Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is six months away. We want all Spoilerites to have the best viewing experience possible and have the widest knowledge base about the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is a weekly Let’s Get Nerdy article series highlighting a different piece of Tolkien I think you need to know about!
In past articles I have answered the question:
- What Are the Rings of Power?
- What is Númenor?
- What is the Second Age?
- Who are the Harfoots?
- Who is Prince Durin IV?
- What is Khazad-dûm?
Going all the way back to the beginning of this series I have been writing about the elven smith
Celebrimbor. He’s most famous for forging the Rings of Power – the very subjects of the Amazon show The Rings of Power. He is going to be played by actor Charles Edwards (The Crown, Downton Abbey, Batman Begins), who I think is a smashing casting choice.
Celebrimbor is the last elf in the House of Fëanor – a noble line of elves descendant of Fëanor. Fëanor was one of the elves who sailed to Arda from Valinor where he and other elves had lived amongst the Valar. As a result, Celebrimbor is arguably the most
well-known family member. His race of elves are known as Ñoldorin Elves – the second clan of Elves.
The literal translation of Ñoldor from the Elvish language Quenya is “those with knowledge” and Ñoldorin Elves are thought to be particularly wise among the elves. The Ñoldor are known by many names including: Noldoli, Deep Elves, Golodhrim, Aulendur, and Golug.
TL;DR – historically important smarty pants elves.
Among them, Celebrimbor was a prince. His seat of power was Eregion which he ruled in the Second Age. You may remember Eregion as the elf kingdom to the west of Khazad-dûm I wrote about in last week’s Let’s Get Nerdy! feature. He forged the three Elven rings: Nenya, Narya, and Vilya, as well as the second Elfstone. This Elfstone went to Galadriel who later gave it to Aragorn during the events of The Lord of the Rings as well as bequeathing him the name “Elessar” or “Elfstone”.
Celebrimbor never married, rather was in love with the aforementioned Lady Galadriel, although she eventually married Celeborn with whom she had a daughter (Celebrían), who married Elrond and became the mother to Arwen, Elrohir, and Elladan.
I bring up the longing for Galadriel as a possible plot point for The Rings of Power. There’s room for drama to be sewn from this, although a pretty significant age difference between the actors playing the two elves.
Aside from forging the Rings of power and forging a friendship with the dwarves of Khazad-dûm, Celebrimbor may be most noted for his friendship with Annatar. I wrote briefly about this in the first Let’s Get Nerdy? feature when I answered: What Are the Rings of Power? Annatar was the name Sauron went by when he was young and beautiful and had not yet exposed himself for the darkness in his soul.
Fun fact: there was originally a scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film where Annatar was slated to appear before the Black Gates and fight Aragorn. This was eventually scrapped, but you can find some interview footage where it is discussed.
From the beginning Celebrimbor was suspicious of Annatar and the lies he told, but grew to trust the deceived. It was by watching Celebrimbor forge Nenya, Narya, and Vilya that Sauron gained the skills necessary to perfect and forge The One Ring. When he revealed his true form and intent Celebrimbor and the elves of Eregion stood against him. They were the first in the history of Middle-Earth to defy the Dark Lord.
Celebrimbor sent Nenya away to Galadriel for safekeeping, Narya to Gil-Galad, and kept Vilya for himself to
wield. He also dispersed the Seven Rings to the Dwarf Lords – including to Durin III (Prince Durin IV’s father), in Khazad-dûm to fortify the dwarvish stronghold.
Eregion was laid to waste by Sauron and his army and Celebrimbor captured, then brutally tortured until he revealed the locations of the “lesser Rings” (this is a common shorthand for: not the elven Rings). Under Sauron’s ministrations, Celebrimbor died. Having no children to survive him he thus became the last of the House of Fëanor ending the line.
There is a bit of discussion of his uncle surviving Celebrimbor and continuing the line, although it was never confirmed whether he lived past Celebrimbor or had any heirs.
After Celebrimbor was killed his body was hung on a pole and used as a banner by Sauron and his hordes as a warning to all in Middle-Earth who would stand against him.