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Launched in the spring of II 877
Built in the shipyards of Rómenna; sailed between Númenor and Middle-earth
Constructed at the order of Aldarion
Launched from Rómenna in Númenor
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 August 2023
  • This entry is complete


Aldarion's flagship Hirilondë

Aldarion the King's Heir of Númenor was famed as a mariner and adventurer, and also as a ship-builder. He lived in the period when the Númenóreans were only beginning to explore Middle-earth, but he envisaged a time when their vessels would plough back and forth across the Great Sea, and he planned the first of the truly mighty ships of the Númenóreans.

Work began on the immense vessel in the shipyards of Rómenna in II 875. Its structure as so huge that, while it was being built, it gained the name of Turuphanto, the 'Wooden Whale'. After two years of work, the ship was ready to be launched, and Aldarion gave it the name of Hirilondë, the 'Haven-finder'. In the spring of II 877, the Haven-finder set out on its maiden voyage across the Great Sea to Middle-earth.

At this time Aldarion had lived for nearly two hundred years (not a great age for one of the Dúnedain in those times) and had already journeyed to Middle-earth many times. So often had he been away from Númenor, indeed, that he had lost the favour of his royal family. When the Haven-finder was ready to depart, therefore, it did so without the blessing of his father King Tar-Meneldur. Aldarion had a young daughter, Ancalimë, and though his wife Erendis had agreed, reluctantly, that he should voyage for two years, she did not follow custom and lay of Bough of Return on the prow of the ship. Instead the Bough was laid by the wife of the ship's captain, and Hirilondë left its moorings and sailed away down the long bay of Rómenna.

In Middle-earth, the Haven-finder put in at Mithlond, the Grey Havens of Lindon, and Aldarion met with King Gil-galad. Gil-galad was concerned about a growing evil in Middle-earth, an evil that was not at that time fully understood, but which would later be discovered to be the first stirrings of a returned Sauron. Gil-galad gave Aldarion a letter to pass to his father the King of Númenor, asking for aid against this growing threat.

Though Aldarion had promised to be away for just two years, the Haven-finder did not return to Rómenna until II 882, five years after it had set out. The Great Captain was not welcomed home; the quaysides were bare as the vessel docked, and when he sought out Erendis he was met with cold fury. His father King Tar-Meneldur also met his son in a dark mood, and Aldarion at one point came close to abandoning his inheritance, taking the Haven-finder and sailing away. Gil-galad's letter, however, changed the King's perspective. Aware that his heir Aldarion was far better equipped to deal with such matters than himself, Tar-Meneldur announced his resignation as King, and Aldarion became King Tar-Aldarion in the following year.

The new King wasted no time in setting out to Sea once again. On the prow of the Haven-finder, in place of the traditional Green Bough of Return, he now set the figurehead of a golden-beaked Eagle, a gift from Círdan the Shipwright. He sailed for Mithlond urgently, almost immediately after his coronation, planning to bring aid to the Elves of Lindon. This caused a stir in Númenor, for in the nearly nine centuries since its founding, no King had ever left the isle before.

This would prove to be the first of many later voyages to Middle-earth by King Tar-Aldarion, in which he visited the Elves (including a meeting with Galadriel) and explored the southward coasts. Presumably at least some of these were aboard his great vessel Hirilondë the Haven-finder, though it is only specifically named as the King's ship for the first of his many voyages. Of the Haven-finder's later history we have no record, though other Númenórean vessels were known to have remained seaworthy for centuries, so the Haven-finder may have continued to travel the Great Sea into the middle or even later years of the Second Age.

See also...

Hirilondë, Turuphanto


About this entry:

  • Updated 23 August 2023
  • This entry is complete

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