(Aragorn was a descendant of Elrond's brother
Elros through many generations of Men)
One of the greatest Elves in the history of Middle-earth, Elrond was born at the Havens of Sirion late in the First Age. During their sack, he and his brother Elros were taken captive by the Sons of Fëanor, but Maglor took pity on them and released them. When they were rescued, Elrond was found playing in a cave beneath a waterfall, and so received his name.
Both of Elrond's parents were half-elven, and after the War of Wrath he was given a choice; whether to be counted amongst the kindred of Elves or of Men. He chose the Firstborn, and remained in Lindon with High King Gil-galad.
After the invasion of Eriador by Sauron in the mid-Second Age, Elrond founded a refuge there in a deep hidden valley; this was named Imladris, or Rivendell in the Common Speech. After Sauron's defeat by Tar-Minastir of Númenor, Elrond remained in Rivendell, where he prospered with the aid of the Great Ring, Vilya.
Elrond played a great part in the histories of the Second and Third Ages; he marched with Gil-galad and Elendil to the War of the Last Alliance, and was a leading member of the White Council. At the time of the Council of Elrond in 3018 (Third Age), he had dwelt in Middle-earth for some 6,500 years.
Though he is known as 'Half-elven', Elrond's lineage is much more complicated than that title suggests. He could claim descent from all the main branches of the Eldar, each of the Three Houses of the Edain, and even from the Maiar. To be completely correct, he was slightly more than half-elven: actually nine sixteenths of his ancestors were Elves. A full breakdown of his descent works out like this:
- Three eighths Edain, through two lines: his grandfather Tuor of the House of Hador, and his great-grandfather Beren of the House of Bëor. He was also descended from the third House of the Edain, the Haladin, through Tuor's grandmother Hareth.
- Five sixteenths Sindar, again through two lines: his grandmother Nimloth and his great-great-grandfather Thingol.
- Five thirty-seconds Vanyar, through his great-grandmother Elenwë, and also through his great-great-great-grandmother, Indis the second wife of Finwë.
- Three thirty-seconds Noldor, through his great-grandfather, Turgon (who himself had only three-quarters Noldorin blood).
- One sixteenth Maiar, through his great-great-grandmother Melian.
In a letter of 1958, Tolkien gives a very detailed derivation of Elrond. When the Sons of Fëanor attacked the Exiles of Gondolin, Elrond and his brother Elros (both at that time small children) were carried off, but later found near a waterfall; Elrond was discovered in a cave behind the fall - hence 'Elf of the Cave'. However, in a much later letter (1972), Tolkien interprets the name 'Vault of Stars', and Christopher Tolkien gives the similar 'Star-dome' in his Appendix to The Silmarillion. Whether it was Tolkien's intention to change the derivation of Elrond, or whether the older story simply slipped his mind, cannot now be known.
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