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Thread: The House of Finwe: what's your opinion?

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I like Feanor. Tolkien must have liked him to or why would he have made him Greatest of the Children of Iluvatar?
"Like" is a word that can seem contradictory sometimes. Like can be mingled with pity sometimes. Pity and sorrow.

Most of us certainly do admire Feanor, because he did have great talent in many things, but from the beginning Prof. Tolkien had already laid down the basis for his downfall. And as we watch him make his own undoing, the more tender-hearted will percieve a tragedy perhaps, because they'll feel sorry for Feanor. But the less tender people will feel that his downfall was his own arrogance and lust for the Silmarils. Those are faults that Tolkien created in him, and so yeah, Tolkien may have shown favour to Feanor by giving him surpassing talent, but I think he's simply using Feanor as an example of arrogant geniuses who will meet their bitter ends sometime.
Let's not forget the slaying of Finwe in all this -- not to make less of some of Feanor's actions and choices (and he was not the only son of Finwe of course), but it is to be remembered that a 'god' slew his father, and it is said...

'But now Feanor ran from the concourse and fled into the night, as one mad both with wrath and with grief: for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands; and who among sons, of Elves or of Men, have held their fathers of greater worth?' JRRT Annals of Aman
And after all tragedy that befell this tragic hero, who knows what he spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when reflecting upon the calamities of his life, and the walls of the Halls of Mandos closing in on him, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?
Then he also had that vivacious Garma Wormtooth stalking him everywhere he went.
I'm surprised he didn't just turn around and burn all the Worms alive with his glaring eyes.
Sounds like Labour's tactic of winning votes.
I think the previous post might be considered political; though what it has to do with the price of butter in Baltimore, of coal in Newcastle, or ice in Thule I haven't the foggiest.
Feanor must've left something in England, then.
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Why was he spoiled, anyway? The brat practically killed his mother in the womb, by sucking her dry of all her lifeforce.

If I were Finwë, I'd lock that monster up in the basement and never let him out again.


go tell that to all the human children whose mothers died in childbirth

I always get the feeling that from before Feanor was born something went wrong.  It almost feels as though his Mother new that in some way Feanor was destined for something not altogether good or wholesome.  From memory she mentions something to that effect in the Sil.

After the death of his mother he seems to have aged prematurely for one of the Eldar, not physically but mentally.  I know at this early stage he was the only member of the Eldar to experience the loss of a Mother and ultimately of a Father as well, but I don't think that this is the reason of his fell future.

I cant help but think that JRRT wanted us the see the true power of Evil incarnate, that it can permeate anywhere, even in the undying lands as we were to realise later through both Morgoth & Ungoliant's actions as well as the actions of the Noldor lead by Feanor.

I choose to believe that it was the presence of evil which somehow infected the house of Finwe very early on well before the birth of Feanor.  Evil was unknown in the undying lands at this stage and in a way Manwe invited it in by first capturing Morgoth and then by letting him free amongst his people.

I think the Silmarils are a metaphor for the Evil which takes hold and follows.  As did the curse which followed the fortunes of the sacred jewels.  If we think about Feanor's reaction to being asked to give the Silmarils to Yavanna in the hope that they can bring the trees back from the brink of death, its simply Bizarre, even greater than the reaction to his own Fathers death.  I always think he would at least have offered 2 of the three, one for each tree, leaving his house 1, but the greed had already taken hold.

I may be totally off the mark here, but this is they way I see the confounding actions of the Noldor as lead by Feanor.

Yes Brego, perhaps he did wish to show that evil can come , seemingly out of nowhere , even in the undying lands. In the Scriptures it tells of 'satan' walking faultlessly until the electrifying moment evil intent against the Creator was found in him . That is almost incomprehensible, so perhaps this fellow in some smallish way shows this. Although he had things against him from birth and perhaps the 'abandonment' of mother caused some sort of angry abberation, after all undying lands or no, a creature has his or her feelings and they can get warped.

For myself I love the Noldor . I just wish I could have seen how they did their hair.

Indeed Lee Lee, myself I think I'm more suited to be a Dark Elf.  Probably akin to Eol, even though he was slightly Psycho!

LeeLee, elsewhere I started a thread titled 'Hairy Pottering' in order to collect some descriptions about Eldarin hair.

Not much on 'style' or length has been noted so far though!

Galin, that is the best. I love it! I am a person that needs to know what something or someone looks like if it is the sort of thing that our professor wrote, because it is not this world and so I have no frame of reference. And I can just imagine how exquisite and thick and glossy and magnificent their locks must have been, but in what way now I cannot imagine except in a general sense.

The story of Feanor is easily one of my favorite when it comes to the Noldor. I voted for him in the most recent poll. I think he is completely misunderstood. I hate labeling his actions as "evil." I mean, certainly the slaughter of the Teleri was a pretty brutal thing, but he was bound by an oath, and I don't think oaths for the Eldar work quite the same as those of man. We can break our promises and back out because it's simply expected of us; however, back then, the idea of being a living thing was still a fairly new concept, much less that of going to a "New World." From all the actions they've heard of from the past, I'm sure they took every single little thing extremely serious. So yes, I suppose the whole Teleri incident was pretty evil, but personally, I don't feel like that justified him as being evil. Just an idiot. And even though it's technically his fault his sons partook in the following 2 kinslayings, I don't feel he should take all the blame for those.

Another thing about the house of Finwe is the names. For the most part, I think all the names from Tolkien are pretty bad ass or representative of their owner. However, even to this day, I struggle from laughing when trying to pronounce out loud both Fingolfin and Finarfin. I can't help it, those are just such awkward names...

However, even to this day, I struggle from laughing when trying to pronounce out loud both Fingolfin and Finarfin. I can't help it, those are just such awkward names... 

 

Stressing the proper syllable can make a big difference in the pronunciation of the nomenclature.

Not that you're mispronouncing these names necessarily! I don't imagine you are... but in any event there's a big difference between fInarfin and finArfin for instance.

 

Plus, today I think I disagree with the films (for example) concerning the quality of Sindarin short i, not that these names were in the films of course, but I'm not sure we have i as in machine here as the films would have pronounced them.

Evil doesn't come "out of nowhere". Morgoth's intriguing may have influenced the Noldor, but not Fëanor.

Fëanor had always rejected Morgoth, the reason why Fëanor did not wish to share the Silmarils to heal the Two Trees was because he remembered Morgoth's deceiving and lies on Formenos' doorstep, and deemed the Valar to be the same.

Fëanor is an example of pride and ambition leading to someone's downfall, which was also a common theme in 19th century French literature.

I could not agree more Virumor. Pride and ambition have the power to be the most conflicting oxymoronic terms when it comes to good and bad. Both words represent both sides, combined or individually. Which is arguably what Feanor is. He represents both sides, which is why I feel he isn't really "evil" ....just lost in a world of evil.

I've thought this over.  I'm going to try to go off what I remember feeling about the story, mostly, though I will have to search out a few names.  I might get something mixed up, in other words, so you'll have to forgive me.

Feanor acted rashly and almost blood drunk, but at that stage in the history of the Quendi, the Noldor were still juveniles in the sense that they hadn't experienced many challenges to the examples set by the Valar. 

Though they didn't fear the dark, future Noldor woke in Middle Earth to nothing except the wonderment at discovering their world.  Much of that wonderment translated to fear for other Quendi, and I like to think of the Noldor as those who would not succumb to a flight instinct and instead would look toward building things in the dark to aid all their kind.  For the others who didn't run, such as the Vanyar who I like to imagine as boppy blondes with convertibles who never leave the 'burbs, they are simply enamored of it all.  For the Teleri I imagine the Noldor had a great deal of respect, despite the Kinslaying of the Falmari, but I'll get to that.

When Orome found them, he was their first example, and he demonstrated courage and faculty in the dark, going so far as to hunt using dogs on a horse and to carry weapons.  But nothing happened to them!  He was just ready for anything.  That's a calming example and a demonstration of the grim steadfastness they would later display.  Here I suspect the Vanyar asked for autographs, and the Teleri understood that they could respect the Valar and yet lead lives of their own: chiefly by the crafts the Noldor must by then have fully refined.

Later, they arrive at the most epic party anywhere, and they're greeted with beautiful lands, a wide array of vocations, and MAGIC!  The Valar's subtle magic being the most beautiful, it ensnared the Noldor, and 'craft' took on a new meaning.  Instead of very well-constructed and efficient thatched huts, the Noldor hewed houses gently from the rock and bent living trees to their beneficent will.  I can't imagine Aule being more happy than when he realized what the Noldor represented: respect for everything.

They so respected the Valar that they took what they saw as their greatest gifts - the Two Trees - and modeled three modest (remember where they are now, with jewels aplenty) vessels for their light (remember where they woke up).

Then it all goes bad.

I can see Feanor saying first to himself, "this is an affront to everything.  they made us and the trees, and we made our homage to both, and to them.  if nothing else, i will accept this as a test of my resolution to protect all three."

Now keeping in mind the relative juveniles I described, try to remember how you reacted when Mom and Dad first tried to stop you from being idealistic, and contrary to being juvenile, imagine having traveled such a long way and having lived such a long time already, doing nothing but faithfully drinking in every shred of knowledge and grace the Valar had to offer.

I think I'd go off half-cocked on a betrayer of those things myself.

Orome's example --->  the forging of the weapons, for preparedness

An unwillingness to accept "disloyalty" --->  the Kinslaying

Of course, I could always be wrong, and Feanor certainly blew a gasket and dressed himself like a Tolkienesque crusader somewhere in there, probably right around the Kinslaying, seeing no way back, understanding that perhaps this was what his clan had been destined to do, given all the ways in which they were prepared to deal with it.  (long sentence gasp)  He snapped.

Through the Helcaraxe, I can't imagine him feeling anything but the Curse - or natural selection - in his very bones.  Everything tells me Feanor probably knew, best of all the Quendi, his clan was absolutely made for the mission.  After all, the Vanyar and Falmari, polishing their convertibles and yachts with linen diapers, hadn't seemed up to it.

I suspect Feanor even understood the nature of his very connection with Eru, and that the Valar who tried to stop him did not.  Not that he ever really passed judgment on Eru, the Valar, the Vanyar, or the Teleri.  I think he just tried to rationalize the path he saw, and he didn't suspect anyone else had completely thought over Melkor's betrayal.  He was out to exact justice, and he was prepared to dive into hell to get it.  It's a contrary reaction to the grieving experienced by all the other players, and no one had quite gone through the entire process before.

No wisdom had therefore been imparted on the Noldor for letting go.

I cannot judge, but I am sure that their Creator gave them rules and principals to live by and whatever situation they found themselves in they at least had these things to guide them. Else all things would have been chaos from the very beginning .

Almost exactly what I was trying to say earlier in the thread Ari, though I like the way you worded it much better. That's pretty much spot on with how I feel everytime I read the story of the house of Feanor. Good call. I love the description of both Valinor and the Vanyar too, as I don't think there's any doubt it was definitely a huge party city full of MAGIC 

I have just re read the Sil- for about the 10th time, loved it as much as the first.  Something popped into my head regarding the Mother of Feanor, Miriel.  Miriel's spirit would have been the first of the Eldar to be housed in the halls of Mandos, but she would not have been alone. Melkor was imprisoned with the halls as well.  Im sure that Mandos would have made sure that Melkor was separated from any other Spirit, however it seems to me that the Professor never makes decisions like this out of coincidence.  Could it be that Melkor in some way had an influence on Miriel and her kin???  I mentioned in a previous post that I thought that Evil had in some way infected the Noldor very early on in the West, perhaps this is how it started...

Has anyone else picked up on the fact that Galadriels hair was the original inspiration for Feanor wanting to create the silmarils ?

That he actually asked her for a tress of her hair, but she refused him ?

It says there "unfriends" for ever...I love that..not enemies you note..but "unfriends"..that is so cool....

And then all those years later, this request is mirrored by Gimli, who also asks her for a lock of her hair; and this time the request is granted?

So these  "beats"  echo down the generations......

Ah...i love this stuff......

Yeah, I also think Feanor wasn't evil at all. He was arrogant and lordly, but he was the center of Melkor's poisoning, and many of the things he did he didn't meant to or he couldn't see how much pain they would cause. From this view, he wasn't too much wise... but it doesn't mean evil.
Feanor did many wrong things blinded by his own creation and the love for them, and by the lies of Melkor, and then the hate for him, that, as with his arrogance, drove him to death.
In the list of dark things he did we have:
First, he threated Fingolfin, because he thought his brother was trying to withdraw the love of his father and the heir; then his forces killed the Teleri, but we have to remind that, ok, the Noldor took the ships by force, but they didn't attack until the Teleri threw some Noldor to the water; then he burned the ships and made Fingolfin and Finarfin sons' forces cross the Helcaraxe pass, making a a lot of them die (Turgon's wife included); and, for me, the worst thing he did: make his sons enforce the oath and drive all the Noldor to the fate prophesied by Mandos.

We can also ask: was Maedhros evil? I don't thing so, I'd say he was valiant and devoted. He sacrificed his entire life fighting Morgoth from the first line of war; he created the Union to attack Angband, because (and though...) he knew Luthien and Beren took the Silmaril to Doriath; he regretted his father actions and renounced to the be the King of the Noldor, giving it to Fingolfin; he searched for Dior sons in the woods; he didn't agree with the ships burning... but he was doomed by his oath and perpetrated actions like the destruction of Doriath, the next attack to the refugees in the mouths of Sirion, and the killing of some guards to take the two remaining Silmarils.

I think his was one of the most sad and underrated stories in the Silmarillion.

Nowadays, in a world surrounded by plain characters in most of the media productions, we fortunately still find in Tolkien's world complicated or tormenting characters like Feanor, Maedhros, Thingol, Gollum... Not only good people fighting evil people, because a lot of them can't be clasifyed so simply like that. This "epic realism" is one of the things I like the most in Tolkien's work.

Interesting point, Brego.
I didn't realize Melkor and Míriel shared a while in the Halls of Mandos. More than two ages, in fact... I can't imagine their conversation themes along that time indecision.
But I don't think Melkor's elves manipulation began there. I mean, Míriel had contact no more with the other elves, and no way to "transmit" somehow the things Melkor could have treated with her. Everything seemed to begin when he started corrupting Feanor's mind, specially. But maybe Melkor got more interested in Noldor after his "holidays" with Míriel

I didn't remember Feanor wanted Galadriel's tress of hair.
But I think it is a big difference between Gimli's purpose and Feanor's.
Gimli only wanted it as a remembrance, in an act of admiration. Maybe Galadriel noticed that Feanor wanted it because of lust.
I think the hair seems much more for the elves than for humans...

Yes.. I think you are right, Fingeor...Gimli wanted a tress as a keepsake..."a bond of goodwill between the Mountain and the wood"...whereas Feanor coveted Galadriel's hair with a greedy desire....which I suppose could be characterised as "lust".....it was the same with the Silmarils...he believed them to be entirely his own creation, but "he seldom now remembered the light within them was not his own..."; it had come from the light of the Two Trees....nevertheless, I do have some compassion for feanor.....

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