“Yeah Galadriel, I’m on to you, okay, how did you even say that with a straight face? Like have you completely wiped uncle Fëanor from memory? Immortal, wisest and fairest of all bein- I’ll give him one out of three and it ain’t wisest.”
Eru (the One), also called Ilúvatar (All-Father), is the monotheistic God of Tolkien's universe. He created the Ainur (Holy Ones), angelic spirits who aided in the creation of the universe, as well as his Children, the Elves and Men. But not Dwarves, they were... not part of the plan originally.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: Inverted. Eru has a lot of similarities to the Christian deity (as to be expected from a Catholic author), but the way in which his creations worship him is very different from traditional Christian practice. There are very few ceremonies, only a few per year. And worship is never carried out in buildings; indeed, temples and churches are associated with evil by worshippers of Eru. In Númenórean worship, only the King could speak to Eru directly and make (bloodless) offerings, and most prayers or hymns seen in the mythology are addressed to one of the Valar.
An unpublished essay ("The Marriage Customs of the Eldar") suggests that the Elves asked Eru to bless their marriages; they do not seem to bother Him for any other purpose. The Dúnedain have a custom that vaguely resembles grace before meals, but it is less a case of "Thanks unto Eru for this food" than "If I forget thee, oh Númenor, then let my right hand forget its cunning"; that, and Denethor's throwaway line about "the heathen kings of old" being cremated rather than buried (The Gondorians obsessively cling onto their Númenórean history, and the only holy place allowed was the mountain Meneltarma in Númenor. Now that Númenor is gone they don't have holy places any more, but compensate for this by almost worshipping their past).
"Elbereth Gilthoniel" is basically the Elvish "Hail Mary," which Tolkien probably was aware of. The Dwarves worshipped their creator Aulë whom they called "Mahal." The Rohirrim worshipped Oromë, one of the Valar, whom they called "Bema." This is All In The Manual.
The reason why there is no formalised worship by Elves in Tolkien's works is that the Elves are fundamentally an Unfallen race and therefore still retain the close relationship with God that mankind has struggled ever to regain since the Fall.
Another unpublished essay mentions that Men have a prophecy hinting strongly at the coming of Christ ("the only way Eru could cure the world of Morgoth's poison is to enter it himself") but Tolkien dropped it because he was afraid it was turning into "a parody of Christianity".
Divine Delegation: Eru created one so they can participate in the creation of the universe.
Divine Intervention: Eru prefers to observe the universe and let the Valar run things. But when the Númenóreans attacked Valinor and the Valar laid down their governance of the world, he simply had to act. He also granted independent souls to the Dwarves and the Ents, who were the creations of Aulë and Yavanna respectively. And hints are occasionally dropped in The Lord of the Rings that Eru is giving his creation the occasional nudge: Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and Frodo was meant to bear it.
God: The author only explicitly identified Eru as the Christian God in some philosophical texts and letters, but the similarity is noticeable in the narratives as well.
The Only Way They Will Learn: This tends to be his MO. He gives being to the Music of the Ainur (the "source code" for the universe, so to speak) so that the Ainur could "see what they had done." And when Men awake in the world, he tells them that he wants them to learn and become wise on their own.
World Sundering: The form his most spectacular Divine Intervention took: he removed Valinor from the world, sunk Númenor into the sea and turned the once flat world into a sphere.
The Powers of the World. The most powerful of the angelic spirits created by Eru to effect and oversee his creation; they occupy a role somewhere between archangels and polytheistic gods. Manwë is their leader; he is the King of Arda (the world), under Eru, and lord of the airs. There were originally fifteen Valar, but Melkor was cast from their number. They are served by an unspecified number of Maiar (roughly angels or demigods). They dwell in Valinor (the Land of the Gods) in the utter west.The Valar are:
Aulë, the Smith. Husband of Yavanna. The shaper of Earth's physical form. He created the Dwarves, and taught both them and the Elves the secrets of smithcraft. Both Sauron and Saruman used to be his servants.
Estë, the Gentle. Irmo's wife. The healer of hurts and weariness, during days she sleeps in the Gardens.
Irmo, the Master of Visions and Dreams. Brother of Námo and Nienna, husband of Estë. The people of Valinor go to the Gardens of Lórien to find rest and refreshment. Gandalf is of his household. Commonly known as "Lórien" after his place of dwelling.
Manwë, the Elder King. Brother of Melkor and husband of Varda. The ruler of winds and airs, the King of the Valar and High King of Arda. The great Eagles are his emissaries.
Melkor, He Who Arises in Might. Brother of Manwë. No longer counted among the Valar. See more of him under "Enemies."
Námo, the Doomsman of the Valar. Brother of Irmo and Nienna, husband of Vairë. Keeps the souls of the dead in the Halls of Mandos, judging them and choosing when to reincarnate them. The grimmest of the Valar, he pronounced the Doom of the North upon Fëanor and his sons. Commonly known as "Mandos" after his place of dwelling.
Nessa, the Dancer. Tulkas' spouse. Able to outrun arrows, and the deer that follow her.
Nienna, Lady of Mercy. The sister of Mandos and Lórien. She weeps always in grief for the ills of the world, but teaches pity and endurance.
Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. Vana's husband, and the most terrible of the Valar when angered. Used to go to Middle-earth to hunt Melkor's monsters, and during one of those hunts found the newly awakened Elves.
Tulkas, the Valiant. Nessa's husband. The Valar's champion who fights with bare fists. Laughs even in battle.
Ulmo, the Lord of Waters. Doesn't live in Valinor, but dwells alone in the Outer Sea. Stern and fearsome, but has endless compassion for the peoples of Middle-Earth even when the rest of the Valar are angered by them.
Vairë, the Weaver. Námo's wife. Weaves everything that happens in history into her tapestries.
Varda, the Queen of the Stars, and their maker. Manwë's wife. The Elves hold her in special esteem, and call her Elbereth Gilthoniel.
Vána, the Ever-young. The younger sister of Yavanna and wife of Oromë. Wherever she goes birds sing and flowers bloom.
Yavanna, the Giver of Fruits. Aulë's wife and Vána's sister. The creator of all plants and animals, including the Two Trees. Her argument with Aulë led to the creation of the Ents. She is next to Varda in esteem among the Elves, who call her Kementari, Queen of the Earth.
Tropes that apply to the Valar are:
The Atoner: Aulë, after Eru called him out for attempting to usurp the Creator's place by creating Dwarves. Aulë's repentance is immediate and sincere, so Eru takes pity and grants the Dwarves real souls, free will, and a place in Middle-earth.
Big Good: Manwë Súlimo is the Elder King, the ruler of Arda under the authority of Eru, and thus the largest force for good acting from within the world. The other Valar and the Maiar act under his leadership.
Boisterous Bruiser: Tulkas Astaldo. The only being capable of beating Melkor one-on-one, he’s the last of the Valar to come to Arda, and he only does so because he heard that Melkor was causing trouble and there might be a good fight to be had. When Melkor learns that Tulkas is in town, he hightails it (and for good reason).
Cain and Abel: Melkor and Manwë are brothers "in the thought of Eru," whatever that means. As the vicegerent of Eru and Elder King of Arda, it's Manwë's job to oppose Melkor, especially after his attempt to reform him failed. The hate is all on Melkor's side, though.
Cool Horse: Oromë has Nahar, which strikes fire from under its hooves and is implied to be able to cross oceans. (Just why a Vala needs a horse at all isn't explained.)
Dark Is Not Evil: Mandos is the judge and "doomsman" of the Valar, who keeps the spirits of dead Elves in his Halls until they earn reincarnation (or until the end of time if they don't). He's stern and seems grim, and his judgments can seem harsh sometimes, but despite his association with death he's not at all evil and serves Eru as faithfully as Manwë does.
Discontinuity Nod: Originally, in The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales, "Vairë" was the name of an Elf woman in Tol Eressëa who was a great storyteller. In The Silmarillion, the name was given to one of the Valar, a completely different character but still associated with storytelling.
Divine Ranks: Eru > Valar > Maiar is just the start of it. The Valar too are divided into greater (Aratar) and lesser Valar, and the Maiar are by no means all equal to each other, ranging from demigods like Sauron and Melian to minor fairy-like spirits.
Dumb Muscle: Tulkas. Known for his incredible physical prowess (see Boisterous Bruiser), he doesn’t think about the past or the future very much and is therefore useless as a counselor. However, Tulkas may have noticed that Melkor hadn’t really reformed during his incarceration, something Manwë missed.
Foil: Manwë and Ulmo. Manwë is proud, glorious, idealistic, and displays his power openly, while Ulmo is reserved, subtle, cynical, and works from behind the scenes. They are close friends who are both utterly devoted to the cause of good, but work in very different ways.
God Is Flawed: While the Valar are all good, they're not perfect, and from time to time have to regret their past mistakes.
God's Hands Are Tied: They avoid confronting the supernatural forces of evil directly so as not to interfere with other beings' free will and, more importantly, avoid wrecking continents. If things get bad enough, though, they will act. (Ulmo often goes against the other Valar to directly aid people and manipulate events, most notably when he recruited Tuor as his messenger to Gondolin.)
Happily Married: The only ones not married are Ulmo and Nienna. Ulmo is a loner and Nienna is eternally sorrowful.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: Nienna is basically the goddess of empathy and compassion. She's not seen much, and is usually depicted as being melancholy and weeping. And yet, she's one of the most powerful of all the Valar: her tears give birth to the Sun and Moon, and her greatest servant, Gandalf, plays a key role in defeating Sauron. Which is a common theme in Tolkien's work: sympathy, compassion, and love are often overlooked and derided, but they're really the most powerful forces in the universe.
Hot-Blooded: Tulkas was too much of this to be a properly good counselor.
I Have Many Names: All of them. Manwë Súlimo, Varda Elentári Tintallë, Námo Mandos, Irmo Lórien, Yavanna Kementári Palúrien, Aulë Mahal, Oromë Aldaron, Tulkas Astaldo... It is implied that every single one of them has tons of names given by various peoples of Men, but only some are known, such as Oromë's Rohirric name "Bema." And these are only the names assigned to them by the speaking peoples. Their own names for themselves, self-assigned in their Con Lang Valarin, are only listed inThe History of Middle-earth XI: The War of the Jewels.
The Lancer: Ulmo's main role is often to act as a sort of foil for Manwë.
Mad Scientist: Aulë is a benevolent version, though his skills and creations can be misused.
The Maker: While Eru is THE Maker of the whole universe, Aulë is the creator of the Dwarves. They even call him Mahal, "the Maker." Subverted when Aulë learns that only Eru can give souls to living creatures, requiring him to beg Eru's pardon before the Dwarves can be re-created as actual people.
Mother Nature: Yavanna. She's not the earth itself, but the shaper and protector of all living creatures.
Not So Different: Melkor and Aulë. They both had similar (good, but rebellious) intentions in their own schemes. The main difference, according to Word of God, is that Aulë repented and Melkor only considered doing so. Also, when Aulë creates stuff (like the Dwarves), he did it in Eru's honor, not for his own power or glory. When Melkor creates things they are corrupted versions of Eru's creations.
Obstructive Code of Conduct: Subverted by the Valar, at least at first. They decide to bring the Elves to their realm, Valinor, to guide and teach them. When that backfires horribly, they decide to interfere with Elves and Men much less.
Physical God: All of them, of course, with different provinces and powers.
Sexless Marriage: A curious case. Originally Tolkien intended the Valar to have produced children, but then later decided they cannot reproduce. Apparently they don't have sex drives either, and their marriages are of platonic companionship rather than of union of bodies.
Sibling Triangle: What perhaps happened between Melkor, Varda and Manwë. Originally, Melkor was in awe of Varda and her light, but she recognized that he had started to fall into evil and rejected him. Later, Melkor hated Varda and still she was the one of the Valar he feared the most.
Spirit Advisor: They're not supposed to rule over the Elves and Men like kings and queens, but act as their advisors and guides.
The Stoic: Mandos, like death itself, is notorious for never showing pity to anyone. He has only ever made one exception, for Lúthien.
Time Abyss: Every Ainu is older than the entire universe and everything in it.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Any of them can appear in a wide variety of forms; Yavanna in particular is fond of appearing as a tree. They can also appear as nothing when they feel like going "unclad," making them invisible.
War God: Tulkas, of course, who represents courage and glory in battle. In the first draft of the stories there were two other Valar — Makar and his sister Meassë — who represented the bloody, angry side of conflict, but as the Valar developed more into archangels than pagan gods, Tolkien decided they didn't fit the mythos and wrote them out.
The Wild Hunt: Oromë. A good version, as he hunts Morgoth's monsters with his Hounds.
The servants of the Valar. The Maiar function as demigods or lesser angelic spirits, and range in power from Physical Gods to lesser spirits of the woods and fields. The Maiar are naturally incorporeal, but take physical form to interact with Elves and Men. Their bodies can be destroyed, which greatly weakens them, but their spirits are immortal and will exist for all time. A great many of the Maiar — most notably Sauron and the Balrogs — were corrupted by Melkor and became his servants. The Maiar are countless in number; the following loyal Maiar are named in The Silmarillion:
Arien, a spirit of fire who served both Estë and Vána. She steers the ship of the Sun.
Eönwë, the herald of Manwë and most powerful of the Maiar; with Ilmarë, one of their chiefs. He is the most skillful warrior in all of Arda.
Ilmarë, the handmaid of Varda; with Eönwë one of the chiefs of the Maiar.
The Istari or Wizards, five in number: Saruman (servant of Aulë), Alatar and Pallando (servants of Oromë), Radagast (servant of Yavanna), and Gandalf (servant Nienna and Estë). When Sauron rose again in the Third Age, they went among the free people of Middle-earth in the guise of old men to oppose him. See The Lord of the Rings character sheet for Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast.
Melian, a servant of Estë and Vána. Wife of Elu Thingol and Queen of Doriath. See her entry under "House of Thingol."
Ossë, a servant of Ulmo who creates deadly storms. He is wild and violent, but not malicious. He befriended the Grey Elves of Beleriand.
Salmar, a servant of Ulmo who crafted Ulmo's fabled horns. He is a maker of beautiful music.
Tilion, a servant of Oromë. He is the steersman of the Moon.
Uinen, a servant of Ulmo and wife of Ossë. She represents the peaceful side of the sea and is the only one who can calm Ossë's storms. The Men of Númenor held her in regard equal to the Valar.
Melkor / Morgoth Bauglir
Melkor (He Who Arises in Might; later named Morgoth, the Black Enemy, by the Elves) is the originator of evil in Tolkien's universe. He is the most powerful of the Ainur. During the "Great Music" that is the creation process, he rebels against Eru by singing his own themes, corrupting many lesser Ainur to his side. When he and many other Ainur have entered the world, he tries to claim it for himself, and wars against his fellow Valar (the Powers) in an attempt to wrest it from them. Later, when Elves and Men come on the scene, he attempts to destroy them by using the massive armies of orcs, Balrogs, and dragons that he created. His pursuit of evil causes him to lose most of his original power, and he is eventually banished from the world by the Valar. Sauron was his greatest servant, and takes over for his master upon his banishment.
And I Must Scream: He was imprisoned in Mandos for ~3000 solar years (or three "ages" depending on what text you are reading) by the Valar.
As Long as There Is Evil: He poured out his essence into the world, so that his evil continues to corrupt people long after he is gone. Just as his servant Sauron could not be destroyed as long as his Ring existed, Morgoth will never truly be gone as long as the world exists.
Cold-Blooded Torture: One of his favorite pastimes is doing horrible, sadistic things to Eru's creations, the Elves and Humans. Sometimes he gets useful information out of this, but he also does it just for fun. He loves making them suffer.
The Corrupter: To all his minions, most of whom started off as well meaning and benevolent creatures but, like him, became more evil as their vices got the better of them. The rest are either Always Chaotic Evil or a result of Being Tortured Makes You Evil. Later, he subverted the Noldor in Valinor with cunning deception, lies, and rumors until they rebelled against the Valar. He also corrupted Men shortly after their awakening, which was disastrous because Men were supposed to fix the Marring of Arda.
Creative Sterility: Despite his best efforts to create life, he cannot make, but only corrupt and mock Eru's creations. Orcs are a hollow imitation of Elves and Men, Trolls the same for Ents, and so on.
Dark Is Evil: He is the one who brought darkness into Middle Earth, after all.
Dirty Coward: Despite his power, Morgoth repeatedly flees from even lesser enemies, or only fights when he's surrounded by his Balrogs, Trolls, and Orcs. At the very end he runs away from the Valar, despite once having been as powerful as all of them combined, and is reduced to begging on his hands and knees for pity.
Driven by Envy: He's motivated by jealousy of Eru's ability to create.
Drop the Hammer: Grond, with which he battled Fingolfin. Sauron's followers later named a battering ram after it.
Evil Is Petty: Once he was great, but over time became more and more like this. Morgoth became more and more focused on ruining the lives of Elves and Men and ruling over them as a tyrant. He made sure to thwart Túrin in even the most minor matters after putting a curse on him. As the page says, "He's not just evil on a large scale; he's evil on all the tiny little details of everyday life he might experience in any possible situation."
Evil Makes You Ugly: As he continues using his power for evil he is stuck in his monstrous form.
Evil Overlord: He has the look down pat, and he declares himself the King of Arda. Instead of merely ruling the world, he wants to unmake it completely, out of jealousy of God for creating it in the first place. This is more evident early on, when he destroys the Great Lamps and the Isle of Almaren out of jealous spite, before Orcus on His Throne set in.
Eviler than Thou: Melkor was held to be eviler than Sauron because for a time Sauron served him, while Melkor always served himself.
Manwë and Melkor were originally equal in the thought of Ilúvatar, and since Melkor had part of all the powers and knowledge of all the Valar, it’s possible that he was Ilúvatar’s original choice for the Elder King’s throne.
Aulë is essentially a good version of Melkor in many ways (both enjoy imagining things that no one has thought of before, turning those ideas into created reality, and being praised by others for their creativity), to the point that Melkor is jealous of Aulë and makes a point of messing up his creations. It’s notable that Aulë is the only one of the faithful Valar who was scolded by Ilúvatar (for creating the Dwarves), and Aulë’s two most noteworthy Maiar were Mairon (Sauron) and Curumo (Saruman), both of whom went bad.
God of Evil: He created evil where before there was only free will. All evil in the universe is ultimately either caused by him, or made in imitation of him.
With the possible exception of Demonic Spider Ungoliant who is clearly evil, is stated to come from the void outside the world, and not only doesn't serve Morgoth, but also attempted to eat him, and he only manage to force Ungoliant to flee because of the help of many Balrogs.
The Heavy: The Silmarillion is a history more than a novel and as such can't really be said to have a single central character (unless you count Arda itself), but Morgoth's malice is the thread tying most of the narratives together.
I Surrender, Suckers: The Valar released him from millennia of imprisonment and asked him if he had learned the error of his ways. He said yes, they believed him. And then he plunged the world into darkness once again.
Light Is Not Good: Described as having eyes glowing so brightly that they drove lesser Maiar insane.
Malicious Misnaming: "Morgoth" was a name given to him by Fëanor after he destroyed the Two Trees and stole the Silmarils. He himself continues to call himself Melkor, but Elves and Men generally use Morgoth or Bauglir.
Omnicidal Maniac: His goals started with "take over the world and rule it as a God-King in place of the real God" but eventually, realizing that he hadn't created the entire world single-handedly and couldn't have it all to himself, he slid into just wanting to destroy everything, everywhere, forever.
Physical God: Though like Sauron with the Ring, his physical power lessens as he divests his spiritual corruption into the fabric of Middle-earth.
Playing with Fire / An Ice Person: Both. While most of the Valar have various elemental attributes such as Manwë's affinity with the air and Ulmo's with the sea, Melkor's power rests in the unrestrained extremes of heat and cold. Which explains why Thangorodrim was both Grim Up North and a Volcano Lair.
Satanic Archetype: Along with God/Eru, this is the closest JRRT comes to identifying one of his characters with a biblical figure, though it's still not explicit in most texts.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Valar kept him imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for a long time, but later released him. His unsealing was actually intentional, as it was promised to him by Manwë, who cannot go back on his word.
Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Originally, he could change to any appearance at all, or become intangible and invisible at will, like all the Ainur who entered Arda. But after he destroyed the Two Trees and darkened Valinor, he became stuck forever in the form of a hideous, ogre-like Dark Lord outwardly embodying all his hate and cruelty. Though he actually liked this form.
A powerful Maia, formerly of Aulë, corrupted to Morgoth's service. He was the Enemy's right-hand. Ruled Tol-in-Gaurhoth in Morgoth's name, where he caused the death of Finrod Felagund before being driven off by Lúthien. Took over his master's position as the pre-eminent force of evil following his defeat. Sauron is the direct cause of the fall of Númenor, whose king and people he corrupted with promises of immortality. He is most well-known as the Big Bad of The Lord of the Rings — for tropes relating to him during that era, see The Lord of the Rings character sheet.
Bat out of Hell: The form he takes to flee Huan and Lúthien is a giant bat-thing.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Enjoys screwing with people's expectations by taking on the form of a raging pretty-boy.
Broken Pedestal: To Celembrimbor. Appeared to him and his people as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, taught him much (and received the knowledge of the Noldor in return) - then used that combined lore to create the One Ring and plunge Middle-earth into millennia of darkness and war.
Canis Major: During his battle with Huan, he tried to become The Greatest Werewolf That Ever Lived and fulfill the prophecy to defeat Huan. It didn't work, but he was a huge werewolf.
The Chessmaster: Unlike Melkor, Sauron likes to plan things out in advance.
Consummate Liar: Sauron talks very fast, and very well, and can fool people who quite frankly, should know better. Such as Celebrimbor and Ar-Pharazôn. Hence him eventually being referred to as "Sauron the Deceiver."
The Corrupter: The Númenóreans were already having serious issues before he showed up and had already started hating the Elves and Valar, but Sauron is the one who pushed them over the edge into outright Morgoth-worship and human sacrifice, and eventually convinced Ar-Pharazôn to attempt an invasion of Valinor.
Light Is Not Good: His guise as Annatar, which is outright described as "angelic". Also, unlike other fallen Ainu, most of his "darkness" is metaphorical; he is actually more associated with fire than anything else, at least until the later Second Age.
Determinator: A villainous example. No matter how bad things get, Sauron always bounces back from defeat. Until The Lord Of The Rings anyway, where he's properly taken down.
Divinely Appearing Demons: His "angelic" guise as Annatar belied his demonic nature and enabled him to manipulate the Elves and Numenoreans.
I Surrender, Suckers: He deliberately let the Númenóreans take him captive, so he could destroy their entire civilization from within, in revenge for sending their navy to save the Elves of Middle-earth several generations previous.
More Than Mind Control: Can use the One Ring to manipulate the vices of the bearers of other Rings of Power, eventually bringing them under his control (in the case of the Ringwraiths) or to their deaths (like the dwarf kings).
One-Winged Angel: His form as the mightiest werewolf in the world that he uses to fight Huan and Lúthien; the Dark Lord form he takes after the Downfall of Númenor might also be considered an example, albeit a permanent one.
Our Liches Are Different: He imbued the One Ring with the majority of his life-force, enabling him to twice survive the destruction of his physical form and reconstitute himself.
Soul Jar: Using the intel he fielded from Celebrimbor, Sauron forged a gold ring using Orodruin as a forge and imbued it with the majority of his life-force and will.
Squishy Wizard: Zig-zagged. He was physically unimpressive next to most Maiar when not One Winged Angeled up, but as a Maia, he was still well beyond the overwhelming majority of Elves and Men. He still only takes the field himself a handful of times, and always loses - though that speaks as much to the level of badass of his adversaries as anything.
In terms of feats of magic however, he is virtually unparalleled. Finrod was bested in a magical singing duel, and the force of his malice alone knocked Lúthien, an enchantress of such might that she could swoon Morgoth, out cold.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He started rebelling against Eru out of a desire for putting the world in perfect order, and even at the end "he still had the relics of positive purposes". His initial attraction to Melkor was due to the latter's power and ability to get his will done. He's even cited as being wiser than his master in his goals.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Even for a Maia, he's noted to be skilled at this ability, though it is much restricted (possibly to just his Dark Lord form, but at the very least his fair form becomes permanently off-limits) after he's caught in the Downfall of Númenor.
Xanatos Gambit: Pulls one on the Númenóreans after he persuades them into declaring war on the Valar. While it does get out of his control when Eru gets personally involved (resulting in the loss of Sauron's fair form), it's worth noting that the Valar had to lay down their divinity to get Eru involved and he still accomplished his primary goals—the defeat of Ar-Pharazôn and the destruction of the Númenóreans.
A horrific creature of darkness incarnate as a Giant Spider, Ungoliant's origins and history are unknown, though she was involved with Melkor on multiple occasions. Knowing that the latter created all the evil in the world, she probably has some close relation to him. She aided the Dark Lord in the theft of the Silmarils and the destruction of the Two Trees, but was driven off by the Balrogs after they fell to quarreling over the spoils. She later spawned numerous offspring, including Shelob, and ultimately was believed by the Eldar to have perished after devouring herself, though her true fate remains a mystery.
Combat Pragmatist: She can manipulate her shadows to entrap enemies in webs, and into cords to strangulate them with.
Dark Is Evil: She's more or less a personification of darkness and the hatred of light.
Diabolus Ex Nihilo: At first. (No one knew "from whence she came... from the Outer Darkness, maybe")
Dragon with an Agenda: Initially, she served Melkor after the Creation of Arda, but attempted to abandon his service at some point prior to his capture by the Valar in order to become "mistress of her own lust." She ends up working with him again during the Darkening of Valinor, but the motives for her actions still differ from those of her master, to the point where she even becomes The Starscream, and turns on him later on when he refuses to give her the Silmarils.
Enemy Civil War: With Morgoth over the Silmarils. He won, but only with the Balrogs' help.
Extreme Omnivore: Arguably one of her most infamous characteristics is her unusual diet, which includes light itself. She also devours the same spider-creatures that she mates with in the Ered Gorgoroth, and (presumably) the resulting offspring from these unions.
Giant Spider: Her form resembles one in shape (eight limbs, bloated sack-like belly, multiple eyes, venomous fangs, armored skin), and she is capable of weaving webs, but she is actually a demonic entity of (presumably) the same order as Sauron and the Balrogs, who assume humanoid forms. And instead of producing silk, she produces Unlight, which she weaves into her webs of darkness.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: When she is driven by her lust for light, which is damn near all the time, due to her...
Horror Hunger: Never seems to be satiated, no matter how much she consumes. There is even speculation in the text that she may have ultimately eaten herself.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: She is easily one of the most competent villains to serve Melkor, having made the Darkening of Valinor, the Theft of the Silmarils, and her and Melkor's flight to Middle-earth possible. She was even able to keep Tulkas, who otherwise would have pursued Melkor to the ends of the earth, at bay with her Unlight.
Karma Houdini: Despite poisoning the Two Trees, contributing as much harm as Melkor himself during the Darkening of Valinor, and becoming quite possibly one of the most powerful villains in the entire Tolkien legendarium by the time she last appears in the story, she never receives her comeuppance by the Noldor nor the Valar for her evil deeds, nor by Melkor for her treachery. Also see Screw This, I'm Outta Here! below.
She was meant to be killed by Eärendil in the South as part of his voyage into the West, but Tolkien never finished that part of the story.
Monster Progenitor: She is the mother of many evil half-spider demigods (including Shelob from The Lord of the Rings), thanks to her many unions with the giant spider-creatures of the Ered Gorgoroth.
Mother of a Thousand Young: Her brood are initially countless, although by the end of the Third Age, they seem to have dwindled to Shelob and her own offspring.
Parental Incest: Mates with her own offspring to make sure she'll never run out of other spiders to devour.
Psycho for Hire: Morgoth gets her to help ruin Valinor, despite how terrified she is, by offering to pay her in edible light. She's starving, so she agrees.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She attempts to abandon Melkor's service prior to the latter's capture by the Valar, and settled in a ravine in Avathar. Though she is successful in hiding from the hunters of the Valar, Melkor still found her in her lair, and forced her to work for him again.
She later does this when she is driven away by Melkor's Balrogs, and again after giving birth to her abominable offspring in Nan Dungortheb, by wandering into "the forgotten South of the world". Her true fate is unknown.
The Smurfette Principle: She is one of the only two female villains that appear in the book (the other being Thuringwethil,) and the only one that actually appears while alive.
In some stories printed in The History of Middle-earth, Tolkien noted that Ungoliant was killed by Eärendil on his voyages. He later dropped this idea and had her devour herself...possibly.
Ungoliant was originally a primeval spirit of Darkness, whose origins were completely unknown, though presumably a creature from the Void. This is changed in later versions of The Silmarillion, where it is more evident that she was one of the Maiar that served Melkor, until she deserted him.
Called the Father of Dragons, Glaurung was one of the greatest of Morgoth's servants in addition to being the first and progenitor of the great worms. He took over as The Dragon after Lúthien put Sauron out of commission. He fought at the Dagor Bragollach and the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, and commanded the force that sacked Nargothrond. He was also the primary enforcer of the curse of the House of Húrin, which he executed with tremendous skill and cruelty, only for this to result in his end when Túrin son of Húrin killed him.
Achilles' Heel: His soft underbelly, which his descendant Smaug will correct.
Alien Blood: His blood is either an extremely corrosive acid, scalding hot, or both.
Breath Weapon: He's an Urulókë, which literally means "fire-serpent."
The Chessmaster: Possibly. While he was the enforcer of the curse of the House of Húrin, it's unclear how much of this was his own machinations and how much was him following Morgoth's orders.
The Dragon: Both literally and figuratively (to Morgoth).
Father Of A Thousand Young: The entire species of Dragons was bred from Glaurung. That's a lot of children for one big reptile. While some are wingless fire drakes like him, there are also cold-drakes, classic flying dragons, and god only knows what else.
First Of Its Kind: Where exactly Glaurung came from is unknown, but he was undoubtedly the first fire-drake and ancestor of later dragons.
The Juggernaut: If you don't hit his achilles heel, Glaurung is all but unstoppable.
The Magnificent: One his epithets was "the Golden." There's also "The Father of Dragons".
Manipulative Bastard: The way he screws with Túrin is horrifically brilliant. Playing off the latter's pride, he manipulates him into abandoning Finduilas, wasting time running off to Hithlum, and marrying his sister.
Mind Control: His signature ability, as long as he can look a victim in the eye.
Monster Progenitor: The first of the fire-drakes, and eventual father of the entire race of dragons.
My Death Is Just the Beginning: With his last words, he brought Morgoth's curse to terrible fulfilment. Not that he was planning to die, but he sure took advantage of that event.
Our Dragons Are Different: For one thing, he's a wingless Urulókë rather than a winged dragon, therefore resembling those from Norse mythology. For another, he's a Manipulative Bastard in the same vein as Sauron, who enforces a curse with skill and panache.
Gothmog was the Lord of Balrogs and High-Captain of Angband, one of Melkor's greatest servants. He was the general of Melkor's armies, leading them in the Wars of Beleriand.
The Worf Effect: Introduced as the most terrible of werewolves but gets killed by Huan shortly after.
A mysterious character mentioned in the Lay of Leithian. She was a vampire that took the form of a bat serving Sauron as a messenger. Next to nothing is known of her or her kind, but she is often referenced in the discussion whether vampires exist in Middle-earth.
The Smurfette Principle: Almost all of the truly evil bad guys are indeed guys.The only other female villain is Ungoliant, and she too is a loner who just happened to side with Melkor momentarily. This makes Thuringwethil the only known female in the servitude of Melkor.
Morgoth knew the prophecy that Huan the great hound could only ever be killed by "the mightiest werewolf to ever live." So he bred Carcharoth for that exact purpose, feeding him (live) Elves and Men and filling him with power.
Angry Guard Dog: He was the guardian of the gates of Angband. Lúthien was able to enchant him to allow her and Beren to get in. Pity he woke up when they came out...
Expy Of Fenrir from Norse Mythology. He has shades of Cerberus from Greek Mythology as well.
Or Garm, the equivalent of Cerberus in Norse Mythology.
The Paragon: As noted above, the mightiest werewolf to ever live.
Rampage from a Nail: Although evil and violent to begin with, after he bites off Beren's hand and swallows the Silmaril he goes on an absolute rampage. Probably one of the most extreme examples in deadliness, both in terms of the pain and the rampage.
The First Generation of Elven Royalty
Notice that all the characters in this folder aren't necessarily of the first generation of Elves, but they're the founding members of the royal Elven houses. Most of the plot of The Silmarillion stems from the drama they started.
The High King of the first Elven clan, the Vanyar or Fair Elves. Also considered to be the High King of all Elves. Ingwë was one of the three envoys brought to Valinor by Oromë, making him one of the first Elves to see the light of the Two Trees. All of his people, the Vanyar, followed him to the West, and only a few took part in Fëanor's rebellion. Ingwë never again set foot on Middle-earth, and rules all the Elves of Valinor from Taniquetil, beneath the throne of Manwë. His niece Indis married Finwë.
100% Adoration Rating: Though some of the Noldor — especially in the House of Fëanor — might have different opinions.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The ruler of the Fair Elves, the wisest and holiest of the elven peoples, who almost all have golden hair. Unlike the other two clans, every last one emigrated to Valinor, where they live especially close to the Valar. Many other golden-haired elves in the story, such as Finrod and Galadriel, inherited theirs from his niece, Indis.
Meaningful Name: Christopher Tolkien notes that his name is probably a reference to "Yngvi," an alternate name for the god Frey, king of the light-elves in Norse Mythology.
Royal Blood: Having him in your family tree instantly makes you a person of importance, and many characters in the legendarium indeed are his relatives in a way or another. It goes as far as Eldarion, the son of Aragorn and Arwen.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Mentioned specifically for being a rare Middle-earth aversion. While he is looked up as the Highest of the High, after leading his people into Valinor he ceases to be an active part of the story. His influence is only seen through his descendants.
The High King of the second Elven clan, the Noldor or Deep Elves. Finwë accompanied Ingwë and his dear friend Elwë as the first Elves to see Valinor. His first wife, Míriel, died not long after giving birth to their son Fëanor, and he married Indis, Ingwë's niece. However, it didn't work as well as he hoped. When Fëanor was exiled from Tirion for threatening to murder his half-brother Fingolfin, Finwë went with him to Formenos out of love. Melkor slew Finwë there when he stole the Silmarils, making Finwë the first victim of violence and murder in the Blessed Realm.
Divorce Requires Death: Finwë's intention of getting married with Indis after Míriel's death causes much ado, as from the point of view of the Valar and the Elves this would have meant he had two wives. Eventually the Valar decided they can get married, but only if Míriel remains in the Halls of Mandos for ever. Finwë initially just hopes the news will convince Míriel to finally come back to life, but she refuses, so he remarries.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ultimately. After he dies and meets Míriel again in the Halls of Mandos, he tells her all that has happened since her death, and she starts yearn to live again. Because the Valar have decided he cannot have two living wives, he chooses to stay dead himself so that Míriel can return to life. Even Mandos approves.
Love Epiphany: While still mourning Míriel, he walks up the mountain of Taniquetil where Ingwë's family lives, and seeing him Indis is so happy she spontaneously bursts into a song. Hearing her singing makes Finwë realize their mutual feelings.
Love Hurts: Oh does it ever... when your wife dies and you know you will never join her.
Parents as People: Tries his best to be a good husband and a father, but is somewhat biased towards Fëanor, and doesn't always make the best of choices. Both in-universe and in the fandom, some consider his decision to marry Indis to be a mistake in the first place.
Parent with New Paramour: Though Fëanor never gives it a chance, even refusing to live with them and moving out as soon as he could after the marriage.
Finwë's first wife and the mother of Fëanor. Giving birth to him exhausted her of all her strength, and she wished to die a true, mortal death. As an immortal Elf, this was beyond her reach. Instead she departed from her body and willingly passed into the Halls of Mandos. She refused to return to the world of the living even though Finwë begged her many times. Because of this, Finwë was granted the right to marry Indis on the condition Míriel would never return, as one man cannot have two living wives by Valarin law. Even knowing this, Míriel still refused reincarnation.
Death by Childbirth: An unusual example of the trope: she doesn't die in childbirth or immediately after, but becomes so exhausted and weary of life that she desires death and doesn't last much longer.
First Girl Wins: It seem like she loses and Indis is victorious, but it becomes more and more clear that even when with Indis, Finwë can't forget Míriel, and in the end their marriage is more or less over. Finwë claims he loves them both just as much.
It Is Pronounced Tropay: She speaks an archaic form of Quenya that has fallen out of use with the other Elves, and insists that her epithet at least is pronounced as she prefers it ("Therindë" instead of "Serindë".) Fëanor turns the pronunciation difference into a political shibboleth in his feud against his half-brothers.
Motor Mouth: Not quite. She is proud of her skill to speak fast while remaining understandable.
Pride: Fëanor inherited his from her, along with a stubborn streak wider than a continent.
The niece of High King Ingwë, the second wife of High King Finwë, and the mother of Fingolfin, Finarfin, and their two sisters (Findis and Írimë) who never get mentioned. Indis had loved Finwë for a long time, and when he was widowed she brought joy back into his life. However, Míriel's shadow didn't leave their family.
Romancing the Widow: She loved him from afar for years, without any bitterness when he married another woman, but she couldn't help letting her love for him show when he visited her uncle after his wife died.
The High King of the third Elven clan, the Teleri ("last-comers"). He remained in Middle-Earth and became the king of the Sindar, or Grey Elves, a branch of Teleri who stayed in Middle-Earth. His brother Olwë became the king of those Teleri who journeyed to Valinor. See below under House of Thingol for tropes pertaining to him.
After Elwë's disappearance, the Teleri who did not stay to search for him chose his brother Olwë as their new High King. Olwë reluctantly left Middle-Earth to lead his people to the Blessed Realm, where they settled on its outer shores. This small remnant of the Teleri became known as the Falmari, or Sea Elves. Olwë's daughter Eärwen married Finwë's son, Finarfin, making Olwë the grandfather of Finrod and Galadriel. When Fëanor came to the Falmari demanding ships, Olwë refused, and Fëanor slaughtered Olwë's people — the Kinslaying. Olwë survived and helped his people recover.
The House of Fëanor
Fëanor was the son of Finwë, King of the Noldorin Elves. His spirit was so fiery that the strain of giving birth to him eventually killed his mother. He was the greatest of the elves in craftsmanship, and one of the most knowledgeable. Unfortunately, he was also extremely proud and arrogant. Fëanor swore revenge on Morgoth when Morgoth murdered his father and stole the Silmarils (holy jewels) he had made, and led the Noldor out of Valinor into Middle-Earth to fight him, slaughtering the Teleri to steal their ships and betraying his half-brothers' people by abandoning them. Fëanor was killed in battle by Gothmog shortly after arriving in Beleriand; his rage was so great, his spirit incinerated his body as it left.
Accidental Murder: His youngest son, Amras, wanted to sail back home. Knowing this, Fëanor burned his ship — later to hear that Amras was in it at the time.note This did not happen in the 1977 Silmarillion
Aloof Big Brother: To Fingolfin and Finarfin. He wanted nothing at all to do with them.
And I Must Scream: Because of Fëanor's crimes and/or refusal to repent them, after his death he was imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos until the end of the world.
The Atoner: According to information about the Dagor Dagorath, Fëanor's spirit will be freed in time for the last battle against darkness, and to give the Silmarils to Yavanna so that the Two Trees can be revived.
Badass: Oh, yes. He fought all the Balrogs at once, and granted they mortally wounded him — but he still didn't die until after his sons had chased them away.
Badass Bookworm: One of his earliest achievements was when he invented the modern Elvish alphabet. It just goes on from there.
Byronic Hero: Fëanor didn't give a crap about anybody's concepts of morality, not even the archangels appointed by God to oversee the universe. He single-mindedly insisted on his way until it killed him.
Cain and Abel: He was the Cain to his half-brothers Fingolfin's and Finarfin's split role of Abel. He threatened to murder Fingolfin in cold blood and later abandoned him to cross the Grinding Ice on foot.
Conspiracy Theorist: He believed that the sound change of th > s in Quenya was a conspiracy of the Valar against him and his mother, and used it as a political litmus test in his feud over his brothers' (equally nonexistant) plots against him. Ironically, most elven scholars believed that the change was a mistake, but Fëanor made it so political that he turned every sympathetic ear against him.
Create Your Own Villain: Fëanor delusionally believed that the Valar were plotting against him and the Noldor, and that his brothers planned to take his place. This caused him to antagonize them, which by time and enough Dog Kicking on Fëanor's part turned them against him for real. Ultimately, the Noldor were ruined and (temporarily) abandoned by the Valar, and the House of Fëanor lost not only its place as the leading House of the Noldor, but any place it had amongst the elves at all.
Determinator: To a point. He and his house made it to Beleriand after breaking the "necessary" eggs, and annihilated Morgoth's army, but he was mortally wounded in combat with multiple Balrogs... Balrogs whom he had stupidly chased while they were in retreat with the Orc army, and then refused to flee when they turned to attack him.
Green-Eyed Monster: Jealous of his father's affection (despite being and remaining the favorite), Fëanor never gave his stepmother a chance, and despised his half-siblings before they were even born.
Heroic BSOD: Thanks to Melkor, who else. When he hears the news of what has happened in Formenos, he falls down to the ground unable to speak, then curses Melkor renaming him as Morgoth ("the Dark Enemy"), and runs into the night, crying. The other Elves seriously worried he'd become suicidal.
He Who Fights Monsters: Let's take stock: Massacre? Yep, killed the Teleri. Betrayal? Yep, abandoned 2/3 of the Noldor forces because they weren't solely loyal to him. Accidentally murdered his own son? Check. He also rebelled against the legitimate kinship of Manwë.
Hot-Blooded: Oh so very much. His name doesn't mean "Spirit of Fire" for nothing.
I Gave My Word: The "Oath of Fëanor", swearing by Ilúvatar, Manwë, Varda, and Mount Taniquetil to reclaim the Silmarils, no matter the cost in other peoples' lives.
Ironic Echo: When Fëanor gave his speech to convince the Noldor to go war against Morgoth, he wound up repeating several of Morgoth's lies. By that point, he probably believed them.
Jerkass: His behavior towards the other houses of the Noldor was obnoxious and threatening, even before he started murdering elves.
Loners Are Freaks: While having a close relationship with his father, and a family of his own, Fëanor had certain antisocial tendencies, which is always a bad sign in this legendarium. He worked alone, accepted no advice from anyone save Nerdanel, often kept his findings secret from his colleagues, didn't live with his father's new family or apparently not at any fixed point, but wandered around the far reaches of Valinor with his sons...
Lost Technology: And Lost Scientific Knowledge in general, thanks to him keeping much of his superior knowledge to himself rather than sharing it with his colleagues. This is why nobody knows how the Fëanorian Lamps work, or has extensive knowledge of the Valarin language.
Mad Scientist: Fëanor created the Silmarils to capture the light of Valinor, yet also refused to give them up to save the Two Trees of Valinor.
Married to the Job: Varies. Sometimes Fëanor was absolutely devoured by his work, but then lost interest and dropped the project without a second thought. Because of this, many of his works were left unfinished.
Missing Mom: The start of his angst and general problems, though hardly an excuse.
Rousing Speech: Naturally, as Fëanor was just that good at everything, he was also a great orator when he put his mind to it. Unfortunately. His speeches had the tendency to make relatively sensible people do stupid things and later ask "What the hell were we thinking?" For the Noldor, the regret came too late.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: He was also a king who actually did some things. Pretty insane, horrible, evil things, mind, but things nonetheless. And he certainly wasn't staying at the rear in battles — in fact, that's what killed him.
Sibling Rivalry: With his half-siblings, especially Fingolfin. When remarrying, his father and stepmother did their best to make him feel wanted, and his siblings also tried to be friends with him. Fëanor didn't cooperate, and finally his own behaviour caused his conspiracy theories to come true.
Teen Genius: Improved on the work of previous masters while still in his youth.
Übermensch: Peerless craftsman and inventor, brilliant linguist, devastatingly skilled orator, fierce warrior, the father of more children than any other Elf in recorded history.
That last probably has more to do with his wife than him, not that he didn't play a rather large role in their creation. It's just that giving birth is specifically stated to be spiritually draining for elf women, so giving birth to seven children showcases Nerdanel's own power instead. Which makes sense, considering that this is Fëanor's wife we're talking about here.
Ultimate Blacksmith: Created the Silmarils, the Palantíri, and the Fëanorian Lamps, besides more mundane things like weapons and armor (that a peaceful society in a worldly paradise never actually needed).
The Unfettered / Violence Is the Only Option / Murder Is the Best Solution: You hear rumours that your half-brother wants to usurp your place as the heir and your father's favourite? Wear armor and threaten him with your sword in front of the whole court. Morgoth kills your father, steals your precious Silmarils and flees to the Middle-Earth? Start the rebellion with your fellow Noldor against him and his "accomplices", The Valar. The Teleri don't want to give your army their ships, which are needed to cross the sea betweeen Valinor and Middle-Earth? Massacre them! The ships are only enough to carry the part of your army that is loyal exclusively to you? Cross the sea, leave other part of the army, lead by your aforementioned half-brother, and burn the ships! The enemy flees before your army to their fortress? Chase them! Kill them all!!! You lie dying of your wounds? Order your sons to fulfill the Oath you gave to get the Silmarils back no matter the cost.
Unwitting Pawn: Fëanor already hated Melkor with a passion in Valinor and refused to have anything to do with him. Unfortunately, he didn't realize that Melkor was subtly manipulating his dreams, suspicions, and pride, which ultimately turned Fëanor against his own half-brothers and the Valar themselves.
The daughter of the renowed Noldorin smith Mahtan, Nerdanel was a strong and intelligent woman. She was a gifted sculptor and a blacksmith, even though smithery was usually seen as something belonging to men. She and Fëanor met and married young. They had seven children, more than any other Elven couple ever. Nerdanel was the only person Fëanor took advice from, but later on his growing instability and foul deeds separated them, causing her to finally leave him.
Birds of a Feather: While she lacked Fëanor's rashness, stubbornness, and egoism, essentially they were very similar in nature. They were both adventurous, very gifted in their chosen field(s), and loved knowledge, science, and the arts.
Daddy's Girl: Perhaps, as Nerdanel inherited most of her qualities from Mahtan, shared his masculine interests, and in some versions, after breaking up with Fëanor, she moved back home to live with him.
Divorce Assets Conflict: Her and Fëanor's break-up did not go nicely. During their last meeting, Nerdanel begged Fëanor to leave a few of their children with her. In the end, Fëanor refused.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After establishing their rule in the new realms of Beleriand, Nerdanel's and Fëanor's sons took new Sindarin names by translating their old Quenya names into Sindarin. Only Curufin used the name that he had received from Fëanor, all of the others used the names that Nerdanel had given them.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Fëanor's Red. Nerdanel calmed him down and gave Fëanor wise advice as long as she possibly could.
Tomboy: In contrast to most other elven women, Nerdanel had a very masculine profession and enjoyed being outdoors.
Trophy Wife: Subverted in-universe. When Fëanor chose her as his wife, some elves were surprised by this since Nerdanel wasn't "among the most beautiful" of the elven ladies out there - possibly a reference to her ruddy complexion.
Women Are Wiser: More balanced that Fëanor, for all her tomboyish qualities.
The oldest son of Fëanor and Nerdanel. Maedhros was more temperate and less rash than his younger brothers, but only relatively speaking: he was still rash by normal standards. Maedhros was captured by Morgoth, tortured, and then chained to Thangorodrim by his right hand. He was finally rescued by his cousin and best friend, Fingon, but at the expense of his hand. He later became one of the leaders of the Noldor in the war against Morgoth, ruling his brothers' hosts from the hill of Himring, but ultimately failed because of the Oath. Later on, Maedhros came to hate and regret the Oath and the awful deeds he had committed to regain the Silmarils. He was one of the few to survive the war against Morgoth, but after he tried to steal back the Silmarils, they burnt his hand so badly that he leapt into a fiery chasm to escape the pain.
Fantastic Racism: Yes, the Sindar lacked the military might to defend their homes from the Orc hordes. No, that did not give the Noldor the right to just steal their land willy-nilly.
Fiery Redhead: He was actually less vicious than his father and brothers, but still fierce, rash, and not particularly wise or patient.
Handicapped Badass: His right hand was cut off. His left hand proved to be more deadly to the orcs.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: When captured by Morgoth and chained to a cliff. Fingon almost shot him, but instead decided free Maedhros by cutting off his hand.
I Gave My Word: He and all of his brothers took the Oath of Fëanor, their father, to do anything necessary to recover the Silmarils, even if it meant sacking the last elvish haven in Beleriand. He and Maglor were the only ones who didn't die in battle because of this Oath.
Life or Limb Decision: Maedhros had to choose between death or having his hand cut off so he could be freed of a chain that restrained him.
Master Swordsman: He became a better swordsman with his left hand than he'd been with his right. The orcs would flee in terror from him during battle.
Mr. Fanservice: His Quenya name means "Well-formed one." Has loads and loads of fangirls.
My God, What Have I Done?: When Maedhros learned that his followers had kidnapped Dior's seven-year-old twin sons, Eluréd and Elurín, and left them to starve to death in a forest in the middle of winter, he finally realized that this kinslaying business was wrong and tried for a long time to find and save them. He foreswore the Oath and continued to feel terrible about the kinslaying, but didn't become The Atoner — instead Maedhros (reluctantly) helped slaughter the survivors at the Havens of Sirion, and convinced Maglor to kill the guards and steal the last Silmarils after the War of Wrath. From what little Tolkien wrote, it isn't clear whether the Oath was literally impossible to break, or if Maedhros just convinced himself it was.
Offered the Crown: Maedhros would have become High King of the Noldor after Fëanor's death, but he abdicated in favor of his uncle Fingolfin in an attempt to end the feud between him and the House of Fëanor.
Only Sane Man: Compared to his family. Which isn't saying much, admittedly.
The second son of Fëanor and Nerdanel. Maglor was reputed to be the most like their mother, resulting in wisdom and a gentler nature in comparison to the rest of his brothers. His forces guarded the pass of Maglor's Gap between Morgoth's lands and East Beleriand. He also survived the war and stole a Silmaril with his brother Maedhros, but cast the jewel into the sea when the pain of its burning overwhelmed him. He was the only son of Fëanor not reported to have died.
Cultured Badass: Noted for being one of the most skilled minstrels in Middle-earth history as well as a renowned warrior.
Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Despite the atrocities he took part in, Maglor raised Elrond and Elros to be wise, compassionate people, largely because of his regrets surrounding his pursuit of the Oath.
The Heart: Of the Sons of Fëanor. However, Maglor didn't seem to be too successful at spreading his influence onto his brothers.
Literary Agent Hypothesis: Maglor wrote the poem Noldolantë, describing the fall of Noldor. It's possibly one of the original sources Bilbo used to write his Translations from the Elvish, which in turn is the work Tolkien used to edit The Silmarillion.
Only Sane Man: Even more so than Maedhros. But being less fierce in nature, Maglor left the herding of their brother-herd to him.
Token Good Team Mate: Of the Sons of Fëanor, Maglor seemed the closest to fully repenting for his evil deeds.
Walking the Earth/Warrior Poet: The last time we hear of him, he is reported to be wandering on the shores of the world, singing in lamentation and pain.note However, Tolkien's latest word on his fate, in part of the "Lay of Leithian", apparently changed this story to suicide by drowning.
You Can't Go Home Again: Because he could not repent of his Oath he never returned to Aman, and either wandered the world in miserable solitude or took his own life.
The third son of Fëanor and Nerdanel. He and Curufin ruled the plain of Himlad in East Beleriand. Celegorm and Curufin captured Lúthien to stop her from helping Beren recover the Silmaril, but Celegorm's hound Huan turned on him because of his treachery and helped her escape. He and Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien, killed each other in the sack of Doriath when the Sons of Fëanor attempted to steal back the Silmaril.
Blond Guys Are Evil: Mentioned to have fair hair in one of the older versions. Part of the fandom ignore this as outdated, because golden hair is considered to be the signature mark of the good House of Finarfin. Cue to WMG of how he got his hair. Most fanartists illustrate him as a blond.
Brains and Brawn: He and Curufin had shades of this, with Celegorm as the brawn.
Disproportionate Retribution: After being turned down by Lúthien and embarassed by Beren, Celegorm encouraged his brothers to attack Doriath to take back the Silmaril by force. This led to the kingdom's downfall and many elven deaths.
Heroes Love Dogs: While still being heroic, and after turning villanous, he surely loved dogs — until they turned against him, at least. (And horses. Liking them seems to go hand-in-hand in Middle-Earth.)
Hot-Blooded: Even more so than his brothers. Especially clear when contrasted with his slimy little brother, Curufin.
Meaningful Name: His name means "hasty riser," referring to his quick temper and habit of jumping up when angered.
Mutual Kill: He and Dior, Beren and Lúthien's son, killed each other.
Platonic Life Partners: Celegorm was close friends with his half-cousin, Aredhel, who shared many of his favorite outdoor hobbies.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Curufin's blue. More obvious in The History of Middle-earth.
Rousing Speech: We're told he inherited his fathers oratory skills. He used them to convince the elves of Nargothrond to his side.
Those Two Bad Guys: With Curufin in the Lay of Leithian, as they jointly cause problems for Beren and Lúthien.
Token Evil Team Mate: Even more so than Curufin. Like his brother, Celegorm craved power over his oath, but was also a sadistic brute to the point where he was one of the few elves who ever tried to commit rape. And while Tolkien at least made a belated effort to give his brother a Pet the Dog moment, he never tried to make Celegorm anything other than a thuggish monster.
The fourth son of Fëanor and Nerdanel, and "the harshest and most quick to anger," which is saying a lot in this family. He ruled the land of Thargelion to the east of Beleriand, where he prospered from trading with the dwarves. Caranthir accepted the aid of the Swarthy Men in the war against Morgoth, but the tribe of Ulfang betrayed the Union of Maedhros at a critical moment, costing them the Fifth Battle. He died in battle while attacking Doriath.
Anti-Villain: Type I. He didn't doubt his actions like some of his brothers, but had a couple of Pet the Dog moments, such as his rescue of Haleth's tribe.
Big Damn Heroes: Showing up to save Haleth and her people at the last possible moment. While playing trumpets, of course. Why? This is Middle-Earth.
Elves VS Dwarves: Averted. Granted, this was before Elves VS Dwarves really kicked off, but even then Caranthir got along with dwarves much better than most elves — apparently because of his interest in crafting, and because his gruff temperament was closer to theirs. He landed a monopoly on the very profitable trade routes to the dwarven cities as a result.
Fantastic Racism: Played with. He apparently despised non-Noldorin elves (even erroneously slurring Thingol as a "Dark Elf" living in a cave, Thingol not technically being a Dark Elf). And while he developed a mutually-beneficial business arrangement with the dwarves, Caranthir didn't try to hide his prejudice against their non-elven appearance. He was initially racist towards Men, as well. Then Haleth's courage made him change his mind about them. This led to him trusting Ulfang's sons...
The Unfavourite / Middle Child Syndrome: While not obvious, there appears to be enough hints for various fans to independently conclude that Caranthir was Fëanor's unfavourite, or at least the one who got the least amount of attention. Him being the least attractive in appearence and personality, having no particular gift, not being the oldest or the youngest, being stuck between the handsome Celegorm and the official favourite Curufin, and being a sulky loner are considered to be valid clues. Cue to him having an inferioritycomplex towards his brothers being a rather popular Fanon portrayal of him...
The fifth son of Fëanor and Nerdanel. Curufin most fully inherited his father's talent in craftsmanship and ruled Himlad with Celegorm. He aided Celegorm's plans to kill Finrod and usurp his throne, and to ransom Lúthien, and tried to kill her when it failed, but wounded Beren instead. Because of his treachery, Thingol refused to join the Union of Maedhros. Curufin died in the attack on Doriath. His son, Celebrimbor, inherited his skill and was the creator of the Rings of Power.
Big Bad Wannabe: His main priority, even over his oath, was seizing control of the other elven kingdoms. He had some success at first, but eventually his ego caught up with him.
The Blacksmith: Just like his father and his son. Curufin inherited Fëanor's skills and interest in crafts to the greatest extent among the brothers.
Brains and Brawn: Had shades of this with Celegorm. He was the brains to Celegorm's brawn.
The Chessmaster: What Curufin was aiming for. He managed to pull it off for a while, until the pawns saw through it.
Jerk Ass: All of the Sons of Fëanor were jerks to some extent, but Curufin was the brains behind the plan to have their cousin Finrod killed in Sauron's torture chambers, which would have allowed the Fëanorians to steal his throne. He also showed no remorse or hesitation in this or the Kinslaying at Doriath.
Like Father, Like Son: Of all seven sons, he was the most similar to Fëanor in appearance, temperment, and skills, making him...
Parental Favoritism: Fëanor's favorite son. Fëanor in fact gave him the name his own father had given him - Curufinwë in Quenya, which became Curufin in Sindarin.
Pet the Dog: A very curious case of the author wanting to give such a moment, but not quite succeeding. Tolkien wrote that he felt Curufin appeared more villainous than he really was because he was mostly present in the "Lay of Leithian," where he had the role of a ruthless antagonist. To change this, Tolkien wrote a scene where Curufin's cousin, Aredhel, was escaping from her Domestic Abuser husband Eöl, and Curufin captured Eöl when he was hot on her trail. Curufin was perfectly capable of killing Eöl there and then, and none of his men would have objected. However, Curufin spared Eöl because killing him would have been cold blooded murder, and even Curufin had standards. Nonetheless, Curufin is chiefly remembered as a pure-bred villain, so the effect wasn't great enough. Considering how awful Eöl was, using him as a favorable comparison just didn't cut it for readers.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Celegorm's Red. Compare their respective speeches to the people of Nargothrond.
Smug Snake: His methods of taking over Nargothrond are just smarmy, manipulative, underhanded, and nasty.
Those Two Bad Guys: With Celegorm in the Lay of Leithian, as they jointly cause problems for Beren and Lúthien.
Token Evil Team Mate: Unlike his brothers, who were driven to evil by their oath, Curufin actively wanted power to the point where he planned to rule all the elven kingdoms.
You're Not My Father: At the receiving end of this by his son Celebrimbor, who repudiated him and refused to follow him when he and Celegorm were cast out of Nargothrond.
The sixth son of Fëanor and Nerdanel, and the twin brother of Amras. In the 1977 Silmarillion, Amrod ruled East Beleriand with Amras and died alongside him in the Third Kinslaying; but according to The History of Middle-earth X: Morgoth's Ring, Amrod was shocked by his father's deeds and planned to sail one of the ships back to Valinor to reunite with his mother, and Fëanor accidentally killed him by burning the ship he was sleeping in.
Accidental Murder: Intended to return to Valinor and stayed behind on his ship. Fëanor was aware of his plans and burned the ships to stop anyone from going back, unaware that Amrod was still onboard. He was dismayed to find out the truth when Amras came to ask him if he had awakened Amrod before setting the ships on fire.
Fiery Redhead: We don't know much about the guy's personality, but from what we do know, the twins were just as fierce and violent as their siblings.
Momma's Boy: Apparently, even back in Valinor. When Fëanor and his host were about to leave for Middle-Earth, Nerdanel begged her husband to leave a few of their sons with her, or at least Amrod, hinting that he was her favourite. (The other possibility is that she knew he'd die if he left.)
Prophetic Names: Named Umbarto, "Fated," by his mother Nerdanel. Fëanor was bothered by such an ominous name, and pretended to have misheard it as Ambarto.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Attempted. However, it's doubtful that Amrod would have been allowed back to Valinor, considering he had sworn the Oath of Fëanor and participated in the First Kinslaying.
Single-Minded Twins: Amrod and Amras both looked and behaved very similarily and may have been mistaken for each other as children. However, as the twins matured, Amras' hair grew darker and others were finally able to tell them apart.
Theme Twin Naming: Originally, Nerdanel gave both twins the name "Ambarussa." Fëanor objected to this, pleading that the boys would at least have different names. This led to the above Prophetic Names situation. The twins still called each other Ambarussa.
The youngest son of Fëanor and Nerdanel, and the twin brother of Amrod. Amras claimed rulership of the lands of East Beleriand, where he became a great hunter. He died in the attack on the Havens of Sirion, in pursuit of a Silmaril.
Fiery Redhead: We don't know much about the guy's personality, but from what we do know, the twins were just as fierce and violent as their siblings.
Parental Favoritism: Fëanor seemed to love him more than Amrod. It didn't seem to come between them at all.
Single-Minded Twins: Amrod and Amras both looked and behaved very similarily and may have been mistaken for each other as children. However, as the twins matured, Amras' hair grew darker and others were finally able to tell them apart.
Theme Twin Naming: Originally, Nerdanel gave both twins the name "Ambarussa." Fëanor objected to giving them both the same name, and Amrod was renamed. However, they still called each other Ambarussa.
The son of Curufin. Celebrimbor survived the ruin of Beleriand and settled in the elven realm of Eregion in the Second Age, which he ruled after Galadriel and Celeborn relocated to Lothlórien. Like his father and grandfather, Celebrimbor was the greatest smith of his age. Against Galadriel's advice, he created the Rings of Power with the disguised Sauron, but suspecting his partner, he created the Three Rings of the Elves in secret, which were not corrupted by the Dark Lord. When the treachery was uncovered, Sauron declared war on Eregion and slew Celebrimbor, but not before the Three Rings were entrusted to Gil-galad and Galadriel.
Anti-Villain: Type IV. Acording to one version of his story in Unfinished Tales, Celebrimbor overthrew Galadriel's rule of Eregion in a bloodless coup.
The Atoner: Celebrimbor worked hard to make up for his family's wrongdoing. When he finally realized Sauron was a demon who'd tricked him, he finally took Galadriel's advice and willingly gave away the Three Rings (giving one to her) — in contrast to Fëanor, who wouldn't give up the Silmarils even to save the Two Trees.
Cruel and Unusual Death: In the more detailed Second Age history published in Unfinished Tales, Celebrimbor was captured in the invasion of Eregion, and tortured and executed by Sauron. Whatever Sauron did to him was so awful that he gave up the locations of the Seven Rings, though he held out on the locations of the Three.
Horrible Judge of Character: Granted, Sauron was in disguise as a normal Maia and claimed to be an emissary from the Valar. But when his close friend Galadriel saw through the disguise, Celebrimbor still believed Sauron instead of her.
Interspecies Friendship: With the dwarf Narvi, who helped him build the Doors of Durin. It was a very unusual friendship, since the elves and dwarves mostly didn't get along after the fall of Doriath.
Tragic Hero: He tried to make up for what his family screwed up but his gullibility and ambition played right into Sauron's hands.
Unwitting Pawn: Of Sauron, though he finally realized the deception before it was too late to repent.
The House of Fingolfin
The oldest son of Finwë and Indis, half-brother of Fëanor, and full brother of Finarfin. Husband of Anairë and father of Fingon, Turgon, Aredhel, and Argon. When Fëanor rebelled against the Valar, he joined so as not to leave the Noldor solely to his leadership, but took no part in the Kinslaying. He and his host were betrayed by Fëanor, who stranded them on the shores of Valinor; Fingolfin led them on foot across the Grinding Ice in the utter north to enter Middle-Earth. After Fëanor's death, Maedhros waived his right to kingship in gratitude to Fingon, and Fingolfin became High King of the Noldor. He ruled Hithlum to the north of Beleriand, to maintain the Siege of Angband. When it broke, Fingolfin went to Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat, where he perished.
Badass: He fought Melkor, injuring his face seven times (injuries that caused Morgoth constant pain from then on), slashing his foot, and finally crippling him, before being slain. Hell, the only reason Morgoth managed to kill him was because he got tired.
Cain and Abel: He was the Abel to Fëanor's Cain. Unlike Finarfin, he did get caught up in the feud at least to some extent, but he still tried to reconcile with Fëanor and readily forgave him for threatening to murder him.
Cool Horse: Rochallor, who refuses to leave his master during his duel with Morgoth, even though they are surrounded by the host of Angband.
I Shall Taunt You: Morgoth was not rushing to answer the door when Fingolfin came knocking at the gates of Angband. Fingolfin had to call him craven, knowing Morgoth's minions would hear, to force the Evil Overlord to battle him personally rather than just commanding his orcs and Balrogs to Zerg Rush the Elf-King.
The Power of Hate: After Morgoth broke the siege of Angband, killing thousands of his people, Fingolfin got so angry and desperate that he decided to challenge Morgoth to single combat, and rode to Angband alone. His anger was so great that none even considered challenging him, until he taunted Morgoth out of Angband.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Seen as calm-headed, legitimate, and reasonable by the majority of the Noldor, which was why they much preferred him over Maedhros as High King.
The oldest son of Fingolfin and Anairë, brother to Turgon, Aredhel, and Argon, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. He joined his father in exile. Upon arriving in Middle-Earth and learning of his friend Maedhros's capture, Fingon climbed Thangorodrim and rescued him, partially healing the rift caused by Fëanor's betrayal. He served as a vassal of Fingolfin in Hithlum and later led the Noldor after his father's death. Fingon himself was killed in battle by Gothmog only a few years later.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Went down in a duel with Gothmog the balrog, our resident Hero Killer. He was actually holding his own against Gothmog and went down only after another Balrog tied him up with his whip, after which Gothmog sliced his helmeted head open with his axe; the axe cutting the helmet produced white sparkles like fire.
Leeroy Jenkins: A minor example: while less hot-blooded than some of his kin, Fingon had some tendency to recklessness. He ended up joining the Kinslaying at Alqualondë when he arrived in the midst of the fighting, found the Noldor and Teleri killing each other, and jumped in without trying to find out the cause.
The son of Fingon* in the 1977 Silmarillion; this was an error on Christopher Tolkien's part. JRRT settled on him being Orodreth's son and the High King of the Noldorin Exiles after Turgon's death. Gil-galad remained king throughout the Second Age, ruling from Lindon, and befriended the Men of Númenor and, later, Arnor and Gondor. He received two of the Three Rings of the Elves, but gave Vilya to his herald, Elrond, and Narya to his friend, Círdan. He was killed in Mordor in the War of the Last Alliance.
Last of His Kind: The last High King of the Noldor in Middle-Earth. Elrond and Galadriel were his closest living relatives that still remained there, but neither claimed the title.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Everybody calls him Gil-galad, or sometimes Ereinion. His name at birth was Artanáro (Rodnor in Sindarin), which admittedly doesn't sound as nice. Out-of-Universe, Tolkien always called him Gil-galad while constantly changing his mind about the guy's real name.
Sacrificial Lion: After surviving the war with Morgoth and the first war with Sauron, he finally died fighting Sauron at the end of the Second Age.
Warrior Prince: The last of the House of Finwë. Also, the last of the line of Fingolfin.
The second son of Fingolfin and Anairë, brother to Fingon, Aredhel, and Argon, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. Turgon initially ruled Nevrast south of Hithlum, but a message from Ulmo caused him to lead his people to found the the secret city of Gondolin, which lasted longest of all the elven realms in the war against Morgoth. Turgon took up the kingship of the Noldor after Fingon's death. Turgon died in the sack of Gondolin when his tower collapsed with him in it. His sword Glamdring was presumably taken by the orcs and, millennia later, was found by Gandalf.
Cassandra Truth: Despite being repeatedly told that his city won't last forever (by a Man sent by a Vala, no less), he refused to evacuate.
Dreaming of Things to Come: How Ulmo prompted him to found Gondolin, and led him to discover the hidden valley of Tumladen where he would build it.
Going Down with the Ship: Or City. Turgon refused to leave Gondolin even when his daughter Idril begged him to, and chose to stay in his tower until it collapsed and killed him.
Hidden Elf Village: He was the King of Gondolin, whose existence was unknown even to other groups of Elves. It only fell to Morgoth when Húrin unwittingly revealed which mountain range it resided in.
You Can't Go Home Again: Missed his home city of Tirion so much that he built his own city of Gondolin to look like a perfect replica of it.
The daughter of Turgon and Elenwë, and the princess of Gondolin. Both the mortal hero Tuor and her cousin Maeglin loved her, but she distrusted Maeglin and married Tuor. She became the mother of Eärendil and the grandmother of Elrond and Elros. Unlike her father, who ignored the warning Tuor brought from Ulmo, Idril prepared for the coming doom and managed to save many of her subjects.
Dumb Blonde: Completely Averted. She was the only one in the whole doomed city who knew something had to be done, and thus urged Tuor to secretly build Idril's Secret Way, through which some of the citizens were able to escape when the attack finally came. Also the only one to realize that there was something wrong with Maeglin.
Interspecies Romance: With Tuor. The only non-tragic example of this in Tolkien's legendarium: her father accepted the marriage, they were happy together and it was stated (at least in early writings) that in the end Tuor was allowed to become an elf and thus immortal.
Missing Mom: Her mother Elenwë died during the perilous journey to Middle-Earth.
The adventurous, willful daughter of Fingolfin and Anairë, sister to Fingon, Turgon, and Argon, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. She initially resided with Turgon in Gondolin before tiring of the kingdom's isolation. Her brother reluctantly allowed her her to depart, leading to her capture by the Dark Elf Eöl, who coerced her into marriage and had a son with her, Maeglin.* In one version of the story he actually raped her by force (from "Quendi and Eldar"). Aredhel and Maeglin escaped back to Gondolin, but Eöl followed them and killed Aredhel; Eöl was executed for his crimes.
Faux Action Girl: Although she does get points for crossing through a dangerous (where isn't?) forest by herself. Though you could argue she wasn't even meant to be a real Action Girl in the modern sense, as she never joined any fight. She survived traveling around in wild country, and as Tolkien mentioned while discussing Lúthien, that wasn't something people expected of lonely noblewomen in that era.
Stockholm Syndrome: Originally held captive by Eöl, she eventually fell in love with him. Eöl used trickery rather than force to kidnap her, so for a long time she wasn't aware that she was being held a captive. As far as she knew, Eöl was just a nice guy who invited her to live with him after she got hopelessly lost.
Tomboy: Aredhel spent much of her time riding, hunting, and spending her time with the Sons of Fëanor.
Woman in White: Known as the White Lady of the Noldor, Aredhel was always arrayed in silver and white.
The son of Aredhel and Eöl. He learned smithcraft from his father and the dwarves, becoming one of the greatest smiths of the Noldor. After Eöl's death, Maeglin grew up in Gondolin and fell in love with his cousin, Idril, which was forbidden among the elves. When Tuor arrived and won Idril's heart, Maeglin's jealousy caused him to betray the city to Morgoth when he was captured by orcs. He was killed in the following battle by Tuor, while trying to murder Tuor and Eärendil.
Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Captured by Morgoth and tortured (or threatened with torture) into betraying Gondolin, he then tried to murder Tuor and Eärendil, apparently so he could rape Idril.
The Blacksmith: And he was dark, moody, scheming, and morally questionable, too! Tolkien loved this character type.
Glorfindel was a great elven warrior from the hidden elf city of Gondolin. When the city was attacked by Morgoth's armies and destroyed, Glorfindel died in a duel with a Balrog protecting the escaping survivors, including Idril and Eärendil. Later, he was allowed to reincarnate and leave the Halls of Mandos to live in Valinor. There he befriended Gandalf. He was then sent back into Middle-Earth to help in the fight against Sauron. In The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel lives in Rivendell, serving Elrond son of Eärendil, and came to rescue Aragorn and the Hobbits when they were chased by the Ringwraiths.
100% Adoration Rating: Glorfindel is 'most dearly beloved', to the point that when he dies defending fleeing refugees, they all stop running from the army that just destroyed their city long enough give him a proper burial.
Back from the Dead: Elves returning to life after death isn't that unusual, but Glorfindel seems to be the only one who also returned to Middle-Earth.
Badass: Going toe-to-toe with a Balrog cemented his status as a Badass.
Came Back Strong: When Glorfindel returned to Middle-Earth, he was even stronger and wiser than before.
One Steve Limit: Averted, then played straight. At first, Tolkien just reused the name Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings. The Elder Days Glorfindel had died, and having him come back would be pretty strange for such a minor character (normally, coming back to Middle-Earth from Valinor, after having died, would be a pretty major event, reserved for major characters). But then Tolkien later settled firmly on them being one and the same.
Taking You with Me: Glorfindel and the Balrog both fell down from the narrow mountain path they were fighting on into the depths. Interestingly, he was actually on the receiving end of it. He managed to stab the Balrog in the stomach, but the Balrog pulled him off the edge as it went down.
The House of Finarfin
The youngest son of Finwë and Indis, half-brother of Fëanor, and full brother of Fingolfin. Husband of Eärwen and father of Finrod, Angrod, Aegnor, and Galadriel. Taking after his Vanyarin mother, Finarfin was the wisest and kindest of the three, and tried to stay away from his brothers' quarrels. Instead, he preferred the company of the sea-loving Teleri, and married Eärwen, the daughter of Olwë, the king of Teleri in Valinor and the brother of Thingol. This put him into a very uncomfortable position during the unfortunate events that came. Finarfin didn't want to leave Valinor, and when most of the Noldor and his family — including all his children — went into exile, Finarfin turned back with some of the Noldor, becoming their High King in Tirion.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He inherited the golden hair of his mother Indis, and all of his descendants (until the children of Elrond) inherited it from him. He and his children are the wisest and calmest of the Noldorin princes, and unlike the other Houses, none of them got caught up in the Kinslaying, even by mistake. See also The Wise Prince.
The Wise Prince: Finarfin tried to have nothing to do with the feud between Fëanor and Fingolfin, spending a lot of his time among the Teleri instead of the Noldor. And unlike the other Noldorin princes, Finarfin was sensible enough to realize that the rebellion was a terrible mistake, and he quit to return to Valinor. He was willing to ask the Valar for pardon, which is why they made him king of the remaining Noldor in Tirion. He often gets branded as a wuss by the fans, but he's the one who led the non-rebel Noldor to battle against Morgoth's giant army in the final battle of Beleriand, so he was probably no slouch.
Youngest Child Wins: When Fëanor and Fingolfin argue which one should be the king and get themselves killed, Finarfin becomes the king instead.
The oldest son of Finarfin and Eärwen of the Teleri, brother to Angrod, Aegnor, and Galadriel, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. His epessë ('after-name', or epithet) is Dwarvish (specifically Sindarinized Khuzdul) meaning "hewer of caves," and it was given to him by the dwarves he hired and worked with to build the underground city of Nargothrond, of which he was king. He was also the first of the Eldar to meet Men, the Younger Children of Ilúvatar, and he helped secure territory for them to live in from Thingol, King of Doriath. Also nicknamed "Nóm the Wise" by Men.
Back from the Dead: It's briefly mentioned that he was allowed to return to life, and live with his father Finarfin and lover Amárië, both of whom stayed behind in Valinor.
Badass: Breaking his chains, and defeating a werewolf in unarmed combat.
Dreaming of Things to Come: How Ulmo prompted him to found Nargothrond in secret. He was also one of those elves who got prophetic dreams or insights periodically.
Dying Moment of Awesome: After Sauron imprisoned Finrod's party in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, he sent a werewolf to devour them one by one, until they revealed who they were and where they had come from. Sauron saved Finrod for last, because he could tell that Finrod was the one in charge. When the werewolf came for Beren, Finrod broke his bonds and killed it using nothing but his teeth and his bare hands, but he was mortally wounded during the fight.
Elves Versus Dwarves: Thoroughly averted. Finrod was a strong ally of the Dwarves (except the Petty-Dwarves) and they shared much knowledge with each other. The Dwarves bestowed the name "Felagund" upon him.
"I go now to my long rest in the timeless halls beyond the seas and the Mountains of Aman. It will be long ere I am seen among the Noldor again; and it may be that we shall not meet a scond time in death or life, for the fates of our kindreds are apart. Yet perchance even that sorrow shall in the end be healed. Farewell!" note The third sentence, referencing the Second Music, can be found in The History of Middle-earth V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, but was not included in the 1977 Silmarillion.
First Contact: He was the first Elda to meet Men. (Not the first Elf, as Men had already encountered Dark Elves in their journey, but the first Elf who had been to Valinor and knew of the Valar in detail).
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Finrod was golden-haired, like his father and siblings. He was also one of the wisest, friendliest, and most level-headed of all the princes of the Noldor, and the one who most loved and befriended mortals. He was one of two princes (the other being Turgon) chosen by Ulmo to create the Hidden Elf Villages to preserve the Elves until the Valar came to battle Morgoth. See Nice Guy.
Heroic Sacrifice: Finrod agreed to help Beren recover a Silmaril from Angband in respect of his oath to Barahir and because he recognized the quest's importance to fate, though he foresaw that he himself would certainly die in the quest. In the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, Felagund managed to break his bonds as a werewolf came to devour Beren (Sauron was saving Felagund for last, since he could tell this was someone important). He killed the werewolf barehanded but was mortally wounded during the fight.
Hidden Elf Village: Nargothrond, though not quite as hidden as Gondolin — Morgoth had some idea of the general geographical direction of Nargothrond (just not its actual location), whereas the location of Gondolin was completely unknown to him.
I Have Many Names: Most Noldor get a name from each parent at or soon after birth, and those in Middle-Earth have at least one Sindarin name. But admirers gave Finrod several flattering nicknames, because he was just that awesome.
Findaráto (difficult to translate) in Telerin — Sindarized to Finrod
Ingoldo, "The Noldo" in Quenya note Ironically, his Noldorin father named him in Telerin, and his Telerin mother named him in Quenya.
Finrod the Fair
Finrod the Faithful
Felakgundu, "Hewer of Caves" in Dwarvish — Sindarized to Felagund
Felagon, "Fair-Minded/Just/Generous Commander," a Sindarin wordplay on Felagund
Edennil, "Friend of [Mortal] Men" in Sindarin — Atandil in Quenya
I Owe You My Life: To Barahir son of Bregor, who saved him in a Big Damn Heroes moment in the Dagor Bragollach. Felagund gives him his ring, and he swears to come to the aid of Barahir, or any of his kin, in their time of need.
Kick the Dog: The caves of Nathgorond were orginally inhabited by the Petty-Dwarves until the Elves forced them out, leading to their extinction — though to be fair the details are too vague to know how direct Finrod's role in their eviction was. He likely had no clue they were there — the other Dwarves "despised" Petty-Dwarves and had "no compunctions" about taking (and selling) their land.
Memento MacGuffin: His ring, which he gave to Barahir (and which eventually found its way to Barahir's distant descendant, Aragorn).
Mentor: To Bëor and his followers; they named him Nóm, "Wisdom."
Mythology Gag: Originally, Tolkien referred to the Noldor as "Gnomes" due to the word's association with knowledge, but later decided against it. However, Felagund was given the name "Nóm the Wise" by Men, probably an out-of-universe reference to gnomes.
Nice Guy: Finrod was just exceptionally friendly, kind, and forgiving. He was such a nice guy that even when Thingol mistakenly accused him and his brothers of joining in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë (something none of the House of Finarfin did) and of slaughtering their mother's relatives, he said nothing in his own defense; he knew that he couldn't defend himself without bad-mouthing the Sons of Fëanor, and was too nice to do so. He also willingly went along with Beren's suicidal Quest for the Silmaril, knowing quite well he would die.
The Power of Rock: Felagund and Sauron had a Magic Music duel in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Unfortunately, Sauron rocked harder and Felagund, Beren, and their companions were subdued and thrown into the dungeons. note Tolkien's use of music and verse in his vague references to "magic" become Fridge Brilliance when you know that the Ainur sung the world into being. So if music can create the world, it stands to reason that it can also change it — especially given that it's always sung by either an Ainu (Sauron, Melian) or those taught by one (Felagund, Lúthien).
Psychic Powers: In addition to The Power of Rock, Finrod had the greatest "mind-reading" powers of any known elf. He got an automatic mental translation of everything mortal humans said to him, making linguistic barriers a snap to overcome, although this power didn't work in conversations with fellow elves. The book itself says that he "could read in the minds of Men such thoughts as they wished to reveal in speech, so that their words were easily interpreted."
Warrior Poet: Upon meeting Men for the first time, Finrod impressed them with his singing and harping.
The Wise Prince: Possibly the wisest prince among the Exiles, certainly one of the most level-headed, and also one of the nicest.
The second son of Finarfin and Eärwen of the Teleri, brother to Finrod, Aegnor, and Galadriel, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. He and his younger brother Aegnor ruled the highlands of Dorthonion until defeated and killed by invading armies of Morgoth. In early versions, Orodreth is his brother, in later versions Orodreth is his son. Very little is said of him, otherwise.
One Steve Limit: He and his brothers were all originally named Aráto. Finrod's name was then changed to Findaráto, Angrod's to Angaráto, and Aegnor's to Ambaráto. Thus, Finrod and Angrod in their Sindarized forms.note Aegnor's Sindarin name is based on his other Quenya name
In early versions, he is a son of Finarfin, in later versions he is the son of Angrod and therefore a grandchild to Finarfin. Originally granted lordship over Tol Sirion as a vassal to Finrod, when Sauron conquered it Orodreth retreated to Nargothrond, which he became lord of after Finrod's death. Killed by Glaurung in the sack of Nargothrond. Father of Finduilas. He's also supposed to be the father of Gil-galad, but Christoper Tolkien mistakenly made him the son of Fingon in the 1977 Silmarillion.
Daughter of Orodreth, friend of Túrin, and fiance of Gwindor before the Nírnaeth Arnoediad. When Gwindor returns to Nargothrond fourteen years later, her feelings for him were no longer the same, and she was torn in heart as she fell for Túrin. She was captured by orcs in the sack of Nargothrond; when Túrin elected to save his mother and sister instead of hernote who were never in danger to begin with, Glaurung having lied to him, Finduilas was murdered by the orcs.
Love Hurts: At the very least, love triangles involving your fiance and a guy from another species hurt.
Star-Crossed Lovers: With Túrin. In some versions (including the 1977 Silmarillion), the romantic interest is one-sided; in others, the feeling is mutual but unrequited.
The third son of Finarfin and Eärwen of the Teleri, brother to Finrod, Angrod, and Galadriel, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. He and his older brother Angrod ruled the highlands of Dorthonion until defeated and killed by invading armies of Morgoth. Aegnor was in love with the mortal woman Andreth, but didn't marry her for multiple reasons. Ironically, he died much before her.
Love at First Sight: He first saw Andreth as a reflection in the water while she was kneeled down to look into the waters of the lake Aeluin.
Star-Crossed Lovers: He was an immortal, she was a mortal. Even after death their fates were separated, as mortal souls leave the world altogether, journeying to an unknown destination, while the slain elves must remain in the Halls of Mandos for the rest of time.
Wartime Wedding: Elves avoid these, which was at least partially the reason he didn't marry Andreth.
Wild Hair: His hair was stiff and straight, stiking out of his head like golden flames.
The youngest child and only daughter of Finarfin and Eärwen of the Teleri, sister to Finrod, Angrod, and Aegnor, and cousin to the Sons of Fëanor. Galadriel was the wisest and most powerful of all Elven-women. Though she hated Fëanor, she took part in his rebellion out of a desire to rule her own kingdom in Middle-Earth. In the 1977 Silmarillion she travelled into Middle-Earth over the ice of Helcaraxë with the rest of the Noldor, and lived in Doriath where she met and married Celeborn. Later in The History of Middle-earth this was revised: she and Celeborn married already in Valinor and sailed into Middle-Earth on their own. During the Second Age, Galadriel took up in Eregion under Celebrimbor, and after its fall, she became the White Lady of Lothlórien. See The Lord of the Rings character sheet for tropes that apply to her in that work.
Canon Immigrant / God-Created Canon Foreigner: The Silmarillion is the original Middle-Earth mythos. Later upon writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien decided to move hobbits into the same universe as the Silm. In The Lord of the Rings, he came up with the character of Galadriel and took a liking to her. Long story short, he decided to add Galadriel into the original Silmarillion tales, too.
Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Like all the House of Finarfin, she has golden hair — in her case, gold intermixed with silver (inherited from her mother) to make her especially gorgeous. Like her siblings, she's wise and calm-headed and largely innocent of any wrongdoing in the rebellion of the Noldor. She even helped defend Alqualondë from the Fëanorians. In his last writings, Tolkien decided that Galadriel didn't even participate in the rebellion at all; she left Valinor separately, and was totally innocent. Unfortunately, nothing was ever revised to be compatible with this later story.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Like many other Middle-Earth characters, she is known in legends not by her birth name (Artanis Nerwen) but by the name given to her by her lover, Celeborn. Galadriel means Maiden Crowned With Radiant Gardland, a reference to her hair that is considered wondrous even by Elven standards.
Pride: Her reason for going into exile, and later for refusing the pardon of the Valar. Her Final Tempation in The Lord of the Rings was the moment she overcame this flaw.
Rewrite: Tolkien could never really make up his mind about what she was doing before The Lord of the Rings. Therefore, several alternative histories exist for her:
What is implied in The Lord of the Rings: that she came into Lórien from Beleriand before its destruction in the War of Wrath, and met and married there Celeborn, a local wood-elf.
What is written in the 1977 Silmarillion: that she was there the night Fëanor gave his infamous speech in Tirion, joined the exile out of Valinor, crossed Helcaraxë by foot, lived with Melian in Doriath and met and married there Celeborn, a local Sindar Elf.
What is written in much later texts: that she met and loved Celeborn, a Teleri Elf of Alqualondë, already in Valinor, that she joined the Noldorin rebellion but fought on the side of the Teleri in Alqualondë, and came to Middle-Earth across the Grinding Ice with her brothers.
What is written in the last document on the subject: that she met and married Celeborn in Valinor, and took no part whatsoever in Fëanor's rebellion, but sailed into Middle-Earth independently on a Telerin ship.
A prince of Nargothrond (vassal of the House of Finarfin but not related to them) and a friend of Túrin Turambar. Taken captive when he rushed out of cover impulsively in battle, he escaped from Morgoth's mines many years later and was rescued by Túrin. After Túrin's freakout upon killing Beleg, Gwindor took him to safety in Nargothrond. He was killed in Nargothrond's fall.
Age Without Youth: Although immortal, after decades of torture and forced labor under Morgoth's yoke, he was left scarred, maimed, and broken.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Gwindor's reaction when he found out that his betrothed, Finduilas, had fallen in love with Túrin. He did warn her, though, that Túrin had been cursed by Morgoth and had a dark destiny ahead of him, and that the Eldar and the Edain should not wed because of all the differences between them, save for a few exceptions Because Destiny Says So (he outright says "Túrin is not Beren"). Túrin, however, didn't reciprocate her feelings.
Leeroy Jenkins: He led the first charge in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad. A company of orcs marched before Fingon's host, where Gwindor was serving with the companies from Nargothrond, and to taunt them the orcs brought forth a prisoner and cut him to pieces while he was still alive. That prisoner was Gwindor's brother Gelmir, and seeing this triggered a Roaring Rampage of Revenge from Gwindor, with many of Fingon's host following behind him, and they tore across Anfauglith right up to the doors of Angband, where they were finally overwhelmed and taken prisoner.
Made a Slave: After he was captured by Morgoth's forces, he was forced to labor in Angband's mines for years before he escaped.
Please Don't Leave Me: Inverted when Gwindor, mortally wounded at the fall of Nargothrond, begs Túrin to leave him and try to save Finduilas, whom they both love (in different ways).
Shell-Shocked Veteran: His PTSD comes not from war, but from being a slave in Angband for fourteen years before finally escaping.
What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Gwindor, in-universe. Nargothrond started to see him like this when compared to Túrin, even if he did some undeniably Badass things in the past. The main reason he seemed non-Badass was due to his PTSD, his weakened and maimed appearance after years of torture and slavery, and the fact that he had a much more pragmatic outlook on Nargothrond's chances against Morgoth. Gwindor favored staying in hiding and striking from the shadows. Túrin wanted open battle, and if defeat was inevitable if they fought openly, he would prefer to go down in a blaze of glory. His words and martial prowess swayed the hearts of the people of Nargothrond, and thus sealed their doom.
You Will Be Spared: As with many other Noldor, Gwindor was captured and put to work in the mines and forges of Angband, as a great many Noldor were skilled in smithcraft.
The House of Thingol
Elvenking of Doriath and one of the most important monarchs of the First Age. While leading his people, the Teleri, through Middle-Earth on the way to Valinor, Elu Thingol (then known as Elwë Singollo, his Quenya name) met Melian in the woods of Nan Elmoth and fell in love with her. They stayed there enchanted by each other for centuries, and the greater part of the Teleri stayed in Middle-Earth to search for him; they became the Sindar, or Grey-elves. When they finally reunited with Thingol's people, they founded the kingdom of Doriath. Together, they had a daughter, Lúthien Tinúviel.Thingol was a wise but overly proud king, and when he learned of the Kinslaying, he forbid any Noldor from entering his kingdom save only the children of Finarfin, the son-in-law of his brother, who took no part in the massacre. Thingol had no love for Men, and when Beren fell in love with his daughter, he sent Beren on a suicide mission to take a Silmaril from Morgoth—at which he succeeded, which changed Thingol's opinion of Men. He later became the foster-father of Túrin. Thingol was murdered by the dwarves of Nogrod because of their mutual greed over the Silmaril.
Berserk Button: When he heard about the Kinslaying, he was so horrified and furious that he immediately banished all the Noldor from his realm and forbid Quenya to be spoken within Doriath.
Character Development: Started out with a strong dislike of the race of Men. Beren changed his mind (eventually).
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Apparently, Tolkien never came up with a way for Thingol to die that satisfied him. The story of his death in The Silmarillion was pretty anticlimatic for such an important character.
Elves VS Dwarves: It has been hinted that he was the one who started it, albeit without meaning to. He hired a group of Dwarven smiths; once they completed their job, they demanded to keep the item he'd hired them to make (specifically, fitting a Silmaril into the Nauglamír). He tossed off a dismissive comment and, in response, they murdered him, starting a Cycle of Revenge.
Engagement Challenge: Initiated one of these as a way to get rid of Beren. It didn't work out as he'd hoped.
Hidden Elf Village: Hidden Elf Kingdom, really. He ruled one. (Not really hidden in the sense that most people didn't know where it was, but the Girdle of Melian made it impossible for anyone to actually enter Doriath without leave (unless Destiny Says So, like for Beren). Also, Morgoth's gaze could not penetrate the barrier, so Doriath was 'hidden' from him.)
In Name Only: He considers himself king of all Beleriand, and grants permission to the Noldor to settle all its lands save Doriath itself, but Maedhros scoffs at this:
Maedhros: A king is he that can hold his own, or else his title is vain. Thingol does but grant us lands where his power does not run! Indeed, Doriath alone would be his realm this day but for the coming of the Noldor.
Knight Templar Parent: Imprisoned his daughter in a treehouse for her own good. Yes, any parent would be afraid if their daughter wanted to rush off into a very dangerous country to join a completely suicidal quest... but his treatment of Beren, his assuming the guy was in league with Morgoth, and his complete unwillingness to trust that his daughter was actually in love, really bolloxed things up.
Large and in Charge: He was the tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar. No actual measurement is given, but considering that Elendil was just shy of eight feet, Thingol must have been a giant.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Rarely (if ever) left his kingdom, but still managed to have a lot of influence where he wished. Doriath was the most peaceful and prosperous realm in Beleriand until his death, because he had the sense not to join a hopeless war. He was the one who made the decisions, but it was Melian who protected the realm.
Unscrupulous Hero: He was a good king and genuinely cared for his wife and Lúthien. It didn't stop him from sending Beren on a suicide mission and imprisoning his own daughter "for her own good."
One of the holy Maiar, Melian loved to stray from Valinor to the woods of Middle-Earth, and there met Thingol. Together they founded the kingdom of Doriath, which Thingol ruled and she protected with the Girdle of Melian, an enchantment that bewildered any unbidden intruders. Melian gave birth to Lúthien, and after her husband and daughter's deaths, she left Doriath in grief and returned to Valinor. She was a friend and mentor to Galadriel.
Dark Is Not Evil: Her area of expertise as a Maia seemed to include darkness, shadows, and night.
Eternal Love: When she and Thingol met, they spent centuries just gazing into each other's eyes.
Fisher King: When she left Doriath, the Girdle failed and the woods lost their enchantment and protection. Cue invasion by dwarves.
Lúthien was the daughter of Thingol, the Elven-king of Doriath. Her mother was a Maia, one of those angelic, demiurgic spirits that helped create the universe. Her magical powers were essential in helping Beren achieve his quest. She chose to become mortal so that she could be with Beren forever, though it required an eternal separation from her beloved parents.
Animorphism: She managed to sneak herself and Beren into Angband by using flayed skins to turn him into a werewolf and herself into some kind of giant vampire bat (what exactly she turned into is pretty vague).
Back from the Dead: When Beren died, Lúthien died too out of sorrow, and her spirit went to the Halls of Mandos, where she managed to persuade Mandos into letting them both return to life — but only under the condition that she became a mortal and would die for real when Beren did.
I Will Find You: She did this twice to Beren: first when he had left for his suicide mission of stealing a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, and then when he was dying and Lúthien was determined to follow him into death to see him again. Both time she succeeded.
Magical Girl: Magical enough to put Melkor and his entire court to sleep.
Meaningful Name: Lúthien means Enchantress. Her singing and her dancing were magical; among other things she could enchant people into sleep with them. More concretely, she had the tendency to make men fall in love with her or lust after her.
The Power of Rock: Her music was magical. note Of course, in the Silmarillion the entire world was created by the singing of the Ainur, which means that all magic is music. (Tom Bombadill can control Old Man Willow because "[Tom's] songs are stronger songs.")
Lúthien came to him, and said that he should be stripped (of his body)... and his ghost be sent quaking back to Morgoth; and she said: "There everlastingly thy naked self shall endure the torment of his scorn, pierced by his eyes, unless thou yield to me the mastery of thy tower."
Princess Classic: The Lay of Leithan makes it clear that she wasn't an action girl in the modern sense. She's still badass.
Rapunzel Hair: At one point, Lúthien escaped from a tree-house prison (where her father put her "for her own good," of course) with this trope. First, she had to magically grow her hair out in about an hour, then bewitch the guards to sleep. Later, she cut it off and wove it into a cloak.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She was to some extent the "author avatar" for the author's wife, who had dark hair and light skin. This combination shows up in most elves (the most beautiful race in Arda) and is especially emphasized, with blacker-than-black hair, in the two most beautiful women ever born: Lúthien and her descendant Arwen.
Star-Crossed Lovers: With Beren. Ultimately, the only way they could be together was in death — and she had to become an unique exception to the rules of metaphysics to even have that.
Tender Tears: In the Halls of Mandos, Lúthien cried these while singing a song about the pain of life so sad she managed to move Mandos's heart.
Together in Death: Ironically, her Heroic Sacrifice of giving up her immortality to enable Beren to return to life allowed them to finally be eternally together. As an elf, Lúthien would have been ultimately separated from him, as the souls of dead mortals pass out of the world, and the elves, even when their bodies die, must stay inside it until the end of time. But when she became a mortal, too; their souls would leave the world and face the unknown fate outside it together.
What Could Have Been: The first versions of Lúthien and her tale are very different from how the story finally shaped out to be. Originally, she was a blue-eyed blonde dressed up in white, Daeron was her brother, and Beren was an elf, Sauron was a huge cat, she didn't die but walked into Valinor over Helcaraxë to meet Mandos, and so forth.
The only son of Beren and Lúthien, husband of the Sindarin princess, Nimloth, and father of Elwing, Eluréd, and Elurín. Dior became the king of Doriath after Thingol's death, leading the realm into a new rise after all the tumultous events. However, he was slain only four years after his coronation when the Sons of Fëanor assaulted Doriath in the Second Kinslaying, killing much of its inhabitants. The kingdom never recovered.
Badass: He managed to kill three of the sons of Feanor.
Bishōnen: Dior the Fair. Incidentally, Celegorm also had the epithet "the Fair".
Warrior Prince: Fought in the Sack of Doriath against the invading Fëanorians.
Oldest daughter of Dior and Nimloth, and sister of twins Eluréd and Elurín. Her family died in the attack by the Sons of Fëanor, but she escaped with the Silmaril and married Eärendil the Voyager, and gave birth to the twin sons Elrond and Elros. Once while Eärendil was on the sea, the Sons of Fëanor attacked and tried to take the Silmaril by force, but Elwing cast herself into the sea. Ulmo Lord of Waters then gave her the shape of a sea bird, and she flew till she found Eärendil's ship.
Animorphism: Ulmo temporarily gave her the form of a sea bird. Later, though she lacked her grandmother's ability to truly shapeshift, she "built" artificial wings and learned to fly among the sea birds, to meet Eärendil when he was returning back home from his voyages on the night sky.
Heinz Hybrid: 5/8 elven, 1/4 human, 1/8 maia. Married to a Half-Human Hybrid, Eärendil. In them, the two lineages of Half-Elves joined, only to be divided again into the lineages of Elrond and Elros (which would rejoin yet again through Aragorn and Arwen.)
I Will Wait for You: Elwing could be seen as the symbol of all women left on the shore waiting for their sailor husbands.
Last of His Kind: Last of the House of Thingol, after all her family were killed in the Second Kinslaying.
Mage Tower: While she wasn't a mage, Elwing was a person with distinctive magical powers (like...flying) and she ended up living in a lonely tower by the sea.
A loremaster, linguist and minstrel in Thingol's court. He was renowned as the greatest minstrel that ever lived, and he also invented the Cirth alphabet (the runes). In the original version, Daeron was also Thingol's son and Lúthien's brother, but in the 1977 Silmarillion he was not related to the ruling family. Instead, he loved Lúthien and played music to her dancing, but she only saw him as a friend. He betrayed her trust twice out of jealousy (and/or distrust for Beren) by informing Thingol of her intentions. When she escaped Doriath to help Beren, Daeron sought but never found her, and finally went missing.
Walking the Earth: His eventual fate. Compare this to what happened to another great yet tragic Elven minstrel, Maglor.
What the Hell, Hero?: He meant well when he told Thingol about Beren, and later told him that Lúthien was planning to follow Beren. But his meddling only messed things up more than they needed to be, and slowed down Lúthien's attempt to rescue Beren.
A captain in Thingol's army, Beleg was the greatest tracker among the Gray-elves. He aided Beren and Thingol in hunting the wolf Carcharoth, and years later became a dear friend and brother-in-arms to Túrin, whose band of raiders he joined. Beleg was grievously wounded when their hideout was discovered and Túrin captured, but he still risked his life to rescue his friend. Tragically, when Beleg undid Túrin's bindings, Túrin mistook him for an enemy and killed his friend.
Archer Archetype: The best that ever lived. Yes, better than Legolas. He was famous for his skill with his named bow Belthronding — his epithet Cúthalion meant Strongbow. As a chief among Doriath's march-wardens, Beleg was more than capable of surviving and fighting alone in the wilderness, and very skilled in stealth and woodcraft. However, Beleg also recognized that he would need a sword as well when he left Doriath to find Túrin.
Chief captain of Thingol. Unlike Beleg, who was almost always at Doriath's borders, Mablung was positioned in the capital Menegroth and was present at many important events, such as Beren's arrival in Menegroth and the hunt for Carcharoth. He was killed by the dwarves of Nogrod after they killed Thingol.
Glory Seeker: Perhaps, as he didn't want to be left out of the Union of Maedhros just because his king Thingol wouldn't join the Union due to personal reasons.
Last Stand: When the Dwarves attacked Doriath in the Battle of the Thousand Caves, Mablung defended the treasury where the Silmaril was locked until he was killed before its doors.note But only in the 1977 Silmarillion. In Tolkien's other writing, he survived the dwarf invasion and the Kinslaying to reach the Havens of Sirion. That being said, the Havens of Sirion suffered the third Kinslaying which was also noted to be the worst of the three. So either way it doesn't look good for him.
Must Make Amends: After losing Morwen and Niënor in the wilderness, Mablung tried in vain to recover them because of Thingol entrusting him as their guard.
My God, What Have I Done?: A subtle example. When Mablung finally found Túrin, he told him the news of his family, without knowing that the information he brought would cause Túrin to commit suicide. Yes, nothing seemed to work right for this guy.
A Nandorin Elf and one of Thingol's councilors. Jealous of the favor Túrin enjoyed in Thingol's court, Saeros harassed the young Man, but Túrin took his abuse with grace. That is, until Saeros insulted the pride of both his people and his mother, whereupon Túrin hurled a goblet at his face and injured him. The next day, Saeros ambushed Túrin and tried to murder him, but Túrin got the better of him, stripped him naked, and drove him through the woods as payback — which ended in tragedy when Saeros fell into a ravine in his panic and died, causing Túrin to voluntarily exile himself in shame.
The Resenter: Hated the fact that Túrin, a human, was so high in favor with Thingol.
Men of the Edain
Chieftainess of the Haladin, the second of the three tribes of the Edain. Haleth's father, Haldad, had led their people into Beleriand, where they settled on Caranthir's land. When orcs attacked their encampment, Haldad was killed, but Haleth rallied the Haladin for seven days before Caranthir's forces arrived. Refusing to become Caranthir's vassal, she led the Haladin to the forest of Brethil.
Beren was a mortal Man who fell in love with Lúthien, princess of the elven kingdom of Doriath. Her father, Thingol, was displeased and demanded a Silmaril in exchange for his daughter's hand in marriage. With the help of some elves and Lúthien herself, Beren accomplished this seemingly hopeless quest. Later, after Thingol was killed by dwarves, Beren led a counterattack on the dwarves and got the Silmaril back from them.
Berserk Button: After Thingol threatened Beren with painful death, what annoyed Beren most was being called a servant of Morgoth.
"Death thou canst give unearned to me
but names I will not take from thee
of baseborn, spy, or Morgoth's thrall.
Are these the ways of Thingol's hall?"
Also, when Lúthien is in danger. It doesn't happen too often, since she's a Badass Princess, but when it does look out!
Determinator: Alone in Taur-Nu-Fuin and hunted by Morgoth's army? He harried and harrassed them for years. Valley of Dreadful Death? Girdle of Melian? They couldn't stop him. Overprotective Dad? He wasn't intimidated. Impossible Task? He was on it. Ruthless elven princes, giant werewolves, and the armies of Angband? They couldn't stop him, either. The laws of metaphysics are against his marriage? He tried, anyway. Death? He came back. Beren Will Not Give Up.
Exact Words: How he fulfilled it. Hey, technically the Silmaril was still in his hand. Thingol never specified he had to bring it with him!
Friend to All Living Things: The animals that lived in Dorthonion weren't too happy with the land being taken over by Morgoth either, and they helped Beren survive when he was left alone after his father and their band of outlaws were killed by Sauron's forces. During this time, Beren ate no creature that was not in the service of the Enemy.
Handicapped Badass: After he lost his hand, Beren went on to fight the giant werewolf that bit it off.
The Hero: Possibly the greatest hero of the First Age. And that's really saying something.
Honor Before Reason/I Gave My Word: Multiple times Lúthien begs him to abandon the quest, saying she will simply run away with him. He refuses each time, swearing that he will fulfill his task.
Impossible Task: "Go to Hell and steal a Silmaril from Satan" was intended to just make him give up and go away, not as an actual bride price. Don't ever tell Beren to give up.
I Will Wait for You: When Beren lay dying, Lúthien begged him to wait for her. What she meant was the spirits of Men first go to the Halls of Mandos like those of Elves, but soon afterwards they set sail out of the world into an unknown destination. So Lúthien was begging him to wait in the Halls before passing out of the world, so when she died of grief she would get to see him one last time. He obliged.
Last of His Kind: After the Dagor Bragollach, Beren's mother Emeldir led the surviving women and children of the House of Bëor out of Dorthonion to the relative safety of Hithlum. Beren, his father Barahir, and ten companions chose to stay behind, becoming outlaws in their own land. One of their band was tricked and captured by Sauron, and after torment and further trickery he revealed the location of their hideout. Barahir and all the outlaws were killed, and Beren only survived because he had been sent on a scouting mission by his father.
Together in Death: He and Lúthien. Because she chose to become a mortal, when they died (for the second time) their souls went to the same destination.
The heir of the House of Hador and Lord of Dor-Lómin. Húrin stumbled upon Gondolin with his brother Huor as a youth and befriended Turgon; later, he became a hero in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears), covering Turgon's retreat and killing seventy trolls before being taken alive by Morgoth. Húrin defied the Dark Lord when tortured for the location of Gondolin, and so his family was cursed and Húrin forced to watch from afar as his wife Morwen and their children (Túrin and Niënor) suffered decades of horrific tragedy and finally committed suicide. Finally, Morgoth released Húrin as a tool of his malice, leading to the ruin of Doriath and Brethil and the discovery of Gondolin.
An Axe to Grind: Used an axe to kill said seventy trolls. Though it wasn't actually his, it was just one he picked up.
Badass Normal: To reiterate — he killed seventy trolls without the skill or power of the Eldar.
He was considered the greatest warrior of Man in the First Age.
Being Tortured Makes You Evil: It's hard not to feel sorry for the poor guy, but why did he have to get "revenge" on Doriath and Brethil for nonexistent wrongs by causing the destruction of both countries? This may be Torture Makes You Crazy instead.
Secret Keeper: Of Gondolin's location. He ended up unwittingly leading Morgoth's forces there, anyway.
Unwitting Pawn: After Morgoth released him, Húrin ended up causing the total destruction of Brethil and Doriath (which he may or may not have desired in revenge for crimes Morgoth put in his head) and of Gondolin (which he definitely didn't intend).
You Shall Not Pass: Pulled this off against the entire army of Morgoth alone so his allies could escape. He fought to the point where his axe melted on his hands and even then did not give up. All the while shouting: "Day shall come again!"
The wife of Húrin and mother of Túrin and Niënor. The proud yet noble Morwen raised her children alone after Húrin was captured by Morgoth, and sent Túrin to Doriath for his protection. Out of stubbornness and pride for her homeland, she chose not to follow them to Doriath when invited. Years later, when it was again safe to do so, she and Niënor traveled to Doriath to reunite with Túrin but found he had departed. Hearing rumor of Túrin in Nargothrond, they set out to find him, but were ambushed by Glaurung. Morwen fled into the wild and never saw her children again. Two years later, broken and weary, Morwen found her children's grave and was herself found by Húrin, in whose arms she died. She was buried with her children, and the site of their grave, Tol Morwen, remained above the waves when Beleriand was drowned.
Determinator: Nothing kept her from searching for her son — including the sound advice of others.
Ice Queen: Her demeanor and way of speaking cannot be called warm.
Pride: Though her homeland and her husband's homeland were conquered by orcs and their people enslaved by evil humans, she initially would not humble herself to go to Doriath as an exile. This was the first step of the tragedy of Túrin's life.
The Stoic: She was very disinclined to show sensitivity or deep emotions to others.
Túrin was a Man whose father, Húrin, had defied Morgoth. In retaliation, Morgoth cursed Húrin's family, and Túrin received the brunt of it. He ran away from his foster-father Thingol, accidentally killed his best friend, got caught in a love triangle, brought about the fall of the elven kingdom Nargothrond through bad advice, brought suffering upon his native people, and unknowingly married his sister, causing both of them to commit suicide upon the revelation. In spite of all this, he did manage to kill the most powerful dragon in Middle-Earth at that time.The Children of Húrin is primarily about his wretched life.
Accidental Murder: Of Saeros (described below) and Beleg. Túrin was captured by orcs at one point, and Beleg came to rescue him. When Beleg accidentally pricked him with his sword when cutting off his bonds, Túrin woke up and thought the orcs had come to torture him again. In a fit of rage, he grabbed Beleg's sword and killed him. He had a Heroic BSOD when he found out what he'd done.
Back from the Dead / Back for the Finale: If Mandos's prophecy (Arda's equivalent to Apocalyptic Literature) is canon* (its removal from The Silmarillion was something of a last-minute decision by Christopher Tolkien), then Túrin will return from the dead at the end of the world and destroy Morgoth once and for all.
Badass Normal: If hadn't been proved before then, it certainly was when he finally killed Glaurung.
Berserk Button: Do not insult his family. Saeros found out the hard way what a bad idea this was. Brandir also got killed for trying to tell Túrin the truth about his wife, Níniel.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: When he finally killed Glaurung, exposure to the dragon's blood and one final blast from its eyes almost killed him. Then Glaurung's final revelation lead to his actual death.
Character Witness: Nellas, a Sindarin elf maiden who befriended Túrin when he first came to Doriath. She preferred the forest and was never comfortable in the caves of Menegroth, and as Túrin got older and spent more time there they grew apart, though she would secretly watch him whenever he ventured into the forest with Beleg. She witnessed what actually happened when Saeros died, and Beleg calls her to Menegroth to stand before Thingol, where she very nervously gave her testimony, exonerating Túrin.
Cynicism Catalyst: Túrin's slide into total cynical dysfunction started with the death of his little sister, Lalaith, who was killed in a plague while he himself was just a kid. And, oddly it ended, by suicide, just after the suicide of his other little sister, Niënor. Who he, in ignorance, had married and gotten pregnant.
Dark Is Not Evil: He wore black, had a sinister black sword, and had black hair (unlike the rest of his family).
Empathic Weapon: Gurthang was some kind of weird talking sword, somehow. Or maybe Túrin was crazy and only imagined it. Nobody knows for sure.
Fantastic Racism: Túrin was a victim of it. During his time at Menegroth, he was often harassed by Saeros, a Nandorin Elf living in Menegroth and a counselor to Thingol, who insulted and disparaged Túrin at every opportunity. Finally, Saeros pushed too far, and Túrin hurled a drinking vessel at his face; Mablung commented that Saeros had earned a broken mouth for his abuse. This led to a confrontation that ended in Saeros' accidental death.
Heroic BSOD: After accidentally killing his longtime friend Beleg, he went into a BSOD that lasted several weeks.
He went into a second one, that also lasted a long time, after he failed to save Finduilas.
I Have Many Names: Even for a Tolkien character, Túrin had a lot... he wished to conceal his true name since his family was cursed and yet everywhere he went someone eventually spilled the beans, leading him to take up another one once he went somewhere new. Most of those he gave himself were rather... gloomy.
Neithan, "The Wronged" (self-named)
Agarwaen son of Úmarth, "Bloodstained son of Ill-fate" (self-named)
Thuringud, "The Hidden Foe" (self-named)
Adanedhel, "The Elf-Man" (bestowed by the Elves of Nargothrond)
Mormegil, "Black Sword" (also given by the Elves of Nargothrond)
My God, What Have I Done?: Saeros ambushed Túrin, but Túrin got the upper hand. Túrin then stripped and pursued a naked Saeros through the woods, until Saeros fell off a cliff and died. Túrin did not intend for that to happen, and because of his guilt he assumed the King would never pardon him and decided to flee Menegroth and become an outlaw.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Over and over, but especially in bringing about Nargothrond's downfall through his poor advice to the king.
Nice to the Waiter: One of the first things noted about him in his childhood was his compassion to his father's handicapped servant.
Pride: The reason he never accepted Thingol's pardon for Saeros' death and never returned to Doriath, despite the king and Beleg pleading with him to do so.
Screw Destiny: Subverted. He couldn't. Brought to the point by Niënor's outcry: A Túrin Turambar turun ambartanen. "Oh Master of Doom by doom mastered."
Ungrateful Bastard: Shunned his foster-father purely because one of his councillors was a jerkass. He assumed Thingol would condemn him for accidentally causing Saeros' death, and then repeatedly refused to accept Thingol's pardon and pleas to come home.
You Can't Fight Fate: However, the text is explicit that Túrin did have opportunities in which he could have thrown off Morgoth's curse, or at least lessened the impact. Most significantly, he could have accepted Thingol's pardon and gone back to Doriath any time he wanted, but was too proud. Another major one was the matter of Finduilas, as accepting her love would have prevented the chain of events that led to the final fulfillment of the curse (specifically, her death at the hand of orcs was the one factor that sealed his fate).
The youngest daughter of Húrin and Morwen, and sister of Túrin and Lalaith. She grew up in the occupied region of Dor-Lómin with her mother before their escape to Doriath, where her brother Túrin was sent before her birth; however, he had long since departed. When word reached Doriath about his whereabouts, Niënor followed Morwen in the search for Túrin against her mother's wishes. The search party was ambushed and scattered by Glaurung, and the dragon inflicted Niënor with amnesia. She was discovered by Túrin in Brethil, and they were wed years later.
Sweet Polly Oliver: She disguised herself as a marchwarden of Doriath to join the search for her brother. It didn't end very well.
The son of Huor, first cousin of Túrin. Tuor was chosen by the Vala Ulmo to fulfill his prophecy of a messenger to warn Turgon of impending doom of Gondolin. Turgon ignored Ulmo's warning and Gondolin fell, but Tuor escaped and saved many survivors. While in Gondolin, he wedded Turgon's daughter Idril; their son was Eärendil. Tuor sailed over the sea, and is said in one text to be the only mortal human to be granted immortality alongside the elves.
The Call Knows Where You Live: Ulmo gave Tuor a vague desire to find Turgon's hidden city, and for years after escaping from slavery he yearned to seek out the sea and Turgon. He kept procrastinating, but Ulmo doggedly kept poking him until he finally went to Vinyamar.
The Chosen One: Chosen by Ulmo to bring his message to Gondolin, and intended to lead Turgon and his people from the city to the Mouths of Sirion.
Jumped at the Call: Though he briefly questioned Ulmo's judgment in making him his messenger, Tuor followed his instructions without hesitation.
Made a Slave: He was separated from his elven foster family as a teenager, captured, and made to serve Lorgan the Easterling for three years before escaping.
Touched by Vorlons: Though born a mortal Man, he was raised by elves and learned their lore, and had bearing like them. In the end, Tuor was counted as an elf, a once-in-the-universe exception (like Lúthien becoming of the kindred of Men).
The son of Tuor and Idril, Eärendil was half Elf and half Man. During his time, all the elven and human kingdoms had been destroyed by Morgoth. He realized that the Valar would have to send aid to defeat Morgoth, so he set sail to Valinor. He was unable to reach it, because of the barriers the Valar had set up, until his wife gave him the Silmaril, which could cut through the darkness. Eärendil asked the Valar for pardon and aid for all the beseiged survivors in Beleriand, even the exiled Noldor, and they granted it. His ship, bearing the Silmaril, was put up into the sky as a star, as a sign of hope for all in Middle-Earth. In the resulting war, Morgoth was overthrown and banished from the world.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: How exactly does Eärendil survive in the "starless voids" beyond the Door of Night in an open ship designed for the sea? The Valar made him totally immune to vacuum and took away his need for air? They attached a permanent air-bubble to Vingilot? (It's noted specifically that Elwing can't handle it out there, slightly suggesting the former.)
Epic Hail: He sailed through storm and shadow to reach Valinor, to beg the Valar to have mercy on Elves and Men, and to aid them in their plight. This was how they greeted him:
Eönwë, the Herald of the Valar: Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned, the looked for that cometh at unawares, the longed for that cometh beyond hope! Hail Eärendil, bearer of light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the Children of Eru, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the morning!::note A variant in The History of Middle-earth V: The Lost Road goes: "Hail Eärendil, radiant star, messenger most fair! Hail thou bearer of the light before the Sun and Moon, the looked for that comest unawares, the longed for that comest beyond hope! Hail, splendour of the children of the world, slayer of the dark! Star of the sunset, hail! Hail, herald of the morn!"
This is a Shout-Out to what inspired his character: the Old English epic poem Crist that Tolkien loved, which goes "Hail, Earendel, brightest of angels, over Middle-earth to men sent".
Half-Human Hybrid: One of the few who was actually exactly half human and half elven, instead of a Heinz Hybrid. Originally, he, and presumably the other few half-elves, was mortal. As a gift in recognition of his great feat of navigation (getting to the Undying Lands), Eru allowed half-elves to choose whether to be elves or men. Eärendil wanted to be a man, but his wife chose to be an elf, and so, for her sake, he chose to be an elf as well.
Messianic Archetype: His voyage to Valinor, and his pleas to the Valar, finally led to their intervention and destruction of Angband.
Prophetic Names: Eärendil Ardamírë, He Who Loves the Sea, the Star of the World. He was born in a landlocked city far from the ocean, and his parents didn't (consciously) anticipate him becoming a renowned mariner, let alone the Morning Star.
The son of Eärendil and Elwing, and twin brother of Elros. See the The Lord of the Rings character sheet.
The son of Eärendil and Elwing, and Elrond's twin brother, Elros chose to be counted among the Edain at the end of the First Age. He became the first king of Númenor (Tolkien's version of Atlantis) and established a royal line of long-lived Men that lasted for millennia. Ar-Pharazôn, Elendil, Isildur, and Aragorn are among his noteworthy descendants.
Parental Abandonment: His parents were driven from the Havens of Sirion by the Third Kinslaying, leading to...
Stockholm Syndrome / Happily Adopted: He and his brother were raised by Maglor, who helped lead two attacks on his family and drove his mother to suicide. Maglor was sincerely repentant and felt terrible about what he'd done, but it was still pretty strange.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Elros gave up his immortality because he identified more with the race of Men, much like his father (who chose to be an elf for his wife's sake, who also chose to be an elf).
Tar-Palantir was the twenty-fourth and penultimate King of Númenor. He repented of the rebellious ways of the previous Kings and tried to be friendly to the Valar and the Elves. Unfortunately, most of his people, including his own brother, did not share his feelings. Tar-Palantir had a daughter, Míriel, who should have become Ruling Queen. Instead, her cousin Pharazôn forced her to marry him, thereby usurping the throne.
Cain and Abel / Jacob and Esau / Sibling Yin-Yang: With his brother, Gimilkhâd. Their father, who hated the Valar and the Elves, married a woman who was a member of the Faithful party of Númenor. Tar-Palantir took after his mother, while Gimilkhâd followed his father. According to The Lord of the Rings Appendix B, there was actual civil war in Númenor during Tar-Palantir's reign, though the Akallabêth doesn't say anything about that.
Heel Face Door Slam / Reformed, but Rejected: Tar-Palantir repented of the rebellion of the Kings before him and tried to reopen relations with the Valar and Elves. Unfortunately, they did not acknowledge him, and most of his people did not repent.
Meaningful Name: His regnal name, Tar-Palantir, means 'the Farsighted' and refers to his powers of foresight. Also, he was the first King to take a Quenya name in many generations, since the rebellious Kings rejected the Elven-tongues.
Royally Screwed Up: Tar-Palantir's father and mother grew to hate each other because they were on opposite sides of the political divide in Númenor. His brother Gimilkhâd led a rebellion against him. After Tar-Palantir died, the Sceptre should have gone to his daughter Míriel, but instead her first cousin Pharazôn (Gimilkhâd's son) usurped the throne by forcing her to marry him. Whew.
Seers: Has the gift of prophecy. He foresees that when the White Tree of Númenor (a symbol of the friendship of the Valar and the Elves) perishes, the Line of Kings will also perish.
The Cassandra: After he makes his prophecy about the White Tree, guess what his nephew Pharazôn does? Burns it.
Míriel was the only child of Tar-Palantir; she should have become Queen upon his death. Her cousin Pharazôn forcibly married her and usurped the Sceptre, becoming the last King of Númenor. She died during the Downfall.
Broken Bird: We don't get much information about Míriel's feelings from the extant texts, but given what she saw Ar-Pharazôn and Sauron do to the realm she should have ruled, she must have become this.
Villainous Incest: Her first cousin Pharazôn forces her to marry him so he could be King.
The eighteenth and last Lord of Andúnië (a harbor on the western side of Númenor) and the father of Elendil. In their younger days, Amandil and Ar-Pharazôn were friends, and Amandil served on Ar-Pharazôn's Council for many years until being dismissed by Sauron. Amandil, like the rest of his family, was of the Faithful party, though he tried to keep his allegiance a secret so that he could influence the King. When Amandil heard that Ar-Pharazôn intended to attack Valinor, he sailed West to plead with the Valar to show mercy to the Númenóreans. His fate is unknown.
The Good Chancellor: Like the other Lords of Andúnië before him, Amandil tried to be a good influence on the King. He might have succeeded, had Sauron not shown up.
The last King of Númenor, a descendant of Elros. Ar-Pharazôn was extremely proud, and when he heard that Sauron had claimed the title of "King of Men," he decided to overthrow Sauron and claim that title for himself. Sauron surrendered to him, and Ar-Pharazôn took him to Númenor as a hostage. Sauron quickly used his powers to bewitch Ar-Pharazôn and win his freedom. From there he convinced Ar-Pharazôn and the Númenóreans to worship Melkor and attack the Valar. As a punishment, Númenor was destroyed, the world was made round so that humans could never get to Valinor again, and Ar-Pharazôn was buried under a landslide.
The Emperor: Technically, Ar-Pharazôn was a King, but he was powerful enough to be this. He was mainly of the "President Charisma" type.
Fate Worse than Death: As soon as he stepped on the soil of Valinor, Eru Ilúvatar changed the world and in the ensuing upheaval, Ar-Pharazôn and his men were trapped in caves underground until the Dagor Dagorath. It's implied that this makes them immortal, so it's also an ironic karmic fate.
Four-Star Badass: Of the "Da Chief To The Rescue" variety. He saved the Númenórean settlements from the depredations of Sauron.
Green-Eyed Monster: Ar-Pharazôn and the Númenóreans in general deeply envied and desired the immortality of the Elves and the Valar.
Immortality Seeker: When he was old, this was how Sauron tempted him. Although generations of Númenóreans had desired eternal life, Ar-Pharazôn was desperate enough to launch his Great Armament against Valinor to try and demand it by force from the Valar. This did not end well.
Jerk Ass: Even before he instituted Morgoth-worship, he usurped the throne and persecuted the Faithful. Afterwards, he liked to have them arrested for "disloyalty" and used as human sacrifices.
Kissing Cousins: He forced his first cousin to marry him, but only so that he could become King.
The Paragon / The Paragon Always Rebels: Good looks, fighting prowess, charisma, wealth, power, fame: Ar-Pharazôn had it all. Small wonder that when he began listening to Sauron and worshipping Melkor, "his people for the most part followed him".
Pride: And how. The Akallabêth makes it clear that the real reason he set foot on Valinor was ultimately not because he feared death, but because "pride was now his master."
Puppet King: He became the greatest tyrant seen in the world since Morgoth (!), but "Sauron ruled all from behind the throne."
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He won great riches in Middle-earth and gave them out freely. This, of course, increased his popularity, making his usurpation of the throne easier.
Slowly Slipping Into Evil: At first, he was a big-headed military commander, even a friend to the "good" characters. Then, he took over the Kingship and started persecuting the Faithful. After Sauron began corrupting him, he thought it would be a good idea to sacrifice many of the Faithful to Melkor. At this point, his troops mercilessly oppressed the Men of Middle-earth and he became a dreadful tyrant. Finally, he brought his nation to ruinous war against the Valar. This process took place over several decades and involved Sauron's influence.
Tragic Hero: Subverted. His story is that of a classic tragic hero, but he was such a megalomaniac dick to begin with that he doesn't count.
What Could Have Been: In some drafts for the Akallabêth, Míriel fell in love with Ar-Pharazôn, married him voluntarily, and gave up most of her power to him.
While the kings of Númenor fell deeper into decadence and impiety, the Lords of Andúnië, descended from a prince of the royal house, led the Faithful, a faction who remained loyal to Ilúvatar, the Valar, and the friendship of the Eldar. The son of the last Lord, when Ar-Pharazôn came under Sauron's sway, was Elendil. When Ar-Pharazôn led his armada against the Valar, Elendil and the Faithful escaped to Middle-Earth, where he and his sons founded the kingdoms of Arnor (which he ruled) and Gondor. Elendil led the surviving Faithful in the War of the Last Alliance and was killed by Sauron on Mount Doom.
The eldest son of Elendil. Before the White Tree of Númenor was destroyed by Sauron, Isildur stole one of its fruits, keeping its line alive. After arriving in Middle-Earth after the Downfall, Isildur and his brother Anárion founded the kingdom of Gondor. In the War of the Last Alliance, when Elendil was killed by Sauron, Isildur took the shards of his father's sword Narsil and cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand. Rather than destroy the Ring and end Sauron's threat forever, Isildur was tempted by its power and claimed it as his own. When Isildur rode north to claim the kingship of Arnor, he was attacked by orcs and fled into the River Anduin, invisible thanks to the Ring, but the Ring slipped from his finger and betrayed him to his death. Isildur was the direct ancestor of Aragorn, one of the protagonists of The Lord of the Rings.
Badass: He managed to sneak into Armenelos, get a sapling of the White Tree of Númenor, and when discovered, fought his way out.
A great Hound of Oromë, given as a gift to Celegorm son of Fëanor. He followed his master into Middle-Earth, and later befriended Lúthien and Beren there, helping them in their Quest for the Silmaril. He had a human level of intelligence, being able to understand speech, but he was destined to speak only thrice before his death — and he wouldn't die but fighting the greatest wolf that ever lived.
The Ageless: A trait he shared with elves and all the wildlife of Valinor. Huan was at least 520 years old by the time he kicked Sauron's ass at Tol Sirion.
Badass: Fighting and beating werewolves and, you know, Sauron.
Canis Major: His exact size is vague, but he was large enough to carry Lúthien on his back like a horse.
A Dog Named Dog: "Huan" is just Quenya for "hound." Pretty boring name when you consider just how special and unusual a dog he was.
Dulcinea Effect: Lúthien caused this in him, leading him to finally turn against Celegorm to help her.
Heroes Love Dogs: His friendship was an indicator of the humanoid character's heroism: Celegorm lost it after kicking the dog by leaving Finrod and Beren to die to force Lúthien to marry him instead, and Lúthien and Beren gained it by their nobleness and goodness.
Heroic Sacrifice: He was destined to be killed by the greatest wolf ever, and he died in the wolf-hunt against Carcharoth to save Beren and recover the Silmaril. He may well have realized Carcharoth was that wolf.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was Huan an actual dog in a world where all living creatures can gain some kind of sapience, or was he some kind of spirit, given his intelligence and ability to speak against all the laws of anatomy?
No Man of Woman Born: As noted, he could only be killed by the greatest werewolf to ever live. Sauron tried to take advantage of by turning into the greatest werewolf alive, but it failed because the greatest werewolf to ever live (Carcharoth) hadn't come into his full power yet. This led to Huan stomping Sauron.
A Dark Elf living in the woods of Nan Elmoth near Doriath. He hated the Noldor and was a friend of the Dwarves. Yet when Aredhel daughter of Fingolfin wandered into his woods, he used his magic to make her lose the way so he could appear as her rescuer. He took her in and married hernote (in "Of Maeglin," followed in The Silmarillion, he manipulated her into a marriage that started out mostly consensual. In "Quendi and Eldar" he married her by force, which given the Eldarin definition of marriage means he raped her). They had a son, Maeglin. However, Eöl forbade his wife and son from ever leaving his forest or going to see their family, causing them to rebel and run away. He followed them into Gondolin, where he threw a poisoned spear at Maeglin, accidentally killing Aredhel instead when she interposed herself. He was executed by being thrown off the cliffs of Gondolin. Instead of showing the slightest remorse, he spent his last moments wishing his son would die young.
The Blacksmith: He was a very skilled smith, having learned the craft from his dwarven friends. In swordsmithing, Eöl was said to be even better than most Noldor, and he was the only character known to have forged weapons from Thunderbolt Iron. They were impressive swords and apparently could talk.
Dark Is Evil: In this case, his dislike of sunlight and his epithet "The Dark Elf" just go along with his general nastiness.
Domestic Abuser: Of the overly controlling variety, and in the fact that his wife was a woman he found in the woods and kept prisoner. In The Silmarillion, he manipulated/tricked her into marriage, while in "Quendi and Eldar" he actually raped her.
Fantastic Racism: Towards the Noldor, accusing them of stealing land from the Sindar (which actually even the Sons of Fëanor didn't do). It doesn't stop him from marrying one, though.
Rewrite: Originally, and in the 1977 Silmarillion, Eöl was a Sindarin elf. Tolkien later changed him into one of the only Avarin elf characters, and then later changed him back to a Sindar.
The Shipwright, one of the oldest and wisest known elves in existence — so old that he had a long silver beard, a trait unknown in any other Elf in the mythos. Círdan was one of the Teleri who stayed behind to search for Thingol and later became the lord of the Sindar on Beleriand's coast, whom he ruled as Thingol's vassal. He built the ship in which Eärendil sailed to Valinor.In the Second Age, Círdan founded the Grey Havens in the west of Middle-Earth and was entrusted with Narya, one of the Three Rings of the elves, by Gil-galad. He fought alongside Gil-galad in the War of the Last Alliance and stood with Elrond in futilly urging Isildur to destroy the One Ring. He greeted the wizards when they arrived in the Third Age, and sensing Gandalf's wisdom and power, gave Narya over to him. In The Lord of the Rings, Círdan built the ship that bore Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf, Bilbo, and Frodo to Eressëa.
Big Damn Heroes: He saved Fingon's army from an orc invasion through a surprise attack from the sea.
Cassandra Truth: He was given a warning about Nargothrond's imminent fall by Ulmo and delivered it to Orodreth, but the warning went unheeded.
The Chosen One: Not in the traditional sense. Instead, he was charged by Ulmo to aid and abet the forces of good throughout the ages, though he himself never took center stage. To do this, he had to forsake his greatest desire — to see the Undying Lands — for more than three ages of the world.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "Círdan" is just his nickname — it means "shipwright." Even in the First Age everybody called him that, though there was in-universe speculation that his real name was Nōwē.
Parental Substitute: For Gil-galad, possibly. Gil-galad's history (and parentage) are pretty vague, but it appears that his father sent him to the Havens as a child to keep him safe.
Supporting Leader: He was a very important personage among the elves of Middle-Earth, but always stayed in the background of the stories.
Time Abyss: He is possibly one of the original generation of elves and the oldest of the Free Peoples known to exist. At the time of The Lord of the Rings, he may be over 15,000 years old — the equivalent of someone today born in the late Stone Age.
Wizard Beard: He's not literally a wizard, but his beard does signify his exceptional age and wisdom. Tolkien was elsewhere explicit that elves never have beards, or at least not until they're old.
The greatest of the Great Eagles created by Manwë to keep watch over the mountains of Middle-Earth to bring news to him in Valinor. Thorondor helped Fingon rescue Maedhros from his torture on Thangorodrim and later led his people in keeping watch over the hidden city of Gondolin. When Morgoth slew Fingolfin, Thorondor swooped down, scarred the Dark Lord's face with his talons, and bore Fingolfin's body to his place of burial on a mountain above Gondolin.
Giant Flyer: He had a wingspan of thirty fathoms (180 feet or 55 m) from tip to tip.
For those having a difficult time envisioning the sheer enormousness of this, 55 m is exactly half the length of a regulation American football field. Thorondor's wings would have stretched from center field to one of the goal posts.
Or to put it in aviation-related terms: the wingspan of a B52 bomber is 185ft. Thorondor was a kind of biological B52.
Talking Animal: Sort of. As with Huan, Tolkien couldn't quite decide whether the Giant Eagles were mundane animals that just happened to be gigantic, sapient, and able to talk, or if they should be Maiar spirits sent to help the peoples of Middle-Earth. But given his immense size, Thorondor himself could hardly be a mere animal, even if he wasn't a Maia.
An aged dwarf whose dwelling Túrin took over after one of his men killed Mîm's son. Though he bonded with Túrin, Mîm's resentment over his son's death and the appearance of the elf Beleg stoked his resentment, and eventually he betrayed Túrin to orcs. Mîm's second son was killed in the fight, but he escaped, and after the death of Glaurung he claimd the dragon's treasure for himself. Here Mîm was found and slain by Húrin, but the dwarf cursed the treasure, leading to the downfall of King Thingol.
Fantastic Racism: His hatred of elves (which seems to be a common thing among Petty-dwarves). It stemmed from the fact that, long before the dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost came to Beleriand, the exiles who would become the Petty-dwarves (from whom Mîm was descended) entered the land and were hunted by the Sindar. The Sindar did not know what they were, and when the rest of the dwarves settled in Ered Luin, they realized their mistake and left the Petty-dwarves alone. Mîm and his people hated the Noldor even more, however, as they claimed the Noldor drove them from their dwellings when they arrived.
To the point that part of the reason he betrayed Túrin's group, was because the Elf Beleg was in it.
Last of His Kind: He was the last of the Petty-dwarves, the stunted outcasts of the great dwarven cities.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. He and his sons were actually different from the other dwarves of Middle-Earth and most stock fantasy dwarves. They were descendants of exiles from the dwarven cities east of Ered Luin who eventually wandered west into Beleriand. They dwindled in stature and in their knowledge of smithcraft, becoming a stealthy and secretive people. By the time The Silmarillion took place, only Mîm and his two sons remained.
Turn Coat: Against Túrin's band of outlaws, though Tolkien's writings are inconsistent (big surprise) about whether he willingly went to Morgoth or was captured. He did want Túrin to be spared, but that didn't work out well.