|"Celebrimbor" by Angus McBride|
|Other names||Telperinquar/Telpinquar (Q)|
|Titles||Lord of Eregion|
|Language||Quenya & Sindarin|
|Birth||Before Y.T. 1495 |
|Rule||S.A. 750 - 1697 (for 947 years)|
|Death||S.A. 1697 (aged 2,334+)|
Ost-in-Edhil (during the War of the Elves and Sauron)
|Notable for||Creating the Three Rings|
Inscribing the Doors of Durin
|House||House of Fëanor|
|Gallery||Images of Celebrimbor|
- "In Eregion the craftsmen of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, the People of the Jewel-smiths, surpassed in cunning all that have ever wrought, save only Fëanor himself; and indeed greatest in skill among them was Celebrimbor, son of Curufin..."
- ― The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
Celebrimbor forged the Rings of Power, mighty artifacts whose existence shaped the history of the Second and Third Ages of Middle-earth. As a craftsman, he was second only to his grandfather Fëanor.
Celebrimbor was born in Aman during the Years of the Trees. Among Fëanor's seven sons, Celebrimbor's father Curufin was the chief inheritor of Fëanor's temperament and skills in craftsmanship. In turn, Curufin passed these skills – but not this temper – on to Celebrimbor.
Following the Darkening of Valinor, Celebrimbor followed Fëanor into exile in Middle-earth. His unnamed mother remained behind with the people of Finarfin. Celebrimbor did not swear the Oath of Fëanor. It is unknown whether he took part in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë. It is also unknown whether he crossed the Belegaer in one of the stolen Falmari ships or if he followed Fingolfin across the Helcaraxë.
Celebrimbor's whereabouts in Beleriand in the early Years of the Sun are unattested, but later events suggest that he dwelt with his father Curufin and uncle Celegorm in their realm of Himlad. The realm lasted until the Dagor Bragollach in F.A. 455, in which Morgoth broke the Siege of Angband. After this defeat, Curufin and Celegorm fled to the southwest with many of their people, including Celebrimbor, and took refuge with Finrod Felagund in his realm of Nargothrond.
Though they were but refugees and guests in Nargothrond, Curufin and Celegorm sought power, and they quickly gained great influence among the people. For his part, Celebrimbor was not involved in his father's schemes and came to love Finrod.
In F.A. 465, the brothers' political machinations forced Finrod to surrender his crown to Orodreth and leave his realm. Their dominance would prove short-lived. Later that same year, captives freed from the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth returned to Nargothrond and spoke against the brothers, revealing their treachery and turning the people against them. Orodreth would not suffer them to be slain and so exiled them from the realm.
When Celebrimbor learned the truth of his father and uncle's actions, he was "aghast" and parted ways with them. He was not subject to their exile and did not voluntarily follow them. His whereabouts for the remainder of the First Age are unknown.
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Establishment of Eregion and the forging of the Rings of Power
The whereabouts of Celebrimbor during the early years of the Second Age are uncertain. However, in S.A. 750, Celebrimbor with many others of the exiled Noldor established the realm of Eregion near to Khazad-dûm, the mansions of the Longbeard Dwarves. This they did due to the discovery of mithril in the surrounding mountains.
Eventually, a great friendship arose between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, such that was never before seen, and Celebrimbor became the Lord of Eregion and the greatest of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, "People of the Jewel-smiths", who in their skill were second only to Fëanor, Celebrimbor's grandfather.
However, in S.A. 1200, Sauron, under the fair guise of Annatar, came to Eriador posing as an emissary of the Valar; and while rejected by Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor, in Lindon (where he was not even admitted to), he was nonetheless accepted by the smiths of Eregion.
In c. S.A. 1500, the Gwaith-i-Mírdain reached the height of their skill under the instruction of Sauron and began forging the Rings of Power.
The War of the Elves and Sauron and death
Celebrimbor was ignorant of Sauron's true intentions, and he was unaware that Sauron had incorporated a binding magic into the rings. Furthermore, in secret, Sauron forged the One Ring, a master ring that would rule all the lesser rings, to enable him to rule Middle-earth by controlling those that wore all the other rings. When Sauron placed the One Ring on his finger, claiming dominance over all the Rings of Power and their bearers, the Elves knew his true identity and intentions. Celebrimbor and the Elves of Eregion defied Sauron by withholding the other rings from him. Aside from the One Ring, the greatest rings were created by Celebrimbor himself, and these were never touched by Sauron and thus were uncorrupted by him, although they were still subject to the One Ring. These were the Three Rings of the Elves, and a chief source of the beauty that came about in the Third Age. Celebrimbor named them Vilya, Narya, and Nenya after the Middle-earth elements of air, fire and water. He sent the three rings away for safekeeping: Vilya and Narya to Gil-galad in Lindon; and Nenya to Galadriel in Lórien. Celebrimbor also sent the mightiest of the seven to Durin III of Khazad-dûm.
Sauron retaliated by attacking Eregion, laying waste to the realm. Celebrimbor was captured in the chaos and was forced, under torture, to disclose the locations of the lesser rings, but he would not reveal the whereabouts of the Three. Celebrimbor died from his torment, and his body was shot with arrows and hung upon a pole, and was later paraded as a banner when Sauron attacked the Grey Havens.
- Possibly the Elessar of Eärendil (see below for more information)
- The Doors of Durin (with Narvi)
- The Three Rings
|By Ardamir. (Help; more articles)|
The name Celebrimbor is in Sindarin, meaning "Silver-fist"; it is comprised of the elements celebrin ("like silver in hue or worth") + paur ("fist, closed hand"), with the ending -bor in Celebrimbor being a suffixal form of paur.
Its Quenya cognate is Telperinquar or Telpinquar.
For another, later etymology that contradicts the origins of the character of Celebrimbor as seen in The Lord of the Rings, see below.
Other versions of the legendarium
The History of The Lord of the Rings
The character of Celebrimbor first appears in a draft chapter of The Lord of the Rings called The Mines of Moria (from 1939), which would later become the chapter A Journey in the Dark in The Fellowship of the Ring as published.[note 1]
There, as in The Lord of the Rings, he is only mentioned by name when Gandalf was reading the inscription on the Doors of Durin:
"They merely say: The Doors of Durin Lord of Moria. Speak friends and enter. And underneath very small and now faint is: Narfi made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs."
The name Celebrimbor was also added to The Etymologies, a linguistic work from the late 1930s, at around the same time. There, the name is given under the root KWAR ("clutching hand, fist"), and Celebrimbor's name was explained as meaning "Silver-fist" in Noldorin (which was a precursor language to Sindarin).
However, even though no origin of Celebrimbor was published until the second edition of The Lord of the Rings in 1966, Tolkien did in fact write one in the 1950s, which can be found in the next section of the article.
Concerning Galadriel & Celeborn and The Elessar
The first known origin story of Celebrimbor was written by Tolkien in c. 1959, occurring in a text called Concerning Galadriel & Celeborn. There, Celebrimbor was described as an Elf of Gondolin (and one of Turgon's "greatest artificers"), who, after the end of the First Age and the overthrow of Morgoth, became a follower of Celeborn and Galadriel, who were regarded as the "High Lord and Lady of all the Eldar of the West".
After the establishment of Eregion,[note 2] Celebrimbor became the "chief craftsman of Eregion" with an "almost 'dwarvish' obsession with crafts", and befriended the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, of whom a dwarven craftsman called Narvi was his greatest friend - from that friendship both Eregion and Khazad-dûm profited greatly.
In c. S.A. 1000, Sauron established himself in Mordor, and sent emissaries to Eriador, before finally appearing there himself, in his fairest form, in S.A. 1200. However, he was rejected by Gil-galad in Lindon, and after heading to Eregion, was likewise rejected by Galadriel and Celeborn, the original rulers of Eregion in this conception of the legendarium.
But even though Celeborn and Galadriel (who he perceived to be his chief obstacle) rejected him, Sauron, posing as an emissary of the Valar, nonetheless managed to convince Celebrimbor and the rest of the Noldorin smiths of Eregion, who by this time have formed a powerful guild called the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, to accept his help in the forging of the Rings of Power; here Tolkien states that the story of Fëanor was repeated.
Therefore, Celebrimbor and his followers (under the influence of Sauron) rebelled against Galadriel and Celeborn,[note 3] and, sometime between S.A. 1350 and 1400, Galadriel withdrew from Eregion and went to Lórinand (which would later be known as Lórien), via Khazad-dûm, and took up rule there. However, Celeborn, owing to his distrust of the Dwarves, remained in Eregion "disregarded by Celebrimbor".
In c. S.A. 1500, Sauron left Eregion, some time after the Mírdain started crafting the Rings of Power.
When in c. S.A. 1600 Sauron forged the One Ring, Celebrimbor finally discovered his true intentions, and he repented. Therefore he went to Lórinand to seek Galadriel's advice;[note 4] she advised him to hide the Three Rings (which were the three Great Rings made solely by Celebrimbor) and send them away far from Eregion, never to be used, after which Celebrimbor gave one of them (Nenya) to her keeping. Following that, he entrusted the other two rings (Vilya and Narya) to Gil-galad in Lindon.[note 5]
After Sauron learned of Celebrimbor's repentance, he invaded Eriador and besieged Eregion. And even though help was on the way, from Celeborn with his son Amroth and the Nandor of Lórinand, along with the Dwarves of Moria, and from an army sent by Gil-galad under the command of Elrond from the west, it did not arrive in time. Therefore:
Sauron breaks into Eregion and lays it waste. Celebrimbor is slain personally by Sauron, but Sauron does not get the Three Rings. His wrath now blazes. Elrond with all (the few) refugees from Eregion he can gather fight a vanguard action and draw away N.W. He founds a stronghold in Imladris.
When Celeborn heard of onset of Sauron (fearing to keep the Three Rings himself) he sent one to Galadriel in Lórinand by Amroth. Celeborn makes a sortie and breaks out and joins Elrond but cannot get back.
In a text titled The Elessar, written at around the same time as that of Concerning Galadriel & Celeborn, Tolkien gives two in-universe accounts of the creation of the Elessar, a gem-stone of which it was said that:
...those who looked through this stone saw things that were withered or burned healed again or as they were in the grace of their youth, and that the hands of one who held it brought to all that they touched healing from hurt.
According to one of these accounts, the original Elessar was made by Enerdhil, a renowned smith of Gondolin, who gave it to Idril the daughter of King Turgon, who in turn gave it to Eärendil her son - and so the original Elessar past into the West with him on his voyage to Aman.
Many years later,[note 6] Galadriel confided in Celebrimbor that she lamented the inevitable decay and diminishment of the lands of Middle-earth, and wished that there was some way to counteract it - because even though she was able to go West to Tol Eressëa, she was still too proud to do so.
'I would have trees and grass about me that do not die - here in the land that is mine', she answered. 'What has become of the skill of the Eldar?' And Celebrimbor said: 'Where now is the Stone of Eärendil? And Enerdhil who made it is gone.' 'They have passed over Sea,' said Galadriel, 'with almost all fair things else. But must then Middle-earth fade and perish for ever?'
Therefore Celebrimbor, who loved Galadriel (though she "turned to Celeborn of the Trees") began to work on making the second Elessar. Because unbeknownst to Galadriel, Celebrimbor used to be an Elf of Gondolin, and was a friend of Enerdhil, even though Enerdhil "in most things outrivalled him".
However, even though Celebrimbor managed to make this stone even more "subtle and clear" than that of Enerdhil, due to the ever present influence of Morgoth on Arda even after his defeat in the First Age, the gem's light had less power than the original - because that one captured the light of the Sun in its youth.
Nonetheless, the Elessar of Celebrimbor was deemed the greatest of his works, save the Three Rings only, and:
Wielding the Elessar all things grew fair about Galadriel, until the coming of the Shadow to the Forest. But afterwards when Nenya, chief of the Three, was sent to her by Celebrimbor, she needed it (as she thought) no more, and she gave it to Celebrían her daughter, and so it came to Arwen and to Aragorn who was called Elessar.
In the concluding words of the text, however, Tolkien rejected the notion that the first Elessar was made by Enerdhil. Instead, both Elessars were to be creations of Celebrimbor.
According to the final paragraph of The Elessar text, the original Elessar of Celebrimbor (which Idril received) went into the West with Eärendil, and the second one (which Galadriel received) was made by him sometime before Sauron's appearance in Eregion.
Eldarin Hands, Fingers, and Numerals
According to a late text called Eldarin Hands, Fingers, and Numerals, from c. 1968, Tolkien changed Celebrimbor's origins from that of a grandson of Fëanor to that of a Teler of Aman (Falmar).
In that version of his history, Celebrimbor, the "heroic defender of Eregion in the Second-age war against Sauron", was depicted as a great silver-smith who accompanied Celeborn in his exile to Middle-earth from Aman, along with two other Telerin elves.
During the Second Age, he moved to Eregion due to the rumours of a "marvellous metal" found in Moria, which he named mithril. It is said in the text that:
In the working of this he became a rival of the Dwarves, or rather an equal, for there was great friendship between the Dwarves of Moria and Celebrimbor, and they shared their skills and craft-secrets.
However, according to his son Christopher, Tolkien most probably forgot the fact that he included Celebrimbor's origins as a descendant of Fëanor in the second edition of The Lord of the Rings (1966), and that, had he remembered it, he would not have changed it.
According to this version of his history, the name Celebrimbor is likewise in Sindarin. However, in this text, Celebrimbor is a Sindarized version of his original Telerin name Telperimpar (with Tyelpinquar being its Quenya cognate).
The name was derived from the root KWAR ("press together, squeeze, wring"), whose derivatives were: quár (Q), pār (T) and paur (S).
The text also says that it was a common name among the Teleri of Aman, who were renowned silver-smiths.
Of Dwarves and Men
In a late text that Christopher Tolkien called Of Dwarves and Men (from c. 1969), Tolkien changed Celebrimbor's origins yet again.
Here, Celebrimbor is depicted as a Sinda who claimed descent from Daeron, a famous minstrel and the chief loremaster of Doriath. In that text, it is explained how in Eregion, due to the influence of Celebrimbor, the ancient runic alphabet devised by Daeron was, along with Tengwar, also known and used.
And even though in Eregion these Runes were used mostly on formal occasions, due to the contact between the Elves of Eregion and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, and because of the greater ease with which the Runes could be carved on stone, the Longbeard Dwarves adopted and modified them for their own use.
Portrayal in adaptations
|Celebrimbor in adaptations|
2022: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
- Lord Celebrimbor is portrayed by Charles Edwards as one of the central characters of the series. He first appears in the series' first episode at Lindon and is introduced to Elrond by Gil-galad. In the series, he seems to already be a master artisan.
2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor:
- Celebrimbor plays a major role in the video game, serving as a wraith who is bound to an undead Gondorian Ranger, Talion, by the will of Sauron. He is voiced by Alister Duncan. He is also the main protagonist of the Bright Lord expansion, where he is revealed to have stolen the One Ring from Sauron at some point in the Second Age, and intended to use it to turn the Dark Lord's own weapons against him. However, he is corrupted by the power of the Ring and doomed to never see the Undying Lands. Though he defeats Sauron in battle, Sauron still managed to reclaim the Ring and banish Celebrimbor's spirit to an eternity as a wraith in the Unseen world. Bound to Talion, Celebrimbor grants him Elven powers to help him seek revenge for the death of his wife and son.
2017: Middle-earth: Shadow of War:
- Celebrimbor uses Talion to create a new ring of power so they can dominate the orc forces of Sauron's army to create one in their own service. With their army amassed they travel Sauron's Road to destroy the Dark Lord. On their way, Talion comes up against the Nazgûl Isildur and decides to free Isildur from life as a servant to Sauron. Celebrimbor, angry that Talion vanquished Isildur rather than adding his power to their army, reveals that he intends to replace Sauron instead of destroying him. Talion refuses to help him in his quest for power, so Celebrimbor removes the new ring from him. With their bond lost, Talion begins to bleed profusely and die. Celebrimbor convinces Eltariel, an Elven assassin of Galadriel, to wield the new ring and continue on to defeat Sauron. During their battle, Sauron is able to overpower them and cut Eltariel's fingers off along with the new ring. Sauron then absorbs Celebrimbor and together they become the flaming Eye of Sauron atop Barad-dûr.
- ↑ Before they were envisioned as being made by Celebrimbor in The Lord of the Rings, the Rings of Power were imagined as creations of Fëanor himself.
- ↑ This text states that the building of Ost-in-Edhil, the capital of Eregion, was begun in S.A. 750.
- ↑ In this text, it is said that Celebrimbor was "secretly anxious to rival the skill and fame of Fëanor".
- ↑ Tolkien wrote here that they "should have destroyed all the Rings of Power at this time, 'but they failed to find the strength'".
- ↑ According to this text, at this time, Gil-galad gave Narya to Círdan; however, according to a later note, it is said that Gil-galad kept both rings until the War of the Last Alliance.
- ↑ Before Sauron "deluded the smiths of Eregion".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", Note 7, pp.317-9
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The names of the Sons of Fëanor", p. 352
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor", p. 37
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beleriand and its Realms", p. 58
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "The Grey Annals": §192, p. 65
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), entry S Celebrimbor, p. 42
- ↑ Paul Strack, "S. Celebrimbor m.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 11 August 2022)
- ↑ Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, entry August-autumn 1939, p. 229
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXV. The Mines of Moria", p. 449
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XIII. Galadriel", p. 255
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry KWAR-, p. 366
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn", p. 235
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Three. The World, its Lands, and its Inhabitants: XVI. Galadriel and Celeborn", p. 347
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn", p. 236
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn", pp. 236-7
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "The Elessar", p. 251
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "The Elessar", p. 249
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "The Elessar", p. 250
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "The Elessar", pp. 250-1
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", note 7, pp. 318-9
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Eldarin Hands, Fingers & Numerals and Related Writings — Part One" (edited by Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 47, February 2005, entry 4. Q. quár, p. 8
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part Two. Body, Mind and Spirit: III. Eldarin Hands, Fingers, and Numerals", p. 178
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", [Untitled introduction], p. 295
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", p. 297
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sindar", p. 43
- ↑ Alice Jones, "Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Series Rises: Inside The Rings of Power" dated 10 February 2022, VanityFair (accessed 12 February 2022)
House of Fëanor
|Lord of Eregion|
S.A. 750 - 1697