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Círdan the Shipwright[]

  • SHORT BIOGRAPHY: Círdan, also known as Nowë and Círdan the Shipwright, was one of the highest and most noble of the Sindar, Lord of the Falathrim during the First Age, and Master of the Grey Havens through the Second, Third, and Fourth Age. He was one of the wisest and most foresighted of the Elves, and by the Second Age the oldest known elf in Middle-earth, to remain so throughout that age and into the Fourth Age as well. He was also gifted Narya, one of the Three Rings, by Celebrimbor until he surrendered it to Gandalf.


Early First Age []

When the tales began spreading (sown by Morgoth) of the Kinslaying of Alqualondë, Círdan, being very wise even at that time, was greatly troubled, feeling that these rumours sprouted from great malice. Knowing the jealousy and dissension among the Noldor, he guessed that the malice was that of the kinslayers. Therefore he dutifully sent messages to his overlord Thingol, telling him all that he had heard. This resulted in the banishment of Quenya and greater strife between the Sindar and the Noldor.

Círdan may have assisted in the Dagor Aglareb, but this is unknown. Nevertheless, he did not take part in the Dagor Bragollach, as he was far away and not directly attacked, if even he had time to come to the aid of his allies. Nevertheless, Círdan made up for his lack of participation in the second assault on Hithlum, coming to the timely aid of Fingon when he was most needed. They sailed up the Firth of Drengist, then struck the unsuspecting orcs from the west, giving victory to the elves.

After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, many fugitives came for shelter in the Falas. The Falathrim mariners harassed the orcs in guerilla attacks from the sea. But it was only a matter of time before Morgoth attacked. Then came the disastrous Fall of the Falas. Though both Brithombar and Eglarest were strong, with mighty walls, both fell one at a time due to the impressive array of siege-masters Morgoth had in his train. The elves fought valiantly, but the walls were broken and most of the Falathrim killed or enslaved. Barad Nimras was cast down, and the Falas laid to waste. But Círdan and some of his followers escaped by sea, and he took with him Gil-galad, one of the last of the princes of the Noldor. They came to the Isle of Balar and founded a new kingdom, but kept a foothold at the Mouths of Sirion, keeping ships hidden in the reeds there, making a refuge for all who fled there.

Second Age[]

Gandalf recieves narya by elfofcave d390xmo-fullview

The continents were shifted, but Círdan still took up his abode by the sea, at the Grey Havens, which the Elves built in the newly-formed Gulf of Lune whence the Eldar could sail the Straight Road, but most of them were unwilling at first to forsake the lands they fought in and preferred to linger there. There he welcomed the friendly and then-unfallen Númenóreans, making friends with Vëantur, chief of the mariners of Tar-Elendil, and later teaching Aldarion his grandson of ships (both management and construction) and seaside architecture, doubtless being the foremost authority on both.

Círdan advised against the creation of the Rings of Power when Annatar came, but, like Galadriel, his counsel went unheeded in the midst of the joy and enthusiasm of the Eregion elves, and especially Celebrimbor. Nevertheless, when the Three Rings escaped the Sack of Eregion, Celebrimbor had appointed him to inherit one of them. He received Narya, the Ring of Fire. Sauron, having revealed himself in the destruction of Eregion and empowered by the One Ring he had forged, invaded Eriador in the same blow; however, he dared not attempt to take Mithlond or Lindon, fearing they were too strong and because they had the help of the Númenóreans.

Círdan joined the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, and fought as the lieutenant of Gil-galad. Many fell there, including Gil-galad and Elendil. After the battle, with Elrond, he urged Isildur, Elendil’s first-born, to throw the captured One Ring into Orodruin, where it would be unmade, but Isildur refused.

Third Age[]

After the War of the Last Alliance and the death of Gil-galad, Cirdan ruled over Lindon from the Grey Havens. For more than a thousand years they went undisturbed, but at around TA 1050, a shadow began to lengthen. Though many deemed that Sauron was defeated forever, for the first time in many centuries some evil was stirring, and awake. It was at this time the Istari, sent by the Valar, came. He was the most foresighted of all of them, and alone knew the true purpose of the Istari. He also saw deep into the future of Gandalf, and gave him Narya, his greatest possession and one of the most secret and sought-after treasures in the world.

Throughout the Angmar War, the Elves of Lindon under Cirdan supported Arnor. They assisted Arveleg and the men of Cardolan drive off the Hill-men from the Weather Hills. Later, with Círdan’s help, Arveleg's young son, Araphor, drove Angmar's armies from Fornost and the North Downs. Combining forces with Rivendell, and the Galadhrim who joined them from beyond the Misty Mountains, they subdued Angmar for some time.

In TA 1975, Elven sailors from Lindon brought a ship to Forochel to rescue the lost king Arvedui. The crew endured a perilous journey, but Arvedui rashly attempted to return that winter, and all aboard perished. The next year, Círdan and the elves joined with the Dúnedain in the victorious Battle of Fornost. Later, Círdan took control of the abandoned Elendil Stone on Emyn Beraid, which could gaze into the lost west and was without a link to the other palantíri.

Nothing more is mentioned of his actions until the War of the Ring in TA 3018 and later TA 3021. Galdor was his messenger to Rivendell and attended the Council of Elrond, speaking with authority on his lord’s behalf.

The last mention of Círdan came with the end of the Third Age. When the Ringbearers came to Mithlond, Círdan greeted them before the gates. Although Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond passed west on the ship he had built for them, Círdan seems to have remained for a time.

Círdan maintained the haven at least into the Fourth Age, but it was recognized that eventually, its purpose would reach an end when no more Elves wished to cross the Sea. At that time, Círdan would abandon the Grey Havens and finally travel the Straight Road himself. Early in the Fourth Age, he sailed west aboard the last ship with Celeborn and the last High Elves, but when he did so, he took with him the last memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth.

Significance[]

Círdan had a profound effect on the course of Middle-earth history. He was a loyal servant and friend of Elwë, sacrificing his heart’s desire in search of him. This loyalty and sense of duty shows up numerous times over the course of history, including his second sacrifice in his submission to the Valar, and his sending of troubling and potentially destructive rumours to his overlord Thingol. He was also the most foresighted of the elves, a gift from the Valar. He conceivably saved Elven civilization with the founding of the havens at the Mouths of Sirion, and with the fostering of both Gil-galad and Eärendil. His precious gift of Narya to Gandalf was also timely and valuable. He was clearly favoured by Ulmo, seen by the number of messages passed through him.

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