An Abundance of Elves

An Abundance of Elves

In the works of JRR Tolkien, the highest beings in Middle Earth are generally considered to be the Elves; when most people who are mainly fans of the LOTR and Hobbit movies think of the Elves, they probably think of them as a single abstract group, focusing on specific Elves like Legolas or Elrond. The thing is, though, there are many different groupings as Elves, and their stories are diverse and complex.


This term refers to all the Elves when they first awakened in Middle Earth, before they were summoned to the West.


Jenny Dolfen - Avari.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

When the call came to journey to Valinor in the West, the Avari refused to go and stayed in Middle Earth.


These were the Elves who followed the summon to the West and began the Great Journey. Of the three subgroups, or kindreds, the Vanyar and the Noldor all went to Valinor; the Teleri ventured partway, lingering in Middle Earth.

The Vanyar

Jenny Dolfen - The Vanyar Leave for War.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

One of the three kindreds of the Eldar, these Elves journeyed to Valinor and stayed there.

The Noldor

Jenny Dolfen - The Coming of Fingolfin.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

This second group of the Eldar, who also journeyed all the way to Valinor, were highly-skilled craftsmen and keepers of much knowledge. They were exiled after the first Kinslaying, and returned to Middle Earth. Members of the Noldor include the elven king Gil-galad, the Lady Galadriel, and the elf-smith Celebrimbor, who forged the Rings of Power.

The Teleri

Marya Filatova - One of the Teleri.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

This was the third group of the Eldar, who undertook the Great Journey but did not complete it, instead mostly remaining in Middle Earth. Their numbers included Cirdan, the Master of the Grey Havens, and Celeborn, the husband of Galadriel. There were three distinct groups within the Teleri: The Falmari, The Sindar, and the Noldor.

The Falmari

Ted Nasmith - The Ships of the Teleri Drawn by Swans.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

The Falmari were the few Teleri who eventually completed the journey to Valinor. They were great singers and mariners.

The Sindar

Marya Filatova - Sinda.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

These were Teleri who did not complete the Great Journey, and instead remained behind in the land of Beleriand. They were the fairest, wisest, and most skilled of the Elves in Middle Earth. They included the elf-king Thingol, his daughter Luthien, Cirdan, Celeborn, Thranduil, and Legolas.

The Nandor

Rob Alexander - Elven Cloak.jpg
(source : Tolkien Gateway).

Like the Sindar, these were Teleri who began the Great Journey but did not complete it. They did not journey into Beleriand, remaining behind and eventually populating areas like Lorien and Mirkwood. Their numbers included the March-warden Haldir.

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