Finrod Felagund

Finrod Felagund (IPA: [ˈfinrod ˈfelaɡund]) is a fictional character in the fantasy-world Middle-earth of the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. He is a Noldorin Elf, the eldest son of Finarfin and Eärwen of Alqualondë in Aman. He appears in The Silmarillion, the epic poem The Lay of Leithian and the Grey Annals, as well as other material. He is the king of Nargothrond in the First Age of Middle-earth prior to his death. The lineage of the character and his descendants underwent a number of changes in between Tolkien's posthumous publications; some of them were editorial decisions made by his son Christopher Tolkien who continued to curate his father's unfinished work. The character's role has been analysed by Tolkien scholars.

Tolkien character
In-universe information
AliasesFindaráto Artafindë Ingoldo,
Nóm, Felagund,
'The Faithful',
'Friend of Men',
King of Nargothrond
Book(s)The Silmarillion
Beren and Luthien



The name Finrod is a Sindarin form of his Telerin (Quenya) name Findaráto, with the approximate meaning "Mighty descendant of Finwë". (More fully it was Findaráto Ingoldo, including the name given by his mother which was never translated.) Artafindë was the proper Noldorin Quenya version of Findaráto. Felagund was an epessë given to him by the Dwarves who expanded the caves of Nargothrond, a Sindarin adaption of the Khuzdul name Felakgundu "Hewer of Caves". Another name given to Finrod was Nóm ("Wisdom"). It was given to him by Bëor and his followers. His other titles include: King/Lord of Nargothrond, Friend-of-Men.

Earlier versionsEdit

The earliest name of this character was Felagoth.[1] In earlier versions of Tolkien's writings, the character later known as Finarfin was originally named Finrod; the name was later transferred to his son Inglor Felagund, who became Finrod Felagund. In the first edition of The Lord of the Rings, the character Gildor introduces himself as "Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod." At the time Tolkien was writing this, the name Finrod still referred to the third son of Finwë whose son is named Inglor Felagund. Since Inglorion means "son of Inglor", the straightforward reading is that "Gildor Inglorion" was the son of Inglor, son of Finrod, son of Finwë king of the Noldor – an elf of very high lineage, cousin to Elrond and Galadriel.[2]

However, when Finrod's name was changed to Finarfin in the second edition, Gildor's line was not changed.[T 1] Gildor does not appear in Tolkien's later versions of the genealogies, and no elf named Inglor is mentioned in any writings after the change of names. Although Gildor has some standing among the elves of Middle-Earth, as his leadership of his party in The Fellowship of the Ring indicates, the phrase "of the House of Finrod" no longer has a clear meaning. Hammond and Scull suggested that this might mean merely that Gildor belonged to the household of Finrod; whether Tolkien fully intended a bloodline connection is unknown.[3]

When The Silmarillion was initially published, Finrod is identified as the brother of Galadriel, Angrod, Aegnor and Orodreth.[T 2] Orodreth is retroactively reconstructed in later publications as the son of Angrod and Eldalótë, which makes him Finrod's nephew instead; this reversed a prior editorial decision by Christopher Tolkien made for The Silmarillion on the grounds that the later revision was not fully integrated into the extant texts by his father.[4]

Fictional biographyEdit

Finrod founded the original Minas Tirith in the Pass of River Sirion, and was later King of Nargothrond.

While hunting in the lands of Thargelion in East Beleriand Finrod was the first of the Noldor to come across Men, and he long stayed with them, learning their language and teaching them Sindarin. There, the men gave him another title, Nóm, meaning "Wise". He also intervened on behalf of the Laiquendi of Ossiriand, who feared Men would destroy their home, and he got permission of Thingol, who held rule over all Beleriand, to guide the Men to Estolad.

Finrod had a close friendship with Andreth of the House of Bëor, whom he often visited during the Siege of Angband to converse with her on the matters of Elves and Men. One such conversation was written down and later known as "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth". In this tale, Finrod is also acknowledged as the "wisest of the Noldor."

Barahir of the House of Bëor saved Finrod's life at the Dagor Bragollach, and Finrod gave him his ring, which became known as the Ring of Barahir. He also swore an oath of friendship and aid to Barahir and all his kin. When, years later, Barahir's son Beren came to Nargothrond seeking help, Finrod went with him on the Quest of the Silmaril to repay his debt. Celegorm and Curufin, who were living in Nargothrond at the time, persuaded (using barely veiled threats related to their oath) most of Nargothrond to stay behind; only ten warriors, headed by Edrahil, were faithful and came with them. The twelve were captured and taken to Tol-in-Gaurhoth (Isle of Werewolves), formerly Minas Tirith. Finrod and Sauron battled with songs of power but Sauron eventually won. He imprisoned them seeking to learn their errand and identities. Sauron sent a werewolf to devour them one by one until they told their secret. None did. When the wolf came for Beren, Finrod broke his chains and killed the wolf barehanded, fulfilling his oath, but being mortally wounded himself.

Finrod loved Amarië, a Vanyarin Elf who did not follow him to Middle-earth, and foretold that nothing of Nargothrond would last that a son could inherit, as he never married while in Middle-earth. It is noted in The Lay of Leithian that Finrod was soon allowed to return to life in Valinor, and "now dwells with Amarië", so they probably were wed later. The Silmarillion briefly mentions Finrod's return to life and reunion with his father.

House of FinwëEdit

House of Finwë family tree[T 3][T 4]
of the Noldor
of the Vanyar
maker of Silmarils
MaedhrosFive sonsCurufinFingonTurgonAredhelArgonFinrodAngrodAegnorGaladriel
maker of Rings
Colour key:
Colour Description
  Half-elven who chose the fate of elves
  Half-elven who chose the fate of mortal men


Finrod's battle of chants with Sauron in its early, extended version has been seen as an example of "the power Tolkien locates in language and in story-telling". Just as the elves of Middle-earth keep dwindling throughout the centuries, their linguistic and poetic power becomes also lesser. While Finrod is still able to sing of elven creations and deeds, his sister Galadriel's "Song of Eldamar" in a later age is confined to memories.[5]

Likewise, Verlyn Flieger has interpreted his first encounter with Men as an indirect move of the elves towards the light since the Men of Middle-earth are instinctively striving to move out of darkness. In contrast, Maeglin, an elf of Gondolin would later betray his city to the dark lord Morgoth.[6]

Randel Helms has compared Felagund's role in Beren's quest to that of Arthur when he is called upon by Culhwch. "In both tales... the young men enlist the aid of a great king."[7]

In scienceEdit

A species of moth, Elachista gildorella, was named after Gildor by Finnish entomologist Lauri Kaila.[8]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Christopher Tolkien (1988), The History of Middle-earth, The Return of the Shadow; ISBN 0-395-49863-5
  2. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (2002) [1977]. The Silmarillion. Ballantine. pp. 380. ISBN 0-345-32581-8.
  3. ^ The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age": Family Trees I and II: "The house of Finwë and the Noldorin descent of Elrond and Elros", and "The descendants of Olwë and Elwë"
  4. ^ The Return of the King, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I The Númenórean Kings


  1. ^ Drout, Michael D. C. (2007). "Finrod". J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Taylor & Francis. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-41596-942-0.
  2. ^ Hammond, Wayne G.; Scull, Christina (2005). The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-618-64267-0. OCLC 61687696.
  3. ^ Hammond, Wayne G.; Scull, Christina (2005). The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-618-64267-0. OCLC 61687696.
  4. ^ Kane, Douglas Charles (2009). Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion. Associated University Presse. p. 74. ISBN 9-780-98014-963-0.
  5. ^ Barootes, B. S. W. (2014). "'He chanted a song of wizardry'". In Houghton, John Wm.; Croft, Janet Brennan; Martsch, Nancy; Rateliff, John D.; Reid, Robin Anne (eds.). Tolkien in the New Century: Essays in Honor of Tom Shippey. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-1-47661-486-1.
  6. ^ Flieger, Verlyn (2002). Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World (revised ed.). Kent State University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-87338-744-6.
  7. ^ Helms, Randel (1981). Tolkien and the Silmarils. Houghton Mifflin. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-39529-469-7.
  8. ^ Kaila, Lauri (1999). "A Revision of the Nearctic Species of the Genus Elachista s. l. III.: The bifasciella, praelineata, saccharella and freyerella groups (Lepidoptera, Elachistidae)". Acta Zoologica Fennica (211): 1–235.