9. Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
– Fëanor pondered on how the light from the Two Trees might be captured and preserved for ever.
– He then set out on a long and secret labour, the end result of which was the three Silmarils.
– Made of a diamond-like substance, with an inner fire made of the blended light of the Two Trees. But the actual substance they were created from will not be known until the Sun passes and the Moon fails.
– Even in the darkness, they shone with their own light – “and yet, as were they indeed living things, they rejoiced in light and received it and gave it back in hues more marvellous than before.”
– Varda hallowed the Silmarils so that no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor anything evil could touch them without being scorched and withered.
– Mandos foretold that the fates of the earth, sea, and air of Arda were locked within the jewels.
– Fëanor loved his creations dearly, and soon he came to love them greedily, denying all the sight of them save Finwë and his sons. He seldom remembered that the light within them was not his own.
– Melkor lusted after them.
– After seeing the Silmarils, Melkor wanted more than ever to destroy Fëanor, and to end the friendship of the Elves and Valar. He went about his work stealthily and under the guise of friendship. Some elves listened to his lies and untruths, believing them – or half believing them – wise counsel and the truth. So subtly did he spread his lies that many who heard them believed in recollection that they arose from their own thought.
– What he told them was:
– that the Valar had brought the Eldar to Aman out of jealousy – that they feared the beauty of the Elves and that the powers Ilúvatar had given them would prove too great for the Valar to govern as the Elves spread over the world,
– that the Eldar could have ruled mighty empires back in Middle-earth, free to do as they wished, and
– that the Valar had kept the coming of Man secret from the Eldar – and slowly rumours went around that the Valar meant to supplant the Elves with Men in Middle-earth.
– Many of the Noldor then started murmuring against the Valar, and many became filled with pride, forgetting how much of what they had came from the Valar.
– The desire for freedom burned brightest in the heart of Fëanor – which pleased Melkor greatly for Fëanor had ever been the main target of his hatred.
Melkor and the sons of Finwë
– Fëanor and Fingolfin were honoured by all in Aman, but each grew proud and jealous of their rights and possessions.
– Melkor then set new lies abroad:
– to Fëanor came whispers that Fingolfin and his sons were plotting to usurp Finwë’s leadership and that of the line of Fëanor, and to supplant them by leave of the Valar, and
– to Fingolfin and Finarfin came whispers that Fëanor wanted to drive them forth from Tirion.
– When Melkor saw that his lies were spread, and that the Noldor were becoming proud and angry, he started talking to them of weapons.
– The Noldor started smithying swords, axes and spears.
– Fëanor made a secret forge and there made swords for himself and his sons.
– Fëanor soon came to speak openly of rebellion, saying that he would leave Valinor, and would deliver the Noldor from their thraldom if they would follow him.
– As all of Tirion became uneasy, Finwë held a council. Fingolfin asked him to restrain Fëanor’s pride, thinking that Fëanor was trying to take over the kingship and speak for all the Noldor. Fëanor then entered the chamber and heard Fingolfin’s words, and leading from the lies he had heard, he assumed that Fingolfin was trying to supplant him. Fëanor told Fingolfin to leave, and Fingolfin did so, silently, not even looking at Fëanor. Fëanor followed him and put the point of his sword against Fingolfin’s chest, telling him that he would slay him if Fingolfin once more tried to usurp Fëanor’s position. Again Fingolfin left without a word.
The Valar’s judgement against Fëanor
– The start of Melkor’s discontent was hidden from the Valar, and the first they knew of the rebellion was Fëanor’s open stirrings. Thus they judged him the main protagonist, wilful and arrogant.
– Manwë was saddened by the rebellion but initially said no word. But when Fëanor’s open rebellion occurred, the Valar were angered and dismayed and told Fëanor to come before them at the gates of Valmar.
– During that questioning, the malice of Melkor was revealed, and Tulkas left the council and bring him to judgement.
– But Fëanor was not found guiltless, for he had broken the peace of Valinor and drew sword against his brother.
– Mandos pronounced his doom – that he had to leave Tirion for 12 years. And that after that, the matter would be held void if Fingolfin would forgive him. Fingolfin immediately said that he would. Fëanor immediately left Valmar without saying a word.
– His sons went into banishment, and they made a citadel called Formenos in the northern hills. There, the Silmarils were shut in a chamber of iron. Finwë came also to Formenos because of his love of Fëanor, leaving Fingolfin ruling Tirion.
– Melkor was not heard of again until one day he turned up at Formenos, urging Fëanor to think again about leaving Valinor, saying that he had always been a friend to the Noldor and would aid Fëanor’s plans.
– Fëanor wondered whether to trust Melkor – at least enough to allow him to aid the rebellion – but when Melkor mentioned the Silmarils, hate overcame Fëanor’s mind and he ordered Melkor to leave – “Get thee gone from my gate, thou jail-crow of Mandos!”
– After that, Melkor left Valinor and travelled northwards – passing “in wrath as a thundercloud”.
– But even then, the peace and bliss of Valinor had been clouded with pride, hate and doubt.
“the Valar sought in vain for tidings of their enemy; and as a cloud far off that looms ever higher, borne upon a slow cold wind, a doubt now marred the joy of all the dwellers in Aman, dreading they knew not what evil that yet might come.”