Rúmil (elf of Tirion)

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Rúmil refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Rúmil (disambiguation).
Steamey - Rúmil of Tirion.jpg
"Rúmil" by Steamey
Biographical Information
Other names"Elf-sage of Valinor"
LocationTirion, Valinor
LanguageCommon Eldarin, Valarin, Quenya and Telerin
BirthBefore Y.T. 1169
Notable forSarati; see Works
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Rúmil

Rúmil was a Noldorin sage of Tirion[1], one of the Lambengolmor ("Loremasters")[2] of the Noldor and first deviser of written characters[1].

History[edit | edit source]

Rúmil was notable for inventing a writing system that was fitting for the recording of speech and song, some for graving upon metal or stone, others for drawing with brush or with pen.[3]

His alphabet was called both Tengwar of Rúmil ("Letters of Rúmil")[4] and Sarati, as each letter was called a sarat[2][5]. The Tengwar of Rúmil was not used in Middle-earth and was later expanded and perfected by Fëanor[3] as the Tengwar of Fëanor ("Letters of Fëanor"), more commonly known as simply Tengwar.[4]

It is assumed that Rúmil was one of the Noldor who refused the summons of Fëanor, for he stopped writing his part of Annals of Valinor with the return to Valinor of those Noldor, led by Finarfin.[6].

Works[edit | edit source]

Rúmil was said to be the author of various works, some of which would find great acknowledgment after they were translated into Westron by Bilbo Baggins. These include:

Pengolodh of Gondolin continued and completed much of Rúmil's work.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The only thing known about the name Rúmil is that it is Quenya.[8]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In The Book of Lost Tales, Rúmil was the Door-ward of Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva and known as "the Sage". He is described as old in appearance and grey of locks.[9]

One morning, shortly after Eriol's arrival, Rúmil was strolling in a garden under his care with his head as ever bent towards the earth and muttering swiftly to himself. He only noticed Eriol after being bid good morning, and Rúmil then requested Eriol's pardon and explained that he was in a sour mood as he was listening to the birds and one, a "black-winged rogue fat with impudence" was singing with a tongue that was strange, which irked him as he believed he knew the simple speech of all birds. He then explained that, long ere the fall of Gondolin, he lightened his thraldom under Melko in learning the speech of all monsters and goblins, and that he had also learned the speeches of beasts. He also worried over the tongues of men, but they constantly change and shift, and are a hard stuff whereof to labour songs or tales. He further explained that he was feeling as Ómar, the Vala who knows all tongues, until encountering that bird who he labels as "tirípti lirilla" and an imp of Melko.[9]

Later, with Littleheart, they tell him about the Elves and their tongues. Seeing that they have great knowledge, Eriol asks them about the Valar. Rúmil explains him about Ilúvatar, naming the Music of the Ainur, and Eriol begs him to know more about it; this is the antecedent for Rúmil's Ainulindalë.[9]

In a later draft of Meril-i-Turinqi's "Melko's Chains" in The Book of Lost Tales, Tolkien apparently intended to replace Rúmil with Evromord the Door-ward of Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion", "Index", Rúmil
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar", pp. 396-8
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion", "VI. Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor".
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "II. Writing"
  5. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, "III. 1917-1925: The making of a mythology", p. 100
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, II. The Later Annals of Valinor"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion", "Index", Ainulindalë
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 51, 54
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "IV. The Chaining of Melko": "Notes and Commentary", p. 107 note 3