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Quenya words, Elven Kindreds & Peoples, High Elves, Noldor

The main part of this article relates to the last versions of Middle-earth's
history, and as such may controvert parts of The Silmarillion. See Middle-earth
canon for a discussion. This subject's portrayal in earlier or alternative versions
is discussed in the other versions of the legendarium section.
Gli-Galad y Elrond
Elrond, Gil-galad, and their army of oldorin elves
The oldor (Quenya; IPA: ['?oldor] or in Third Age Middle-earth ['noldor]; meaning
those with knowledge; adjectival oldorin; ['?oldorin] or TA ['noldorin]) were the
second clan of the Elves. According to legend, the clan was originally known as the
Tatyar (['tacar]; meaning second ones; adjectival Tatyarin; ['tacarin]) and was
founded by Tata, the second elf to awake at Cuivinen, his spouse Tati, and their
54 companions - but it was Finw, the first oldo to come to Valinor with Orom,
who became their king and led most of them to Valinor. The oldor who come to Aman
spoke Quenya, or more specifically the widely-known oldorin dialect of it.
However, fully half the Tatyar refused the call of the Valar, and became counted
among the Avari.
They were also known as Noldoli, Deep Elves, Golodhrim, Aulendur ('Servant of Aul'
[1]) and Golug. The singular form of the noun is oldo and the adjective is
oldorin. They were the Second Clan of the Elves in both order and size, the other
clans being the Vanyar and the Teleri. They typically had dark hair (except for
those who had Vanyarin blood, most prominently the members of the House of

The oldor are accounted as the greatest of the Elves in lore and smithcraft.
Fanor (son of Finw by Mriel) was the greatest of their craftsmen, and their
second and briefest-reigning High King. When Melkor killed Finw and stole the
Silmarils, Fanor renamed Melkor: Morgoth ("Black Enemy"), and persuaded the oldor
to pursue him to Middle-earth and wage war against him.

WIP Lords of Noldor Finwe by aautio
Finw, the first High King of the oldor Antti Autio, used with permission
In Valinor, the oldorin Elves were ruled by the High King Finw. The oldor became
the friends and students of Aule, due to their love of craft and the knowledge Aule
imparted to them. Then Finw's wife Miriel gave birth to her only son, Fanor, and
was spent in mind and spirit. Miriel's spirit passed to the Halls of Mandos,
depriving Finw of joy in Valinor. But Fanor proved to be a mighty Elf Lord;
subtle in speech, and the most skilled craftsmen of the oldor. When he was come to
his prime, Fanor wrought the Silmarils, the great jewels that contained the light
of the Two Trees. But he was prideful and arrogant, and did not take kindly to his
father's second marriage to Indis of the Vanyar. From her Finw fathered two more
children who would found their own houses; Fingolfin and Finarfin. This was the
first cause of disunion in the House of Finw, as Fanor had little love for his
half siblings.
When Melkor was released from captivity, he sought to exploit that disunion in a
bid to gain the Silmarils and estrange the oldor from the Valar. He spread lies
amongst the oldor, claiming that the Valar were keeping them in Aman so they would
not be able to rule the lands of Middle-earth, and that Fingolfin and Fanor were
plotting against each other. When Fanor drew sword against Fingolfin, the Valar
intervened and banished Fanor from Valmar to the mountain fortress of Formenos.
The oldor grew restless as they began to hunger for the unguarded lands of Middle-

But worse was to come. When Melkor destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and slew
Finwe, he also stole the Silmarils and fled to Middle-earth. An enraged Fanor then
spoke before all of the oldor and gave an impassioned speech. He urged them to
leave the land of the Valar and take up kingdoms in Middle-earth, where they could
rule as they wished. Many of the royal line, including Galadriel, wished indeed to
see Middle-earth and rule their own fair kingdoms. Fanor then swore a terrible
Oath to reclaim the Silmarils, with the promise of retribution for any who should
withhold them. The oldorin Host gathered, though the greater part followed
Fingolfin, trusting his wisdom over Fanor's arrogance.[3]

Before the First Age the oldor led by Fanor went north and demanded that the
Falmari let them use their ships. When the Falmari refused, Fanor and his host
destroyed the port of Alqualond, which had been built by the Teleri, committing
the first Kinslaying. Fanor's host then took possession of the ships. Not long
afterwards, the oldor were confronted by Mandos, the Doomsman of the Valar. Mandos
delivered the Prophecy of the North, pronouncing doom on the oldor for the
Kinslaying and warning that if they continued they would not recover the Silmarils
and moreover that there would be great grief in the tragedy that would befall them.
At this, some of the oldor who had no hand in the Kinslaying, including Finarfin
son of Finw by Indis, returned to Valinor, and the Valar forgave them. Other
oldor led by Fingolfin son of Finw by Indis (some of whom were blameless in the
Kinslaying) remained determined to leave Valinor for Middle-earth. Prominent among
these others was Finarfin's daughter, Galadriel.

Fanor and his host crossed the sea to Middle-earth leaving those led by Fingolfin,
his half-brother, behind. Upon his arrival in Middle-earth, Fanor had the ships
burned. When Fingolfin and his host discovered their betrayal, they went farther
north and crossed the sea by means of the Helcarax. Many of them died while
crossing the paths of the Helcarax and the cruel hills of ice, including Turgon's
wife Elenw. The departure of the oldor out of the Undying Lands marked the
beginning of the First Age, and the years of the Sun. At last, the Host of
Fingolfin arrived in Middle-earth, and their journey through the Helcarax was one
of the greatest deeds of renown. Few deeds of the oldor would ever surpass this,
but the bitterness of the crossing had kindled fresh hatred for the House of

Fanor's company was soon attacked by Morgoth. When Fanor rode too far from his
retinue during the Battle under Stars (year 1 of the First Age) he was slain by
Gothmog and the other Balrogs.

Because Fanor had taken the ships and left the remaining oldor in Aman, the royal
houses of the oldor were feuding. But recently Maedhros, eldest son of Feanor, had
been captured by Morgoth. Fingon, son of Fingolfin, who remembered great friendship
between himself and Maedhros, rescued him from the slopes of Thangorodrim. For this
deed the Noldor rejoiced and their feud was ended. By right Maedhros had succeeded
Fanor as King, but in gratitude he renounced the Kingship to his uncle Fingolfin,
who became the third High King of the oldor. His brothers did not agree to this,
and began to refer to themselves as the Displaced, because the High Kingship had
passed them by. Nevertheless, the princes of the oldor established great realms in
Beleriand, and to many it seemed the words of Feanor were justified. Here the
oldor were mighty and lordly, rather than at the bottom of the hierarchy in
Valinor. And for a while there was peace between the Houses of Fingolfin and
Fanor. But the House of Fanor was still bound by the Oath, which in turn was tied
to the Curse of Mandos.[5]

Fingolfin reigned long in the land of Hithlum, and his younger son Turgon built the
hidden kingdom Gondolin. Fingolfin's reign was marked by warfare against Morgoth
and in the year 75 of the First Age the oldor started the siege of Angband, the
great fortress of Morgoth. But in the year FA 455 the siege was broken by Morgoth
(in the Dagor Bragollach), and Fingolfin perceived that the war against Morgoth was
utterly futile. In his fury, Fingolfin rode to Angband and challenged Morgoth to
single combat. Reluctantly, Morgoth came forth to duel him. Fingolfin dealt Morgoth
seven wounds from which he never healed, but at last Fingolfin was slain.
Thorondor, Lord of Eagles, scratched Morgoth's face and took Fingolfin's body. His
eldest son Fingon succeeded him as High King of the oldor.

In the year 471, Maedhros organized an all-out attack on Morgoth and this led to
the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. The battle was a great disaster for the oldor, and Fingon
the Valiant was slain. He was succeeded by his brother Turgon, but Fingon's son
Gil-galad was sent to the Havens.

Turgon had withdrawn to Gondolin and tried to keep the kingdom hidden from Morgoth.
He was so successful that even most of the oldor didn't know where it was located,
and he was High King in name alone.[6] In FA 510, Gondolin was betrayed by Maeglin
and sacked. During the attack Turgon was killed; however many of his people escaped
and found their way south. As Turgon had no sons, the Kingship passed back to
Fingon's son Gil-galad, becoming the sixth and last High King of the oldor.[7]

Finally, the Valar came down to Middle-earth and in the year 583 the War of Wrath
was fought and Morgoth was cast into the Void. However, Beleriand sank into the
sea, except for a part of Ossiriand which became Lindon, and a few isles. The
defeat of Morgoth marked the beginning of the Second Age. The oldor were once
again summoned to Valinor and the Curse of Mandos was laid to rest. Some departed
because they had grown weary of grief, but many refused to leave the lands they had
laboured in for so long. Moreover others refused out of pride, unwilling to
relinquish their high status in Middle-earth. The last of the great leaders was
Galadriel, who stayed due to her pride, reasoning that her family had never done
any wrong and that she was mightier in Middle-earth.[8]

Galadriel en su jardin
Galadriel, a notable member of the oldor
Gil-galad founded a new kingdom at Lindon, and ruled throughout the Second Age,
longer than any of the High Kings except for Finw. He was also accepted as High
King by the oldor of Eregion. But at the end of the Second Age his allies in
Nmenor lost their island and Elendil, Isildur and Anrion came to Middle-earth and
they founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.
Despite their prosperity and power, the oldor were not at peace. While they had
refused Valinor in favour of retaining their lordship in the lands of Middle-earth,
they still desired the bliss that Valinor promised. It was the doom of Elves that,
though immortal, in the land of mortals they felt the weariness of time and change.
This weariness only grew as the years went by. In Valinor the lands were hallowed
and enchanted, allowing the Elves to live in eternal bliss, but in mortal lands
there was no such power to sustain them.

It was at this time that Annatar, Lord of Gifts, came forth with the offer of the
very bliss that the Elves desired. Gil-galad, Galadriel and Elrond distrusted this
mysterious figure and shunned him. But in Eregion, Annatar's teachings were held in
awe by the oldor Elves and they received him gladly. Their leader was Celebrimbor,
the grandson of Feanor himself, and he had inherited much of his grandfather's
skill. Such was Annatar's knowledge that he was believed to be an emissary of Aul,
as he first proclaimed. Annatar taught Celebrimbor the art of crafting Rings of
Power. In secret Celebrimbor forged the three greatest rings; Narya, Nenya, and
Vilya. These rings were imbued with a spiritual power that could protect and
preserve all things unstained, warding off the effects of time. Thus the desire of
the Elves was fulfilled in the making of these rings. The three were secretly
distributed to some of the High Elf Lords. Galadriel received Nenya, Gil-galad
received Vilya and Narya was given to Crdan. But they were deceived, for Annatar
had crafted the rings for a different purpose; to bind all the bearers together as
slaves. Annatar was actually Sauron in disguise, and he treacherously forged a
ruling ring to govern all the other rings and their respective bearers. However,
when Sauron placed the One Ring on his finger, the Elves suddenly became aware of
him due to the powerful connection between the rings. They heard Sauron speak the
dreaded words of doom, and the Elves understood that he would be master of their
own minds. The Elves narrowly avoided this trap and took off their rings. Gil-galad
gave Vilya to Elrond for safekeeping, and to use it if Gil-galad should fall.

Enraged, Sauron declared war, demanding all the rings were his by right as they
were made from his craft. Eregion was attacked and destroyed, and Celebrimbor
perished. Before his death Sauron interrogated him as to the whereabouts of the
Three Rings he had forged alone, but Celebrimbor withheld the truth and died from
torture. Thus the knowledge of the craft perished with him also.

By this time Sauron had replaced his master Morgoth as the Dark Lord. He had
deceived the Nmenreans and managed to return from Nmenor to his refuge in
Mordor. But in his absence he had overlooked the growing power of Gil-galad. Sauron
hated both the Nmenreans and the oldor, and tried to destroy Gondor before it
could take root, but Gil-galad's forces thwarted him. Then Elendil and Gil-galad
took counsel and formed the Last of Alliance of Elves and Men, a mighty host of
Noldor and Numenoreans.

The host set out for Mordor and defeated Sauron's forces in the Battle of Dagorlad
and finally in the Siege of Barad-dr. There Gil-galad proved mighty enough to duel
with Sauron himself, and with Elendil's help they inflicted enough wounds on Sauron
that the Dark Lord's mortal form was destroyed. But Gil-galad was burned to death
by the heat of Sauron's hand, and so ended the High Kingship of the oldor. No new
High King was elected, as Gil-galad left no heir and no one else had a strong
enough claim. For this reason, the High Kingship of the oldor was said to have
passed overseas, to the oldor of Valinor, ruled by Finarfin, the third son of
Finw who had never left. Because Tuor had been adopted by Turgon as a son, and had
married his daughter Idril, Tuor's mortal descendants claimed the title High King:
therefore, Elros became first High King of Nmenor, signifying this with the prefix
Tar- (and later in Adnaic Ar-). After the Downfall of Nmenor, Elendil and his
heirs of the older, northern line named themselves High Kings of Arnor, later
signifying this with the royal prefix Ar(a)- in their names. Tuor's heirs did not
have a valid claim to the High Kingship of the oldor, although his heir Elrond,
who chose Elvish immortality, later was reckoned as a leader of the oldor.[9][10]

With Sauron defeated and the One Ring lost, the Elves were free to use the three
rings to create their enchanted kingdoms. However, Cirdan gave his to Gandalf to
aid him in his labours. In at least two realms, Rivendell and Lothlrien, the bliss
of the Eldar was preserved. Those Elves who dwelt within these regions again tasted
the bliss of Valinor and did not feel the weight of time. In the Third Age, the
oldor dwindled, and by the end of the Third Age the only oldor remaining in
Middle-earth were in Rivendell, with the exception of Galadriel in Lothlrien.[10]
The Three rings were free from any evil, having been made without Sauron ever
seeing them. But since they were still made by the same art as the other rings, the
Three were still bound to the One Ring. With the One Ring's destruction and
Sauron's permanent defeat, the power of the three rings faded and the last of the
oldor Elves began to grow weary again. Eventually, Galadriel and Elrond took the
ship for Valinor and departed Middle-earth and Lothlrien was abandoned. From the
Fourth Age and beyond Rivendell was the only remaining oldorian settlement left in
Middle Earth, ruled by Elladan and Elrohir who remained behind when Elrond left.

High KingsEdit
Finw, first High King
Fanor, first son of Finw
Fingolfin, second son of Finw. Though some supported Maedhros, the eldest son of
Feanor, Maedhros himself laid aside his claim and supported Fingolfin instead.
Fingon, first son of Fingolfin.
Turgon, second son of Fingolfin.
Ereinion Gil-galad, son of Fingon according to the Silmarillion
Elf gil-galad
Gil-galad during the War of the Last Alliance
After Gil-galad's death, the High Kingship in Middle-earth under the oldor came to
an end. Of the descendents of Finw, the descendants of Elros (the Kings of Arnor)
did claim the title High King but there is no indication that this referred
anything other than a High Kingship over the Dnedain. It is unclear whether Elros
and his brother Elrond were considered eligible at all, but Elrond never claimed
Kingship, implying that they were not. However, at this point, the number of oldor
remaining in Middle Earth was few, and Elrond might have simply deemed the question
According to the Silmarillion, Finarfin took the kingship of those oldor who
remained in Aman during the Exile, though whether he was considered a "High King"
or not (either at the time of the Exile and after the War of Wrath) is unclear.
Another possibility is that in Aman there was no High King other than Ingw.
Although Miriel had renounced her right to re-embody (as per the rules of the
Statute of Finw and Mriel), there is no reason that Finw might not have done so
(and, in fact, the text of the Silmarillion implies that eventually he did).
Similarly, as lineal heir to Turgon, Earendil the Mariner might have made a claim.
The question of who held kingship over the oldor after the War of the Last
Alliance remains unanswered.

Much of this speculation stems from attempts to divine the rules of inheritance and
succession for the oldor. Among humans, the "divine right" implied by Tolkien
follows the rules of primogeniture. On the other hand, elves are immortal, and can
reincarnate even if they are physically killed. Iron-clad rules for succession may
simply not exist. Supporting this viewpoint is the controversy between Fingolfin
and Maedhros. It can be read that Maedhros had, but gave up, the "right" to High
Kingship; on the other hand, these might have simply been the two strongest
contenders for the position. Asserting but giving up a right would automatically
forestall claims from his younger brothers, and provide legitimacy to Fingolfin
that elves of every party would recognize.
oldor is a Quenya term meaning 'those with knowledge'. Lachend was one Sindarin
name that other Elves gave them, which translates as 'flame-eyed'. [12]
Other versions of the legendariumEdit
In the early versions of Tolkien's Middle-earth mythology (see: The History of
Middle-earth), the oldor were most often called Noldoli (not oldoli) or "Gnomes".
They were still called Gnomes in early editions of The Hobbit. They were also the
ones who spoke the language that later became Sindarin (then called Gnomish). Beren
and Luthien (2017) reintroduces the use of Gnomes and Noldoli in the complete tale.
The spelling oldor rather than Noldor is used in later writings, but even in
earlier versions the name oldo came from a Primitive Quendian stem *NGolodo, which
led to NGoldo (oldo) in Quenya and Golodh in Sindarin. However, by the Third Age,
Quenya as it was spoken in Middle-earth had voiced the "ng" phoneme as a regular
"n", making the effective pronunciation during the Age as Noldor.

The family tree given above is correct in the placement of Orodreth and Gil-galad:
Orodreth was Angrod's son, and Gil-galad was Orodreth's son, thus the grandson of
Angrod and great-grandson of Finarfin, and brother to Finduilas. These are wrongly
placed in the published Silmarillion. (See Orodreth and Gil-galad articles for
details). Argon, the third son of Fingolfin, does not appear in the published
Silmarillion at all.

House of FinwEdit
House of Finwe



















(*Father of Celebrimbor)
(**Father of Orodreth)

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ????
Arabic ??????
Armenian ??????
Belarusian Cyrillic ??????
Bengali ?????
Bosnian Noldori
Bulgarian Cyrillic ???????
Catalan Nldor
Chinese (Hong Kong) ??
Dari ??????
Georgian ??????
Greek ???d??
Gujarati ???????
Hebrew ??????
Hindi ???????
Japanese ?????
Kannada ???????
Kazakh Cyrillic ??????
Korean ???
Kurdish ?????? (Arabic script) Noldor (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic ??????
Macedonian Cyrillic ??????
Marathi ???????
Mongolian Cyrillic ??????
Nepalese ???????
Norwegian Noldoene
Persian ??????
Polish Noldorowie
Punjabi ???????
Russian ??????
Sanskrit ????????
Serbian ??????? (Cyrillic) Noldori (Latin)
Sinhalese ????????
Tajik Cyrillic ??????
Tamil ????????
Telugu ???????
Thai ???????
Ukrainian Cyrillic ??????
Uyghur ??????
Uzbek ?????? (Cyrillic) Noldori (Latin)
Yiddish ????????
Three Kindreds
Vanyar (Fair-elves Minyar) oldor (Deep-elves Tatyar) Teleri (Lindar
Vanyar oldor Falmari
Sindar (Grey-elves Eglath) Nandor (Green-elves Silvan Elves)
manyar Avari (Dark Elves The Unwilling)

? The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth, chapter XI:
"The Shibboleth of Fanor"
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fanor and the Unchaining
of Melkor"
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VII: "Of the Silmarils and the
Unrest of the Noldor"
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIII: "Of Tuor and the Fall of
? The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Erendil
and the War of Wrath"
? The Silmarillion, Akallabth (The Downfall of Nmenor)
? 10.0 10.1 The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
? The Lord of the Rings
? The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: Part 4, "Quendi and
Quenya words Elven Kindreds & Peoples High Elves Noldor Add category [Configure
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