With the recent release of the new Shadow of Mordor trailer, a lot of people are wondering, “Who is Celebrimbor?” The short answer: he’s the Elf who forged the Rings of Power (except the One Ring). He was the only survivor of a powerful house of Elves. To understand the importance, you have to know a little about the history of Middle-earth.
Celebrimbor was the leader of a group of Elves called the Noldor. All of the greatest Elvish craftsmen came from this group. Celebrimbor was the most skilled of all the Noldor living at that time. These Elves lived in Eregion, which was near the gates of Moria. In fact, Celebrimbor was the one who drew the words on the door that the Fellowship used to pass into Moria (FotR, 297).
After the Elves had lived in Eregion for some time, Sauron came to them. This was before he was known as the Dark Lord. He came to them in disguise, calling himself Annatar, Lord of Gifts (SIlmarillion, 287). He promised to share with them great secrets. And he did. With Sauron’s help, Celebrimbor forged the Rings of Power: three for the Elves, seven for the Dwarves, and nine for men.
Sauron’s goal was to control all of the Rings, which is why he forged the One Ring. As soon as Sauron put on the One Ring, the Elves knew what had happened. They knew they had been tricked. They took off their rings and hid them. Sauron demanded that all of the rings be handed over to him, but the Elves refused. From that time on, the Elves never ceased to be at war with Sauron.
Eventually Eregion was destroyed and Celebrimbor was killed. The Elves saved the three rings. These were forged by Celebrimbor alone; they were the most powerful of his rings. Because Sauron never touched them, they remained unstained.
These events happened long before the events of Lord of the Rings. Celebrimbor was killed in the year 1697 of the Second Age (RotK, 1058). Sauron was overthrown at the Last Alliance of Men and Elves (which was shown at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring movie). That took place nearly two thousand years after Celebrimbor died (RotK, 1059). Frodo started his journey in 3018 of the Third Age. That’s exactly 4,762 years after Celebrimbor was killed (RotK, 1065).
Celebrimbor in Shadow of Mordor
The decision to make the spirit of Celebrimbor Talion’s partner is an intriguing one. While it isn’t consistent with Tolkien’s lore (there’s no instance of Elves “haunting” anyone), there is a poetic justice to the situation. There are few, living or dead, who would have more of a bone to pick with Sauron than Celebrimbor. There are also very few who would have the skill and power to match Celebrimbor, making him a powerful ally. It remains to be seen how closely the game will ultimately follow Tolkien’s writings. No matter what happens, Shadow of Mordor will certainly be an interesting new take on Middle-earth.
Photo Credit: ShadowofMordor.com