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This sixth assignment will deal the chapters;
17) Of the coming of Men into the West
18) Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.


Of the Coming of Men into the West.
This chapter tells how, after three hundred years after their awakening, Men first come into Beleriand. Like the journey west of the Elves, many ages before, the tribes of Men are in several groups, not all travelling at the same pace, and not all are destined to make it into Beleriand. Those who do, however, are welcomed by the Noldor and many serve the Elven lords as vassals, and in doing so learn much lore from the Elves. This group of Men became known as the Edain, and they are the ancestors of the Numenorians and the Dunedain.

This chapter can be a little confusing, even daunting, with the number of names that it contains, for unlike the Elven lords who live long enough for you to recognise their names, the Men die quickly and you are often bombarded with the names of several sons and grandsons, uncles and cousins, all in the same paragraph. To make things even more confusing, there are three Houses of the Edain, and their paths often intermingle. Bear with it though, and the names which are important will occur regular enough for you to begin to recognise who is who.

One of my favourite paragraphs from the Silmarillion is from this chapter. The first time I ever read it I thought, WHAT????? because I did not recognise the names, but on later readings, each of the names jumped out at me because I knew what deeds had been done by each of them.

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The sons of Hador were Galdor and Gundor; and the sons of Galdor were Hurin and Huor; and the son of Hurin was Turin the Bane of Glaurung; and the son of Huor was Tuor, father of Earendil the Blessed. The son of Boromir was Bregor, whose sons were Bregolas and Barahir; and the sons of Bregolas were Baragund and Belegund. The daughter of Baragund was Morwen, the mother of Turin, and the daughter of Belegund was Rian, the mother of Tuor. But the son of Barahir was Beren One-hand, who won the love of Luthien Thingol’s daughter, and returned from the Dead; from them came Elwing the wife of Earendil, and all the Kings of Numenor after.
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Over the next few chapters you will come to know many of the names in this paragraph, and several of them play a large role in the rest of the book. It is a very important lineage, for as well as providing the Kings of Numenor (and beyond, right through to Aragorn), it is also from this line that Elrond was born.

Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.As its name suggests, this is somewhat of a tragic chapter. After the relative peace of the long siege, suddenly Morgoth comes forth in a sudden attack that sweeps through the Elven defences. Defended by steep mountains, the western realms manage to hold off the attack, but the lower ground to the east, defended by the sons of Feanor, is harder to defend and falls. Many Elves and Men, including many of the great lords are slain in this chapter, and much of the beautiful land is laid to waste and burned.

Fearing all is lost, Fingolfin, High King of the Noldor, rides to the gate of Angband and challenges Morgoth to single combat. This is one of the most heroic struggles in all of Tolkien’s works, but the outcome is tragically predictable. That Fingolfin manages to wound Morgoth on seven occasions before falling shows the courage and might of the ancient Elven lords.

This chapter also introduces the Swarthy Men, or the Easterlings as they became known. Arriving in Beleriand later than the Houses of the Edain, they did not benefit from the teachings of the Elves, and some had already been corrupted by Morgoth. Critically, some of these corrupted Men feigned allegiance to the Elves, only to reveal their true allegiance once in battle.

Names and Places
Dagor Bragollach. The Battle of Sudden Flame.
Hildorien. Place in Eastern Middle Earth where Men first awoke.
Estolad (the Encampment). Land south of Nan Elmoth were the Edain made their settlement.
Anfauglith. Ard-galen after the Battle of Sudden Flame.
Thorondor. Lord of the giant eagles.
Glaurung. The father of Dragons.


As there are so many names of Men in these chapters, some of whom are mentioned just a few times before dying, I will group them into lists according to the Houses from which they belong. Please note there are family trees for the three houses of the Edain on pages 371-372.

The First House of the Edain…The House of Beor
This was the first House of Men to enter Beleriand, and they allied themselves with the House of Finarfin, settling mostly in Dorthonion. During the Battle of Sudden Flame this house was shattered and the few survivors fled to Hithlim where they were absorbed into the Third House. A few remained in Dorthonion as bandits under Barahir, but of those only Beren survived.

Beor the Old (Balan)
Baran
Bereg
Boromir (son of Boron, grandson of Beor)
Bregor (son of Boromir)
Bregolas and Barahir (sons of Bregor)
Baragund and Belegund (sons of Bregolas)
Morwen (daughter of Baragund, mother of Turin)
Rian (daughter of Belegund, mother of Tuor)
Beren (son of Barahir, husband of Luthien)

The Second House of the Edain… The Haladin…. The People of Haleth.
Arriving in Beleriand about a year after the First House, they dwelt for a while in Thargelion, where they were pretty much ignored by the Noldor of Caranthir. Living in isolated homesteads until they were attacked by orcs, the survivors retreated to a stockade built in the angle of two rivers where they were eventually rescued by Caranthir. Many of the survivors were eventually given permission by Thingol to settle in Brethil where they defended the Crossings of Teiglin. For a while the Haladin managed to keep their strength but after a series of defeats they gradually dwindled and passed out of history.

Haldad
Haleth (a great lady of the Haladin)
Haldar
Haldan
Haldir

The Third House of the Edain… The House of Hador
The last of the Edain to enter Beleriand, they were the most numerous. Settling in Dor-lomin alongside the House of Fingolfin, they became the greatest in splendour of the Edain. Of the three Houses, they also became the most renowned in the wars of Beleriand, fighting alongside the Elves of Fingolfin. After the fall of Dorthonion, they absorbed many of the women of the First House into their number. Most of the warriors of this great house were slain during the wars and the women were enslaved by the Easterlings.

Marach
Malach (Aradan)
Magor
Amlach son of Imlach
Hador Lorindol (son of Hathol, son of Magor)
Galdor and Gundor (sons of Hador)
Hurin and Huor (sons of Galdor)
Turin (son of Hurin)
Tuor (son of Huor, father of Earendil)


I shall raise some questions for discussion in the next few days. If anyone wishes to ask any questions of their own concerning these two chapters, feel free to do so.




1) When Finrod first encountered Men, he found although they spoke another language, he could read their thoughts. How was he able to do this, and is it something all Elves would have been capable of?

2) When you compare the Eldar to the Avari, what similarities do you see when you compare the Edain and non-Edain Men?

3) Why did Thingol ban Men from entering his realm?

4) Hurin, Huor, Turin and Tuor are generally associated with the Third House of the Edain, the House of Hador. Can you explain why this should be when Hurin and Huor were only 50% Third House and Turin and Tuor had only 25% blood from this House. Could their bloodline offer an explaination why these four figures are among the greatest heroes of Mankind.

5) Was Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth heroic or folly? What did he hope he could achieve?

6) Why was Maeglin bitter when Turgon allowed Hurin and Huor to leave Gondolin?

7) Why was Morgoth so worried about not knowing the whereabouts of Finrod Felagund and Turgon?

If anyone has any questions relating to these two chapters, please feel free to raise them.
Melkor was so worried about not knowing the whereabouts of Finrod, and Turgon for the obvious reasons that they were both extremely powerful Elven lords, and he greatly feared what they might still be able to accomplish against him. More importantly they were Noldor, and I believe I recall that Melkor hated (and feared) the Noldor the most out of all the Elves, and more specifically, they were both of the house of Finwe. Finrod, and Turgon were both bound by the oath of Feanor, and after the murder of their grandfather (by Melkor), and the stealing of the Silmarils, they swore “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.” Also it was said “Finrod, and Turgon were bold and fiery of heart, and loath to abandon any task to which they had put their hands until the bitter end, if bitter it must be.” With all this in mind, obviously Morgoth had serious reasons to worry about what Finrod, and Turgon were up to.
Elf Smilie
That is pretty much correct, Elfstone. They were both powerful lords (in fact Fingon had the greatest host of any of the Noldorian lords). As the other lords fell one by one, he feared surviving Elves from these falling realms would join Turgon and Fingon, thus strengthening their forces even more.

Also, let's not forget that Melkor knew these two personally. He had lived with them for a long time in Valinor. He would know they were wiser than Feanor and his sons, and less prone to his deceits and subterfuge. He would know how noble and brave each could be, and how well they would rally support against him.

His armies, with which he had expected to defeat the Elves and Edain during the Dagor Bragollach had suffered huge losses and had failed to wipe out their enemies. He was severely weakened, so he may well have feared an immediate attack from either of these two. He did not know their strengths. They may well have been holding back huge reserves that could have defeated him, particularly as he did not know from where their attack might come.

There is a fear that comes from the unknown too. Melkor had spent long years preparing his own forces. That was the way he thought. In his mind, that is perhaps how he imagined the elves to be too. He probably imagined Gondolin to be an elven equivalent of Angband, focusing itself purely on breeding armies and producing weapons.
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Finrod, and Turgon were both bound by the oath of Feanor, and after the murder of their grandfather (by Melkor), and the stealing of the Silmarils, they swore “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.”
This is not strictly true. Only Feanor and his sons swore the Oath that you have mentioned above. What bound them all to it, however, was the Doom of the Noldor which Mandos placed upon them before they departed. All of the Noldor who left Valinor were exciled, but only Feanor and his sons had committed themselves to persuing the Silmarils to the ends of the earth.
Val, you are absolutely correct (as usual) about the oath of Feanor. What I actually meant by the statement (which I failed to specify) that Finrod, and Turgon were bound by the oath, was that they were bound to it through the doom of Mandos, so I’m glad that you pointed that out, because that’s definitely one of the principle reasons for Melkor’s concern. Also, I really liked your point about how Melkor would know that Finrod, and Turgon were wiser than Feanor, and his sons, and they would be less prone to his deceit.
Melkor definitely did underestimate the combined strength of the Elves, and the Edain in the Dagor Bragollach, he was very weakened, so I’m certain that you are right about him being fearful of an attack by either of those two as well.
Elf Smilie
Since Gondolin was hidden, this would probably make Melkor even more fearful. Did he know where Nargothrond was? I forgot.
I don't think he knew precisely where Nargothrond was at first until later, but he knew its general location. Of Gondolin, however, he had absolutely no idea of its location. I think he actually believed it to be somewhere in southern Beleriand.
well, actually i think morgoth knew about nargothrond´s existence,though he had no idea where it was, and i know for sure that he did not know about gondolin´s location until some chapters later,as we will see....(do not worry, i will not tell the rest of the book..... Big Laugh Smilie
and i think that he was concerned because the enemy you can not see is the one you have to fear the most....do you agree?.....

and about my homonimous,i think he did not have to much respect for a race that had to few days,because he was to proud of being an eldar.....however as one of feanor´sons said....."king is the one than can keep his own...." or something like that....( i apologize,but even though i have tried to read the silmarillion in english, i have not been able to get that version.....that is why some of my quotes might not be as precisely as i would like to,because i have to translate them...., and as you can see, i still commit too many mistakes.....thanx for your comprehension..... Wink Smilie


i think fingon´s duel was not only heroic,but also it gave some hope to eldar,because they realized than melkor was not invulnerable and that they might have still a hope....though fingon´s lost was terrible for all of them..., i think that what tolkien tried to tell was an allegory with alleys during the 2nd world war,at the last before us army got in....british were fighting even whwn their army was too damaged.....personally, i think it is not only heroic...., i think there has to be a word that explains a higher degree of heroism....,but i can not find it..., if anybody has any...pls...,modify this word...,or add it...,
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2) When you compare the Eldar to the Avari, what similarities do you see when you compare the Edain and non-Edain Men?

The Eldar were wiser and fairer than the Avari, having learned much from the Valar, the light of Aman was in their eyes. They were more skilled in craft, their language and culture were more evolved.
In the same way the Edain were wiser than the non-Edain, because they had learned much from the Elves (who effectively were passing on the wisdom of the Valar) their language and culture also evolved through their association with the Elves: even in terms of religion, because the Elves had told the Edain about Eru and they worshiped him, whereas the non-Edain had no religions or they worshiped Melkor.

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3) Why did Thingol ban Men from entering his realm?

I'll answer this with a quote:
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he(Thingol) was troubled by dreams concerning the coming of Men, ere ever the first postThreadIDings of them were heard.

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6) Why was Maeglin bitter when Turgon allowed Hurin and Huor to leave Gondolin?

Maeglin didn't like any of the race of Men, so he probably felt it unjust for lesser mortals to be granted a request that had before been denied even to Elves.

This is all I'm gonna say for now, since most of the questions have been pretty much coverred.
That's a good answer to Question 2, Arwen.

I think there is possibly more to Question 3 though, than just the dreams that Thingol had had. I don't think that he liked the way the Noldor had returned and divided up Beleriand. He was unable to hold onto this land against Morgoth, but until then the whole of Beleriand had been his realm. Now, another race was moving into Beleriand too. The Noldor were welcoming them with open arms, giving them lands (which were once Thingol's) and not even confering with him about it. I think in a way, he perhaps felt as though his nose had been pushed out of joint.

Anyone care to hazard a guess to the nature of the dreams that Thingol had had concerning Men?

Question 6 about Maeglin you got partially correct. I think at that time Hurin and Huor would have been the only Men Maeglin would have ever met as he had had no dealings with them prior to coming to Gondolin. You are right though, in that Turgon had granted them something which was denied even to elves. Further, Maeglin's father, Eol, had died for this very reason. Eol had refused to stay in Gondolin, but when Turgon had refused to allow him to leave, the events which had resulted in the deaths of both of Maeglin's parents had occured. If it were not for his love of Idril, I think Maeglin would have quite liked to have left Gondolin on occasions too.

Question 5 about Fingolfin's battle with Morgoth. It's nice to see you joining in with us Thingol, particularly as English is not your main language.

Yes, I agree with you. Fingolfin challenged Morgoth because he was in deep dispair and angry, and although he had little chance of defeating Morgoth, his challenge did show the Noldor that Morgoth could be hurt by such as they.

I'm not sure what chance Fingolfin believed he had, or even if he thought rationally prior to making the challenge,
but I think at that time he believed Morgoth had utterly defeated the Noldor and that he stood more chance in single combat of winning the war than his armies could.

The fact that he managed to inflict seven wounds upon Morgoth before falling, and then inflicting a further one with his dying swing showed how skilled he must have been.

Anyone want to attempt questions 1 and 4 before we move on?
#4) I think like in most cases today the offspring of a couple would be more associated with the father's side: wives and children take on the father's surname; and in the case of the aforementioned they were associated with the house of their fathers.
Their bloodline probably did have something to do with them being heroes:
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greatest among them was the house of Hador Goldenhead, peer of Elven-lords. His people were of great strength and stature, ready in mind, bold and steadfast, quick to anger and to laughter, mighty among the Children of Illuvatar

You can't go wrong with a reputation like that... well in theory at least.

#1)At that stage Men were a new and primative race, like to children and not too different from the Elves when they first awoke; in this way Finrod could probably relate to them even though he was not among the first of the Elves. He was intrigued by them and spent some time with them, he started to learn and understand their ways and became intuitive to their thoughts - like a mother learns to interpret the cries of her infant and often knows what her children are thinking... I may have taken this parent-child analogy too far.
It's possible that any Elf may have been able to read the thoughts of Men - had they bothered to take any interest in them at that early stage, but it's more likely that Finrod was gifted with the ability like Galadriel in LotR.
i think there is a reference about that kind of skill at the end of the RotK,whe gandalf,elrond,galadriel travel back to their homes......thus i think than as well as that capability as the fact that edain´s language was derivated from quendi influenced for finrod to be able to do that.... Wink Smilie , is it not?
I'll look up that reference when I get a chance, Thingol. The similarity between languages would have certainly helped Finrod to learn the tongue of the Edain quicker, as would the Elven love of teaching language to other beings.

There seems to be an empathy here too, though. Finrod is able to read the thoughts of these Men before they speak the words. Elves, more than Men, seemed a lot more perceptive to nature, spirits and what was occuring around them. Would this have enabled Finrod to read their minds, and if so, would all elves be capable of doing it?

Finrod appears to be a bard as well as a warrior. Ancient bards were said to possess certain powers of tongues and voice. This could possibly be the reason for his ability.

I am going away for a few days, but I shall attempt to post assignment 7 by the beginning of next week.
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Finrod appears to be a bard as well as a warrior. Ancient bards were said to possess certain powers of tongues and voice. This could possibly be the reason for his ability.



i do not think that is the reason....., i would rather believe that it was just part of their nature, the same situation appears in the lord of the rings when galadriel feels all the fellowship´s wishes or desires,and offers each one of them the chance to get them....even though nobody notices that to the rest of the fellowship is being offered the equivalent....and each one of them is analized by galadriel....,elrond is capable to do that so,because he feels aragorn´s love for arwen.....,

and it seems to be than the istari(like gandalf) can do that also,because he forces bilbo to tell him the thruth about the ring.....even though he did not want to...,and theoden fells under his will also,just when gandalf forces him away from grima...

i think that they did not know that before they knew humans,even though it was part of their nature....

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Hurin, Huor, Turin and Tuor are generally associated with the Third House of the Edain, the House of Hador. Can you explain why this should be when Hurin and Huor were only 50% Third House and Turin and Tuor had only 25% blood from this House.
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remember that Hador lorindor had 2 sons, one of them was galdor,who was Hurin and Huor´s father,so they were hador´s grandchildren....,and the same we could say about Turin and Huor,because they were hador´s great-grandchildren....so even though Galdor got married with Hareth(from the haladin) the blood-line was transfered to Hurin and Huor,because of the father-son line.....same happened with Turin and Tuor....even though Hurin got married with morwen daughter of Baragund (from Bëor´s house) and Huor got married with Rían daughter of Belegund (from Bëor´s house).

most of that info comes in the Tolkien´s apedixes
(¿is the word correct?....,or is it apedages?) Elf Confused Smilie

if it is not ....., could anybody correct it, and then eliminate this question?.....,thnx


i think that is why they were considered from that house....,

and about if that influenzed them for they to do such heroic things.....,i think it was because the image they had on their youth....that and the fact that they had to much contact with elves..... Wink Smilie

had no more to say.....(about this question Big Smile Smilie )
Still reading along... Gonna read these chapters over the next week, cos it seems I have some reading to do to catch up with you guys again.

Val, thanks so much for your explanations, it makes the read so much easier, cos you don't have to flip to the back every time you see a name you don't recognise! Cool Smilie
In regards to Finrod’s ability to read the thoughts of men, I think that this is something that can possibly be traced back to Indis the fair. Indis was Vanya, close kin of Ingwe the high king of the elves. Ingwe being the high king “abode thereafter at the feet of Manwe upon Taniquetil”. Ingwe learned much from Manwe, and I have every reason to believe that the ability to speak without voice, and to read thoughts is a skill that Ingwe learned from Manwe (as well as other Valar), and passed down to Indis, and other elves that were close in kin.

We know that Finrod had this ability, and as others have already pointed out, we also know that Galadriel (among others) also had this ability. Finrod, and Galadriel were brother, and sister, and more importantly Indis was their grandmother. It is said in the Silmarillion “the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children were also”, and I feel that this explains why Finrod, and Galadriel had this ability. I don’t think that this was something all elves were capable of. I think only the most powerful elves that were a part of Indis’s bloodline had this ability. Elrond had this ability to some degree as well because he was a part of that bloodline also, from Indis to Fingolfin on down the line. Hopefully I’m not too far off the mark here.
Elf Smilie
That's a good theory about Finrod Elfstone, I'd never thought about it before. I think that the Noldor had the ability to read hearts and minds more than the other elves because they had been in Valinor. In LotR, it is Galadriel not Celeborn the Sindar who reads the minds of the fellowship. Similarily, it is Melian the Maia not Thingol who can tell what is to come.
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It is said in the Silmarillion “the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children were also”, and I feel that this explains why Finrod, and Galadriel had this ability. I don’t think that this was something all elves were capable of. I think only the most powerful elves that were a part of Indis’s bloodline had this ability. Elrond had this ability to some degree as well because he was a part of that bloodline also, from Indis to Fingolfin on down the line. Hopefully I’m not too far off the mark here.
Elf Smilie


That is a good theory you got there, Thumbs Up Smilie elfstone .....,even though i disagree, because celeborn had any relation directly with indis.....nor olorin did,and at the end of TRotK there is a passage where says that they used to speak with no words, and just thought were flashing among them....., so i do think that it was an ability for all elves, even though they did not used it...i think they did not know about that ablility untill they met men and finrod needed to understand them.....,and how would you explain that when finrod sings a valinor´song , men had thought of glory and the trees,though they did not understand all the song´s meaning .... it is also said than melian had this kind of ability also,but we are going to get there very soon,in our reading....

I know well that as well as melian as olorin were maiars,or sauron himself a balrog,but that means that other creatures had that kind of telepathy.....,i have even thought that ents had it also,because, otherwise....., ¿how could you explain that fangorn knew gandalf was not death?....,(maybe because he knew gandalf was a maiar)but ¿how did gandalf knew that merry and pipin were with him?....so that is why i think even ents could have somekind of telepaty.....after all,elves thaught them to speak.....maybe they used telepathy at the begining...., but well this last part i can not prove ,so it is pure deduction.....

i think you are right arwen, because there are a lot of parts where tolkien gives to much importance to the fact that aragorn was descendant from isildur,and he remarks that the bloodline was keept from father to son...., same thing happens with them(i think) Wink Smilie



Tenn´enomentielma!!!!

(Grondy merely tried to convert a few stray ASSCI numbers.)

[Edited on 3/3/2003 by Grondmaster]
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3) Why did Thingol ban Men from entering his realm?


Thingol was a great King among the elves of Middle-Earth, but I think when the Noldor came he sort of lost much respect he once had. And when Men came to Middle-Earth later, it was as though his world was shrinking even more. He wanted to keep aloft and continue to assert his postAuthorIDity over all the newcomers.
Wow, you've all been very busy while I've been away. you've all raised some very good points too.

I liked your point about the kin of Indis, Elfstone, although the ability was not limited to just this line. I think what is at work here, is what Men would term "elven magic." It is not magic in the true sense, but a deep perceptual awareness for your surroundings. I don't think it would be an ability all elves would have though. Those, like Feanor and his sons, were more interested in their own council than the words of others. I think it is abilities like this one which gave such people as Galadriel and Gandalf the reputations as being wise.

As far as the Hurin, Turin bloodline question goes, I agree they were considered Third House because that was the house of their father's line... male descent etc.

What I was trying to raise with this question, however, was that for some reason they managed to become such great heroes. I think it was partially the blending of their bloods that gave rise to their physical strengths in combination with their temperments that enabled them to achieve so much.

In addition, because they shared the blood of the chieftains of the three houses, they were unifying the houses of the Edain, eliminating possible disputes over lordship etc. This would have been particularly important when Tuor's grandson, Elros, became king of Numenor (although this is jumping ahead slightly).

I hope to get the next assignment ready to post in the next few days. Sorry for the delay.
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5) Was Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth heroic or folly? What did he hope he could achieve?


I think it was foolish but herioc. It was not a good idea to meet Morgoth alone. I think that Fingolfin, as the highest Noldor lord, thought that by meeting Morgoth alone he could put an end to everything for good or ill.
As a sidenote, I like what you said about the Elves magic stemming from an awareness of their surroundings, it is sort of like hobbit 'magic' in that way.
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This chapter also introduces the Swarthy Men, or the Easterlings as they became known.


This isn't related to Silmarillion, but I just thought this was interesting.

My mother-tongue is Marathi. In Marathi there is a word "swarthy". It is an adjective form of the noun "swarth". Swarth is derived from Swa + Arth(a). Swa means self and Arth(a) means interest or money. That means, "swarth" means greed or selfishness. Thus "swarthy" would mean greedy or selfish. I just thought this was interesting, because some of those Easterlings ended up betraying Maedhros in the Fifth Battle.
That's quite an interesting parallel, Floyd. I think in this case, however, Tolkien was refering entirely to skin complexion.

JRR often had the evil races as being Black or Swarthy. Today that would be concidered unacceptably racial, but the era JRR was brought up in, such issues were far more accepted, and as such, stereotyped than today.
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JRR often had the evil races as being Black or Swarthy. Today that would be concidered unacceptably racial, but the era JRR was brought up in, such issues were far more accepted, and as such, stereotyped than today.


Yes. I believe that's quite correct Val. Forget about the racism part, but the people in the east ARE dark as compared to the people in Europe or USA, meaning the Westarn countries.

In India, because the sun rises from the East, it is considered to be the "good" direction. We always consider the East to be better than the West in the religious thingies. Consider Tolkien and it's the absolute opposite. Simply, we can say, because he's from the West.

I don't mean to start a discussion on this topic, atleast, not here. It's clearly out of place here.
I've always thought the significance of the West, specifically Valinor and Eressea, in Tolkiens major works an example of his revealing the "truth" of later mythologies, in this case the Celtic legends of the Land of Faerie lying to the West, and imbued with many of the attributes we tend to assoicate with Aman. This phenomenon is, of course, an integral part of Middle-Earth (most obviously in references to Europe in HoME) and a fine example of how Tolkien dominates the fantasy genre through his influence of subsequent authors (like Robert Jordans "legend fades to myth" in WoT.)

Edited to reflect a transposition that was mine, not Jordans, of words I've read at least ten times and probably closer to thirty. Oh, well, at least it doesn't Fade to myth, at least we hope not.
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(like Robert Jordans "myths fade to legends" in WoT.)

Apparently Jordan didn't read LOTR thoroughly enough. It's supposed to be "legend became myth". (:-P