Cirdan

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
This is prompted by the discussion of the script for S4Ep3, but would be off topic there so I'm doing it here.

I have a question that I feel like we need to answer, and will need to continually re-visit and re-answer as future seasons go on and on and on.

Cirdan wants to re-unite with the Teleri.
He has the means to do so at any time, and at least as far as he knows he has permission (or rather he doesn't really know that "persmission" is even an issue). It's not until later that they know that the road West is closed for the rest of the 1st Age, but it does re-open in the 2nd Age.
He doesn't do it.

Why?
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
To begin with, I don’t think it’s true that he knows or believes he has the means at any time. The elves who left for Valinor were taken there on the Island Ferry, which was a huge island, roughly the size of Ireland, pulled/pushed by Ainur. Until the Noldor arrive, he has no reason to believe that it’s possible to cross the great sea on ships. At least, he should consider it very dangerous. His hopes should be raised when the Noldor arrive, but I think that after the Kinslaying, he has no hope of meeting Olwë, and given the crime of the Noldor, who can say what the Valar think of the Elves in general? Would they accept a messenger? Besides, what would be the message to the Valar? What would the hopes be - that the Valar would come to Middle-earth and help the elves, including the Noldor? He will be convinced that the time will come, but not when - just not at this time.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I guess in a 1A context that's fair. But then after 1A he stays. I'm not saying it's dumb that he stays, or that he has no reason to stay, or that it's inconsistent. It's just, on the surface, strange. And we need for it to make sense that he doesn't jump ship (haha) the second he knows he can. And the groundwork for that could be happening now.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes. It all changes after the War of Wrath. He could have gone over, gone west, couldn’t he? So something has to make him choose to stay. Is he in charge of making sure there’s a way for all of the elves to go to Valinor?
 
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amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Is he in charge of making sure there’s a way for all of the elves to go to Valinor?
It seems like he is, but we don't know (or, at least, I don't know) if that is an assigned task, or a self-appointed one, or if there even is a distinction between those two.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, so...

In Season 2, we had Círdan and Olwë receive dreams from Ulmo, basically designating them as the elves who would unite the people sundered by the ocean. When ships arrive from Valinor, Círdan's *first* thought is that Olwë has built magnificent ships and come back for them!

But...the ships are burned. No one can try to take them back across the Sea, or study them to see how they were constructed.

Círdan, while a skilled shipwright, is not a swanship-of-Alqualondë level of skilled shipwright until much later. So, while he now knows it's possible to cross the Sea on ships...he doesn't have the ships to do it (yet).

Obviously, by the end of the First Age, he *is* producing ships that can cross the Sea - as his partnership with Turgon (and eventually Eärendil) shows. And so...the First Age hurdle is more of a technical one - *can* you cross the Sea?

After that, if because more of a philosophical/sense of purpose question - *should* you cross the Sea?

Círdan views himself as the link to Valinor for those elves who live in Middle-earth. So, at the end of the First Age, he has the opportunity to go to Valinor. Why doesn't he take it? Because not all the surviving elves take it. There are a lot of elves left in Middle-earth after the Host of the Valar sails back to Valinor with those who choose to go. Círdan likely *wants* to go with them...but if he does...all those elves still in Middle-earth will be stuck there. They won't have the ships to get to Valinor if they decide later that they'll want to go (and Círdan knows they eventually will *all* want to go.

So, he stays, to keep that door open. Now, starting in the 2nd Age, elves can set sail from his Havens to reach Valinor. He's fulfilling his purpose. And...he's holding the door open for others to pass through. Once he crosses, he closes the door behind him (essentially).

So, at the end of the Third Age, we will see him deciding that it is finally time to go, and that any elves who stay into the 4th Age are choosing to remain behind and fend for themselves...and his mission is at an end. He has done what Ulmo 'commissioned' him to do, and now (finally) he can cross the Sea himself, at last.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with all of that - except that I don't think the hurdle in the First Age has to be exclusively practical. I think that Círdan could have a crisis in the wake of the Kinslaying reveal, making him doubt his cause and become uncertain of the will of the Valar. He should come out of this crisis with greater resolve, either before or because of working with Turgon.
 
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