CotW Silmarillion 6 - Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor

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RoRowe

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Dec 11, 2005, 7:33:17 PM12/11/05
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SUMMARY

We begin Chapter 6 with the Eldar in the Blessed Realm. Things are
going well for the Firstborn and Melkor is still chained. We are told
that the bliss of the Eldar is at its Noontide but that the bliss is
all too brief. [1]

Fëanor's birth is announced. He is born in the House of the King,
the eldest son of Finwë. His given name is Curufinwë (curu meaning
"skill") but he is called Fëanor by his mother, Fëanor meaning
"Spirit of Fire". We are told that Fëanor's mother is skilled in
weaving and needlework and that "The love of Finwë and Míriel was
great and glad, for it began in the Blessed Realm in the Days of
Bliss." Míriel was consumed in body, mind and spirit by the carrying
and birthing of Fëanor. She said that the strength needed to nourish
the life of many went forth into Fëanor. [2]

Finwë wanted to have many more children but Míriel continued to
languish after giving birth to Fëanor. Finwë sought healing for
Míriel and delivered her into Lórien for care. He thought she could
regain her strength there but her spirit left her body and she passed
into the halls of Mandos. Afterward, Finwë poured all of his love into
his son Fëanor.

The next section gives a very detailed description of Fëanor as to his
strengths, his gifts, his mood and his demeanor. It is clear from the
beginning that Fëanor is exceptional. He is skilled in hand as he made
great gems and he devised letters (later called the Fëanorian script)
for the recording of speech. Fëanor was well named by his mother
Míriel as his spirit burned bright and hot.

Fëanor married Nerdanel of the Noldor. She was more patient than
Fëanor and sought to understand minds rather than to master them. [3]
We are told that at the beginning of their relationship she had a
calming effect on Fëanor. Later they grew estranged but Nerdanel bore
Fëanor seven sons. Nerdanel's mood was bequeathed to some of her
sons but not to all. [4]

Finwë took a second wife, Indis the Fair who was a Vanya. Fëanor did
not love Indis nor her sons Fingolfin and Finarfin, Fëanor's half
brothers and Fëanor lived apart from his father. We are told that this
breach in Finwë's house had a lasting impression on Fëanor that
caused great sorrow to the Eldar and others in later years. [5]

At this time, the term of Melkor's bondage came to an end and he was
released to dwell within the gates of Valmar. Upon seeing the bliss of
the Eldar and the richness of Valmar, Melkor was filled with hatred. He
feigned redemption before Manwë and was allowed to move freely about
the land because Manwë believed Melkor had truly repented. Melkor
offered services to repair the damage he had done in the past but he
secretly plotted vengeance.


Manwë did not suspect Melkor's motives because "Manwë was free
from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the
beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he ...
and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever. [6]
However other of the Valar were not deceived by Melkor, especially Ulmo
and Tulkas. But they did not interfere with Manwë's decision to
allow Melkor freedom because "those who will defend authority against
rebellion must not themselves rebel." [7]

Melkor revealed knowledge to the Noldor but the knowledge contained
lies that caused great strife. Among these lies was Melkor's claim
that he had instructed Fëanor in the greatest of his works. [8]
However, none of the Eldalië hated Melkor more than Fëanor who first
named Melkor Morgoth. [9] Even though Fëanor was snared in Melkor's
web of lies, he never took counsel from him. In fact, Fëanor took
counsel from no one in Aman save his wife and then only for a short
time. [10]

DISCUSSION POINTS

[1] Does this opening paragraph remind anyone of the opening line to
"A Tale of Two Cities"? Something like "It was the best of times;
it was the worst of times."

[2] Fëanor has truly exceptional talents and skills that are described
in this chapter and are demonstrated later in the QS. It seems clear
that Fëanor's spirit consumed more strength from Míriel than was
required for creating a normal life. Is this the reason that Fëanor is
extremely gifted?

[3] What is the deal with the extremely gifted in Tolkien's QS? Why
are they the ones that want to master the minds of others? (I'm
thinking of Fëanor and Melkor.)

[4] Which of Fëanor's sons received Nerdanel's mood? Which took
their mood from Fëanor?

[5] Why does Fëanor bear grudges against Fingolfin and Finarfin? Was
it simply sibling rivalry?

[6] Does it seem odd that Manwë does not comprehend evil at this point
considering Melkor's past acts? If Manwë had perceived that love had
departed from Melkor for ever, would Manwë then have suspected evil?

[7] Well now, here's something. Those who defend authority must not
rebel against it. What should Ulmo and Tulkas have done at this point?

[8] Why does Melkor zero in on Fëanor? Is it because Fëanor is their
best and brightest or does Melkor sense a threat? By Fëanor's
greatest works, does this refer to the Simarils?

[9] Why does Fëanor hate Melkor so much? Is it because of Melkor's
past deeds? How much do Fëanor and Melkor have in common?

[10] Why did Fëanor stop taking counsel from Nerdanel the wise? Did he
stop trusting her judgment or was it his ego?

JimboCat

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Dec 12, 2005, 12:12:26 PM12/12/05
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RoRowe wrote:

>[3] What is the deal with the extremely gifted in Tolkien's QS? Why
>are they the ones that want to master the minds of others? (I'm
>thinking of Fëanor and Melkor.)

There may be plenty of entities that want to "master the minds of
others", but in JRRT's universe, you can only master a mind that is
weaker than your own, so it is only the extremely gifted that are a
danger to the highly gifted, and ordinary folk get pretty short shrift
in the Silm so we just don't see this happen except at the upper
reaches of giftedness. It's just sampling bias.

And there are plenty of severely-gifted who do not desire that sort of
power: Galadriel in LOTR comes to mind...

>[9] Why does Fëanor hate Melkor so much? Is it because of Melkor's
>past deeds? How much do Fëanor and Melkor have in common?

I think it is a truism -- in ME as well as the "real" world -- that
people hate in others what they refuse to see in themselves. I've
certainly seen that in my kids!

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want....
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me
all the days of thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.
- the new 23rd psalm

nand...@transact.bm

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Dec 12, 2005, 1:32:02 PM12/12/05
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RoRowe wrote:
> SUMMARY
>
> <snip>>
> DISCUSSION POINTS

>
>
> [4] Which of Fëanor's sons received Nerdanel's mood? Which took
> their mood from Fëanor?
>

>From memory, Maedhros inherited his mother's moods, along with her hair
(in HoME there is a note somewhere about him inheriting her red hair
and having the epesse "Russandol", or "Coppertop". Possibly the twins
Amrod and Amras were of like mood. Maglor maybe as well, since he in
the end became sickened by the things that the Oath of Feanor had
brought about.

Definitely like in Feanor _in some respects_ were Curufin (smithying),
Caranthir (friendly with Dwarves, therefore probably also somewhat
smith-minded) and Celegorm. Curufin and Celegorm also appear to have a
certain haughtiness and downright mean-spiritedness which might be
traced back to the Oath of Feanor amplifying certain character traits
inherited from their father - who after all deserted Fingolfin and the
majority of the Noldor in Araman.

> [5] Why does Fëanor bear grudges against Fingolfin and Finarfin? Was
> it simply sibling rivalry?

Feanor seems to have basically resented his father remarrying, and
transferred his feelings to his half-brothers.

I believe that this is a very complex subject, and expanded on more
fully on HoMe. From memory, much (if not all) of the problems that
befell the Noldor came about because Miriel wanted to die, given the
exhaustion she felt after bearing Feanor - a thing never conceived of
by the Valar. Can someone with more knowledge of the relevant passages
in HoMe expand on this?

Neil Anderson

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 27, 2005, 2:55:46 PM12/27/05
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On 11 Dec 2005 16:33:17 -0800, "RoRowe" <rorow...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>Míriel was consumed in body, mind and spirit by the carrying
>and birthing of Fëanor. She said that the strength needed to nourish
>the life of many went forth into Fëanor. [2]

So... this just doesn't seem like a full explanation, given that other
elven-women do have many children without turning into mopey languishers
who die without seeming to even try to recover. Could Miriel have had
some vague foreknowledge of the doom awaiting her descendants? That
might have been cause to head for Mandos.

>Finwë wanted to have many more children but Míriel continued to
>languish after giving birth to Fëanor.

Or maybe it was the thought of having to keep telling Finwe she'd had
enough of the childbirth thing.

>Afterward, Finwë poured all of his love into his son Fëanor.

Was Feanor an arrogant punk because daddy spoiled him as boy?

>Fëanor married Nerdanel of the Noldor. She was more patient than
>Fëanor and sought to understand minds rather than to master them. [3]

"More patient than Feanor" doesn't say much. :-)

More important is the implication that Feanor seeks to master the minds
of others.

>We are told that at the beginning of their relationship she had a
>calming effect on Fëanor. Later they grew estranged but Nerdanel bore
>Fëanor seven sons.

Showing she had more staying power than his mother.

>Finwë took a second wife, Indis the Fair who was a Vanya. Fëanor did
>not love Indis nor her sons Fingolfin and Finarfin,

Feanor doesn't seem to have been big on love in general.

>Fëanor's half
>brothers and Fëanor lived apart from his father. We are told that this
>breach in Finwë's house had a lasting impression on Fëanor that
>caused great sorrow to the Eldar and others in later years. [5]

That's one excuse, but does anyone really think Feanor would have been
any more reasonable if he'd been an only child? Melkor would have had to
drive his wedges a little differently, but I don't think he wouldn't
have been able to take advantage of Feanor's basic character in any
case, nor that of the Noldor in general. Changing things would have
required more competence by the Valar, not Finwe having more time to
dote on his favorite son.

>At this time, the term of Melkor's bondage came to an end and he was
>released to dwell within the gates of Valmar. Upon seeing the bliss of
>the Eldar and the richness of Valmar, Melkor was filled with hatred. He
>feigned redemption before Manwë and was allowed to move freely about
>the land because Manwë believed Melkor had truly repented.

"but Mandos was silent."

Good job, Mandos. *Now* you keep your mouth shut. Couldn't find the
energy to say, "He is an evil jerk and shall ever be. So is it doomed."

Maybe he felt his halls were too empty.

>Melkor
>offered services to repair the damage he had done in the past but he
>secretly plotted vengeance.

He taught weapon forging. That must have seemed like less of a great
idea later.

>However other of the Valar were not deceived by Melkor, especially Ulmo
>and Tulkas. But they did not interfere with Manwë's decision to
>allow Melkor freedom because "those who will defend authority against
>rebellion must not themselves rebel." [7]

Did they caution Manwe against it, though? We know only that Nienna
spoke in his behalf, bleeding-heart liberal that she is. And Mandos kept
his mouth shut. We don't know about the others. Perhaps if it weren't
for Ulmo and Tulkas, Manwe would have just let Melkor go wherever he
wanted.

>[5] Why does Fëanor bear grudges against Fingolfin and Finarfin? Was
>it simply sibling rivalry?

Feanor isn't big on sharing. Or compromising. And with others around at
home, it must have become harder to get daddy to do what he wanted.

>[6] Does it seem odd that Manwë does not comprehend evil at this point
>considering Melkor's past acts? If Manwë had perceived that love had
>departed from Melkor for ever, would Manwë then have suspected evil?

Manwe's kind of a chump here. Not only does he not comprehend evil, he's
not even self-aware enough to realize he doesn't comprehend evil or he'd
have looked to the advice of, oh, maybe Ulmo, who seems to have a better
comprehension of the music as a whole (while Manwe from what is written
is clearer on Iluvatar's intent in his themes, Ulmo seems more grounded
in the reality of the music as it played out given Melkor's rebellion).

>[7] Well now, here's something. Those who defend authority must not
>rebel against it. What should Ulmo and Tulkas have done at this point?

Kept a closer eye on Melkor. It's just amazing that the Valar managed to
miss all this stuff going on right under their noses until Feanor pulls
out a sword in public.

>[8] Why does Melkor zero in on Fëanor? Is it because Fëanor is their
>best and brightest or does Melkor sense a threat? By Fëanor's
>greatest works, does this refer to the Simarils?

Feanor is both the most dangerous and skilled of the Noldor (and thus
the greatest threat and the most useful potential ally/tool) and also
the one most like to Melkor in his nature.

The Silmarils are Feanor's masterworks, although Melkor might have been
claiming a hand in other of his highest art as well.

>[9] Why does Fëanor hate Melkor so much? Is it because of Melkor's
>past deeds? How much do Fëanor and Melkor have in common?

Feanor's better at hating than loving. That's one thing he has in common
with Melkor. He bears a grudge, yes. Also, unlike Manwe, he's not
clueless about evil and probably figures Melkor is more likely to resent
his defeat than feel repentant. Enemies often have much in common.

>[10] Why did Fëanor stop taking counsel from Nerdanel the wise? Did he
>stop trusting her judgment or was it his ego?

Probably both. As she disagreed with him, he would have become
distrustful in his increased paranoia. Ultimately, he loved his shiny
rocks more than anything else, except possibly his father. But we see so
little of their relationship it is hard to guess any details.

This chapter also includes Feanor's initial discovery of the creation of
magical stones, both seeing stones and extraordinary gemstones,
foreshadowing the Silmarils to come.

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

Morgil

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Dec 27, 2005, 3:57:32 PM12/27/05
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R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On 11 Dec 2005 16:33:17 -0800, "RoRowe" <rorow...@sbcglobal.net>
> wrote:
>
>
>>Míriel was consumed in body, mind and spirit by the carrying
>>and birthing of Fëanor. She said that the strength needed to nourish
>>the life of many went forth into Fëanor. [2]
>
>
> So... this just doesn't seem like a full explanation, given that other
> elven-women do have many children without turning into mopey languishers
> who die without seeming to even try to recover. Could Miriel have had
> some vague foreknowledge of the doom awaiting her descendants? That
> might have been cause to head for Mandos.

Or maybe Indis already had hots for Finwe and she poisoned
Miriel to clear the way to queendom. That would explain
where her sons inherit their backstabbing careerist nature.

>>Finwë took a second wife, Indis the Fair who was a Vanya. Fëanor did
>>not love Indis nor her sons Fingolfin and Finarfin,
>
>
> Feanor doesn't seem to have been big on love in general.

"for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor
or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of
Elves or of Men, have held their fathers of greater worth?"

Good question.

Morgil

Christopher Kreuzer

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Dec 28, 2005, 8:31:14 AM12/28/05
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[cross-posting to AFT and removing rec.arts.books]

R. Dan Henry

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Dec 28, 2005, 6:40:23 PM12/28/05
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Reposting to fix the crossposting to be to a.f.t. instead of
rec.arts.books

On Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:55:46 -0800, R. Dan Henry <danh...@inreach.com>
wrote:

Stan Brown

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Dec 29, 2005, 3:24:21 PM12/29/05
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Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:55:46 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
<danh...@inreach.com>:

> On 11 Dec 2005 16:33:17 -0800, "RoRowe" <rorow...@sbcglobal.net>
> wrote:
>
> >Míriel was consumed in body, mind and spirit by the carrying
> >and birthing of Fëanor. She said that the strength needed to nourish
> >the life of many went forth into Fëanor. [2]
>
> So... this just doesn't seem like a full explanation, given that other
> elven-women do have many children without turning into mopey languishers
> who die without seeming to even try to recover. Could Miriel have had
> some vague foreknowledge of the doom awaiting her descendants? That
> might have been cause to head for Mandos.

I read her decision as simple stubbornness, and she just dug in her
heels when all the great ones practically begged her to return to her
body and her husband.

It's at least arguable that if she had come back, the Doom of the
Noldor wouldn't have happened. Fëanor would probably have had full
siblings, not half siblings, and that source of distrust would have
been removed. He himself would have had the softening influence of
his mother, who might have guided him into a proper humility vis-a-
vis his duty, using her own return to life as an example.

But as I wrote under CotW 7, Fëanor actually seems to have inherited
willfulness from both parents. Both Finwë and Miriel disregarded the
earnest advice of the Valar -- she refused reincarnation, and he
refused to live as a widower.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
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more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 22, 2006, 3:15:00 PM1/22/06
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In message <news:MPG.1e1e0ffd6...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> enriched us with:
>
> Tue, 27 Dec 2005 11:55:46 -0800 from R. Dan Henry
> <danh...@inreach.com>:
>>
>> On 11 Dec 2005 16:33:17 -0800, "RoRowe"
>> <rorow...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>>>
>>> Míriel was consumed in body, mind and spirit by the carrying
>>> and birthing of Fëanor. She said that the strength needed to
>>> nourish the life of many went forth into Fëanor. [2]
>>
>> So... this just doesn't seem like a full explanation, given that
>> other elven-women do have many children without turning into
>> mopey languishers who die without seeming to even try to recover.
>> Could Miriel have had some vague foreknowledge of the doom
>> awaiting her descendants? That might have been cause to head for
>> Mandos.
>
> I read her decision as simple stubbornness, and she just dug in
> her heels when all the great ones practically begged her to return
> to her body and her husband.

As you note, that would seem to be a common thing in the family :/

I am sure that Míriel's languor was real: carrying Fëanor really did
sap all power from her, and she did lose her will to live.

Nonetheless, the older opinion was not wholly void. For
all the Eldar, being aware of it in themselves, spoke of
the passing of much strength, both of mind and of body,
into their children, in bearing and begetting. Therefore
they hold that the fëa, though unbegotten, draws
nourishment from the parents before the birth of the child:
directly from the fëa of the mother while she bears and
nourishes the hrondo, and mediately but equally from the
father, whose fëa is bound in union with the mother's and
supports it.
[Morgoth's Ring 3,II 'Laws and Customs among the Eldar']

Though /Laws and Customs/ cannot be relied upon in all details (it is,
for instance, speaking of re-incarnation through rebirth rather than
reconstruction of the hröa by the Valar -- an idea (re-birth, that is),
which was later rejected.

However, it is not all that there is to say about this. In /Laws and
Customs/ there is a long passage about this. The passage is only in the
earliest version (A manuscript) of the text.

The story is much expanded upon, and we get a doom from Mandos about
the whole matter of the severance of marriage,

[It is recorded by the Eldar that the Valar found this
matter of Finwë strange, and debated much concerning it.
For Finwë they could not accuse of any guilt, and the
Statute that had been made for Finwë and Míriel was just
and reasonable. Yet it was clear that many evils would
have been avoided, [if either Míriel had been less faint,
or Finwë more patient >] if it had not been made, or at
least had not been used. This passage was later replaced
as follows:]
[ibid.] The replacement is quite long and contains a debate among the
Valar, of which the important arguements seem to be:

Manwë: 'you deal with Arda Marred [...] in Arda Marred Justice is not
Healing. '

Aulë: 'Must it not be thought that the greatness [of Fëanor] and the
cost come not from Arda, Marred or Unmarred, but from beyond Arda?'

Ulmo: 'Nonetheless Míriel died. And death is for the Eldar an evil,
that is a thing unnatural in Arda Unmarred, which must proceed
therefore from the marring.'

Yavanna: (Aulë is wrong) '[...] so the Shadow worketh not only upon
spirits, but has marred the very hrón of Arda, [...]' and 'Míriel, I
deem, died by necessity of body, in suffering [for] which she was
blameless or indeed to be praised, and yet was not given power to
resist it: the cost of so great a child-bearing. [...] Death is indeed
death and within the Great Theme cometh from the Marrer and is
grievous; but Eru in this death had a purpose of immediate good,
[...]'

Vairë: 'The fëa of Míriel is with me. I know it well, for it is small.
But it is strong; proud and obdurate. It is of that sort who having
said: this I will do, make their words a doom irrevocable unto
themselves.'

Ultimately, I think the conclusion is that Míriel's decision not to
return to life was less in accord with Arda Unmarred and the will of
Eru, that it it was a rejection of Hope (as in trusting Eru), and
therefore a fault.

> It's at least arguable that if she had come back, the Doom of the
> Noldor wouldn't have happened.

She said herself, 'But hold me blameless in this, and in all that may
come after.'

However, as said above, the Valar and Eldar appears not to hold her
entirely blameless. Blameless, perhaps, in the initial death, which was
the result of the Marring (which, as Yavanna noted, was in the very
substance of her body), but that she was to blame for not returning
sooner. She also holds herself at fault in the tale of her meeting with
Finwë after he was killed by Melkor, 'I erred in leaving thee and our
son, or at the least in not soon returning after brief repose; [...]'

> Fëanor would probably have had full siblings, not half siblings,
> and that source of distrust would have been removed. He himself
> would have had the softening influence of his mother,

'[...]; for had I done so he might have grown wiser. But the children
of Indis shall redress his errors and therefore I am glad that they
should have being, and Indis hath my love.' is how Míriel continues.

Whether he would have had siblings or not (Finwë certainly wanted that)
is, I think, not the important issue here.

It is interesting how it is implied here the redeeming influence of the
love of a mother -- Rowling would have rejoiced had she read it (which
I don't think she has). It is also in accord with the later statement
about Manwë not perceive 'that all love had departed from [Melkor] for
ever.' This implies, I think, that the absence of love is a clear
indication of irredeemable evil, and thus love as the (potential) of
redemption.

Fëanor, however, did have love from his father and though they grew
estranged, he must have loved Nerdanel at some point, but apparently
the lack of his mother's love (or rather her being present to show it)
did do a difference.

> But as I wrote under CotW 7, Fëanor actually seems to have
> inherited willfulness from both parents. Both Finwë and Miriel
> disregarded the earnest advice of the Valar -- she refused
> reincarnation, and he refused to live as a widower.

I think that that is what is implied in the earlier version -- before
Tolkien decided to let the Valar discuss the issue at length.

In message
<news:1134412322.6...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>
nand...@transact.bm enriched us with:

|
>> [5] Why does Fëanor bear grudges against Fingolfin and Finarfin?
>> Was it simply sibling rivalry?
|

| Feanor seems to have basically resented his father remarrying,
| and transferred his feelings to his half-brothers.

That does seem the case. Fëanor had dwelt with, and been raised by, his
father alone, and a great love there was between them. Fëanor also
'became ever more like Finwë in stature and countenance, but in mood he
resembled Míriel rather.' Since Indis was 'in all ways unlike Míril'
(and in many ways her antithesis), that might help explain some of the
enmity.

I seem to recall from elsewhere (the Shiboleth?) that their enmity
spilled over into matters of speech. The Eldar, and Fëanor more than
most, were very conscious of speech and IIRC Fëanor opposed something
about Indis' speech because of his general animosity to her.


| I believe that this is a very complex subject, and expanded on
| more fully on HoMe. From memory, much (if not all) of the
| problems that befell the Noldor came about because Miriel wanted
| to die, given the exhaustion she felt after bearing Feanor - a
| thing never conceived of by the Valar. Can someone with more
| knowledge of the relevant passages in HoMe expand on this?

I've been trying to look into the history of this part of the story,
though I am hampered by not having HoMe5 (/The Lost Road and Other
Writings/, LR), where is given the last version of the Quenta
Silmarillion that preceded the writing of LotR.

The character of Fëanor, most skilled of the Noldor (Gnomes, Noldoli),
maker of the Silmarils, father of many sons and whose father was killed
(as the first to be murdered in Aman), and subsequent swearer of a
mighty oath, is present already in the first versions in BoLT. There,
however, Fëanor's father is Bruithwir, not the King of the Gnomes,
Finwë Nólomë (who fathered Turgon Turgon's sister, Isfin) who died in
the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.

Christopher spends some space in the HoMe series on the evolution of
Fëanor's and Finwë's family through the various versions. Fëanor
becomes the the second son of Finwë (to use the familiar name), emended
to the first etc. I'm not sure exactly at what point Fëanor's mother
became different from the mother of Finwë's other sons, though I don't
think there was any indication of this in the first Annals of Valinor
and other writings from the early 1930s[I].

There are hand-written emendations to the Annals of Aman that
Christopher describes in /Morgoth's Ring/ (HoMe10) including the death
of Míriel and Finwë's re-marriage, which leads me to think
(tentatively) that the two marriages didn't enter until post-LotR,
though I'd like confirmation of this from someone with /The Lost Road/.

I'm afraid that a detailled account of the evolution of the family
relations of Fëanor and of the royal house of the Noldor covering all
the steps is beyond the scope of this post (which, even trying to be
brief, is already beyond 200 lines).

However, tracing the emergence of the story about Míriel and Indis
might be possible.

In MR there is an interesting note by Christopher Tolkien (CT) to the
Annals of Aman (the year of 1179).

1179
§78 Fëanor, eldest son of Finwë, was born in Tirion upon
Túna. His mother was Byrde Míriel.[1]

[1] This annal is an early replacement; the original annal,
concerning the marriage of Finrod and Ëarwen Olwë's
daughter, reappears in very similar form in the manuscript
as originally written under the year 1280. Later, in ball-
point pen, my father changed the date of this annal to
1169, and added new annals for 1170, 'Míriel falls asleep
and passes to Mandar' (on /Mandar/ see p. 205), and 1172
'Doom of Manwë concerning the espousals of the Eldar.'

[/Morgoth's Ring/ (MR), HoMe10, 'The Annals of Aman', Fourth Section]

And CT's commentary to §78
§78 Earlier in AAm, under the year 1115, appear rejected
insertions (see p. 87, notes 3 and 5) in which are
recorded the birth of Fëanor to Finwë's wife Indis in
Middle-earth in the course of the Great Journey, and her
subsequent death in a fall in the Misty Mountains.
Written in ball-point pen these insertions would appear
to be relatively late; here on the other hand, in what
seems to be an early addition (written carefully in ink,
and see note 1 above), Fëanor was born in Tirion, and his
mother was Míriel, called Byrde Míriel (Old English byrde,
'broidcress'; see pp. 185, 192). In late insertions
(notes 1 and 4 above) it is recorded that in 1170 Míriel
'fell asleep' and passed to Mandos, and in 1185 Finwë
married Indis of the Vanyar.

So, it would seem that CT isn't sure about the sequence of corrections,
but we have apparently two different scenarios, which are finally
merged into the story we read (a fraction of) in Silm.

This final version apparently worried Tolkien somewhat -- in particular
the remarriage of Finwë (which was to provide the motivation for the
enmity and the split in the Noldirin royal house), which he spent a lot
of work on justifying and explaining.

[I] <http://www.forodrim.org/daeron/md_hmch.html>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded
gold, it would be a merrier world.
- Thorin Oakenshield, /The Hobbit/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

RoRowe

unread,
Jan 23, 2006, 1:32:32 PM1/23/06
to

Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> Whether he would have had siblings or not (Finwë certainly wanted that)
> is, I think, not the important issue here.
>
> It is interesting how it is implied here the redeeming influence of the
> love of a mother -- Rowling would have rejoiced had she read it (which
> I don't think she has). It is also in accord with the later statement
> about Manwë not perceive 'that all love had departed from [Melkor] for
> ever.' This implies, I think, that the absence of love is a clear
> indication of irredeemable evil, and thus love as the (potential) of
> redemption.

Are you referring to J. K. Rowling here?

RoRowe

Steve Morrison

unread,
Jan 23, 2006, 1:41:01 PM1/23/06
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> I've been trying to look into the history of this part of the story,
> though I am hampered by not having HoMe5 (/The Lost Road and Other
> Writings/, LR), where is given the last version of the Quenta
> Silmarillion that preceded the writing of LotR.
>
> The character of Fëanor, most skilled of the Noldor (Gnomes, Noldoli),
> maker of the Silmarils, father of many sons and whose father was killed
> (as the first to be murdered in Aman), and subsequent swearer of a
> mighty oath, is present already in the first versions in BoLT. There,
> however, Fëanor's father is Bruithwir, not the King of the Gnomes,
> Finwë Nólomë (who fathered Turgon Turgon's sister, Isfin) who died in
> the Battle of Unnumbered Tears.
>
> Christopher spends some space in the HoMe series on the evolution of
> Fëanor's and Finwë's family through the various versions. Fëanor
> becomes the the second son of Finwë (to use the familiar name), emended
> to the first etc. I'm not sure exactly at what point Fëanor's mother
> became different from the mother of Finwë's other sons, though I don't
> think there was any indication of this in the first Annals of Valinor
> and other writings from the early 1930s[I].

I've checked LR. Both the /Quenta Silmarillion/ and the later "Annals
of Valinor" list Finwe's sons as Feanor, Fingolfin, and Finrod. The
QS also says Feanor was the eldest -- but I can't find any reference
to their mother(s). It doesn't appear that there was any development
of this part of the family tree between HoME 4 and HoME 5. (And I
haven't found any reference to the mother(s) in HoME 4, either.)

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Jan 23, 2006, 2:26:55 PM1/23/06
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In message
<news:1138041152....@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> "RoRowe"
<rorow...@sbcglobal.net> enriched us with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> It is interesting how it is implied here the redeeming influence
>> of the love of a mother -- Rowling would have rejoiced had she
>> read it (which I don't think she has).
[...]

>
> Are you referring to J. K. Rowling here?

Indeed I am -- there is, IMO, a parallel in Rowling's depiction of
Harry's mother saving his life through love and sacrifice to the
failure of Míriel to do the same for Fëanor (without any intention of
comparing the two authors in other respects).

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another
profound truth.
- Niels Bohr

Troels Forchhammer

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Jan 24, 2006, 1:53:35 PM1/24/06
to
In message
<news:1134347597.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>

"RoRowe" <rorow...@sbcglobal.net> enriched us with:
>
> SUMMARY

<snip>

> We begin Chapter 6 with the Eldar in the Blessed Realm. Things are
> going well for the Firstborn and Melkor is still chained. We are
> told that the bliss of the Eldar is at its Noontide but that the
> bliss is all too brief. [1]

'long in the tale of years, but in memory too brief.'

I am reminded rather of /The Hobbit/:

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to
have and days that are good to spend are soon told about,
and not much to listen to; while things that are uncom-
fortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a
good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
[TH-3 'A Short Rest']



> Fëanor's birth is announced. He is born in the House of the King,
> the eldest son of Finwë. His given name is Curufinwë (curu meaning
> "skill") but he is called Fëanor by his mother, Fëanor meaning
> "Spirit of Fire".

Which must of course be recalled later, at his death.

> We are told that Fëanor's mother is skilled in weaving and
> needlework

Byrde Míriel, she is called in LQ[*], meaning 'broideress'.

[*] /The Later Quenta Silmarillion/, as published in /Morgoth's Ring/
(MR) and /The War of the Jewels/ (WJ), HoMe10 and HoMe11

> and that "The love of Finwë and Míriel was great and glad, for
> it began in the Blessed Realm in the Days of Bliss."

I cannot help but feel that it is a bit unfair if love is greater and
gladder if it begins 'in the Blessed Realm in the Days of Bliss', and
that such would detract in some ways from the love of Beren and
Lúthien. On the other hand it might also mean that the love of Finwë
and Míriel was only 'great and glad' for that reason . . .

<snip>


> Finwë took a second wife, Indis the Fair who was a Vanya.

That statement covers a great deal of work by Tolkien. It would seem
that the whole work on the text called 'Laws and Customs among the
Eldar' or, to use the long title on the last typescript, 'Of the Laws
and Customs Among the Eldar Pertaining to Marriage and Other Matters
Related Thereto: Together With the Statute of Finwë and Míriel and
the Debate of the Valar at its Making' (incredible title, isn't it
<G>).

As the title suggests, that text it tied to the story about Finwë and
his two wives. I wonder why it wasn't included in the published
Silmarillion (as an appendix, perhaps) -- the problems with the
presentation of reincarnation through actual rebirth could surely
have been solved by recourse to other sources for an update of that
section; the same applies to other ideas and concepts that was
superceded by later texts insofar as the later ideas were
incorporated into the published book. I think that Tolkien did mean
for this text to stand together with this chapter in /The
Silmarillion/.

The problem was the inviolability of marriage combined with the
immortality of the Quendi and not the least the need for Finwë to
remarry and provide the motivation needed in the story of Fëanor.

The solution was to recourse to a special kind of mortality -- if the
Fëa was denied reincarnation within the duration of Arda, either by
itself or by Mandos, then the marriage, which was for /life/, could
be dissolved.

How then can a marriage be ended and the union be
dissolved? For unless this be done, there can be no second
marriage. By the law of the nature of the Elves, the neri
and the nissi being equal, there can be union only of one
with one. Plainly an end can be made only by the ending of
the will; and this must proceed from the Dead, or be by
doom. By the ending of the will, when the Dead are not
willing ever to return to life in the body; by doom, when
they are not permitted to return. For a union that is for
the life of Arda is ended, if it cannot be resumed within
the life of Arda.

This was only possible by recourse to Manwë and a doom by Mandos (by
which the will of the dead should be known.

In later developments of the story, Finwë, after his murder by Melkor
and reunion with Míriel, voluntarily offers to stay at Mandos to keep
the statute safe (thus discontinuing both his marriages), so that
Míriel could be re-embodied and, entering the House of Vairë (as the
only living), embarked upon her great project of weaving a tapestry,
[...] and all tidings of the Noldor down the years from
their beginning were brought to her, and she wove them
in webs historial, so fair and skilled that they seemed
to live, imperishable, shining with a light of many hues
fairer than are known in Middle-earth.

Now there is a tapestry I'd like to see ;)

> Fëanor did not love Indis nor her sons Fingolfin and Finarfin,
> Fëanor's half brothers and Fëanor lived apart from his father.

I think it is suggested, though not said outright, that it is the
early loss of his mother that caused Fëanor to jealously guard all
that he thought was his own, and to resent any attempt to take or
diminish it -- even when it was all the love of his father.

That this early loss was important is, I think, also implied by the
rejected emendation to the Annals of Aman, where Fëanor was born in
Middle-earth during the Great March (the First-born of the Eldar) to
Finwë's wife, Indis, who then lost her life passing the Misty
Mountains (where, ages later, a descendant of Indis was caught by
Orcs),

> We are told that this breach in Finwë's house had a lasting
> impression on Fëanor that caused great sorrow to the Eldar and
> others in later years. [5]

It is opined by 'many' (an indication, I think, that Tolkien agreed),
that if Finwë hadn't remarried, things would not have gone as bad. I
suppose that if Fëanor had not felt that he was bereaved not only of
his mother, but also of (part of) his father's love, then he might
not have become as jealous about his other 'possessions' (such as the
Silmarils).

<snip>

> DISCUSSION POINTS
[...]


> [2] Fëanor has truly exceptional talents and skills that are
> described in this chapter and are demonstrated later in
> the QS.

As Mandos put it (as reported in /Morgoth's Ring/ (MR)), he is the
greatest of the Eldar in potency:
Aulë nameth Fëanor the greatest of the Eldar, and in
potency that is true. But I say unto you that the children
of Indis shall also be great, and the Tale of Arda more
glorious because of their coming.
[Morgoth's Ring 3,II 'Laws and Customs among the Eldar' - 'Of the
Severence of Marriage']

> It seems clear that Fëanor's spirit consumed more strength
> from Míriel than was required for creating a normal life.
> Is this the reason that Fëanor is extremely gifted?

No, I think that the causality is rather the other way around: that
it took so much out of Míriel because of Fëanor's potential -- that
Fëanor's greatness was such that it required a larger nourishment
from his mother's fëa than would normally go into a number of
children (see also my reply elsewhere in the thread, where I quote
the relevant passage from MR).



> [3] What is the deal with the extremely gifted in Tolkien's
> QS? Why are they the ones that want to master the minds
> of others? (I'm thinking of Fëanor and Melkor.)

They may not be the only ones to want that, but they're those most
likely to succeed (and the less gifted are more likely to find
themselves following one of these extremely gifted). It is in the
nature of Free Wills, I suppose.

<snip>



> [6] Does it seem odd that Manwë does not comprehend evil at
> this point considering Melkor's past acts?

Not really. It does seem a general theme that Good and Evil are (with
the exception of Eru Ilúvatar) different paradigms, incommensurable
so that you cannot understand one based on the world-view of the
other. Compare, for instance, Gandalf's words about Sauron in LotR:

For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety
in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that
he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges
all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter
that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may
seek to destroy it.
[Gandalf, LotR II,2 'The Council of Elrond']
And later
That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in
his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That
we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet
entered into his darkest dream.
[Gandalf, III,5 'The White Rider']

This lack of understanding by Sauron seems to me to parallel the lack
of understanding by Manwë in /The Silmarillion/. I suspect that
Gandalf's clearsight in this in part stems from his unique position
as Incarnate Maia working for Good.

> If Manwë had perceived that love had departed from Melkor
> for ever, would Manwë then have suspected evil?

We cannot know, can we? But I do suspect so. As I've said elsewhere
this seems to me to suggest that love is the indicator of a potential
for redemption (and probably that it is a requirement for
redemption), so the absence thereof is very telling.

However, Manwë, even had he wanted to, could not have seen this, or
at least that is how I interpret the statement that Melkor 'hid his
thought' -- that he closed his mind. It is one of the characteristics
mentioned in /Ósanwe-kenta/ that nobody can read a mind that is
closed -- not even Melkor could force entry (but he could try to
deceive or bully the other to open his mind).

<snip>


> [8] Why does Melkor zero in on Fëanor? Is it because Fëanor is
> their best and brightest or does Melkor sense a threat?

Fëanor was greatest in potency of all the Eldar (according to
Mandos), and Melkor hated the Eldar above anything else. Destroying
the least of the Eldar wouldn't have meant anything to Melkor, but
the greatest . . . in particular as Fëanor was more obviously the
'greatest' in terms of the way Melkor would see it -- Ingwë, the
High King? Hah! The sissy! ;)

> By Fëanor's greatest works, does this refer to the Simarils?

What else could it be? In the context I don't think it could be his
greatest betrayals, and his other works (of Art) are lesser, IMO
(both his script, the palantíri and what else we're told he made).

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.
- Aragorn "Strider", /Two Towers/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Morgoth's Curse

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Jan 8, 2008, 6:14:46 PM1/8/08
to
On 11 Dec 2005 16:33:17 -0800, "RoRowe" <rorow...@sbcglobal.net>
wrote:

>[5] Why does Fëanor bear grudges against Fingolfin and Finarfin? Was
>it simply sibling rivalry?

I wonder if Feanor's resentment could be due in part to his
diminution of political power. Recall that in Beleriand each of the
descendants of Finwe has his own personal kingdom or fief. The birth
of Fingolfin and Finarfin meant that Feanor would eventually have to
share power and influence and we already know how much Feanor hated to
share. In other words, it is possible and even likely that Feanor's
lust for power and domination was present from his earliest years and
that all Melkor had to do was stoke the fires.

Morgoth's Curse

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