HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Cuivienen

Type: Cities, Towns, Settlements

Region: Other Middle-earth

Meaning: Water of Awakening

Other Names Waters of Awakening, Water of Awakening, An early spelling was Kuiviénen, and an even earlier one Koivië-néni.

Location: Cuiviénen was in the east and north of Middle-earth in the Time of the Trees; by the Bay of Helcar.

Description: "…'In Cuiviénen sweet ran the waters under unclouded stars, and wide lands lay about, where a free people might walk. There they lie still and await us who in our folly forsook them. …' "

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 9, Of the Flight of the Noldor

"… my father wrote of 'the lake and waterfall of Cuiviénen', and this is explained in the Cuivienyarna:
'they came to a lake dark in the twilight; and there was a great cliff about it upon the east-side, and a waterfall came down from the height, and the stars glittered on the foam.' "…
"Now the places about Koivie-neni the Waters of Awakening are rugged and full of mighty rocks, and the stream that feeds that water falls therein down a deep cleft... a pale and slender thread, but the issue of the dark lake was beneath the earth into many endless caverns falling ever more deeply into the bosom of the world."

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar, Appendix: The legend of the Awaking of the Quendi (Cuivienyarna)

"…Oromë rode eastward in his hunting, and he turned north by the shores of Helcar and passed under the shadows of the Orocarni, the Mountains of the East. …"

"Many waters flowed down thither from heights in the east, and the first sound that was heard by the Elves was the sound of water flowing, and the sound of water falling over stone…"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 3, Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor


"… though they [Lindar] also loved water, and before the Separation never moved far from the lake and waterfall of Cuiviénen, and those that moved into the West became enamoured of the Sea."

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 4, Quendi and Eldar

"… And indeed the most ancient songs of the Elves, of which echoes are remembered still in the West, tell of the shadow-shapes that walked in the hills above Cuiviénen, or would pass suddenly over the stars; and of the dark Rider upon his wild horse that pursued those that wandered to take them and devour them. Now Melkor greatly hated and feared the riding of Oromë, and either he sent indeed his dark servants as riders, or he set lying whispers abroad, for the purpose that the Quendi should shun Oromë, if ever they should meet."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 3, Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor


Although we don't learn when this occurred, we are told Cuiviénen no longer exists:

"In the changes of the world the shapes of lands and of seas have been broken and remade; rivers have not kept their courses, neither have mountains remained steadfast; and to Cuiviénen there is no returning..."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 3, Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

But this passage indicates Cuiviénen was not affected by the Battle of the Powers:

"…Then the Valar passed over Middle-earth, and they set a guard over Cuiviénen; and thereafter the Quendi knew nothing of the great Battle of the Powers, save that the Earth shook and groaned beneath them, and the waters were moved, and in the north there were lights as of mighty fires. …"

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 3, Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

A reasonable possibility is that Cuiviénen was affected by the land changes after the War of Wrath.


Ambiguities about Cuiviénen:

It is variously described as by a lake, a mere, or a bay.

"… it lay far off in the east of Middle-earth, and northward, and it was a bay in the Inland Sea of Helcar; and that sea stood where aforetime the roots of the mountain of Illuin had been before Melkor overthrew it."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 3, Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

"In the texts of the post-Lord of the Rings period there is the statement in the Grey Annals (GA) §57 that it was 'in the midmost regions of the world'… and there is the new phrase in the revision of QS, 'in the midmost parts of Middle-earth beyond the Great River and the Inner Sea' ... one might indeed doubt that those maps carried much validity for the eastern regions by this time, and wonder whether by 'the Inner Sea' my father was referring to 'the Inland Sea of Rhun' … but on the other hand, in the Annals of Aman (X.72, 82) from this same period the Great Journey of the Elves from Kuiviénen ('a bay in the Inland Sea of Helkar') is described in terms that suggest that the old conception was still fully present. Can the Sea of Rhûn be identified with the Sea of Helkar, vastly shrunken?"

The War of the Jewels, HoME Vol 11, Part 2, Chapter 9, Of Men

"The reference to the site of Kuiviénen is interesting. Of this no more is said in the other tradition than that it lay 'in the East of the Middle-earth' … In AAm Kuiviénen lay N.E. of Endon, the midmost point. In the list of names accompanying the Ambarkanta … appears 'ambar-endya or Middle Earth of which Endor is the midmost point' …"
"In AAm Kuiviénen was 'a bay in the Inland Sea of Helkar'; in QS it is 'the starlit mere' (so also in Q), which was retained in the later texts. On the Ambarkanta map it is shown to the N.E. of Endor (Endon), and is marked at the eastern side of the Sea of Helkar; in the text it is 'beside the waters of Helkar' (IV.239). It is not clear whether these various statements show one and the same conception. Here in AAm is the first reference to the Sea of Helkar …"

Morgoth's Ring, HoME Vol 10, Part 2, The Annals of Aman, Second Section Commentary, §38

"The Elves are said to have awoken 'in the midmost of the World', in S and Q Cuiviénen is 'in the East', 'far in the East', as in The Silmarillion. But I doubt that this is significant, in view of the placing of Kuiviénen on the Ambarkanta map IV (see insert), which could be referred to either as 'in the East' or as 'in the midmost of the World'."

The Shaping of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 4, Ch 6, The Earliest Annals of Valinor, Commentary

"Kuiviénen is said in the Ambarkanta to be 'to the North beside the waters of Helkar', as shown on map IV. In the Lost Tales (I. 115, 117) Koivie-neni was a lake (with 'bare margin', in a vale 'surrounded by pine-clad slopes') in Palisor, the midmost region; in The Silmarillion it is 'a bay in the Inland Sea of Helcar' (p. 49). In the same passage Oromë, on that that led him to the finding of the Elves, 'turned north by the shores of Helcar and passed under the shadows of the Orocarni, the Mountains of the East', and this agrees perfectly map IV …."

The Shaping of Middle-earth, HoME Vol 4, Ch 5, The Ambarkanta, Commentary

Note: A reproduction of Map V from The Shaping of Middle-earth is here


Etymology KUY- come to life, awake. Q kuile life, being alive; kuina alive; kuive (noun) awakening; kuivea (adj.) wakening; kuivie = kuive, cf. Kuiviénen. N cuil life; cuin alive; echui(w) awakening (*et-kuiwe), hence Nen-Echui = Q Kuiviénen. [The following additions were made:] N cuino to be alive; Dor Firn i guinar Land of the Dead that Live.
The Lost Road and Other Writings, HoME Vol 5, Part 3, The Etymologies

Contributors: Lyllyn Jan2605

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