HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Gil-Estel - the Star of Eärendil

Type: Vessels

Meaning: star of (high) hope

Other Names:
the Star of Eärendil

Description:

The Sindarin name for Eärendil the Mariner bearing the Silmaril across the sky in his ship Vingilot.
Eärendil... with the power of the silmaril... came to the Uttermost West, and... obtained the help by which Morgoth was overthrown. Eärendil was not permitted to return to mortal lands, and his ship bearing the silmaril was set to sail in the heavens as a star, and a sign of hope to the dwellers in Middle-earth oppressed by the Great Enemy or his servants.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Númenor

Then at the bidding of the Valar Eönwë went to the shore of Aman, where the companions of Eärendil still remained, awaiting tidings; and he took a boat, and the three mariners were set therein, and the Valar drove them away into the East with a great wind. But they took Vingilot, and hallowed it, and bore it away through Valinor to the uttermost rim of the world; and there it passed through the Door of Night and was lifted up even into the oceans of heaven.

Now fair and marvellous was that vessel made, and it was filled with a wavering flame, pure and bright; and Eärendil the Mariner sat at the helm, glistening with dust of elven-gems, and the Silmaril was bound upon his brow. Far he journeyed in that ship, even into the starless voids; but most often was he seen at morning or at evening, glimmering in sunrise or sunset, as he came back to Valinor from voyages beyond the confines of the world.

On those journeys Elwing did not go, for she might not endure the cold and the pathless voids.... Therefore there was built for her a white tower northward upon the borders of the Sundering Seas; and thither at times all the sea-birds of the earth repaired. And it is said that Elwing learned the tongues of birds... and they taught her the craft of flight.... And at times, when Eärendil returning drew near again to Arda, she would fly to meet him.... Then the far-sighted among the Elves that dwelt in the Lonely Isle would see her like a white bird, shining, rose-stained in the sunset, as she soared in joy to greet the coming of Vingilot to haven.

Now when first Vingilot was set to sail in the seas of heaven, it rose unlooked for, glittering and bright; and the people of Middle-earth beheld it from afar and wondered, and they took it for a sign, and called it Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope. And when this new star was seen at evening, Maedhros spoke to Maglor his brother, and he said: 'Surely that is a Silmaril that shines now in the West?'

And Maglor answered: 'If it be truly the Silmaril which we saw cast into the sea that rises again by the power of the Valar, then let us be glad; for its glory is seen now by many, and is yet secure from all evil.' Then the Elves looked up, and despaired no longer; but Morgoth was filled with doubt.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 24, Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

A land was made for the Edain to dwell in, neither part of Middle-earth nor of Valinor, for it was sundered from either by a wide sea; yet it was nearer to Valinor.... That land the Valar called Andor, the Land of Gift; and the Star of Eärendil shone bright in the West as a token that all was made ready, and as a guide over the sea; and Men marvelled to see that silver flame in the paths of the Sun....

But so bright was Rothinzil that even at morning Men could see it glimmering in the West, and in the cloudless night it shone alone, for no other star could stand beside it.

The Silmarillion, Akallabêth

[The] Phial of Galadriel.... began to burn, and kindled to a silver flame, a minute heart of dazzling light, as though Eärendil had himself come down from the high sunset paths with the last Silmaril upon his brow.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 9, Shelob's Lair


Etymology
gil 'star' in Dagor-nuin-Giliath, Osgiliath (giliath 'host of stars'); Gil-Estel, Gil-galad.

The Silmarillion, Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 7Dec04, 22Apr05, 10Dec07, 12Mar10

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