The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


About this entry:

  • Updated 20 July 2016
  • Updates planned: 1

Though all the Eldar (by definition) set out on the Great Journey, many of them fell away from it and remained in Middle-earth. Names shown in bold in this chart represent those peoples who crossed the Great Sea and became Eldar of Valinor.

The name Eldar originally belonged to all the Elves, but it came to be used exclusively for those who set out from the Water of Awakening to make the long journey into the Uttermost West to dwell with the Valar. By no means all of these Eldar completed the journey: many - especially of the Teleri - fell away from the Great Journey. Many others, though, came at last to the western shores of Beleriand, and were carried across the Great Sea on the isle of Tol Eressëa.

The Eldar were carried to Valinor in two crossings. First went the Vanyar and the Noldor, and in Valinor they constructed a great city for themselves: Tirion on Túna in the Pass of Light. After some delay, many of the Teleri also made the crossing; they spent many years on the island before making their own way to the shores of the Blessed Realm, and founding their own shoreland city of Aqualondë.

The Eldar of Valinor dwelt in bliss for three ages, growing in knowledge, wisdom and skill. It was during this time that the Silmarils were made, the three Jewels of Fëanor that held the Light of the Two Trees. With the release of Melkor from his imprisonment this bliss began to wane, and dissension grew among the princes of the Noldor. Ultimately Melkor stole the Silmarils and destroyed the Two Trees, prompting Fëanor to lead a great part of the Noldor into exile in Middle-earth.

After the fall of the Two Trees and the Flight of the Noldor, the Eldar of Valinor belonged to three groups. First among these were the Vanyar, who removed from Tirion to dwell on Taniquetil near Manwë the Elder King. A part of the Noldor also remained - about a tenth of their full number - under the leadership of Fëanor's half-brother Finarfin. The final group, the Teleri, had suffered at the hands of the fleeing Noldor, who had fought against them and stolen their ships as they departed. They remained at the Swanhaven of Alqualondë on the Bay of Eldamar.

These were the Eldar of Valinor at the end of the First Age. Other Elves of Middle-earth were given leave to depart across the Sea and come into the West, but they did not come to Valinor itself, remaining on the island of Tol Eressëa where the Teleri of Valinor had once dwelt.

See also...


For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2013, 2016. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.