Idril

Idril Celebrindal is a fictional character in the fantasy-world Middle-earth of English author J. R. R. Tolkien. She appears in one of his chief works of literature, "The Silmarillion", published posthumously by Christopher Tolkien.

Character Overview

Idril Celebrindal ("silver-foot") is the only child of Turgon, whose wife Elenwë died at the Helcaraxë. She is the wife of Tuor, and the mother of Eärendil the Mariner, who later sailed to Valinor and brought about the War of Wrath in which Morgoth was finally defeated. Because of her distinguished Elven lineage and the fact that her marriage to the mortal Tuor was the second union of Elves and Men, Idril is a character of great importance within Tolkien's legendarium. Together with Orodreth's daughter Finduilas and Curufin's son Celebrimbor, she was one of the three Noldor in the third generation to come into exile. Idril was loved in secret by her cousin Maeglin, the son of Eöl the Dark Elf and Aredhel, Turgon's sister, but scorned his advances because of his dark character, as well as the fact that they were too closely related.

Etymology

The name Idril was a Sindarized form of her Quenya name "Itarillë" (or "Itarildë"), which means "sparkling brilliance" seemingly related to the fact that she was a lovely blonde; and inherited her hair colour from her Vanyarin mother.

Biography

When the mortal man Tuor, son of Huor arrived in the Elvish city of Gondolin as a messenger of the Lord of Waters, he immediately fell in love with the King's daughter Idril and she with him. In contrast to the first union of Elves and Men, which came about through much hardship and unimaginable sacrifice, Tuor and Idril were allowed to marry without difficulty. This was because King Turgon had grown to love Tuor as a son (as he had his father before), and remembering the last words of Huor which prophesied that a "star" would arise out of both his and Turgon's lineage which would redeem the Children of Ilúvatar from Morgoth he permitted Idril and Tuor to wed, thus bringing about the second union of Men and Elves, after Beren and Lúthien. Their wedding was celebrated with great mirth and joy and of their love was born in Gondolin Eärendil the Mariner, who was to become the saviour of Elves and Men and their mediator to the Valar. Afterwards Idril encouraged Tuor to build the secret passage known as Idril's Secret Way, and thus enabled many to escape the Fall of Gondolin. When Tuor came, carrying Ulmo's warning of the danger to Gondolin, Maeglin the King's sister-son sat on the right hand of Turgon and argued against Tuor. Tuor's marriage with Idril further incensed Maeglin, who rebelled against Turgon and Tuor. Later, seeking after metals, Maeglin defied Turgon's order to stay within the mountains, and was captured by Orcs and brought to Angband. Morgoth promised both Gondolin and Idril in return for the location of the hidden city, thus luring Maeglin into the greatest treachery done in the Elder Days. He gave him a token that would (allegedly) keep him safe from the sack. Maeglin returned to Gondolin saying nothing about his encounter, but many people noticed a change. Most thought it was for the better, though Idril suspected something and began work on Idril's Secret Way. He managed to turn some of the weaker (such as Salgant) and the roguish to his side. During Gondolin's fall when the hosts of Morgoth surrounded the city, Maeglin counselled Turgon against flight, and because of his place in the King's heart (and with the aid of Salgant), he swayed him to his advantage. Later Maeglin took hold of both Idril and her son and threatened to murder the child by throwing him over the edge of the city walls. However Tuor fought with him and after a vicious battle defeated Maeglin and thrust him over the edge to his death.

After the fall of Gondolin, Idril and Tuor became leaders of the exiles at the Mouths of Sirion, where they also received Elwing daughter of Dior son of Beren and Lúthien.

When Tuor grew old he departed in his ship for the West, and Idril went with him. It is believed by the Elves and Dúnedain that Idril and Tuor arrived in Valinor, bypassing the Ban of the Valar, and that Tuor was reckoned in the kindred of the Elves, so that Tuor and Idril now live in Valinor.

Other Versions

In an early and undeveloped version of the "Fall of Gondolin" published in the second part of the Book of Lost Tales the love story and marriage of Idril and Tuor is given as the first union of Elves and Men rather than the second. This was because at this time Tolkien regarded both Beren and Lúthien as being Elves. Although there are many differences between the narrative and its later predecessor, the characters of Idril and Tuor are basically consistent in many respects to how they are presented in the Silmarillion and later literature.


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