The Silmarillion

Women from the Silmarillion

The Silmarillion tells the story of the creation of the world and the ancient times prior to the Third Age. The Elves and Ainur are dominant characters but Humans were constantly present as well; for this was a time when Elves and Humans were not isolated from each other. Most of the events took place in Beleriand, the northern lands of Middle-Earth east of the Blue Mountains that were destroyed by the end of the First Age.

After the Awakening of the Elves, the Eldar made the Great Journey westwards toward Valinor. The Vanyar, “Fair Elves”, were the first to reach Valinor and therefore the noblest. They remained in Valinor and so are do not come into many tales. The Noldor were the second to reach Valinor. They were wise elves, great craftsmen, and brave warriors. They remained in Valinor until Melkor stole the Silmarils and they then fled to Middle-earth to wage war upon him. The Teleri were ‘those who came last’ to the Undying Lands. They were especially fond of the sea. However, during the Journey, many Teleri decided to stay behind in Middle-Earth and became the ancestors of the Sindar (Grey-elves of Beleriand) and the Silvan (Wood-elves of Mirkwood).


The Humans mentioned in these stories belonged to different “Houses” or families. The Three Houses of Men in the First Age (FA) were friendly to the elves. The House of Haladin or Haleth refers to those descendants of Haldad and his daughter Haleth. They were dark-haired, reclusive, and kept isolated from the other Men. The House of Hador was the greatest of the Three Houses and were very tall and golden-haired. Most of the heroes from the First Age were part of this house (Turin and Tuor). The House of Bëor was the oldest of the Three Houses and included Beren. They were dark-haired and stoutly built. The remaining members of the House of Bëor and the House of Hador after Beleriand was destroyed merged with other Men to become the Númenóreans. These were the “Men of the West”. The lived on the island Númenor during the Second Age (SA) and were great craftsmen, particularly with sea-crafts and shipbuilding. They had a great friendship with the Elves (until the Downfall) and spoke Elvish. The Valar also granted the Numenoreans and their descendants substantially longer life-spans than the other Men.



The Ainur were the great spirits or “Holy Ones” who largely shaped the world and lived in Valinor, the “Undying Land”. The Valar were the powers or “great ones”. There were seven Lords of the Valar and seven Queens of the Valar that each had a special power over the world. The Maiar, or lesser powers, often assisted the Valar.



Allies of Morgoth were those creatures that served Melkor (also called Morgoth), the Dark Lord of the Shadows, who was originally one of the Valar.


Note on Time Periods: The First Age (FA) was from year 1 to 583. It included the Wars of Beleriand and ended when Morgoth was banished from the world. The Second Age (SA) then began from year 1 to 3441 and included the Rise of Numenor (in 32), the Downfall of Numenor (in 3319), and the founding of Gondor and Arnor in Middle-earth. It ended after the defeat of Sauron in the Battle of the Last Alliance. The Third Age (TA) then began from 1 to 3021. The War of the Ring was 6,460 years after the events of the First Age.

Most of the stories in this section take place during the First Age, except for the Númenóreans which was the Second Age. Also, all of the Elves mentioned were born before the FA, except for Elwing who was born during the First Age.



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