The Sundering of the Quendi

Justin M. Fitzpatrick

When the Quendi first awakened in Middle-earth, they dwelt in a beautiful land of the stars, but when the Valar heard of their awakening through Orome, they wished for them to come to dwell with them in Aman and to escape Middle-earth, which they had less control over and which Melkor ruled at will. Therefore, they sent a summons to the Quendi at Cuivienen, 'the Water of Awakening,' to travel to the uttermost East. However, the Quendi loved Middle-earth under the stars and were not ready to forsake it for tales of a wonderous land; therefore, they sent three lords - Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe - to Aman.

When they returned, they convinced many to go with them to Aman with their fair words of what they had seen, but many did not leave on the journey East and they were the first Elves sundered, the Avari, the 'Unwilling.'

The Elves that began the journey East were called the Eldar, meaning 'People of the Stars,' though this is also a name for the Quendi as a whole as given to them in their own language by the Vala Orome.

Of these, the first to come to Valinor were the people of Ingwe, Highest King of the Quendi. They were the Vanyar, the 'Fair Elves.' They lived ever after in the land of the Valar and never again looked upon Middle-earth.

The next group to come were the Noldor, the 'Deep Elves,' who were friends of Aule and are greatly renowned in song and lore. Some of the Noldor later returned to Middle-earth, however, following Feanor and Fingolfin, the Sons of Finwe, after the darkening of Valinor and the theft of the Silmarils.

The third and largest group of Quendi that passed into Aman were the Teleri. Not all the Teleri that began the journey reached Valinor, however. Those that left Middle-earth were taken on an uprouted island across the eastern sea. The island was set down in the Bay of Eldamar and those who dwelt there were called the 'Sea-elves,' the Falmari. But some forsook this journey and remained in Middle-earth on the shores and were called the Falathrim, the 'Elves of the Falas.' Their lord was Cirdan the shipwright, who in later days held Narya, the Elven ring of fire.

Among those that forsook the march in Beleriand was Elwe, a great king of the Teleri. He was waylayed on the journey by Melian, a Maia of great beauty. He happened upon her one day in the wood of Nan Elmoth in East Beleriand while searching out the Noldor and his friend Finwe. When he saw her, he was entranced and stood in her spell for long years. In these years the Teleri could not find their king and took his brother Olwe as leader in his stead and departed to the East. However many of Elwe's people stayed in Beleriand in the hopes of finding him. They were called the Eglath, the 'Forsaken People.' Therefore, when he awakened, Elwe became Elu Thingol, King Graymantle, King of all the Eldar in Beleriand. His people were called the Sindar, the 'Grey-elves', the 'Elves of Twilight' and he ruled from Menegroth, the 'Thousand Caves,' in the land of Doriath.

There were others that tarried on the road East, however, and among these were the Nandor, 'those who turn back,' for they were those of the Teleri that left the march east of the Mountains of Mist, following after Lenwe, father of Denethor, southwards down the River Anduin. Of these, some later came into Beleriand, following after Denethor over Ered Luin, the 'Blue Mountains,' and there coming upon the Sindar. King Thingol granted them the land of Ossiriand, 'Land of Seven Rivers,' also called Lindon. Then they were know as the Laiquendi, the 'Green-elves,' for their love of the woodlands and their green clothing.

All of the Quendi that came to Aman were called the Calaquendi, the 'Elves of the Light,' for they saw the light of the Trees of Valinor. There were those, however, that began the journey East but were lost of forsook it and these are called the Umanyar. The Umanyar and the Avari together are know as the Moriquendi, the 'Elves of Darkness.'


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Fonstad, Karen Wynn "The Atlas of Middle-Earth" Houghton Mifflin Company (copyright 1991)

The Tolkien Encyclopedia
The Encyclopedia of Middle-earth

Original file name: Sundering of the Quendi

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