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Chapter 20. Of The Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

With defeat of the Noldor at the Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame, their siege was broken and their armies scattered. Though Fingolfinís heroic combat with Morgoth had shown Morgoth was not unbeatable, it had cost them their High King. Fortunately, Morgothís victory at Dagor Bragollach had cost him dear and he had been unable to press forward his advantage. Spurred on by the deeds of Beren and Luthien, Maedhros therefore, attempted to once again unite the remaining Noldor. This new league became known as the Union of Maedhros.

From the start, however, the Oath of Feanor and the deeds it had wrought went against the design of Maedhros. Because of the actions of Celegorm and Curufin, Orodreth (now ruler of Nargothrond) refused to march forth at the word of any son of Feanor. Likewise, because of their proud words when demanding back their Silmaril, neither would Thingol send aid from Doriath.

Maedhros did have aid from elsewhere, though. The Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost sent troops and weapons, and many Men joined his forces, including Men from the East. In addition, Turgon chose this moment to come forth from Gondolin with an army of 10,000. Maedhosís plan, after driving the Orcs back out of Beleriand, was to assault Angband from two fronts, the intention being that Fingon would be able to arrive with the second army after his own had lured Morgothís forces onto the battlefield. The deception of Men, however, caused this plan to badly fail.

Morgoth had already corrupted many of the Easterling Men, and using these as spies, he was privy to Maedhrosís plans. Using the Easterlings to create a diversion that would delay Maedhrosís army, he sent forth a force to draw out Fingonís. By brutally killing the brother of one of Fingonís captains in front of their lines he succeeded in doing this. Fingonís army attacked, and breaking through Morgothís western army, the Noldor reached the gate of Angband. With the fire of their initial attack gone, however, the Noldor were then forced to retreat back again.

Until rescued by Turgonís force from Gondolin, for a night Fingonís army was surrounded by Orcs. As Turgon and Fingon joined forces, so too came the army of Maedhros. Before they could unite, however, Morgoth sent forth his reserves, and these included Balrogs and Dragons. They came between the two Elven armies, preventing them from meeting, and then many of the Easterlings showed their deceit by attacking the rear of Maedhosís lines. Attacked on three fronts, this Maedhrosís army broke and fled. The last to leave of this eastern army was the force of Dwarves. They stayed until their lord fell, and by doing so, managed to drive off Glaurung, the father of dragons.

With the eastern army gone, Morgoth turned his attention back to the western army, and led by the Balrog, Gothmog, they managed to split Fingon and Turgonís forces, Gothmog slaying Fingon. With no hope of victory, the Edain led by Hurin and Huan guarded the retreat of Turgon so they could return secretly to Gondolin. In this defence, the Edain were all slain with the exception of Hurin, who was eventually captured after killing 70 of his enemy.

With the end of this battle also went the strength of the Noldor, their only armies now lying hidden in Gondolin and Nargothrond. Northern Beleriand was in Morgothís control, and in Hithlum he sent the Easterlings to dwell. He then turned his attention fully on Turgon, and to find his kingdom he set a terrible fate upon Hurin whom he knew had been there. Imprisoning him on a stone chair upon Thangorodrim, he forced him to watch and hear all the events that occurred from thereon concerning his family, though all he saw was poisoned by the lies of Morgoth.




Questions for discussion.

1) Again in this chapter, as with Feanor and Fingolfin, we see forces of enraged Elves successfully breaking through the enemy's lines and banging on the gates of Angband. What does this suggest to you?

2) Why did Turgon leave Gondolin for this battle and not for the Dagor Bragollach eighteen years earlier?

3) In both this battle and the Dagor Bragollach, the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this?

4) In this battle we saw great contrasts in the deeds of Men. Taking a viewpoint from the late third age, how important was this battle in the way of future Elf/Human relationships? Can many of the future prejudices be seen to stem directly from this battle?

5)
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Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind out of the West.

Any comments?

If you have any queries or comments of your own concerning this chapter, feel free to add them.

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1) What does this suggest to you?


well i think that it means that had they been united,they woud have defeated morgot, or maybe just harm him enough for he not to be able to harm them so much....but that is just if they had been united...

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) Why did Turgon leave Gondolin for this battle and not for the Dagor Bragollach


maybe because he thought that earlier was not teh time yet for elves to be really united, and it would have been a waste, i mean to fight if they had no chance to win....


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the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this?


mhhmm, maybe because they were influenced by feanorīs oath...,and they were afraight of treason..., by the rest of thier kin Wink Smilie

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how important was this battle in the way of future Elf/Human relationships? Can many of the future prejudices be seen to stem directly from this battle?


definitely i think that elves could never forget that....could any of us forget it if it were us there fighting?....


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Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind out of the West.
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Any comments?



well, that might be a metafore telling that destiny or fate was reaching them and that valinorīs power was not at their reach....that maybe they had to face consecuences by thier own,even if they were bitter ones...

any idea why easterling let themselves to be seduced by morgoth and did not pay attention on what experience taught them through elves???..... Cyclops Smilie
1)That the Elves have the power or the potential to defeat Morgoth, but during times of peace they have become too comfortable and reluctant to make the first move and only push forward against their enemy in times of great need and passion (hatred). If they could all agree to make a united force in a well planned attack on Angband then surely they would be victorious (like Thingol77 said) but because many of the Elves are more content to wait for better days - in self denial of the truth - they are unable to muster a formidable united army.
I will leave responding to your answers for a little while, Thingol, so that others can post their views if they wish to.
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any idea why easterling let themselves to be seduced by morgoth and did not pay attention on what experience taught them through elves???.....
The Men who Morgoth managed to seduce the easiest, were those who he found before they entered Beleriand. These did not have the lore of the Eldar to protect them from Morgoth's lies, and so many of them took his words as truth.

He also attempted to seduce the Edain too. Disguised as one of their lords (Amlach), he spoke to the Edain about the lies the Eldar were telling the Edain about Valinor, and how they were keeping the light from them. His lies generally tried to turn allies against each other, generally by suggesting your friends were lying to you and attempting to rule the world themselves.

Because the Edain had lived amongst the Eldar, they were able to see through Melkor's lies, but many of the Easterlings that he seduced did not have this advantage. Coming into Beleriand with the knowledge that the Eldar were the deceitful ones who were planning on world domination, they would have been careful not to be seduced by the Eldar, believing themselves to be fighting on the right side.
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These did not have the lore of the Eldar to protect them from Morgoth's lies, and so many of them took his words as truth.


yes...,well...., i think you are right...,but maybe because we have followed all the story, it is dificult to understand...., is it not???..... Elf Smilie

[Edited on 19/2/2003 by THINGOL77]
3) It seems to me the reason why the Sons of Feanor were able yo do that is because it was Morgoth let them...Stop that surprised look...Yes, Morgoth wanted them to go so that the Sons of Feanor will ensure the elves continued failure to defeat Morgoth this is because the oath of Feanor has worked in Morgoth's favor. As for the other questions...I have to think first... Dunce Smilie
I agree with MadWannabe in saying
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because the oath of Feanor has worked in Morgoth's favor


Mind you I don't believe that Morgorth allowed it or let them. I think Morgorth feared the sons of Feanor. He knew Feanor (they had been "friends") and knew of his temperment and that of Feanor's sons.

Just my thoughts.
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He knew Feanor (they had been "friends") and knew of his temperment and that of Feanor's sons.



be welcome Mcdlt...,enjoy the site....

well i think i remember there was said that feanor never paid attention on morgoth...in fact i think he despised and hated melkor....is it not? Elf Smilie
Big Smile Smilie
What you said is right Thingol77, I was looking for a counterargument. Feanor was never "friends" with Morgoth, in fact Feanor was suspicious of Morgoth and never trusted him. And Feanor's art and craftsmanship was his own and not taught by Morgoth.
BTW, McDLT, I forgot to welcome to the reading discussion group which consists of both talented and intelligent beings. Tongue Smilie
Are you shamelessly calling yourself a talented and intelligent being? Big Laugh Smilie

4) This was indeed the first time that Men betrayed the Elves. However, it was not the only time they did that. The prejudice would stem from the repeated betrayals that the Elves would face, rather than from this incidence alone.

[Edited on 21/2/2003 by Erkenbrand]
Yep... Tongue Smilie Big Laugh Smilie
Anyways, more important things at hand, Erkenbrand is right, and it is true that this is not the first time they did it, blinded by promises of wealth and power. This battle is to show the weakness in men and this is meant to show that the elves battle aginst Morgoth was the elves alone and not men. Therefore, after that battle, few men if any ever took part in a battle against Morgoth side by side. The prejudice that Elrond had against men( not normal men but the race of the Numenoreans) was that they were too weak to resist the temptation of the ring. However as can be read, the betrayal led to the estrangment(dun know how to spell... Smile Smilie ) of elves and men except three houses of the Edain.
You have again made some insightful conclusions to the questions which I raised.

1) Again in this chapter, as with Feanor and Fingolfin, we see forces of enraged Elves successfully breaking through the enemy's lines and banging on the gates of Angband. What does this suggest to you?

Thingol and Arwen's answers are pretty much what I was looking for here (very nicely put, too, Arwen). The elves were content to contain Morgoth within a siege, and resume their lives behind a watchful defence. This tactic could never really win the war for them, however.

When arroused by anger, grief or other passions, however, the elves appeared unstopable, accomplishing great deeds in battle. Several times, individuals or small groups managed to break through enemy lines and even reach the gates of Angband. To me, this shows the elves were far superior to any soldiers that Morgoth could field. They must have been truely dreadful to have to fight against (you can almost feel sorry for the orcs here).

I think if the elves had used this passion to attack Angband with from the beginning, they may have fared better than laying siege. Morgoth's orcs appeared to reproduce faster than the elves, and so could recover better from heavy losses in battle. The way the elves fought the war gave Morgoth several opportunities to inflict losses upon them, and then retreat back to Angband to restrengthen his own forces.

2) Why did Turgon leave Gondolin for this battle and not for the Dagor Bragollach eighteen years earlier?

My opinion on this one is simply that the Dagor Bragollach was Morgoth's surprise offensive, while the Nirnaeth Arnoediad was the elven offensive. In the former battle, Morgoth had pretty much overrun the elven defences before they knew what was occurring, and it would have been to little gain if Gondolin had revealed itself at this stage.

In the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, however, the Noldor were preparing for one last offensive against Morgoth. This, I think, was very much a case of do or die for them. Maedhros was finally committing them to the scenario I mentioned in my response to the previous question, the scenario Fingolfin had been so reluctant to commit them too.

Because this battle was going to be their best (and possibly final) hope of defeating Morgoth, Turgon felt it was time to come forth and lend his support. I think he was right to do so too. Had it not been for the Oath of Feanor keeping two of the elven kingdoms from joining the battle, and the deceit of Men, the battle would most likely have been won.

3) In both this battle and the Dagor Bragollach, the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this?

I think there are two reasons for this.

The first reason is one of strategic geography. After Fingon had rescued Maedhros from Mt Thangorodrim, he had attempted to redress the wrongs the House of Feanor had committed against the Houses of Fingolfin and Finarfin. One of the ways he had done this was to take the most vulnerable lands for himself and his brothers to defend. While Fingolfin had great mountain ranges and cliffs to defend, Maedhros and his brothers had open lands which would be far harder to hold against an assault. The hill of Himring, for example, upon which Maedhros gathered his host, was not steep sided like the mountains of Mithrim etc.

The second reason I think they broke rather than fighting to the death was something to do with their nature. The decision to make a last stand, knowing you are going to die, must be very altruistic if there is the possibility you could escape. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness, and I think the Sons of Feanor (with the possible exceptions of Maedhros and Maglor) were selfish. There is no way they would throw their lives away if there was any possible way of escaping. (Please note, I am not calling them cowardly here. They were brave in battle, but would not throw their lives away pointlessly).

The point you made about Morgoth allowing them to escape because the Oath of Feanor was causing more harm than good to them is an interesting point MadWannabe, but not one that I'd entirely agree with. Instead, I think after the death of Feanor, Morgoth perhaps dismissed his sons as not being as dangerous as Fingolfin, Fingon, Turgon and Finrod. By concentrating his efforts against these latter four, he was perhaps letting Feanor's sons slip through his net.

You were correct in your arguement that Feanor was never friends with Morgoth, though. Feanor is said to have hated Morgoth more than any other Noldor, and Morgoth hated Feanor because he created the Silmarils, and because he did not seek his knowledge. I think McDLT perhaps knew this too, and hence used the word, "friend," in inverted commas to mean aquaintance.

4) In this battle we saw great contrasts in the deeds of Men. Taking a viewpoint from the late third age, how important was this battle in the way of future Elf/Human relationships? Can many of the future prejudices be seen to stem directly from this battle?

Like Erkenbrand pointed out, Men have repeatedly betrayed the elves so not all the blame could fall on this battle. As far as first impessions go, however, I think the behaviour of the Easterlings in this battle would never be forgiven.

I think more importantly than how the Easterlings behaved themselves in this battle, though, was how the Edain conducted themselves. Because of their bravery and huge sacrifices on behalf of the elves, the Edain earned great repect from the elves. That respect never really died, Gil-Galad still forming an allience with the faithful even after the sins committed by their fellow Numenorians.

Into the third age too, you can still see this. Elrond may not have too much respect for Isildur because he did not destroy the Ring, but it does not stop him fostering the Chieftains of the Dunedain. He may not have liked the thought of his daughter marrying a mortal, but this was meant as no slur upon Aragorn. He was here, just trying to protect his daughter from what would inevitably cause much pain. Elrond would have been the nearest thing Aragorn ever had to a father.

I think much of this respect for the Edain and their descendants among the Numenorians and Dunedain came from the sacrifices they made during this Battle.

Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind out of the West.

Yes, as Thingol pointed out, this was no ordinary wind. Manwe was the wind, and his eyes saw everything that occured. I may be mistaken here, but I have always seen this wind as meaning Manwe was greatly distraught at what had just occurred. It was a wind of grief for the fallen Noldor who he had never stopped loving, and the fallen Men whom he had never given his protection.

I think it is also a warning to Morgoth too, however. Something to remind him that though he can defeat the armies of Elves and Men, there is still a far greater army waiting in the West to deal with him.
3) In both this battle and the Dagor Bragollach, the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this?

Val, I agree with everything that you said here, but I also think it's possible that in this case it was their oath that in some way prevented them all form dying there and then, almost as though they had to live so that they could return at another time to try and win back the Silmarils and Celegorm and Curufin had vowed to slay Thingol for the Silmaril that he had....but then again I could be wrong. Orc Grinning Smilie

Oh btw, I love what you said about the wind out of the West - I was thinking along the same lines but couldn't find the right words to express it. Cool Elf Smilie
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but I also think it's possible that in this case it was their oath that in some way prevented them all from dying there and then, almost as though they had to live so that they could return at another time to try and win back the Silmarils
I can see where you are coming from with this approach, Arwen, but am a little unsure whether you mean the Oath was somehow affecting "Fate", or whether you mean it was affecting the judgements of Feanor's sons.

If it is the former, I'd have to disagree as I don't think the Oath had any power over events, other than binding those who had swore it. If it was the latter case, however, I'd be in agreement. If their greatest motivation is towards reclaiming the Silmarils, rather than defeating evil, it could easily influence their decisions upon the battlefield.

Also, I think anyone who swears such an oath must be of a certain selfish nature anyway. To commit the lives of so many thousands of Elves and Men just to gain some material treasure is pretty deplorable. Such a person is unlikely to commit his own life if he has any means of avoiding it.

What I never understood was why if they were so determined to fight anyone who held a Silmaril from them, they allowed Morgoth to do so for so long. They held a siege around him for centuries, unwilling to fight him for possession of the Silmarils, but as soon as someone weaker than themselves held one, they were there making demands.
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If it was the latter case, however, I'd be in agreement. If their greatest motivation is towards reclaiming the Silmarils, rather than defeating evil, it could easily influence their decisions upon the battlefield.

First of all, as usual, I enjoyed reading everyone's collective input, and Val I also like what you said in regards to question #3, because thatís pretty much how I look at it. I really wanted to bring some attention to your words that I choose to quote, because this is something I feel strongly about. I personally believe that the greatest motivation for the sons of Feanor is reclaiming the Silmarils. At the end of the day, this is all they really care about, and the evidence of truth to that can be found in the specific wording of the oath of Feanor, and the constant behavior exhibited by the sons of Feanor. Reclaiming the Silmarils comes first and foremost above all else for them, even over conquering evil. The oath governs their judgment, and I really feel that this is the chief reason for them leaving the battlefield, and why we see their selfish, back stabbing behavior over and over again (and obviously one of the principle reasons the Elves canít make a united stand). Perhaps this is one of Tolkien's ways to show us the evils of politics, and of self serving interests?
Elf Smilie


[Edited on 25/2/2003 by Elfstone]
The oath in my opinion, decided the fate of elves. All the elves have been affected by the oath one way or another, even the elves who remained in middle-earth and did not go to Valinor and that includes the elves in Valinor, too. In the swan havans(I think), when the first kinslaying occurred.rThe sons who swore to that oath did so in the heat of the moment. I think that the sons of Feanor also regretted it in the end but they were unable to go back on it. It can be seen in the end when Manwe's herald led an army and defeated Morgoth. Maedhros and Maglor were the only sons left and Maedhros was for the idea of giving up the oath but Maglor persuaded him otherwise.rWhich leads me to the next question, was the fact that the silmaril burnt the hands Maedhros and Maglor because of the deaths of elves and the horrible fate that Feanor and his sons led them too that made them no longer "pure" enough to hold the silmaril. One more thing, did they lose their right to claim the silmarils the moment of the kinslaying or for sins after that?


Valedhelgwath's original response was lost while transferring to this new site but has been added here for continuity

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Maedhros and Maglor were the only sons left and Maedhros was for the idea of giving up the oath but Maglor persuaded him otherwise.


I think you will find that was the other way around Mad. It was Maedhros who pursuaded Maglor to continue.

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Which leads me to the next question, was the fact that the silmaril burnt the hands Maedhros and Maglor because of the deaths of elves and the horrible fate that Feanor and his sons led them too that made them no longer "pure" enough to hold the silmaril. One more thing, did they lose their right to claim the silmarils the moment of the kinslaying or for sins after that?


We are jumping a little ahead of ourselves here, Mad, as this is material we will be covering in Assignment 10. Since you ask, however, I will answer you now with a couple of quotes from the Silmarillion, and then move the posts later into the relevant section.

From page 79 of the Silmarillion

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And Varda hallowed the Silmarils, so that thereafter no mortal flesh, nor hands unclean, nor anything of evil will might touch them, but it was scorched and withered...


From page 204 of the Silmarillion.

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But Eonwe answered that the right to the work of their father, which the sons of Feanor formerly possessed, had now perished, because of their many and merciless deeds, being blinded by their oath, and most of all because of their slaying of Dior and the assault upon the Havens.


I think between them, those two passages should answer your question. The Silmarils burned them because, in the eyes of Varda, they had committed evil deeds. As to when they lost the right to the Silmarils, I would say after the kin-slaying. If they had repented at this stage, however, after paying pennance I think they might have eventually regained them. They did not repent, however, and continued to commit wrongs. I think each one was a further nail in the coffin lid for them.

I know you are all keen to move on faster than I am able to post new assignments, but could you try to keep the discussions to the relevant assignments please. Many thanks.

well, about the Oath, i think that even though it did not affect destiny or fate..., it might influenced feanorīsons because they were tied to it....

it is a dark thing to swear anything (to pronounce an oath) because,for example, the way i was raised...., when you say an oath, no matter what, you need to acomplish it...., it is a matter of honor...., and to be honest, i would rather die than to live without honor...,the point is not to pronounce oaths if you have not considered all the consecuences....,

i think that was the whole problem here...., that the oath was done under rage and without any consideration ...., and therefore even when they might have thought actions were evil or nasty..., they could not avoid them, because it was the oath that blinded them, and nubilated their judgement....(of course as arwen said ...:i might be wrong... Wink Smilie )


we are sorry val..., I think everybody is enjoying this as much as me..., and I think that we are having a good rythm....,I mean, we go as fast as we have to, no more nor less..... Thumbs Up Smilie

[Edited on 26/2/2003 by THINGOL77]
Sorry about that, Valedhelgwath. I won't do it again. I have a new question this time though...I am still unsure how the elves attacked Angband. The initial plan was to have Maedro's army to attack first and then Fingon cames with his army. Once they have lured all of Morgoth's forces out, Fingon's army will come and the will attack Morgoth's army from both sides, right? But the problem was that Fingon was lured out first by Morgoth sice he knew their plan. So it can be concluded that Morgoth LURED Fingon and his army into a trap so as to destroy their resistance which is the bigger threat and Maedhros he used methods to distract him and his army, delaying them from aiding Fingon. So in a way, Morgoth percieved Maedhros as the lesser threat, and so did not try to trap him while he let loose his forces on Fingon...so theortically speaking, Fingon was surrounded while Maedhros and his army was not, that is why Maedhros was able to escape so easily...
So easily illustrated(The forces):
Maedhro-Morgoth-Fingon-Morgoth
Morgoth turn the tables on them, Maedhros was on the outside fighting in while Fingon was trapped between Morgoth's forces.
That is if my interpretation of how the battle went was correct.
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we are sorry val..., I think everybody is enjoying this as much as me..., and I think that we are having a good rythm....,I mean, we go as fast as we have to, no more nor less
No problems Smile Smilie . I'm just trying to keep topics in the correct places as future new readers of the book may be able to use what we are doing here as a guide to help them through the book after we have finished. If we jump about too much, it will make it confusing for them.

I like your point about the Oath, Thingol. The Noldor were very proud and honour would have been seen as a great virtue among them. Somebody breaking an oath would have lost much face, and for such as the Sons of Feanor, this would have been too much to bear. Maedhros and Maglor, in particular, seem to have been honourable and brave. The deeds they committed in the name of the Oath seem to have left them with a lot of regrets. Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir, however, seemed different all together to this. I think even were it not for the Oath, they may have committed dark deeds (imprisoning Luthien had little to do with the Oath for example).

Your overview of the battle is fairly correct Mad, except Morgoth percieving Maedhros as the lesser threat. I think he may have treated both forces with equal respect, but as a general overviewing the battlefield, he knew how he wanted to conduct the entire battle.

From his spies, he had learned the plans of the elves, and so had to use this knowledge against them (afterall, there is nothing worse in battle than when your plans start going wrong). The reason he was able to concentrate on Fingon's western army was because he knew he had already taken care of Maedhros's eastern army before the battle had even began. He knew that the Easterling allies of Maedhros were really fighting on his side, and were it not for the sons of Bor staying loyal to Maedhros, he might have totally defeated this army.

Your plan of the battlefield is similar to how I read it too. Instead of turning up on the battlefield and surprising Morgoth's forces, Fingon's army was drawn into the trap. In Karen Wynn Fonstad's Atlas of Middle Earth, this battle is depicted. Fingon's forces attacked from the west. They became surrounded and retreated southward were they were relieved by Turgon. In the meantime, Maedhros's army was at first delayed, but then as they came from the east, they were attacked by a force of Easterlings they knew nothing about, and a second force from Angband. At this stage, Uldor showed his betrayal, and attacked Maedhros's army from the rear.

A last host from Angband, including Balrogs, then divided Fingon and Turgon's forces, surrounding the former and causing Turgon to leave the field behind a shield of Edain.
Hello everyone. It's been a while for me (busy with kids) and just catching up on some reading of posts.

So if I may back track a bit to my post
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I think Morgorth feared the sons of Feanor. He knew Feanor (they had been "friends").


Just wanted to clarify why I used "friends". I put it in quotes; it was just my way of saying they knew each other a little more than acquantinces. I used "friends" for lack of a better word.

Lots of reading to do.

I suppsed that McDLT, but I thought that somebody could be confused....., anyhow val explained that already....,a little bit up from here....

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Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir, however, seemed different all together to this. I think even were it not for the Oath, they may have committed dark deeds (imprisoning Luthien had little to do with the Oath for example).[quote/]


You know val...., i have been thinking that maybe, and just maybe....., were they not tied to the oath,they would have nere commited such terrible things....., I think that maybe..., they became like perverted due to the oath....,after all, as you said...,it would have been a very heavy burden....would it not? Wink Smilie
That's a question which could swing either direction, Thingol, without ever finding a satisfactory conclusion. It's true that people are often led down the wrong path after committing just one wrong deed, their subsequent acts just compounding the problems they face until there is no way back.

These people often lay the root of all their problems to just one significant moment in their life from when everything else went wrong. I often wonder though, if that one significant moment had not occurred whether another, just as significant one may have done (ie. some people cannot face up to the fact they commit wrongs and have to blame something else for it all).

The Oath undoubtably caused many problems for these three, but they never seemed to show any remorse for what it was driving them to do. Personally, I think they were arrogant and overly prideful enough to get themselves into trouble with or without the Oath.

From Page 75 of the Silmarillion.
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Nerdanel also was firm of will, but more patient than Feanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to master them, and at first she restrained him when the fire of his heart grew too hot; but his later deeds grieved her, and they became estranged. Seven sons she bore to Feanor; her mood she bequeathed in part to some of them, but not to all.
I think this is a hint that some of the sons are going to be too fiery tempered, and like that of their father, it will lead to problems.
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1) Again in this chapter, as with Feanor and Fingolfin, we see forces of enraged Elves successfully breaking through the enemy's lines and banging on the gates of Angband. What does this suggest to you?


It suggests a recurring theme of the Silmarillion: the lackeys of Morgoth such as orcs, trolls, and even Balrogs, were no match for the combined might of the Eldar, but in the end it was always the same: the numerically superior yet qualitatively inferior forces of Morgoth are swept before them, only to find the Noldor brought up short when they must face a Vala, none of which they could ever hope to overcome. The last battle (I can never spell it; too many vowels) brought that home, while simulatneously making another such undertaking impossible. One gets a much better sense of the aftermath in HoME, where the surviving free Noldor are seen as a furtive and secretive people persisting only through secrecy and concealment, and untrusting of even their kin who escape the thralldom of Morgoth lest those refugees remain under his spell and betray their kinsmen to certain doom.

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2) Why did Turgon leave Gondolin for this battle and not for the Dagor Bragollach eighteen years earlier?


Again I concur with the consensus. This was an all or nothing gamble for both the Eldar (and Mablung and Beleg, for the sake of comprehensiveness) and the Edain, and one of which Turgon (yea Turgon!) had some prior knowledge, unlike the Dagor Bragollach. Unless he wanted to face Morgoth alone (which he ultimately did anyway) this was his best shot.

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3) In both this battle and the Dagor Bragollach, the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this?


The issues raised by others generally cover it; the Oath of Feanor dies with those who swore it, and one would not expect his sons to allow that while they all remained in the possession of others. Discretion, after all, is the better part of valor. It also seems though that the forces of Fingon were more numerous (as the Noldor under the banners of the sons of Finarfin had always been) and additionally they were in the heart of the battle. Retreat was far easier for the sons of Feanor; for the forces of Fingon either retreat or defiance must prove very costly and only the latter significantly impairs the enemys ability to harm them.

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4) In this battle we saw great contrasts in the deeds of Men. Taking a viewpoint from the late third age, how important was this battle in the way of future Elf/Human relationships? Can many of the future prejudices be seen to stem directly from this battle?


Well, I know of no other subsequent alliance between the Eldar and Easterlings. While in this battle there is nothing to cause their distrust of the Edain as a group, and, IMHO, nothing that really indicates it later (Elrond may well be disappointed in Isildurs behavior with the One Ring, but should've known that none but a Vala would willingly destroy It once in their possession; Isildur was no weaker than Gandalf knew he would himself be,) henceforth the Easterlings were completely sundered from both the Eldar and Edain. The latter case owes somewhat to the battles aftermath, but I've always felt the Easterlings as a whole slightly unfairly treated here.

We have no mention of the fate of Bor (or, for that matter, of Ulfang the Black, but that might be a name change only partially completed; I don't know enough of HoME to say) but we DO know that he and his host proved faithful, and that his sons slew two of the traitorous sons of Ulfang in the battle. It seems to me that the sons of Ulfang were alone in their treachery and the rest of the Easterlings who proved false were but terrified (and who can blame them?) deserters. This by no means exonerates them, but they are hardly agents of Morgoth.

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5)Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea. Night fell in Hithlum, and there came a great storm of wind out of the West.


Manwe sees all, Morgoth, and does not forget. In many ways and for similar reasons the Valars behavior exhibits parallels found elsewhere: knowing the cost in grief they are slow to act and longsuffering, but once unleashed their wrath is terrible to behold.

No mention of Huors parting words to Turgon? Your slipping, Val Elf Winking Smilie
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It suggests a recurring theme of the Silmarillion: the lackeys of Morgoth such as orcs, trolls, and even Balrogs, were no match for the combined might of the Eldar, but in the end it was always the same: the numerically superior yet qualitatively inferior forces of Morgoth are swept before them, only to find the Noldor brought up short when they must face a Vala, none of which they could ever hope to overcome.

The only reason the Eldar won the Dagor Aglareb and Dagor-nuin-Giliath, was because at this point Morgoth's forces weren't numerically superior yet and because the Eldar just arrived from Valinor and were still filled with its power.

The Eldar didn't have to face a Vala in the Dagor Bragollach and Nirnaeth Arnoediad; the reason Morgoth was victorious in the Dagor Bragollach was a) surprise effect, b) numerical superiority, whilst Morgoth was victorious in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad - although he had to face the combined power of the Noldor - merely because of slick planning.

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In both this battle and the Dagor Bragollach, the sons of Feanor break and leave the field, while the forces of Fingolfin and his sons manage to fight on, either holding their territory or fighting to the death. Is there any particular reason for this

I really hate these jerks. Seems like the only ones they fight are Elves themselves. It always enrages me when they arrogantly ask ElwŽ to give them the Silmaril retrieved by Beren and Lķthien, after all the pain and grief those two had to endure to retrieve it.

They're monsters.