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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
the duel of Finrod and Sauron

Felagund
Fantastic Four


Mar 28, 8:18pm

Post #1 of 16 (551 views)
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the duel of Finrod and Sauron Can't Post

For this year’s Tolkien Reading Day, I shared at our reading group the songs power struggle between Finrod Felagund and Sauron. It had been a while since I’d read it and the final third of this epic battle rap really stood out for me this time round. For reference, I was using the ‘Lay of Leithian’, as published in The Silmarillion. Specifically:

“Then the gloom gathered; darkness growing
In Valinor, the red blood flowing
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew
The Foamriders, and stealing drew
Their white ships with their white sails
From lamplit havens…”

This explicit reference to the First Kinslaying at Alqualondë follows on from what can be read to be a genuine contest, pitching back and forth. It is at this point though that Sauron definitively “had the mastery”. What I hadn’t lingered on previously is how it all comes undone for Finrod when the shame and horror of the Kinslaying is recalled. That this is Finrod’s Achilles Heel is fascinating to me: why is Finrod’s defeat bound up in this moment?

On one level, Finrod is not a guilty party. The House of Finarfin appear to have avoided the Kinslaying, at least as far as The Silmarillion is concerned: in reply to Thingol’s wrathful charges, Finrod’s brother Angrod explicitly states that his people “came not red-handed” from Valinor and should not “bear the name of kinslayers and traitors”. I’ll set to one side the intriguing version of events provided in ‘The History of Galadriel and Celeborn’, published in Unfinished Tales, which suggests that Galadriel at least was involved violence at Alqualondë against Fëanor. If Galadriel came to blows with, perhaps even killed other Noldor, then why not others of her family? Just cause but internecine nonetheless.

On another, more profound level, Finrod and his siblings, including Galadriel, are guilty. They are still bound up in the bloody Flight of the Noldor. While their father repented and returned to Valinor, Finrod continued his revolt and was thus subject to the Doom of the Noldor and the Prophecy of the North. He, Galadriel, Angrod and Aegnor may have remained beloved kin of Thingol, once his temper had cooled, but they were still tainted with the spiritual pollution of the Noldor’s rebellion. As per that Unfinished Tales chapter, years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien further developed the theme of Galadriel as an exile, stemming from her rebellion, two ages prior to the quest of the Fellowship of the Ring. In short, the events of the Flight of the Noldor echoed down the millennia. That Finrod still felt guilt or despair at that moment on Tol-in-Gaurhoth, less than 500 years after the events at Alqualondë, should come as no surprise.

So, back to the duel between Finrod and Sauron itself. What the lines of the ‘Lay of Leithian’ don’t make clear, for me at least, is whether Sauron discerned through his cunning a weakness in Finrod – his guilt by association with the slaying of the ‘Foamriders’ and the ‘rape’ of the ships of the Teleri – and went for the jugular, so to speak. Sauron’s ‘song of wizardy’ is, after all, based around the concepts “Of piercing, opening, of treachery / Revealing, uncovering, betraying…”. Whenever I’ve previously read this, I’ve always associated it with Sauron’s efforts to uncover the identities of Finrod, Beren and their companions. But, perhaps, there’s a parallel utility at work, and Sauon is nothing if not crafty. Find Finrod's weak spot and unravel him from there. An alternative reading is that this guilt is something of a canker in Finrod’s heart anyway, and that he was always vulnerable on this front. Perhaps his innate ‘power’, though described as “very great” (and let’s face it, he went toe to toe with a Maia, no less!), was flawed ever since the initial tragedy of the Flight of the Noldor.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Wakandian

Mar 29, 2:16am

Post #2 of 16 (505 views)
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Nice post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure that I have anything to say in response, but I wanted to acknowledge that I enjoyed reading it and thinking about it.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


CMackintosh
Ant-person

Mar 29, 8:07am

Post #3 of 16 (494 views)
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Finarfin's family [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd say it was in part a feeling of guilt at continuing to follow the perpetrator of this horrendous crime, all the way into Middle Earth. Then there is the guilt at not doing anything to stop it. And the guilt at overreacting and allowing some of his people to join the battle on Feanor's side before they found out what was going on.
Then there is the fact that his mother's people were the Teleri, and by all accounts, he took kinship obligations very seriously. So to keep his kinship obligations to his father's family, he followed Fingolfin, who followed Feanor. To keep his kinship obligations to his mother's family and people, he should have waded in on the Teleri side, at least for long enough to separate the Feanorians and the Teleri. He did neither.

With all that piled up on him, it's no wonder that it constituted a weak spot in his armour. And so one of the most admirable characters in the Silmarillion gets cracked open by one of the most despicable.


squire
Asgardian


Mar 29, 7:00pm

Post #4 of 16 (474 views)
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I've always loved that moment in the story [In reply to] Can't Post

And when I first encountered it in The Silmarillion, long before we had HoME and the full Lay of Leithian, I was kind of irked that we only got the song-duel at second hand. Where was the transcript, so to speak - where were the actual lyrics that Finrod and Sauron exchanged?

Well, since then I've learned a lot about Tolkien, his process, and what he could and couldn't do in the time he had. The amount of work it took him to write the Lay of Leithian was enough; to write the verses within the verse was beyond him, as was so much else that he might have wanted to do.

Anyway, as to your question, I never thought that Finrod's destruction by song, via the uncovering of the Kin-slaying, was due to his own sense of guilt or involvement in any way. As I read the verse, Finrod defends himself against Sauron's attack ("...of treachery, revealing, uncovering, betraying...") by evoking the beauty and magic of Elvenesse, of the achievements and glories of the Elven folk. He recalls Nargothrond in Middle-earth, and passes west over the sea to the "sand of pearls on Elvenland".

And that's when Sauron gets him - by forcing him to admit that Elvish glory and Elvish beauty and virtue was itself tainted by the darkness of Morgoth, Sauron's own master. The kin-slaying recalls the prisons of Angband - the two are connected.

So Finrod's defense proves illusory. It's not about his own guilt or innocence of that crime, but about the guilt of his entire race and the betrayal of its self-image and the sense of mission taken from the Valar and Eru himself.

Tolkien loved the theme of the Fall, and uses it several times in his legendarium. Here as the verse ends, the theme is played out in its own small way: "And Finrod fell before the throne."

Thanks for bringing this up!



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Elthir
X-men


Mar 30, 1:20am

Post #5 of 16 (463 views)
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Swanhaven [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
( . . .) I never thought that Finrod's destruction by song, via the uncovering of the Kin-slaying, was due to his own sense of guilt or involvement in any way. As I read the verse, Finrod defends himself against Sauron's attack ( . . .)"


And if memory serves, as far back as the Sketch of the Mythology, Finrod (Finarfin) and his sons were not involved in the Kinslaying at Swanhaven . . . as I read things anyway, they simply arrived too late to do anything . . .

. . . the implied reason being that they were reluctant to leave Tun, and when their did they carried with them "many things of their making" -- and here, at least in one early conception, Finrod only arrived with his people in the far North after the burning of the ships by the Feanoreans on the other side of the strait.

Also, if I recall correctly, the notion seems echoed in at least one post Lord of the Rings* text. And notably for me, I think this idea was in play when Tolkien wrote the conversations between Galadriel and Melian, and the later Finarfinian conversation with Thingol (found in the constructed Silmarillion).

The notion that Galadriel and Finrod** fought in defense of the Teleri comes later, and in my opinion, Tolkien was better off with the earlier version.


*The text is Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn, which generally speaking I don't like very much, but at least there again it's said the Finarfinians had no part in the Kinslaying at Swanhaven.

**I can't date the introduction of Finrod to Swanhaven as easily as I can with Galadriel, but I recall that it's noted to a text that probably dates no earlier than 1958-ish. Maybe Annals of Aman? Anyway.

Of course, in any case Galadriel and Finrod would go on to become leaders with respect to crossing the Grinding Ice . . .

. . . but still Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Mar 30, 1:33am)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Wakandian

Mar 30, 7:01pm

Post #6 of 16 (424 views)
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The Conversation between Galadriel and Melian [In reply to] Can't Post

That passage is all taken from the Grey Annals, which was drafted in around 1951-2, so it certainly predates the later conception that Galadriel fought fiercely in defense of her kin during the Kin-slaying.

I'm curious about your statement that you generally don't like the text Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn. What is it about that text that you single out for dislike?

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Elthir
X-men


Mar 30, 7:54pm

Post #7 of 16 (422 views)
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unliking a text [In reply to] Can't Post


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That passage is all taken from the Grey Annals, which was drafted in around 1951-2, so it certainly predates the later conception that Galadriel fought fiercely in defense of her kin during the Kin-slaying.


Yes it's what I generally call the early 50s phase. I didn't mean to suggest I hadn't researched the date, but anyway it's my opinion that these conversations -- given the post LOTR statement in Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn -- still fall within the earlier concept . . .

. . . in other words, I don't read these conversations in light of the much later idea that Galadriel (or Finrod) fought for the Teleri at Swanhaven. The texts where she does so are much later than the early 1950s, and even include the very, very late adumbrated tale in which Galadriel is not part of the Rebellion (which steps on already published text of course).


Quote
I'm curious about your statement that you generally don't like the text Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn. What is it about that text that you single out for dislike?


I don't think this account "concerns" Galadriel and Celeborn very well Smile

I've a much more detailed slice and dice of this text somewhere, but very very generally speaking here . . .

A) It contains details that I/we know Tolkien later revised.

B) It contains a "major" idea which in my opinion Tolkien later revised, and which (I think) surfaces in an addition to the second edition of The Lord of the Rings.

C) It raises a question that even Christopher Tolkien "asked" during the presentation of the text.

. . . the answer to which is "solved", in my opinion, by B.

If you're interested (which I doubt anyone is) in the longer version I use as a sleep aid, I can rustle it up. I know I posted it somewhere on the web . . . after nobody asked!

Smile


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Wakandian

Mar 30, 8:15pm

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I'm interested [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm always interested in what you have to say, even when I don't agree with it (which of course does not make it 'wrong').

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Elthir
X-men


Mar 30, 10:21pm

Post #9 of 16 (417 views)
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my long winded opinions about CG&C . . . times two! [In reply to] Can't Post

First, a word of caution for anyone who actually reads the following: I recommend not operating heavy machinery for the rest of the day.

The first ramble below is from a younger Elthir. The Second is from 2021 and might be betterly worded, and somewhat shorterer with less detail.


Elthir 2010
________

Here are some things I find problematic with CG&C, or questionable at least:


A) for love of Celeborn (and probably with some pride of her own) Galadriel did not go West at the Downfall of Melkor.

This was superseded by Galadriel's ban, published in The Road Goes Ever On.


B) Galadriel and Celeborn -- with many Noldor in their following, crossed Ered Lindon and dwelt about Evendim, where Amroth their son was born.

Amroth as Galadriel's son was later rejected.

What about this sojourn to Evendim? Nothing much seems to happen there, outside of Amroth's birth, but in any case RGEO simply states that Celeborn and Galadriel crossed Ered Lindon and went to Eregion. Granted, this could mean that they "ultimately" passed to Eregion, but still one only injects that much based on an extant draft text, where the published account, albeit brief, gives no hint.


Appendix B notes that later some of the Noldor went to Eregion, because of Mithril. This would also seem to "forget" that there were many Noldor who first went to Evendim, if so, and not for Mithril. Of Dwarves And Men (later than Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn), notes that there were Men about Evendim in the Second Age, although admittedly they could have moved there later (though this is not stated in any event).

I can't prove that Evendim was certainly rejected here, but I do wonder about it.

C) Galadriel and Celeborn establish Eregion. Celebrimbor is a craftsman from Gondolin.

For the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien would add that Celebrimbor was lord of Eregion (with no reason to think he ruled after anyone), and a Feanorean, which to my mind reflects a notable status considering the tale of the Silmarils.

The Feanorean detail was added to CG&C itself at some point. CJRT notes: "The text is much emended, and it is not always possible to see what belongs to the time of composition of the manuscript and what is indefinitely later."

D) Galadriel's scorn of Sauron

Christopher Tolkien notes that there is no explanation why Galadriel, as a co-ruler and founder of Eregion here, scorned Sauron and yet permitted him to remain in Eregion.

This, I think, could have been a factor leading to the abandonment (if so) of Galadriel as a founder of Eregion, which then could "domino" (of sorts), as she would not need to be ousted from power in Eregion, and thus not need to pass to Lorien before the fall Eregion.

E) Galadriel, ousted from power in Eregion, passes to "Lorinand" (Lindorinand) before the Fall of Eregion.


As for when Galadriel or Celeborn passed to Lorien (and who ruled Eregion), there are some interesting, fairly "new" statements in the linguistic writings of Words, Phrases, and Passages (WPP) for consideration.


Quote
"... of Angband, many of the Noldor and Sindar went eastwards into Eriador and beyond (Galadriel and Celeborn were the chief examples; but originally the settlement at Eregion under Celebrimbor was also very important.)" entry Yrch

"Also it existed long before Galadriel's coming there -- it was originally ruled by Nandorin princes, and Galadriel and Celeborn only retreated thither after downfall of Eregion." entry Lothlorien

"... simply Sindarin of Beleriand, brought in by Galadriel and Celeborn, and their followers, who after the destruction of Eregion passed through Moria and established their realm on the east side of the..." entry Sindarin



I can't date these entries as necessarily before or after Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn however. Still, we have two descriptions which at least seem to say that Galadriel passed to Lorien after the fall of Eregion, and I compare these to the late description noted in Unfinished Tales (in the Amroth And Nimrodel section): the people of Lorien...


"... had however been much mingled with Noldor (of Sindarin speech), who passed through Moria after the destruction of Eregion by Sauron in the year 1697 of the Second Age. At that time Elrond went (...) but Celeborn went at first to Lorien and fortified it..."

And a contemporary statement describes that both Galadriel and Celeborn passed to Lorien at that time -- that is, after the destruction of Eregion. One could quibble with the word "retreated" I guess, or other factors, but on the other hand, these entries* could simply speak to a revised conception.

F) comitting Lorinand to Amroth


Amroth becomes a Sindarin Elf, son of Amdir (or Malgalad -- if these Elves are the same, CJRT doesn't know which name replaced the other). Seemingly Amdir would be in power in Lindorinand sometime in the Second Age, with Amroth taking over after Amdir's death (the Last Alliance).

G) the agelong sojourn in Belfalas. Celeborn never visits Lorinand in the Second Age.

As I noted above, if Amroth is no longer Galadriel's son, as we know to have been revised, and Celeborn does visit Lindorinand in the Second Age, this sojourn seems doubtful in my opinion.


These are my main questions. I also realize that dominos can work the other way: for example, if I haven't proven beyond all doubt that Celebrimbor was lord of Eregion from the start, I can't treat it as a fact with which to then suggest that Galadriel was not ousted from power -- and "thus" had no great reason to pass to Lorien before Eregion fell.


That said, I would also raise Tolkien's arguable perspective here: when revising the second edition he must have been aware that no one is going to know that Galadriel (a major Elvish character in the book) founded and ruled Eregion, as this was only according to a hasty draft text among his private papers. Yet JRRT simply adds that Celebrimbor was lord of Eregion? He must have realized how readers would naturally interpret that.


And consider again that Galadriel was noted as scorning Sauron yet seemingly** allowed him to stay in the realm she founded. Tolkien would arguably have to deal with this if the notion survived, even if he provided no explanation in the extant tale. In Lindon Gil-galad -- ultimately the grandson of Galadriel's brother Angrod -- and Elrond rejected Sauron...

... but what if Sauron cozened a Feanorean and ruler of Eregion? Now Galadriel's scorn (if still to be noted) is insightful in some measure but rejected by Celebrimbor and the Mirdain. And Galadriel will await her rule of a realm, taking over Lindorinand well into the Third Age, after the loss of Amroth.

Galadriel may even have escaped Eregion before Sauron came there with War -- not to Lorien but to Lindon -- as in one of the two later (but contemporary) descriptions, after Celeborn fortified Lindorinand and so on, he is said to have joined Galadriel in Lindon. Possibly this was connected to hiding the Three after the Elves perceived the designs of Sauron, but that is my speculation.

Anyway, again I want to stress that my opinions here are not necessarily "correct"-- but I think that a history largely based on Concerning Galadriel And Celeborn, while popular enough on the web perhaps, might be questionable in more than one or two details.

a couple of notes:

1) under the entry Celebrimbor in Words Phrases And Passages, he is called the lord of the Elves of Eregion and the ruler of the realm "at the time of the forging of the Rings: see App. B, III p. 364"

This cannot refer to the statement that Celebrimbor was lord of Eregion however, for Appendix B had not yet been revised at this point, but simply to entries in The Tale of Years.


2) An isolated and undateable note (note 7, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn) is not really all that instructive here I think: Galadriel was said not to be deceived concerning Aulendil (Annatar) in the train of Aule in Valinor, "but this is not decisive' and so on (as he could have been a follower of Aule very early on), and in any event, we don't know the full measure of Galadriel's attitude here toward Aulendil beyond this.



It seems possible that within CG&C itself the idea was that Galadriel didn't allow Sauron in Eregion, and that Annatar not only worked with the Mirdain "in secret, unknown to Galadriel and Celeborn" but was even in Eregion secretly!

That said, Christopher Tolkien himself seems to say that no explanation is offered as to why "if she did perceive his true nature, she permitted him to remain in Eregion." -- thus he would appear not to take this description of secrecy as extending to Sauron's actual presence in Eregion, as compared to what he was doing.


Elthir 2021
________


But it falls within a larger scenario that I think Tolkien later abandoned, which includes: Galadriel and Celeborn as co-founders and co-rulers of Eregion, Amroth as Galadriel's son, and Galadriel passing to Lorien before the destruction of Eregion -- regarding this last idea, there's a brief mention in Words, Phrases, and Passages (PE 17), entry Lothlorien: " . . . -- it was originally ruled by Nandorin princes, and Galadriel and Celeborn only retreated thither after downfall of Eregion."

Is this just brevity, or . . .

. . . so some of my reasons are based on "limited" text, canon considerations and opinion. For another example, Appendix B "some of the Noldor" went to Eregion for Mithril -- year 750 Eregion founded by the Noldor -- (revised edition addition) Celebrimbor (now a Feanorean) "was Lord of Eregion."

That's author published text of course, with no hint of Galadriel ruling, and as I line up these dominos anyway, Galadriel isn't ousted from power by the M¨ªrdain and thus need not retreat to Lorien before Eregion's fall. Also, the seeming "problem" (if it's agreed to be one) that Christopher Tolkien raises, arguably goes away . . .

"[No explanation is offered in this rapid outline of why Galadriel scorned Sauron, unless she saw through his disguise, or of why, if she did perceive his true nature, she permitted him to remain in Eregion]" Christopher Tolkien, CG&C

According to Appendix B, Gil-galad refused to treat with Sauron, and although Tolkien himself didn't publish the following, according to Of the Rings of Power And The Third Age, Sauron in his fair guise didn't even go to the land of Lindon! Gil-galad and Elrond doubted him enough that they wouldn't admit him there.

Was JRRT really going to put Galadriel in power where Sauron got his famous "in" with the Elves? Keeping in mind her noted insight into others, and that Gil-galad would become a younger relation of hers in the Finarfinian line. Well yes, JRRT went there in this outline . . .

. . . but did he ultimately imagine that only under Celebrimbor's rule, Sauron infiltrates? I think this latter idea won out, and thought so even before the following was published:

" . . . many of the Noldor and Sindar went eastwards into Eriador and beyond (Galadriel and Celeborn were the chief examples; but originally the settlement at Eregion under Celebrimbor was also very important.)" JRRT WPP PE17, entry yrch

Again, maybe not a "slam dunk" interpretation wise, but . . .

That much said, I realize one can attempt (as I would phrase it for this matter) to "merge" texts, but for myself, I see no great reason to do that here. As I hinted at earlier, in the first edition (Appendix B, before the dated entries begin), no ruler of Eregion is even mentioned in this section, much less someone descended from Feanor.

So I ask me: is the reader to believe that Tolkien, adding this line in the 1960s, "meant" Celebrimbor ruled Eregion after Galadriel and Celeborn? Or that he simply ruled at some point?

Possible.

But from JRRT's perspective (what he's "now" adding for the reader), and thus from author-published description, if I recall correctly, we don't have any reason to think it was Galadriel who co-founded and co-ruled Eregion -- and Tolkien could have noted that Celebrimbor "eventually" ruled there, or added something brief to a dated Tale of Years entry . . . if he still held to the post-Lord of the Rings posthumously published idea from CG&C, that is.

Anyway, sorry if this has become a rambling muddle. There are some moving parts with respect to my fairly sweeping dismissal of Concerning Galadriel and Celeborn.

_______


These are copy and paste.

I didn't read them again, so I might disagree with me about something as of today.


Smile


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Wakandian

Mar 30, 10:35pm

Post #10 of 16 (413 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I will give this a closer read later when I have more time and may (or may not!) make an attempt at responding to some of it, but I wanted to say that I appreciated you sharing your extended thoughts, from then and now.

(Is the 2021 stuff also copy and paste, or is that new? - [ETA: Never mind; I found both original posts])

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire

(This post was edited by Voronwë_the_Faithful on Mar 30, 10:44pm)


squire
Asgardian


Mar 30, 11:17pm

Post #11 of 16 (416 views)
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A detailed study indeed, confirming my long-held feeling... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that Tolkien's attempts after finishing Lord of the Rings to write a coherent backstory for Galadriel (and Celeborn, whoever the heck he is) were hopelessly muddled, and needn't be taken seriously by any reader -- except as a demonstration that even Homer nods.

Thanks for indulging us, though! Nice touch reaching into the word-hoard of the philology sources, where mere fans so rarely go.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Felagund
Fantastic Four


Apr 3, 2:11pm

Post #12 of 16 (330 views)
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Finrod in context [In reply to] Can't Post

Pre-HoMe days! Yes, this Lay of Leithian passage is defo one of those moments.

I can see Finrod as being an avatar of the guilt that his people clearly felt. Angrod does appear to reflect on events a bit differently to his brother though, so there is perhaps a bit of nuance to the vulnerabilities in play, specific to Finrod.

Can't also help thinking that Sauron's strategy would have to be very different if dueling with the likes of Caranthir, Celegorm or Curufin. I'd grant that Maedhros and Maglor were genuinely tortured souls for what they'd done but those other three were so cartoonishly despicable, I can imagine them fist-pumping if Sauron sought to entrap them with reminders of the First Kinslaying! Not that any of them would ever have embarked on such a selfless quest as Finrod's in the first place.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Elthir
X-men


Apr 3, 10:17pm

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Angrod and Thingol? [In reply to] Can't Post


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I can see Finrod as being an avatar of the guilt that his people clearly felt. Angrod does appear to reflect on events a bit differently to his brother though, so there is perhaps a bit of nuance to the vulnerabilities in play, specific to Finrod.


Are you referring to the conversation between the Finarfinians and Thingol?

If so, Tolkien gives the reason for Finrod's silence (he didn't defend himself as, before Thingol, he was loathe to bring charges against the other princes of the Noldor), and to my mind Angrod essentially speaks for the Finarfinians here, the context being that they are indeed blameless as far as the Kinslaying goes, as they weren't there.

In the Quenta Silmarillion as Tolkien wrote it, the innocence of the Finarfinians (again, with respect to the Kinslaying) is made clearer, but even according to the Annals of Aman from the early 1950s, we can trace who was involved in the fight with the Teleri: the folk of Feanor and the "foremost" of Fingolfin's folk -- where earlier (section 143 AAM) this part of Fingolfin's host is distinguished from the Finarfinians> at the rear.

Or, are you referring to something else maybe?


(This post was edited by Elthir on Apr 3, 10:27pm)


Felagund
Fantastic Four


Apr 5, 10:28am

Post #14 of 16 (220 views)
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Finarfinians & guilt [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I'm referring to that exchange between Finrod and Angrod on the one hand, and Thingol on the other.

My original point was that Finrod, as portrayed in the songs of power duel, perhaps came unstuck because of the guilt or shame he felt at the Kinslaying. No, he didn't literally swing a sword and cut down a poor Telerin mariner but this atrocity flows from the rebellion he has signed up to. Was he uniquely vulnerable to Sauron's snare here or would any self-respecting Noldo feel the same as Finrod and thereby lose such a duel as well? I don't know, and that has defo been an enjoyable part of the back and forth on this thread's discussion.

Where Angrod's retort to Thingol comes in for me is that, from a quick character study point of view, it's possible to see that two Finarfinians have different reactions to the charges Thingol lays. We could throw in for good measure Galadriel's reticence with Melian, when the latter was essentially asking the same kind of questions (btw, for me, this makes Galadriel a far more complex character than my first reading of her in The Lord of the Rings). Finrod's motivation for silence, as you say, is that he doesn't want to dob in the other Noldor princes. Angrod, in contrast, refuses to wear the charges and reveals the fullest and most accurate account of the rebellion and the Kinslaying to be heard in Beleriand to date.

Perhaps I've read too much into these different reactions, as it relates to the nature of the guilt felt, and the way in which Sauron later tears down Finrod's defences. What is clearer to me, is that the exchange in Menegroth rams home that even the Finarfinians are going to pay for what was done in Aman:

"Then the sons of Finarfin departed from Menegroth with heavy hearts, perceiving how the words of Mandos would ever be made true, and that none of the Noldor that followed after Fëanor could escape from the shadow that lay upon his house."

And therein lies Finrod's vulnerability. Or indeed that of any Noldor not fully signed up to the zealotry of the Fëanorians. And Sauron knows enough of the flaw at the heart of the Return of the Noldor to pick away at the threads that will bring Finrod undone.

Thanks for pulling the 'Annals of Aman' reference from the vault. Despite the intriguing and very enjoyable mess that 'Concerning Galadriel & Celeborn' brings to the table, I agree that Tolkien's conception of the Finarfinians is that they weren't directly involved in the First Kinslaying. Not that that saves Finrod or the majority of his siblings in the end, sadly...

A final tangent: both Finrod and Galadriel deal with situations where a Maia is picking away at who did what at Alqualondë. I'm not for a moment equating Melian with Sauron. But they are both circling around the same issues with these two scions of the House of Finarfin. On one level the stakes are utterly different: one falls before the throne, ends up in a dungeon and dies horribly; the other continues to live contentedly in Doriath. However, in another context the stakes can be seen as very similar: neither can escape the stain of the early circumstances of the rebellion, regardless of their absence from the slaughter at Alqualondë, and regardless of their willingness to reveal their knowledge of these events. I realised that I've wandered into yet another dissonant area, care of 'The History of Galadriel & Celeborn' territory, specifically whether or not Galadriel was subject to the Ban of the Valar, and what Tolkien's final word on this was. I reckon I'll leave that for another day!

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Felagund
Fantastic Four


Apr 5, 10:50am

Post #15 of 16 (216 views)
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in praise of CG&C... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and also of Elthir's awesome analysis! Very grateful for the re-post. It's the most compelling breakdown and reassembly (where humanly possible) I've read of what's going on in that essay within the wider 'History of Galadriel & Celeborn' tale.

Where I want to praise the essay isn't related to the contortion that Tolkien goes through regarding who founded/ruled Eregion and who Amroth's parents were. Rather, it's for the fullest account going of the otherwise annalistically-covered War of the Elves & Sauron, with the dramatic personal interventions of Sauron in Eriador, Celebrimbor confronting Sauron on the steps of the House of the Mírdain, the cruel fate of Celebrimbor (they stuck his body on a pole, for Eru's sake!), the equally dramatic intervention of the Númenóreans in the war, and the very satisfying moment when Sauron "...with no more than a bodyguard fled..." the utter routing of his forces. As CT notes, it's not as if these events are free of the dissonance we see in the account of Galadriel and Celeborn's movements but there's a lot of narrative action packed in there that filled in, at the time, some vast Second Age lacunae.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Elthir
X-men


Apr 5, 4:17pm

Post #16 of 16 (213 views)
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I yet stand more . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

with Squire regarding the song contest, and I don't see guilt in the descriptions Tolkien gave to Finrod or Galadriel's reactions in Doriath -- again, about the Kinslaying specifically -- and Angrod tells it like it was. Thingol raised the matter quite directly to Finrod concerning the red-handed slaying "of your mother's kin" - as, at this point in Beleriand, we have swirling lies and whispered tales concerning the deeds of the Noldor.

Think of the guilt of actually slaying someone because they refused to give you something that was rightfully theirs -- versus not even being there! And then "you" (anyone) get accused of the former!

[of course, considering the context of the early 1950s phase, I'm again leaving out the late note to AAM, as this conversation in Doriath preceded the note by who knows how many years, but at the least roughly eight]

The perception as to how the words of Mandos would ever be made true is another matter, and I think this notably follows after Thingol himself generalizes and declares that any who speak the tongue of the Noldor shall be held as kin-slayers and betrayers unrepentant.

Thus even the Finarfinians "must" give up their mother tongue (in "public" anyway) in order to appear innocent among the Exiles in general.


On the Agreed Side

Yes, CG&G includes stuff I like too

My "I don't like it" (as I responded to Voronwe) really revolves around the Galadriel and Celeborn points - and even like/dislike is a bit off the mark there in some respects, as much of it falls under: I think Tolkien revised it substantially with respect to Galadriel and Celeborn, and in that arena, it is "ungood" as a text for imagining the internal history . . . at least for me anyway.


And in the Nobody Asked category

As for JRRT's last word on Galadriel's ban: for me, the author published RGEO easily rules the day here.

It isn't the "last" word JRRT ever thunk, but in addition to being published by JRRT himself, RGEO "forced" Tolkien back to the already published Lord of the Rings, as he needed to get detailed here, looking at every Quenya word in Galadriel's lament, and surely, I would think, pondering the meaning behind the whole of it as well.

And in no text that follows (1968 or later, again in at least anything published so far) do we get a hint that Tolkien even recalled that he'd already published Galadriel's ban. Christopher Tolkien notes (Unfinished Tales) that the tale of Galadriel was open to major revision, given that the Silmarillion had not been published -- but the other side of that coin is that her ban had been published.

Sorry. I went there again. I can just hear some eyes rolling with respect to my often-stated views about Galadrielian canon.

Which doesn't mean I'm not going there again though Wink


(This post was edited by Elthir on Apr 5, 4:30pm)

 
 

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