An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
Marton Csokas as Celeborn
in the New Line film
Christopher Tolkien wrote: "There is no part of the history of Middle-earth more full of problems than the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and it must be admitted that there are severe inconsistencies 'embedded in the traditions'; or, to look at the matter from another point of view, that the role and importance of Galadriel only emerged slowly, and that her story underwent continual refashionings." (UT, p. 228) This biography attempts to consolidate the various versions of their story and to point out the major differences among them. For the full versions, see "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" in Unfinished Tales.
Celeborn was the Lord of Lothlorien. His wife was Galadriel, Lady of the Golden Wood. Celeborn was said to be the wisest Elf in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. During the War of the Ring, Celeborn defended Lothlorien and led the assault on the Enemy stronghold of Dol Guldur. Celeborn remained in Middle-earth for a time at the beginning of the Fourth Age, but eventually he joined his wife in the Undying Lands.
There are differing accounts of Celeborn's origins. In an early version, Celeborn was already the Lord of Lothlorien when Galadriel came there near the end of the First Age. In another story, Celeborn lived in the Undying Lands in Alqualonde, where he joined Galadriel to oppose the Kinslaying and then sailed with her to Middle-earth. But these stories do not fit in well with the rest of the history of Galadriel and Celeborn.
The most commonly accepted story is that Celeborn was a Prince of Doriath and a kinsman of Thingol, the King of Doriath. Celeborn was said to be the grandson of Thingol's brother Elmo. Celeborn's father was Galadhon and he had a brother named Galathil. Celeborn was tall and he had silver hair.
Doriath was a hidden forest realm in Beleriand in far northwestern Middle-earth. The Elves of Doriath were Sindarin Elves - those who remained in Beleriand while others made the Great Journey to the Undying Lands.
Around the year 52 of the First Age, Galadriel came to Doriath. Galadriel was one of the Noldor who had come to Middle-earth from the Undying Lands in defiance of the Valar in order to retrieve the Silmarils stolen by Morgoth. Celeborn and Galadriel fell in love and were married.
It is not clear how long Celeborn and Galadriel dwelled in Beleriand. According to one story, they left Beleriand and crossed the Blue Mountains into Eriador before the fall of Nargothrond in 495. But according to another story they remained in Beleriand until the end of the First Age.
Around 502, King Thingol of Doriath summoned Dwarf craftsmen to set a Silmaril in Nauglamir, the fabled Necklace of the Dwarves. The Dwarf craftsmen coveted the necklace and especially the Silmaril, and they demanded that Thingol give it to them. When Thingol refused, they killed him and took the necklace set with the Silmaril.
The Dwarf craftsmen were pursued by Elves of Doriath, who killed the Dwarves and retrieved the necklace. But two Dwarves escaped and returned to Nogrod in the Blue Mountains and rallied their kinsmen to seek vengeance on the Elves of Doriath. An army of Dwarves attacked Doriath and defeated the Elves. They took the necklace once more, but it was again reclaimed by Beren.
Doriath was briefly reinhabited by Beren's son Dior, but the sons of Feanor came to try to take the Silmaril. Though Dior's infant daughter Elwing was rescued along with the Silmaril, Dior was killed and Doriath was ruined and abandoned.
Celeborn's distrust of Dwarves began at this time. His role in these events is unknown, although in one account it is written that Celeborn escaped the sack of Doriath.
The First Age ended with the War of Wrath and the defeat of Morgoth. Beleriand was ruined and sank beneath the Sea. Many of the Noldor returned to the Undying Lands with the pardon of the Valar, but Galadriel remained in Middle-earth with Celeborn.
Celeborn and Galadriel probably lived for a time in Lindon, a coastal region west of the Blue Mountains. Gil-galad was the High King of the Elves who dwelled in Lindon. But many of the Elves in Harlindon - the part of Lindon south of the Gulf of Lune - were Sindarin Elves like Celeborn, and he may have ruled a fiefdom there under Gil-galad.
At some time early in the Second Age, Celeborn and Galadriel are said to have moved eastward into Eriador with a number of Elves in their following. They may have lived for a while near Lake Evendim. Their daughter Celebrian may have been born during this time. They began to move eastward again around the year 700 of the Second Age because Galadriel sensed a growing evil in Middle-earth that she felt duty-bound to oppose.
The realm of Eregion was founded in 750, and Galadriel and Celeborn are said to have dwelled their for a time along with Celebrimbor and the Elven-smiths. The Elves of Eregion had dealings with the Dwarves of Khazad-dum nearby. But Celeborn still distrusted Dwarves and would not enter Khazad-dum, although the Dwarves there had nothing to do with the destruction of Doriath.
The Elves of Eregion also had contact with the Elves of Lothlorien on the other side of the Misty Mountains. According to one story, Galadriel went to dwell in Lothlorien around 1350 to 1400 while Celeborn remained in Eregion. But in other versions of the story both Galadriel and Celeborn stayed in Eregion.
Sauron came to Eregion in a fair disguise in 1200 and deceived the Elven-smiths, who began forging the Rings of Power under his instruction in 1500. Sauron forged the One Ring to rule the others around 1600, and the Elves hid from him the Three Rings that they had made without his help. Sauron was enraged and attacked Eregion in 1697.
Celeborn led a sortie from Eregion to meet the vanguard of Sauron's army. Celeborn was able to drive the enemy back long enough to join forces with Elrond, who brought reinforcements from Lindon. But Sauron's army was greater than their combined forces and Eregion soon fell. Celebrimbor was killed and Sauron took the Nine Rings and at least six of the Seven Rings. Sauron was finally driven back to Mordor in 1701.
The movements of Celeborn and Galadriel after the fall of Eregion are unclear. Celeborn may have gone to Lothlorien to help strengthen their defenses against Sauron. He and Galadriel may have lived there for a time, but they did not become the rulers of Lothlorien then. The King of Lothlorien at that time was Amdir, who was killed in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age and was succeeded by his son Amroth. (In one story, Amroth is said to be the son of Celeborn and Galadriel, but this was almost certainly a rejected idea.)
Celeborn and Galadriel may also have lived for a while in Rivendell, the home of Elrond. At some point, they may have travelled to the coastal region of Belfalas in the south to be near the Sea.
Celeborn and Galadriel's daughter Celebrian married Elrond in 109 of the Third Age. Elrond and Celebrian had three children: twin sons Elladan and Elrohir, born in 130, and a daughter Arwen, born in 241.
Around 1050, the stronghold of Dol Guldur was built across the Anduin from Lothlorien by the Necromancer, who was actually Sauron. Celeborn and Galadriel are said to have returned to Lothlorien to investigate the Necromancer and ensure the safety of Lothlorien. But after a time, they once again departed, possibly for Rivendell. Lothlorien remained under the rule of King Amroth.
A Balrog awoke in Khazad-dum in 1980. Many of the Elves of Lothlorien fled, including Amroth's lover Nimrodel. Amroth followed Nimrodel and he later perished at Sea. Lothlorien was left without a leader, so Celeborn and Galadriel returned there and became the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien in 1981. They dwelled on a flet in Caras Galadhon, the City of the Trees.
Celebrian was on her way to Lothlorien to visit her parents in 2509 when she was captured by Orcs in the Redhorn Gate. Celebrian was rescued by her sons Elladan and Elrohir, but the horror of the experience remained with her and she decided to leave Middle-earth the next year to dwell in the Undying Lands.
In 2941, Sauron was driven out of Dol Guldur by the White Council - of which Galadriel was a member. But Sauron had been prepared for the attack and returned to Mordor. He sent Nazgul led by Khamul to occupy Dol Guldur.
Aragorn came to Lothlorien in 2980 and became betrothed to Arwen, who was there visiting her grandparents.
In December of 3018, Elladan and Elrohir brought word to Celeborn and Galadriel of the Fellowship's quest to destroy the One Ring. The Fellowship arrived in Lothlorien on January 15, 3019, and were brought to Caras Galadhon to meet Celeborn and Galadriel on January 17.
Celeborn at first welcomed Gimli despite his distrust of Dwarves and said he hoped that there could be friendship between their peoples once more. But then Celeborn learned that the Balrog had been disturbed by an expedition of Dwarves to Khazad-dum led by Balin several years before, and that the Balrog had attacked the Fellowship resulting in the loss of Gandalf the Grey. Celeborn was angry at first and regretted allowing the Fellowship to enter Lothlorien, but Galadriel soothed him and he apologized to Gimli.
Celeborn promised to help the Fellowship in any way he could. On the eve of their departure from Lothlorien, Celeborn discussed what route the Fellowship might take and he offered them boats to ease their journey down the Anduin. The next day on February 16, Celeborn and Galadriel prepared a feast for the Fellowship and gave them gifts. Celeborn gave them further advice about navigating the Great River.
Lothlorien was attacked three times by forces from Dol Guldur during the War of the Ring: on March 11, 15, and 22. Each time, the Galadhrim led by Celeborn and Galadriel repelled them. After the destruction of the One Ring and Sauron's defeat, Celeborn led a force across the Anduin and captured Dol Guldur on March 28. The shadow was lifted from Mirkwood.
On April 6, Celeborn met Thranduil, the King of the Woodland Realm, in Mirkwood. They renamed the forest the Wood of Greenleaves. Thranduil retained rulership of the northern part of the forest, while the center part was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen. Celeborn claimed the southern part of the forest below the Narrows to be part of Lothlorien. This region was named East Lorien.
Celeborn and Galadriel accompanied their granddaughter Arwen to Minas Tirith, where she wed Aragorn on Mid-year's Day. Celeborn and Galadriel then travelled to Rohan and attended the funeral of King Theoden. On the way home, they met with Treebeard at Isengard.
When Celeborn and Galadriel parted from Aragorn, Celeborn said to his granddaughter's husband:
"Kinsman, farewell! May your doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end!"Celeborn may have been anticipating the day when his own wife would depart for the Undying Lands while he remained in Middle-earth.
The Return of the King: "Many Partings," p. 260
During the journey, Celeborn and Galadriel sometimes communicated telepathically with Elrond and Gandalf, recalling their days in Middle-earth. On September 13, Celeborn and Galadriel crossed the Redhorn Gate to return to Lothlorien.
Galadriel left Middle-earth to return to the Undying Lands in 3021 at the end of the Third Age. Celeborn remained in Lothlorien, but after a few years he began to grow weary. He went to Rivendell to live with his grandsons Elladan and Elrohir for awhile in the early part of the Fourth Age. Eventually, Celeborn went to the Grey Havens and sailed for the Undying Lands where his wife and daughter dwelled. It is said that "with him went the last living memory of the Elder Days in Middle-earth." (FotR, p. 25)
Celeborn meets and falls in love with Galadriel.
Fall of Nargothrond. According to one story, Celeborn and Galadriel left Beleriand before this time, but other sources say they remained until the end of the First Age.
Thingol summons Dwarf craftsmen to set the Silmaril in the necklace of Nauglamir. The Dwarves slay Thingol and take the necklace with the Silmaril but are pursued and killed by Elves of Doriath.
An army of Dwarves defeat the Elves of Doriath. Thingol's grandson Dior later returns to Doriath and receives the Silmaril.
The sons of Feanor invade Doriath to try to capture the Silmaril. Doriath is ruined and abandoned.
Morgoth is defeated in the War of Wrath (545-587). Many of the Noldor return to the Undying Lands, but Galadriel remains in Middle-earth with Celeborn. End of the First Age.
Celeborn and Galadriel may have been living near Lake Evendim around this time.
Celeborn and Galadriel leave the shores of Lake Evendim and begin to move eastward.
Founding of the realm of Eregion.
Sauron comes to Eregion in a fair disguise and deceives the Elven-smiths of Eregion.
According one story, Galadriel leaves Eregion and goes to dwell in Lothlorien around this time. (See also 1697.)
The Elven-smiths of Eregion begin forging the Rings of Power under Sauron's instruction.
The Three Rings of the Elves are made without Sauron's aid.
Sauron forges the One Ring in Mount Doom.
The Three Rings are hidden. Galadriel receives Nenya.
Sauron's forces attack Eregion. Celeborn leads a sortie but is unable to prevent Sauron from destroying Eregion. According to one story, Celeborn and Galadriel cross the Misty Mountains to Lothlorien after the fall of Eregion. Celeborn helps strengthen the defenses of Lothlorien.
Sauron's forces are defeated and he retreats to Mordor. Celeborn and Galadriel may have been in Rivendell at this time.
Celeborn's daughter Celebrian marries Elrond.
Birth of Celeborn's grandsons, Elladan and Elrohir.
Birth of Celeborn's granddaughter, Arwen.
It is learned that an evil power has built the stronghold of Dol Guldur across the Anduin from Lothlorien. Celeborn and Galadriel may have visited Lothlorien around this time to help build its defenses.
The Balrog awakes in Moria.
King Amroth leaves Lothlorien in pursuit of Nimrodel and is lost at Sea. Celeborn and Galadriel become the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien.
Celeborn's daughter Celebrian is captured by Orcs in the Redhorn Gate and is rescued by her sons.
Celebrian leaves Middle-earth and goes to the Undying Lands.
The White Council decides to attack Dol Guldur. Sauron flees before them.
Sauron returns in secret to Mordor.
Sauron declares himself openly in Mordor. Nazgul are sent to occupy Dol Guldur.
Aragorn comes to Lothlorien and becomes betrothed to Celeborn's granddaughter Arwen.
Balin leads an expedition of Dwarves to Moria. The Balrog is stirred up by their presence.
Balin is killed and the Dwarf colony in Moria is destroyed.
December: Elladan and Elrohir come to Lothlorien with news of the decision made at the Council of Elrond to destroy the One Ring.
January 15: The Fellowship of the Ring arrives in Lothlorien.
January 17: Galadriel and Celeborn receive the Fellowship in Caras Galadhon.
February 15: Celeborn offers
the Fellowship boats for their journey down the Anduin.
February 16: Celeborn and Galadriel give the Fellowship gifts on their departure from Lorien.
February 17: Gwaihir brings Gandalf the White to Lothlorien.
March 11: Lothlorien is attacked
by forces from Dol Guldur.
March 15: Second assault on Lothlorien.
March 22: Third assault on Lothlorien.
March 25: The Ring is destroyed and Sauron is defeated.
March 28: Celeborn leads a force from Lothlorien to capture Dol Guldur. Galadriel casts down the walls.
April 6: Celeborn meets Thranduil and they decide on the new boundaries of their realms.
May 20: Elrond and Arwen arrive
May 27: Celeborn and Galadriel leave Lothlorien with Arwen and set out for Minas Tirith.
1 Lithe: Celeborn and Galadriel
arrive in Minas Tirith with Arwen.
Mid-year's Day: Wedding of Arwen and Aragorn.
July 22: Celeborn and Galadriel leave Minas Tirith with the funeral escort of King Theoden.
August 7: Celeborn and Galadriel
arrive in Edoras.
August 10: Celeborn and Galadriel attend the funeral of King Theoden.
August 14: Celeborn and Galadriel leave Edoras with the Fellowship.
August 22: Celeborn and Galadriel meet Treebeard for possibly the last time and say farewell to Aragorn.
August 28: The travellers encounter Saruman on the road.
September 13: Galadriel and Celeborn part company with Gandalf, Elrond, and the Hobbits. They cross the Redhorn Gate and return to Lothlorien.
September 29: Galadriel boards a ship and sails into the West to the Undying Lands. Celeborn remains for a time in Lothlorien.
Celeborn eventually leaves Lothlorien and goes to live in Rivendell. At some point he departs from Middle-earth and joins Galadriel in the Undying Lands.
The name Celeborn originally meant "silver tree" from celeb meaning "silver" and orn meaning "tree." The white tree on Tol Eressea was named Celeborn; from it was descended the White Tree of Gondor. But apparently Celeborn as a personal name later came to mean "silver-tall" where the element orn is derived from orna meaning "uprising, tall." This name refers to Celeborn's silver hair and his height.
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: Appendix E - The Names of Celeborn and Galadriel," p. 266-67; "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Appendix - Numenorean Linear Measures," p. 286
Teleporno is the High-elven form of Celeborn. The element telep or telpe means "silver" in Telerin and later in Quenya.
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: Appendix E - The Names of Celeborn and Galadriel," p. 266
Celeborn was said to be the great-nephew of King Thingol of Doriath and was referred to by the title Prince of Doriath.
The Silmarillion: "Of the Ruin of Doriath," p. 234
Lothlorien, Lord of the Galadhrim:
Celeborn became the lord of the Elves of Lothlorien, who were called the Galadhrim.
Celeborn was called this by Galadriel, who said he was the wisest of the Elves in Middle-earth at that time.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 371
Family tree of Celeborn and Galadriel:
The Silmarillion: "Of the Return of the Noldor," p. 115; "Of the Ruin of Doriath," p. 234 and passim; "Of the Voyage of Earendil," p. 254; "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 298
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue - Note on the Shire Records," p. 25; "Lothlorien," p. 362, 364; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 368-72; "Farewell to Lorien," p. 383-84, 388-93
The Two Towers: "The Riders of Rohan," p. 44; "Treebeard," p. 70
The Return of the King: "The Steward and the King," p. 250-51; "Many Partings," p. 252-63
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen," p. 344
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 363, 375-76
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," passim; "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Appendix - Numenorean Linear Measures," p. 286
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "Of Dwarves and Men," p. 328 note 65
All entries are Copyright © 2003-2012, The Thain's Book