Welcome back to LotRO and Lore, an article series where we take a look at a few of the stellar ways that Turbine ties Tolkien’s wonderful writings into the realm of the MMORPG. This week we survey the statues of the elves.
When I first wandered into the glades of Duillond and Celondim on the banks of the river Lune, I was taken aback by the beauty of the place and the intricate detail of the architecture of the place. A prominent feature of either city is the statues that dot the surrounding lands, keeping a tireless watch over the elven lands. Likewise, a number of statues may be found outside Rivendell, in the gardens of the Last Homely House. While it is not explicitly stated in the game, these statues are, in fact, modeled after famous characters from the elder days of Middle-earth and taken straight from the pages of Lord of the Rings.
Standing tall and proud over Duillond, one may find the statue pictured above: An elf with lordly bearing, carrying a staff in his outstretched hand. The careful observer may discover something peculiar about this particular elf, however– He has a beard! No elf in-game has a beard, so we must turn to the books to find information.
At the end of Return of the King, when Frodo heads out from the Shire to at last sail into the West, he encounters at the Grey Havens an elf matching this description. Tolkien writes,
As the came to the gates Círdan the Shipwright came to greet them. Very tall his was, and his beard was long, and he was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars…
Círdan is one of only two elves ever named by Tolkien that had beards. Since Círdan is Lord of the Grey Havens, which neighbors Ered Luin, it makes sense that this statue is of him. For those interested in learning more about the famous Shipwright, links will be provided at the bottom of the article.
Away from Celondim proper lies a small glade ever-glowing with an almost magical purple light. In the middle of an intricate dias sits a great statue of a woman, tall and fair, staring down upon travelers who visit her shrine. A nearly identical statue may be found in the courtyard of the Last Homely House. These figures are distinct from other elven statues; they do not represent a realistic figure meant to be viewed from all sides, but rather a slightly abstracted woman with impossibly long, flowing hair, meant to be seen from one angle only. In addition, these statues are placed in areas that seem almost sacred, and small reflecting pools at their feet further support the idea that these depict someone otherworldly.
It can be inferred that they are statues of the Vala Elbereth, the Star-kindler, who the elves adore and call out to when in great distress. The statue at Celondim may be one of many ‘shrines’ of a sort that the elves have constructed where they may remember her and come to seek her in times of need.
Looming over the paths leading up to the porch of Elrond’s home, a weary wanderer is greeted by the countenance of a towering elf upon a platform. In his right hand he holds a great shield of detailed make, and in his left a weapon adorned with a heavy spearhead. Upon his brow rests a circlet, signifying his royal heritage; this is our first clue. The fact that he is placed prominently in Rivendell is our second clue, and the spear itself is the third.
The statue is of Gil-galad, an elven king of Lindon who perished before Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age. Elrond once was under his command, and thus he has placed his previous lord and king at the doorway of his house to pay respect to his fallen leader. As further evidence, Gil-galad’s famous weaponry was Aeglos, the spear of snow, and a great shield:
The countless stars of heaven’s field
Were mirrored in his silver shield.
-Excerpt from The Fall of Gil-galad
The final statue we will take a look at is this statue, also found in Rivendell. It is a carven image of a dancing elf maiden. The identity of this statue is not hard to discover as an identical statue is available as a player housing item and is named ‘Lúthien statue’. Still, it is interesting to note that the statue is situated in Rivendell, as Lúthien the Fair is one among many of the renowned ancestors of Elrond.
What other statues have you found in Turbine’s Middle-Earth? Share your discoveries and any comments on this week’s article below!
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