An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
The Arkenstone became part of Smaug the Dragon's hoard when he drove the Dwarves from the Mountain in 2770 of the Third Age. When Thorin set out to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug in 2941, the Arkenstone was the treasure he most desired to reclaim. But when the company entered Smaug's lair, Bilbo Baggins saw the Arkenstone first and slipped it into his pocket without telling anyone. Bilbo justified his "burglary" by telling himself that the Dwarves had said he could pick his share of the treasure, but deep down he realized that the Arkenstone was exempt from this and that trouble would come of it.
Thorin later told the company to look for the Arkenstone, which he claimed for himself and said he would punish anyone who withheld it. Still Bilbo said nothing, because he had thought of a plan that involved the Arkenstone. By this time, the Men of Lake-town led by Bard and the Elves of Mirkwood led by King Thranduil had come to the Lonely Mountain seeking a share in the dragon hoard. Thorin refused to part with any treasure or listen to their claims while they camped outside the gates with their armies.
Bilbo thought that the claims made by Bard were reasonable. Hoping to prevent a battle and to end the matter so he could go home, Bilbo secretly took the Arkenstone to Bard so he could use it to negotiate with Thorin. When Thorin found out he was enraged and ordered Bilbo to leave. Thorin agreed to pay one-fourteenth of the hoard in silver and gold to Bard in exchange for the Arkenstone, but he did not pay him immediately thinking that he might be able to retrieve the Arkenstone by force with the help of his kinsman Dain and his army. Before the Dwarves could act, an army of Goblins and Wargs led by Bolg arrived and the Dwarves, Elves, and Men had to join forces to defeat them in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Thorin Oakenshield died in the battle, and he was laid to rest beneath the Lonely Mountain. Bard placed the Arkenstone on Thorin's breast, saying, "There let it lie till the Mountain falls! May it bring good fortune to all his folk that dwell here after!" (Hobbit, p. 303)
Also called the Heart of the Mountain.
Arkenstone is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word eorclanstan meaning "precious stone." An Old Norse form of the word is iarknasteina. Other forms are the Gothic aírkna-stáins (literally "holy stones") and the Old High German erchan-stein.
The Hobbit: "Inside Information," p. 243; "Not at Home," p. 249-52; "A Thief in the Night," passim; "The Clouds Burst," p. 286-91; "The Return Journey," p. 303
The Annotated Hobbit: "Not at Home," p. 293, note 1
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Durin's Folk," p. 353
The Crown was shaped like a Numenorean war helmet. It was tall and it had
two wings shaped like a sea-bird's representing the Kings who had come
across the Sea from Numenor to establish the
realm of Gondor in Middle-earth. The wings were made of pearl and silver
and the Crown was set with seven diamonds around the base and a red jewel
Later during the reign of King Atanatar II Alcarin (1149-1226 of the Third Age), a new crown was made of silver and jewels. This Crown was worn by all the subsequent Kings of Gondor. Traditionally, a father passed the Crown to his heir before he died. If the heir was not present when the King died, the Crown was set in the King's tomb and his heir would later go alone to the Hallows to retrieve it.
In 2050, the Lord of the Nazgul challenged King Earnur to single-combat. Earnur left the Crown on the tomb of his father Earnil and he went to Minas Morgul and was never seen again. From that time on, the Stewards ruled Gondor in the absence of a King. The Crown remained in the Hallows, and the Stewards bore a white rod as the token of their office.
Before the coronation of Aragorn, King Elessar, the Steward Faramir went to the Hallows and retrieved the Crown from Earnil's tomb. The Crown was placed in a casket of black lebethron wood bound with silver and was carried outside the walls of Minas Tirith by four Guards of the Citadel. Aragorn lifted the Crown and said:
"Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta!"Then at Aragorn's request, Frodo Baggins brought the Crown forward and gave it to Gandalf, who set it upon Aragorn's head.
As King, Aragorn bore both the Crown of Gondor and the Sceptre of Annuminas that was the chief token of royalty of Arnor, and the two Kingdoms were reunited under his reign. Before his death in the year 120 of the Fourth Age, Aragorn passed the Crown and Sceptre to his son and heir Eldarion.
Top & Middle: The Crown of Gondor
in the New Line film
Bottom: Drawing of the Crown
by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Elendilmir came to be named after Elendil, who brought it to Middle-earth after the downfall of Numenor. It had been an heirloom of the Lords of Andunie passed down from Silmarien, daughter of the fourth King of Numenor. When Elendil established the North-kingdom of Arnor, the Elendilmir was worn in place of a crown.
After Elendil's death in the last year of the Second Age, his son Isildur assumed the Elendilmir as King of Arnor. Isildur wore the Elendilmir when he left Gondor in the year 2 of the Third Age to return to the north. He and his party were waylaid by Orcs in the Gladden Fields near the Anduin. Nearly all of Isildur's men were slain, including his three eldest sons, but the Orcs feared the Elendilmir and they avoided Isildur. Isildur put on the One Ring to escape, but the Elendilmir blazed with red light and could still be seen, so he pulled his hood over his brow and fled into the Anduin. But the Ring fell from Isildur's hand and when he became visible he was shot by Orcs. The Elendilmir was lost in the river for about 3,000 years.
The Elvish smiths in Rivendell crafted a new Elendilmir that was worn by Isildur's youngest son Valandil and the Kings and the Chieftains of the Dunedain who followed him. When Frodo Baggins and his companions were on the Barrow-downs in September of 3018, Tom Bombadil spoke to them of descendants of the Dunedain who still guarded the peoples of Middle-earth.
The hobbits did not understand his words, but as he spoke they had a vision as it were of a great expanse of years behind them, like a vast shadowy plain over which there strode shapes of Men, tall and grim with bright swords, and last came one with a star on his brow.The star upon the Man's brow in the Hobbits' vision was the Elendilmir, and it may be that the Man who wore it was Aragorn, the Heir of Isildur. In a similar vision, Legolas perceived that "a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown" when Aragorn revealed his identity to Eomer in Rohan. (TTT, p. 36)
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Fog on the Barrow-downs," p. 157
Aragorn wore the Elendilmir on March 15, 3019, when he came to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He gave the Elendilmir into the safekeeping of Elrond's sons before entering Minas Tirith, for he deemed the time was not yet right for him to claim the kingship. When he returned to Minas Tirith for his coronation on May 1, Aragorn wore the Elendilmir on his brow.
After the War of the Ring, the original Elendilmir belonging to Isildur was found in Orthanc. It was hidden in a steel closet behind a secret door that Gimli helped open. The Elendilmir had apparently been found in the Anduin during Saruman's hunt for the One Ring. Aragorn took the original Elendilmir, and when he went to the North-kingdom to assume full kingship Arwen bound it upon his brow and those who saw it were amazed by its splendor. Aragorn wore the original Elendilmir only on High Days; at other times he wore the copy that had been passed down to him.
There has been some speculation that the Star of the Dunedain given by Aragorn to Sam Gamgee was the Elendilmir. For more on this matter, see the entry for Star of the Dunedain below.
Also called the Star of Elendil, the Star of the North, and Star of the North Kingdom.
The word mir means "jewel, precious thing, treasure."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Fog on the Barrow-downs," p. 157
The Two Towers: "The Riders of Rohan," p. 36
The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 123; "The Houses of Healing," p. 137; "The Steward and the King," p. 244-45
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The North-kingdom and the Dunedain," p. 323 (note 1)
Unfinished Tales: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," p. 271, 274, 277, 278 (note 1), 283 (note 25), 284-85 (notes 31-33)
The History of Middle-earth, vol. VIII, The War of the Ring: "Many Roads Lead Eastward (I)," p. 309 (note 8)
Things that were withered or damaged appeared rejuvenated and restored when viewed through the Elessar. It was said that a person in possession of the Elessar could heal the hurts of others.
There are differing accounts of the origin of the Elessar. There may in fact have been two different jewels of that name. The Elessar was originally made in the realm of Gondolin in the First Age. According to one story it was made by a jewel-smith named Enerdhil, but according to another story it was made by Celebrimbor.
The Elessar was given to Idril, the daughter of King Turgon of Gondolin. She saved the Elessar from the ruin of Gondolin and she passed it on to her son Earendil when she left Middle-earth. Some say the power of the Elessar helped ease the suffering of the refugees of Gondolin who fled to the Havens of Sirion, but others attribute this healing power to the Silmaril that Earendil's wife Elwing had (Sil, p. 247).
Earendil took the Elessar with him when he sailed to the Undying Lands to seek the Valar's help against Morgoth, and he did not return to Middle-earth. According to one story the original Elessar may have been brought back to Middle-earth by Gandalf around 1000 of the Third Age. Gandalf gave it to Galadriel but he told her that a time would come when she would give the Elessar to one who would share its name.
According to another story, the Elessar in Galadriel's possession was not the original but was instead a copy that she asked Celebrimbor to make for her. This second Elessar was a clearer stone but its light was not as strong because the light of the Sun had diminished over the centuries since the first Elessar was made. Celebrimbor set this Elessar in the eagle-shaped brooch.
Galadriel used the Elessar to preserve the beauty of her realm in Middle-earth. After she received Nenya, Galadriel passed the Elessar on to her daughter Celebrian who gave it to her own daughter Arwen. Arwen returned the Elessar to her grandmother so that it could be given to Aragorn when he passed through Lothlorien. It was customary among Elves for a bride's family to give the groom a jewel as a bridal gift.
On February 16, 3019, Galadriel gave Aragorn the Elessar, saying: "In this hour take the name that was foretold for you, Elessar, the Elfstone of the house of Elendil!" (FotR, p. 391) The name Elessar had been foreseen at Aragorn's birth by his grandmother Ivorwen: "... I see on his breast a green stone, and from that his true name shall come and his chief renown: for he shall be a healer and a renewer." (HoME XII, p. xii)
Aragorn wore the Elessar in the Houses of Healing after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He healed Faramir, Eowyn, and Merry Brandybuck using the athelas plant, and afterwards he helped many others who had been wounded or sickened by the Black Breath of the Nazgul. The people called him Elfstone because of the green stone, "and so the name which it was foretold at his birth that he should bear was chosen for him by his own people." (RotK, p. 147) On May 1, Aragorn was crowned as King Elessar.
The name Elessar means "Elfstone." The word elen means "star" but is also used to refer to Elves - the Eldar, or People of the Stars. The word sar means "stone." Also called the Elfstone and the Stone of Eärendil. The Mouth of Sauron disparagingly referred to it as a "piece of elvish glass." (RotK, p. 165)
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Many Meetings," p. 246, 249; "Farewell to Lorien," p. 391
The Return of the King: "The Houses of Healing," p. 138-39, 147; "The Black Gate Opens," p. 165; "The Steward and the King," p. 245; "Many Partings," p. 260
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn: The Elessar," p. 248-52
The History of Middle-earth, vol. X, Morgoth's Ring: "The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II)," p. 211
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: Foreword, p. xii
The Silmarillion: "Of the Voyage of Earendil," p. 247
Elven-rope in the New Line film
The Elves of Lothlorien gave ropes made of hithlain to the Fellowship when they departed on February 16, 3019 of the Third Age. Each coil of rope was about 112 feet long. Sam Gamgee was particulary pleased because he had forgotten to bring rope when he left Rivendell. Sam had relatives who were rope-makers, including his Uncle Andy in Tighfield, and he was impressed with the craftsmanship of the Elven rope.
Sam used the rope in the Emyn Muil on February 29 when Frodo Baggins slipped down a cliff and was stuck on a ledge. Frodo was able to see the shimmering rope in the pitch dark and climb back up. The Hobbits then tied the rope to a stump and used it to descend the cliff. Sam thought he would have to leave the rope behind, but it came down to him when he tugged on it. Frodo said that Sam's knot must have been faulty, but Sam believed that the Elven rope came untied on purpose.
The Hobbits encountered Gollum that night and tried to use the rope to restrain him. But Gollum claimed that the rope made by the Elves hurt him and they removed it.
The word hithlain means "mist thread" from hîth meaning "mist" and lain meaning "thread."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Rings Goes South," p. 294; "Lothlorien," p. 361; "Farewell to Lorien," p. 387-88
The Two Towers: "The Taming of Smeagol," p. 214-18, 223-25
The Return of the King: "Mount Doom," p. 215
The Lord of the Rings: Index, p. 438
The word mathom is from the Old English máðm meaning "precious thing, treasure." Mathom is an English representation of the actual Hobbit term kast. It was one of the Shire words related to the language of Rohan that Merry Brandybuck discussed in his treatise Old Words and Names in the Shire. In Rohan the word kastu - represented as máthum - meant "treasure" or "rich gift," such as the Horn of the Mark given to Merry by Eowyn.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits," p. 14-15
Appendix F of The Lord of the Rings: "On Translation," p. 414-15 (kast and kastu)
"Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings," entry for Mathom
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Appendix on Languages," p. 39
Galadriel at her Mirror in the New Line film
The Mirror was a wide, shallow, silver basin. It was on a pedestal carved in the shape of a tree. A silver ewer was used to fill the basin with water from the stream. When a person looked into the Mirror they saw images in the water.
The Mirror of Galadriel could show things that had happened in the past and things that might happen in the future, and it also could show things that were happening in the present far away. Galadriel could command the Mirror to show what she wanted, and she could also have it show others what they wanted to see. The Mirror also showed things on its own, and these images were often the most enlightening.
Sam Gamgee and Frodo Baggins looked into the Mirror on February 14, 3019 of the Third Age. Sam saw an image of Frodo lying pale and unconcious, and then he saw himself running down a passage and up a winding stair in search of something. This was a premonition of the events in Shelob's Lair and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Sam did not realize this at the time, but when they occurred he remembered his vision in the Mirror.
Sam then saw images of the destruction that was occurring in the Shire at that time. Ted Sandyman was cutting down trees. There was an ugly brick building issuing black smoke in place of the Old Mill. Bagshot Row had been dug up and his Gaffer was being evicted. Sam wanted to go home, but he chose to remain with Frodo.
When Frodo looked into the Mirror, he first saw an old man who resembled Gandalf but was clad in white. Gandalf had been lost battling the Balrog in Moria, but he later returned as Gandalf the White. Frodo then saw Bilbo pacing in his room at Rivendell. He next saw scenes from Middle-earth's history: a storm at Sea and a ship with torn sails coming from the West, which may have been the survivors of the destruction of Numenor arriving in Middle-earth.
Frodo saw the seven-tiered city of Minas Tirith and a ship with black sails and a banner bearing the emblem of the White Tree of Gondor arriving in the midst of battle. This was a premonition of Aragorn's arrival at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He then saw another ship sailing off into the mist which may have been the ship that took Frodo away from Middle-earth after his quest.
Finally, Frodo saw the Eye of Sauron searching for him. Steam rose from the waters of the Mirror, and the Ring became heavy around Frodo's neck and dragged his head downward. The vision vanished when Galadriel spoke, warning him not to touch the water.
When Frodo left Lothlorien, Galadriel gave him a Phial of water from the fountain that fed the stream used to fill the Mirror. Galadriel captured the light of the Star of Earendil in the waters, and the Phial gave off a radiant light.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 376-382; "Farewell to Lorien," p. 393
The Two Towers: "The Choices of Master Samwise," p. 340
There may have been mithril in the Undying Lands. In the song about Earendil written by Bilbo Baggins (FotR, p. 246-49) it is said that Earendil's ship Vingilot - which he had used to sail to the Undying Lands - was remade out of mithril and glass before it set sail across the heavens as the Morning and Evening Star.
Mithril was also apparently found in Numenor. Mithril was used to make the Elendilmir, which was passed down from Silmarien - the daughter of the fourth King of Numenor - to her descendants until it came to Elendil, who brought it to Middle-earth after the destruction of Numenor in 3319 of the Second Age. The Elendilmir was worn in place of a crown by the Kings of the North-kingdom of Arnor.
Khazad-dum in the Misty Mountains was the only source of mithril in Middle-earth. The main lode of mithril ran deep under the mountain of Caradhras. The mithril was mined by the Dwarves of Khazad-dum and they became very wealthy.
In 750 of the Second Age, a group of Elves settled in Eregion west of Khazad-dum because they wanted to obtain mithril from the Dwarves. The chief of the Elven-smiths of Eregion was Celebrimbor, and it was he who gave the metal the name mithril in Elvish. With the help of the Dwarves, Celebrimbor became a master at working with mithril.
Among the things that Celebrimbor made with mithril was Nenya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves, which he forged around 1590 of the Second Age. Celebrimbor also used a substance called ithildin - which was derived from mithril - to make a secret inscription on the West-door of Khazad-dum. Ithildin could only be seen in starlight and moonlight and first had to be activated by touch and a special incantation.
The Dwarves of Khazad-dum also traded mithril to the Men of Gondor. The helms of the Guards of the Citadel in Minas Tirith were made of mithril.
Over the centuries, the supply of mithril began to decrease and the Dwarves had to delve deeper and deeper under the mountains to find it. In the year 1980 of the Third Age, the Dwarves discovered a Balrog which had lain dormant at the roots of Caradhras since the end of the First Age. The Balrog slew King Durin VI and his successor King Nain I. The Dwarves abandoned Khazad-dum in 1981 and it became a place of evil called Moria.
An expedition of Dwarves led by Balin briefly returned to Moria in 2989. According to the Book of Mazarbul, they found mithril. But Moria was infested with Orcs and the Balrog stirred once more, and in 2994 the entire expedition was destroyed.
The Orcs in Moria gathered all the mithril they could find there, though they feared to mine in the depths where the Balrog lurked. They gave the mithril to Sauron, who may have used it to create strong weapons for the coming war.
Bilbo Baggins had a coat of mithril-mail, which he got on his journey in 2941 from the hoard of Smaug the Dragon in the Lonely Mountain. The coat of mithril-mail had apparently been made for a young Elf-prince long ago. The mithril-mail felt light to the wearer, but it was very strong and could deflect arrows and blades. The value of the shirt was more than that of the entire Shire.
Bilbo gave the mithril-mail to Frodo Baggins when he embarked on his quest to Mordor in 3018. The mail saved Frodo's life when he was hit by a spear in Moria. When Frodo was captured by Orcs in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, the mail was taken from him by Shagrat and brought to Sauron. The mail was shown to Gandalf by the Mouth of Sauron as proof of Frodo's capture, although Frodo had in fact been rescued by Sam Gamgee. The mail saved Frodo's life again after he returned to the Shire and discovered Saruman, who tried to stab Frodo with a knife.
After the War of the Ring, the broken Great Gate of Minas Tirith were replaced by a new gate forged of mithril and steel by Gimli and his people. From the top of the Tower of Ecthelion flew a banner made by Arwen which bore the emblems of the King of Gondor including a crown made of gold and mithril which glinted in the sun.
The word mithril means "grey glitter" or "grey brilliance" in Sindarin from mith meaning "grey" and ril meaning "glitter, brilliance." Mithril was also called true-silver, silver-steel, and Moria-silver. The Dwarves kept their name for the metal secret.
Ithildin was also called starmoon. The word ithildin means "moon-star" from ithil meaning "moon" and din from tin meaning "spark, small star."
The Hobbit: "Not at Home," p. 252; "The Last Stage," p. 316
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Many Meetings," p. 248; "The Ring Goes South," p. 290-91; "A Journey in the Dark," p. 318, 331-32; "The Bridge of Khazad-dum," p. 336, 339-42; "Lothlorien," p. 350-51
The Two Towers: "The Choices of Master Samwise," p. 340
The Return of the King: "Minas Tirith," p. 25; "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 123; "The Black Gate Opens," p. 165-67; "The Tower of Cirith Ungol," 182-84; "The Field of Cormallen," p. 233; "The Steward and the King," p. 246; "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 299; "The Grey Havens," p. 308
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Durin's Folk," p. 353, 360
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 363
Unfinished Tales: "The Line of Elros," p. 221; "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," p. 277, 284 note 31
The Silmarillion: "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entries for sil and tin
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for MITH, RIL, and TIN
The History of Middle-earth, vol. VII, The Treason of Isengard: "The Lord of Moria," p. 184, 188 note 13
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "Of Dwarves and Men," p. 318
The Nauglamir was made by the Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod around the year 52 of the First Age. The necklace was commissioned by Finrod Felagund, the Lord of Nargothrond. Finrod provided the gems which he had brought from the Undying Lands. The Nauglamir was Finrod's most prized possession and it was the most renowned work of the Dwarves in the First Age.
Nargothrond was captured by Glaurung in 495 and the Nauglamir became part of the Dragon's hoard. After the death of Glaurung in 499, Mim the Petty-Dwarf took possession of Nargothrond and the hoard. Around 502, Hurin came to Nargothrond and killed Mim, who had once betrayed Hurin's son Turin.
Hurin took the Nauglamir and brought it to Doriath which was ruled by Thingol. Hurin blamed Thingol for failing to protect Turin and the rest of his family. He threw the Nauglamir at Thingol's feet saying: "Receive thou thy fee for thy fair keeping of my children and my wife!" (Sil, p. 231) Thingol's wife Melian explained that Morgoth had given Hurin a twisted view of Thingol's role in the tragic events that had befallen Hurin's kin. Hurin then picked up the Nauglamir and gave it to Thingol. Hurin left Doriath and later killed himself.
Thingol had one of the Silmarils in his possession and he decided to have it set in the Nauglamir so that he could wear it. The work was done by a group of Dwarves from Nogrod. The Nauglamir became even more beautiful and its many jewels reflected the light of the Silmaril.
The Dwarves coveted the Silmaril and when the work was finished they withheld the Nauglamir from Thingol, claiming that the necklace that had been made by their ancestors was rightfully theirs. Thingol insulted the Dwarves and demanded that they leave. The Dwarves were enraged and they killed Thingol and fled with the Nauglamir. The Elves of Doriath caught them and retrieved the Nauglamir but two of the Dwarves escaped and returned to Nogrod. They falsely claimed that Thingol had killed their companions to avoid paying them for their work.
The Dwarves of Nogrod sent an army to Doriath to seek vengeance. There was a great battle in the halls of Menegroth and many Elves and Dwarves were slain. The Dwarves killed Mablung who was guarding the doors of the treasury and they took back the Nauglamir.
On the way back to Nogrod, the Dwarves were ambushed at Sarn Athrad by the Green-elves of Ossiriand led by Beren and Dior. Beren killed the Lord of Nogrod who cursed the treasures of Doriath with his dying words. The rest of the treasure was sunk to the bottom of the Ascar but Beren washed the blood off the Nauglamir and brought it home to Tol Galen. When his wife Luthien wore the Nauglamir set with the Silmaril she was said to be "the vision of greatest beauty and glory that has ever been outside the realm of Valinor..." (Sil, p. 235)
Beren and Luthien died soon afterwards and the Nauglamir was brought to their son Dior who had succeeded Thingol as the King of Doriath. The sons of Feanor learned that Dior had the Silmaril and around 506 they attacked Doriath. Dior was slain, but his infant daughter Elwing was rescued along with the Silmaril. Elwing was taken to the Havens of Sirion where she later married Earendil.
Around 538, the sons of Feanor attacked the Havens of Sirion in another attempt to seize the Silmaril. Elwing jumped into the Sea wearing the Nauglamir. She was changed into a bird by Ulmo, Lord of Waters, and she flew to find Earendil's ship Vingilot and reverted to her own form. Earendil bound the Silmaril to his brow and by its power they were able to reach the Undying Lands. Earendil and his ship were later set in the heavens as a star. He wore the Silmaril on his brow, though it is unclear whether the stone was still set in the Nauglamir or had a new setting.
Also called the Necklace of the Dwarves. The name Nauglamír means "necklace of the Dwarves" from naugol, a diminutive of naug meaning "dwarf," and mír meaning "jewel, precious thing, treasure." The word is said to be in the dialect used by the Elves of Doriath. The Sindarin form would be Nauglavir or Mír na Nauglin.
The Silmarillion: "Of the Return of the Noldor," p. 114; "Of the Ruin of Doriath," p. 230-37; "Of the Voyage of Earendil," p. 247-48, 250; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entries for mir and naug
The History of Middle-earth, vol. II, The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two: "The Nauglafring" passim
The History of Middle-earth, vol. IV, The Shaping of Middle-earth: "The Quenta," p. 153
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for MIR and NAUK
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: "The Wanderings of Hurin," p. 254, 257-58; "The Tale of Years," 350-56
Nimphelos originally belonged to Cirdan who gave it to King Thingol of Doriath. Thingol gave it to the Dwarves of Belegost around 1300 of the Years of the Trees as part of their payment for delving the halls of Menegroth. Nimphelos was highly prized by the chieftain of the Dwarves of Belegost.
The meaning of Nimphelos is unknown. The first element is nim meaning "white." The second part of the word is unclear. It could contain pel meaning "go round, encircle" and/or os meaning "round, about" or los meaning "snow."
The Silmarillion: "Of the Sindar," p. 92; "Appendix - Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names," entries for los, nim and pel
The History of Middle-earth, vol. V, The Lost Road and Other Writings: "The Etymologies," entries for OS and PEL
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XI, The War of the Jewels: "The Grey Annals," p. 11, 108
Frodo with the Phial from the New Line film
"And you, Ring-bearer," she said, turning to Frodo. "I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this." She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. "In this phial," she said, "is caught the light of Earendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."The Phial was a small bottle of water from the fountain that filled the Mirror of Galadriel. Galadriel had captured the light of the Star of Earendil in the water. Earendil the Mariner had been placed in the heavens as a star by the Valar. He sailed across the skies in a ship bearing one of the Silmarils, the Great Jewels which held the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. The Phial, therefore, contained this same light.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Farewell to Lorien," p. 393
In the Morgul Vale on March 10, 3019, Frodo saw the Witch-king leading an army from Minas Morgul and was tempted to put on the Ring, but he clutched the Phial instead and the temptation subsided.
Three days later, in the Shelob's Lair, Sam Gamgee reminded Frodo of the Lady's star-glass as the Great Spider approached.
Slowly his hand went to his bosom, and slowly he held aloft the Phial of Galadriel. For a moment it glimmered, faint as a rising star struggling in heavy earthward mists, and then as its power waxed, and hope grew in Frodo's mind, it began to burn, and kindled to a silver flame, a minute heart of dazzling light, as though Earendil had himself come down from the high sunset paths with the last Silmaril upon his brow. The darkness receded from it until it seemed to shine in the centre of a globe of airy crystal, and the hand that held it sparkled with white fire.At first Shelob was undaunted, and the Hobbits fled. But then Frodo turned and advanced on Shelob holding aloft the Phial and Sting, and Shelob retreated down one of the tunnels of her lair. Frodo gave the Phial to Sam while he cut through the thick cobwebs with Sting. Frodo ran out of the lair, but Shelob emerged from another tunnel and stung him in the neck. Sam used Sting to stab out one of Shelob's eyes and pierce her belly. Then he brought out the Phial and spoke words in Elvish he did not understand, and his indomitable spirit kindled the Phial to a blaze of white light. The pain was unbearable to Shelob and she retreated.
The Two Towers: "Shelob's Lair," p. 329
Thinking Frodo was dead, Sam kept the Phial, and when he learned of his mistake he used the Phial to get past the Watchers at the gate of the Tower of Cirith Ungol where Frodo was held prisoner. The Phial was one of the few things Sam kept when the Hobbits discarded their gear on the plain of Gorgoroth. Sam tried to use the Phial in Sammath Naur on Mount Doom, but in the heart of Sauron's realm its power was subdued and it gave off no light.
Gandalf rescued the Phial when he and the Eagles saved the Hobbits from the destruction of Mordor and he returned it to Frodo. Frodo bore it with him when he left Middle-earth, and Sam, Merry and Pippin saw the light of the Phial glimmering as the ship sailed away from the Grey Havens out to the Sea.
Also called the star-glass. A phial is a small bottle.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Farewell to Lorien," p. 393
The Two Towers: "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol," p. 316; "Shelob's Lair," p. 329-31; "The Choices of Master Samwise," p. 338-39, 340-41
The Return of the King: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol," p. 178-79, 191-92; "Mount Doom," p. 215, 222; "The Field of Cormallen," p. 230-31; "The Grey Havens," p. 310
For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.Finrod Felagund gave the ring to Barahir as a token of friendship when Barahir saved his life at the Battle of Sudden Flame in 455 of the First Age. Barahir was later slain by an Orc captain and the hand wearing the ring was cut off as a token for Sauron. Barahir's son Beren slew the Orc captain and recovered the ring. Beren showed the ring to Thingol, the father of his beloved Luthien, to prove his worth, and he also used it to gain safe passage to the stronghold of Finrod Felagund in Nargothrond.
The Silmarillion: "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 167
The Ring of Barahir was kept by the descendants of Beren and Luthien. Tar-Elendil, the fourth King of Numenor, gave the ring to his daughter Silmarien, from whom the Lords of Andunie were descended. In 3319 of the Second Age, Elendil saved the Ring of Barahir from the ruin of Numenor and brought it to Middle-earth, where he founded the Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.
After Arnor was divided into three kingdoms, the ring passed to the kings of Arthedain. In the year 1975 of the Third Age, Arvedui, the last king of Arthedain, gave the ring to the Snowmen who had given him food and shelter when he fled north to the Icebay of Forochel after the Witch-king captured Fornost. Arvedui told the Snowmen that his kin would give goods in exchange for the ring; then he boarded a ship sent by Cirdan and perished at sea.
Arvedui's descendants became the Chieftains of the Dunedain and they ransomed the ring from the Snowmen. In 1976, the Ring of Barahir was given to Elrond at Rivendell for safekeeping along with the other heirlooms of the House of Isildur: shards of Narsil, the star of Elendil, and the Sceptre of Annuminas. In 2951, Aragorn received the Ring of Barahir and the shards of Narsil when he learned that he was Isildur's heir from Elrond. Aragorn gave the ring to Arwen in 2980 when they became betrothed.
The Silmarilion: "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin," p. 152; "Of Beren and Luthien," p. 164, 167, 168
Unfinished Tales: "A Description of the Island of Numenor," p. 171-72, note 2
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur," p. 321-22 and note 1, 323; "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen," p. 338
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "Tale of Years," p. 367, 371
Reproduction of one of the Nine Rings by The Noble Collection
Sauron declared war on the Elves. He invaded Eregion in 1697 and seized the Nine Rings. He distributed the Rings to nine Men, three of whom were said to be Men of Numenor. These Men used the powers of their Rings to become great Kings and sorcerers and to gain glory and wealth for themselves.
The Nine Rings made their wearers invisible and prolonged their lives. But these gifts soon became a curse for the Men who bore the Nine Rings. They eventually became permanently invisible and their lives were stretched out until living became unbearable. They became Wraiths, unseen except when they clad themselves in black robes. The bearers of the Nine Rings first appeared as the Ringwraiths, or Nazgul, around 2251 of the Second Age.
The Nazgul were completely under the control of Sauron. They no longer had wills of their own. It was therefore through the Nine Rings that Sauron had the most success in his plan to use the One Ring to control the other Rings of Power. The Dwarves resisted enslavement through the Seven Rings - although they became greedy - and the Elves did not use the Three Rings while Sauron had the One.
At some point, Sauron apparently took the Nine Rings back from the Nazgul. It is stated in several accounts that Sauron held the Nine Rings in his possession.* By that time the Nazgul were evidently so subjugated to Sauron's will that they no longer needed to wear their Rings.
The Nazgul became Sauron's mightiest servants. Led by the Lord of the Nazgul, they struck terror in the hearts of those who encountered them. During the War of the Ring, the Nazgul were sent to retrieve the One Ring from Frodo Baggins. They were drawn to the One Ring and they could see Frodo when he put it on. Although the temptation of the One Ring was great, Sauron had no fear that one of the Nazgul would try to claim the One Ring because they were incapable of disobeying Sauron.
The One Ring was destroyed in the fires Mount Doom on March 25, 3019 of the Third Age, and all of the other Rings of Power were rendered powerless. The Lord of the Nazgul had already been vanquished at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields; the eight remaining Nazgul perished in flames when Mount Doom erupted. The Nine Rings were themselves destroyed as Barad-dur collapsed and Mordor fell into ruin.
Sauron is said to be in possession of the Nine Rings in The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 61 and 382; Unfinished Tales, p. 338 and 343; and Letter #246. However, in The Fellowship of the Ring, p. 263, it says "The Nine the Nazgul keep."
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 56, 59-61, 68; "The Council of Elrond," p. 263, 265; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 382
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 364
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 238; "The Hunt for the Ring," p. 338, 343
The Silmarillion: "Akallabeth," p. 267; "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 288-89, 299, 302
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #131; Letter #246 (on Sauron holding the Nine Rings)
Reproduction of one of the Seven Rings by The Noble Collection
Around 1600, Sauron forged the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power. He declared war on the Elves and he attacked Eregion in 1697 to seize the other Rings. The Three Rings remained hidden, but Sauron seized the Nine Rings and under torture the chief Elven-smith Celebrimbor revealed the location of the Seven Rings. According to Dwarf legend, the first of the Seven to be forged had already been given by the Elves to Durin III, the King of Khazad-dum, so Sauron could not find it. But Sauron took the remaining six Rings and distributed them to the Kings of the six other Dwarf-houses.
Like all Rings of Power, the Seven Rings enhanced the natural powers of their bearers. The Dwarves who bore the Seven Rings became even more skilled at acquiring and preserving riches. Those who traded in gold amassed more gold, while those who traded in silver or gems or other precious materials increased them in kind. It is said that the Seven Rings were the foundation of the wealth of each of the Dwarf-kings.
But the Seven Rings also caused their bearers to become greedy and to value the acquisition of riches above all else. This obsession sometimes led the bearers of the Seven Rings to behave irrationally and to seek revenge against those they perceived as a threat to their wealth. In this way, Sauron's influence in the making of the Seven Rings was evident.
However, it had been Sauron's intention to use the Seven Rings to enslave the Dwarf-kings to his will, and in this his plan failed. The Dwarves proved tougher to dominate than he realized. The Dwarves did not become wraiths like the Men who were given the Nine Rings did, and the Dwarves' lives were not prolonged by the Seven Rings either. The Seven Rings apparently also did not turn the Dwarves who wore them invisible or allow them to perceive the Wraith-world.
Sauron grew to hate the Dwarves for resisting his domination and he sought to retrieve the Seven Rings from them. Sauron recovered two of the Rings, but four others had been consumed by Dragons and were destroyed. The last remaining of the Seven Rings was the one that had been given to Durin III. Even though it had been given by the Elves and not by Sauron, this Ring was still tainted because Sauron had helped make it. It had been passed down by the heirs of Durin's line, though they never spoke of it or wore it openly so that others would not know who had it.
In 2790 of the Third Age, Thror - the King of Durin's Folk - decided to go to Moria, which had once been the great Dwarf realm of Khazad-dum but had long since been taken over by Orcs and other evil creatures. Thror was the bearer of the Last of the Seven Rings, and it may be that the Ring had affected his mind. Thror was killed in Moria, and some of his kin believed that his Ring was lost there, but in fact Thror had given his Ring to his son Thrain II.
In time, the Last of the Seven Rings began to affect Thrain's mind as well and he was consumed with the desire to regain the wealth that his people had lost. In 2841, Thrain set out with the intention of retaking the Lonely Mountain which had been captured by Smaug the Dragon. He took his Ring with him.
Sauron became aware that Thrain had the Ring and sent Orcs, Wolves, and evil birds in pursuit. Finally in 2845, Thrain was captured at the edge of Mirkwood and was thrown into Sauron's dungeon in the stronghold of Dol Guldur. Thrain was tormented and the Last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves was taken from him by Sauron.
In 3017, Sauron sent a message to Dain Ironfoot, the King of Durin's Folk. Sauron promised to return the three remaining Rings of the Dwarves in exchange for the One Ring found by Bilbo Baggins, who was known to the Dwarves. The Dwarves did not do as Sauron asked.
When the One Ring was finally destroyed and Mordor fell into ruin, the last three of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves also perished.
Called the Seven Rings or the Seven. The Ring given to Durin III was later called the Ring of Thrór and the Last of the Seven.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 59-61, 68; "The Council of Elrond," p. 254, 263, 281-82; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 382
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Durin's Folk," p. 354, 357-58
The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 288-89, 299, 302
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 238; "The Quest of Erebor," p. 321, 324, 328, 336
The History of Middle-earth, vol.VI, The Return of the Shadow: "Of Gollum and the Finding of the Ring," p. 78 (on the Dwarves not turning invisible with their Rings)
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Making of Appendix A," p. 286 note 7
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #131
Below: Reproductions of Narya, Nenya, & Vilya by The Noble Collection
The Three Rings were made by the great Elf-craftsman Celebrimbor in Eregion around the year 1590 of the Second Age. Celebrimbor and the Elven-smiths of Eregion had been deceived by Sauron, who had come to them in a fair disguise pretending to be an emissary of the Valar and had promised to teach them new skills. Under Sauron's instruction, the Elves began making the Rings of Power including the Nine Rings and the Seven Rings. The Three Rings were made by Celebrimbor alone.
Around 1600, Sauron forged the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom to rule the other Rings of Power. Although Sauron never touched the Three Rings, they had been made using the skills he had taught, and they were still subject to the power of the One.
When Sauron put on the One Ring, the Elves were aware of him and they realized they had been deceived. The Elves could not bring themselves to destroy their Rings, so Galadriel advised Celebrimbor that the Three Rings should be hidden and never used for as long as Sauron had the One. In 1693, Galadriel received Nenya, while Narya and Vilya were sent to Gil-galad in Lindon. (See below for details on each Ring.)
Sauron waged war against the Elves and destroyed Eregion in 1697. He tortured Celebrimbor to learn the location of the Three Rings, and when Celebrimbor refused to tell him where they were, Sauron had him killed.
At the end of the Second Age in 3441, Sauron was defeated and the One Ring was taken from him by Isildur and was later lost. Since the One Ring was no longer in Sauron's possession, the bearers of the Three were able to use their Rings during the Third Age for "preserving the memory of the beauty of old, maintaining enchanted enclaves of peace where Time seems to stand still and decay is restrained, a semblance of the bliss of the True West." (Letter #131)
After the One Ring was destroyed
on March 25, 3019, the Three Rings lost their powers and all that had been
wrought by them began to fade. The Three Rings were taken into the West
to the Undying Lands when their bearers left Middle-earth on September
29, 3021 of the Third Age.
The Ring of Fire. Narya was set with a red stone. At the time of the War of the Ring, Gandalf was the bearer of Narya.
When the Three Rings were hidden in 1693 of the Second Age, Narya was entrusted to Gil-galad. He passed it on to Cirdan, the Lord of the Grey Havens. It is not certain when Gil-galad did this. In one version of "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" it is said that Gil-galad gave Narya to Cirdan shortly after he received it from Celebrimbor, and this seems to be supported by comments in "The Tale of Years" and The Silmarillion which imply that Cirdan held Narya from the start. But a marginal note to "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" says that Gil-galad waited until he left Lindon with the Last Alliance in 3431 to give Narya to Cirdan.
When Gandalf arrived at the Grey Havens around the year 1000 of the Third Age, Cirdan perceived that he was the wisest of the Wizards and had the greatest spirit. He gave Narya to Gandalf, saying:
"Take this ring, Master, for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness that you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill."Gandalf bore Narya in secret, but Saruman became aware of Cirdan's gift and he grew resentful of Gandalf. Gandalf's spirit was enhanced by Narya, and he countered the destructive fire of Sauron with a kindling fire of hope. At the end of the War of the Ring, Gandalf returned to the Grey Havens openly wearing Narya. He bore the Ring with him when he sailed into the West with Elrond and Galadriel, the bearers of Vilya and Nenya.
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 366
Also called Narya the Great, the Ring of Fire, the Red Ring, and the Third Ring. The name Narya comes from the Quenya word nar meaning "flame, fire."
The Ring of Water. Nenya was set with a white diamond and its band was made of mithril. Galadriel was the bearer of Nenya.
Galadriel received Nenya from Celebrimbor when the Three Rings were first hidden in 1693 of the Second Age. She used Nenya to preserve the beauty of the Golden Wood of Lothlorien, making it seem like "a timeless land that did not fade or change or fall into forgetfulness." (FotR, p. 365-66)
Galadriel also used Nenya to defend the borders of Lothlorien as the Shadow of Sauron grew in the outside world. In the Third Age, Orcs infested the nearby Misty Mountains and a Balrog awoke in Khazad-dum. An evil power called the Necromancer built the stronghold of Dol Guldur across the Anduin from Lothlorien. It was later learned that the Necromancer was Sauron. After Sauron returned to Mordor, he maintained the outpost of Dol Guldur and sent the Nazgul Khamul to command it. Sauron could not penetrate the protected borders of Lothlorien, and although he suspected that Galadriel had one of the Three, Nenya remained hidden from him.
When Frodo Baggins came to Lothlorien in early 3019, Galadriel revealed Nenya to him. As the bearer of the One Ring, Frodo was able to see Nenya on Galadriel's finger, while others, like Sam Gamgee, could not. Galadriel told Frodo that if he succeeded in destroying the One Ring, Nenya would lose its power and Lothlorien would begin to fade. This saddened Galadriel greatly, but she and the other Elves were willing to endure it so that Sauron would be utterly defeated.
Galadriel's longing for the Sea and her desire to return to the Undying Lands were increased by Nenya. On September 29, 3019, after the downfall of Sauron, Galadriel left Middle-earth and she took Nenya with her into the West.
Also called the Ring of Water, the White Ring, and the Ring of Adamant - meaning "diamond." The name Nenya is derived from the word nen meaning "water."
The Ring of Air. Vilya was said to be the mightiest of the Three. It had a gold band set with a blue stone. At the time of the War of the Ring, Vilya was borne by Elrond.
Vilya was first given to Gil-galad for safekeeping and he passed the Ring on to Elrond. It is not certain when Gil-galad did this. According to "The Tale of Years" Gil-galad did so before he died, though it does not specify how long before his death, which was in 3441 of the Second Age. In "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn" it is said that Gil-galad gave Vilya to Elrond around 1701 of the Second Age, when he appointed Elrond as his vice-regent.
Elrond used Vilya to preserve the refuge of Rivendell and keep it safe from the servants of Sauron. Elrond kept Vilya secretly until after the War of the Ring. On September 29, 3021 of the Third Age, Elrond bore Vilya with him over the Sea.
Also called the Ring of Sapphire, the Blue Ring, and the Ring of Air. Vilya means "air, sky." The word vilya is related to the word vilna, the innermost of the three airs surrounding the world.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Council of Elrond," p. 255, 282; "Lothlorien," p. 365-66; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 380-82
The Return of the King: "Many Partings," p. 263; "The Grey Havens," p. 308, 310
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 364, 366
Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings: "Writing and Spelling," p. 401
The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 288, 298-99, 304
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 237, 239, 251, 254, 256; "The Hunt for the Ring," p. 339 "The Istari," 389-90, 392
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #131
FAQ of the Rings by Stan Brown
While the Kings of Gondor wore a crown, the Kings of Arnor bore the sceptre. It became known as the Sceptre of Annuminas - the original capital of the North-kingdom. After the North-kingdom was divided in 861 of the Third Age, the sceptre passed to the Kings of Arthedain, and then - after Arthedain ceased to exist in 1974 - to the Chieftains of the Dunedain. Since the Dunedain were a wandering people, the sceptre and other heirlooms were kept at Rivendell, home of Elrond.
By the end of the Third Age, the Sceptre of Annuminas was over 5,000 years old and may have been the oldest artifact of Men in Middle-earth. On Midsummer's Eve of 3019, Elrond brought the Sceptre of Annuminas to Minas Tirith and gave it to Aragorn, King Elessar, of the Reunited Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.
The Sceptre of Annuminas was so called because the Kings of Arnor initially ruled from the city of Annuminas. The name Annuminas means "tower of the west." A sceptre, or scepter, is a staff held by a king as an emblem of authority.
The Return of the King: "The Steward and the King," p. 251
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The North-kingdom and the Dunedain," p. 323 note 1; "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen," p. 338
Scepter of Annuminas
J.R.R. Tolkien does not make clear exactly what the Star of the Dunedain was. It may have been some sort of medal or order given to those who performed great deeds in the service of the realm, or it may have been made especially for Sam.
Another possibility is that it was a "brooch of silver shaped like a rayed star" such as those worn by the Rangers of the North (RotK, p. 51). Aragorn wore a silver star when serving under the name Thorongil in Gondor. It is possible that he gave his star, or one similar, to Sam. This is the explanation favored by Christopher Tolkien.
Some have speculated that the Star of the Dunedain was the Elendilmir - which was also called the Star of Elendil and the Star of the North. However, in Unfinished Tales Christopher Tolkien states that it is unlikely that Aragorn would have given one of the tokens of the North-kingdom to Sam, and he notes that Aragorn apparently kept both copies and wore them on different occasions.
The Return of the King: "The Passing of the Grey Company," p. 51
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion - The Stewards," p. 335
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 378
Unfinished Tales: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," p. 284-85 (note 33)
The History of Middle-earth, vol. VIII, The War of the Ring: "Many Roads Lead Eastward (I)," p. 309 (note 8)
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