I: The Book of Lost Tales part 1, I: THE COTTAGE OF LOST PLAY

“The Cottage of Lost Play” is the first chapter in The Book of Lost Tales part 1. It forms a framework narrative in which the other tales of the two books are told. The chapter features Eriol, a mariner, who finds himself on an island where he encounter elves who tell him tales of their history and the world . 

Eriol, a mariner and explorer have travelled from the Great Lands in the East and finds himself on a Island. After wandering the island he comes upon a seemingly small cottage. There he is invited to eat and drink by the elves Vairë and Lindo. The most loved and precious event in the cottage is the time of tales to which they sound a gong three times to summon the inhabitants of the cottage. When Eriol is there and the time of tales starts he asks to know more of the place and are told the story of how the cottage have served as a place of play for children and now how it came that Vairë and Lindo now are position to look after the house. They tell old tales, sing old songs and elfin music is treasured and rehearsed. They are also hosting the remaining children that have been dwelling there. The children are of mankind who once they leave for the east, never come back. Eriols father have been there.

Characters to note

  • Eriol – Originally named Ottar, a man voyaging the seas, who was named Eriol by the elves on Tol Eressëa. In later works by Tolkien he is renamed as Ælfwine.
  • Vairë – Elf living at Tol Eressëa, being a storyteller in the cottage of lost play. Her husband is Lindo.
  • Lindo – Elf living at Tol Eressëa, being the keeper of the cottage of lost play. His wife is Vairë.
  • Inwë – King of all the Eldar when they dwelt in Kôr.
  • Ingil – Son of Inwë. Built the great tower in the towk Koromas/Kortirion.
  • Meril-i-Turinqui – Descendant of Inwë. Lives in a town called Koromas/Kortion in Alalminórë located in the centre of the island Tol Eressëa.

Places to note

  • Tol Eressëa – “The Lonely Isle” off the coast of Valinor.
  • Alalminóre/Gar Lossion – A region in the centre of Tol Eressëa.
  • Koromas/Kortirion – a town in Alalminórë located in the centre of the island Tol Eressëa.
  • The Great Lands – The lands East of the sea. Another name for Middle-earth.


For me, the most interesting part of this chapter is that we get to know about Tol Eressëa and some of the history of the island. Who have been of influence there and which people have been there.

The second thing that I found very enlightening is actually a big part of the commentary to this chapter where one can read about the connections that Eriol has to the Old English and Norse language and the time around Anglo-Saxon period on the British Isles and western and northern Europe.

Throughout the text there is small references, or hints, to people and places (just like usually in a Tolkien-text). I hope some of these will be revealed further in. I know from the commentary that more will come about Eärendel in a future chapter (who I have not mentioned in this post, but are mentioned in the text).

Have you read this chapter? Please comment and tell me what you think of this part and if you have anything to add! 

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