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Thread: The sons of FĂ«anor : overview

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Maedhros (father name : Nelyafinwë ; mother name : Maitimo)

(Note : I won’t judge either son of Fëanor based on their actions in the Kinslaying, as they were all under their father’s Oath)

The oldest son of Fëanor is together with Maglor the most likeable of the 7 brothers, as together with Maglor he was most alike to his mother in spirit – Nerdanel the Wise, who was « more patient than Fëanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to master them, and at first she restrained him when the fire of his heart grew too hot; but his later deeds grieved her, and they became estranged. » Just like his mother, he too always tried to restrain his brothers’ violent temper.

Maedhros is also the only son of Fëanor who befriended someone from outside his own House : Fingon (Findekano), the valiant son of Fingolfin. Therefor, when Fëanor betrayed Fingolfin by burning the ships at Losgar, Maedhros was the only one who protested as his heart went out to his friend :

But when they were landed, Maedhros the eldest of his sons, and on a time the friend of Fingon ere Morgoth's lies came between, spoke to Fëanor, saying: 'Now what ships and rowers will you spare to return, and whom shall they bear hither first? Fingon the valiant?'
Then Fëanor laughed as one fey, and he cried: 'None and none! What I have left behind I count now no loss; needless baggage on the road it has proved. Let those that cursed my name, curse me still, and whine their way back to the cages of the Valar! Let the ships burn!' Then Maedhros alone stood aside, but Fëanor caused fire to be set to the white ships of the Teleri. So in that place which was called Losgar at the outlet of the Firth of Drengist ended the fairest vessels that ever sailed the sea, in a great burning, bright and terrible. And Fingolfin and his people saw the light afar off, red beneath the clouds; and they knew that they were betrayed. This was the first fruits of the Kinslaying and the Doom of the Noldor.

(from Chapter 9 of the Quenta Silmarillion)

Maedhros was also wise and noble, as after he was saved from his ordeal in Thangorodrim by Fingon – which cost him his right hand – he sought to end the feuds between the Houses his father had started, as he was aware that in order to defeat Morgoth, all Noldor should be reunited ; to do this, he passed the High Kingship back to Fingolfin, something neither of his brothers would have even considered :

There Maedhros in time was healed; for the fire of life was hot within him, and his strength was of the ancient world, such as those possessed who were nurtured in Valinor. His body recovered from his torment and became hale, but the shadow of his pain was in his heart; and he lived to wield his sword with left hand more deadly than his right had been. By this deed Fingon won great renown, and all the Noldor praised him; and the hatred between the houses of Fingolfin and Fëanor was assuaged. For Maedhros begged forgiveness for the desertion in Araman; and he waived his claim to kingship over all the Noldor, saying to Fingolfin: 'If there lay no grievance between us, lord, still the kingship would rightly come to you, the eldest here of the house of Finwë, and not the least wise.' But to this his brothers did not all in their hearts agree.

He was also a valiant warlord, as during the Dagor Bragollach he was the only one amongst the sons of Fëanor who wasn’t force to retreat and flee : he kept the fortress on the Hill of Himring and closed the Pass of Aglon.

On the whole, Maedhros could’ve easily been a son of Fingolfin – maybe he should’ve been adopted ?

Maglor (Canafinwë ; Macalaurë)

The son with the golden voice is together with his brother Maedhros the most likable ; he is most renowned as a lover of poetry and music, yet he was a proficient warrior as well as during the Dagor Bragollach he didn’t flee like the rest of his kin, but instead joined his brother Maedhros, with whom he remained til the (bitter) end.

Furthermore, Maglor took pity on Elrond and Elros during the third Kinslaying and convinced Maedhros to spare them (which proved to be quite useful in the coming Ages) : he either raised them by his own and began to love them (in the Sil) or left them in a cave near a waterfall (in UT) where they were later on located by their mother’s people.

Like his brother, Maedhros seemed a wise, noble and kind man who had no place in his father’s quest, yet swore the Oath and was forced to do his share until the end.

In the end, Maglor sought to make the Oath void and submit to Eönwë, but was ultimately persuaded by his brother, who also loathed the Oath in the end, but feared the Everlasting Darkness they had taken upon themselves if they’d not fulfill their Oath.

Celegorm (Turcafinwë ; Tyelcormo )

His mother named him Tyelcormo because of his impetuousness and violent temper (and that’s really saying something).

He was a great hunter back in Valinor, and named as a friend of Ulmo’s (of whom he received Húan).

He was always together with his brother Curufin, and after messing up and fleeing during the Dagor Bragollach, he joined the ranks of Finrod Felagund in Nargothrond, where together with his brother he tried to sabotage Finrod as much as possible, and even tried to usurp him :

But the curse of Mandos came upon the brothers, and dark thoughts arose in their hearts, thinking to send forth Felagund alone to his death, and to usurp, it might be, the throne of Nargothrond; for they were of the eldest line of the princes of the Noldor.

(from the story of Beren and Lúthien)

Together with his brother, he’s also known for his ignoble actions in the story of Beren and Lúthien :
not only did he refuse to help Beren and Finrod when they were in Sauron’s captivity, as they wanted them to die so they could usurp him, but he also held Lúthien captive and wanted to force Thingol to give him her hand --- yes, he was a true romantic.

Then, when the brothers’ plans backfired and Beren and Lúthien were together again, they espied the couple and Celegorm tried to run over Beren with his horse, whilst his brother captured Lúthien – which again backfired, after which the brothers again fled in shame.

Celegorm is arguably the worst son of Fëanor ; together with his brother he was most filled with dishonour and malice, and was responsible for the most loathsome and cowardly actions.

Caranthir ( ? ; Carnistir)

Albeit his alias ‘the Dark’, I don’t regard him as the darkest son of Fëanor at all – he’s regarded as the son who was most quick to anger, and the harshest one, which can be understood from this quote :

But Caranthir, who loved not the sons of Finarfin, and was the harshest of the brothers and the most quick to anger, cried aloud: 'Yea more! Let not the sons of Finarfin run hither and thither with their tales to this Dark Elf in his caves! Who made them our spokesmen to deal with him? And though they be come indeed to Beleriand, let them not so swiftly forget that their father is a lord of the Noldor, though their mother be of other kin.'

(from Chapter 13 of the Quenta Silmarillion)

He and his people were the first to meet the Dwarves, and despite a difficult start they started a relationship that benefited both.

Furthermore, Caranthir saved the Haladin from the Orcs and looked kindly upon them, as he sensed the valour of them and their leader, Haleth.

To me, Caranthir is certainly not the worst son of Fëanor, although he had a violent temper, he was valiant and noble and never treacherous, unlike Celegorm and Curufin.

Curufin ( Curufinwë ; Atarinkë)

Curufin was most alike to his father in temper, looks and skill (that’s why he received the same name like his father), and also his father’s favourite.

I regard Curufin only less worse than Celegorm, because Curufin actually had some skills in the field of craftsmanship, which he passed over to his wise son Celebrimbor, who would become such an important figure in the history of Arda.

It must be said though, that Curufin rightly chastised Eöl for how he handled a Lady of the Noldor :

'Do not flaunt the title of your wife before me,' he said. 'For those who steal the daughters of the Noldor and wed them without gift or leave do not gain kinship with their kin. I have given you leave to go. Take it, and be gone. By the laws of the Eldar I may not slay you at this time. And this counsel I add: return now to your dwelling in the darkness of Nan El-moth; for my heart warns me that if you now pursue those who love you no more, never will you return thither.'

(from Chapter 16 of the Quenta Silmarillion)

Amrod ( Pityafinwë ; Ambarussa)

Not much is known about Amrod and his twin-brother, safe that they were great hunters and had reddish hair. Amrod died in the mouths of Sirion, during the third Kinslaying.

In the Dagor Bragollach, he and his brother sided with the Laiquendi and withstood the forces of Morgoth. Nor he nor his brother seemed to have done anything malicious, safe joining in the Kinslaying like all of them.

Amras (Telufinwë ; Umbarto/Ambarto)

The youngest son of Fëanor was the favourite of his mother (not surprising, since he was the youngest one of the lot) and she desired that he stayed with her instead of going to Beleriand, but Fëanor refused. Umbarto, the Fated, accidentally died during the ship burning at Losgar, although in the Sil he dies together with his brother in the mouths of Sirion.
Wow! You've worked on this! You really like Maedhros, don't you? Big Smile Smilie I like him too, but Maglor is my favourite.

I would not say that Maedhros was the only one to make friends with someone who was not of the house of Feanor. Celegorm was on quite good terms with Aredhel daughter of Fingolfin.
Celegorm was on quite good terms with Aredhel daughter of Fingolfin.

I would not consider the relationship of Ar-Feiniel with the sons of Fëanor to be friendship.

Take this quote :

She was younger in the years of the Eldar than her brothers; and when she was grown to full stature and beauty she was tall and strong, and loved much to ride and hunt in the forests. There she was often in the company of the sons of Fëanor, her kin; but to none was her heart's love given. Ar-Feiniel she was called, the White Lady of the Noldor, for she was pale though her hair was dark, and she was never arrayed but in silver and white.

(from Chapter 5 of the Quenta Silmarillion)

I think she just accepted the companionship of the sons of Fëanor, because some of them loved hunting and wandering about the land as much as she did - whilst none of her brothers had it for those things.
There is this, of course, though I could have been sure that I read somehwhere that Aredhel was "most fond of Celegorm". Must be something from HOME then...
It seems like she was fond of the sons of Fëanor, even though she never really loved any of them, but i doubt that the feeling was mutual, actually (also note that in HOME Aredhel and Ar-Feiniel are two separate daughters...).

Neither son, safe Maedhros and perhaps Maglor, felt much love for the children of Indis and their Houses; they inherited this trait from daddy dearest, it seems.
Great post again, Mir.

On of the things I find most tragic about the Oath Feanor and his sons swore was the tragic consequences it had on the lives of Maedhros and Maglor. Both would have been remembered for other great deeds if their actions in the name of the oath did not over-shadow all else. If he had not joined his brothers, Maedhros would most likely have been a great leader of the Noldor on his father's death, rather than having to pass the kingship to Fingolfin. That he voluntarily passed the kingship on to mend the rift his father had created showed wisdom and self-sacrifice. What a shame the oath compelled him to commit deeds he would rather not have done.

Even more tragic is how it effected Maglor. He was a musician and poet. Sure he could swing a sword when necessary, but deep down he was a peaceful guy who preferred singing to killing. If Maedhros is the most akin to the sons of Fingolfin, then Maglor is the most akin to Finarfin. To him the deeds he committed in the name of the Oath must have seemed most vile.

Even more tragic, both Maedhros and Maglor survived the war long enough to touch their coverted Silmarils, only to be burned by them. They both knew their Oath was wrong by then, but that final confirmation drove them both mad with grief and shame. To know all that bloodshed and strife was for naught, was too much to bear for two otherwise fine men.

Tolkien really created two great characters with these two brothers.

By the way, if you haven't already seen them in the gallery, Kasiopea has painted some great pictures of the sons of Feanor. Somehow she has managed to very strongly portray their individual characters.
By the way, if you haven't already seen them in the gallery, Kasiopea has painted some great pictures of the sons of Feanor. Somehow she has managed to very strongly portray their individual characters.

Yes, they are more than excellent.

I also particularly enjoy the artwork she has made of two other brothers, Boromir and Faramir. Together with Eissmann, she is now my favourite Tolkien inspired artist.
I have just been reflecting on the seven dreadful sons of Feanor. I just keep on getting this feeling about them, sort of like an instinct. I always think of Feanor as a monster, and then I always think of his sons, but I never think of them as monsters.

Even Celegorm and Curufin don't really seem evil to me. They deserve to be pitied rather than despised, as I'm sure Finrod himself would say. I mean, what could they do against the Oath? Even Maedhros couldn't resist it in the end, though his attempts to minimize the damage done by the Oath show his good nature. Celegorm and Curufin weren't as great as their elder brothers, I'll admit, but they aren't total beasts. They were what any normal person would have turned into under those circumstances and background (imagine being a son of Feanor!). Picture yourself growing up under the education of Feanor, with the lies of Morgoth told to you by your own father and friends. You'd probably develop nothing for this world but greed (which is the greatest sin) and indifference.

Maedhros and Maglor were of a higher level in wisdom so they probably listened more to their mother and cousins. The other three sons kept to themselves most of the time so we can't tell anything.
Picture yourself growing up under the education of Feanor, with the lies of Morgoth told to you by your own father and friends.

I can picture them in the Halls of Mandos, standing before the great Vala himself, exclaiming "It is not our fault! Daddy made us do it!".

I hope Mandos clung those two arrogant thugs to a rock, where a vulture would come each day to pick out their livers and a snake would drop poison on their heads for all eternity.
yuck! there are just always some parts of Greek mythology that don't appeal to me...

but I don't really see them whining "daddy made us do it..." (Feanor would be in Mandos as well) I see them glaring at Mandos haughtily and demanding to be let out. Or maybe they're having a nice old quarrel with Maedhros and Maglor(if he is there). Or maybe they'd even be confronting their daddy and turning bitter against him!
I think the dripping poison alluded to is from a Norse Myth where Loki is the dripee. I don't remember any Greek version of this tale, but then I'm not that old. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

As I remember, somewhere in the forums it says the residents of Mandos are not there to converse with each other, but to individualy contemplate their previous life towards possibly making amends or being better if they got the chance to go back to do it again. Of course I may have misunderstood.
There was a Greek tale about some guy getting his liver picked out. *shudder*

But gah... I didn't read every little but of HOME like you guys probably do.
Guy with liver = Prometheus.

Guy with poison = Loki.
There! That's solved! Looks like Mir's the learned one here. Smoke Smilie
You didn't know that? I wonder what you kids learn on school nowadays.
well, we're just not that wise. And we just don't read every religion in the world. And we're just not Miruvor or Grondy or any other respected elder out there...
It is rather unknown that originally Fëanor had an eighth son with his halfsister-in-law Eärwen : the illustrious Mordredwë.

It is even more unknown that not Melkor, but Mordredwë killed Finwë and stole the Silmarils, hence causing his father's downfall. Fëanor typically denounced Mordredwë and never acknowledged him as his own son, labelling him "another random Finarfin spawn".

As Mordredwë was even more shameful for the Noldor than Maeglin was, Mordredwë was never named by Elven lore masters in the annals they wrote.
Ouch... I feel my leg being stretched I
Eeek! I'm hiding behind Val and peeping at Mir...somebody check his temperature and nervous system!
I remember reading someplace that this same Mordredwë rebelled against his father and one of his father's generals killed him, but only after he mortally wounded his father. There was something about throwing a sword in a lake and I think the general's name was Joabnor. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

I realize why Miruvor used the more well known names above.

But in general, and on an admittedly pedantic note, in my opinion Tolkien's nomenclature with respect to the names of the sons of Feanor is being conflated and confused on the web these days. If one chooses The Shibboleth of Feanor as a source, these names are different from the 1977 Silmarillion, and very much wound up with the revised story of the Shibboleth.

For example, regarding the 1st, 6th and 7th sons we have:

Maedhros, Amrod, Amras

Shibboleth of Feanor
Maedros, Amros, Amarthan (if Amarthan had lived, seemingly Amrod)

In my opinion, Maedros is not here an anglicization of Maedhros, but spelled with -d- because we have a new concept regarding his name: now we have Sindarin maed 'shapely', and his full Sindarin name is based on a Sindarization of Maitimo Russandol -- the beginning of each name here being the inspiration for Maedros.

In The Shibboleth of Feanor the 6th and 7th child are named Amros -- or since the Feanorians speak Quenya at the point when they arrive in Middle-earth, both are named Quenya Ambarussa rather. Feanor however called his 7th son Ambarto instead of Ambarussa* -- but with the death of the 7th son in the fires of Losgar, Nerdanel's Umbarto 'the Fated' was revealed as the true form.

So when later the sons adopt Sindarin names, in this conception the name Amrod is connected to the 7th son, if he had lived -- in other words, he would have continued being Ambarto according to Feanor, and the implication appears to be that this probably would have been rendered in Sindarin as Amrod -- but again, as he died and Umbarto was revealed as 'correct' -- in Sindarin he was referred to as Amarthan 'Fated one'.

Since the twins called each other Ambarussa, it's maybe the case that they would have later called each other Amros.

The 1977 Silmarillion doesn't incorporate the death of Amros Amarthan at Losgar, and the names Amrod (6th) and Amras (7th) there reflect an earlier tale.

*others called the Ambarussa twins Minyarussa 'First-russa' and Atyarussa 'Second-russa'