Rivendell, also known as Imladris, was an Elven town and the house of Elrond located in Middle-earth. It is described as "The Last Homely House East of the Sea" in reference to Valinor, which was west of the Great Sea in Aman.
- 1 Location
- 2 History
- 3 Description
- 4 Inhabitants
- 5 Etymology
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Portrayal in adaptations
- 8 Translations
- 9 References
The peaceful, sheltered town of Rivendell was located at the edge of a narrow gorge of the river Bruinen (one of the main approaches to Rivendell comes from the nearby Ford of Bruinen), but well hidden in the moorlands and foothills of the Misty Mountains.
War of the Elves and Sauron
Rivendell was established by Elrond in the Second Age of Middle-earth in SA 1697. During the War of the Elves and Sauron, Eregion was laid waste and Elrond was sent from Ered Lindon with a host of Elves to aid Eregion in resisting Sauron. However Elrond arrived too late and along with the refugees from Eregion was forced to retreat back to a valley which they made into a stronghold. This was the beginning of Rivendell. Sauron laid siege to it but with the arrival of the Númenóreans the besieging force was destroyed.
The Last Alliance
Following the establishment of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men the hosts of Gil-galad and Elendil marched to Imladris and made camp there to prepare their arms and then proceeded over the High Pass southeast to Dagorlad.
When Angmar rose to power in the fourteenth century of the Third Age, Rivendell was again besieged during the period TA 1356 to TA 1409. This siege was broken by reinforcements brought over the mountains from Lothlórien and Angmar was subdued for a time.
However in TA 1974 Arthedain fell to Angmar. Elrond then sent Glorfindel and a host of elves to meet with the armies of Eärnil II and Cirdan, defeating Angmar for good at the Battle of Fornost. After the fall of Angmar the heirs of Isildur were fostered in Rivendell.
Quest for Erebor
During the Quest for the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo Baggins and the Company of Thorin stopped off at Rivendell. Bilbo described it as "a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all." After the quest, Bilbo and Gandalf returned there and were greeted again by Elrond and the elves.
War of the Ring
Years later, Frodo Baggins and his Hobbit companions journeyed to Rivendell, where they met with Bilbo, who had retired there after his eleventy-first birthday. Several other Elves, Dwarves and Men also arrived at Rivendell on separate errands; at the Council of Elrond they learned that all of their kind were related to the fate of the One Ring.
In Imladris, there was a large hall with a dais and several tables for feasting. Another hall, the Hall of Fire, had a fire in it year-round with carven pillars on either side of the hearth; it was used for singing and storytelling on high days, but stood empty otherwise, and people would come there alone to think and ponder. The eastern side of the house had a porch at which Frodo Baggins found his friends once he had awakened, and was where the Council of Elrond was held.
Rivendell was protected from attack (mainly by the River Bruinen, Elrond, and Elven magic), but Elrond himself said that Rivendell was a place of peace and learning, not a stronghold of battle.
Many notable elves lived in Rivendell:
- Elrond, Lord of Rivendell and the House of Elrond
- Celebrian, Lady of Rivendell and Elrond's wife
- Elladan, a son of Elrond. Stayed in Rivendell with Elrohir into the Fourth Age and (perhaps) beyond
- Elrohir, a son of Elrond. Stayed in Rivendell with his brother Elladan
- Arwen, daughter of Elrond, who stayed there throughout the War of the Ring
- Celeborn, who stayed there for a while in the Fourth Age before sailing West.
Imladris is a Sindarin term which means "deep valley of the cleft": from imlad ("glen, deep valley") and rist ("cleft") or riss ("ravine"). Its Westron term Rivendell comes from the English riven ("to tear apart or split") and dell ("valley").
Behind the scenes
The valley of Imladris (within which the town of Rivendell is situated) was based upon the landscape of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Tolkien was said to have journeyed to this region; his original painting of Rivendell is significantly similar to the Lauterbrunnen itself.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Hobbit film trilogy
In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Thorin and Company are shown to reach Rivendell by means of of a hidden path after being attacked by Azog's warg-riders, though Thorin is opposed to traveling there due to his long-standing grudge against elves. During the company's stay, Elrond reveals the Moon-letters to Thorin and Balin, and Gandalf later attends a meeting of the White Council, attempting to warn them of the Necromancer's growing power.
In the extended edition of the film, the sequence in Rivendell is significantly expanded, possibly to reflect the book's description of the company staying there for fourteen days leading up to mid-summer's eve. The first scene unique to the extended edition shows Lindir expressing his concern over the dwarves' insatiable appetite to Elrond, until they discover the same dwarves bathing in a special fountain.
The second scene is Bilbo looking around Rivendell and discovering Narsil, and then meeting Elrond. In their conversation the Hobbit amuses the Elf lord with a witty riddle as an answer to his questions. Elrond then tells him that if he ever would like to return to Rivendell after his mission he would be welcome to stay. Other extended scenes include the Dwarves messing about at dinner and Bofur singing a song, and also Elrond and Gandalf discussing important matters under the watch of Thorin and Bilbo.
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
Rivendell appears in all three films of The Lord of the Rings trilogy as the house of Lord Elrond and home of Arwen. Little is changed from the books' description, though Arwen's conflict between leaving Middle-earth and staying with Aragorn is significantly expanded on. The Fellowship is later shown to have reunited there to recuperate following the defeat of Sauron.
The Lord of the Rings Online
Rivendell appears as a playable location in the Trollshaws region. Its appearance in the game is similar in some regards to its counterpart in Peter Jackson's films.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Рывендэл (Rivendell)
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Ломидол (Rivendell)
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||瑞文戴爾|
|French||Fondcombe / Combe Fendue / Fendeval|
|Greek (Hellenic)||Σχιστό Λαγκάδι|
|Italian||Gran Burrone (in the first Italian translation of Lord of the Rings,the new Italian translation of the Hobbit ) / Forraspaccata (in the first Italian translation of the Hobbit) / Valforra (in the new Italian translation of Lord of the Rings)|
|Norwegian||Elverhøy (Werenskiold tr.)|
Kløvendal (Bugge Høverstad tr.)
|Spanish (Spain and Latin America)||Rivendel|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Рівенделл (Rivendell)
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda:
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Second Age"
- The Hobbit, Chapter III: "A Short Rest"
- The Hobbit, Chapter XIX: "The Last Stage"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter I: "Many Meetings"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter II: "The Council of Elrond"
- Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien