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For this fourth assignment we will be looking at Chapters 10-13, namely,
10) Of the Sindar
11) Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor
12) Of Men
13) Of the Return of the Noldor


Of the Sindar.
Having concerned itself with the events surrounding the Valar and the Noldor Elves in Aman, this chapter takes us back to Middle Earth. King Thingol (Elwe), with his wife Melian the Maiar, have established a powerful realm within Beleriand, and all elves west of the Blue Mountains call him their lord. With Melkor still chained, the Sindarian elves are prospering, and Thingol and Melian have a daughter, Luthien.

This chapter tells us about the coming of Dwarves too. Founding the mansions of Belegost and Nogrod in the Blue mountains, they enter Beleriand and meet Thingolís people. The Elves are amazed to find another race that can speak and quickly befriend the newcomers. This friendship between the Dwarves and the Sindar is never overly warm however, but more of mutual respect. Both races profit greatly from each others friendship, and it is the Dwarves of Belegost who build King Thingolís underground mansion of Menegroth for him.

Menegroth, the Thousand Caves, was built with the skill of both the Dwarves and the Sindarin craftsmen and was said to have been the fairest dwelling of any king east of the Sea, almost like an underground forest with silver waterfalls.

Not long after the building of Menegroth, the Dwarves start coming across Melkorís fell creatures that had multiplied in the dark over the long years. Hearing of these creatures, Thingol has the Dwarves craft weapons and armour for his people, for up until then they had had no need of them.

This chapter also tells us of the Nandor, a group of Teleri who had not crossed the Anduin on their journey West. Originally of Olweís people, these now have Lenwe as their lord. These are a woodland folk, and without weapons of steel, they greatly fear Melkorís creatures that are invading their woods. Having heard of Thingolís realm, Lenweís son, Denethor, leads a group of his people into Beleriand, where they settle in Ossiriand and become known as the Laiquendi or Green Elves.

Finally in this chapter, after killing the Two Trees, Melkor and Ungoliant return to Middle Earth. Ungoliant settles in a valley on the border of Thingolís realm and breeds with other great spiders there and poisons the land, while Melkor returns to Angband and raises the mountain of Thangorodrim. He then unleashes his orcs in two vast armies which attack to the west and to the east of Menegroth. The Eastern army, caught between Thingol and Denethorís forces is utterly defeated, though Denethor and many of the lightly armed Green elves are slain. The western army is more successful, however, and they succeed in driving Cirdan to the edge of the sea. In response, Thingol pulls his people back into the forests around Menegroth and Melian protects this land with an unseen wall of shadow and bewilderment known as the Girdle of Melian. The Elves of Cirdan, who are mainly mariners, defend themselves behind the walled havens of the Falas, while Melkorís forces roam freely throughout the rest of Beleriand.

Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.
After hearing Feanor and the Noldorís decision to leave Aman, the Valar attempt to redress the evils of Melkor. Under Yavanna and Niennaís prayers, the Two Trees, with the last of their lives, produce a single silver flower and a single golden fruit. Manwe hallowed these, and Aule created vessels that would house and preserve their radiance. These vessels were then given to Varda, that they could be set in the sky and become lamps of heaven. Two Maiar were then chosen to steer these lamps across the sky. Tilion the Hunter, a servant of Orome was given the task of steering Isil (the Moon), while Vanaís chief servant, the fiery Maiar Arien was given the task of guiding Anar (the Sun). These two lights, particularly Arien, Melkor greatly feared, and so scattered had his power become in lies and evil creatures, he no longer had the strength to assail them.

At this time, also, the Valar increased their defences around Valinor. They increased the height of the Pelori Mountains, and also created the Enchanted Isles around the coast. Through the latter no mariner could pass, and so the Noldor were effectively shut out as had been told to them by Mandos.

Of Men
This short chapter tells us how as the Sun first rose in the sky, the Younger Children of Eru (Men) awoke in the land of Hildorien in the east of Middle Earth. For the most part, having given Middle Earth the light of the Sun and the Moon, the Valar now pretty much left Middle Earth untended. With no Valar to guide or summon them West, Men feared rather than loved the Valar and failed to understand the purpose of them. Ulmo, as always, maintained his watch over the Children, but Men had no skill in reading his messages in the water.

This chapter very briefly describes the similarities and differences between the Elves and Men at this time and also hints that Men will come to usurp the elves under the sunlight while the latter begin to wane.

Of the Return of the Noldor
This chapter begins with Feanorís force of Noldor landing in Middle Earth. Seen by Melkorís spies they are quickly attacked before they can ready their defences, but Melkor has underestimated their strength. They quickly defeat the army that attacked them, and also the one that had defeated the forces of Cirdan. Of the vast army that Melkor had prepared for the conquest of Beleriand, only a few return to Angband. All does not go well for the Noldor, however. Consumed by his own wrath, Feanor pursued the enemy back to Angband hoping to meet Melkor himself, and soon he drew far ahead of his own forces. Balrogs then came out of Angband and surrounded him, and although his sons eventually rescued him, the wounds he had suffered proved fatal. As Mandos had predicted, Feanorís spirit joined him in his Halls before his Oath had been completed, and because of the harm he had caused, it never again left those Halls.

Shortly after the death of Feanor, Melkor called a truce with the Sons of Feanor, offering the surrender of a Silmaril if they would depart. During the talks, however, he deceived them and captured Maedhros, Feanorís eldest son. Holding him hostage he had him fixed to the face of Thangorodrim with a steel band around his wrist.

Having crossed the Grinding Ice, as the Sun first rose into the sky, Fingolfin and his followers marched into Mithrim. As Melkorís forces cowered from the light of the Sun, Fingolfinís army marched to the gates of Angband, but wisely, Fingolfin had his men retreat rather than assail the great fortess. Together the hosts of Feanor and those of Fingolfin and Finrod could have perhaps prevailed at that time over Melkor, but because of the burning of the ships there was much distrust between the two groups. The Curse of the Noldor was already beginning to work against them.

Wishing to heal the rift between the two groups of Noldor, Fingon, once a great friend of Maedhros, went alone and climbed the mountain of Thangorodrim. There, with the aid of the giant eagle Thorondor, he rescued Maedhos, though he was forced to sever his friendís right hand to release him. In gratitude (and shame over the burning of the ships), Maedhos relinquished kingship of the Noldor, passing it on to Fingolfin. Although this healed the rift, not all of Maedhosís brothers were happy with this decision.

Though King Thingol was not too happy with the return of the Noldor, and so many princes wishing lands of their own to rule, he did grant them leave to take whatever lands he did not rule himself. The princes therefore occupied Beleriand with the exception of Doriath, and posted a watch on Angband. Please note, there is a map on page 154 showing the realms taken at this time.
The last pages of this chapter tell of the Siege of Angband which lasted for several hundred years. The Noldor kept a tight watch on Melkor, and though most of these years passed peacefully, on several occasions Melkor did test the strength and vigilance of the Noldor by releasing his forces upon them.







Questions for discussion

1) What was the relationship between the Sindar and the Dwarves like in the early days after their first meeting? Was this typical of other Elf/Dwarf relationships seen in LotR?

2)
Quote:
And it was told by the Vanyar who held vigil with the Valar that when the messengers declared to Manwe the answers of Feanor to his heralds, Manwe wept and bowed his head. But at that last word of Feanor: that at the least of the Noldor should do deeds to live in song for ever, he raised his head, as one that hears a voice far off, and he said: ďSo shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Ea, and evil yet be good to have been.Ē

Would any of you like to attempt to interpret what Manwe was saying here?

3) The light of the Two Trees was a creation of Yavanna alone. How was the creation of the Sun and the Moon different to this?

4) Melkor was once said to be the most powerful of the Valar. He destroyed the Lamps of the Valar, and then with Ungoliantís aid he killed the Two Trees too. When he assailed the Moon, however, he was unsuccessful. He is becoming weaker over time. Why is this?

5) Is it any accident that Men first awoke as the Sun first climbed into the sky?

6) Apart from the obvious physical differences, how are Elves and Men different to each other?
Quote:
Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Ea, and evil yet be good to have been.Ē

Some particularly poignant forms of beauty are related to resistance against Evil, as is told in the song sang by Finrod Felagund in his combat with Sauron:
Quote:
Then sudden Felagund there swaying
sang in answer a song of staying
Resisting, battling against power,
of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
and trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
of changing and of shifting shape,
of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps


(Grondy merely fixed an errant ASCII number)

[Edited on 12/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
No new assignment yet? Sad Smilie Anyway, just a quick notice that I'm still reading along with you, and that I have read the 4th assignment, much to my own pride. Cool Smilie
I didn't know we had a fourth assignment...sorry I'm late. I'm actually at Beren and Luthien but have not read for awhile. Anyhow:
I think that Manwe meant that legends and songs are made only after kingdoms pass away or after heroes die. I think it is said elsewhere that 'only when things are broken forever do they pass into song'. I think the beauty not yet concieved is the beauty of the Elves in their sorrow and the darker, wilder beauty of the many sufferings of the Elves against Melkor.
Beautiful is the strenght of their spirits in standing against Morgoth...*snif*
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Melkor ... is becoming weaker over time. Why is this?

It probably wasn't just because he put a lot of his power in his creations. I expect him being gnawed constantly by his malice and envy. That probably lessened him. Also Melkor wasn't enjoying his creations as much as before.
And throw in the light of the Sun and those terrible headaches from iron crown. Hard time for him.
Quote:
Melkor ... is becoming weaker over time. Why is this?
Is it possible the light given off from the Silmarils in his Iron Crown also tended to damage Morgoth's mental evil being, burning away a few neurons every decade or so?
Some good replies so far, folks. I am particularly having difficulty decifering the meaning behind Manwe's quote,
Quote:
Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Ea, and evil yet be good to have been.Ē
Nice explaination about songs of power from Finrod, Eryan, and Sam's thought about the beauty of the Elves showing sorrow is poignant.
In a way I was reluctant to ask this question because I don't know the answer to it. I think you may be on the right tracks, in which case I would add...
The beauty of massed ranks of elven armies marching to war, resplendant in their armour,
The beauty of the bravery and honour they showed against terrible odds,
The white walls of their defences in such places as Gondolin...
I think it also means the Peredhil too. If the Noldor had not returned to Middle Earth, it is unlikely the half-elves would have been born. They were few in number but they and their kin played significant roles in the later ages.

I found the quote of "evil yet be good to have been." particularly difficult to comprehend at first, but viewing it from this angle, he is saying much beauty was forced into being, purely because it was pressed into being by evil itself.

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Melkor ... is becoming weaker over time. Why is this?
A lot of Melkor's evil creations were requirring him to exert his will upon them to keep them motivated or under his control. This would obviously diffuse his own power by spreading it over many creatures. This was seen at the end of RotK with Sauron's creatures after the Ring (and thus Sauron) was destroyed. His armies lost their motivation and just wandered lost.

I think more importantly, here, though was Melkor's battle with Eru. His life and powers were given to him by Eru, but he was using them to corrupt and destroy Eru's creation. Each new crafting outside of Eru's plan was costing him some of his own power.

You are correct about the Silmaril's and the Iron Crown too. The crown weighed heavy upon him, and the Silmarils burned him.

Anyone want a crack at the other questions before we move on?
I'm so far behind!!! Very Sad Smilie
Since my summer holidays have started, i have been for the most part sundered from Planet-Tolkien as I used to visit almost every day from my PC at college.
Please forgive my lateness as I am eager to catch up and join in the discussions again. So much to do, so little time.
hopefully you shall all hear from me again soon.
I too have taken a holiday from the discussion group. I hope to get back to it next week or the one after, towards answering some of Val's remaining questions.
Val, again, thanks for the invite! Iím on board with the group for the rest of the way, and Iím super excited! As of today, Iím basically right where the group is, and as Iíve stated elsewhere, I have been following whatís been going on with the group. Having read the appendices in ROTK (and some parts more than a few times), I had a pretty good feel for a lot of the basic outline of the Silmarillion. Also, before I started reading the book, I took a look at the first few assignments, and what was being discussed, so that gave me an extra advantage as well. Outside of the correct pronunciation of a few names (as has always been the case), I am having no problems getting through the book. My level of enthusiasm for this book is at a fever pitch, and I look forward to getting involved in the discussion when the next assignment is posted!
Orc Grinning Smilie
Quote:
3) The light of the Two Trees was a creation of Yavanna alone. How was the creation of the Sun and the Moon different to this?


The creation of the Sun and Moon was a combined effort of the Valar, which is possibly why they have been more successful in their safekeeping than the trees: preserved in their vessels by Aule, hallowed by Manwe and set in Ilmen by Varda.

Quote:
5) Is it any accident that Men first awoke as the Sun first climbed into the sky?


Since Eru knew the thoughts of the Valar from the very beginning, he probably foresaw the creation of the Sun and Moon (It may even have been part of his plan).
Having seen Melkor's evil intention in his music, he also probably knew that men being weaker than elves would not survive in the darkness among Morgoth's evil creatures. Therefore, it is possible that he made Men in such a way that the Sun's light would be the catalyst for their awakening.

Also....
Quote:
These things the Valar did, recalling in their twilight the darkness of the lands of Arda; and they resolved now to illumine Middle-earth and with light to hinder the deeds of Melkor... Manwe knew also that the hour of the coming of Men was drawn nigh.


Quote:
Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Ea, and evil yet be good to have been.Ē


Another possible interpretation of this could stem back to Christian beliefs:
Eru, like God, does not cause bad things to happen but he does allow them to happen BUT he also turns every evil deed into something good; by this I mean we learn some important life lesson or gain some kind of character-building experience from it to our advantage which we may not otherwise have learned.
Most of all I agree with what Sam said:
Quote:
'only when things are broken forever do they pass into song'. I think the beauty not yet concieved is the beauty of the Elves in their sorrow


Quote:
6) Apart from the obvious physical differences, how are Elves and Men different to each other?


Elves are wiser and sadder as throughout their long lives they have endured all the sorrows of the world. Whereas Men in comparison live for but a short moment, therefore their attitude seems to be more inclined toward living for the moment and their persuits tend to be more selfish.? This one's more of a guess really.

Quote:
1) What was the relationship between the Sindar and the Dwarves like in the early days after their first meeting? Was this typical of other Elf/Dwarf relationships seen in LotR?


In the early years their relationship was in the spirit of mutual profit and respect rather than friendship and love.
In LotR Elves and Dwarves for the most part hold each other in contempt and their relationship is that of tolerance because they have a common foe. But in the case of Legolas and Gimli we see the makings of a true friendship which is entirely different to any other Elf/Dwarf relationship that I know of.

(Grondy merely tried to fix an errant ASSCI number.)

[Edited on 31/12/2002 by Grondmaster]
Read Smilie Firstly, congratulations Orange for gaining a Post of the Week with one of your above answers. Well done. Read Smilie
Quote:
I too have taken a holiday from the discussion group. I hope to get back to it next week or the one after, towards answering some of Val's remaining questions
I'm afraid due to all my other commitments, I haven't managed to keep up in here either of late. Hopefully, I shall find enough time this evening to post the fifth assignment.
Quote:
Val, again, thanks for the invite! Iím on board with the group for the rest of the way, and Iím super excited!
You're welcome, Elfstone.

Nice answers Arwen.
Question 1) As you say, mutual profit and respect seems to have been the way of Elves and Dwarves throughout their history until the friendship of Legolas and Gimli.

This of course had been foretold by Eru when he first discovered and gave blessing to Aule's creation. He knew there would be little love between his own children and those of Aule, but he still gave them his blessing.

As a mirror to Aule creating the dwarves against Eru's wishes, and Eru's repentance and final blessing of the dwarves, Gimli is like the Dwarven equivalent of that final blessing, and as such he is the one that becomes enamoured of Galadriel and actually finishes up going to the Undying Lands with Legolas (although I'm not sure if this final scene was not just down solely to Tolkien's sentimentality)

Question 3)... Yes, that's correct. The Sun and the Moon were a combined effort by many of the Valar. In addition to the Valar you mentioned, it was also the tears of Nienna that caused the trees to bear the two fruits, and Tilion who guided the moon was a servant of Orome, as Arien was a servant of Vana.

Like you suggested, this combined effort would have shown Melkor that the rest of the Valar were united against him, and together they could create things he could not destroy. It seems to be from this moment onwards that Melkor's weaknesses seem to become more evident. He fails in his attempt to assail Tirion (a mere Maiar) and cannot even bear to look into Arien's fiery eyes.

Under the light of the sun he only once goes forth himself, to battle Fingolfin, and even then he his wounded by a mere Elf. The rest of the time he is forced to hide in his dungeons. He now relies on his armies to do the fighting too, rather than being able to rip up the land as he once had.

Question 5) The fact that Men arose at the moment the Sun first rose on Middle Earth shows it was no coincidence. Okay, it was said that Manwe urged the creation of the sun because he knew the time of their awakening was close, but I believe the two were linked. As you said, the rising of the sun was the catalyst that awoke the Men. Manwe probably did not realise this at the time, but Eru undoubtedly did. He had set the rising of the sun to be their alarm call, knowing once the sun was in the sky, they would be able to walk Middle Earth more safely.

The rising of the sun was significant in other ways to. It began the time when the Valar withdrew from Middle Earth and the power of the elves began to wane. It is a transition point from the time that was, to the time that is now... the age of Elves becoming the age of Men.

Question 6) Obviously there are many differences between the two races as well as many similarities. I think the root of their differences, however, lies in the elves being more rooted to Ea than what Men are. They are part of Ea rather than a visitor upon it. As such they gain "sustenance" from the earth... it restores their spirit giving them immortality, it heals their wounds and keeps them from illness etc. Because of this closeness to Ea, they revere it and understand it better than Men, and are also less harmed by the harshness of its heat and cold.

This tie to Ea means their fate is also tied to Ea. Come the End, when Ea reaches its final fruition and the First Great Music ends, their fate is the same as Ea. If at this point Ea ceases to be, as the Second Great Music (Heaven) begins, so too do they. Whatever, whereas all the souls of Men get to take part in the second Great Music (said to be more splendid than the first music), those of elves do not.

I'd also like to highlight the following quotation from the Silmarillion here,
Quote:
...and in those days they were more like to the bodies of Men, since they had not so long been inhabited by the fire of their spirit, which consumes them from within in the courses of time.
This is one of the few suggestions that Tolkien gives that elves change over the course of time. They may be immortal, but their bodies are slowly being consumed by their own spirit. This is also said to the Noldor when they are departing Aman. Mandos warns them that once in Middle Earth they will eventually tire, and yearn to return to Aman.

Please feel free to continue discussing these points. I'll attempt to work on assignment five tonight.


[Edited on 30/12/2002 by Valedhelgwath]
Nothing much to add, safe once again that it's great to find a place where people actually give some serious thought to Tolkiens work; virtually everything I might have said and much I surely wouldn't have has been covered. One difference I see between the Two Trees and the Sun and the Moon is that while the former were an end in themselves, the latter were at least partly meant as a rebuff of Melkor and aid to both Quendi and Atani, in which capacity they served well.

Now to a sudden speculation born of a casual observation that Elves are more ethereal wereas Men are more ephemeral. This literally occurred to me in the last minute or two, so bear with me if its raw and way off base. It seems that the Elves, and not just the Eldar, have a deeper understanding of not just Arda but existence as conceived by Eru and stewarded by the Valar. They certainly have little trouble divining what Ulmo speaks through the waters, and seem to have an intuitive grasp of the repercussions of many actions down to the Third Age itself. Men, on the other hand, tend to proceed gropingly toward understanding, occasionally aided by the Eldar, and rarely by the Valar.

It seems that the Eldar attain the fullness of their being during their time in Arda while Men only approach or begin it. While Men are to realize and fulfill their purpose in the Second Music, the Eldar exist in Arda and yet also exist on another level, acheiving all, or most, designs intended for them in the First Music while Arda endures, and of course they have no part as such in the Second Music (spectators perhaps? Resting from their labours?)

Where I'm going with this is the quasi-existence half in our mortal world and half in a spiritual world seen in the Elves of Celtic myth. Even in death the spirits of the Eldar are bound within Ea, but it is clear that when Men "shuffle off this mortal coil" they go on to a new mode of existence, one they have not before experienced. A "Music level" of existence might also explain the frequent phenomenon of foretelling which the Eldar possess (though on a very few occasions the Edain exhibit this trait as well, as when Huor prophecies Earendils coming, and going, to Turgon.) Essentially what I'm suggesting is that the Quendi exist both in Arda and on another level where the Music is just that and nothing more, while this latter existence is one Men will only have in truth at the Second Music. That's not to say they're not in the First, as we know they are, but that it's a partial and unconscious presence, in which they shape it through their lives without knowing they do, something of which the Quendi are of course very conscious.

Just random ramblings (with which I'm gonna stop 'cos I'm getting punchyWink Smilie fire at will.