Nimloth of Doriath

By Oshun
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The subject of this month’s biography is Nimloth of Doriath, another of the unsung elven ladies of The Silmarillion. Nimloth’s role in the history of the First Age is based upon her relationship to Dior Eluchíl, the son of Beren and Lúthien. She married him and bore his children. The principle reference to Nimloth in The Silmarillion reads as follows:

At that time Beren and Lúthien yet dwelt in Tol Galen, the Green Isle, in the River Adurant, southernmost of the streams that falling from Ered Lindon flowed down to join with Gelion; and their son Dior Eluchíl had to wife Nimloth, kinswoman of Celeborn, prince of Doriath, who was wedded to the Lady Galadriel. The sons of Dior and Nimloth were Eluréd and Elurín; and a daughter also was born to them, and she was named Elwing, which is Star-spray, for she was born on a night of stars, whose light glittered in the spray of the waterfall of Lanthir Lamath ['Waterfall of Echoing Voices' (1)] beside her father's house. (2)

We know little to nothing about Nimloth aside from her familial relationships to others. We have no idea how, when, or where Nimloth met Dior. We don’t even know if she fell in love with him because of his looks (he was called “Dior Aranel the beautiful” (3) at his birth and later referred to as “Dior the Fair” [4] ) or if those were perhaps simply pleasant but incidental attributes. One might presume that they met in Doriath. Yet, the above paragraph is constructed in a grammatical manner as to imply that they dwelt, if not with Beren and Lúthien in Tol Galen in Ossiriand, near to them, assuming that the falls of Lanthir Lamath are part of the River Adurant.

Nimloth is said to be the niece of Celeborn in accordance with the version that Celeborn is a Sindarin elf, the grandson of Elmo brother of Thingol and Olwë, as recounted in Unfinished Tales (5) and Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings (6). “Elmo's son was named Galadhon, and his sons were Celeborn and Galathil; Galathil was the father of Nimloth, who wedded Dior Thingol's Heir and was the mother of Elwing” (7). This gives the Sindarin side of the most famous pair of so-called Peredhil, Elrond and Elros, some good genes and interesting relatives.

Nimloth shares her name in Tolkien’s legendarium with a famous tree, “[T]he White Tree of Númenor, of which a fruit taken by Isildur before it was felled grew into the White Tree of Minas Ithil. Nimloth 'White Blossom' is the Sindarin form of Quenya Ninquelótë, one of the names of Telperion (8).

Nimloth moves to Doriath, as the consort of Dior, when takes his place as king of Doriath after the death of Thingol.

Now Dior Thingol's heir bade farewell to Beren and Lúthien, and departing from Lanthir Lamath with Nimloth his wife he came to Menegroth, and abode there; and with them went their young sons Eluréd and Elurín, and Elwing their daughter. Then the Sindar received them with joy, and they arose from the darkness of their grief for fallen kin and King and for the departure of Melian; and Dior Eluchíl set himself to raise anew the glory of the kingdom of Doriath. (9)

Readers are given no indication of what sort of a consort Nimloth is in Doriath, whether she resides there simply as the wife of Dior and mother of his children, or whether she performs the role of adviser and effectively co-ruler in the manner of Melian the Maia. Nor are we told anything of her opinion of Dior’s choice to flaunt the Silmaril he receives upon the death of his parents and his lack of response to the sons of Fëanor when they demand its return.

But Dior returned no answer to the sons of Fëanor; and Celegorm stirred up his brothers to prepare an assault upon Doriath. They came at unawares in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves; and so befell the second slaying of Elf by Elf. There fell Celegorm by Dior's hand, and there fell Curufin, and dark Caranthir; but Dior was slain also, and Nimloth his wife, and the cruel servants of Celegorm seized his young sons and left them to starve in the forest. Of this Maedhros indeed repented, and sought for them long in the woods of Doriath; but his search was unavailing, and of the fate of Eluréd and Elurín no tale tells. (10)

Nimloth dies in the destruction of Doriath, but her legacy lives on throughout the Ages of Arda in Tolkien’s accounts of the deeds of her most illustrious descendants, from Elwing through Elrond to, finally in the Fourth Age, Eldarion Telcontar, the son of Arwen and Aragorn.

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, Index of Names.
  2. The Silmarillion.
  3. The Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad."
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath."
  5. Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn and of Amroth King of Lórien.
  6. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Appendix B.
  7. Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn and of Amroth King of Lórien.
  8. The Silmarillion, Index of Names.
  9. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath."
  10. Ibid.

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About the Author

Oshun's Silmarillion-based stories may be found on the SWG archive.

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