February 13, 2012

Valentine's in Lorien - Cerin Amroth

Woe to the Elf in LOTRO who told his beloved he'd meet her at Cerin Amroth - possibly the most romantic spot in all of Lothlórien if not all of Middle Earth - on Valentine's Day February 14, but who is doomed to arrive a day late.  For every day on Cerin Amroth is February 15.

Visitors to Cerin Amroth are even reminded of this fact each time they run up the hill - large white text appears to tell you, "Cerin Amroth - February 15th."  So what is so significant about that date?  What is the history of Cerin Amroth?

Cerin Amroth, February 15th
In the Lord of the Rings, it is the day before the company, now led by Aragorn, takes leave of Lórien.  It is also the day after Frodo and Sam look into the Mirror of Galadriel, and the day after Gandalf "returns to life."  If you climb to the top of the flet on Cerin Amroth, you find Gimli and Legolas are there;we encounter other members of the Fellowship scattered throughout Lórien.  This is the game's way of giving us a reference point in the storyline of the Fellowship, explaining why things are the way they are at this point in time when we as LOTRO time travellers visit Lórien.

Cerin Amroth is named after Amroth, a ruler of Lothlórien.  We hear mention of the ill-fated tale of Amroth and Nimrodel in the Fellowship of the Ring, when Legolas sings of them soon after they arrive in Lothlórien. Amroth is represented as a son of Celeborn and Galadriel in some of Tolkien's writings (Unfinished Tales), but this was ultimately rejected and in other writings is shown as the son of a prior ruler of Lothlórien named Amdír (Familiar name, huh? But of course a totally different character!).  This version states that Amdír perished in the war of the Last Alliance and Amroth then took over rule of Lórien after him.  At any rate, Amroth, though King of Lothlórien (Silvan Elves), was Sindar (not an uncommon practice, referred to as "Sindarizing," such as Thranduil, who is also Sindar, being King of the Woodland Realm and ruling over a bunch of Silvan elves and likewise Celeborn, also Sindar; Galadriel was of the Noldor)

Amroth fell in love with the Silvan maiden Nimrodel (just like the river she sat beside).  Accounts of Nimrodel make her sound rather like a Xenophobe to me - she was not open to outsiders coming to Lórien, such as the Sindar, because they were all trouble makers. She insisted on speaking only her own Silvan language even after it was fallen into disuse in Lórien.  And once those dirty Dwarves stirred up trouble in Moria - well, there wasn't a suburb of Lórien remote enough for her.  So she ran away to Fangorn, but wouldn't enter because the trees there seemed just a little tooooo...well, you know how trees like THOSE are.  So Amroth had to go save her superior self, at which point she promised to marry him if he would take her away from all the ragtag beginning to clutter Middle Earth.  They agreed to head south to the refuge of Edhellond, south of Gondor on the Bay of Belfalas.  Somehow they managed to get separated, and Amroth and his company got there but Nimrodel did not.  The remaining Sindar Elves that Amroth had hoped to sail with did grudgingly cooperate a bit and waited a while (only Eru knows why) until nature took the matter out of their hands and blew the ship out to sea during a spectacular storm.  Amroth couldn't bear it, jumped ship, and was never seen again.  You would expect an Elf, so wise and valiant a ruler as he is described and who has been around a few thousand years, would have a bit more sense.  As for Nimrodel, no one ever saw her again either.
A day late, but don't jump!

But wait, I'm getting away from the "romance" of Cerin Amroth. Cerin Amroth is also a very important place in the lore of Aragorn and Arwen.  When Aragorn was 49, he passed through Lothlórien on the way back to Rivendell, not knowing Arwen was there.  This was after any romance between the two of them had been strongly discouraged by Elrond.  When Arwen saw Aragorn in Caras Galadhon, "her choice was made and her doom appointed."

"Then for a season they wandered together in the glades of Lothlórien, until it was time for him to depart.  And on the evening of Midsummer, Aragorn Arathorn's son, and Arwen daughter of Elrond went to the fair hill, Cerin Amroth, in the midst of the land, and they walked about unshod on the undying grass with elandor and niphredil about their feet.  And there upon that hill they looked east to the Shadow and west to the Twilight, and they plighted their troth and were glad."

Elrond, though he loved Aragorn, was not fond of her decision, and refused to let them marry until and unless Aragorn assumed his right to the throne of Arnor and Gondor, saying that he would not permit Arwen to abandon her immortality for anything less.  When we see Aragorn and the Fellowship spending time on Cerin Amorth during their brief stay in Lothlórien, we see him reliving the memories of their betrothal and undoubtedly wondering what the future holds, if he will be able to win that to which he is rightful heir and win Arwen as a result.

In the Lord of the Rings, we see that Aragorn never returned to Cerin Amroth.  In LOTRO, you will see a quest in Lórien that hints at his refusal to go back to Cerin Amroth until his "long road is ended."  And as a neat addition, we see Issuriel in one of the Volume II, Book 9 Epilogues sending you off to Bróin in Moria with a blossom of elanor.

So maybe Cerin Amroth is not the most romantic spot in all of Middle Earth.  Maybe it is sort of a depressing spot good only for remembering past moments and worrying about the future - just like anyone doomed to always arrive there on February 15 in LOTRO!

Sources:  The Fellowship of the Ring; Appendix B, Appendix F of the Lord of the Rings; Unfinished Tales

1 comment:

  1. Also where Arwen finally ended her time in Middle-Earth after Aragorn's death.