– the Firstborn Children of Ilúvatar; awoke under starlight on the shores of an inland sea in Middle-earth; invited by the Valar to dwell with them in Valinor, which most have accepted and set out on the Great Journey to Valinor. Their kindreds were: Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri, led by respectively Ingwë, Finwë and the brothers Elwë (Thingol) and Olwë. The Noldor and some of the Teleri play major parts in The Silmarillion.
Vanyar [vah-nyahr] (singular Vanya) – the fairest, noblest, and least numerous of the Elven kindreds; they have golden hair; all of them accepted the invitation of the Valar to dwell in their land and left Middle-earth for Valinor; lived mostly with Manwë and Varda on the Holy Mountain. They never returned to Middle-earth except to fight with the other armies of Valinor in the War of Wrath.
Only four Vanyar are named in The Silmarillion- Ingwë their king, Indis who joined the people of the Noldor, Amárië who was the beloved of Finrod Felagund, and Elemmírë who composed a lament about the day that Morgoth destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor.
Also called: Ingwë Ingweron (“chieftain of chieftains”) **
The golden-haired members of the House of Finwë inherited their hair colour from Indis (such as Galadriel and her brothers).
Noldor (singular Noldo) [‘noll-dor] – the second clan of Elves to come to Valinor; fond of lore, languages, smithying and crafts. After the stealing of the Silmarils the majority of the Noldor returned to Middle-earth and it is these Elves The Silmarillion mostly tells of. The Noldor were in general dark-haired and grey-eyed although there are exceptions.
Also called: Deep Elves; Golodhrim (‘Noldor’ in Sindarin); (‘Gnomes’ in the early publications of The Hobbit )
Exiles – the large part of the Noldor that left Valinor against the will of the Valar and were forbidden to return; The Silmarillion is primarily concerned with their history; some of them survived into the Third Age, residing mostly in Rivendell.
You know them from: the term is used also in LotR; Galadriel and Gildor Inglorion and his company are Exiles.
HOUSE OF FINWË
– the royal line of the Noldor; further divided into three houses of Finwë’s sons- House of Fëanor, House of Fingolfin, House of Finarfin.
Indis [‘in-diss] – see Vanyar.
HOUSE OF FËANOR
– called The Dispossessed as the kingship over the Noldor passed to Fëanor’s half-brothers’ houses; known mostly for their oath to reclaim the Silmarils for their house, and for the evil deeds that their oath caused, including the Kinslayings. The only members of this house to survive the First Age are Nerdanel, Celebrimbor and Maglor.
Also called: Curufinwë, Fëanáro (his name in Quenya)
You know him from: he’s mentioned by Gandalf as the maker of the palantíri on the way to Minas Tirith (TTT)
You know him from: the passages in LotR concerning the making of the Rings and the War on Eregion.
HOUSE OF FINGOLFIN
– House of the High Kings of the Noldor in Middle-earth; their realms in Middle-earth were the North-western regions (Mithrim, Hithlum, Dor-Lómin and Gondolin in the First Age, Lindon in the Second Age); they had close dealings with Men; the members of this house and their followers generally excelled in valour. The members of this House who survived the First Age are Gil-galad and all of Turgon’s descendants.
You know him from: he’s mentioned several times in LotR; the Last Alliance is talked about at the Council, and Sam sings a song of him on Weathertop.
You know him from: he’s mentioned as ‘king of Gondolin’ when Gandalf learns the history of his sword (The Hobbit)
Among his subjects are:
Glorfindel [glor-‘fihn-dell] – a golden-haired Elf of Gondolin; famous for destroying a balrog in the Fall of Gondolin; died in the combat and re-embodied after some time; the only known Elf to have travelled back to Middle-earth after rebirth; served Elrond of Rivendell afterwards, and appears in LotR.
Ecthelion [eck-‘theh-lee-on ( * ‘th’ as in ‘thin’, not as in ‘then’ ) ] – famous for slaying Gothmog the Lord of Balrogs in the Fall of Gondolin; died in the combat.
Voronwë [vor-‘on-weh] – an Elf of Gondolin who led the Man Tuor to the city with Ulmo’s warning to the King.
You know him from: he’s named several times in LotR; Elrond mentions him as his father at the Council; the captured light of his Silmaril is given by Galadriel to Frodo as a gift; Bilbo sings of Eärendil’s life and voyage in great detail in his song in Rivendell.
– – – Elrond, Elros [‘el-rond, ‘el-ross] – twin sons of Eärendil; born in the Havens of Sirion before the end of the First Age; Elros chose mortal life and became the first King of Númenor and thus a distant ancestor of Aragorn; Elrond chose Elven life and became a great loremaster and healer in the later ages; he and his children are the last living Elven descendants of the House of Fingolfin in Middle-earth.
Also called: The White Lady of the Noldor (as she only dressed in white).
HOUSE OF FINARFIN
– the members of this house are golden-haired, and some of them meeker in temperament than the other two Houses; they are the only House guiltless of the Kinslaying; the most important realms of this house in Middle-earth are Nargothrond (First Age) and Lothlórien (Third Age). The only members who survived into the Second Age are Finarfin and Galadriel (and her daughter Celebrían).
You know him from: In FotR, Gildor Inglorion tells the hobbits he’s a member of Finrod’s house.
Among his subjects are:
Gwindor [‘gwin-dor] – an Elf of Nargothrond who appears in the story of Túrin Turambar; escaped from Morgoth’s slavery; met Túrin on his way home and led him to Nargothrond; killed in the battle that started the Fall of Nargothrond.
You know her from: The entire LotR series.
– Celebrían [keh-leh-‘bree-ahn] – daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn; born in the Second Age; married Elrond; mother of Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen.
Teleri [‘teh-leh-rih] (singular Teler) – The third and largest host of Elves who set out to Valinor; due to the size of their clan they had two leaders, Olwë and Elwë (Thingol); they loved the lands or seas of Middle-earth, which was why most of them turned aside from the journey and remained in Middle-earth; renowned for their fair voices, love for twilight, and knowledge of the lands and nature of Middle-earth.
Based on how far they made it on the journey to Valinor, they are differentiated into several kindreds:
– Nandor (Wood-elves) – stayed in the parts of Middle-earth that remained into the Third Age (Lórien, Mirkwood, etc.)
– Laiquendi (Green Elves) – Nandor who eventually made it to Beleriand and settled there
– Sindar (Grey Elves) – remained in Beleriand with their king Thingol. They play a key role in The Silmarillion.
– Falathrim (Sea Elves) – made it to the shores of Beleriand where they remained with their lord Círdan
– Falmari (Sea Elves of Valinor) – made it to Valinor where they lived in the haven of Alqualondë
You know them from: the wood elves of Mirkwood and Lórien are Teleri, as are Celeborn and Círdan; almost all other named Elves in LotR and The Hobbit, such as Galadriel and Elrond, have partly Telerin blood.
~ TELERI OF VALINOR (FALMARI) [‘fahl-mah-rih]
– lived in the haven of Alqualondë; their king is Olwë; renowned for their white swan-shaped ships, and as mariners; victims of the First Kinslaying.
Also called: People of the Waves (translation of ‘Falmari’), Sea-elves; when talking of Elves of Valinor only, the general term ‘Teleri’ is sometimes used.
Olwë [‘all-weh] – king of the Sea-elves of Alqualondë in Valinor; brother of Elwë (Thingol); grandfather of Galadriel and her brothers.
~ TELERI OF MIDDLE-EARTH (ÚMANYAR) [‘oo-mah-nyar]
– those who set out on the journey to Valinor but eventually stayed in Middle-earth.
FALATHRIM [fah-‘lah-threem] – [b]Sea Elves of Middle-earth[/b]; great mariners and shipwrights; their lord is Círdan; lived on the coasts (“falas” in Sindarin, hence their name) of Beleriand in the First Age; in the later ages, the last Falathrim live in the Grey Havens. They don’t play a major role in the key events of the Silmarillion except in the story of Eärendil’s voyage.
You know them from: Círdan’s people in the Grey Havens are presumably remnants of the Falathrim.
You know him from: LotR, mostly for assisting the Ring-bearers in sailing to Valinor and giving Gandalf the Ring of Fire.
SINDAR (GREY ELVES) [‘sin-dahr] – (singular Sinda); lived all over Beleriand but their most famous residence is the realm of Doriath where their king Thingol lived; out of all the kindreds of the Teleri, they play the largest role in The Silmarillion: they appear in the stories of Beren and Lúthien and of Túrin, and they were the victims of the Second and Third Kinslayings.
You know them from: the kings of Mirkwood elves are Sindarin in origin, as is Celeborn; Elrond is partly descended from the royal Sindarin line; some of the famous Sindar are mentioned in LotR.
You know him from: Aragorn mentions him when telling the hobbits the story of Lúthien. (FotR)
Among his subjects are: Beleg Strongbow, Mablung, Daeron and others.
Also called: Tinúviel (“nightingale”)
You know her from: Arwen is repeatedly likened to her ancestor Lúthien in appearance and fate; Aragorn sings the lay of Lúthien on the journey to Rivendell. (FotR)
Dior [‘dee-or] – the only son of Beren and Lúthien; became king of Doriath after Thingol was slain; inherited the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien recovered; slain for the jewel by the Sons of Fëanor in the Fall of Doriath; husband of Nimloth, father of Elwing and grandfather of Elrond.
Also called: Eluchíl (“heir of Elu Thingol”)
Elwing [‘ehl-wing] – daughter of Dior; wife of Eärendil with whom she ruled the remnants of the people from Doriath and Gondolin in the Havens of Sirion; mother of Elrond and Elros; inherited the Silmaril from Dior; escaped the attack on the Havens with the Silmaril and joined Eärendil in his voyage to Valinor; stays in Valinor while her husband traverses the sky with the Silmaril as a star; sometimes assumes the shape of a white gull.
You know her from: Elrond mentions her when talking about his ancestry at the Council; Bilbo’s song in Rivendell speaks of her in greater detail. (FotR)
– Celeborn – [‘keh-leh-born] Thingol’s kinsman (probably great-nephew*); lived in Doriath where Galadriel met him; stayed in Middle-earth with his wife Galadriel after the end of the First Age.
You know him from: the entire LotR series.
– Mablung [‘mah-bloong] – captain of Doriath; along with Beleg sometimes acted as king Thingol’s ambassador; slain by Dwarves in the Fall of Doriath.
– Daeron [‘daye-ron] – loremaster and minstrel of king Thingol; the greatest Elven minstrel of all times and inventor of the runes (particularly popular among Dwarves); in love with Lúthien; wandered off and never returned after she left with Beren for the quest of the Silmaril.
Also around was Thranduil, the future king of the wood-elves of Mirkwood and father of Legolas; Thranduil and his father were Sindarin Elves though their later subjects were wood-elves.
NANDOR [‘nahn-dor] – (singular Nando); wood elves; left the Great Journey near the Misty Mountains and settled near the River Anduin; a part of them later continued to Beleriand and became known as Green Elves. They don’t play any role in the main events of The Silmarillion.
LAIQUENDI (GREEN ELVES) [lie-‘quehn-dee] – (singular Laiquendë); settled in the land of Ossiriand near the Blue Mountains; lived a secluded woodland life and hardly come into the events of the Silmarillion.