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Great Journey

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Great Journey
Other namesGreat March
LocationMiddle-earth, Belegaer, Valinor
DateY.T. 1105 to Y.T. 1132 (Minyar and Tatyar) and Y.T. 1151 (Nelyar)
ResultThe Eldar reach Valinor and found Eldamar; separation of Calaquendi and Moriquendi; many Teleri remain in Rhovanion and Beleriand
Part ofSundering of the Elves
ParticipantsValar (and Osse), Eldar
DescriptionOromë leads the three clans of Elves westwards through Middle-earth and Belegaer.

The Great Journey, or the Great March was the journey that the Elves known as the Eldar took from Cuiviénen, the place of their Awakening, to Valinor.

The Eldar departed in Y.T. 1105 and by walking they covered a geographical distance of 2000 miles, from Cuiviénen to Belegaer (at Eglarest)[1] in Y.T. 1132; from there Ulmo used Tol Eressea to ferry most of them to Aman. The last Eldar reached Aman in Y.T. 1151.

[edit] History

After the War of the Valar against Melkor much of northern Middle-earth was broken, and then Oromë returned to take the Elves with him into the West. In Y.T. 1105 the majority of the Elves began to depart and were called Eldar, but a part remained behind, becoming known as the Avari (The "Refusers"), in the Sundering of the Elves. Even the Eldar however were reluctant, being used to the beauties of Middle-earth, and were urged by Oromë and their respective chieftains; the most eager were the Minyar, followed by the Tatyar, and the most reluctant were the Nelyar.[2]

Oromë brought them a gift from the Valar for supplies, the coimas, made of a blessed kind of corn that Yavanna created in the fields of Aman, she sent some to them. This began the tradition that only elven-women had the keeping and gift of lembas.[3]

Oromë guided the Eldar north of the Sea of Helcar, passing under the smoke of Utumno that was ruined in the Battle of the Powers. Some Eldar fled in fear, and disappeared from history,[2] perhaps merging back with the Avari. The Journey was very slow because they were filled with wonder and wished to stay with the lands and the rivers; often Oromë left them for his matters, and returned to make them continue the road.[2]

Years later the host passed through the Greenwood, and then long waited at the shores of the Great River Anduin while Oromë sought a way to get them over the Hithaeglir mountains, which were much higher in those days.[2]

By Y.T. 1115 Oromë returned, having found (or forged) the High Pass (where later was built Rivendell), most Eldar went on, but a group of the Teleri remained behind and went down the Anduin under their leader Dan (or Lenwë), becoming known as the Nandor.[4][2]

The remaining Eldar passed north of the immense forests that covered all of Eriador, along a route that would become later the Great West Road (that ran through Arnor). Finally in Y.T. 1125 the Minyar and Tatyar crossed the Ered Luin and reached Beleriand, while the Lindar still lagged behind in Eriador. For this reason they became known as the Teleri (the "Last").[5]

The Teleri finally entered Beleriand in Y.T. 1128 but remained east of Gelion; in Y.T. 1132 the first two clans were ferried across Belegaer on Tol Eressëa by Ulmo. When Ulmo returned for them in Y.T. 1150, the greater part of the Teleri finally crossed Belegaer under Olwë. But a part of the Teleri remained behind again, either because they were enamored by the shores, or because the Eglath were looking for their leader Elwë, becoming the Sindar.[6]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part One. Time and Ageing: VII. The March of the Quendi", pp. 47, 49; the figure refers to a straight line, not the actual walking route.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XV. Of Lembas"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "The Annals of Aman": §60-2, pp. 82-83
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
(Quendi · People of the Stars · Firstborn · Elder Kindred)
Three Kindreds:
(Eldar · Eldalië · Edhil)
 Vanyar (Fair-elves · Minyar) · Noldor (Deep-elves · Tatyar) · Teleri (Lindar · Nelyar)
(High-elves · Amanyar)
 Vanyar · Noldor · Falmari
Úmanyar:  Sindar (Grey-elves · Eglath · Falathrim) · Nandor (Green-elves · Silvan Elves)
 Moriquendi:  Úmanyar · Avari (Dark Elves · The Unwilling)
See also:  Awakening of the Elves · Sundering of the Elves · Great Journey