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The Dower of Dol Amroth

RiverOtter asked for the early days of Dol Amroth's history. She gets a page out of the Dol Amroth edition of the Red Book.


The Dower of Dol Amroth

Of the Princes of Dol Amroth.

In the War of the Ring, it was Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth who was instrumental in defending Minas Tirith until the Rohirrim and Aragorn could arrive to lift the siege. Afterwards, he became a great friend of Legolas Greenleaf, and Legolas it was who told us this story, which he had from the Prince, for it is a very curious thing to find in a Man the blood of the Eldar, and the land of Dol Amroth itself is said to be elven country. In such late times, it is moreover a thing unheard of, for Men to build a city in Elvish lands, or for Elves to permit it while they remained. Such a friendship must be the marvel of an Age, though as the Prince told and Legolas testifies, such wonders are often bound with grief.

The storm had left the beaches full of driftwood and long, stringy lines of kelp. The fisherfolk of Amon Alphran would not risk the sea, for each white-crested wave bore a weight of brown and tossed the ocean floor up onto the strand.

Two days, the sea swelled and churned and would not be calm. Ossë was restless, folk said; summer had been too long, fall too mild. Something strange was in the wind, and Ossë cried warning. They had seen it before, the year the South Haven emptied, and the year the Princess of Amon Alphran had disappeared, leaving their Prince with his young children to a widower's sad estate.

Yet still, they were surprised when, on the third day, a grey-swathed woman appeared upon the docks. She stood straight as an arrow upon the pier, unmoved by the wind and the spray, and silent – silent so that the sailors finally sent one of their number to the keep, to tell their Prince of the strange Elf cast up on their shore. For she could be naught else, surely, who seemed of the storm herself.

Then Imrazor came himself to the docks, though not in hope, for Mithrellas all men knew in Amon Alphran. Yet perhaps he thought her another of his wife's companions, come to seek her friend or her lost lady. For, when he came to her side and spoke, he welcomed her in the tongue his wife had taught him, but said: “I fear we can give you no news, if it is the Lady Nimrodel you seek.”

The Elf-woman, hearing her own tongue from a Man's lips, looked at him then, and said sadly: “I need no news of Lady Nimrodel. But I perceive that though you are mortal, you have been bound to one of mine. Tell me, then, friend, what is this place, and whose house stands upon this hill?”

The Prince, marveling, replied: “You see as only the Eldar do, lady, for my wife was the lady Mithrellas, who is of Elven kind. But to answer you: you stand now in Belfalas and it is the prince's house that you see there, lady – my house, for I am Imrazor, the prince of this city.”

“And yet this land was elven land once,” she said. “I hear it from the waters and the hills tell of them – my people, who dwelt here for long ere Men came, and who called this hill Dol Amroth, for our King who dwelt upon it in his youth.”

“It is still so called, lady,” Imrazor told her. “And we have not changed it, for 'tis said in the lore of my house that when the fathers of my fathers came here, following the swans, they were welcomed as guests by the Elves and let to dwell here, as in the king's house, for it was his very hill. But they were not let to hold it as lords of the land. Many years have passed, and we have remembered this, and so I am Prince of my people, who live in the city that we call Amon Alphran, but Dol Amroth is elvish land. For we would honor our guestship, though we are told the last of the Elves of Belfalas has gone.”

Then the Elf-woman looked again to the sea, and said: “He is gone, Amroth. So the waves tell – he lies with them now, and no peace shall I find in this land.” Turning from the ocean, she took Imrazor's hand in hers, and told him: “But you are come into my house, for Mithrellas was dear to me, and I see that her line has passed into your children. So be it! Since she is gone, then I must claim them, and they are all the children that Amroth's wife shall ever have in Middle-earth. Guests you were, but no longer: therefore your son will be the Prince of Dol Amroth, and from him shall descend a house of great renown – if only for a little while.”

Then she kissed his brow, as one who farewells a brother, and fled – swift as the wind, and none dared to stop her, nor could have, and though Imrazor sent men to search for her, no man ever found her. And it was said afterwards that she must indeed have been Nimrodel, for her gift gave true, and her foretelling also, and where Gondor has had need, the Princes of Dol Amroth have ever stood by her and high in the hearts and memories of her people.


Author's Notes: C. Tolkien's note 39 to “Cirion and Eorl” in Unfinished Tales goes through the problems of trying to explain how Dol Amroth, a Dúnadan city, came to be called Dol Amroth. The city evidently pre-existed Amroth's departure, but the Princes of Dol Amroth did not. Galador was the first Prince of Dol Amroth. Either the city changed its name after 1980 and Amroth's disappearance, or else it was always called Dol Amroth and the family wasn't a family of princes until Galador, though this seems to go against the idea that the Princes were granted their title by Elendil. Moreover, given the story of Amroth's demise, it is evidently impossible that any human being could have known that Amroth was even dead, so it seems unlikely that his death would have prompted the renaming of the city (assuming it was renamed for some reason).

But scrap of paper to the rescue! Unfinished Tales also contains an etymological note, that puts forward the idea that Nimrodel did actually survive her separation and lived by the river Gilrain until some unspecified time after Amroth's death and departure.

Add scrap of paper to note thirty-nine, shake vigorously and serve...


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