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Chapter 22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
Chapter 23. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
Chapter 24. Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

After the early victories of the Noldor we have twice seen two great battles occur in which they have been defeated by Morgoth plus the loss of Nargothrond. Apart from a brief respite in which Beren and Luthien managed to take a Silmaril from him, we have also seen the loss of many great lords both among the Elves and the Edain. For a while Turin managed to hold the orcs at bay in one area, but from the onset his quest was doomed.

Tolkien has created a beautiful world for us, full of wonderful people; a place we can only ever dream of going to, but for the last five chapters he has made us endure the slow death of this paradise. Morgoth now has a definite upper hand, and though his armies of orcs seem inexhaustible, we are only too aware that the elven losses are not being replaced. By concentrating on individual heroic figures who he then kills, he is reinforcing this feeling within us, particularly as we were introduced to most of the elven lords early on and so know there is a finite number of them.

Of those early lords, we now have only Turgon, Thingol, Cirdan and the sons of Feanor left. Gil-galad has had a mention, and although one day he will be High King, I always felt Tolkien was deliberately saving him for the events of the Second Age rather than having him play a role in the battles of the First Age. Similarly, Galadriel plays only a minor role in the events of the First Age, Tolkien saving her for the Third Age.

So, onto the Chapters covered by this assignment. Two major elven realms still remain in Beleriand, Doriath and Gondolin. After holding him captive for twenty eight years, the mental torture of Hurin is about to pay dividends for Morgoth.

Chapter 22. Of the Ruin of Doriath.

This chapter sees Hurin at last released. Half mad with grief and shunned by those who see him, he attempts to find his way back to Gondolin. Unable to find the hidden gate, however, he cries out to Turgon, thus revealing the location of the hidden city to the spies who have followed him.

After a brief reunion with his wife, Morwen, before she died, he then travelled to Nargothrond. Here he slew Mim the Dwarf for betraying his son to the orcs, and so managed to claim the Dwarven made necklace, the Nauglamir. This he took to Doriath, whereupon it was given to Thingol. Cured by Melian of the madness created by Morgoth’s lies, Hurin then saw the irony of his life and so flung himself into the western sea.

Having ignored Melian’s warnings and so become tied to the fate of the Silmarils, Thingol’s doom is rapidly approaching him. He has the Dwarves of Nogrod remake the Nauglamir so it can house his Silmaril, but this act is tempting fate a little too much. The dwarves covert the jewel they have just made and refuse to hand it over to Thingol when they have finished it. Slaying him in his own halls, they are then hunted by the elves as they flee Doriath, but two of their number escape back to Nogrod. The lies they tell results in the Dwarves of Nogrod invading Doriath, and with the passing of Melian, they are able to ransack and plunder Menegroth.

Leading a force of elves from Ossiriand, Beren is able to destroy this Dwarven army as they return home with their plunder, and he manages to retrieve the Silmaril/Nauglamir which he gives to Luthien. Their son, Dior, then takes the lordship of Doriath, though it no longer has the protection of Melian.

This chapter ends with Dior receiving the Silmaril after the passing of his parents, followed by an assault by the sons of Feanor. Dior is slain, although he kills three of Feanor’s sons, and Doriath is laid to ruin, though his daughter, Elwing, manages to escape with the jewel.

Chapter 23. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin.

This chapter is the tale of Turin’s cousin, Tuor. Escaping thraldom, he follows ancient elven paths and finds himself in Turgon’s deserted home of Vinyamar. Here he finds the armour and sword that Turgon left at Ulmo’s command before departing to Gondolin, and then he meets Ulmo too.

Under Ulmo’s instruction, and guided by an elf Ulmo has rescued from the sea, Tuor goes to Gondolin with a message from the Valar. Ulmo has urged Turgon to leave Gondolin, but the elven king has grown too fond of the city and refuses to leave. Unbeknown to Turgon, however, Morgoth now knows the rough location of the city and has it surrounded with his spies. On day some of these agents capture Maeglin, and under threat of torture he reveals to Morgoth all he wishes to know.

Unprepared for an attack, the elves find their walls assailed by an army of dragons and balrogs, the city quickly falling with terrible losses. Few manage to escape the carnage, but following a secret path that was unknown to Maeglin, Turgon’s daughter Idril, now married to Tuor, manages to escape with him and their son Earendil to the Havens at the mouth of the Sirion. Here the remnants who had escaped from Gondolin with Idril and Tuor joined themselves with those who had managed to escape from Doriath.

Chapter 24. Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath.

Morgoth’s ruin of Beleriand is almost complete, but from the embers of defeat one spark of hope arises. Having married Elwing, who has bore him the sons Elrond and Elros, Earendil builds a ship and sails ever further west in search of Valinor. At first he is unsuccessful, but on returning home from a failed voyage he finds Elwing, transformed into a bird by Ulmo, fleeing from yet another attack by the sons of Feanor.

Together, with the aid of the silmaril, they eventually reach the shores of Aman and Earendil enters Valinor. Here he pleads with the Valar on behalf of both Elves and Men, his prayers eventually being answered. The Valar once more prepare themselves for war, and they return to Middle Earth with the Vanyar and the remaining Noldor.

A great battle ensues, in which the forces of Morgoth are destroyed and Morgoth himself is taken captive, but the fighting is so disruptive Beleriand is lost beneath the sea. The two remaining silmarils are taken from him, but in one last defiant move, the two remaining sons of Feanor manage to take them from the victorious army. Now, however, they find the jewels burn them, proving to them once and for all that their evil acts have cost them the right of ownership of the gems. One is cast into the sea and the other into molten lava, while the one belonging to Elwing and Earendil is sent into the sky aboard Earendil’s ship, whereupon it is forever seen as a star.

Questions for discussion.

1) Was it just chance that Hurin met Morwen just prior to her death, or had they been guided to each other by some benign power?

2) Why did Melian desert Doriath after the death of Thingol?

3) Unlike many of the heroes in this tale, both Beren and Luthien manage to die peacefully, though their lives appear rather short. What conclusions do you draw from this.

4) On his journey to Gondolin, Tuor caught a brief glimpse of Turin though he knew not who he was. Although it’s not mentioned in the Silmarillion, Turin actually aided Tuor’s journey to the hidden city. Any ideas on how? What do you suppose would have been the outcome if these two great warriors had joined forces with each other at this stage?

5) Why did Turgon ignore Ulmo’s warnings about leaving Gondolin?

6) Why was Earendil so qualified to be the representative of both Elves and Men, when Dior, for instance, was also half-elven?

7) Why did Maedhros and Maglor still attempt to take the silmarils after they had been taken from Morgoth by the Valar, and why did they burn them?

8) From what you have learned from this book, and also from what you know of LotR, what do you understand of the choice given to the Peredhil (Elrond and Elros) and their children concerning their fate?

If you have any other questions concerning these chapters, feel free to ask them.


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In Assignment 8, Madwannabe asked the following question, which is relevant to this assignment.
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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?


I answered this question at the time with the following response.

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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.

If anyone else would like to add their comments to this discussion too, please do so.
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4) On his journey to Gondolin, Tuor caught a brief glimpse of Turin though he knew not who he was. Although it’s not mentioned in the Silmarillion, Turin actually aided Tuor’s journey to the hidden city. Any ideas on how? What do you suppose would have been the outcome if these two great warriors had joined forces with each other at this stage?

I think that it is absolutely impossible, even if they stopped to talk with each other, recognize each other as close kinsmen and learned mutually all about themselves. Both Turin and Tuor were at that stage in train of following an important errand. Turin, under the spell of Glaurung, was going to Hithlum to save his mother and sister, and was convinced that only he can now save them. For that reason, he even forsook Finduilas, leaving her captive in the hands of Orcs. He would not forsake that quest to accompany Tuor to Gondolin. Anyway, after what happened in Nargothrond he would probably be afraid to bring his bad luck to Gondolin.
Tuor also had an errand of utmost importance: he was a messenger of Ulmo to the Elves of Gondolin. Even if he would long to help Turin to save his aunt Morven and Nienor from misery in Hithlum, he would not forsake his quest.

(Grondy merely fixed some errant ASCII numbers.)

[Edited on 21/3/2003 by Grondmaster]
Heh...almost forgotten totally about answering the questions....must be because this assignment is very hard....
1) I think that Hurin was led to Morwen so as to put his mind at ease as before that, he did not know whether Morwen was dead or alive. And so that he can unload his burden or share his grief with her.
3) Good heroes die young? Tongue Smilie ....just kidding...I guess it was because of the silmaril...if I remember correctly, Melian mentioned that if she wore the silmaril around her neck, her beauty together with the silmaril will somehow shorten her life and others around her. Beren and Luthien did not immerse themselves in the world but instead lived their lives out by loving each other.
5) Turgon was feeling safe and secure(Not to mention very content) in Gondolin. And though he received Tuor with honour, he figured that the secrecy of Gondolin will protect him from Morgoth. And in a way, I think he felt that by receiving the messenger of Ulmo, it would also help in protecting himself from Morgoth.
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I think that it is absolutely impossible, even if they stopped to talk with each other, recognize each other as close kinsmen and learned mutually all about themselves. Both Turin and Tuor were at that stage in train of following an important errand.
Yes, I agree with what you are saying here Eryan. There is no way either of them would have strayed from their chosen paths at this stage. What I was suggesting, however, was a hypothetical scenario of what would have occurred should they have done.

In my mind, I feel it is a good job they never did. Though they would have made a formidable partnership, I feel the curse hanging over Turin would have led to the downfall of Tuor too, although Ulmo's blessing may have helped the pair of them to a lesser degree.

Turin did inadvertently aid Tuor and Voronwe, however. In UT it describes...
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The cries of the hunters grew fainter; for the orcs thrust never deep into the wild lands at either hand, but swept rather down the road. They recked little of stray fugitives, but spies they feared and the scouts of armed foes; for Morgoth had set a guard on the highway, not to ensnare Tuor and Voronwe (of whom as yet he knew nothing) nor any coming out of the West, but to watch for the Blacksword, lest he should escape and pursue the captives of Nargothrond, bringing help, it might be, out of Doriath.
Because the Orcs were distracted, watching for Turin, Tuor and Voronwe were able to slip easily through their lines.
Well when I have a little more time, I’ll take a stab at a few more of these questions, but for now, I’ll just tackle #5.

Turgon ultimately ignored Ulmo’s warning for a few different reasons. First of all, Turgon had become very proud, and his pride to a certain degree gave him somewhat of a false sense of security. It was because of this pride that he still trusted in the secrecy, and the strength of Gondolin to prevail even though Ulmo was warning him otherwise. Also, after the battle of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Turgon (as well as the majority of the people of Gondolin) really wanted nothing to do with the outside affairs of elves, and men. They had grown extremely content (as Mad mentioned), and were even unwilling to return to the west if it meant risking danger. Turgon essentially shut himself, and his kingdom out from the rest of the world. Turgon’s ability to reason was also tainted due to Maeglin’s treacherous council. It was Maeglin speaking ever against Tuor that resulted in Turgon ultimately refusing Ulmo’s council. I think Turgon also felt that by blocking up the entrance to the hidden door, and by forbidding anyone to ever pass the “leaguer of the hills” that somehow he was doing his part to take extra precautions because of Ulmo’s warning.

Mad, I think in a way you are right in your thoughts about Turgon receiving Tuor. I think Tuor wanted to stay in Gondolin though because he was enamored with its beauty, and the wisdom of its people. Falling in love with the king’s daughter (Idril) didn’t hurt either, but certainly Turgon never forgot what Huor had said to him, and he knew that Tuor had some role of major importance to play in the overall big picture. So maybe it is safe to say that Turgon did kind of look upon Tuor to be some kind of “secret weapon” or “good luck charm” that would give him some sort of extra protection?
Elf Smilie
1) Was it just chance that Hurin met Morwen just prior to her death, or had they been guided to each other by some benign power?
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1) I think that Hurin was led to Morwen so as to put his mind at ease as before that, he did not know whether Morwen was dead or alive. And so that he can unload his burden or share his grief with her.
Yes, I agree, MadWannabe. The chances of them accidently bumping into each other were far to remote for this to have occured without some sort of divine intervention. I'm not sure who was responsible (most likely Eru), but I think the reason was purely compassionate. Both of them had been through such terrible ordeals, I think one of the powers was allowing them that last moment to spend together.

Although it was just a single night after all those years of suffering, as I read it, I felt that one night was all they needed to rekindle evrything they had lost over the years, and make each other realize that neither of them had ever given up hope on finding the other. I found that whole passage very poignant.

3) Unlike many of the heroes in this tale, both Beren and Luthien manage to die peacefully, though their lives appear rather short. What conclusions do you draw from this.
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I guess it was because of the silmaril...if I remember correctly, Melian mentioned that if she wore the silmaril around her neck, her beauty together with the silmaril will somehow shorten her life and others around her. Beren and Luthien did not immerse themselves in the world but instead lived their lives out by loving each other.
Yes, MadWannabe, you are correct in saying the Silmaril hastened their deaths. Melian had spoke of this. Personally, however, I don't think the Silmaril was the only reason though. Both had already died and been to the Halls of Mandos. I think their release to dwell awhile together was sort of a reward for their deeds, but just that. I don't think they were on a normal time span after that. For some reason, I cannot envisage either of them growing old, but living for a short while together while they are both in their prime.
Well in regards to question 6, I’m going to stick my neck out a little, because I’m not really sure I know the answer, but here goes. On the surface, when you compare Dior, and Earendil it is hard to tell why Earendil was more qualified to be the representative of both elves, and men over Dior because they both came from such great blood lines, but my guess consists of a few things. For one, as far as the blood of men, Earendil had connections to both the house of Beor, and the house of Hador. Dior I believe only had blood from the house of Beor (from Beren). So it would seem that Earendil was more qualified to represent men because he had blood from two of the greatest houses of men as opposed to just one for Dior.

Secondly, and one of the chief reasons that I believe Earendil was more qualified than Dior was his love for the sea. Earendil I believe was considered to be the greatest mariner of all time (?), where as Dior didn’t have anything to do with the sea. For someone to be the representative of both elves, and men, someone was going to have to make it to Aman by ship, and the only person who could do that, both by his own skill, and knowledge acquired from Cirdan, and by the hand of Eru, was Earendil.

Also in a lot of ways, this question is really similar to the question we had in one of the previous assignments about why the fates of Beren, and Turin were so different, and I think it probably just comes down to the fact that like Beren, Earendil was the chosen one. Earendil was an instrument of Eru, and he also had the favor, and the blessing of the Valar. Dior had an important role to play in being the father of Elwing, but as far as a higher purpose, I think Dior was kind of spared from that fate because his father had already fulfilled that role. Lastly, I think it’s also very critical that Earendil’s father Tuor was the first mortal to be numbered among the firstborn children of Eru, and was actually joined with the Noldor. I feel that this fact made Earendil even more qualified, and essentially doubled his right to represent the elves in this matter. I eagerly await your thoughts Val.
Elf Smilie
Sorry I haven't managed to get back to you sooner Elfstone. Great answer, mate.

Earendil was undoubtably Eru's chosen subject for this task, and as such Eru appears to have orchestrated events in the lives of Earendil's forefathers too, in order to make Earendil so well qualified for the task.

His father Tuor was a Lord who represented two of the three Houses of the Edain. His own journey to Gondolin and subsequent marriage to Idril was no accident either. Although it appears to have been at the bidding of Ulmo, the foresight that Ulmo showed was almost certainly put there by Eru.

From Idril came his elven blood, in this case that of the banished Noldor. Unlike Dior, whose elven blood was Sindarin, Earendil could qualify to represent the banished Noldor too.

In my opinion, the only person with a better claim to be able to represent the peoples of Middle Earth, would have been his sons Elrond and Elros. These had blood of two of the three houses of Edain, as well as Noldor, Sindar and Maian blood. Eru had other tasks for them, however. Elros was to pass his Maian blood into the line of the Kings of Numenor, while Elrond's task was to enrich that line with the same blood thousands of years later through his daughter Arwen.

As you also mentioned, Earendil was a great sailor. This was not by chance, either. The whole formation and subsequent destruction of Gondolin may have just been a means to ensure the birth of Earendil and to make sure he ended up by the sea.

Thanks Val! I was a little unsure if I knew the answer, but in the course of sitting down and thinking about it, and obviously running back to the book to double check a few things, it became pretty clear. Nice to know I was on target.

BTW, I realize that this is slightly off subject, but are there any plans being kicked around for anymore reading discussion groups in the future here at PT? I know that I have really enjoyed being a part of this one, and because of my involvement with the group, I have basically read the Sil twice my first time through, and it’s really helped to reinforce my knowledge, and understanding of the book. I’m honestly kind of bummed that we only have two more assignments left.
Orc Sad Smilie
More reading groups are a possibility, although I must admit being a little daunted by the prospect of leading them myself. Considering I am lagging well behind the original proposed schedule for this group, I am finding it nevertheless to be quite a drain on my available time.

The Silmarillion has been an excellant book with which to work with, however. It's depth is tremendous, with so many more undercurrents than even I realised at the start. Because it is a very much edited work, though, there are other books to which we can turn to discover what is going on behind the scenes of its pages. If something from the Silmarillion needs answering, that answer can often be found in UT.

UT would be the natural book to study next, but having frequently thought about doing so, I've come to the conclussion it would be far more difficult to follow than the Silmarillion Group. There is a strong, continuous story running through the Silmarillion. UT, in contrast, is very abstract and disjointed. Often variations on the same story are written three or four times after each other.

I think if it were attempted, it would have to be in a different format to how we have covered the Silmarillion. Perhaps jump around in it more, and in places spend time concentrating on how certain areas compare to their equivalent story in the Silmarillion. It would be a challenge... Something to consider after we've completed the Silmarillion.

Anyone want to attempt answers for the remaining questions before we move on to the Akallabeth?

2) Why did Melian desert Doriath after the death of Thingol?

8) From what you have learned from this book, and also from what you know of LotR, what do you understand of the choice given to the Peredhil (Elrond and Elros) and their children concerning their fate?
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Why did Melian desert Doriath after the death of Thingol?


To be quite frank, when I first read this part, I found it a bit wrong of Melian to do this. But, then I thought about it. Here's what I think of it:

I think Melian was in Doriath only because of Thingol. I really can't find any evidance as to prove that she had really any love for the people of Doriath. That doesn't make her evil, but I think the fact that she eventually left the people of Doriath after Thingol's death can be evident of this fact. Another claim can be, that Melian had probably foreseen that this was the end of Doriath and that she couldn't prolong it even by her own power. I can't really come up with any other possible explaination for this.
1) I'd say it was fate, because isn't that how Tolkien's world works. Smile Smilie

2) Melian deserted Doriath, because she was distraught about the death of her lover, Thingol. Thingol was the reason why she lingered in Middle-earth, when she could have gone back to Valinor. She wandered around aimlessly, untill she reached the home of Beren and Luthien. I believe Arda is guided by fate, and it was her fate to tell Beren what happened to Doriath so he could recover the Nauglamir and avenge his Thingol.

3) Short and Sweet. Wink Smilie Although Luthien did live quite a while. She was born around the beginning of the "year of the trees." Maybe the answer you were looking for is, love conquers all?

4) Turin most likely cleared the path of any foes that Tuor may have encountered. He also brought the attention of the orcs upon him instead of Tuor, whom was in dire need of secrecy. If those 2 warriors joined forces Morgoth would bow with fear, because those 2 are probably the 2 of the most feared Edain to walk the face of Middle Earth.

5) Turgon was the father of Gondolin. For him to desert his city, would be like for a father to abondon his children, which is thought that wouldn't even cross a noble mind such as Turgon.

6)Earendil was qualified becuase he actually did the deed of seeking out the Valar and begging for forgiveness. No one else could accomplish this feat. He also had a Simaril, which helped light the way, and also would act as tokien for the Valar to prove he was the one.

7) Well they were propelled by the "Dreadful Oath" they swore to Eru, which may never be broken. The Simarils scorched them because any hand which was evil, or had the influence of Melkor upon them, could not handle them.

8)Elrond is a momma's boy..... just kiddin'. Like i mentioned earlier (question 1 & 2) Everything in Arda is guided by fate, that is why the Valar understand so much, and can see what is to be. It was all layed out from the beginning of the music. Without the Numenoreans the 2nd and 3rd age would have taken a turn for the worst, for the good guys. Elrond was one of the powerful figures to be around in the 3rd age. If he chose to be a man, then he would have perished long before Sauron arose, and the 3rd age would have been a lot darker without him.
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I'd say it was fate, because isn't that how Tolkien's world works.


I'd agree. I think that can be an answer to all the questions!!!
i agree with you Floyd! That could be the answer to all the question... but i guess we do need some challenge Wink Smilie