Rivendell, also known as Imladris in Sindarin, 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, but well hidden in the moorlands and foothills of the Misty Mountains. One of the main approaches to Rivendell came from the nearby Ford of Bruinen.
War of the Elves and Sauron
Rivendell was established by Elrond in the Second Age of Middle-earth in SA 1697. In the War between 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"). An alternative (or complementary) etymology gives Rivendell as the Anglicised version of the Westron name Karningul (itself a translation of Imladris).
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, in the Quest of Erebor, Gandalf intended to pass through Rivendell and ask Elrond for advice, particularly in deciphering Thror's Map, and sent word to Elrond in advance. Thorin, having developed a hatred of all Elves following the Elven-king's betrayal, objected to this at least twice, but Gandalf used the threat of a Warg attack to lead the company towards the Hidden Valley, where Elrond and a company of Riders intercepted the Warg riders.
With the Dwarves' suspicion and disrespect of the Elves, they nearly came to blows with Elrond's company, and later consumed all the foods in Rivendell's kitchens, bathed naked in their sacred fountains, stole some of Elrond's silverware (which then fell into the hands of the Goblins in Goblin-town) and used his furnite as fuel for campfires. Elrond, for his part, was hospitible but suspicious of the Dwarves' endeavour, as was Saruman who convened the White Council at the time. Bilbo, unlike the Dwarves, found Rivendell so enchanting that he almost defected to remain there, and would later return to it on his way back from the Quest, and again when he left the Shire following his 11th birthday.
Unknown to Elrond at the time, Sauron had secretly returned and sought to destroy Rivendell (as well as Lórien) by re-establishing Angmar. In order to do so, he forged an alliance with Smaug who would hold the Iron Hills Dwarves and the Men and Elves of Rhovanion at bay to secure Angmar's flank. This was thwarted by the Quest of Erebor, in which Smaug was slain, the subsequent Battle of the Five Armies, in which the Orc Armies meant to remake Angmar were decimated; and the attack of the White Council, in which Sauron and his Nazgul were banished from the North.
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
In the film The Fellowship of the Ring, years later, Frodo Baggins and his companions journeyed to Rivendell, where they met Bilbo. Several other Elves, Dwarves, and Men were summoned to Rivendell; at the Council of Elrond they learned that all of their errands were related to the fate of the One Ring, and they had to decide what to do about it. In the end, the Hobbits influenced the decision.
Following the destruction of the One Ring at the end of the Third Age, Elrond's ring lost its power, and Elrond, with many of his household, left Rivendell to sail for Valinor from the Grey Havens; this marked the start of the Fourth Age. It is not known when Rivendell was finally abandoned, but shortly after Aragorn died in Fo.A. 120, Arwen returned to the valley to find naught but "fading trees".
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
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F