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Elves lived in this region during the First Age, but Lindon was not established as a political entity until II 1; it survived into the Fourth Age
The northwestern coastlands of Middle-earth, westward of Ered Luin
Survivors of the destruction of Beleriand in the War of Wrath
Various, but notably Sindar and Noldor
Ruled by the House of Fingolfin during the Second Age
Forlond, Harlond, Mithlond; at one time Emyn Beraid was under the protection of these Elves
Lindon is pronounced 'li'ndon'
Lindon means '(Land) of Music'
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 October 2022
  • This entry is complete

Elves of Lindon

The Elves that lived beyond the Blue Mountains

Those Elves who dwelt in the west of Middle-earth, between the Blue Mountains and the Great Sea, in the Second and Third Ages. They reached the height of their power in the Second Age under King Gil-galad, but waned after the War of the Last Alliance, in which Gil-galad met his end.

Lindon in the First Age

During the First Age, Lindon was a name used for the wooded lands at the western feet of the Blue Mountains. At this time the region lay far inland, and for much of its history had been empty of people. This changed when a branch of the Nandor - Elves who had fallen away from the Great Journey long beforehand - crossed the Mountains from the east. They settled in the land between the wide river Gelion and the mountains, and from their singing the land gained the name Lindon, meaning 'land of music'. These Laiquendi or Green-elves were thus the first Elves of Lindon, dwelling there until the time of the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age.

In that War the forces of the Valar met those of Morgoth with cataclysmic consequences. Westward of Lindon, the land had stretched for hundreds of miles to the coast, but the battling of the Powers caused the Sea to rush across the land and up to Lindon's borders. In the aftermath of the War, Lindon became a coastal land, in which the surviving Elves of drowned Beleriand sought refuge from the inrushing waters.

The Second Age

Elves from across the lost lands of Beleriand, both Sindar and Noldor, now settled in Lindon. Among them was Ereinion Gil-galad, the heir to Fingon as High King of the Noldor, and he was recognised as the King of the Elves remaining in Middle-earth. At the beginning of the Second Age, the new realm of Lindon was established, with its famous harbours at Mithlond, the Grey Havens on the Gulf of Lhûn.

After the War of Wrath and the end of the First Age, many of the Eldar had elected to travel into the West, but with Gil-galad in Lindon dwelt all those Eldar who had chosen to remain in Middle-earth. Círdan the Shipwright maintained the havens at Mithlond, and Elrond the son of Eärendil became Gil-galad's herald. Though both Noldor and Sindar lived in the land (and indeed Gil-galad himself was one of the Noldor) the common speech of the Elves of Lindon was Sindarin, as it had been in Beleriand during the First Age. To at least some extent, the Sindar and Noldor became divided within Lindon, with the Sindar dwelling mainly in the southern part of the land, Harlindon, while the Noldor more usually dwelt to the north, in Forlindon.

Many of the Green-elves who had lived in the forests of Ossiriand during the First Age abandoned their homes at this time, passing eastward over the Blue Mountains into Eriador beyond, but at least some remained there under Gil-galad's rule. Some of the High Elves, too, chose to depart from Lindon, setting out from the Grey Havens at times to sail into the West. Others travelled eastward over the Blue Mountains to found new realms in the wilds of Middle-earth. Some of these venturers would be accepted as rulers by Silvan Elves, and from roots such as these Lórien and the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood would eventually grow.

There were tensions between some of the Eldar who remained in Lindon. Among the Sindar were survivors of Doriath, whose homeland had been destroyed by the Sons of Fëanor, and Fëanorians dwelt beside them in Lindon. Among these Sindar were some who learned the craft of ship-building from Círdan, and sailed away to establish their own Elf-haven of Edhellond far to the south. A band of Noldor also departed from Lindon, among them Celebrimbor the grandson of Fëanor, and founded the land of Eregion under the western Misty Mountains.

New Allies and a New Enemy

Gil-galad had ruled the Eldar in Lindon for six hundred years when a remarkable event occurred: a vessel of Men sailed out of the west to dock at the Grey Havens. This was the ship Entulessë, carrying the Númenórean explorer Vëantur, the first of his people to make the long journey back across the Great Sea to Middle-earth. Gil-galad and his people welcomed the new arrivals, and a friendship and alliance grew between the Elves of Lindon and the Númenóreans in their distant island realm.

After Vëantur, more ships came to Mithlond from Númenor under the Great Captain Aldarion, the heir to Númenor's throne. He brought gifts to his new allies, including trees out of the West named malinorni, the ancestors of the mellyrn of Lórien. It was through the agency of the Elves of Lindon that the Men of Númenor came face to face with their ancient kin in Middle-earth. The Elves were friendly with the Men who lived beyond the Blue Mountains, and arranged a first meeting between the two branches of that people on the heights that would later be known as the Tower Hills.

In these times of hope, a new darkness also began to emerge in the East. At this time in history the menace was nebulous and its nature unclear. Some, such as Aldarion, believed it to be no more than the rising of a tyrant among Men, but Gil-galad perceived it to be a servant of Morgoth stirring once more in the world. In this Gil-galad was right: the being known as Sauron had survived the cataclysmic War of Wrath and was now making his power felt in Middle-earth, though his identity remained unknown to the Elves at this time.

So alarmed was Gil-galad by the growing Shadow that he sent to Númenor for aid. The King of Númenor at that time, Aldarion's father Tar-Meneldur, felt that the threat was beyond his experience, and he resigned the Sceptre to his heir, who became King Tar-Aldarion. For the centuries that followed, the Númenóreans grew to be close allies of the Elves of Lindon. This alliance faltered after the accession of Tar-Aldarion's own heir, Queen Tar-Ancalimë, but nonetheless a historic friendship remained between the Elves of Lindon and the Númenóreans beyond the Sea.

This friendship with the powerful Númenóreans, and the founding of Eregion by Noldor out of Lindon, meant that the influence of the Elves of Lindon began to spread beyond the confines of the Blue Mountains. Sauron saw this growing power of the Elves as a threat, and in about the year II 1000 he responded by establishing himself in Mordor as a defensible land in the south of Middle-earth, far from Lindon. He also began to devise a plan to gain power over the Elves, a plan that would have consequences reaching into the far future.

Soon afterward, the Elves of Lindon were approached by a mysterious and powerful being. He named himself Annatar, Lord of Gifts, and offered the Elves extraordinary knowledge. Both Gil-galad and Elrond (who at this time still dwelt in Lindon) felt deep distrust of this so-called 'Lord of Gifts', to the extent that they refused him or his emissaries entry into their land. They sent warnings to the Elves of Eregion, but those warnings went unheeded: when Annatar travelled to Eregion, the Elves there welcomed him and learned all they could of his lore.

Gil-galad was right to doubt the intentions of Annatar, but this was only discovered centuries later. 'Annatar' was in fact an identity of Sauron, who had trained the Jewel-smiths of Eregion in the making of Rings of Power, and then secretly created his own Ring to dominate them. The Elves had made Three Rings of their own, however, and so escaped the ensnarement of the One Ring. Thwarted in his plans, Sauron then came against the Elves in open war. Desperate to keep the Three Rings out of Sauron's hands, Celebrimbor sent two of them to Gil-galad for safekeeping, and so two of the greatest Rings of Power in Middle-earth, Narya and Vilya, remained long in the keeping of the Elves of Lindon.

Sauron's forces swept out of Mordor and across Eriador, marching for Eregion. Gil-galad sent Elrond to offer aid against the Dark Lord, and he founded a refuge for the survivors of the War that followed. That refuge, hidden in a deep valley of the western Misty Mountains, would become known as Imladris or Rivendell.

At the time of Rivendell's founding, Sauron's forces ranged across Eriador and controlled most of the western lands. Apart from beleaguered Rivendell, only Lindon itself remained safe behind the Blue Mountains, but Sauron began to threaten even that land. Gil-galad therefore called on his allies the Númenóreans, who sailed to his aid. Powerful as he was, even Sauron could not challenge the might of Númenor, and he was driven back from Eriador to his land of Mordor. So the Elves of Lindon survived the War of the Elves and Sauron, with the Dark Lord's final defeat taking place in the year II 1701.

During the War of the Elves and Sauron, the land of Eregion had been laid waste, and only the refuge of Rivendell survived as an outpost of the Elves of Lindon eastward of the Blue Mountains. Gil-galad therefore recognised Elrond as Rivendell's lord, naming him vice-regent of Eriador, and sending him the Ring Vilya. Meanwhile, many of the survivors in Eriador made their way to Lindon itself, taking ship from its havens into the West, so that the years after the War became known as the Days of Flight. The Elves of Lindon lived in relative peace until the closing years of the Second Age, though Sauron continued to build his power in the distant East.

The Return of the Dúnedain

As the Second Age drew on, the Númenórean presence beyond the borders of Lindon grew as they cut the wide forests of Eriador, and began to demand tribute from the scattered Men who lived along the coasts of Middle-earth. In the year II 3319, more than sixteen centuries after the defeat of Sauron, a sudden cataclysm befell. An immense storm of waves rushed suddenly out of the west, carrying with it four ships of the Númenóreans that came ashore in Lindon. These Númenóreans were led by Elendil, heir to the Lordship of Andúnië, who told Gil-galad a terrible tale.

Thus the Elves of Lindon discovered that the King of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn, had taken Sauron as hostage across the Sea, but in Númenor Sauron had gained influence by whispering lies to the King. Convincing Ar-Pharazôn that he could claim eternal life if he conquered the Blessed Realm, the Dark Lord had persuaded the Númenóreans to invade Valinor itself. This attempted attack against the Valar failed utterly, and it brought about the Downfall of Númenor, in which the island realm was consumed by the Sea. Only a tiny number of survivors were left to wash ashore in Middle-earth.

Elendil was a member of the Faithful party of the Númenóreans, who still maintained alliance with the Elves, and a great friendship grew between his people and the Elves of Lindon. Elendil and his followers founded a land of their own on Lindon's eastward border, beyond the Blue Mountains. This was Arnor, the North-kingdom of the Dúnedain (Elendil's sons had meanwhile established a South-kingdom, Gondor, acknowledging their father as their High King).

Elendil had brought with him three palantíri or Seeing-stones, and Gil-galad made a place to hold one of these. On a small range of hills eastward of Lindon itself, he raised three White Towers, and in the tallest of these was set the Elendil Stone, which had the power to look into the lost West. These hills became known as Emyn Beraid, the Tower Hills, and they remained under the protection of the Elves of Lindon into the Third Age.

The friendship of the Elves of Lindon with the Dúnedain of Elendil would draw them into war and disaster. Just a hundred years after the Downfall of Númenor, Elendil's son Isildur sailed into Lindon with dire news from the South. Sauron had returned to his old land of Mordor and launched an attack on the newly-founded land of Gondor, capturing Minas Ithil and threatening the other new cities beyond.

In response to Sauron's aggression, the Elves of Lindon and the Men of Arnor joined together in a great alliance, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. Gathering more allies from across Middle-earth, they built their strength and marched southward towards Mordor. Defeating Sauron's armies at the Battle of Dagorlad, they moved on to besiege Barad-dûr itself. That Siege lasted for seven years, until at last Sauron offered single combat against the commanders of the besieging army. Sauron was thrown down in that combat on the slopes of Mount Doom, but both Gil-galad and Elendil were also slain.

The Third Age

Though Sauron had been defeated, the War of the Last Alliance had been devastating for the Elves of Lindon. Many had been lost in that War, including Gil-galad their King. Círdan the Shipwright took up the rule of Lindon from Mithlond, the Grey Havens on the Gulf of Lhûn. Over the centuries that followed, there was trouble among the Elves' old allies in Arnor, whose kingdom disintegrated into lesser realms. In Lindon itself, however, the remaining Elves dwelt along the coastlands of Middle-earth and watched the centuries pass in peace.

When perhaps a thousand years of the Third Age had passed, ships began to sail into the harbours of Mithlond out of the West. These carried emissaries from the Valar, who had been sent to Middle-earth to combat a newly-growing evil in the lands eastward of the Sea. There were five of these emissaries in all, each taking the form of an old Man, and each setting out into Middle-earth on quests of their own. Círdan saw particular wisdom in one of these emissaries, and made him an extraordinary gift: one of the Three Rings of the Elves. This Ring, Narya the Ring of Fire, had been sent to Gil-galad for safekeeping and passed from him to Círdan, but Círdan saw that it would do more good in the hands of the newcomer from the West.1

Far to the east, among the northern peaks of the Misty Mountains, a new power arose in a land named Angmar, and that power launched an attack on the disunited Dúnedain of the North-kingdom. After fourteen centuries of peace, the Elves of Lindon once more went to war, joining with other Elves to aid their old allies, the Dúnedain, and to drive back the threat.

Though contained for a time, the forces of Angmar grew and expanded over the centuries that followed. Eventually only the realm of Arthedain remained, and its King, Arvedui, sent word to the South-kingdom seeking aid. The Gondorian general Eärnur responded, and in the year III 1975 he brought a huge fleet into the havens of Lindon. Eärnur came too late to save Arthedain, but he was joined by the Elves of Lindon (and also of Rivendell) as he marched to avenge its loss. At the Battle of Fornost that followed, the Elves and the Dúnedain were victorious, and drove the Witch-king of Angmar out of the northern lands.

During these battles, King Arvedui had been forced to flee into the far northern lands, and his son Amlaith came to the Elves of Lindon for aid in recovering his father. Círdan agreed, and a vessel was despatched to locate and rescue Arvedui. The ship succeeded in finding the King, who was sheltering among the Lossoth, the Snowmen of the frozen north. The mariners took Arvedui aboard and set out to return to Lindon, but their ship became caught in the ice of the Bay of Forochel. Its hull was crushed and the ship sank, along with the last King of Arthedain. From this time onward, the Northern Dúnedain became a diminished and wandering people, though they still allied themselves with the Elves of Lindon.

A thousand years passed, until the end of the Third Age, as the numbers of the few surviving Elves of Lindon dwindled still further. At this time most of the Elves dwelt at Mithlond, with some scattered along the coastlands, while a few wandered further afield across Eriador to the east. Many chose to set out across the Great Sea and sail into the West, as did other Elves who came to Lindon from across Middle-earth. All these Elves sailed out onto the Sea aboard the vessels of Círdan, never to return.

After the final defeat of Sauron at the end of the Third Age, a band of travellers came to Mithlond out of the east. Among them were the secret Keepers of the Three Rings of the Elves, now revealed to be Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf. So the Red Ring Narya returned briefly to the place where Círdan had passed it to the Wizard some two millennia beforehand. These Keepers, along with the Ring-bearers Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, boarded a White Ship that the Elves of Lindon had made for them, and sailed away into the West.

After the departure of the White Ship, Círdan remained at Mithlond for a time. There were very few of the Elves of Lindon still to be found in Middle-earth (indeed, it is possible that all the others had departed by this time). Eventually, it is said, Círdan made a ship for himself, the Last Ship to sail from Middle-earth, and abandoned Lindon to set out on his own final journey across the Great Sea.



This being was the Wizard who would later become known to the Elves as Mithrandir, and to Men and Hobbits as Gandalf. At the time he first encountered Círdan, however, he had neither of these names. Presumably the Elves of Lindon had some form of address for him, but we have no account of what that name might have been.


About this entry:

  • Updated 9 October 2022
  • This entry is complete

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