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From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from Numessir)

Sirnúmen was the dwelling place of the Noldoli in Valinor after they were banished from their original home of Kôr, and the place from which Melko stole the Silmarils, according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales.


Melko, jealous of the Eldar, especially the Noldoli and their skills in making beautiful things, sought to spread lies and discord among them while they dwelt in their city of Kôr, and told lies to Manwë regarding them. The Noldoli sent an embassy to Manwë as well, speaking against Melko and his lies. Manwë chided both, sending Melko away to Mandos, and instructing Aulë to find a new place for the Noldoli to dwell, fearing that their discontent would spread among the others at Kôr. The happiness of the Noldoli was greatly diminished then, both as a result of Melko's treachery and of the loss of their home.[1]:141-2

The place the Noldoli chose to build their new home was situated alongside the small stream Híri, which plunged underground north of the roots of Silpion. There was a rock-ringed dale there, where the Noldoli made caves in the walls and stored their precious gems and metals. They considered it their temporary home, always believing that they would one day return to Kôr.[1]:142

They remained there until the great feast called Samírien, which occurred every twenty-one years, was approaching. For the celebration, all of the Eldar fared to Valmar, including those that dwelt at Sirnúmen.[1]:143 On the third day of that feast, Melko, knowing that Sirnúmen would be emptied, crept there with many of his dark accomplices. He was surprised to find that the Noldoli, grown wary, had left guards to protect their treasury despite the custom of the feast. Melko and his followers slew the guards, one of which was Bruithwir, the father of Fëanor, and plundered the gems kept there, including the Silmarils wrought by Fëanor.[1]:144-5

Returning to Sirnúmen, the Noldoli found their guards slain and were distraught, though Manwë told them that such a tragedy would not have befallen them if they had not broken tradition and left some of their number behind. When a messenger of Melko arrived at Valmar, riders were sent to Sirnúmen to summon the Elves that dwelt there, as the matter concerned them. Manwë sent a message to Melko banishing him from Valinor forever.[1]:146-8 Then Aulë spoke to Manwë on behalf of the Noldoli, and Manwë granted the Noldoli permission to return to Kôr if they wished. Many did so, but Fëanor and a few folk remained in Sirnúmen. There Fëanor brooded, and his discontent grew, until at last he went to Kôr, speaking against the Valar and urging the Noldoli to leave Valinor.[1]:149-50

Later, Melko and Gwerlum, sneaking into Valinor with the intent of destroying the Two Trees, were briefly hindered by Daurin, one of the Noldoli from Sirnúmen. Melko slew Daurin and finished destroying the trees, while those that had witnessed Daurin's death fled to alert the Valar of what they had seen.[1]:153 Following the destruction of the Two Trees, Fëanor succeeded in persuading his people to arm themselves and leave Valinor. However, they left many of their youngest children in Kôr and Sirnúmen.[2]


The name Sirnúmen is Qenya, apparently derived from root SIRI ("flow") + númë ("West").[3] In his commentary, Christopher Tolkien translates it as 'Western Stream'.[4]:157

Other versions of the legendarium

In its first two occurrences in the text, the name was originally written Numessir and was changed to Sirnúmen. In all later occurrences, Sirnúmen was the first form written.[4]:155

Referencing this same location, while composing the Lost Tales, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in a separate notebook that, "The river of the second rocky dwelling of the Gnomes in Valinor was kelusindi and the spring at its source kapalinda."[4]:157

Christopher Tolkien notes that Sirnúmen is the precursor of Formenos,[4]:158 the location in the later legendarium where Fëanor and a number of his people dwell when they are exiled from Tirion,[5] and where Fëanor's father is slain by Melkor during the theft of the Silmarils.[6]

See also