14 July 2011

365 Days of Middle-Earth ~ Day 14: Athelas

 When the black breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! come athelas!
Life to dying
In the king's hand lying!

History, Description, and Use

Also known as Athelas or Asëa aranion (in Valinorian Quenya). It is a healing plant with sweet-smelling leaves. It was first brought to Middle-earth by the Númenóreans, and was especially powerful in the hands of the King; however, by the end of the Third Age, knowledge of its use had been long forgotten by anyone, save the Rangers of the North.

The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn used Athelas three times during The Lord of the Rings. He first uses it when Frodo is stabbed by a Morgul blade at Weathertop; he uses it to heal Frodo and Sam’s wounds after the Fellowship escapes from Moria; and finally, he uses it on Éowyn, Faramir, and Merry to heal them from the effects of the Black Breath following the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

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