15 June 2012

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 350: Círdan the Shipwright

Círdan (S. ‘Ship-maker’) was a Telerin Elf, a mariner and shipwright.

With his people, Círdan founded Eglarest and the Haven of Brithombar, the two most ancient harbours of the Elves in Middle-earth, and became chief of the Falathrim (S. ‘Coast-Elves’). During the War of the Jewels, he guarded the coasts of the Falas against any assault from Angband that might come by sea.

Seven years after the Battle of Sudden Flame, he led a seaborne force to aid the High King Fingon. But twenty-eight years later, the kingdoms of the Noldor were defeated in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. In the aftermath of that defeat, the Falas was overrun by the armies of Morgoth and Círdan, with a remnant of his people, withdrew to the Isle of Balar. 

During the Second and Third Ages, he was Lord of the Grey Havens and was given Narya the Great, the Ring of Fire, by Celebrimor. At this time, he was accounted the wisest of the Eldar. With the army of the Last Alliance, Círdan fought against Sauron and stood at the side of Gil-galad as the Last King of Lindon was slain.

When Gandalf arrived in Middle-earth, Círdan surrendered his Ring of Power. During the Third Age, Círdan provided frequent aid to the Dúnedain of the North. Leading the forces of Lindon across the Lhûn in TA 1974, he overthrew the Witch-King of Angmar in the Battle of Fornost.

Círdan was said to have remained in Middle-earth until the sailing of the last ship sometime in the Fourth Age; by this time, he had grown a long beard and looked old. 


  1. Now that's some good history right there, thx Britta.

  2. It's odd that Tolkien mentions Círdan's beard. I'm pretty sure I remember him writing somewhere that elves can't grow beards...or has my memory been corrupted by the smooth-faced movie elves?

  3. Yes, generally Elves do not have beards. In the Return of the King, however - in the 'Grey Havens' chapter - Tolkien wrote of Círdan: "Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and he was grey and old..." So he was perhaps an exception to this rule. Off the top of my head, I can't recall any other Elves who grew beards.