The son of Tuor and Idril, daughter of Turgon, Eärendil was raised in Gondolin. When Eärendil was seven years old, he escaped the sacking of Gondolin with his parents, living afterwards in Arvernien by the mouth of Sirion. Eärendil later became the leader of the people who lived there, and married Elwing, daughter of Dior the son of Beren and Lúthien. They had two sons, Elrond and Elros.
With the aid of Círdan the Shipwright, Eärendil built a ship, Vingilótë (or Vingilot), which is Quenya for "foam-flower". He sailed this often around the seas west of Middle-earth, leaving his wife behind in Arvernien. At this time Elwing had in her possession the Silmaril that Beren had wrested from Morgoth. News of this came to the sons of Fëanor who were still living, and they attacked the people living in Arvernien, and killed most of them. Elwing, rather than be captured, threw herself with the Silmaril into the sea. The Silmaril was not lost, however. According to The Silmarillion:
For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as a star the Silmaril, as she flew over the water to seek Eärendil her beloved. On a time of night Eärendil at the helm of his ship saw her come towards him, as a white cloud exceeding swift beneath the moon, as a star over the sea moving in strange courses, a pale flame on wings of storm. And it is sung that she fell from the air upon the timbers of Vingilot, in a swoon, nigh unto death for the urgency of her speed, and Eärendil took her to his bosom; but in the morning with marvelling eyes he beheld his wife in her own form beside him with her hair upon his face, and she slept.
Hearing of the tragedy that had befallen in Arvernien, Eärendil then sought after Valinor, aboard the Vingilot with Aerandir, Erellont, and Falathar, and he and Elwing found their way there at last. Eärendil thus became the first of all mortals to set foot in Valinor. Eärendil then went before the Valar, and asked them for aid for Men and Elves in Middle-earth, to fight against Morgoth; the Valar accepted his plea.
Because Eärendil had undertaken this errand on behalf of Men and Elves, and not for his own sake, Manwë forbore to deal out the punishment of death that was due. Also, because both Eärendil and Elwing were descended from a union of Elves and Men, Manwë granted to them and their sons the gift to choose to which race they would be joined (a gift that was further passed to the children of Elrond, who became known as the Half-elven). Elwing chose to be one of the Elves. Eärendil would have rather been one of the Men; however, for the sake of his wife, he chose to be one of the Elves. The Silmarillionsays this:
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.
The Valar, having listened to Eärendil's plea, went with a mighty host to Middle-earth, and overthrew Morgoth. Eärendil took part in the battle, riding on Vingilot beside Thorondor and the Eagles. He struck down the great dragon Ancalagon and cast him down onto Thangorodrim, the event which, along with the sheer devastation caused by the War of Wrath, led to the Ruin of Beleriand. However, right before the Dagor Dagorath, the Last Battle, Morgoth will escape out the Door of Night to destroy Arda. It is implied Eärendil shall participate in that, alongside every creature in Middle-earth, good and evil.
He was High King of the Ñoldor in Middle-earth during the First Age after the death of his father. He was an instrument in healing the rift between the Sons of Fëanor and the followers of his father after their desertion of them in Araman.Fingon's final battle was the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears). Fingon led the attack on Angband, and the fury of his warriors nearly won the day. Unfortunately, due to Ulfang's treachery, Maedhros did not arrive until three days after he was expected. This resulted in Morgoth releasing his Balrogs and Glaurung the dragon on the already weakened Ñoldor force. When Maedhros finally arrived, hope was reborn for Fingon's army; however, Ulfang's treachery again took effect, causing Maedhros to withdraw. Fingon was then surrounded and his guards killed. He dueled Gothmog, lord of Balrogs, but was struck from behind by another. Gothmog then clove Fingon's helm, and fire sprang from it. This presumably killed Fingon instantly, but the Balrogs proceeded to beat his body into the dust long after he was dead. Thus the day ended in defeat for the elves.
The Witch-king and the other Nazgûl rode from Mordor and Dol Guldur searching for the Shire. Four entered the Shire, and found that "Baggins" had moved to Buckland. Several Nazgûl attacked Gandalf onWeathertop and tried to ambush Frodo Baggins in Buckland and at Bree. Five, including the Witch-king, finally found Frodo on Weathertop with the other hobbits, accompanied by the Ranger Aragorn. The Ringwraiths attacked the party, and the Witch-king wounded Frodo with a Morgul-blade. Frodo's wound threatened to turn him into a wraith under the control of the Nazgûl.
As the company made for Rivendell, the realm of Elrond Half-elven, they met Glorfindel, who loaned Frodo his horse Asfaloth. Pursued by all nine Nazgûl, the horse carried Frodo across the River Bruinen. From the far bank Frodo defied the Nazgûl. When the Witch-king rode into the water, Elrond, who controlled the river, released a flood that caught three Nazgûl and their horses. Glorfindel advanced and drove the terrified horses of the remaining Nazgûl into the flood. The horses drowned, and all nine Nazgûl were swept away.
Paths of the Dead
The way is shut.
It was made by those who are Dead.
And the Dead keep it.
The way is shut.
Until the time comes.
At the end of the Second Age, their king, known as the King of the Mountains, pledged allegiance to Isildur at the Stone of Erech. However, these Men later refused to aid Isildur in his war against Sauron; they came to the aid of neither side, but instead hid in the mountains. They had previously worshipped the Dark Lord during the Dark Years. As punishment, Isildur cursed them, saying that they would not have peace or rest till they fulfilled their oath upon his command or that of his heirs.
Their spirits haunted the caverns beneath the Dwimorberg, the Haunted Mountain, and the valley of Harrowdale that lay in its shadow—though they were said to appear in the valley only in times of trouble or death, haunting the hill of the Stone of Erech.
Malbeth the Seer prophesied that a day would come when need and haste would drive one of Isildur's heirs to take the Paths of the Dead and that the Dead would answer to his call. Thousands of years later, in the final years of the Third Age, that prophecy was fulfilled. In the War of the Ring, Aragorn, Isildur's heir and direct descendant, called upon the Dead, summoning them to the stone of Erech, and commanded them to fulfil their oath and be free. On this occasion, he first uses the royal banner of Gondor, made by Arwen and delivered to him by Halbarad and the Grey Company.
They followed him through Gondor's lands and fiefs south of the Mountains, and at the port of Pelargir they drove away the Corsairs of Umbar, allies of Sauron. Their oath fulfilled, Aragorn granted them their freedom, and they vanished at last from the world. After this, Aragorn gathered the warriors of the region to him. They sailed to Minas Tirith on the Corsairs' own ships, and turned the tide at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.