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[Quote]Grondmaster says Valedhelgwath posted:
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For this third assignment we will be covering Chapters 7-9, namely
7. Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
9. Of the Flight of the Noldor.


Chapter 7
After a long time of peace and prosperity for the Elves in Valinor, the lies cast by Melkor are beginning to have their desired effect. Feanor, using all of his skills, created three wondrous jewels and into them he managed to capture the combined light from the Two Trees of Yavanna. These jewels were the Silmarils, and no jewel before or after was more beautiful than they. Feanor, however, soon became jealous of his creation, and fueled by the lies of Melkor believed others were out to steal them. Melkor, at this stage also managed to create a rift between Feanor and his half brother, Fingolfin. Having already secretly taught many Elven groups how to forge weapons and armour, his lies culminated in Feanor drawing his sword on Fingolfin, an act that got him banished from the city of Tirion.

Chapter 8
Having escaped from Valinor, Melkor went to the little trod, shadowy lands of Avathar in the far south of Aman. Here he sought out Ungoliant, a terrible, demonic, spider-like creature of darkeness that fed on light. By offering her as much light as she could consume, and offering her whatever she desired if she still hungered after this, Melkor bought her services. Hidden by a cover of her un-light, they travelled to Valinor during a great feast and killed the Two Trees. As Ungoliant devoured their light and then drained the Wells of Varda, they cast Valinor once more into darkness. In the confusion and terror this act created, they then managed to escape from the Valar.

Chapter 9
Going to the lifeless Trees, Yavanna revealed their creation was an act she could never perform again. While their light still lived within the Silmarils, however, she announced the trees could be saved but the time was short. Feanor was asked if he would willingly give up the Silmarils in order to save the Trees, but he refused, saying their creation was something he could only perform once too. Messengers then arrived from his home in the north telling how his father, Finwe, had been murdered by Melkor and the Silmarils stolen.

Melkor and Ungoliant escaped back to his old strongholds in Middle Earth where Melkor had his Balrogs drive Ungoliant away before she could devour the Silmarils. Lusting for the return of his jewels and maddened by grief for the death of his father, Feanor then urged the Noldor to forsake Valinor and return to Middle Earth. There were many opposed to this course of action, but fueled by Melkor’s lies, Feanor had many arguments to counter his opposition and soon most of the Noldor were reluctantly ready to follow him. Swearing a terrible oath, which over time effectively doomed himself and his sons, he then led the Noldor forth.

What followed was possibly the darkest deed committed by the Noldor. Requiring ships they sought the aid of the Teleri, but when the Teleri refused to hand over their ships, the Noldor took them by force. Better armed than the Teleri, this first Kinslaying became a massacre. For this deed the Noldor who had joined with Feanor were exciled, and Mandos spoke to them words of great woe, The Doom of the Noldor.

Leaving Aman in the captured ships of the Teleri, Feanor again betrayed Fingolfin. Because their numbers were too many for the ships to carry, Feanor promised to return with the ships for the people of Fingolfin. When they landed in Middle Earth, however, they burned the ships instead leaving Fingolfin without transport. Refusing to be left behind, however, Fingolfin led his people north where they crossed the Helcaraxe, a terrible passage over the bridge of frozen sea.. They eventually came to Middle Earth as the Moon rose for the first time in the sky.

Names
Silmarils: Three jewels created by Feanor, containing the light of the Two Trees
Ungoliant: Demonic spider-like creature who fed on light.
Eldamar: The lands of the Eldar in Aman including the coastal lands to the east of the Pelori mountains and Tol Eressea.
Avathar: Isolated region in Southern Aman where Ungoliant had her lair.
Helcaraxe: Narrow region of the sea between Aman and Middle Earth in the North of Arda. Here a bridge was formed of grinding ice.
Ezellohar: The green mound before the western gate of Valimar upon which the Two Trees grew.
Lammoth: Area on north west coast of Beleriand where Melkor and Ungoliant fought.
Alqualonde: City and port of the Teleri on the coast of Aman.
Grondmaster says TomBombadillo posted:
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Gonna start reading this week. And since I've already read chapter 7, that should be no problem. Orc Grinning Smilie I'm actually beginning to enjoy this... Smoke Smilie
Grondmaster says Valedhelgwath also posted
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Unlike the early chapters were in depth discussions can be argued over the religious background of the story, these recent chapters have been relatively straight forward. I'll raise the following points for discussion, however.

1) Why were Melkor's lies so effective against the Noldor, and why did he see them more useful to his purposes than the Telori?

2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?

3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

4) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

5) Two oaths were spoken, one by Feanor and his sons, and the other by Mandos, the Doom of the Noldor. Both of these have great importance throughout the rest of the book, so be sure you understand the meaning of what was spoken, and the potential problems that are likely to occur because of them. If any of you have any problems with these two oaths, please ask for guidance as they are very important.
There are 7 posts missing from this thread which we hope to retrieve soon. - Grondmaster 14 January 2004



TomBombadillo Posted:

Ok I have read chapter 7 and 8 but this has been a very busy week and therefore I didn't have much time left to read. But I'll read chapter 9 on the train back to Ghent, and then I'll start assignment for, if it comes up. rrI won't join in any of these discussions, because I wouldn't know what to say and therefore I remain silent. Big Smile Smilie
Gonna start reading this week. And since I've already read chapter 7, that should be no problem. Orc Grinning Smilie I'm actually beginning to enjoy this... Smoke Smilie
Unlike the early chapters were in depth discussions can be argued over the religious background of the story, these recent chapters have been relatively straight forward. I'll raise the following points for discussion, however.

1) Why were Melkor's lies so effective against the Noldor, and why did he see them more useful to his purposes than the Telori?

2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?

3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

4) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

5) Two oaths were spoken, one by Feanor and his sons, and the other by Mandos, the Doom of the Noldor. Both of these have great importance throughout the rest of the book, so be sure you understand the meaning of what was spoken, and the potential problems that are likely to occur because of them. If any of you have any problems with these two oaths, please ask for guidance as they are very important.
My thoughts on the discussion:

1) Why were Melkor's lies so effective against the Noldor, and why did he see them more useful to his purposes than the Telori?

My feeling is that the Noldor were the weakest of will of the Elves and also the most inclined to rebellion. An easy target for an opportunistic Vala-turned-evil like Melkor. My belief also, is that the Noldor were the intended 'children of Aule', before the Vala had ideas of his own in this department. Having been put out of place slightly by the existance of dwarves, could this have given them the inherent 'weakness', that Melkor found so easy to exploit?


2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?


Could she have been a perversion of some creature by Melkor? Early experiments perhaps? Or a corrupted Maia like the Balrogs?


3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

None, unless the Silmarils would have been destroyed in the process. This could make Feanor's reluctance understandable, since he crafted them and loved them. But it seems clear to me, that Feanor was already tainted or 'marred' by the words of Melkor.


4 ) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

I thought he did so out of love for his sons Fingon and Turgon, who were eager to see ME, and because he hoped that he could prevent the Noldor from doing anything too 'rash' or foolhardy.

Well, those are my thoughts on the discussion. This is my first contribution to the reading group, so I appologise if it is out of turn. Feel free to delete me if I have not followed the rules. Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
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Well, those are my thoughts on the discussion. This is my first contribution to the reading group, so I appologise if it is out of turn. Feel free to delete me if I have not followed the rules.
Nothing out of turn, Allyssa. It's nice to have you on board with us. Smile Smilie

Does anyone else have any idea's about these questions before I post my views?
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3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

None, unless the Silmarils would have been destroyed in the process. This could make Feanor's reluctance understandable, since he crafted them and loved them. But it seems clear to me, that Feanor was already tainted or 'marred' by the words of Melkor.
I think he was already tainted; however, they all were overly pushing him for an answer, with the exception of Aule who knew how much went into any making. Then Feanor spoke, crying bitterly:
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For the less even as for the greater there is some deed that he may accomplish but once only; and in that deed his heart shall rest. It may be that I can unlock my jewels, but never again shall I make their like; and if I must break them, I shall break my heart, and I shall be slain; first of all the Eldar in Aman.'
The trees could only be made once and Feanor said likewise for the Silmarils. Aule would have felt the same way had the Iluvatar required his Dwarves to be unmade. For the light in the Silmarils to rejuvenate the trees, the jewels would have to be unmade. They were just asking too much. That Feanor brooded over this hard request instead of offering them up for the greater good, meant to me that Melkor's lies had already taken root; the stage was now set for the centuries/millennia of heartbreak that were to follow from his denial. Very Sad Smilie
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2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?
Think she was a creature similar to a lesser Valar who had been bent in the making like Melkor was. When he discovered her, he decided she would make him a good tool, but found later that her lusts were very difficult to control. She was more powerful than a mere Balrog, because it took many to just chase her away, even Melkor wasn't yet strong enough to take her on. It almost seems like she came from outside Eru's thought, which doesn't make sense unless there were others like Eru out there in the void, but I thought we had a monotheistic hierarchy here. Elf Confused Smilie
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4) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

At the very beginning of the feud between Feanor and Fingolfin, Feanor accused Fingolfin to try to take over the leadership of the Noldor. For that accusation (accompanied by menaces and drawing forth of his sword) Feanor was punished by the Valar and exiled from Valimar. It was a terrible humiliation for someone so proud. Even Fingolfin was dismayed and he tried to heal that feud by swearing that he will always follow Feanor as his leader. So when Feanor decided to leave Aman, Fingolfin felt that he must remain true to that oath.
Hi Grondy and Eryan. Welcome to our group.

1) Why were Melkor's lies so effective against the Noldor, and why did he see them more useful to his purposes than the Telori?

An interesting point you made there about the Noldor being the intended children of Aule, Allyssa. I had not really looked at it from that angle before, but it could have pushed their noses out of joint a bit. I think Melkor saw they were weak willed, however, because he saw they burned with pride. Pride can be quite a negative emotion, and he was able to use it against them. As for the Telori, I think he just dismissed them because he considered them to be worthless. Their lacking of a thirst for power he mistook as a lack of strength. He did not consider they had anything they could offer him.

2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?
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It almost seems like she came from outside Eru's thought, which doesn't make sense unless there were others like Eru out there in the void, but I thought we had a monotheistic hierarchy here.
Until I read Grondy's post I was always of the thought that Ungoliant was a creature from outside of Eru's thought. I thought she was a creature Melkor had first discovered while he had gone into the Void in search of the Flame Imperishable, and there, he had bent her to his will.

So if Ungoliant was like this, and was a creature created outside of Eru's will, then it begs the question, who did create her, and is the Void teeming with other such alien life? My original conception was yes, there were demonic creatures older than the Ainur out there. I'm not so convinced now, however.

The Ainur created the Great Music with Eru, and then some of them entered Ea (the Valar and Maiar). Some of the Ainur did not enter Ea, however, and they remained outside. Ungoliant could have been one of these, who not wishing to stay with Eru either, went alone into the Void. Ungoliant's alien nature was my original reason for believing her to be created outside of Eru's will. Something that was made of unlight seemed too alien, but there again, the Balrogs were spirits of fire and shadow. Is the concept too different?

Having given it a great deal of thought I have come up with a new idea, which you can feel free to rip apart. I think Ungoliant was in some way the antipathis of Varda, in a similar manner to which Melkor is Manwe's. My reasoning behind this is that Varda was concerned primarily with light. She created the stars, filled the lamps of the Valar with light, collected the dew of the Two Trees in her wells, and from them fashioned more stars. In this, Ungoliant was obviously her opposite. She devoured Varda's creations, and in doing so she grew. Also Varda was said to be the most beautiful of the Valar. Ungoliant most certainly wasn't.

What originally gave me this line of thinking, however, was the Silmarils. Varda had blessed them, and it was them that Ungoliant had lusted when she saw them. This alone means little, but continue a few steps in their history. One of the Silmarils, Earendil's, was placed in the sky by Varda as the star Earendil. Another step forward and Samwise Gamgee is fighting Ungoliant's daughter, Shelob. She is driven off blinded by the light from the phial of Galadriel... And where did this light originate from? The star Earendil, hence a Silmaril.

My theory may have a few flaws, so feel free to pick holes in it, but a light-unlight relationship may be similar to our matter-antimatter conditions in science.

I was going to have a crack at the other issues I had raised, but I'm about out of time for now.


[Edited on 30/11/2002 by Valedhelgwath]
Val: I like your Ungoliant/Varda ying/yang idea. It also helps explain the Balrogs and possiblly even the dragons as being rebel Ainur in different forms or aspects.
I have a question(...). It concerns Feanor standing in front of Valar after the Trees have died. Feanor said that if the Silmarils will be broken, he would die, first of elves in Valinor. And Mandos replies that he would not be the first. At first I thought that Mandos means Feanor's mother(rather weird though), but now I think he could also mean Feanor's father as Mandos is said to know everything, and Feanor's father died about that time. So what does Mandos mean by that? And in what way?

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I think Melkor saw they were weak willed, however, because he saw they burned with pride.

I don't understand what is meant by that. I don't think that Noldor can be considered weak willed, quite contrary. But they were more vulnerable by Melkor because of their pride.

Considering Ungoliant - it seems Tolkien suffered from arachophobia (forgive my spelling)
In answer to your Mandos question, Orange, yes he was refering to Finwe's death although none of the others realised that until the messengers arrived.

The question of the Noldor being weak willed. It was probably my use of the wrong words that caused the confusion. Weak willed is the wrong term really. You hit the nail on the head by refering to them as vulnerable. He was able to manipulate them because of their pride.

I will attempt to add my opinions to the other questions that I raised when I get a little more time... sorry for the delay.
3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

I don't think I really need to add anything to this one. Grondmaster has answered it for me. Like he says in the quote, the silmarils would have to be unmade to release their light. Although you can argue that if he was able to make them once, given the light from the healed trees, he should be able to make them again, he says this is not the case. Further, he says breaking them would break his heart.

Feanor was a very special person in that his mother imparted much of her own spirit in bearing him. He burned, in effect, with two souls. He may, like Sauron did later with the Ruling Ring, have placed part of his own being in the Silmarils. Not a conscious part, like the Ring, but enough of himself to make them burn as though with a life of their own. I don't think he was lying when he said their desruction would slay him. It may not have done, but he certainly believed it would.

So was he justified in his decision?

I think individuals must make up their own minds on this one. Someone who is altruistic may lay down their own life for the benefit of everyone else, but no one can call him selfish for not wanting to see them destroyed and his own life taken in the process. Melkor's lies just reinforced his opinion on this one. He had been warned the Valar were going to take the Silmarils from him. He must have felt a very lonely person asked to make that choice while surrounded by the Valar, Maiar and all of his people.

It comes across as a very selfish act on his part to refuse the request, but he was simply being asked for too much.


4) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

I think between us we have answered this one too. Fingolfin would rather have stayed in Aman but he had several reasons for leaving.
1) Love...His sons wished to see Middle Earth so he went for their sake.
2) Honour... Like Eryan pointed out, when Feanor had drawn a sword on him and become banished for the act, he had sworn his loyalty to Feanor. This pledge pretty much committed him to following Feanor.
3) Leadership... Although Fingolfin had sworn loyalty to Feanor, he did not want to leave the people he loved under Feanor's rash leadership. He went to Middle Earth to ensure his people would be properly led and treated fairly.

5) Does anyone have any comments to make about the Oath Feanor and his sons swore, or the one by Mandos, The Doom of the Noldor?

Any questions about them from new readers? They are very important and the Doom of the Noldor lasts a long time (Galadriel, for instance, is still under its influence in LotR).
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5) Does anyone have any comments to make about the Oath Fëanor and his sons swore, or the one by Mandos, The Doom of the Noldor?
The following Oath of Fëanor and Sons was lifted from The Silmarillion about a third of the way into Chapter 9, 'Of the Flight of the Noldor'.
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They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Iluvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not; and Manwë they named in witness, and Varda, and the hallowed mountain of Taniquetil, vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn, or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession. ...

.... For so sworn, good or evil, an oath may not be broken, and shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world's end.
And the following was lifted from The Silmarillion about three pages from the end of the above chapter. It is the Curse of Mandos, The Doom of the Noldor:
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'Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over the mountains. On the House of Fëanor the wrath of the Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East. and upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever.'

'Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death's shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to die not in Ea, and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be and slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief; and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for you. And those that endure in Middle-earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken.'
Galadriel didn't swear the oath, but she left Valinor with the Noldor for she wanted to see the unguarded lands and to rule there a realm at her own will. That she followed the oathtakers placed her under the Doom. I believe (but am unsure about it) that with her ring, her part in the 'War of the Ring' against Sauron, served as her entry permit or visa back to Valinor.

(Please let me know if you see any typing errors in the above quotes, my eyes started glazing over about two-third through them.) Serching Smilie
Galadriel. I think that it is interesting and poignant that the ban is lifted in her case as a reward for refusing the one ring when it was offered to her.
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It almost seems like she came from outside Eru's thought, which doesn't make sense unless there were others like Eru out there in the void, but I thought we had a monotheistic hierarchy here. Elf Confused Smilie


Kind of late , i know, but just to tell that when morgoth becames evil and envious, he brings to his side some of the minor spirits ,some of them maiar and some other closer to the valar´s kin....,they were known as valaraukar,but i understood that though ungoliant came of eru´s thought, she decided to came apart..... exactly as melkor did,but since she was minor that morgoth,she did not capture so much attention..... Wink Smilie ,and i think that she was seduced by the dark side, even though melkor did not have any knowledge about that,but just because the way he was...., in valaquenta,at the end of it, there is a part that says that there were many of those spirits...but there is no part saying that every one of them remained under morgoth´s service....,i share Val´s opinion that she was like the oposite of varda.... Elf Smilie


[Edited on 15/1/2003 by THINGOL77]
Little to add except agreement, but what there is I offer, yea, with both hands.

1) Why were Melkor's lies so effective against the Noldor, and why did he see them more useful to his purposes than the Telori?

Pride was the obvious one for me; in that Melkor saw something he knew only too well that he could manipulate to his advantage, and their doom. At the same time I think he played on their fears (we know he did with Feanor) and relative unfamiliarity with the Valar. He could claim a much greater knowledge of these towering beings in truth, if what he spoke of them was not truth, and the "summons" of the Valar (with escort) he could (and did) claim to be imprisonment. The Valar did not reveal everything they knew to the Eldar, and it was from Melkor they learned of the Atani, being told they were restrained so that this "weaker" race might master Arda as vassals of the Valar while the Eldar "languished" in the Blessed Realm.

2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?

The anti-Varda was a concept I hadn't considered, but it seems eminently logical. It seems reasonable and even natural that if the male (in the form he took) King of the Valar has an opposite created by Eru, then his female Queen should as well, and while I think Ungoliant no more evil initially than Melkor, she was either corrupted by him, or possibly also sought the Flame Imperishable for different reasons in the Void and suffered the same fate. I've always conceived her as a kind of greater Maiar like Sauron, but I don't recall anything that says Melkor was alone among fallen Valar, only that he sought to contend with Eru himself (pride, pride, pride...) The real question is why Eru let any of them go into Arda who were fallen when he knew they were unreformed.

3) Could there be any justification for Feanor refusing Yavanna the light from his Silmaril's to heal the Two Trees?

Tricky. And can be argued a lot of ways, but I take both his words and Aules at face value, and asking someone to destroy their greates creation and commit suicide at once is asking a great deal, and no one can fault his demurral. If the light was Yavannas, its preservation was wholly Feanors.

4) Fingolfin did not wish to leave Valinor with Feanor. Why did he?

Well, Val's already let me see the back of the book, and I've nothing to add.

5) I'm a little disappointed that "Great is the Fall of Gondolin" didn't make the cut for the Silmarillion. I still wonder why Turgon would build a city and choose that for the name after the Doom. Oh, well.
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2) What sort of creature was Ungoliant? Was she created from the thought of Eru as the Ainur had been, or was she from outside of his thought?

I disagree with the “anti-Varda” theory. Ungoliant was just an independent Maia, who chose neither side when she descended into Arda, she just did what she wished to do, without answering to anyone. She kept herself busy with satisfying her lust.

The same applies to all her offspring, the Spiders of Nan Dungortheb, of which Shelob is the last.

Varda could’ve been anti-Varda though, as Melkor wished her to join him in the early days, but she refused him and joined Manwë instead (yes, it really was a divine version of the movie Sabrina) :

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Out of the deeps of Eä she came to the aid of Manwë; for Melkor she knew from before the making of the Music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her more than all others whom Eru made.