Aredhel

The Silmarillion » Elves » Noldor (House of Fingolfin)

Eol Welcomes Aredhel by Ted Nasmith
Eol Welcomes Aredhel by Ted Nasmith

Aredhel “Noble Elf”
sister of Turgon King of Gondolin and daughter of Fingolfin (one of Indis‘s sons). She was called Ar-Feiniel, White Lady of the Noldor, and White Lady of Gondolin because she was pale with dark hair and always wore silver garments. Aredhel was tall and strong, loved to ride and hunt in the forests and was often in the company of Fëanor’s sons. She dwelt in Nevrast with her brother Turgon, and then went with him to Gondolin, the Hidden Kingdom. She soon grew tired of the guarded city, however, because she was very independent and adventurous and longed to ride again in the lands and walk in the forests. She asked Turgon if she could depart and explore the lands, though he was reluctant at first, he said she could go if he sent escorts with her. She refused the escorts but Turgon made three of his lords go with her. After they set off, Aredhel told them to lead her south to find the sons of Fëanor, who were her friends. Aredhel and her company traveled to Doriath but were not admitted in because Thingol wanted no Noldor to pass the Girdle of Melian. Aredhel then traveled through the dangerous road between the haunted valleys of Ered Gorgoroth. The land was filled with shadows and she was strayed from her companions. The lords barely escaped, but eventually made it back to Gondolin and told Turgon the dreadful news. Turgon assumed she was dead and was much grieved.

Aredhel, however, rode on and found her way to Himlad where Celegorm and Curufin (Fëanor’s sons) lived. They were away, riding with Caranthir (their other brother) but their people welcomed Aredhel. After a year, Celegorm had still not returned and so Aredhel wanted to travel to more lands and eventually came to the woods of Nan Elmoth. It was now a place of dark trees and where the sun never came. This was where Eöl, the dark elf dwelt. He loved the night and twilight and shunned the Noldor. He was friends with the dwarves and learned much from them, including skill in metalwork. He was a high kin of the Teleri and was always clad in galvorn, black metal that he made. He had a very piercing stare and when he saw Aredhel, she was like a gleam of white in the dim land. He used his enchantments so she could not find the way out and eventually was led to his home. Eöl welcomed her, and took her as wife and she lived there for a long time.

Aredhel wanted no love from anyone, but was not wholly unwilling; she was able to wander the woods, but Eöl made her shun the sun and forbade her to seek the sons of Fëanor and other Noldor. She had a son named Lomion, “Child of the Twilight”. However, Eöl called him no name until he was twelve, and then named him Maeglin, “Sharp Glance”. He was very close to his mother, and she would often tell him about the Noldor. He wanted to go to Gondolin, and was interested because Turgon had no heir, since Idril was his only daughter. So when Eöl went to visit the dwarves, Aredhel and Maeglin went to the secret city. However, Eöl came back sooner than they expected and learned that they left, and went out after them.

Aredhel and Maeglin were honored in the city and King Turgon rejoiced in the return of his sister. However, Eöl found the secret city and was taken captive by the guards. Aredhel told them that he was her husband and he was honored as a guest. But Eöl hated the Noldor, he thought they had stole land from the Sindarin and brought war. He wanted Maeglin to come with him but his son chose not to. Angered, Eöl threw a spear at Maeglin but Aredhel ran in front of him and was struck in the shoulder. The wound worsened because it was actually tipped with poison, and so died Aredhel during the night. Turgon showed no mercy and cast Eöl over the Caragdûr, a sharp cliff on a mountain in Gondolin. Eöl felt betrayed by Maeglin, saying before he died, “So you [Maeglin] forsake your father and his kin, ill-gotten son! Here shall you fail of all your hopes, and here may you yet die the same death as I.” [which actually he does, see Idril]

Aredhel by Anke Eissmann
Aredhel by Anke Eissmann
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