Mar 19 2013, 8:34pm
Thanks so much Elevorn for posting the discussion!
Thoughts on Ch 7, Feanor and Family
What do you think was Feanorís purpose for creating such Jewels?
I think it shows us in the first few sentences of the chapter, when we find that Feanor had grown to his full power and thought, and had a sense of the Doom that hung over the Trees. I think that, being unique among the Blessed Realm in knowing deep loss, he wanted to prevent the loss of the Light of the Trees, "imperishable", with his own hands. Not a very far-removed symbolic story of Feanor's life really.
(It beggars the question, in the larger picture of the Song, is anything meant to be imperishable?)
Do you think this is the point of Feanorís marriage to where he becomes estranged from him? Is Feanorís desire for his own works what causes Nerdanel to fade out of the story?
The last sentence of the previous chapter leads us in with the statement that Nerdanel's counsel only lasted a little while, but that she supported him until his later deeds. She is described as being of firm will but less controlling of others (and perhaps less ambitious) and initially able to soothe Feanor's temper. I think Feanor was drawn to a strong person, but eventually saw her caution and restraint as holding him back. So the drift might not necessarily be about his own works, but for having his own way. And in this chapter Feanor progresses to threats of violence to attempt to master others, so I think that event would drive Nerdanel away completely. Keep in mind as well that they married quite young, (because Feanor needed a loving female in his life who belonged to him?) and Feanor certainly changed a lot over his adult life.
If you had to choose a blacksmith who would you want making your swords and armor? Telchar? Feanor? Mahtan? Someone else?
Well, I think my vote would be for Telchar. Especially for mithril-work in armor. For weaponry as well, I would feel that a blade from Feanor might have a bit too much spirit of its own!
Was it part of Melkorís plan for the Elves to arm themselves? Do you think this could have been a somewhat fatal flaw in his design?
No, because arming is the fruit of the harvest which he wanted above all to sow, which is distrust and division. Happy and content people don't stock weapons, but Elves and Men who are restless and unhappy do, and they are Melkor's easiest targets. Only if every single Elf were armed and united against his forces would it have been a flaw, and with the effort and skill he poured into dividing them its unlikely that would ever happen. Besides, to Melkor himself, what threat are weapons really? I think he little to fear for himself, instead the Elves will slay each other while he watches.
What are your thoughts on Feanor? Is he a troubled genius or mad scientist? Is there a deeper seated issue with him, like a problem of fatherly love, or is he a tortured artist of sorts who just cannot be happy with anything save the work of his own hands?
Maybe a motherly issue. When I think of Feanor I come back to Miriel, the artist in stunning needlework. Having read many ideas about her, I am still left with more than ambivalence - I don't like her, and I think her behavior is a chilly blueprint, almost a negative relief, of Feanor's excesses. We have the statement that somehow birthing Feanor drained her spirit - but only because she herself says it is so. The Valar are largely puzzled by it. There is no corroboration of anyone else having this happen in the Blessed Realm. It also casts a certain blame and guilt on Feanor, as an innocent newborn child. So instead is her "weariness" perhaps a type of self-absorption in one's own work....? As if she is saying 'I have done this wonderful thing, I have poured all of myself into this beautiful work, and now my reward is to rest' ? - as if other mother's did not sacrifice some of their body and spirit to their children - somehow hers is different? And she stubbornly withdraws, away from the love of her husband and, more telling so, the unconditional love of her baby. It shows then: keen artistry, self-absorption, and will that takes advice from no one, and one that can seperate themselves from those that love and need them.
Even if one thinks somehow of her "gift of great spirit" to Feanor, it is ultimately a failure; like a modern-day example, the parent who works like a madwoman to provide all the things their child wants but ultimately takes away the greatest gift they have to give - themselves. I think that the vacuum that the loss of his mother, and the guilt he felt for being its cause, were what created such a restless Elf, and it comes out in his deep need to endlessly create better and better things to try to be satisfied and fill the void. So I don't think he was born that different than any other Elf. Deeply talented, yes, and of strong nature, yes. But I think his circumstances - all early ones being not of his choice - started a complex chain reaction. Do I think he is responsible for his adult actions? Yes, I do. But I can see its early parallels and origins in Muriel.
With such a hotheaded brother, why do Finarfin and Fingolfin find it necessary to take his side? Family is family, but can they not see that something bad is happening? Is there friendship a good or bad thing at this point?
That's a very tough question. Are they standing by Feanor, or is it out of loyalty to Finwe? Because they really barely even speak, other than Feanor's threat to Fingolfin at the point of a sword. So I'm not sure if I can really understand it. I don't know if to Feanor it makes any difference, good or bad, as he is so removed at this point from caring about what others say or do. But this question puzzles me the most.
Hell hath no fury like a Dragon who is missing a cup.
(This post was edited by entmaiden on Apr 14 2013, 12:06am)