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, died c. I 583
Race
Division
Family
Titles
Meaning
'Glitter of Metal'1
Pronunciation
my'thros ('th' as in English 'these')

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About this entry:

  • Updated 1 February 1998
  • Updates planned: 8

Maedhros

Eldest of the Sons of Fëanor

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The seven Sons of Fëanor

The eldest of the Seven Sons of Fëanor, and considered to be their leader. In Valinor he swore the Oath of Fëanor, and followed his father back to Middle-earth, though of all Fëanor's sons, except perhaps Maglor, he seems to have regretted this the most.

After Fëanor's death, Morgoth captured Maedhros through trickery, and hung him by the wrist from the heights of Thangorodrim. Fingon succeeded in rescuing him, but he lost his right hand in their escape.

With his brothers, Maedhros held the eastern passes into Beleriand; he himself dwelt in a fortress on the hill of Himring. He worked to unite the Houses of the Noldor, and formed the Union of Maedhros, but that Union perished in the disaster of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

After the defeat of Morgoth in the War of Wrath, Maedhros and his brother Maglor stole the two remaining Silmarils from the camp of the Valar, but the hallowed Jewels would not suffer the brothers to hold them. In torment, Maedhros cast himself into a fissure in the earth.


Notes

1

This meaning appears in The Etymologies, but there are some indications that Tolkien may not have meant to retain this derivation. Other possibilities include 'Spray of Light' or (according to some sources) 'Well-formed One', but 'Glint of Metal' seems to be the only derivation attested to by Tolkien himself. (The History of Middle-earth Volume 5, The Lost Road and Other Writings III The Etymologies).

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