The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Origins
One of the Three Kindreds who departed from Cuiviénen to make the Great Journey into the West
Race
Division
Family
Led by Finwë and his descendants
Meaning
'Deep' is a reference to the deep knowledge and skill of these Elves
Other names
Golodhrim, Golug, Loremasters, Noldor, Nómin; those who returned to Middle-earth became known as the Elven-wise
Note
The term 'Deep Elves' appears once in The Hobbit, but there it is spelt 'Deep-elves'. The two versions are synonymous.

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  • Updated 13 November 2020
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Deep Elves

A name for the Noldor

"Next came the Noldor, a name of wisdom, the people of Finwë. They are the Deep Elves, the friends of Aulë; and they are renowned in song..."
Quenta Silmarillion 3
Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

A name for the Noldor, the second of the three clans of the Eldar, who joined the Great Journey into the West under the leadership of Finwë. As a people, they placed great value on wisdom, knowledge and invention, and this is the source of the name 'Deep Elves' (referring to the depth of their knowledge). Once they reached Valinor, they grew wiser still, learning much from the Vala Aulë.

Greatest among the Deep Elves was Fëanor son of Finwë, and greatest among Fëanor's achievements was the making of the Silmarils, Three Jewels that captured the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor. When Melkor stole the Jewels and murdered Finwë, Fëanor and his sons made a dreadful binding Oath to recover the Silmarils, and led a great part of the Deep Elves back into Middle-earth in pursuit of them.

The returning Deep Elves found Melkor secure in his old northern fortress of Angband, and there followed centuries of warfare. The Elves could not breach Melkor's defences, but they held the Dark Lord in the long Siege of Angband. Eventually that Siege was broken, and the Noldor were driven back to the point of defeat, but at last the Valar were persuaded to act directly and bring about Melkor's ultimate defeat.

After the War of Wrath and the end of the First Age, many of the Deep Elves remained in Middle-earth. They dwelt at first in Lindon on the shores of the Great Sea, but some of these later moved eastward to establish realms of their own. This was the origin of the land of Eregion, where Fëanor's grandson Celebrimbor led his people in the making of the Rings of Power, including the Three Rings of the Elves. Most of these Rings would later be taken by Sauron, but the Three Rings were kept in secret until the end of the Third Age.

During the Third Age, few Deep Elves remained in Middle-earth. The most powerful of them was Galadriel, who was the daughter of Fëanor's half-brother Finarfin. Others dwelt at Rivendell, the House of Elrond, and Elrond himself was in part descended from the Deep Elves through his grandmother Idril. When the Third Age came to an end, both Galadriel and Elrond departed into the West, and as the Fourth Age dawned, few of the Deep Elves indeed remained behind in the Wide World of Middle-earth.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 13 November 2020
  • This entry is complete

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