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I don't know if this question has been asked before of the esteemed members of PTolkien so I'll ask for your pardon if it has. I would be greatly interested in the following. If you were an Elf of the Eldest Days. Would you have followed the summons of Fell Feanor? Whatever your decision, for what reason would undertake the journey, or remain within the bliss of Valinor under the protection of the Blessed Valar? Brego.

No, not ever would I have followed Feanor. He finally understood the great and evil treachery of Melkor whom he renamed Morgoth, Black Enemy, but he failed to realize that he had himself  been corrupted by this very fiend himself, so that when he gave his remarkable speech and the everlasting curse upon Melkor and any other being who would withhold the Silmarils from him or his sons who he commanded really to take up his cause, he also blamed those angelic, I can call them no less,beings above him saying that they had been to blame for letting Morgoth be successful in this. His mind was warped so that on the one hand his cause to recover the Silmarils was just, and Yavannah herself needed them to restore the two trees that Morgoth and Ungoliant destroyed, on the other hand his wrongful blaming showed clearly he was cunningly influenced and believed the lies his true enemy wanted him to believe, thus sowing seeds of distrust and hatred and ultimately causing the terrible kinslayings which is just horrible.

 

Very thought provoking question Brego!  While, in my opinion, Feanor's pride was second only to Melkor's and led to many wrongdoings and much heartache, I think the pride of the Noldor was in part to blame for the Exile from the West.  I think many factors led to their leaving.  For instance, the persistent and fiery speech Galadriel gave convinced even her brother to leave his mate.  Finrod, being my favorite prince, I think went along on the premise that his family would need his help and protection.  That noble way of thinking urged many to pick up stakes and leave.  Back to Feanor's pride, I think he truly believed he could have saved his father and defeated the Black Thief.  I do not think his mind would have been changed even if he knew exactly what would and did transpire as a result of his Oath.

Those things being said, I am afraid I would have left the Blessed Realm for the same reasons Finrod and the more noble  Elves did.  Family takes precedent over comfort.  Although I am sure I would have looked back over my shoulder often and regretted that decision in later years.

 

 

For instance, the persistent and fiery speech Galadriel gave convinced even her brother to leave his mate. 

 

Hmm, can we say this with certainty? While I wouldn't necessarily disagree that Galadriel probably voiced her desire to leave here, she is given no actual speech, and is not noted as influencing Finrod specifically (or have I forgotten some text here? I don't recall this at the moment anyway).

 

It is said that Fingolfin marched against his wisdom, after it had been noted that Fingolfin and Turgon spoke against Feanor -- and Finrod was with Turgon, his friend -- but Fingon is noted specifically as a cause for Fingolfin to march, among other reasons:

 

'... and a greater host under Fingolfin; and he marched against his wisdom, because Fingon his son so urged him, and because he would not be sundered from his people that were eager to go, nor leave them to the rash counsels of Feanor. Nor did he forget his words before the throne of Manwe.' The Silmarillion

 

And with Fingolfin went Finarfin, and for like reasons. But what about Finrod? His father was going, and with Fingon were Angrod and Aegnor, so his brothers and sister were going; and even when his father left the March, it was said that the sons of Finarfin would not forsake the sons of Fingolfin.

 

Did Galadriel give a fiery speech? In The Silmarillion she is described as standing tall and valiant among the contending princes, and eager to be gone, of course, but even Feanor's speech had seemingly not moved Finrod enough at first, and anything Galadriel might had said would likely reveal that she was leaving in any case.

 

 

But, as often enough, this is according to one phase of Tolkien's writing. Much later JRRT would describe Felagund:

'Finrod was like his father in his fair face and golden hair, and also in noble and generous heart, though he had the high courage of the Noldor and in his youth their eagerness and unrest; and he had also from his Telerin mother a love of the sea and dreams of far lands that he had never seen (...) 'and like her [Galadriel] brother Finrod, of all her kin nearest to her heart, she had dreams of far lands and dominions that might be her own to order as she would without tutelage.'

 

So it would seem that Finrod, in this late conception, has been given a similar dream to that of his sister. I'm not sure this was present in the earlier conception. In this late text it is also noted:

 

'... and his [Finarfin] children were thus kin of King Elu Thingol of Doriath in Beleriand (...); and this kinship influenced their decision to join in the Exile.' 

 

This is new, but at this point (1968 or later) Tolkien would never go back to the 'Silmarillion proper' and write the Flight of the Noldor with this in mind -- nor with the late ideas concerning Finrod in mind, if in fact they were newly imagined as well, that is.

Ah, Galin.  Maybe I misremember whether Galadriel influenced her brother.  I have read only an older version of Silmarillion and am eager to acquire another and more of Tolkien's writings I have learned about from reading posts on this website. 

More likely, it is in my own idealization of Finrod because he is so dear to my heart.  His fulfilling of his oath even knowing it would cost his life is what makes him my favorite character.  I look forward to re-reading so I can be more accurate in my posts.

And I quite enjoy learning from those of you who have read more on MiddleEarth and love it as much as I do! 

 

you are obviously both noble and humble Finrod and that is a great thing in or out of Middle-Earth.

As for Galin the Careful as I think of him and Brego the Zealous as I call him, i am in breathless awe and wonder when they come in their finery and stand face to face in gentle word and understanding combat. It is thrilling.

Actually I was a bit 'surprised' somehow, reading this later description of Finrod again -- I had read it before, more than once, but never really compared it to the 1977 Silmarillion so specifically.

Anyway I should source it: this is from the late text The Shibboleth of Feanor, in The Peoples of Middle-Earth, but it's also published in Unfinished Tales, as it deals with Galadriel.

 

And if you love Finrod, as many do (including me), you might be interested in Tolkien's Finrod Athrabeth Ah Andreth, a very interesting conversation between Finrod and a mortal woman, published in Morgoth's Ring.

Thank you for your kind words milady Leelee.  And thank you Galin for giving me something new,at least to me, to read about my Prince.

I am looking forward to learning even more from all of you who have steeped yourselves in the lore of Master Tolkien. I am thrilled to have stumbled on this site, for the reason that I know no one personally who has read as much as I have.  And then after all these years to find out there is more for me to explore, once again Thank You! 

As for Galin the Careful as I think of him ...

 

LOL Leelee. I take your meaning, but can I sell you on 'wary' instead? It sounds more dangerous to me! 

 

And heck I disagree with even Tolkien himself about Galadriel -- well, I disagree with JRRT about only a couple things concerning Galadriel actually! but I hope the Master would think me an annoying wolf in his camp even when doing so.

Great reading as usual Finrod, Galin and of course Lee Lee (the ever loving).

I have pondered this for years, ever since reading the Sil for the first time, then of course HOME.  I think that Feanor's power over his people was great, and the power of his voice and knowledge alone would have swayed even the most strong.  I think that I would indeed have gone East, but not with Feanor.  I think I would have had my own reasons to return to the East.  That is if return it was.  I expect that for the Cuivienen born Elves the journey and reasons for the journey would have greatly differed than for those who were born in the West.  I expect that for those Elves who had never seen Middle Earth, the lies of Melkor would have clouded their minds with the fantasies of great and easy lives in wide lands not that different from Tuna.  What a shock it must have been for these Elves.  Lands stained by death and decay.  Only dim twilight.  Unknown fell creatures everywhere.  No Valar to watch over and protect them.  This journey would make a great book in itself.

Then of course the journey home after Ages uncounted.  I mentioned in another thread, whilst discussing Cirdan, how bizarre it must have been for an Elf as Cirdan.  Truly ancient, however finally returning to a long home he had never seen.  I suppose that this is the reverse as mentioned above.

Tolkien truly created worlds as diverse and problematic as our own.  Even for the glorious Elves...

Interesting question. Are any of us really good enough to remain obedient to the Valar, no matter what?

I think the rebellion of the Noldor reflects the fall of mankind - our descent into self-serving passions and corruption. Would I have rebelled? Probably. I am all too aware of my own weaknesses. The only thing that would have prevented me would have been a love of my home and comforts - but in that I am more like a hobbit than an elf!

Galadriel's influence on Finrod is especially poignant. His death, while she survived for many centuries, must have broken a good deal of her willfullness. The Galadriel we see in LOTR is a far different -dare I say pennitent - character than in the early Sil stories. It is sweet to think of them being reunited in the end.

Agreed Allyssa. Imagine the wonderful meetings to behold when the last ships arrived on Tol Eressea and further on the Valinor. I especially would love to witness the meeting of Elrond and his blessed wife Celebrian. Gosh what would be the first word either of them would say after thousands of years of longing.

Brego, our minds work in such similar ways!

I always imagined the meeting between Elrond and Celebrian as very bittersweet. They are overjoyed to see each other again - but wait - She looks over his shoulder. Her eyes sweep the ship and the quay. She does not see who she is looking for.  She looks back in his eyes, confused. Then dismay. Then...grief that maybe even the undying lands cannot heal.

(probably should post this in the Broken hearts thread. I'm making myself all teary here, Sad Smilie ...)

Yes Allyssa and not only Arwen's gaze would not be returned. From memory her beloved glorious twins Elladan and Elrohir stayed behind in Middle Earth to aid King Elessar for the next 100 years or so. But still I think that the knowledge of her children's great Valour and knew found happiness may have made up for most of the disappointment.

This is very interesting question, and I'm not sure if I could declare myself considering I'll never be in this situation. I agree with Alyssa about Feanor and his actions being so similar to us, people. Those weeknesses are a part of human nature, and who knows what happens.

I also agree about Elrond and Celebrian's meeting - Alyssa wrote it beautifully, I can already imagine the scene myself. It would be bittersweet reunion. Heartbreaking.

While, in my opinion, Feanor's pride was second only to Melkor's and led to many wrongdoings and much heartache, I think the pride of the Noldor was in part to blame for the Exile from the West.

Exactly.

My answer would be a definite yes!

To illustrate why, I would draw upon experiences from life. How many times have we acted on the moment after hearing only one side of a story? It's all too common. If someone is a good orator and touches issues we are sensible too then we are bound to act according to that, particularly when no counter opinion is immediately available!

Going back to Feanor, he was a skilled orator, and talked about something which burned in the hearts and minds of the all of the Noldor particularly through Morgoth lies. If the Valar had intervened then and there and countered Feanors argument then things might well have been different as people would have had the opportunity to balance things out. But having acted on the moment and done deeds when besotted, the words and advice of the Valar was too late for them. In as much as we blame Feanor, I would blame the Valar as much. 

I'd like to think I'd be noble and wise enough not to follow Feanor. But taking into account how still young the Elves were, a significant number of them were still swayed, even those that were considered very wise. And knowing myself, being a great believer in justice, would want such justice in the recovery of the Silmarils.

So unfortunately, I think that I would follow Feanor.

I think I would have the same motive as Galadriel had! I would not follow Feanor ( cause he is a idiot) but go to ME because I want it, and not because someone tells me to do so but not for some Silmarils or revenge on Morgoth but because I  wanted to see the lands. I really dislike Feanor, more I dislike the saying that all followed Feanor, that is at least not true for Galadriel, Finrod and sure some other Noldor who always had the desire to see ME and not like the Feanorians, which only wanted to go to ME after the things that happened.

This is quite a question.  Would I have...?  On the one hand, I am definitely more a Teleri type than a Noldo: for me, music and song and swan-ships win out over jewels and amazing gadgets, although I can't deny that the Noldor are totally thrilling... but to follow them away?  And the point is moot, because I would have been on the losing side when they came to steal our ships and burn our harbor.

Then again, I try to understand something more about that regrettable decision.  The Trees had been destroyed, Valinor darkened; the Valar had been defeated horrendously, Finwë murdered at his front door, the Silmarils stolen and gone... Melkor, Morgoth, triumphant.  The Noldor probably had their faith badly shaken, and figured it was a good time to go.  Plus, remember, there was already poison in the pipes.  Hmm... if not, why not stay and try to clean up the mess?

Sometimes it happens, often it happens, that good things are taken for granted and one loses one's perspective.  And since the Elves received it all ready-made, well, it didn't cost them.  There was not enough there of their own to make them stand and hold their ground.  And they had never met the great teachers: pain, sorrow, despair, regret, fear... they hadn't died, they hadn't lost.

But isn't it true that it's the Noldor that made the stories?  How much is there about the wise, loyal Vanyar poets?  My drama mentor used to insist on conflict in a story... otherwise what would happen?

Finally, the question.  In my young, crazy years, yes (gulp), I would have followed fiery Fëanor and the gorgeous Noldor; in my older, wiser (!) years, I don't think so.  No... the beaches of Eldamar for me... 

I wouldve followed him up until the Kinslaying. Thats not cool. If he couldnt understand how they felt about their ships, then he obviously didnt understand that they were as precious to the Teleri and the Silmarills were to Feanor. If he felt justified in his actions, then I dont see how his actions were justified in his own head. I wouldve probably turned back with Finarfin, or I wouldve followed Fingolfin on that perilous path north. But I wouldve only followed that way, if Fongolfins group hadnt taken part in the Kinslaying. Feanor was justified up until the poiny of the Kinslaying. I mean, thats why i think the Valar or more specifically, Manwe can be a pussy. They ask fenor for the Jewels to bring the two tress back to life, because although Feanbor made the jewels, he didnt make the light. But, I think Manwe's a pussy, cause all he had to do, was send Tulkas and Orome after Morgoth immediatly after he fled, but instead Manwe, chose to sit and think like he always does.If Manwe sent the Valar after morgoth, Feanor might never had done the things he did. How much of a pussy is Manwe, he's the mightiest in all ways, besides Morgoth. Yet, he never takes action. Fine sit back and do nothing, but dont restrain Tulkas. If Tulkas couldve, he wouldve gone and defeated Melkor by himself. But that wasnt what Manwe counselled. Sure let the Teleri get killed, sure doom the Noldor. 

With some interesting wording Thron you make a good point. Why didn't Manwe take a larger part in helping to save/restore Valinor? Was it because he was afraid? Personally I think Illuvatar was the one who told him what to do. He was the only one who could have direct communication with the one and only Eru, who was more of the "sit back and watch" mindset. Now if it were a powerful maia who had caused all this trouble, I can understand them doing nothing. But the fact it was a god, who was fleeing to live near the weak mortals....it's almost like a cruel joke. "Well we know they don't stand a chance but let's see what happens anyways." Brutal.

As for the OP, I agree with whoever said they'd follow until the Kinslaying, but then head north with Fingolfin. I would have been right next to Feanor with the original march. I'm a sagittarius, so I love adventure and get bored of my surroundings easily. But that would be too much. Plus I'd know working through that hardship instead of taking the easy path of stealing ships would make me stronger in the end. I would definitely feel bad for Feanor, as it was clear he lost his way. I do not think he was evil from the start, so I could not find it in myself to hate him as a person, just what he had become.

Tulkas and Orome pursued Melkor in Aman, and when Melkor nonetheless escaped, Feanor was given a chance, with free will, to make his choice regarding the Silmarils. 

For the motives of Manwe after Morgoth escaped to Middle-earth, see text VII (iii), Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring. Or see Osanwe-kenta, part of which reads...

'The office of the Elder King was to retain all his subjects in the allegiance of Eru, or to bring them back to it, and in that allegiance to leave them free.'

'Therefore not until the last, and not then except by the express command of Eru and by His power, was Melkor thrown utterly down and deprived for ever of all power to do or to undo.'

JRRT Osanwe-kenta, Vinyar Tengwar 39

Im currentky reading HoME, but I dont when youre talking about the published silmarillion, that the HoME really counts. Doesnt matter what it says in those books. If it did matter, then Aragorn would still be a hobbit named Peregrin Boffin with the nickname Trotter.

And if we do count what you said above "gather ALL subjects", well that would count Men. So why leave Men to be corrupted by Morgoth? Even if Tulkas and Orome were sent. Two Valar, to take down the Mightiest of all the Valar? Its not a great enough effort. I mean besides the Silmarills... wasnt the light of the two tress worth a fight? Wasn't it worth sending more then just 2 Vala? Shit, I guess not.

Well restraining Melkor wouldn't be the issue, as Tulkas was technically the strongest of them all and Orome the swiftest. So once you got through his dragons and balrogs and all that, all they had to do was grab him by the arms and shove his crown down to his neck.

What I don't understand is how Morgoth/Ungoliant had such an easy time draining the trees. I know they were under the cover of Ungoliants darkness, but damn....nobody saw anything suspicious? Really? I wouldn't mind having a power like that...

Im currentky reading HoME, but I dont when youre talking about the published silmarillion, that the HoME really counts. Doesnt matter what it says in those books. If it did matter, then Aragorn would still be a hobbit named Peregrin Boffin with the nickname Trotter.

There is no Trotter in Middle-earth because part of The History of Middle-Earth series deals with the drafts for (a story published by the author of course) The Lord of the Rings.

However Tolkien never completed nor published his Silmarillion (just as an aside: Osanwe-kenta is not part of The History of Middle-Earth, but was published in Vinyar Tengwar, a linguistic journal).

Here is the full/more detailed version of the quote Galin gave.

"If we speak last of the "folly" of Manwë and the weakness and unwariness of the Valar, let us beware how we judge. In the histories, indeed, we may be amazed and grieved to read how (seemingly) Melkor deceived and cozened others, and how even Manwë appears at times almost a simpleton compared with him: as if a kind but unwise father were treating a wayward child who would assuredly in time perceive the error of his ways. Whereas we, looking on and knowing the outcome, see now that Melkor knew well the error of his ways, but was fixed in them by hate and pride beyond return. He could read the mind of Manwë, for the door was open; but his own mind was false and even if the door seemed open, there were doors of iron within closed for ever.

How otherwise would you have it? Should Manwë and the Valar meet secrecy with subterfuge, treachery with falsehood, lies with more lies? If Melkor would usurp their rights, should they deny his? Can hate overcome hate? Nay, Manwë was wiser; or being ever open to Eru he did His will, which is more than wisdom. He was ever open because he had nothing to conceal, no thought that it was harmful for any to know, if they could comprehend it. Indeed Melkor knew his will without questioning it; and he knew that Manwë was bound by the commands and injunctions of Eru, and would do this or abstain from that in accordance with them, always, even knowing that Melkor would break them as it suited his purpose. Thus the merciless will ever count on mercy, and the liars make use of truth; for if mercy and truth are withheld from the cruel and the lying, they have ceased to be honoured.

Manwë could not by duress attempt to compel Melkor to reveal his thought and purposes, or (if he used words) to speak the truth. If he spoke and said: this is true, he must be believed until proved false; if he said: this I will do, as you bid, he must be allowed the opportunity to fulfill his promise.

The force and restraint that were used upon Melkor by the united power of all the Valar, were not used to extort confession (which was needless); nor to compel him to reveal his thought (which was unlawful, even if not vain). He was made captive as a punishment for his evil deeds, under the authority of the King. So we may say; but it were better said that he was deprived for a term, fixed by promise, of his power to act, so that he might halt and consider himself, and have thus the only chance that mercy could contrive of repentance and amendment. For the healing of Arda indeed, but for his own healing also. Melkor had the right to exist, and the right to act and use his powers. Manwë had the authority to rule and to order the world, so far as he could, for the well-being of the Eruhíni [Children of Eru]; but if Melkor would repent and return to the allegiance of Eru, he must be given his freedom again. He could not be enslaved, or denied his part. The office of the Elder King was to retain all his subjects in the allegiance of Eru, or to bring them back to it, and in that allegiance to leave them free.

Therefore not until the last, and not then except by the express command of Eru and by His power, was Melkor thrown utterly down and deprived for ever of all power to do or to undo."

And I agree with you about HOME....unless it's never specifically mentioned in any of the published works. Nowhere in Hobbit/LOTR/Silmarillion does it really clarify this thought. So I think drawing comparisons from HOME or other works is ok for an example like this. But if something is already established, sure I think it's fun to know what Tolkien's past ideas were, but I don't think it's grounds to dispute something in the published works. Simply because we'll never know. And I trust CT's reasoning for using the tales he did in the Sil.

Great info Balrogs and Galin.

We also always need to remember that The Valar did not understand Evil and or Greed because to them it was totally alien. They always had all of ME in their hearts and minds and knew that to battle Melkor, both Earth and its children would have to suffer, as the Northern regions and Beleriand ultimately did. It's for this non understanding of Evil which Melkor used to his advantage in secreting Ungient into the land of The Valar to destroy its greatest blessings. The Valar simply could never have imagined such an action, even though it wasn't the first act of Evil perpetrated on them via the first Dark Lord.

I think Manwe didn't gave chase was because Aman was in chaos. He wanted to bring order back to their country before helping ME.

I would like to say that I would have remained obedient and stayed in Aman, but I know me and I to say that would be dishonest.  I would have definitely followed Feanor.  I have a very rebellious spirit and am attracted to the same.  I find him and Eol to be two of the most interesting characters in the series.  Feanor fascinates me and I would have probably followed him to the end of Middle Earth.  For good or ill, there is no arguing that he did change the face of Middle Earth.  The book tells us that Manwe wept for the marring of Feanor and for good reason.  The mightier they are, the harder they fall.  Look at Melkor as an example.  It kind of reminds me of the fall of Satan in the Bible.  Is this just my perception?

I completely agree Feanor is one of the most fascinating characters in the whole canon. I definitely voted for him in the poll! Very misunderstood...in Middle Earth at least.

I don't think I'd go quite as far to say he was a Satan character or his doom was the same. Of course Satan was cast away and given his own land to rule, whereas Feanor was killed on the battlefield and now waits in the Halls of Mandos. Also Feanor went flat out crazy at the end, Satan just shared a similar rebellious spirit to yours!!

But he is one of my favorite characters in all of literature.

Oh goodness.  I re-read my post.  I apologize Balrogs.  I meant Melkor reminding me of Satan!  I believe that Feanor was essentially good.  He would not have been able to touch the Smarils had he not been.  Is this not true?  My heart really moved for Feanor.  He was the first in Middle Earth to come from a broken home.  He went through the death of his mother, the murder of his father, and trying to find his own place in a new family.  I think he held up pretty well, all things considered.  

I understand that many people believe the kin-slaying at Alaquonde unforgivable.  Perhaps, it is unforgiveable.  But I believe that he was going mad at the time.  He was grief stricken over the death of his father.  He perceived the Valar as doing nothing (as do I).  It was a terrible means to an end.  His real animosity was toward Morgoth.