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Tolkien's legendarium character

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In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Caranthir (IPA: [kaˈranθir]) is a fictional character, the fourth or, in some versions, fifth of the sons of Fëanor, was also the harshest, and the quickest to anger; he was also called "Caranthir the Dark". His Quenya name was Morifinwë "The Dark Finwë", because "he was black-haired as his grandfather". Nerdanel gave him the mother name Carnistir, which means "red face", for the reason that "he was dark (brown) haired, but had the ruddy complexion of his mother".

Fictional biography[edit]

As the other Sons of Fëanor, Caranthir was bound by an oath to recover his father's Silmarils, which had been stolen by the Dark Lord Morgoth. This oath took the seven brothers to Middle-earth during the First Age where they established realms in exile, waged war against the armies of Morgoth, fought their own Elvish kind, and eventually brought ruin upon themselves.

Caranthir was present at Alqualondë, and also at the burning of the ships at Losgar. In the council of Noldorin princes at Mithrim after the abdication of Maedhros, he spoke out harshly against Angrod, and was rebuked by Maedhros. He had little love for his cousins, the sons of Finarfin.[1] Caranthir accompanied his brother to East Beleriand, and build forts on the western slopes of mount Rerir. Caranthir's realm was in Thargelion, and was sometimes called Dor Caranthir (Caranthir's land); his abode was on the shores of Lake Helevorn.[2] After the Dagor Bragollach he fled south to Amon Ereb with his brother Amras.

Caranthir controlled the Dwarven traffic through his realms and thus gained great wealth.[3] He was haughty in dealing with the Dwarves and thus there was little warmth between the Noldor and the Dwarves. He rescued Lady Haleth of the Edain, and her people, the Haladin, as they were besieged by Orcs. He then saw the valour of Men, and offered the Haladin free lands in the North, but Haleth, thanking him, refused and left.[4] The Folk of Ulfang swore fealty to him, and were allowed to settle in Thargelion. Ulfang's son Uldor would betray the Noldor during the fifth battle.

Caranthir perished along with his brothers Celegorm and Curufin during the Second Kinslaying — the attack by the Sons of Fëanor on Menegroth to recover the Silmaril from Elven King Dior of Doriath.

House of Fëanor[edit]

Concept and creation[edit]

He is called Cranthor in The Book of Lost Tales and Cranthir in early versions of The Quenta Silmarillion. In one version of the tale, Caranthir attacks and destroys the Dwarves of Nogrod after their sack of Doriath.

The name Caranthir means 'Dark Face' in Tolkien's elvish language Sindarin.[6]

Tolkien refers to Caranthir as one of Fëanor's sons that were probably married, but we have no information on his wife or any children.


Shippey notes that Caranthir may have started the plot that led to the downfall of Doriath when he reacted harshly to his Grey Elven cousins and spoke with contempt of their king Elu Thingol who happened to be his own great-uncle .[7]


  1. Shippey, Thomas A. (2014). J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 234–4. ISBN 978-0-54752-443-6. Search this book on
  2. Foster 2001, p. 114
  3. Foster 2001, p. 79
  4. Kocher, Paul Harold (1980). A reader's guide to The Silmarillion. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-39528-950-1. Search this book on
  5. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1
  6. Tolkien, J. R. R. (2005). Flieger, Verlyn, ed. Smith of Wootton Major. HarperCollins. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-00720-247-8. Search this book on
  7. Shippey, Thomas A. (2014). The Road to Middle-earth (revised and expanded ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 249–50. ISBN 978-0-54752-441-2. Search this book on
General references

fr:Fils de Fëanor#Caranthir pl:Lista Calaquendich#Caranthir

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