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PotbellyHairyfoot
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Post QS-9; Of The Flight of The Noldor
on: May 15, 2016 10:50
Now things start to get real interesting.

I think that Feanor's true narcissistic, sociopathic, character really comes out here;

1) Is it just his inherent selfishness showing through when he refuses to allow the light from the Silmarils, which originated from them, to be used to bring back the trees? Is it simply that HE made them and they are his, and no matter the consequences he is not going share them, and their light,with anyone?

2)Feanor,when they refused to give them up to him, could have tried to negotiate for the use of the ships of the Teleri. Was he simply incapable of seeing their point of view once it varied from his own?

3)Once he reaches the shore, Feanor's true character 'shines through'. Why burn the ships? What does that accomplish?

4) Why such a severe oath? Why not a simple oath concerning relieving Morgoth of the Silmarils. Why include anyone that happened to have one in his possession?



[Edited on 05/16/2016 by PotbellyHairyfoot]
Gandolorin
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on: May 20, 2016 03:14
PotbellyHairyfoot, in my opinion you missed the one characterization of Fëanor that hits the core: nihilist.
I have posted elsewhere that the equations of evil run Valar=>Morgoth, Maiar=>Sauron, and Eldar=>Fëanor (and perhaps Men=>Túrin Turambar).
In the sense of nihilistic rage, we only have Valar=>Morgoth and Eldar=>Fëanor. Sauron was a sensible totalitarian ruler compared to these two.
So my answer to all four questions is: because Fëanor was a nihilist, caring nothing for others.
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Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: May 26, 2016 05:48
PBHF has asked if Fëanor is a narcissistic sociopath. It is hard to discuss such things if we are not using the same definition. Psychopaths are well known for being narcissistic, but I’m not so sure about sociopaths. I remember reading that sociopaths are people that are unable to bond with other people, and generally invest a lot of effort in destroying the bonds between other people. This would describe Morgoth much better than Fëanor. So I was surprised to find that my dictionary briefly defines sociopaths as people who exhibit antisocial behaviors or traits. That’s it. By that definition, many people including myself, would be considered sociopaths!
"There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and the Ainu Melko. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Vê be little worse than this bright prison" ~ Fëanor
Gandolorin
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on: May 27, 2016 02:17
Elfeawen Lomiondil said:... So I was surprised to find that my dictionary briefly defines sociopaths as people who exhibit antisocial behaviors or traits. That’s it. By that definition, many people including myself, would be considered sociopaths!

I must confess that I feel a bit uncomfortable using terms which, in the relevant professional circles, have clearly defined meanings. The "quantum leap" is my favorite bugaboo, which has been totally turned on its head by ignorant usage.

To the wide sense your dictionary defines, I would agree in the sense that all of us occasionally exhibit antisocial, and thus sociopathic behavior. To be medically declared a sociopath would very likely mean exhibiting such behavior often, if not habitually.

To come back to PBHF's question, my opinion is that Fëanor exhibits negative behavior at a rate and on a scale that would satisfy medical requirements for the use of one, several, or all terms mentioned.
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Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: May 27, 2016 07:07
2. Why didn’t he try to negotiate for the ships?

He did negotiate, but all his tactics failed. It seems he fully expected long friendship and his gift of powerful speaking to induce cooperation from the Teleri, and he was at a loss when it did not. But he wouldn’t give up.

Was he incapable of seeing another point of view?

It seems likely. Either he could not comprehend that the Teleri valued their ships as much as he cared about the things he had made (how sadly ironic), or he weighed their interests against his and found them wanting. He was incredibly determined.

3. PBHF states that burning the ships shows his true nature.

I don’t see this as his “true nature,” rather, his “fallen nature.” Just as I don’t feel it shows Boromir’s true nature when he tries to take the Ring from Frodo.

4. Why burn the ships?

He was in a “fey mood”. He wanted to make a permanent break with Fingolfin’s folk, whom he no longer felt he could trust. Plus, he kind of has a thing for fire.
"There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and the Ainu Melko. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Vê be little worse than this bright prison" ~ Fëanor
Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: May 30, 2016 10:45
1. Does Fëanor simply not want to share with anyone?

That’s not it. He wasn’t enjoying the position of having something everyone wanted too much to give up his power over them. He wasn’t enjoying himself at all, he was deeply conflicted. The choice might seem easy to Tulkas, but this decision was genuinely hard for Fëanor. I think some Valar never expected Fëanor to say anything but yes. Others may have been a little more understanding, but hoped and expected that he would give Yavanna what she asked once he’d had time to consider it. It seems only Aulë understood what they were asking of him. I can see both perspectives. Sacrificing the Silmarils would restore Light to so many. Who could object to that? Yet I can also understand what a terrible choice it was for Fëanor.

Fëanor, unwilling to face what he “should” do, may have wondered why the Valar could not devise a new light instead. Had they not lost the Lamps, and yet made a replacement for them?

There were many factors that made this hard for him. Even if Morgoth’s lies had never been spread among the Eldar, Fëanor would have found it painful to break the Silmarils. Any artist can sympathize. I am more attached to my drawings and writings than perhaps I should, and I feel physically sick when I imagine destroying them. Okay, right, but wouldn’t I do it if it would somehow make the world a better place?

Fëanor considered what it would mean for him to unmake the Silmarils, and concluded that it would kill him. That’s a steep price, even if we accept that the good of the many should come before the good of the individual. I am unsure whether Fëanor meant that he would die of grief as Elves may do, or whether his life force was bound up with the Silmarils in some way, but I take him at his word. I would like to think that I would give up my life to help others, but I imagined doing it in an adrenaline powered rush, not sitting down to make a coolly considered decision. Some are willing to give their lives, but I could not ask it of anyone.

But Morgoth’s lies were heard, and remembered.

Standing on the darkened hill, in the midst of the Valar, Fëanor considered the false words of Morgoth more seriously than he ever had. How could he know if there was truth in them, and what would be the price if there were? With his cooperation, Yavanna could restore the Trees and everything would go back to the way it had been. But then Fëanor would still not know if the Valar could be trusted. Fair had they always seemed, and yet fair also did Melkor seem when he professed friendship for the Eldar. What if the generosity of the Valar, which had led the Eldar to dwell in a place where they could not freely come and go, concealed a dark purpose? Or had the Valar begun nobly, like Melkor, but allowed corruption to grow in their hearts? He would never know peace until he knew one way or another. So he set a test for the Valar, and passing it would mean giving up something they all wanted.
"There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and the Ainu Melko. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Vê be little worse than this bright prison" ~ Fëanor
Gandolorin
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on: May 31, 2016 05:00
Now I'm really going to take a crack at a deeply heretical mode (in Middle-earth terms).

Ainulindalë page 7 in my book:

"For the Children of Ilúvatar were conceived by him alone; and they cam with the third theme, and were not in the theme which Ilúvatar propounded at the beginning, and none of the Ainur had part in their making."

Now on whose authority can this information about the Ainulindalë have come down to us originally? From the Ainur themselves, probably only from the Valar, and not from all of them. Perhaps only Námo, Melkor and Manwë know (or guess) anything else than what has come down to us. And I would consider it possible that specifically with Fëanor, there could have been some marginal spill-over of Melkor's nihilistic theme (taken up by not a few near him) into - what, or who then Fëanor became.
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Elfeawen Lomiondil
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on: June 01, 2016 10:40
4. Why such a severe oath? Why not just swear to take back the Silmarils from Morgoth?

I can think of two reasons. The Oath was a warning, and it was sworn in madness. The second page of the chapter tellls us Fëanor’s grief and helpless anger induced a state of madness. It was a temporary state that came and went - as this quote shows: “but as the mind of Fëanor cooled and took counsel he perceived over-late . . . ” - but he was never the same again and could be more easily stirred to extreme actions. While I am in no way suggesting that The Lost Tales is as canon as The Silmarillion, there is a passage describing Fëanor’s profound grief and how it affected him that I feel remains true in essence.

While keeping vigil by his father’s grave:

“There brooded Fëanor bitter thoughts, till his brain grew dazed by the black vapours of his heart . . .” (165, Tolkien, J.R.R. Edt. by Christopher Tolkien. The Book of Lost Tales I. Ballantine Books: New York, 1983.)

The Oath was also a threat. Powers beyond the strength of any Man or Elf had meddled in Fëanor’s life once too often. Although it does not excuse the harshness of the Oath, if the good heeded the warning of the Oath it would not harm them.

I think that Fëanor may not have cared how awful the Oath was because he felt that the world had become an awful place with the murder of his father, and it would never be right again, so it no longer mattered to him. If you are willing, consider another passage from The Lost Tales in which Fëanor tells the Noldor: “There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and Ainu Melko [Morgoth/Melkor]. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Ve [Mandos] be little worse than this bright prison . . .” (65)

I wish Fëanor had only sworn vengeance against Morgoth. I shrink from the words of the Oath, and yet I can never forget them; every time I read it I am struck by its power. It is an incredibly powerful declaration of war against any that would wrong the House of Fëanor. A statement of rebellion against the universe. Terrible words that should never have been spoken, and yet . . . I can sympathize in an abstract sense.
"There shall be war between the Children of Iluvatar and the Ainu Melko. What if we perish in our quest? The dark halls of Vê be little worse than this bright prison" ~ Fëanor
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