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Maedhros, also called Maedhros the Tall,[3] was one of the princes of the Ñoldor, the eldest of the seven Sons of Fëanor and head of the House of Fëanor following the death of his father in Middle-earth. He was extraordinarily renowned for his skill both as a warrior and as a diplomat. For hundreds of years, he led his House against the forces of Morgoth but the Oath that he and his six brothers had sworn to recover the Silmarils constrained him and ultimately led to his death.


Maedhros at the Kinslaying in Alqualonde

Maedhros was born in Eldamar, probably in Tirion, to Fëanor and Nerdanel sometime during the Noontide of Valinor. After the flight of Fëanor from Tirion in Valinor, he went with his father to Formenos. When Morgoth killed Finwë and stole Fëanor's beloved Silmarils, Maedhros was the first son to take the terrible Oath of Fëanor to recover the holy jewels.[4]

Maedhros participated in the First Kinslaying alongside his father and brothers. He was, however, the only one of Fëanor's sons to not participate in the burning of the Teleri ships, and he advocated for ships and oarsmen to return to Aman to ferry Fingolfin's host.[4] After landing in Middle-earth, the Ñoldor were attacked by an army of Orcs, leading to the Dagor-nuin-Giliath. The Elves were victorious and the remnants of the Orcish army retreated to Angband, pursued by Fëanor and a small vanguard. But Fëanor's force encountered a number of Balrogs as they approached Angband, and were quickly slain. Fëanor himself was dealt a mortal wound by Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs, but Maedhros and his brothers arrived with a relief force to rescue him. However, Fëanor died from his wounds.

Maedhros captured by Melkor's orcs, by Jenny Dolfen

Soon after the Dagor-nuin-Giliath and the death of Fëanor, an embassy came from Morgoth acknowledging defeat, and offering terms which included the possibility of surrendering a Silmaril. Maedhros did not trust Morgoth, and so went to meet his embassy with more men than agreed upon. But Morgoth too had been expecting treachery, and so sent further more troops, including Balrogs. When the two groups met, the Elves were quickly slain and Maedhros was captured. Morgoth then sent word to the Elves that if they forsook their war against him, Maedhros would be released. But the Elves knew that Morgoth would not honor his word and sent no reply. In response, Morgoth hung Maedhros by the wrist of his right hand to the face of a precipice of Thangorodrim with a band of unbreakable steel.[5] Shortly thereafter the host of Fingolfin, betrayed by Fëanor and abandoned in Aman, came at last to Middle-earth. The people of Fingolfin, harboring great anger over Fëanor's betrayal, were not welcomed by Fëanor's host for shame, and the two groups remained bitterly divided. However, Maedhros's cousin Fingon decided to set out alone in the hope of rescuing him. Though Fingon did not know of Maedhros's objection to the burning of the ships at Losgar, the two had been very close before Fëanor's betrayal, and Fingon wished to both heal the division between the two

The recent appearance of the Sun and Moon had prompted Morgoth to blanket the sky above Angband with nigh-impenetrable clouds of ash and smoke to shield his servants. Aided by this darkness and the fact the Morgoth's legions were hiding underground in their entirety from the newly made lights, Fingon managed to reach Thangorodrim unmolested. But seeing that he could not enter Angband by any means, he began to sing a song in defiance of the Orcs hiding within Angband. Maedhros heard this song, and began to sing with Fingon, and thus Fingon managed to locate him upon the slopes of Thangorodrim. But when he reached the foot of the precipice from which Maedhros hung, he found that there was no way to reach Maedhros to free him. Seeing that there was nothing Fingon could do to help him, and being in agony without hope of respite, Maedhros begged Fingon to shoot him. Fingon made to do as Maedhros wished, but before he loosed his arrow, he prayed to Manwë to grant speed to the arrow for Maedhros's sake. Fingon's plea for mercy was heard by Thorondor, the King of Eagles, who stayed Fingon's hand and flew him to Maedhros. But Fingon was neither able affect the metal band from which Maedhros hung nor draw it from the precipice. Maedhros begged Fingon for death once again, but Fingon instead severed Maedhros‘s hand above the wrist and Thorondor bore them both away from Thangorodrim. Maedhros made a swift recovery but never forgot his torment, which drove him to become an even deadlier swordsman with his left hand than he had ever been with his right. In gratitude for his rescue, and in atonement for Fëanor's betrayal, Maedhros relinquished all claim as the heir of Finwë and made his Uncle Fingolfin, Fingon's father, High King of the Ñoldor, something his brothers did not take well to. Maedhros openly acknowledged this action as being proper, as Fingolfin was the oldest living son of Finwë and was therefore next in line for the throne.

Fingon rescuing Maedhros from one of the Thangorodrim

Seeing that the more ill-tempered of his brothers were likely to cause feuds with their kinsmen, Maedhros moved all of them and their people out of Hithlum, and later ruled the lands around the Hill of Himring,[6] which became known as the March of Maedhros. He established there a mighty fortress, not only to separate his rash and fiery brothers from the people of Fingolfin, but because he wished to have any attack from Angband fall first upon him. Allied with Fingolfin, he helped the High King win the battle of Dagor Aglareb. He stood with Fingolfin for nearly 300 years until the Dagor Bragollach, and thanks to his daring deeds during the battle, Himring stood while many other Elven realms fell. After a time, he even managed to re-secure the Pass of Aglon over which the Fortress of Himring stood, and denied the forces of Morgoth entry into Beleriand through the March.

Soon after, he learned of Beren and Lúthien's successful quest to liberate a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown. Realizing that Morgoth was not invincible, he took hope and gathered his brothers and united with other Elven Houses to create the Union of Maedhros, hoping to end the dominion of Morgoth forever. However, the Union was utterly broken during the Nírnaeth Arnoediad. Himring was captured by Orcs, and Maedhros and his brothers fled south, taking refuge upon the hill of Amon Ereb.[7]

Maedhros and Maglor prepared to fight and die after stealing the Silmarils after the War of Wrath

Several years later, Maedhros and his brothers learned that Dior of Doriath, son of Lúthien and Beren, had inherited the Silmaril that her grandparents had recovered from Morgoth. Still driven by the Oath, Maedhros allowed Celegorm to convince him to attack Doriath. During the battle, Celegorm, Caranthir, and Curufin were slain, as was Dior, King of Doriath. Dior's sons, Eluréd and Elurín, were captured and abandoned by Celegorm's cruel servants in the forests around Doriath. Maedhros bitterly regretted this deed, and he long searched for the innocent youths but could not find them.[8] After learning that Dior's daughter Elwing had survived and had taken the Silmaril with her, he and his surviving brothers descended with an army upon the remnants of the people of Doriath living in the Havens of Sirion. The Ñoldorin princes killed many Elves and captured Elwing's sons Elrond and Elros in the sack, but she and her husband Eärendil escaped to the West with the jewel.[9] Heartsick with the burden of the Oath and the deeds he had participated in to see it fulfilled, Maedhros and his brother Maglor took Elwing's sons under their protection.

Maedhros casts himself in the fiery chasm, by Jenny Dolfen

After the War of Wrath, he and his last surviving brother, Maglor, demanded the jewels from Eönwë but were denied, as they were judged by the Maia to be unworthy of the jewels due to their heinous acts. However, driven onward by the Oath, Maedhros convinced Maglor of the necessity of fulfilling it. As such, one night the two brothers snuck into the camp of the victorious Host of Valinor, slew the guard around the jewels and laid hands upon them. The camp was roused, and the brothers prepared to die defending their claim, but Eönwë ordered the brothers to be spared, and they left the camp unharmed. But because of the evil deeds committed by the brothers to regain the jewels, they burned Maglor's and Maedhros' hands. Unable to bear the suffering, Maedhros cast himself and the Silmaril he carried into a fiery chasm in the Earth.[9]


Maidhros is Quenya for "Pale-glitter".[10] His father-name was Nelyafinwë ("Finwë the Third"), from the Quenya nelya ("third")[11] and its shorter form was Nelyo.[2]

His mother Nerdanel called Maedhros Maitimo ("Well-shaped one") for he was "of beautiful bodily form". His first epessë was Russandol ("Copper top"), referring to his auburn hair.[2] The second epessë Maedhros is the Sindarin translation of Maitimo and Russandol, from maed ("shapely") and ross ("red-haired").[12]


Maedhros had a fierce spirit, hardened by his torment by Morgoth on Thangorodrim, but was more temperate than his father. He was an exceptionally skilled swordsman despite the loss of his right hand. He was well known for his handsome, comely appearance,[2] especially his auburn hair, which was a contrast with his royal kin's dark hair. He was also known for his skill in diplomacy, as he was able to keep the peace between the House of Fëanor and the rest of his kinsmen for hundreds of years despite the rash and fiery nature of most of his brothers.

House of Fëanor

The Heraldic Device of the House of Fëanor



Maedhros by Anna Lee.jpg
Maedhros, by Anna Lee
Maedhros Portrait by dalomacchi.jpg
Depiction by Dalomacchi


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ማአድህሮስ
Arabic ماييدروس
Armenian Մաեդրոս
Belarusian Cyrillic Маэдрос
Bengali মাইড্রোস
Bosnian Maidros
Bulgarian Cyrillic Маедрос
Chinese (Hong Kong) 梅斯羅斯
Georgian მაედჰროსი
Greek Μαέδρος
Gujarati મેડ્રોસ
Hebrew מאידרוס
Hindi माधरोस
Japanese マイズロス
Kazakh Маедһрос (Cyrillic) Maedhros (Latin)
Kannada ಮೇಧ್ರೋಸ್
Korean 마이드로스
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Маэдhрос
Macedonian Cyrillic Маедхрос
Malayalam മേഡ്റോസ്
Marathi मेद्रोस
Mongolian Cyrillic Маэдhрос
Nepalese म​एध्रोस
Pashto ماېدهروس
Persian مايدروس
Punjabi ਮੈਡਰੋਸ
Russian Маэдрос
Sanskrit म​एध्रोस्
Serbian Маидрос (Cyrillic) Maidros (Latin)
Sinhalese මේඩ්රෝස්
Tajik Cyrillic Маедҳрос
Tamil மெத்ரோஸ்
Telugu మేధారోస్
Thai มายดรอส
Ukrainian Cyrillic Маедрос
Urdu ماےدهروس
Uzbek Маедҳрос (Cyrillic) Maedhros (Latin)
Yiddish מאַעדהראָס


  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, chapter V: "The Tale of Years"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth, chapter XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter V: "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the Ñoldor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIV: "Of Beleriand and its Realms"
  7. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XX: "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  8. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXII: "Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XXIV: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  11. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part Four: Quendi and Eldar, C. The Clan-names, with notes on other names for divisions of the Eldar
  12. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth, chapter XI: "The Shibboleth of Fëanor", Note 65