|Nerdanel by Jenny Dolfen|
|Other names||"the Wise"|
|Affiliation||Not Oath of Fëanor|
|Birth||During the Years of the Trees |
|Children||Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod, and Amras|
|Hair color||Brown [note 1]|
|Gallery||Images of Nerdanel|
Nerdanel was a skilful sculptor. She made statues so lifelike that people thought they were real at first, and if they did not know her art, tried to speak to them. She also created sculptures from her own imaginings, which were "strong and strange but beautiful." In her youth, Nerdanel loved to wander along the shore or in the hills of Aman. Whilst wandering, she met Fëanor, and they "were companions in many journeys."
When Nerdanel married Fëanor, others wondered at his choice for she was not considered among "the fairest of her people.":272 For a time, since Fëanor would seek the counsel of none save her, she was able to influence and restrain her prideful husband.
Marriage and Motherhood
Nerdanel bore Fëanor seven sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod, and Amras. Elves typically have four children or fewer, so the size of their family was particularly noteworthy.:Note 4 Some inherited her colors, others inherited her character and patience.
However, Fëanor's later deeds deeply grieved her and in the end they became estranged from one another.
When Nerdanel, who had since returned to her father's house, learned that her husband and sons were planning to go into exile to Middle-earth, she begged Fëanor to leave with her their youngest sons, Amrod and Amras, or at least one of them. Fëanor's response was that, if she would not follow him, she was an untrue wife for deserting both her husband and her children.:354
Regardless, Nerdanel refused to follow because she heeded the warning of Aulë that: "'It [the rebellion] will in the end only lead Fëanor and all your children to death.'" As predicted she lost all her children in Middle-earth.
Though her father, whose nickname meant 'fox',:353 was specifically noted as having an unusual hair colour for a Noldo, auburn or brown hair mixed with copper, her own hair colour is implied as having a ruddy complexion and brown hair.. This trait was passed down to her eldest son Maedhros and her youngest sons, Amrod and Amras. She was not considered among "the fairest of her people.":272
Known as Nerdanel the wise, she was strong, free of mind, and filled with the desire for knowledge. Though she was strong-willed, she was more patient than her husband. She would seek to understand others instead of master them. Her calmer temperament had passed to some of her sons while others were fiery more like their father.
Other versions of the legendarium
The original (rejected) version of her name was Istarnië.:273
The name Nerdanel is Quenya, but it is given no clear meaning or etymology in the published writings of Tolkien.
Editor and linguist Patrick H. Wynne has suggested that the element nerd- in Nerdanel perhaps derives from nerdo ("large, strong man"), noting that the name "might refer to her strength of body and mind, and her pursuits of crafts more commonly practiced by men." Wynne also suggests that Istarnië derives from Quenya ista- ("know"), apparently "referring to her 'desire for knowledge'".
- A Woman in Few Words: The Character of Nerdanel and Her Treatment in Canon and Fandom, by Dawn Felagund
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Laws and Customs among the Eldar, Notes [to Text B]"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XI. The Shibboleth of Fëanor", "The names of the Sons of Fëanor"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, "From The Shibboleth of Fëanor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 41, July 2000
- 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, p. 33-4