8. Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
This chapter introduces Fëanor, probably the most important character in The Silmarillion, and describes the release of Melkor from his bonds.
Fëanor was the eldest son of Finwë, and the only child of his first marriage to Míriel. His birth name was Curufinwë, but his mother name was Fëanor, Spirit of Fire.
– Finwë’s first wife.
– After Fëanor’s birth, her strength was lost, her spirit and body having been consumed in the birth of her son. She no longer wanted to live, and leaving Finwë, she went to the gardens of Lórien and fell asleep. Her spirit passed from her body and went to the Halls of Mandos – and thus she the first of the Eldar to die.
“she said to Finwë: “Never again shall I bear child; for strength that would have nourished the life of many has gone forth into Fëanor.””
– After Míriel’s death, Finwë gave all his love to Fëanor
To find out everything you ever wanted to know about Fëanor, please go to our Library article here. Only a very brief account of him is given here.
– “He was tall, and fair of face, and masterful, his eyes piercingly bright and his hair raven-dark”
– “in the pursuit of all his purposes eager and steadfast. Few ever changed his courses by counsel, none by force. He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand.”
– Married Nerdanel, the daughter of a great smith. From him Fëanor learnt much of metalworking and stonemasonry.
– He discovered how to make gems brighter and greater than the gems taken from the earth. The first of his gems blazed blue and silver under starlight.
– Eventually Finwë took another wife – Indis of the Vanyar.
– She bore him two further sons – Fingolfin and Finarfin.
– Fëanor didn’t like the idea of his father marrying again, and he much didn’t like Indis, Fingolfin or Finarfin either.
“In those unhappy things which later came to pass, and in which Fëanor was the leader, many saw the effect of this breach within the house of Finwë, judging that if Finwë had endured his loss and been content with the fathering of his mighty son, the courses of Fëanor would have been otherwise, and great evil might have been prevented; for the sorrow and the strife in the house of Finwë is graven in the memory of the Noldorin Elves.”
Unchaining of Melkor
– After three ages of imprisonment in the Halls of Mandos, Melkor was brought before the Valar. Even though he envied them, and hated the Eldar sitting at their feet, he hid his thoughts and begged for forgiveness.
– Manwë granted him pardon, and while initially he was made to stay in Valmar, he was soon allowed to roam Aman.
– Manwë then thought that the problem of Melkor had ended, for Manwë was free from evil, and could not comprehend it. Ulmo and Tulkas were not deceived.
“Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor’s heart, and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever.”
– Melkor mainly hated the Eldar, for 2 reasons:
– they were fair and joyful, and
– he saw in them the reason for the arising of the Valar, and his own downfall.
– While he hated the Eldar, he feigned love for them, sought their friendship, and offered them his help.
– The Vanyar were suspicious of him, and he paid little attention to the Teleri.
– The Noldor, however, delighted in the knowledge Melkor could teach them, and they listened to his words.
– Melkor claimed that Fëanor had learnt much of his craft from him in secret, though this was a complete lie. None of the Eldalië hated Melkor more than Fëanor, and he named him Morgoth – the Dark Foe of the World.