Melian

The Silmarillion » Ainur » Maiar

Melian “Dear gift”
wife of the Elf-king Thingol of Doriath, mother of Lúthien. Melian was the maiar who served Vána and Estë. She dwelt in Lórien (in Valinor) and tended the trees in the gardens of Irmo. She was skilled in songs of enchantment and nightingales always went with her. When the elves awoke in Middle-earth, Melian left Valinor and wandered in the forest of Neldoreth in Middle-earth. There, Elwë, lord of the Teleri, came across Melian and was filled with wonder and desire. Melian also fell in love and casted an enchantment on him so that they were never parted. Thingol, as he was later called, and Melian were wed and ruled the kingdom of Grey-elves (Sindar) in Doriath. The Grey-elves became the most wise and skillful of all the Elves of Middle-earth due to the teachings of Thingol and Melian. Melian was the most powerful being in Middle-earth at this time.

Elwe and Melian by Elena Kukanova
Elwe and Melian by Elena Kukanova

To protect Doriath from Morgoth, Melian cast the “Girdle of Melian”, an unseen wall of shadow and bewilderment, and none could pass against her will or the will of King Thingol. Melian often talked with Galadriel about Valinor and Melian learned about the Simarils and the exile of the elves. Melian was filled with grief for the Elves and because of her foresight she knew that many wars over the Silmarils were about to come. She also grieved for her daughter Lúthien, and the fate she chose to be with Beren. The parting of Lúthien from Melian and Thingol was filled with much sadness.

The realm of Doriath was a safe haven and Melian and Thingol gave aid to many Elves and people such as Beren, and fostered Túrin. Melian guarded and protected Doriath and all of its inhabitants for a very long time, but eventually her power faded. For Thingol had in his possesion the Nauglamír, the Dwarf necklace that contained the Silmaril that Beren had recovered. The Dwarves attacked Doriath to claim back their necklace and slayed Thingol (in 502 FA). Upon Doriath was a great change and Melian sat in long silence beside Thingol. Her power was withdrawn from Doriath and she spoke to none except for Mablung and told him to take the Silmaril and send word to Beren and Lúthien in Ossiriand. *

Melian then vanished out of Middle-earth and passed to Valinor to dwell with the Valar and Maiar. There she mused upon her sorrows in the gardens of Irmo. She mourned the death of Thingol, whose spirit was now in the Halls of Mandos, and the loss of Lúthien to the unknown fate of human death.


* Mablung was killed by Dwarves and the Nauglamír was taken back. However, Beren fought with the Dwarf Lord and slayed him, taking back the necklace. Dior, Thingol’s heir and Lúthien’s son, came to Menegroth and ruled Doriath after Thingol’s death and Melian’s departure. See Lúthien and Elwing for more on the Silmaril and the ruin of Doriath.

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