Behind the Shadow of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

If you’ve been following the development of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – and really, you should be, because it looks awesome – you probably remember that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment recently revealed the identity of the mysterious wraith who raises protagonist Talion from the dead and gives him awesome wraithly powers. Turns out, the wraith is the shade of a pretty significant elf named Celebrimbor.

Why should you care, you ask? Well:

He Was Kind of a Big Deal

Though not a lot is known about Celebrimbor’s early years, we know that he eventually became a jewelsmith in Middle-earth. His work was so good that he rose to a top of the guild of elven jewelsmiths, and then eventually took over as Lord of Ost-in-Edhil. That city doesn’t play much of a role in the most familiar Middle-earth works, but it was a significant appointment: He took over for Galadriel and Celeborn, who headed for Lórien, where they appear often in The Lord of the Rings.

He Made the Elfstone (or at Least an Elfstone)

In the Lord of the Rings films, Arwen gives Aragorn the Evenstar, a sweet necklace with a white stone. But in the books, it’s a green stone, and it comes from Galadriel: the Elfstone, or Elessar. It’s such a significant gift that Aragorn eventually takes “Elessar” as his name once he becomes king. And Celebrimbor made it – or at least, a version of it. Accounts differ; some say Celebrimbor made a copy of someone else’s. Regardless, the version we know of seems to have come from this guy.

He Made the Doors of Durin, Too

Unlike certain other elves (looking at you, Legolas), Celebrimbor never had a problem with dwarves. In fact, he became so friendly with the dwarves of Khazad-dûm (later known as Moria), that he helped them build the doors to their house. Yep, the ones the Fellowship of the Ring enter Moria through, pursued by the Watcher in the Water. It’s a pretty sweet gate – and a pretty central point in The Fellowship of the Ring. We have Celebrimbor to thank for that.

And, Oh Yeah, He Also Made the Rings of Power

Whoops. Um, about that. See, Celebrimbor didn’t really know who he was working with on this particular project. Head baddie Sauron had disguised himself as Annatar, an emissary from the gods who totally wanted to help the elves make the best jewelry. Celebrimbor and his guildmates bought the story, and went ahead and made a bunch of rings for men and dwarves. But Celebrimbor had a hunch that something was up: In secret, while Sauron was off forging his own super-ring, he went and made three special rings of his own, just for the elves, with none of Sauron’s influence – and he sent them away for safekeeping.

He Ended Up as a Flag

This did not, as you might imagine, turn out particularly well for Celebrimbor. Sauron got wind of this illicit ring-making, and decided the most polite response was to pretty much exterminate the elves. Celebrimbor was captured in the course of this attempted extermination, and forced under torture to reveal the location of the rings made for the dwarves and men. But he was enough of a badass not to give up the location of the three rings he’d saved for the elves. So, he was killed. Painfully. And then his body was hung up on a pole to serve as a banner for Sauron’s army. Ouch.

And after that? Well, you’ll need to check out Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which hit Xbox One on September 30, to get the rest of the story.