In the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien, Círdan ('ship-maker' in Sindarin) the Shipwright is a Sindarin Elf (of which he was one of the wisest princes), a great mariner and shipwright, lord of the Falas during much of the First Age, one of the wisest and perhaps the mightiest of the Moriquendi. He was the bearer of the Great Ring Narya after Gil-galad, which he in turn gave to Gandalf.

He had a beard, which is rare for Elves; but he was of great age at the time of the War of the Ring: perhaps the oldest Sindarin Elf, or indeed the oldest of all the Elves remaining in Middle-earth. Círdan had grey (silver) hair, like his overlord Thingol. He might have been related to him, possibly by Thingol's brother Elmo.

His original name was probably Nowë. This name is not Sindarin and probably an archaic form of it, or possibly Common Telerin, with uncertain meaning. It may be related to the term nowo meaning "think, form idea, imagine."

In the First Age, Círdan was a ruler of a host of the Teleri under Elwë, and during the long wait in Beleriand he fell in love with the sea. When Ulmo returned for the Teleri Círdan and his followers remained behind, partially because of their love for Belegaer, and partially because of his kinship with Elwë, who was lost. After Elwë returned and became King Thingol, Círdan ruled the Falathrim of the havens of Eglarest and Brithombar, although he seemed to have accepted Thingol's overlordship. Later he became an advisor and friend of Finrod Felagund, lord of Nargothrond, although the Falas remained independent.

Círdan was early on warned by Ulmo not to attempt a crossing to Valinor, and his mariners restricted their work to the coasts of Middle-earth. However, at the request of King Turgon of Gondolin, he later built several messenger ships to sail to Valinor to request help from the Valar against Morgoth. All these missions failed, and only one survivor ever returned. After the havens of the Falas were destroyed, Círdan was instrumental in setting up the refuges at the Mouths of Sirion and the Isle of Balar, to which he retired. It was on this isle that he built the great ship Vingilot for Eärendil.

In the Second Age, Círdan stayed behind when the Elves were summoned to Valinor, and set up the havens of Forlond, Harlond and Mithlond in the destroyed land of Lindon (anciently Ossiriand). Círdan's exact status during that time is unknown, but it seems certain he served as lieutenant of Gil-galad, the last High King of the Ñoldor of Middle-earth. Círdan is mentioned as receiving the ships of the Númenóreans as they returned to the north of Middle-earth.

From the Third Age after the fall of Gil-galad and the beginning of the Age of Men, Círdan remained at the Grey Havens of Mithlond, and built ships which ferried the departing Elves to Valinor. Círdan had possession of the Great Ring Narya, rescued from Rodnor Gil-galad, but when the Istari or Wizards arrived in the early Third Age he recognised Olórin's wisdom, and gave him his ring. Círdan remained active behind the scenes, sending counsellors to the White Council at Rivendell,but following the War of the Ring he was seen to have prepared the ship that ferried across the other Ring-bearers: Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Bilbo, and Frodo in the last year of the Third Age. It is uncertain whether he left Middle-earth himself on the same ship: he is not mentioned as boarding, and later letters by Tolkien imply he remained behind.

In the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, Círdan briefly appears in the third movie. His role as lieutenant of Gil-galad is given to Elrond instead (Elrond was Gil-galad's herald in the books) in the first movie. He does, however, appear very briefly in Galadriel's Monologue at the start of the first movie, in the very brief shot of the three elven ringbearers.

External Links

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