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Círdan is first introduced as a shipwright and Lord of Falas. He is known to have been important in the First Age because of the aid his ships brought.

But the realm of Nargothrond extended also west of Narog to the River Nenning, that reached the sea at Eglarest; and Finrod became the overlord of all the Elves of Beleriand between Sirion and the sea, save only in the Falas. There dwelt those of the Sindar who still loved ships, and Círdan the shipbuilder was their lord; but between Círdan and Finrod there was friendship and alliance, and with the aid of the Noldor the havens of Brithombar and Eglarest were built anew.

Afterwards, he went to stay at the Isle of Balar when Falas was destroyed and subsequently resided at the Grey Havens in the Second and Third Ages.

Throughout all this his origins are not mentioned, though it is known that he was a Telerin/Sindarin elf.

So, what were Círdan's origins? (evidence)

  • His parentage, if he had any
  • Kinsmen
  • The 'history-of' tag is actually the synonym of 'Origins'. – Mat Cauthon May 4 '17 at 13:19
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    I think [history-of] and [origins] are used for tropes and themes that span across different works; not for one character of just one work. – Gallifreyan May 4 '17 at 13:22
  • Ah, thanks for the edit and clarification. – Mat Cauthon May 4 '17 at 13:23
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    When I'm stuck outside with my bike locked to a fence. Not very considerate :( – Edlothiad May 4 '17 at 13:23
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    Does this need the tag elves if it's not asking about the race of elves? – Edlothiad May 4 '17 at 14:03
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There's a short essay on Círdan, written late in Tolkien's life and published in The Peoples of Middle-earth, that addresses this somewhat.

His parentage is unknown (not surprising when you go this far back in Tolkien's histories), but he's described as being related to Olwë and Thingol:

Círdan was a Telerin Elf, one of the highest of those who were not transported to Valinor but became known as the Sindar, the Grey-elves; he was akin to Olwë, one of the two kings of the Teleri, and lord of those who departed over the Great Sea. He was thus also akin to Elwë

History of Middle-earth XII The Peoples of Middle-earth Chapter 13: "Last Writings" Círdan

He's evidently highly-born among the Teleri, and he's said to have led those who stayed behind to search for Thingol, but we can't do much better than that.

Some fans believe that he was (or may have been) one of the first Elves to awake at Cuiviénen; there's no evidence for this, but he's certainly ancient, and one of the oldest Elves in Middle-earth in the Third Age. The only thing we can say with confidence is that he was almost certainly born before the Elves crossed into Beleriand (about YT 1115-1125), but that doesn't preclude his being born after the Great Journey began.

  • Is it stated anywhere that he was one of the Elves at Cuiviénen, or is it just a (likely) speculation? – Mat Cauthon May 4 '17 at 13:31
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    @Voronolwë I don't believe it's stated explicitly. There's a note on this essay stating that his original name is of an archaic form of uncertain meaning, which hints at him being very old. He definitely predates the arrival of the Elves into Beleriand, but that doesn't mean he wasn't born after the Great Journey began – Jason Baker May 4 '17 at 13:41
  • That's true. I mean, he did have a beard. – Mat Cauthon May 4 '17 at 13:47

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