Those annoying Elven issues
Who sailed? What about Círdan? Elrond’s sons?
We all know that Elrond sailed, Galadriel too. Arwen dies in Middle-earth, but what happened to the remaining elves? Elladan and Elrohir? Círdan? Celeborn? Actually, as Celeborn left Lothlórien for Rivendell after Galadriel’s departure, at least a few of their fates are intertwined:
“There [Rivendell], though Elrond had departed, his sons long remained, together with some of the High-elven folk. It is said that Celeborn went to dwell there after the departure of Galadriel; but there is no record of the day when at last he sought the Grey Havens, and with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth.”
“Lady Undómiel,” said Aragorn, “the hour is indeed hard, yet it was made even in that day when we met under the white birches in the garden of Elrond where none now walk.”
(Appendix A, LotR)
It seems clear, then, that Celeborn sailed. However, what is not so clear is if Elladan and Elrohir sailed with him or before him, and whether Círdan also took that boat.
“At the Grey Havens dwelt Círdan the Shipwright, and some say he dwells there still, until the Last Ship sets sail into the West. In the days of the Kings most of the High Elves that still lingered in Middle-earth dwelt with Círdan or in the seaward lands of Lindon. If any now remain they are few.”
Appendix A, LotR
So, has the last ship sailed? Was the ship that took Celeborn to the West the last one or are we still waiting?
Now Elrond’s sons. This is even more tricky. Aragorn’s words suggest that Rivendell is empty, but that does not suggest directly whether Elladan and Elrohir had left Middle-earth.
“And with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days” … well … thats a fairly large statement. Are Elrond’s sons old enough to represent the “Elder Days” as thus must have sailed with Celeborn? They were born in TA130, 111 years before Arwen. So they didn’t see any of the First or Second Age action, but they were there throughout the Third Age, they would have the tales and stories from Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn etc, and maybe that linked them to the olden days enough.
But, like many issues presented in these FAQs, at the end of the day, it is up to the reader to decide whether the sons of Elrond sailed or stayed in Middle-earth.
– The Lord of the Rings, Prologue and Appendix A