The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Born in Valinor during the Years of the Trees, slain I 400
Race
Division
Family
Meaning
'Aredhel' means 'Noble Elf', 'Ar-Feiniel' means 'White Lady (of the Noldor)'
Pronunciation
A'rethel Ar-Fey'niel
('th' as in 'these')
Titles

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  • Updated 21 March 2008
  • This entry is complete
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The sister of Fingon and Turgon, Aredhel was born in the Undying Lands and grew to be tall and strong. Pale of skin and dark of hair, she dressed in silvers and whites, and so became known as the White Lady of the Noldor. She roamed the lands of the Valar, and hunted far and wide with the Sons of Fëanor before the Darkening of Valinor.

When the Noldor departed from Aman for Middle-earth, Aredhel travelled with them, and dwelt for a while in Nevrast with her brother Turgon. After Gondolin was built, she travelled there with the rest of Turgon's people. For one who had hunted far and wide in Valinor in the days of the Two Trees, the hidden valley of Tumladen seemed confining, and at last, to Turgon's great dismay, Aredhel left Gondolin.

Turgon sent an escort with his sister, and advised them to make for their brother Fingon in Hithlum, but instead Aredhel set out eastwards to find her friends the Sons of Fëanor. Separated from her escort, she came to Himlad, and from there entered the enchanted woods of Nan Elmoth, where she was found by Eöl the Dark Elf.

Eöl took Aredhel to wife, and she bore him a son under the dark trees of the wood, who became known as Maeglin. Eöl hated the sunlight, and so Aredhel dwelt in the dark beneath the trees of Nan Elmoth for nearly a century. At last she decided to leave her husband and travel back to her brother in Gondolin. Waiting until Eöl was away from his halls, she took her son Maeglin and set out for Gondolin.

When the journey was completed, Turgon received his sister and his new nephew gladly, but it was soon discovered that Eöl had returned to his halls sooner than they had guessed, and tracked his wife and son from there to the Hidden City. Once inside the city's gates, Turgon's law prevented him from ever leaving again, and he was offered a choice: to remain within Turgon's walls, or to die. Maddened, Eöl chose death for himself and for Maeglin, and threw a poisoned dart at his son. Aredhel dashed to stop it, but was wounded herself, dying soon afterwards.

So ended the White Lady of the Noldor. Turgon had Eöl slain in punishment for his crime, but Aredhel's son Maeglin remained in Gondolin, the city that his treachery would eventually destroy.


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