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Silmarilion Discussion, Chapter 6: "Of Feanor..." 1 of 2
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Mar 14 2013, 1:30am

Post #26 of 30 (664 views)
definitely "going with it"! [In reply to] Can't Post

And still smiling as I reread your post and respond to it. Not because of the mishap! I merely enjoy the idea that Finwe is discussing Finwe online and offering some very useful insights into his character... hmmm...

As I mentioned in response to CuriousG's post, I think the two of you are on to something about Feanor being without a strong father figure. If we are to blame anyone for abandoning Feanor -- or not being able to reign him in, we should be looking at Finwe instead of Miriel. now I feel a little sheepish for suggesting she might have abandoned Feanor -- what I wouldn't give for that mythical extended edition! I am not blaming him for marrying Indis, but perhaps being a bit more present in Feanor's life might have smoothed over some rough edges. But then we wouldn't have such a tragic tale to tell...

Feanor as workaholic modern-day CEO. That is rather priceless!


Mar 14 2013, 4:04pm

Post #27 of 30 (651 views)
Coming after the party is over... [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Does it strike you as odd that the Blessed Realm -- a place seemingly beyond time and change -- should have a noontide?
After we've heard Iluvatar's words, the Lamps were already overthrown, and knowing that Valinor is well-hidden out of fear? No.
Also, perhaps if the exclusive noontide of the Blessed Realm passes - the rest of the world may have a little light? For instance, what of all the saplings Yavanna has planted?

What is he saying (if anything) about the cyclical nature of more metaphysical matters?
Well, I doubt Eru is cyclical.
The Valar, once incarnated, are bound to the world, and have lost something of their metaphysical quality.

2. This noontide is described as "...long in tale of years, but in memory too brief." Why? Are tales of good thing happening simply too boring to recount or dull to remember -- much like the model of modern-day news broadcasts?

Well, as I'm not sure what happened, I cannot answer...
But dramatic events are the ones best remembered. And they need not be dramatic - marrying, having children, getting a job and doing well in it - aren't these memorable?
However, they seem to be personal, while tragedy often affects many.
Also, "in memory too brief" could simply mean that looking back, you yearn for them to havbe lasted even longer.

Would you like to know what happened during those years (or in the very least have access to a short summary?) What might that entail?
Well - we do have a short summary. Barring the tragedy of Miriel, everybody was happy, raised families, sang, danced and created lovely things. Do you want to know the details? What would that have given you?

Reading of other peoples' happiness is like going through the Who's Who. Unless you are really interested in somebody, it is tedious.

3. Who is/was Miriel?
A woman of the Noldor, probably Finwe's mate from back in Cuivienen.

So was Miriel rather short and dark?
More than Indis. Probably pretty tall according to Third-Age standards.

What does the comparison with Indis say (if anything) about Miriel's -- or Indis's -- character?
Miriel is self-willed, and sanctimonious (but hold me blameless). Indis stands taller than the Noldor around her - probably an aristocrat who might love her husband but looks down on his people. Oddly enough, she is instrumental in introducing the th->s desgeneration into the Noldorin language (according to Tolkien's latter woirks), which complicates the whole story - and I doubt Tolkien would have written the whole Laws and Customs treatise if not for these kind of problems!
I expect these attributes are inherited by their respective sons.

4. What causes her to have complications ("...consumed in spirit and body...") in childbirth -- resulting in death, no less -- while living in Valinor?
A defect in the Music. Or a bit of Eru's plan which drifted in.

Does that not seem contrary to the whole idea of the Blessed Realm?
Hmm... do you remember what Manwe's messenger told Tar-Atanamir? The Blessed Realm is not necessarily more healthy for those who were born away from it. And suppose that Miriel contracted something on the journey?

Does Miriel really just "give up"? Is this strange birth merely a plot device or is there a better or more satisfying explanation?
It began as one - once Tolkien decided to graft Feanor to the royal family, he had to find a way according to which he would be a part, but different.

You could say that it shows the poor orphan Feanor thrown alone upon the world, explaining how he grew up; or else that it showcases what a great person he was, that his mother gave up her hold upon life (and her hope for returning to it, according to the complicated fate Tolkien envisioned for the elves).

5. Why do we get such a detailed glimpse of Feanor? What connection is Tolkien making?
He is telling us he will be important.

Based on Voronwe's comments - there is also the question what do Christopher Tolkien and Guy Kay achieve by retaining it.

Is it a commentary on productivity? progress? an over-active imagination? D)All of the above or E) None of the above?
I don't think it is a comment on progress. The others, yes.

Miriel is absent from Feanor's life -- do you think Feanor views this as abandonment or sacrifice?
Consciously, or sub-consciously?
Let's put it this way: he probably feels abandoned, but directs it at his father's re-marriage and thgerefore Indis, and at the Valar as well (for letting his mother die; according to the complication introduced by LACE, also for allowing his father to remarry).
What I find unclear is why he couldn't see her in Mandos - the whole subject of elvish death is very unclear (given the comment in chapter 19 that Finrod walks with Finarfin his father in Valinor), and I don't think Tolkien's later writings quite resolved the difficulties. They called attention to the fact that even the Valar had no real idea - but I don't think Tolkien himself ever sorted it out (which might have been a consideration for omitting it from the printed edition - why lift the lids of cans with worms?).

What influence would Miriel have had that Nerdanel didn't?
None whatsoever. I mean, elves seem to have no control over the music, unlike Men which are freer in some mysterious way. But really - who can tell?

How much can we fault Nerdanel for not reigning Feanor in a bit more?
We can't without knowing more (and the omitted parts do not, as far as I see, help much in this). A few years ago, I've indulged in reading quite a bit of fan-fiction, and this seems to be an oft-visited topic.

7. Do you think Finwe should have been satisfied with Feanor as his only son?
I don't know. I have never been bereaved - and spending eternity alone... sounds terrible.

Should he have guessed that Feanor might have been a bit upset with the new arrangement?
Well, Miriel was the first elf who died in Valinor, wasn't she? There was no real experience to learn from. There probably were some orphans who lost parents on the way, but here in the Blessed Realm... why shouldn't Feanor heal?

Have we seen this trend before or in other works (again, trying not to hamper discussions of future chapters...)? Do you agree with them, or is this even a question we should be spending time trying to answer, because it only leads to those maddening "free will/fate" discussions?

It's like the Greek Chorus. With the benefit of hindsight, they pontificate on the mistakes of the principal characters, and state that had they done otherwise, the great evil which had followed might have been averted.
Yes, but it's only "might" - and there's no evaluation of the great evils which a different choice would have led to.
It seems that Tolkien loves this device. Personally, I don't quite like it. But I remember being utterly clueless as to what was going on upon my first reading - so I suspect I've always read it with the benefit of hindsight myself - so it never really helped me in any way.

9. If you remember your first reading of this chapter, did you guess that Feanor would create something that would cause trouble? Especially since, at the same time, we are discussing the Unchaining of Melkor?

As said above - I could not guess anything. A friend of mine lent me his father's book, seeing that I was a great Tolkien-fan, and I tried to gulp it down before the aforementioned father returned from abroad and noticed the book was missing. That led to a severe indiugestion, I'll tell you that.

But I expect most readers come with the knowledge of appendix A in LotR, so they should know something.


Mar 14 2013, 5:57pm

Post #28 of 30 (612 views)
Thanks for the advice./// [In reply to] Can't Post


As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when FŽanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Mar 14 2013, 5:58pm

Post #29 of 30 (643 views)
Don't feel sheepish [In reply to] Can't Post

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your questions for this chapter thus far.

As three great Jewels they were in form. But not until the End, when FŽanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made. Like the crystal of diamonds it appeared, and yet was more strong than adamant, so that no violence could mar it or break it within the Kingdom of Arda.


Mar 30 2013, 2:46pm

Post #30 of 30 (608 views)
Unhappy in paradise [In reply to] Can't Post

Thinking about the odd story of Miriel (as it survives after editing). I think it sets up the important character of Feanor in several ways. One that we haven't discussed much is something which might seem a bit surprising finding - It's possible to be unhappy in paradise. We don't get much detail of what ails Miriel, but it doesn't seem to be something blamable on the forces of evil: you can bring your own problems to paradise, or perhaps it just doesn't suit everyone.

I think that might be a point to bear in mind in upcoming chapters where "they all settled down and lived happily ever after" begins to break down..

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...

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