Valinor. Círdan was Lord of the Havens from its foundation and into the Fourth Age.[4]

In S.A. 600, Entulessë, a Númenórean ship headed by Captain Vëantur, arrived in Mithlond and it was there that the Númenóreans first landed in Middle-earth.[5]

In the War of the Elves and Sauron, the Lhûn was held in desperate defence of the Havens after Sauron had conquered almost all of Eriador. The beleaguered defenders were saved with the arrival of Tar-Minastir's fleet and Sauron's forces were driven back.[6]

Third Age[edit | edit source]

After the fall of Gil-galad (during the time of the Kings of Arnor), the Grey Havens was still home to the largest population of Noldor in Middle-earth, aside from Rivendell in Eriador. Cirdan remained the Lord of the Havens and ruled the Elves of Lindon from Mithlond.[7] [4]

About T.A. 1000, the Istari or Wizards arrived in Middle-earth at the Grey Havens. Círdan, upon meeting Gandalf, gave him Narya, the Ring of Fire.[8]

In T.A. 1975, Prince Eärnur of Gondor brought a fleet of Gondorians to the Grey Havens to aid Arthedain against Angmar. The fleet was so massive that the ships of Gondor filled the Grey Havens, as well as Forlond and Harlond.[9]

In T.A. 3018,[8] Círdan sent Galdor of the Havens "on an errand" to Rivendell and he became Círdan's representative at the Council of Elrond.[10]

Later history[edit | edit source]

Following the defeat of Sauron and the crowning of King Aragorn Elessar in the War of the Ring, the last of the Noldor set sail from the Grey Havens and left Middle-earth for Valinor.[4] Latest of all were the Three Keepers of the Rings; Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel. They were accompanied by Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, who were given the honour of taking the Straight Road because they had both been Ring-bearers.[11] Years later, Fairbairn family tradition held that Samwise Gamgee in Fo.A. 61 also sailed West from the Grey Havens.[12]

The Grey Havens were maintained into the Fourth Age (for the last mentioning of Mithlond was Samwise Gamgee's departure West in Fo.A. 61),[12] but it was recognized that eventually, its purpose would reach an end when no more Elves wished to cross the Sea. At that time, Círdan would abandon the Grey Havens and finally travel the Straight Road himself. At some unknown date, Celeborn eventually sought the Grey Havens and with Círdan, they took the Last Ship together.[13][14]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Mithlond is Sindarin for "Grey Havens", from mith ("grey") + lond ("harbour").[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, entry Grey Havens, p. 28
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens"
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "Later Events Concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Note on the Shire Records"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"