The Grey Havens

Part of the Second Age of Middle-earth Exploratory Series

In the First Age, Círdan the Shipwright dwelt at the Falas, the Havens, an area on the western-shores of the area known as Beleriand in Middle-earth. There, at the Falas, were two great havens: Brithombar and Eglarest.

The Grey Havens by Matthew Stewart

But the realm of Nargothrond extended also west of Narog to the River Nenning, that reached the sea at Eglarest; and Finrod became the overlord of all the Elves of Beleriand between Sirion and the sea, save only in the Falas. There dwelt those of the Sindar who still loved ships, and Círdan the shipbuilder was their lord; but between Círdan and Finrod there was friendship and alliance, and with the aid of the Noldor the havens of Brithombar and Eglarest were built anew. Behind their great walls they became fair towns and harbours with quays and piers of stone. … With the aid of the Elves of the Havens some of the folk of Nargothrond built new ships, and they went forth and explored the great Isle of Balar, thinking there to prepare a last refuge, if evil came.¹

But the Falas were destroyed by the forces of Morgoth following the Nirnaith Arnoediad, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Círdan, along with a small group of survivors (including Gil-galad, who would become High King of the Noldor) escaped by ship to the Isle of Balar. There they dwelt throughout the remainder of the First Age until Beleriand itself was almost completely destroyed at the end of the the War of Wrath (the WoW ended FA and ushered in SA; see our previous entry in the series for more info). The vast subcontinent of Beleriand was drowned beneath the sea, and all that remained of it throughout the Second and Third Ages is what was once the eastern-most portion, under the skirts of the Ered Luin (Blue Mountains). This mountain range became the distinguishing western-most feature of Middle-earth on the maps to which we have all become accustomed in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Here, at the Gulf of Lune, Círdan established Mithlond, the Grey Havens in SA1, where he remained for more than 6,000 years. It was at the Grey Havens where the Númenóreans first stepped ashore when they returned to Middle-earth after being away for 600 years²; it was from here that the Elves who wished to sail into the West and leave the mortal lands would find a ship to carry them; it was from here, after the destruction of the One Ring, that the the Three Elven Rings, along with all remaining Ring-bearers, passed into the West; and still, it was here that Círdan remained.

Gulf of Lune, location of Mithlond, ‘The Grey Havens’

Find the entirety of our Second Age Exploratory Series here.

Works Consulted

  1. The Silmarillion [1977]
  2. The Return of the King [1955], Appendix B: ‘The Tale of Years

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