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This article is about Ottor Wǽfre. For the translator to Old English, see Ælfwine.
Vinyatar - Limpë.png
"Limpë" by Vinyatar
Biographical Information
Other namesOttor Wǽfre
SpouseCwén (1st)
Naimi (2nd)
ChildrenHengest and Horsa (by Cwén)
Heorrenda (by Naimi)
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Eriol

Eriol (born as Ottor), the son of Eoh, was born in Angeln, between the Flensburg Fjord and the river Schlei.


[edit] History

After his father was killed by his uncle, Beorn, Eriol fled to the island of Heligoland where he married a woman named Cwén. He was the father of Hengest and Horsa, who later became great chieftains of their people. His grandfather was named Heden and claimed a descent of the Norse god Wóden himself.

While sailing the Sea, Ottor followed the directions of an old man who turned out to be Ulmo, and was cast away on Tol Eressëa. He was welcomed by the Elves there who gave him the name Eriol Sarothron ("Lone dreamer" and "Voyager"), and who also called him Angol (after the "iron cliffs" of his home). Lindo hosted him in the Cottage of Lost Play of Kortirion where they were celebrating Turuhalmë.

There, he met and talked with Rúmil, Eltas, Gilfanon and others, all eager to teach him the origin of the World and tales from the Elder Days (in part because it was necessary before he could be allowed to drink limpë). Eriol also learned the origin of the land of Luthany.

[edit] Genealogy


[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

Eriol's arrival to Eressëa is the frame story of The Book of Lost Tales, the first conception of Tolkien's legendarium.

The story follows Ottor's exploration of the Isle and meeting with the Elves who are willing to narrate their lore about the creation of the world, the origins of the Elves, Dwarves and Men, their wars against the Enemy and the origins of Luthany (Britain); each Elf narrates another part of the history, forming what would consist The Silmarillion decades later.

Later in the story, Ottor narrates his own background and how he came to arrive to Eressëa; the Elves also tell him their prophecies concerning their return to Luthany and the rekindling of the Two Trees.

In later works of Tolkien, the figure of Eriol was renamed Ælfwine and was given a different background. Rather than a Saxon of the 5th century (predating the establishment of England), Ælfwine is revised as an Anglo-Saxon citizen of 10th century England. However, neither Eriol nor Ælfwine appear in the published Silmarillion.

[edit] Inspiration

The names of Ottor's sons are significant to the historical context of the Eriol story. In British folklore, Hengest and Horsa are the legendary leaders of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 5th century AD. By connecting them to the translator of the Lost Tales, Tolkien would have established a direct link between his legendarium and the Matter of Britain.

Ottor is the Old English word for the animal otter. Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins propose that Tolkien in his youth perhaps assumed (or was given) an Animalic name Otter for himself. In the year 1909 he wrote a note in Esperanto Privata al LUTTRO "Private to OTTER".[1][2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien; Dimitra Fimi, Andrew Higgins (eds.), A Secret Vice, p. 40-1 [note 19]
  2. Arden R. SmithPatrick Wynne, "Tolkien and Esperanto", Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review, Vol. 17 (2000), p. 33.