Eriol

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This article is about the Mannish mariner originally called Ottor Wǽfre. For the Elvish name of Ælfwine, see Eriol.
Eriol
Angle
Vinyatar - Limpë.png
"Limpë" by Vinyatar
Biographical Information
Other namesOttor, Wǽfre (OE)
Angol (G)
Eriolë/Erioldo, Melinon (Q)
Sarothron
the Stranger
LocationAnglia
Heligoland
Tol Eressëa
LanguageOld English
Gnomish
Qenya
Birthc. 5th century AD
Anglia
Death5th century AD
UncertainNB
Notable forDiscovering Tol Eressëa
Family
ParentageEoh
SpouseCwén (1st)
Naimi (or NelmirNB) (2nd)
ChildrenHengest & Horsa (by Cwén)
Heorrenda (by Naimi) & Hendwine (by Nelmir)NB
Physical Description
GenderMale
GalleryImages of Eriol
"Now it happened on a certain time that a traveller from far countries, a man of great curiosity, was by desire of strange lands and the ways and dwellings of unaccustomed folk brought in a ship as far west even as the Lonely Island, Tol Eressëa in the fairy speech, but which the Gnomes call Dor Faidwen, the Land of Release, and a great tale hangs thereto."
The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "The Cottage of Lost Play"

Eriol was the Mannish mariner who visited Tol Eressëa and learned the histories of the Elves, according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales.[1]

History[edit]

Life in the Great Lands[edit]

Eriol was born as Ottor, in Anglia in the Great Lands, c. 5th century AD, to Eoh.[2] His father often told him stories of "wide waters", since his ancestors were sea-farers,[3] one of whom visited Valinor as a child in his sleep via Olórë Mallë, the Path of Dreams.[4] Ottor's grandfather Heden claimed to be a descendant of the god Wóden.[2][note 1][5]

Sometime during Ottor's childhood, his father and mother died in a siege of their home,[3] with Eoh being killed by his brother Beorn.[2] There, Ottor was taken as a slave, but ultimately managed to escape.[3][note 2][6]

After his escape, Ottor "lived a life on the waters",[note 3] but later settled on the island of Heligoland, where he married a woman called Cwén. There, they had two sons, Hengest and Horsa, named after their grandfather Eoh (since their names share a similar meaning). However, after Cwén died, sea-longing overcame Ottor, and he left his two young sons, and went sailing again.[2]

During his voyages, he stumbled upon an island inhabited by an old man, who taught him much about the lore of the hidden seas in the West, and who told him of the Magic Isles, and of one very remote island far to the west - that is, Tol Eressëa. The old man was later revealed to be the Vala Ulmo himself.[3]

Arrival to Tol Eressëa[edit]

Kortirion by Irina Timofeeva

Ultimately, however, after much searching for the island, Ottor managed to reach Tol Eressëa,[3] and was afterwards called Eriol by the Elves of the island.[7]

While exploring the interior of the island, Eriol stumbled upon the city of Kortirion and the Cottage of Lost Play one summer evening. There, he was greeted by Lindo, the lord of the Cottage, and his wife Vairë, who offered him shelter at their home.[7] That night, Lindo and Vairë told him the history of the Cottage of Lost Play,[8] and of the city of Kortirion.[9]

The following day, Eriol met Rúmil, the old door-ward of the Cottage, in his gardens,[10] where he told Eriol the story of the Music of the Ainur.[11] Later that evening, Rúmil also told him the tale of the Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor.[12]

That night, Eriol for the second time heard the fluting of Tinfang Warble, a half-fay, half-elven creature, which caused a great longing in his heart, that only the magic drink, called limpë could cure. However, Vairë told him that only the Lady of Tol Eressëa, Meril-i-Turinqi, might give it to him.[13]

Meeting with Meril-i-Turinqi[edit]

Therefore, a few days later, Littleheart, one of the inhabitants of the Cottage, led Eriol to the home of Meril, located underneath the tower of Ingil in a korin of elms. There, Eriol requested to taste limpë, seeking kinship and fellowship with the Elves and an end to his longing.[13]

However, Meril denied him, telling him that it was dangerous for a mortal Man to do so, as Ilúvatar made his Children different, and drinking limpë would erase his old desires but awake new ones; she also warned him that he would one day long for his lands again.[13] To explain better she told him the stories of the Chaining of Melko[14] and of the Coming of the Elves and the Making of Kôr.[15]

After that, Eriol stayed in the Cottage of Lost Play for some time, hearing the stories of the Theft of Melko and the Darkening of Valinor[16] and of the Flight of the Noldoli.[17]

Before winter came to Kortirion that year, Eriol also visited many of the homes of the Teleri and the Inwir (the royal clan of the Teleri), who lived there, and learned more of the language, history and customs of the Elves.[18]

Winter in Tol Eressëa[note 4][edit]

One day during the winter, some time after Eriol's visit to Meril, there arrived a guest to the Cottage, and his name was Gilfanon. He was a very wise and a very old Gnome who lived at Tavrobel, a village in the west of Tol Eressëa. Since Eriol wanted to know more about the Sun and the Moon and their making, Lindo suggested to him that he should travel with Gilfanon to his home, the House of the Hundred Chimneys, for Gilfanon could tell him much of such things.[19]

However, while Gilfanon agreed that Eriol should visit his home, he ultimately let Lindo tell the Tale of the Sun and Moon,[19] after which Vairë told the story of the Hiding of Valinor.[20] The following night, Gilfanon told the story of the Travail of the Noldoli and the coming of Mankind.[21]

Sometime during the winter, one of the children of the Cottage of Lost Play, called Vëannë, asked Eriol to tell her about his own life,[18] and in return Vëannë told him the Tale of Tinúviel.[3]

Later, Gilfanon was supposed to tell the story of Turambar and the Foalókë, but was not present at the Tale-fire that evening, so instead one Eltas recounted the tale instead.[22]

The next day, Lindo and Vairë sent messengers to Meril, the Lady of Tol Eressëa, inviting her to the Cottage of Lost Play, since they were planning a great festival of tale-telling before Eriol departed for Tavrobel. This was done because Littleheart son of Voronwë needed aid in the telling of the three final tales, one of them being the Fall of Gondolin, which he recounted on the first night of the festival.[23]

That tale was followed by the tale of the Nauglafring, which was told by Gilfanon[note 5].[24]

All of these tales ultimately culminated in the Tale of Eärendel,[25] after which Eriol departed for Tavrobel.[23]

Departure to Tavrobel[edit]

Taurobel by J.R.R. Tolkien

Once Eriol arrived in Tavrobel, he was bidden by Gilfanon to write down all the stories he had heard in a book called Parma Kuluina or the Golden Book of Tavrobel.[note 6][26] Since this was the final condition before drinking limpë, and because now he knew most of the Elves' history, he was finally allowed to drink it.[27]

After drinking limpë, he was made young again, and afterwards married Naimi (or Nelmir, according to one text)[28], the niece of Vairë, with whom he either had one son, Heorrenda,[5] or, according to another text, two sons: Heorrenda and Hendwine.[28]

He also stayed in a nearby place called Fladweth Amrod for some time.[29]

Death and legacy[edit]

The manner of Eriol's death is uncertain, depending on the version of the events given in the outlines for the continuation of The Book of Lost Tales. In one version, Eriol died in Tol Eressëa before the Faring Forth.[27]

In another version of events, following the Faring Forth, the disastrous attempt by the Elves of Tol Eressëa to rescue their lost kin in the East, in which the entire island of Tol Eressëa was dragged across the Ocean to be anchored off the coast of the Great Lands, Eriol died some time after the Battle of the Heath of the Sky-roof in which the invading Men from the Great Lands overran Tol Eressëa.

There, after fleeing across the rivers Afros and Gruir with the remaining Elves of the Lonely Isle following the battle, he wrote down the last words of the Golden Book in Tavrobel.[30]

According to yet another text, it was Eriol himself who was the main instigator of the Faring Forth. Eriol, longing for his home, sailed back to the Great Lands against the command of Meril-i-Turinqi, where he "preached" of the Faring Forth before he eventually died. However, his impatience and disobedience hastened the Faring Forth, and ultimately doomed it.[31]

Eriol's legacy, however, continued in his sons - Hengest, Horsa and Heorrenda - who later conquered Tol Eressëa (which eventually became known as England), and from whom the English preserved the true tradition of the Elves.[32]

Etymology[edit]

The name Eriol is in Qenya, meaning "One who dreams alone", possibly being derived from the roots ERE ("remain alone") + OLO ("dream") or LORO ("doze, slumber").[33]

According to one text, however, the meaning of Eriol ("One who dreams alone") was "punningly" derived by Lindo from éri ("alone") + olta ("dream").[34] However, the actual meaning of Eriol was "iron cliff", being the Qenya cognate of Angol, a name given to Ottor by the Gnomes of Tol Eressëa after the "regions of his home" (i.e. Anglia).[35]

The name Angol consists of the elements ang ("iron") + ôl ("cliff").[35] There also appears another Qenya cognate of Angol, Eriollo, given in the Gnomish Lexicon.[36]

According to yet another text, there appear the variations Eriolë and Erioldo. In that same text, however, Eriol is instead given as a Gnomish form of the name.[37]

Other names[edit]

Eriol's original name was Ottor (meaning "otter" in Old English),[38] but he called himself Wǽfre ("restless, wandering").[2]

Another one of his names was Sarothron, meaning "voyager, seafarer".[39]

Vëannë, a child of Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva, also called him Melinon,[3] a Qenya name likely derived from the root MELE ("love").[40]

During Eriol's first meeting with Lindo, when asked by Lindo what was his name, Eriol simply named himself the Stranger.[7]

Genealogy[edit]

 
 
Wóden[2]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Heden
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tulkastor
 
 
 
Valwë
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beorn
d. 5th century
 
Eoh
d. 5th century
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
unknown
sibling
 
Vairë
 
Lindo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cwén
fl. 5th century
 
ERIOL
fl. 5th century
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Naimi*NB
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hengest
fl. 5th century
 
Horsa
fl. 5th century
 
Heorrenda
fl. 5th century
 
Hendwine*
fl. 5th centuryNB
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

* The name of Hendwine's mother is not Naimi but Nelmir in the text on which the basis of his inclusion is founded upon - neither is her relation to Lindo and Vairë elaborated on.[28]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

Earlier legendarium[edit]

Awaiting Ælfwine by Henning Janssen

In some of the outlines for the continuation of The Book of Lost Tales, Tolkien decided to completely change the nature of the framework of the tales. In that reimagining of the legendarium, Tol Eressëa ceased to be identified with England/British Isles - instead, it became a different island, and Great Britain became the island of Luthany, while the mariner that came there was called Ælfwine, an Englishman sailing from England to Tol Eressëa.[41]

Later legendarium[edit]

In a somewhat later version of the legendarium, beginning with the c. 1926 Sketch of the Mythology, the name Eriol reappears as an Elvish name of Ælfwine. For more information, see: Ælfwine#Other names.[41]

Inspiration[edit]

The names of Eriol's sons are significant to the historical context of the Eriol story. In British folklore, Hengest and Horsa are the legendary leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 5th century AD. By connecting them to the translator of the Lost Tales, Tolkien would have established a direct link between his legendarium and the Matter of Britain.[2]

As stated previously, Eriol's original name was Ottor. Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins propose that Tolkien in his youth perhaps assumed (or was given) an Animalic name Otter for himself. In the year 1909 he wrote a note in Esperanto Privata al LUTTRO "Private to OTTER".[42][43]

Notes

  1. According to the Elves of Tol Eressëa, the god Wóden (or Odin) was identified with the Vala Manwë.
  2. In an early, rejected note, it is said that, after his escape, Eriol wandered across the Great Lands until he reached the Inland Sea (i.e. the Mediterranean), and from there he headed toward the shores of the Western Sea (the Atlantic).
  3. It is said that Eriol was born under the "beam of Eärendel", meaning that he was destined to be a wanderer.
  4. The in-universe chronology of this portion of Eriol's life, as well as the ordering of the tales, is uncertain, since Tolkien at certain points changed the structure and the order of the Lost Tales.
  5. Gilfanon was called Ailios in this and several other texts in the early legendarium.
  6. Eriol might also have authored or compiled the Gnomish Lexicon.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "Foreword", p. 5
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play": "Notes and Commentary", pp. 23-4
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", pp. 6-7
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play", p. 20
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 10, p. 290
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", pp. 294-5
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play", pp. 14-5
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play", pp. 18-20
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play", p. 16
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "II. The Music of the Ainur", p. 47
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "II. The Music of the Ainur", p. 52
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "III. The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor", p. 65
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IV. The Chaining of Melko", pp. 95-7
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IV. The Chaining of Melko", p. 98
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "V. The Coming of the Elves and the Making of Kôr", p. 113
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VI. The Theft of Melko and the Darkening of Valinor", p. 140
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VII. The Flight of the Noldoli", p. 162
  18. 18.0 18.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", p. 4
  19. 19.0 19.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "VIII. The Tale of the Sun and Moon", pp. 174-5
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IX. The Hiding of Valinor", p. 207
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "X. Gilfanon's Tale: The Travail of the Noldoli and the Coming of Mankind", p. 231
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "II. Turambar and the Foalókë", pp. 69-70
  23. 23.0 23.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "III. The Fall of Gondolin", pp. 144-5
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "IV. The Nauglafring", p. 221
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "V. The Tale of Eärendel", pp. 252-3
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 6
  27. 27.0 27.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 5, pp. 283-4
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), "Names and Required Alterations", Appendix, Text X, p. 17
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 35
  30. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 8, p. 287
  31. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", outline 14, p. 294
  32. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", p. 293
  33. Paul Strack, "ᴱQ. Eriol m.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 7 May 2022)
  34. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), "Names and Required Alterations", Appendix, Text VI, p. 15
  35. 35.0 35.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, entry Eriol, p. 252
  36. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 19
  37. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Sí Qente Feanor and Other Elvish Writings", in Parma Eldalamberon XV (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, Patrick H. Wynne, and Bill Welden), "Names and Required Alterations", p. 7
  38. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), note 2, p. 4
  39. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), pp. 3-4
  40. Paul Strack, "ᴱQ. Melinon m.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 7 May 2022)
  41. 41.0 41.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales", pp. 300-1
  42. J.R.R. Tolkien; Dimitra Fimi, Andrew Higgins (eds.), A Secret Vice, pp. 40-1 [note 19]
  43. Arden R. SmithPatrick Wynne, "Tolkien and Esperanto", Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review, Vol. 17 (2000), p. 33