The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Existed throughout the Years of the Trees (perhaps some 14,322 years1)
Location
The mound of Ezellohar, to the west of Valmar in Valinor
Origins
Brought into being by Yavanna
Pronunciation
telpeh'rion
Meaning
Unclear, though telpë is definitely 'silver'2
Other names
Titles

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 29 June 2014
  • Updates planned: 1

Telperion

The White Tree

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Map of Telperion
(Somewhat conjectural)
Telperion
Galathilion
White Trees of
Tol Eressëa,
Númenor and
Minas Tirith

The great lights of Arda

White Trees

The elder of the Two Trees of Valinor, called the White Tree, which shed silver light on the domain of the Valar. His leaves were of dark green, shining silver beneath, and his boughs were decked with brilliant flowers that shed a rain of silver dew.

Telperion endured throughout the Years of the Trees, but came to an end in the dreadful event known as the Darkening of Valinor. Even though the elder tree did not survive, he was not the last of the White Trees. Yavanna had made an image of him in Tirion, called Galathilion, from whom the White Trees of Númenor and later of Minas Tirith were descended. More importantly, one of Telperion's flowers survived the Darkening, and was set aloft by the Valar to become the light we call the Moon.


Notes

1

In the published Silmarillion, there's no hint as to the length of the Years of the Trees (except a rather vague reference to 'long ages'). However, a document does exist that gives more precise measurements, The Annals of Aman. That is the source of the precise figure of 14,322 years, though it should be said that this unpublished figure was subjected to extensive editing, and should not be considered completely reliable.

2

Curiously, though Telperion is a Quenya name, the word telpë, 'silver', is an element from the Telerin language. It was said to have been chosen over the Quenya word tyelpë because of the particular delight that the Teleri had in silver, prizing it even over gold.

The full etymology of Telperion is unclear. It has been suggested that it contains the root-word rig, 'crown'. This is entirely possible (the same root is known to appear in the name Celebrían, for example) but this cannot be stated with certainty.

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