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Silmarillion Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor
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Brethil
Half-elven


May 12 2013, 2:21pm

Post #1 of 133 (1138 views)
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Silmarillion Chapter 13: Of the Return of the Noldor Can't Post

A lot of events happen in this chapter, mostly in chronological order, so I have selected a timeline breakdown and summary approach to the events, raising questions along the way. I hope you enjoy this chapter, as it is a meaty one, with many implications for the peoples of ME...and please do bring up any other questions you have come up with in the read! I have included an link to a potentially related Wikipedia article.

Feanor and His Host Arrive in Middle Earth... A Sort of Homecoming.

The Noldor land at the Firth of Drengist, and burn the ships of the Teleri at Losgar, the smoke of which is seen by many - including Morgoth and an abandoned Fingolfin. In the starlight the host of Feanor moves inland. By the time they camp, Morgoth is upon them; thus begins the Second Battle (and we finally have a cool name) Dagor-nuin-Giliath, the Battle under the Stars. Morgoth's forces are decimated by Noldor; Celegorm slams into Morgoth's force from the North, having circled around and come down at Ethel Sirion.
**For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.)

Feanor, Flame in His Heart, Charges Forward.

"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while." Feanor, riding the wave of victory, pushes forward to slay Morgoth and unwisely draws ahead of the van - where the servants of the Dark Lord see him, vulnerable. They turn and call for aid; and alone, he is surrounded by the terror of the Balrogs that issue from Angband. Fire meets fire.
Feanor Dies in the Darkness Before the Dawn.

His sons appear and drive off the Balrogs, but not before the mortal wound is delivered by Gothmog. Feanor is carried towards the pass at Ethel Sirion; but he bades his sons to halt. From his last view of the world, at stony Ered Wethrin, Feanor looks upon the peaks of Thangorodrim and is given the bitter knowledge that no power of the Noldor will ever overthrow them. Thrice he curses Morgoth, and with his last breaths bids his sons to keep their Oath and avenge him. Then as his boys watch his fiery spirit consumes his body in a puff of smoke, which is soon blown away, the last wisp of Feanor in the living world; for he would never be reborn, and would remain in the Halls of Mandos - who was expecting him. "Thus ended the mightiest of the Noldor, of whose deeds both came their greatest renown and their most grievious woe."
**Knowing the bitter truth, how can Feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the Oath? And what does it say about him that, seeing Death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him?
**"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while." Is victory and joy close at hand...what if Feanor had lived to see the Sun rise?
**Are the making of the Silmarils his greatest renown - and the woe the Kinslaying, two seperate things? Or can you see the making of the Silmarils as both things at once?

Maehdros Treats with Morgoth.
Immediately after this, within the hour, a detachment arrives from Morgoth, offering "terms, even to the surrender of a Silmaril." Maehdros convinces his brothers to meet with the enemy but in poor faith: they will go with greater numbers than specified. However at the meeting place Morgoth too has prevaricated, and arrives with greater strength including Balrogs. Maehdros is taken captive to Angband, and his brothers withdraw to a camp at Hithlum; and though Morgoth offers them terms if they retreat, they cannot forsake their Oath. So Morgoth hangs Maehdros from a ring by his right hand from the stony heights. (A rather...Promethian fate?)
** Does the lure of the Silmaril draw Maehdros in, or is it the idea of vengeance - coming within an hour of his father's death? An amazing parallel in negotiations - these High Elves and the Dark Lord all come to this party with the same idea, don't they! (And don't bring an Elf to a Balrog fight, BTW...)
**And what about that story of Prometheus...?

Link to a Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus

The Noldor Meet the Grey Elves. Secrets are Kept Secret.

Meanwhile the Noldor meet the Grey-Elves of Beleriand, who greet them as hoped-for emissaries of the Valar to aid them in their need against the forces of Morgoth and Angband. The Noldor greet these Elves as long-lost kin, though they have language issues, they begin sharing news of Middle earth, such as the Kingdom of Eru Thingol and the girdle of enchantment. They also spread the news of these mighty returned cousins south towards Menegroth.
The eve Fingolfin lands, his shadows black before him, Arda gazes with wonder upon Moonrise.
**The oliphaunt in the room - one thing no one seems to be speaking of is the Rebellion, the Ban of the Valar, and the Kinslaying. Do we have a conspiracy of silence here? If they feel they were right - then why the secrecy?

Fingolfin Arrives With the Dawn at Mithrim.

And the age of stars ends; the moon circles alone, and then the Sun rises, a light that drives their enemies underground, and Fingolfin marches unopposed to Angband, where he pounds upon the door but gets no answer. No one hears the thin cries of Maehdros. Fingolfin has a cooler head than Feanor, and assessing Angband's strength he removes his people to the shores of Lake Mithrim to rest; the Noldor under the Sons of Feanor withdraw, shamefaced, to the southern shore. The Lake (and so much more) lies between them - and so the curse is silently at work, snatching the victory from the Noldor as they languish, seperated, and do not pursue the advantage of the newly born bright Sun in overcoming their Enemy. Instead, using well the days Morgoth cannily creates a reeking fume of steam to cover the vexatious Sun.
**A powerful image, Fingolfin arriving with his blue banners flowing in the fiery first sunrise, ending the age of stars and beginning the age of fallen light, the Sun...What might the other Firstborn think of this light - both Exiles and Lesser Elves?

The Epic Heroism of Fingon.

Fingon, son of Fingolfin, resolves quite on his own (nobly, since he is still presuming Maehdros deserted him) to both rescue his old friend and to end the disunion between the Noldor. He plays a harp-song before Angband, answered by Maehdros, and thus finds his friend in his grievious position. Maehdros begs Fingon to kill him out of mercy; and Fingon prays aloud over an arrow: "O King to whom all birds are dear, speed now this feathered shaft, and recall some pity for the Noldor in their need!" And feeling pity for the exiles Manwe sends mighty Thorondor to the aid of the pair. He lifts Fingon to Maehdros - who begs for death a second time - but the only way to free him is to cut his right hand off. Thorondor flies them both to Mithrim.
**The first chronological appearance of a deus-ex-machina Eagle, courtesy of Manwe. We read that Manwe still has pity for the Exiles - does this seem odd, or is it believable?
**This passage has such a Greek tragedy feel to it; and the loss of the Right Hand has an almost Bibilical feel (If thy right hand offendeth, then cut and cast it away...) Intentional? Symbolic? Does it change Maehdros?

The Healing of Maehdros and the Noldor; Exiles Hear of Thingol, and His Unwelcome Mat .

Maehdros' arm is healed, and he begs forgiveness for abandoning the rest of the Noldor, renounces the Kingship to Fingolfin, and thus unites the Noldor. Feanor's House is now The Dispossessed, of kingship and Silmarils. The Noldor hem in Angband and decide to explore Beleriand. Thingol will not open entry to his kingdom; only Finarfin's house (as kin) is allowed. Angrod came to Thingol, and spoke of many things - but tellingly not the Oath, the Kinslaying or the Ban. Thingol awards the Noldor some space, and in proper Sultanic fashion none are given leave to enter Doriath unless invited. Angrod, returning to Mithrim passes on Thingol's message, which is humorously received by Maehdros, but angrily by Caranthir. Maehdros smoothes things over, but disquiet persists as to the stability of these Feanorean sons. Maehdros then takes the land closest to peril both to keep the peace and to absorb the first blow that may fall from Angband. "The Oath sleeps"...
**The brothers have very different reactions to Angrod's report, which will have consequences later on - what does this litmus test say about each of them?

Caranthir's Folk Meet the Dwarves. (Sigh).

Near Ered Luin , these Exiles meet the Naugrim. An uneasy alliance is made because of common enemy, but Caranthir makes no secret of his disdain for these 'unlovely' folk and his people follow suit. Still, he becomes exceedingly rich from the relationship.
**Does this make you wish someone else had decided to take this patch of real estate?

Twenty Years of Sun - Sounds Like a Party. Plus Some New Strongholds Begin to Appear...

"The joy of the feast was long remembered in the later days of sorrow..." The Feast of Reuniting is held - and significantly only two token heralds attend from Doriath, Mablung and Daeron. The cup of peace is passed all around, and many happily buzzed Elves think good ol' Feanor had the right idea about leaving Valinor after all. Another thirty years of serenity pass; then one day Turgon and Finrod both receive a dream from Ulmo, a warning to prepare a hidden fastness against the might of Angband. Of this dream much comes: Nargothrond is delved into the caves with the help of the Dwarves; and because of this partnership the Nauglamir is made, and Finrod becomes Felagund ('Hewer of Caves'); "but Finrod Felagund was not the first to dwell in the caves beside the River Narog." Turgon begins to imagine the making of Gondolin, in homage to lost Tirion; and Ulmo knows the perfect spot for it. Ulmo seems to know a lot that remains hidden...
**After all the grief and pain, it appears a few short years of peace is enough to sanctify Feanor. Thoughts?
**Ulmo gets involved here. We read earlier about Manwe's aid; are the Valar just repeating old patterns or is this a new age?
**"but Finrod Felagund was not the first to dwell in the caves beside the River Narog." History? Foreshadowing? Irony?

Morgoth Tests the Noldor, and the Third Battle Ensues.

Morgoth broke thru the gap of Maglor, and did much mischief in Beleriand, but found Maehdros and Fingolfin armed and waiting. The force Morgoth sends out is utterly destroyed before the Gates of Angband (yet Morgoth is not utterly defeated...). Fingolfin brags that unless they are 'betrayed' Morgoth could never break through or approach them unawares (although Morgoth sends out minions through secret places in the Northern Wastes...). The Noldor set the 400 year seige of Angband and seem to control Morgoth (yet in silence his minions kidnap Elves; who, overcome by fear, do Morgoth's will in sowing dissent...). And for the most part, peace reigns, and the Oath sleeps (though Feanor's sons live, and the stolen Silmarils are still firmly bound in Angband iron...).
**This fight will be called the he Dagor-Argaleb, the Glorious Battle - the most weighty name so far of the Battles of Beleriand. Does it deserve such a noble appellation?

Morgoth Ponders, the Noldor Fiddle, and a New Threat Appears; Is a Storm Building?

One hundred years pass, and only a small sortie at Hithlum happens - Morgoth has learned that sending Orcs alone against the Noldor is a complete waste of time. While he drums his fingers, hates his headache and ponders new ideas, a young Glaurung gets restless and decides to do some Elf-baiting. But he is still too small, and Fingon rides out against him; he withdraws in shame back to Angband. Morgoth is annoyed at Glaurung's premature appearance, and Fingon is again a Hero..."for few foresaw the full meaning and threat of this new thing." The Noldor have a sort of golden age after this, of peace and building, writing poems and histories, and the Noldor and Sindar become as one.
**Morgoth has tested the fences, taken full measure of his enemies, both their strengths and weaknessess...can we say the same of the Noldor? How well does each side use their respective 'time-outs'?

@


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 12 2013, 3:35pm

Post #2 of 133 (812 views)
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maciliel-thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

 
For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.)

yes. i mentioned this a few times in our earlier chapter discussions. just because the elves are physically strong, and just because they've been instructed by aule re how to make weapons does +not+ meant they have any special skill in using them (brute force, while an asset, is not a skill). additionally, they have no experience in battle (the kinslaying was a skirmish), so how would they know anything really of the tactics and strategy of warfare? there's no reason to assume that the kings and princes of the eldar are any better at wielding weapons at this point than any other elves. they sweep up the orcs due to the grace that still is an armor and a light around them from their time in aman, propelled on by their sense of righteousness and their sense of newness.


"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while."

i always read this "he" as referring to morgoth. he's dismayed by the sudden arrival and strength of the noldor, but eventually he has cause to smile, because feanor, whom he despises especially, overreaches, and departs the stage.


knowing the bitter truth, how can feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the oath? and what does it say about him that, seeing death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him?"

this, more than any passage, shows how low feanor has fallen, how selfish he is. the exhortation coming from this source, in this way, tells you all you need to know about the long defeat, and the misery that will follow. in "morgoth's ring," aule called feanor the greatest of the noldor, in that his fea (incarnate) had the potential to be an instrument of greatest good amongst the elves, given all his gifts. morgoth might have known of this proclamation, and given special attention to the marring of feanor, and estranging him from the valar, from the elves, and from the edain (in thought, as morgoth's plans in that direction never saw direct fruit, as feanor died before meeting any of the edain, even though morgoth succeeded in estrangement in other ways).

we cannot really lay this exhortation at morgoth's feat, but he did have a hand in propelling feanor to this moment. but the moment is all feanor's.

re the sentence "thus ended the mightiest of the noldor, of whose deeds both came their greatest renown and their most grievous woe" to mean that any of feanor's greatest achievements are inextricably interwoven with his failures and his evil; there is really no separating them. there is no way to discuss feanor without the discussion being haunted by his misdeeds and utter failures.


does the lure of the silmaril draw maedhros in, or is it the idea of vengance - coming within an hour of his father's death?

i think it's more opportunity, than anything. probably the lure of the silmarils is at work here, but it seems like a swift and logical response to an opportunity to try to test an opponent and learn more information.



the kinslaying and meeting the grey elves

i think it's partly both conscious omission and something that is temporarily not in focus because of the wonder and the joy at being reunited with sundered peoples, and the pleasure at meeting new peoples, who can also tell you a lot about how things work in middle-earth, and what the lay of the land is.

but, definitely, there's a conscious omission. and, elves being elves, when things settle down, the grey elves can probably see the shadow of truth or the shadow of deception in the eyes of the noldor. certainly (according to "morgoth's ring") elves could tell if other elves were married, just by looking into their eyes. i would imagine this was similar, even if the details weren't forthcoming.

it is kept secret (or an attempt is made) because of many reasons: shame, uncertainty as to how the grey elves (who are valuable as allies) would react to it. unlike the edain, elves do not kill elves (the oath/kinslaying aside).


what might the other firstborn think of this light -- both exiles and lesser elves?

i would think they would all think it was beautiful and dazzling and that their hearts would feel full with hope.

to the exiles, it would be a reminder of the trees, and perhaps they might think of it as a lesser, marred light. but the moriquendi have no such knowledge, and can delight in the fiery splendor of arien's charge in a similar manner as the children of the sun themselves.


maedhros, manwe, and the eagle

this part is extremely interesting. it's not just that manwe takes pity on the exiles, it's that he takes pity on this +particular+ exile. maedhros had sworn the oath, just like all the feanorians, and is fresh from participating in grievous sin (kinslaying) and a refusal to come before the valar to answer for it. they had, through the doom, predicted all sorts of unhappiness and ruin for the noldor, and told them that aman would be shut to them, and the valar wouldn't help them.

but here, manwe does intercede. 'tho i would love it to have been for the sake of pity alone, i'm not sure manwe would have actioned in this way if that was the only thing at stake. i think manwe took action because maedhros has an important part to play. maedhros' story is as equally interesting as any of the other glamorous roles (feanor, galadriel, luthien, thingol, earendil).

this suffering, and the permanent maiming, do work a healing on maedhros, as much as could be gained, when the poison of the oath still flowed through his spiritual veins (and there was no cure for that). i find maedhros one of the most enlightened and most conflicted and most tortured (spiritually -- it's obvious he was tortured physically) of the elves. his fea has been enriched and enwisened, but he is still shackled by the oath.

maedhros and smeagol as kindred spirits ---

maedhros has sworn the oath. for an elf, there's no unswearing (which i still do not quite get). he lives (and even grows) in a state in which he advances in wisdom even as evil still (often successfully) calls upon him to do its bidding.

maedhros puts himself in danger (occupies the lands closest to morgoth), he passes the kingship to fingolfin, he does many worthy things and he is a great force for good. but the tide of the oath will always rise and draw him away from the enlightened shores. there is no rest for him, and he is absolutely, acutely cognizant of the disparities (unlike someone like caranthir or curufin, who did not seem to possess such self-awareness).

the sons of feanor are a mightily mixed lot, and it's a shame we don't know more about them as individuals. given what pjackson did with thorin's company, i think he'd do a bang-up job at personalizing the sons of feanor, if he ever got the chance to make the silmarillion. (and, yes, it's a rotten shame that the dwarves didn't pop up in finrod's or maedhros' lands; that caranthir is not such a nice elf).


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


elaen32
Gondor

May 12 2013, 10:51pm

Post #3 of 133 (764 views)
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A few thoughts... [In reply to] Can't Post

to an awful lot of questions!!

In Reply To
**For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.)
It is surprising that the Elves are quite so good at warfare. Whilst we are used to them being good at everything, they have not had much previous experience in battle. Melkor may have had an influence when he was in Aman advising how to make weaponry. Perhaps he whispered things to them as to how to use them too. If so, that backfired!!!
**Knowing the bitter truth, how can Feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the Oath? And what does it say about him that, seeing Death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him? In my view, this says that he has totally lost the plot!! It is really incomprehensible why he should still put this burden on his sons. Maybe his Silmaril Sickness/ madness and innate arrogance have completely overcome any compassion or sense at this point. On the other hand, it is a good plot device- one expects the death bed repentence and the release of the sons from the Oath. However, Tolkien does the opposite to the norm, which propels the plot
**"Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while." Is victory and joy close at hand...what if Feanor had lived to see the Sun rise? Not sure and having read Maciliel's post, I will have to go back and have a look at the book, I am confused whether this phrase applies to Feanor or Morgoth now
**Are the making of the Silmarils his greatest renown - and the woe the Kinslaying, two seperate things? Or can you see the making of the Silmarils as both things at once?
I think that they are separate- the making of the Silmarils did not have to lead to the Kinslaying by any means. Feanor is a proud and fiery individual, but without the lies of Melkor and the mismanagement of the other Valar, things may not have gone quite as they did. That is not to say Feanor is blameless, far from it, but I did not feel the inevitability

**The oliphaunt in the room - one thing no one seems to be speaking of is the Rebellion, the Ban of the Valar, and the Kinslaying. Do we have a conspiracy of silence here? If they feel they were right - then why the secrecy?
Absolutely a conspiracy of silence. They are trying to make a new home in this land and are not going to say anything which might jeopardise this and bring the wrath of the Sindar on them. The Noldor may feel they were in the right, but recognise that telling the SIndar " by the way, we had this altercation with some of your kin in Aman and killed them because they wouldn't lend us a boat to come here" is hardly likely to go down well. The slain were, after all, subjects of Elu Thingol's brother.
**A powerful image, Fingolfin arriving with his blue banners flowing in the fiery first sunrise, ending the age of stars and beginning the age of fallen light, the Sun...What might the other Firstborn think of this light - both Exiles and Lesser Elves?
I suppose that the Exiles may have thought that the the Valar had relented and had sent them light to help them fight Morgoth. On the other hand, if they misunderstood this, they may have been afraid and thought the sun some sort of revenge by the Valar, to burn them and make them easier to see by the enemy. As for the lesser Elves, I am not so sure- they have enjoyed the starlight, to the extent that they decided to stay in ME. They may not be so keen on this new brash glare of sunlight

**The first chronological appearance of a deus-ex-machina Eagle, courtesy of Manwe. We read that Manwe still has pity for the Exiles - does this seem odd, or is it believable?
Not completely odd, no- I believe that the Valar still love the Firstborn, despite the anger at their actions. Maybe Manwe recognises that the Valar could have handled things a little differently and whilst forgiveness is not yet on the cards, the sending of Thorondor is a kind of good will gesture, hoping to turn the Noldor back to the path of righteousness. I find the actions of the Valar pretty inconsistent throughout the Silmarillion, to be honest. I don't know if it is because the various "Tales" were written separately- I haven't read the HOME series so I am not sure how these inconsistencies came in


**The brothers have very different reactions to Angrod's report, which will have consequences later on - what does this litmus test say about each of them?
That Caranthir is his father's son in all the worst ways- he seems to have all Feanors pride and arrogance, without his ability. Is he even an elf? He behaves more like a Balck Easterling or something! Maedhros seems to want to atone for the sins of the Noldor, even whilst he cannot renounce the Oath. He puts himself in harm's way, probably not trusting brothers like Caranthir to act appropriately if Morgoth's forces should attack.

**Does this make you wish someone else had decided to take this patch of real estate?
Yes- hypocritical bunch!



"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


CuriousG
Valinor


May 12 2013, 11:21pm

Post #4 of 133 (765 views)
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Ah, look at all that free real estate in front of us! [In reply to] Can't Post

Bravo for breaking this chapter into manageable discussion points, Brethil! There is a lot that happens in quite a rush.

**For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.)
As usual, this is something I never thought of before. It seems like everyone in Tolkien's world is born knowing battle tactics, but why should they be? There is the very thin possibility that Orome trained them in tactics, especially Celegorm, who had been a follower of Orome's and was the one who outflanked and attacked Morgoth's forces. But then, why did Thingol know anything of war earlier when it seemed to be his first battle? So I'm back to thinking people are just born knowing how to battle.

What stands out to me is how eager they seem to be to fight, not just to defeat Morgoth, but because they have war lust. Luckily they're not killing each other anymore. It almost seems to me like they're off to a bad start, however, by being so militaristic. Not that I can offer suggestions on how they could have defeated or negotiated or outsmarted Morgoth, but they seem to think of war first and have no other plan. Even the Siege of Angband doesn't make sense. You besiege a fortress to either 1) starve it out, or 2) pummel its defenses until you can invade it. There's no pummeling here, and Morgoth isn't starving after several centuries, so isn't the Siege meaningless? It also says something that Beren and Luthien got a Silmarillion by stealth and trickery, and none of the Noldor ever thought to try this themselves.

Feanor Dies in the Darkness Before the Dawn.
Does it seem to anyone else that Feanor dies too soon in the story? It somehow seems he should stick around for awhile and could die in a later battle, not almost as soon as he sets foot in Middle-earth. Which I know is the point, but it undermines the story for me.

**Knowing the bitter truth, how can Feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the Oath? And what does it say about him that, seeing Death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him?
I don't get tired of bashing Feanor, so I'll add my voice to Elaen's and Mac's: phooey on him for being so selfish. I really like Elaen's comment about this being the total opposite of the wise deathbed repentance. Even when Feanor receives wisdom, he ignores it and sticks to his wicked ways. Another phooey!

"Thus ended the mightiest of the Noldor, of whose deeds both came their greatest renown and their most grievous woe."
We're dealing with Tolkien's trademark hyberbole again here, and I'm not sure if the greatest renown & woe belong to the Silmarils or the Noldor as a whole. I see this in a more macro sense, that through his deeds of creating the Silmarils and then rebelling, Feanor set in motion a chain of events that went far beyond him and saw great heroism and admirable accomplishments by the Noldor, ending in abject failure. I don't see it about him, but about Fingolfin dueling with Morgoth (renown), for example, and later the Noldor largely wiped out (woe). But maybe it's just the Silmarils and the Kinslaying/Exodus from Aman.


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 12 2013, 11:44pm

Post #5 of 133 (778 views)
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Feanor's early exit [In reply to] Can't Post

No, I'm glad he's gotten rid of quickly. He was such a jerk, and I'm glad I didn't have to read about him much longer.

Plus, he has to die early. Maedhros has to be able to pass the kingship to Fingolfin, and Feanor's sons have to be bound to the oath. I think that if he'd still been alive, he could have potentially released everyone from the oath at some point when the carnage got too bad. With him dead, the sons are even more bound to fulfill what their father could not, IMO.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




CuriousG
Valinor


May 12 2013, 11:52pm

Post #6 of 133 (784 views)
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Now that the Bad Elf is out of the way [In reply to] Can't Post

(And don't bring an Elf to a Balrog fight, BTW...)
Love that line!

** Does the lure of the Silmaril draw Maehdros in, or is it the idea of vengeance - coming within an hour of his father's death? An amazing parallel in negotiations - these High Elves and the Dark Lord all come to this party with the same idea, don't they!
Does it bother anyone else that Maedhros is just as treacherous as Morgoth? Granted, it would be naive to take Morgoth at face value, but it still seems sneaky in an unappealing way.

Do you think Maedhros thought he'd get a Silmaril if the mission was real? I have trouble thinking that Morgoth was sincere and that the Sons of F. believed him. I think they just wanted to ambush Morgoth's emissaries out of revenge for daddy. However, it shows great psychological manipulation by Morgoth to dangle goodies in their faces, doesn't it?

**And what about that story of Prometheus...?
Ah, something I actually have thought of before. There are several memorable images in this chapter, and this is one, and you're right, it's like a Greek myth being played out. Even Hurin gets better treatment later--he gets a chair! And the fact that Melkor hasn't been home that long and has overrun Beleriand and is attaching Elves to rocks makes me ask, "Is this the same guy the Valar set free from jail?"

Do we have a conspiracy of silence here? If they feel they were right - then why the secrecy?
Interesting that you ask if they feel they were right. Do they? I'm not sure. I think they feel like they went so far down the Wrong Road, there's just no turning back. One aspect I find interesting is that Feanor's host avoids Fingolfin out of shame. Why aren't the Noldor ashamed to meet the kin of Olwe?

What I also want to know is why the usual name-calling is absent at a meeting of long-sundered kin. "The Noldor called the Sindar 'the Uncouths' and the 'Clueless About the Trees,' whereas the Sindar called the newcomers 'Shiny Shoes' and 'Illegal Immigrants.' "

**A powerful image, Fingolfin arriving with his blue banners flowing in the fiery first sunrise, ending the age of stars and beginning the age of fallen light, the Sun...What might the other Firstborn think of this light - both Exiles and Lesser Elves?
Love this image, love this image! Such a great part of the book.

With all these Elves in the dark (pun intended) about what happened in Valinor after they left, would the Noldor recognize the Trees' light in the Sun and Moon, or think they are new creations? Would they feel like the Valar are chasing after them with these new celestial bodies? Do they perceive that the Sun is a sign of their decline and the Moon cherishes their memory, or do they just think the light is cool and like how it scares Morgoth? I don't know what to make of it.

Arda Reconstructed mentions in the Sun & Moon chapter some omitted description about the first sunrise that's relevant here: the snow on the mountains glowed like fire, and "all the mists of the world smoked and glowed like gold," and Tolkien toyed with the idea of Fingolfin unfurling his banners with the first sunrise, which I think would have been an epic Hollywood moment.


CuriousG
Valinor


May 12 2013, 11:53pm

Post #7 of 133 (740 views)
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Good point about the sons' increased obligation. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Valinor


May 13 2013, 12:12am

Post #8 of 133 (779 views)
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Now that everyone's arrived, let's get the party started [In reply to] Can't Post

**The first chronological appearance of a deus-ex-machina Eagle, courtesy of Manwe. We read that Manwe still has pity for the Exiles - does this seem odd, or is it believable?
**This passage has such a Greek tragedy feel to it; and the loss of the Right Hand has an almost Biblical feel (If thy right hand offendeth, then cut and cast it away...) Intentional? Symbolic? Does it change Maehdros?

I'm with Elaen (again) on this one. It seems just too nice of Manwe to do this, especially as the leader of the gods. I can see the renegade Ulmo helping out, but not the ruler who was behind the Doom of Mandos proclamation. It's even more odd that he does pick just this moment to help out. Hello, where was he when Morgoth's army was going to surprise Gondolin? You're certainly on target, this feels like a mix of Greek myth and the Bible, particularly the story of Abraham nearly sacrificing his son, and God substituting a ram at the last moment (I'm surprised God didn't have an Eagle swoop in and do it). Not that this is a bad scene, because I find it very moving, and it recalls the sense of devout friendship in LOTR, made even more poignant that Fingon is trying to heal the breach between dynasties and come's this nearly-awful end.

I'm not sure what to make of the right hand's symbolism. I agree with all you say: it's Biblical, and losing it makes Maedhros a better person. But it could also be that most Elves are right-handed and that this part of the story shows that Maedhros overcame a physical handicap. But I think you're right. And it's nice that we're starting to see the best of the Noldor after all the bad things they've done. And conspicuously, most of them act better when Feanor, the greatest Elf ever, is not around. Hmmmmm.

**The brothers have very different reactions to Angrod's report, which will have consequences later on - what does this litmus test say about each of them?
Some of them are jerks!

**Does this make you wish someone else had decided to take this patch of real estate?
I'm no fan of Caranthir, but I don't think anyone would have made a good ambassador/neighbor for the Dwarves given the racial suspicions on both sides. Also, the Dwarves did help out in the major wars, so Caranthir didn't alienate them.

What I find curious is that he got rich by taxing the Dwarf commerce going through his land. Elves have taxes? An economy? What do they spend their tax revenue on?


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 13 2013, 12:24am

Post #9 of 133 (766 views)
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morgoth is that guy [In reply to] Can't Post


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([brethil] And don't bring an Elf to a Balrog fight, BTW...) [/brethil]

[curiousg] Love that line! [/curiousg]




me too, curiousg! (and brilliant, brethil tengwadil : ) )

[curiousg] Does it bother anyone else that Maedhros is just as treacherous as Morgoth? Granted, it would be naive to take Morgoth at face value, but it still seems sneaky in an unappealing way. [/curiousg]


yes, it does strike me that maedhros' mind can now bend around the crooked turn with morgoth's, but is this an artifact of the oath and kinslaying? or is this just his powers of observation and recognition of a repeating pattern (unlike the valar's inability to do the same)?

speaking of repetitions, the theme of "arda marred" gets a lot of replay. morgoth peed in the punch bowl before everyone arrived to the party, and 'tho the valar tried to clean it, it affects every subsequent toast.

some of the valar think that morgoth's disruption of arda affected miriel's birthing of feanor, and her wanting to die. they see his hand in the marring of feanor. perhaps maedhros' being able to think along the same lines as morgoth is a result of arda marred; crooked thinking is in the very earth and water and air, and will be, even when morgoth is cast into the void.


[curiousg] And the fact that Melkor hasn't been home that long and has overrun Beleriand and is attaching Elves to rocks makes me ask, "Is this the same guy the Valar set free from jail?" [/curiousg]


this is +exactly+ who melkor is.

people who are about power, who are about domination.... anyone who thwarts them, defies them, escapes but is recaptured -- those are given special humiliation... for daring to defy, daring to oppose, daring to disobey.

in our human world, these are the same people that not only want to whale on a four-year-old child when it may err, but get angry that that child has the temerity to have self-protective instincts that propel it to run away from the grimacing parent who yells, "come here! (so i can hit you)"

morgoth is that guy.


[curiousg] What I also want to know is why the usual name-calling is absent at a meeting of long-sundered kin. "The Noldor called the Sindar 'the Uncouths' and the 'Clueless About the Trees,' whereas the Sindar called the newcomers 'Shiny Shoes' and 'Illegal Immigrants.' " [/curiousg]



pffffffffft!



cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


CuriousG
Valinor


May 13 2013, 12:50am

Post #10 of 133 (749 views)
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Politics as usual [In reply to] Can't Post

Thingol gave the Noldor a surprisingly chilly welcome. What do you suppose the more moderate Cirdan's welcome was like? Maedhros shrewdly remarks that Thingol only grants them lands that he doesn't control, and that Doriath would be an island in an orc sea if the Noldor hadn't shown up. Why is this Elf so prickly to the family of Finwe, his long-lost friend?

**After all the grief and pain, it appears a few short years of peace is enough to sanctify Feanor. Thoughts?
I like to think that Elves Without Oaths are decent, dignified people, and that's what comes out here. It's significant that only the diplomatic Sons of F. come to the Ivrin party. And that snotty Thingol only sends two reps and doesn't come himself. With all the group hugs, the cracks can be seen beneath the surface.

**Ulmo gets involved here. We read earlier about Manwe's aid; are the Valar just repeating old patterns or is this a new age?
Great question among so many other great questions. Ulmo's involvement is subtle, at least at first, and that seems Vala-ish, unlike sending a bird to the rescue when you hear a prayer. There's something about the Ulmo-Finrod-Turgon-Hidden Refuge thread of the story that always captures my imagination. Partly, I like that these cousins can be friends and not rivals (*cough* Sons of F.), partly I think divine messages from dreams are cool, and partly I like how there's a fork in the road of the plot where Ulmo is not telling them about secret weapons that kill Balrogs and dragons, or how to kill Morgoth while he's taking a nap, but instead he's trying to cheat Fate by giving a couple of the Noldor princes a chance to save their doomed people. It's no accident that one of my favorite books has similar plot elements (Watership Down). Ulmo is a savior figure to these people who were good, then bad, now are good again, and it doesn't matter since they're all going to die. And they actually listen! If only they'd listen later on when he warned them about Part Two of the prophecy. Alas.

**"but Finrod Felagund was not the first to dwell in the caves beside the River Narog." History? Foreshadowing? Irony?
The funny thing is on my first read, I took this as a sort of Hollywood foreshadowing: "You are not the first to enter these caves, Little One." Then come the hordes of nasties. I was seriously spooked by this and thought it was a horror story. Naw, just Petty Dwarves.

**Morgoth has tested the fences, taken full measure of his enemies, both their strengths and weaknesses...can we say the same of the Noldor? How well does each side use their respective 'time-outs'?

Superb way to wrap up this chapter, Brethil! Morgoth never seemed especially bright before, but he's thinking circles around these Noldor and learns from every mistake (unlike some other Ainur I know...). Oh, what's the fine line between admirable confidence and self-defeating hubris, because these overly confident Elves think they'll always have the upper hand. While Morgoth keeps devising new weapons in his labs--and the Elves don't even figure that out from the first dragon they meet!--the Elves are building and writing and singing. The Noldor don't even have a plan to win! What's this eternal stalemate going to get them? Or have they decided that Morgoth is a fenced dog, war is irrelevant, and they're going to enjoy all the new real estate they've found? Did they get that naivete from spending too much time with the Valar? Not that I blame the Elves for having their golden age, but I'm on their side, and at this point in the book I'm jumping up and down yelling at them to figure out a way to win and look out for the bad guy who's coming up behind...[cut off]

Many thanks for tackling this chapter, Brethil, which has so much going on it. You made it approachable and picked out the best, salient points from the blur of activity!


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 13 2013, 12:59am

Post #11 of 133 (750 views)
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elven spending [In reply to] Can't Post

 
[curiousg] Elves have taxes? An economy? What do they spend their tax revenue on? [/curiousg]


elven calendars.... to count the days, months, and years until they get their silmarils back.



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:00am

Post #12 of 133 (789 views)
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Feanor's last (Shakespearean) words... [In reply to] Can't Post


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to an awful lot of questions!! Haha! Very true Elaen!

In Reply To
**For a race that has lived in the peace of Valinor, these Elves seem to know how to wage war! Should we be surprised by this? (The same people that will call the Dwarves warlike.) It is surprising that the Elves are quite so good at warfare. Whilst we are used to them being good at everything, they have not had much previous experience in battle. Melkor may have had an influence when he was in Aman advising how to make weaponry. Perhaps he whispered things to them as to how to use them too. If so, that backfired!!! That's true, he was doing some whispering and egding them to arm themselves back in Aman.
**Knowing the bitter truth, how can Feanor still exhort his sons to fulfill the Oath? And what does it say about him that, seeing Death near at hand, he still tells his sons to avenge him? In my view, this says that he has totally lost the plot!! It is really incomprehensible why he should still put this burden on his sons. Maybe his Silmaril Sickness/ madness and innate arrogance have completely overcome any compassion or sense at this point. On the other hand, it is a good plot device- one expects the death bed repentence and the release of the sons from the Oath. However, Tolkien does the opposite to the norm, which propels the plot So true. It reminds me of Hamlet Sr. - in the throes of receiving punishment for his sins, he still exhorts Hamlet to commit a crime, and suffer the same! So utterly self-absorbed, and so many lessons just not learned But your right, JRRT uses the deathbed inn a similar fashion and differently than many conventions. No last-minute epiphany for Feanor!
**The brothers have very different reactions to Angrod's report, which will have consequences later on - what does this litmus test say about each of them? That Caranthir is his father's son in all the worst ways- he seems to have all Feanors pride and arrogance, without his ability. Is he even an elf? He behaves more like a Balck Easterling or something! Maedhros seems to want to atone for the sins of the Noldor, even whilst he cannot renounce the Oath. He puts himself in harm's way, probably not trusting brothers like Caranthir to act appropriately if Morgoth's forces should attack. Yes Maehdros really starts to get my sympathy and liking here. Not only is he good-humored but puts himself in harm's way.

**Does this make you wish someone else had decided to take this patch of real estate?
Yes- hypocritical bunch! Oh I do agree here!




Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 13 2013, 1:09am

Post #13 of 133 (732 views)
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curiousg [In reply to] Can't Post

 
.... cracks me up.


that's all.


cheers ---


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:11am

Post #14 of 133 (742 views)
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Moriquendi and the Sun [In reply to] Can't Post


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what might the other firstborn think of this light -- both exiles and lesser elves?
i would think they would all think it was beautiful and dazzling and that their hearts would feel full with hope.
to the exiles, it would be a reminder of the trees, and perhaps they might think of it as a lesser, marred light. but the moriquendi have no such knowledge, and can delight in the fiery splendor of arien's charge in a similar manner as the children of the sun themselves.
I agree here, that the Moriquendi might have some more reason's to take the Sun at face value. The Elves as they should have been, without longing or regret? Great point here, Telpemairo!



Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Valinor


May 13 2013, 1:12am

Post #15 of 133 (743 views)
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Aren't we lucky Fingon didn't save another F, like Finrod? Too complicated [In reply to] Can't Post


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maedhros, manwe, and the eagle

this part is extremely interesting. it's not just that manwe takes pity on the exiles, it's that he takes pity on this +particular+ exile. maedhros had sworn the oath, just like all the feanorians, and is fresh from participating in grievous sin (kinslaying) and a refusal to come before the valar to answer for it. they had, through the doom, predicted all sorts of unhappiness and ruin for the noldor, and told them that aman would be shut to them, and the valar wouldn't help them.

but here, manwe does intercede. 'tho i would love it to have been for the sake of pity alone, i'm not sure manwe would have actioned in this way if that was the only thing at stake. i think manwe took action because maedhros has an important part to play. maedhros' story is as equally interesting as any of the other glamorous roles (feanor, galadriel, luthien, thingol, earendil).

this suffering, and the permanent maiming, do work a healing on maedhros, as much as could be gained, when the poison of the oath still flowed through his spiritual veins (and there was no cure for that). i find maedhros one of the most enlightened and most conflicted and most tortured (spiritually -- it's obvious he was tortured physically) of the elves. his fea has been enriched and enwisened, but he is still shackled by the oath.

Thank you for thinking through all of this and making sense of it. My thoughts stop at the improbability of Manwe helping any Son of F. after what they've done, and Maedhros expressing a little remorse about burning the ships at Losgar does not redeem him in my eyes. (Though it hints at how conflicted he is, as you detail.) But it makes sense that Manwe, maybe with some prodding from Mandos (the M club) about Fate, decided that Maedhros had a part to play, all the way up to stealing a Silmaril after the war's over (oops! spoiler!) and throwing himself into the earth so that his Silmaril will be joined to its element.

Maedhros is such a mixed bag, isn't he? As Brethil points out, he's the more mature of the brothers and doesn't lose his temper like Caranthir when they hear Thingol's aloof message, and he nobly wants to keep the peace in Beleriand by isolating his clan, and even more nobly is willing to take the brunt of Morgoth's assault. He shows great leadership in the Nirnaeth (it's not his fault it fails), but there are a couple more Kinslayings to lay at his feet. Along with Maglor, he is a tortured SOF (good thing his dad wasn't Beanor), unlike the dark C-brothers, who are remorseless, as you observed. And I agree we'd need Peter Jackson to keep them all straight and give some personality to the A-twins.

We're on the footstep of the next great tragedy in the book: the long defeat of the Noldor, and Maedhros' inner conflict is a mini-tragedy in the larger one. Does Tolkien need conflicted mini-tragedies in his stories? Frodo is one, Gollum is another. Frodo didn't take an outright oath, but he effectively did so when he promised to take the Ring to Mount Doom, and his was not a happily-ever-after victory. Gollum took an oath to be good, but it didn't mean as much as his evil self that the Ring corrupted, and it's a minor tragedy that he 1) lost his meager opportunity at redemption, and 2) died as soon as he got his Precious back. Maedhros struggles with his Precious-obsession but repeatedly gives into it. Where is free will in all this? Why couldn't he just accept the Everlasting Dark and quit doing evil deeds? I'm not sure that's ever answered, but we've just gotten started on him.


CuriousG
Valinor


May 13 2013, 1:14am

Post #16 of 133 (717 views)
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Oh, I like that. :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:18am

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Feanor and the Dawn [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with several of your points CG:

That the Noldor are not only skilled but happy to charge into battle! Is this more of the Noldor 'flying' - testing their wings?

And I think Feanor does die right before the possibility of a epiphany: the sight of the Sun. Might the darkness of the world, lit only in the past by the Trees and then the Silmarils and now bright with Light, have changed his mind? Changed how he perceived the Jewels? I can't guarantee it, but I wonder A LOT if a Feanor watching the Sun rise might...just might...have done things differently. That's why I think its so crucial and tragic that he dies just before dawn - before he can see the new Sun. Or do you think he would have done the same, regardless?

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:20am

Post #18 of 133 (1067 views)
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Or... that naked Dwarf calendar!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe they bought it anonymously and hide it away, in a closet somewhere, just peeking at it now and then.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:25am

Post #19 of 133 (726 views)
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Agreed Ardamire - his death adds potency [In reply to] Can't Post

to an already potent Oath. Adds even more burden and because he will never be reborn no way to ever go back.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:41am

Post #20 of 133 (729 views)
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Where do these Elves get their ideas? [In reply to] Can't Post


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**After all the grief and pain, it appears a few short years of peace is enough to sanctify Feanor. Thoughts? I like to think that Elves Without Oaths are decent, dignified people, and that's what comes out here. It's significant that only the diplomatic Sons of F. come to the Ivrin party. And that snotty Thingol only sends two reps and doesn't come himself. With all the group hugs, the cracks can be seen beneath the surface. Ahh, that's interesting CG. I was thinking more about how the complacency reminds me of the Valar - apple doesn't fall far from the tree? But yes, you point out something I didn't see as much - that only 'certain' sons of F show (and of course the token reps from Thingol) and indeed amidst the toasting there are some dark currents underfoot...

**Ulmo gets involved here. We read earlier about Manwe's aid; are the Valar just repeating old patterns or is this a new age? Great question among so many other great questions. Thanks CG! SmileUlmo's involvement is subtle, at least at first, and that seems Vala-ish, unlike sending a bird to the rescue when you hear a prayer. There's something about the Ulmo-Finrod-Turgon-Hidden Refuge thread of the story that always captures my imagination. Partly, I like that these cousins can be friends and not rivals (*cough* Sons of F.), partly I think divine messages from dreams are cool, and partly I like how there's a fork in the road of the plot where Ulmo is not telling them about secret weapons that kill Balrogs and dragons, or how to kill Morgoth while he's taking a nap, but instead he's trying to cheat Fate by giving a couple of the Noldor princes a chance to save their doomed people. It's no accident that one of my favorite books has similar plot elements (Watership Down). Ulmo is a savior figure to these people who were good, then bad, now are good again, and it doesn't matter since they're all going to die. And they actually listen! If only they'd listen later on when he warned them about Part Two of the prophecy. Alas. True. I see Ulmo as having a *very* far-off vision for his plan though - one that involves these strongholds...we will touch more on it in Ch 15...(dumdum dummmmm) but I think he has already seen the hope of Arda - so the warning later on and the destruction of Gondolin isn't his primary concern.

**Morgoth has tested the fences, taken full measure of his enemies, both their strengths and weaknesses...can we say the same of the Noldor? How well does each side use their respective 'time-outs'?
Superb way to wrap up this chapter, Brethil! Morgoth never seemed especially bright before, but he's thinking circles around these Noldor and learns from every mistake (unlike some other Ainur I know...). Oh, what's the fine line between admirable confidence and self-defeating hubris, because these overly confident Elves think they'll always have the upper hand.
Yup! They do! As I said earlier - and you say a bit further on - I see some of their 'grown-up' decisions resembling the Valar (as the Parental Units) in so many ways! While Morgoth keeps devising new weapons in his labs--and the Elves don't even figure that out from the first dragon they meet! Nope! I think they compose a ballad or something...because... the Elves are building and writing and singing. The Noldor don't even have a plan to win! What's this eternal stalemate going to get them? Or have they decided that Morgoth is a fenced dog, war is irrelevant, and they're going to enjoy all the new real estate they've found? Did they get that naivete from spending too much time with the Valar? Bingo! Not that I blame the Elves for having their golden age, but I'm on their side, and at this point in the book I'm jumping up and down yelling at them to figure out a way to win and look out for the bad guy who's coming up behind...[cut off] ....castle aaaaggghhh....Tongue
Many thanks for tackling this chapter, Brethil, which has so much going on it. You made it approachable and picked out the best, salient points from the blur of activity! Thanks so much, CG. There is a ton going on here, and much of it leads into the next move of the pieces on the ME Giant Chessboard. (Like 3D chess, just much bigger.)


Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:43am

Post #21 of 133 (724 views)
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Haha! Too many F's !!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I once wrote about all those F- Elves, and I know that looks *really* like a swear, but its not! Shocked

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Brethil
Half-elven


May 13 2013, 1:47am

Post #22 of 133 (753 views)
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Thingol: is Melian the problem? [In reply to] Can't Post


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Thingol gave the Noldor a surprisingly chilly welcome. What do you suppose the more moderate Cirdan's welcome was like? Maedhros shrewdly remarks that Thingol only grants them lands that he doesn't control, and that Doriath would be an island in an orc sea if the Noldor hadn't shown up. Why is this Elf so prickly to the family of Finwe, his long-lost friend?

Hmmm- I am not positive, but is it because of Melain? Is he so arrogant and prickly because he thinks he has the greatest ally in his wife? And the Girdle makes him unreachable? I know our Mac Telpemairo has some insights on Melian...



Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


CuriousG
Valinor


May 13 2013, 2:23am

Post #23 of 133 (788 views)
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One problem with Melian [In reply to] Can't Post

is that she slides in and out of the story. The only direct mention of her in this chapter is that she becomes Galadriel's tutor. Otherwise, Thingol is "wise with the wisdom of Melian

Okay, stop there. How did that spill out of Tolkien's pen? Do we have "healed by the healing of Elrond, the Elves sang with the song-voices of Elvish Elves, and were happy with the happiness of happy people."?

To continue: "he trusted not that the restraint of Morgoth would endure," but that doesn't mean he should be dismissive of his rescuers. I think he's proud with the pride of King Thingol, and that pride will cause trouble in troublesome ways later on, while Melian conveniently slides in a sliding way in and out of the plot, only providing wise wisdom when the author finds it smart/intelligent/insightful/clever/well-informed for her to do so. (See, there are alternatives.)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 13 2013, 2:24am

Post #24 of 133 (755 views)
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thingall [In reply to] Can't Post

 
thingol is an odd one. he's married to and in the ever-enlightening presence of a maia. but he doesn't actually seem all that enlightened.

he's haughty, almost greedy. if morgoth wasn't on the scene, would he be trying to claim most of middle-earth? the part where maedhros mentions with wry insight that thingol grants what he doesn't actually firmly hold always cracks me up (but not as much as curiousg does).

thingol comes off to me like he views the newly arrived noldor as threats to his holdings, instead of allies.

perhaps he's too secure, coupled with a maia and with extra-magical protection that maedhros could surely use, but it seems like a lot of this just comes from his personality (think about the way he is with luthien and beren).

i do have a lot of thoughts and opinions on melian, 'tis true.

funny how none of the noldor (or thingol) thinks... hey -- there were elves here before us.... why don't we help them set up their own realms as well, and educate them? they were here first, plus, there might be a lot they could teach us.

tolkien's natural order seems to be that the mightier (however that is defined) should rule over the less educated, less cultured, less powerful... and that the lesser actually prefer it that way. which is spectacularly convenient for the noldor.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


elaen32
Gondor

May 13 2013, 9:03am

Post #25 of 133 (720 views)
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Two points... [In reply to] Can't Post

"It's no accident that one of my favorite books has similar plot elements (Watership Down)"

Watership Down is one of my all time favourites too, since the age of about 8 (I used to bore my family silly with it, like I do about Tolkien now), but I hadn't considered this parallel before. I guess that you are referring to the role that dreams play in warning the rabbits about what is coming, saving them from destruction. This takes the form of Fiver's prophecies about the destruction of the warren and later the true nature of the warren set with snares etc Also in the tales of El-ahrairah, Prince Rainbow (stupid name, but I suppose it is because Adams originally wrote it for his children like Tolkien wrote TH for his) intercedes when he sees trouble coming because EH has pushed things too far. Thanks for bringing this comparison up CG

Re your point about Melkor being none too bright, I don't think that any of the Valar are in the way that we would understand it. This probably has its origins in them being divine incorporeal beings, rather than organic life forms. They do not have a "survival struggle" in the same way as the Children. As such, they are all almost omniscient in their particular area of expertise, but have no need of survival strategies and practicalities. Melkor, initially, is the same, but as he spends more time in Middle-earth and expends much of his original nature in the making of his domains and subjects, he becomes Morgoth and is less like the Valar of Aman. As such, he has to learn survival strategies etc. Due to his innate Ainur intelligence, he becomes relatively good at this

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"

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