§ On Eärendil

Who is he?

The Mariner, also called the Blessed.
Born in the spring of the year 503 of the First Age.
Half-elven son of Tuor of the House of Hador, and Idril, Noldo daughter of Turgon, king of Gondolin.
Husband of Elwing and father of Elrond and Elros.
Bearer of the Silmaril and master of Vingilot, he sailed to the West in search of Aman and found the way. After pleading for the Valar's aid in Middle-earth's struggle against Morgoth, and receiving it, he and Elwing were granted immortality. He now sails Vingilot in the night sky bearing the Silmaril on his brow, the guardian of the Door of Night.

The name Eärendil means Devoted to the Sea in Quenya. As a star, Eärendil is the brightest in the sky and seen most often at dawn and dusk. The Elves also call him Gil-Estel, Star of High Hope in Sindarin, and he is named Azrubêl by the Númenóreans.

His 'modern' story is found in The Silmarillion; he is also called Éarendel in The Book of Lost Tales, and his early tale, as originally told by Tolkien, there is quite different but no less epic.

(Facts collated from The Encyclopaedia of Arda, The Thain's Book, Wikipedia, and my memory of reading Tolkien's books.)

How is he significant?

Eärendil is one of the most significant figures in the entire Middle-earth mythos.

According to David Harvey in his commentary A Song of Middle-earth, Eärendil is a Messiah-figure, as only he found the way to Aman and gained a hearing with the Valar. He also represents the culmination or intersection of many traits: from Mannish and Elvish lineage, mortal transcending into immortality.

He is also the only (or most significant) character of Middle-earth who has truly undergone apotheosis into a legend or 'deification' - he becomes a star. He therefore remains in the mythic psyche of all races of Middle-earth.

This section is still under construction!

Why him?

Eärendil is Vega's favourite fictional character. He is significant to me in many, many ways.

I love Eärendil because he embodies a mortal who has transcended mortality and entered the realm of mythology. He goes beyond Elf and Man to achieve apotheosis, and he is one of the most pivotal and critical characters in the entire Middle-earth mythos. The love between Eärendil and Elwing (though we know very little about them personally) is so powerful, their bond is stronger than the threat of death. The quest of Eärendil embodies hope flickering against overwhelming odds. Éarendel of The Book of Lost Tales is even more compelling than Eärendil of Quenta Silmarillion, for his quest is forlorn and sorrowful and without end, he searches for something that cannot be achieved, and through that he transcends death into the ultimate immortality -- legend. Tolkien has written numerous poems about Éarendel (so it's clear that he is an important character!), all of which are so beautiful and strike a chord in my soul. Eärendil not only represents the endless voyage, but also embodies three of my favourite elements -- the stars, the sea, and the ship upon the sea.

Need I say more?
One day you may see a full 'fansite' here dedicated to Eärendil; for now having the fanlisting is satisfaction enough.

...for ever still a herald on / an errand that should never rest / to bear his shining lamp afar, / the Flammifer of Westernesse.