Celebrimbor is one of the most important characters in the history of The Lord of the Rings franchise. So, why don’t people know more about him? Celebrimbor is a character from the larger lore of Tolkien’s franchise and has not appeared in either of the film trilogies, nor in the main books of the franchise. Still, his role in Sauron’s rise and the First War is pivotal and that is why we have decided to introduce you to the chararacter, who is also set to play a larger role in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series.
Celebrimbor is an elf of born in the First Age. He was tricked by Sauron, under the identity of Annatar, into making the Rings of Power. After Sauron destroyed his home, he took the nine rings of men and tortured him to find out where he hid those of the dwarves and elves. Sauron got him to tell him of the dwarven rings, then killed Celebrimbor, as he refused to tell him where the elven rings were.
The rest of this article is going to be exclusively about Celebrimbor, the famous elven blacksmith. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about the character, whose role in the events that unfolded in Middle-earth was essential, practically almost as important as Sauron’s, yet he is practically unknown. We are now going to correct that mistake.
Who is Celebrimbor?
Celebrimbor is an Ñoldor prince, and the last of the line of the House of Fëanor, who lived in Middle-earth. He was a ruler of Eregion in the Second Age and a master blacksmith. He is remembered primarily for his creation of the three greatest Elven rings of power: Vilya, Narya and Nenya. Celebrimbor is the son of Curufin, who is the fifth son of Fëanor (son of Finwë and his first wife Miriel) and Nerdanel.
Born in Valinor, he follows his father into exile. Settled in Nargothrond, he remained there when his father Curufin and his uncle Celegorm were driven out. In the First Age he fought in the battles of Dagor Nuin Giliath and Dagor Aglareb. He fought bravely at Nirnaeth Arnoediad. And in the War of Wrath he fought the forces of Morgoth with some of the troops of Beleriand. After the war, he preferred to stay in Middle-earth.
There are stories that Celebrimbor and Galadriel were married but this is incorrect. There is absolutely nothing in Tolkien’s writings that states that Celebrimbor married Galadriel; there is a scene from a short story in which Celebrimbor confesses his love for her, but that story was left unfinished and was not something that Tolkien had explored.
On the other hand, the two were actually related. Celebrimbor was the grandson of Fëanor. He was Galadriel’s first cousin once-removed (although Fëanor and Galadriel’s father Finarfin were only half-brothers). Now, we know that a lot of distant relatives ended up marrying in Tolkien’s franchise, but it seems that the author thought that this was too close of a relation to let them actually develop a relationship.
Celebrimbor’s skills and abilities
Due to his elven blood, Celebrimbor was very skilled in the use of his bow, Azkara, which he used even when he was alive and continues to do so after death, like a ghost. As a ghost, Celebrimbor does not use normal arrows, instead preferring to use ghostly arrows for himself. These arrows can be set on fire, which Celebrimbor often uses to slow down his enemies.
An excellent archer, Celebrimbor is also skilled with a sword. He is able to easily cut through hordes of Uruks. Celebrimbor, like Talion, is capable of performing a number of acrobatic stunts. He is able to climb a variety of high structures with the least effort. It also allows Talion to use some of his athletic abilities, allowing him to act faster for a short period of time.
This speed comes from his “ghost” abilities to allow him to move faster. After becoming a ghost, Celebrimbor gained many abilities. Some of them are Shadowstrike and Brand. The Brand, in particular, allows him to control minds through his natural aura of fear and intimidation.
He can also use these abilities to restore Talion’s body when he is killed. Celebrimbor is not only a skilled warrior and powerful ghost, but he is also a very skilled and skilled blacksmith. The three Elven Rings of Power were created in the forge of Eregion by Celebrimbor himself.
Is Celebrimbor stronger than Sauron?
Regardless of his amazing skills, Celebrimbor was no match for Sauron. Even without control over all of the Rings of Power, Sauron was an exceptionally powerful character and he was able to defeat Celebrimbor in a direct clash. There is no scenario in which Celebrimbor defeats Sauron, simply because Sauron is so powerful.
Celebrimbor and the making of the Rings of Power
After a few years in Lindon, Celebrimbor decided to settle in the Eregion, an elven realm founded by Galadriel in Eriador, where he established a guild of blacksmiths; in this sort of guild, he gathered the best craftsmen of his people and the Eregion became a lively cultural center renowned for its production of jewels and magical artifacts. When Celeborn and Galadriel moved to Lothlórien, they gave him the lordship over the kingdom of Eregion.
During his reign, he forged ties with the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm, especially with the craftsman Narvi, with whom he built the Gates of Durin in Moria. In 1500 SA, after being rejected by Gil-Galad in Lindon, Sauron presented himself to Ost-in-Edhil in the guise of Annatar, Lord of the Gifts, befriending the Noldor of the Eregion, to whom he taught the art of the forging of the rings.
Although Celebrimbor was wise and aware of many things, even if he initially distrusted him in the end, also driven by a thirst for knowledge, he lent himself to his teachings and with the other blacksmiths of the Brotherhood began to forge the Rings of Power. Sauron had in fact convinced them that their art and magical ability would be useful in healing the wounds that the corruption of Morgoth had inflicted on Middle-earth, thus making the lands east of the Great Sea similar to Valinor.
“‘But wherefore should Middle-earth remain for ever desolate and dark, whereas the Elves could make it as fair as Eressëa, nay even as Valinor? And since you have not returned thither, as you might, I perceive that you love this Middle-earth, as do I. Is it not then our task to labour together for its enrichment, and for the raising of all the Elven-kindreds that wander here untaught to the height of that power and knowledge which those have who are beyond the Sea?'”—Sauron persuades the Noldor, ”The Silmarillion”, Part III, “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, in which these tales come to their end”
After lending his knowledge to the smiths of the Eregion, Sauron returned to Mordor where he secretly forged the One Ring into which he poured a huge part of his power; the Dark Lord would in fact use this object to command the other rings and groped to enslave the bearers of them to his will, and therefore to govern Middle-earth.
However, when Sauron wore the Ring convinced that he could now subjugate the other bearers, the Elves immediately became aware of having been deceived and of the true identity of the one they knew as Annatar. To sabotage Sauron’s plans they immediately took off the rings, hiding them and thus challenging the Dark Lord. The most powerful ones, forged by Celebrimbor himself, were three and were not corrupt, since they had never been touched by Sauron, although they were still connected to the One Ring.
The Three Rings were called Vilya, Narya and Nenya and each of them held a fundamental element of Arda, such as air, fire and water. Celebrimbor sent the Three Rings to Lindon to be kept safe from evil hands: Vilya and Nenya were guarded by Gil-galad, Narya da Círdan, who later gave it to Gandalf.
The fight against Sauron and Celebrimbor’s death
Realizing that his game had been discovered and his attempts at domination frustrated, Sauron decided to take revenge by waging a terrible war against the Elves and their allies, devastating Middle-earth. The Dark Lord made his first move by attacking the kingdom of Eregion and destroying it completely.
Celebrimbor was captured during the siege and tortured in order to make him confess the whereabouts of the three Elven Rings, but the elf refused to reveal it to him, preferring death rather than speaking. Angered by his stubbornness, Sauron, in revenge, had Celebrimbor killed and impaled on the threshold of the city of Ost-in-Edhil; thus died the last descendant of the House of Fëanor in Middle-earth, excluding his uncle Maglor, whose fate remains unknown.
With the death of Celebrimbor, Sauron was, therefore, able to take back many of the lesser rings that he had given: three he took from the Dwarves, and all nine from Men, now subjected to his dominion from that moment on; however thanks to the sacrifice of the elf he did not know where the three elven rings were hidden and their owners could therefore keep them hidden until the fall of the Dark Lord.
How was Celebrimbor tortured?
The exact circumstances under which Celebrimbor died and was tortured were never revealed by Tolkien. The scene, of course, wasn’t described in detail, but we do know one of Sauron’s methods – Sauron had Celebrimbor witness his family tortured and killed in front of him. He presumably beat him, had him wounded, and whatnot, before ultimately beating him to death and killing him.
Other versions of the legendarium
In some records, Celebrimbor was instead a Sindar elf and an ancestor of Daeron who used the Feanorian script and not what we have said above. Later Celebrimbor was changed to a Ñoldor who had survived the fall of Gondolin.
In the Unfinished Tales, it is claimed that Celebrimbor was one of the Teleri who accompanied Celeborn into exile. In another earlier version of the larger role, Celebrimbor rebelled against Galadriel after she and Celeborn founded Eregion. Celebrimbor and Galadriel later reconciled after Sauron’s deception was revealed.
Celebrimbor in other adaptations
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014)
The spirit of Celebrimbor takes possession of the body of the ranger Talion, the guardian of the Morannon (Black Gate), in the form of a spirit from the Land of Shadow, remembering almost nothing about himself and his past. He saves the ranger from death, and together they avenge the murder of Talion’s family, while looking for relics from the past spirit that help him regain his lost memory.
In the memoirs of Celebrimbor, it is shown how Sauron, in the guise of Annatar, came to him with a gift – a beautiful blacksmith’s hammer, and persuaded him to forge the Rings of Power, after which he personally created the One Ring of Omnipotence, but, not having the skill to finish it and already revealing his true identity, attacked at the head of the host of orcs on Eregion, where, despite the courage of Celebrimbor, he took his wife and daughter hostage and forced him to complete the Ring.
However, realizing the threat from Sauron, Celebrimbor, having barely completed the work, puts on the Ring himself, and, becoming incredibly fast and invisible, runs away from the forge of Mount Doom, after which he remains in Mordor. With the help of the Ring, subordinating the will of the Uruks, Celebrimbor creates his own army, and, having proclaimed himself the Light Lord, begins to capture Mordor.
In the final battle of their armies, Celebrimbor, using the power of the Ring, defeats Sauron, but as he prepares to strike the final blow, the Ring shows its own will for the first time and slides from Celebrimbor’s hand right onto Sauron’s finger, granting him his full strength. Sauron tortures Celebrimbor, kills his family before his eyes, and then himself with the very hammer that he once gave him.
The spirit of Celebrimbor is cursed, and the path to the Halls of Mandos is closed to him until the Ring is destroyed. In the finale, the Hand of Sauron captures Celebrimbor’s spirit, ripping him from Talion’s body. The Hand of Sauron turns into Sauron himself and tries to finish off the dying Talion, but Celebrimbor holds the Dark Lord, and Talion kills the Hand of Sauron, freeing Celebrimbor. The elf offers Talion to finally die, as now he has avenged the murder of his relatives. Talion refuses as he wants to confront Sauron and destroy him with the New Ring.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (2017)
Last of the House of Fëanor, Celebrimbor (“silver hand” in Sindarin) was the finest of elven craftsmen. Together with Sauron, he made sixteen Rings of Power for Men and Dwarves. Unbeknownst to Sauron, he created three more for the Elves, but Sauron in turn tricked him into forging the One Ring in order to dominate the other rings.
He then captured Celebrimbor and tasked him with perfecting the One Ring by adding tengwar inscriptions to it. Realizing the magnitude of Sauron’s ambition, the Jeweler fled with the One Ring. Using the ring’s power, Celebrimbor raised an army of Uruks and confronted Sauron in order to gain control of Mordor.
The battle was titanic and saw the victory of the Elf over the Dark Lord: but at the moment of the coup de grace, the One Ring slipped from his finger and returned to Sauron’s possession. In revenge, he massacred the elf’s family before his eyes, before killing him with his own jeweler’s hammer. But Celebrimbor’s fate was tied to that of the One Ring: he was doomed to remain in spectral form until the ring was destroyed.
The spirit of Celebrimbor possessed the body of Talion when the latter perished under the blows of the Black Hand of Sauron. He had become a ghost so long ago that he had forgotten his name and his past, but with the help of his host, he regained his memories…and remembered how to forge a new Ring of Power.
Few in Mordor know the name Celebrimbor, but many know him as the Lord of Light, the being formed by Talion and himself. The Orcs who gather in its fortresses today do not realize that their “Lord of Light” is the same historical figure as in their legends. Celebrimbor himself, who took that nickname many centuries ago when he first fought against Sauron. Celebrimbor is suspicious of Arachne and it is mutual. According to him, truth is a useless and illusory virtue in the face of beings like Arachne and Sauron.
This animosity probably comes from the fact that the spider used him as a hostage and bargaining chip against the new Ring, and also because she knows the true face of Celebrimbor via her visions. When they met Carnán in the Forest of Núrnen, it was he who took the initiative to offer their help to the spirit of Nature. He seemed truly determined to help her and has deep respect for her. During the many adventures of the trio, he will be amazed by the power of Carnán.
He will end up betraying Talion and abandoning him, when after defeating the Nazgûl Isildur, the ranger preferred to kill him and thus free him from this endless torment, rather than dominate him to turn him against Sauron. He then chooses to give his ring to Eltariel, the Blade of Galadriel, by managing to convince her.
We finally learn the truth about Celebrimbor: if he had managed to defeat Sauron, he would have taken control of Mordor and then invaded Middle-earth. In the final clash with Sauron, while he was in the process of overpowering him, the Dark Lord sliced off Eltariel’s yearbook and little finger, knocking the Ring off.
This fused Celebrimbor with Sauron, who fought a perpetual conflict in the Eye. When the Fiery Eye explodes following the destruction of the One Ring, Celebrimbor regains his freedom and flees. He summons his New Ring, worn by Eltariel who senses it through the jewel. She decides to follow this call.