Tinfang Warble

From Tolkien Gateway
Tinfang Warble
Eva Zahradníková - Tinfang Warble.jpg
"Tinfang Warble" by Eva Zahradníková
Biographical Information
Other namesTinfang Gelion; Timpinen
LocationTol Eressëa
Notable forEnchanting those who hear his fluting
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Tinfang Warble
"'Twas Timpinen who played to you, and honoured are you, for this garden has been empty of his melody many a night. Now, however, for such is the eeriness of that sprite, you will ever love the evenings of summer and the nights of stars, and their magic will cause your heart to ache unquenchably."
― Vairë to Eriol in The Chaining of Melko

Tinfang or Timpinen, whom the children call Tinfang Warble, is a sprite creature mentioned in The Book of Lost Tales.

Tinfang Warble is a spirit who is half fay of Palúrien and half Elf (Gnome or Solosimpi). He was a flautist whose fluting had an enchantment, and the stars twinkled according to his notes. Not even the Solosimpi could rival his fluting.

He led the Elves forth with his piping, and could be heard in the Great Lands and sometimes also in Alalminórë. Eriol spoke to Vairë about hearing 'dream-musics', and she replied that it was Tinfang, who had not been heard for many nights.[1]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

In a crossed out note, Timpinen was the son of King Tinwelint and Queen Gwendeling, and brother of Tinúviel; after Tinwelint was enchanted, Timpinen and Tinúviel "long after joined the Eldar again, and tales there are concerning them both, though they are seldom told".[2]

Tinfang Gelion is mentioned again in the Lay of Leithian as being one of the greatest of the minstrels of the Elves, beside Maglor and next to Daeron.[3] (In The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, Tinfang Warble was compared to Dairon and Ivárë.[4])

"Tinfang Gelion who still the moon
enchants on summer nights of June
and kindles the pale firstling star...
Lay of Leithian Canto III


The name is probably Gnomish, and Christopher Tolkien gives the meaning of "fluter", a cognate of Qenya timpinen.[5]

Later the meaning of Tinfang is given as "star-beard" (from tinu "spark, little star" + fang "beard").[6]

Gelion can also be found in several other compounds.


His name probably comes from an earlier poem Tolkien penned named Tinfang Warble (poem), about a fairy-bird.[source?]