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Thread: Assignment 2

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During transfer from the old site many of the posts in this assignment were either mixed up or lost. I have managed to retrieve them and have posted them in the correct order below. Thanks also to Grondy for helping me with this.

I began the Assignment with the following post

For the second assignment we shall be covering chapters 2-6:-
Of Aule and Yavanna
Of the Coming of Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
Of Thingol and Melian
Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie
Of Feanor and the Unchaining of Melkor.

Chapter 2 Set prior to the awakening of the Firstborn, this first chapter deals with how Aule, in his desire for the coming of the Firstborn, created the Dwarves. This was an act done without Eru's knowledge, however, but seeing it was done of love, and sensing Aule's humility, Eru blessed the Dwarves and gave them true life. Because they had been made without his council, however, he foresaw there would always be strife between Aule's children and his own.
Discovering what Aule had done without her knowledge either, his wife Yavanna also foresaw strife between the Dwarves and her own creations, the trees. To protect her charges she summoned ancient spirits to dwell within the forests and these became the Ents. Also, with Manwe's aid, the giant eagles were created. Because Eru would have his own children awake first, however, the Dwarves, Ents and Eagles were not to awake until after the elves had stirred.

Chapter 3 deals with how Melkor built his fortresses of Utumno and Angband in Middle Earth while the Valar rested in Aman. Sensing the Firstborn would soon awake, Varda made new stars to light the sky which lay dark over Middle Earth. When the Elves awoke, these stars were the first things they saw, and forever after they revered Varda.
On his travels through Middle Earth, while hunting Melkor's monsters, Orome eventually discovered the Elves. Knowing the evil intentions Melkor held for them, capturing and turning them into Orcs, the Valar went to war with Melkor and captured him. Orome then led the Elves west on a journey to Aman.
This chapter explains how the elves became sundered at this point, and who their first Lords were.

Chapter 4 tells how Elwe, Lord of the Teleri Elves, met with Melian the Maiar as he wandered through the forest of Nan Elmoth. Falling under a spell that lasted years, his people were unable to find him, and eventually taking his brother Olwe as their lord, the Teleri departed Middle Earth without him. Elwe had been one of the three Elves to originally go to Aman, however, and having seen the light of the Two Trees, he became a great king of the elves who never crossed over the Sea.
It will be seen in later chapters how important this union between Melian and Elwe would prove to be, for it introduced Maian blood into the Elven line, and ultimately into the Line of the Kings of Numenor.

Chapter 5 tells how Ulmo, Lord of the Sea, uprooted an island on which to ferry the Elves to Aman. Because the Teleri were more numerous and had tarried on the journey west, they had become sundered from the Vanyar and the Noldor, and so remained in Middle Earth for a while beside the sea. Here they met the Maiar, Osse, and found a love for sea-lore and the music of the waves. Although they eventually arrived in Aman, they always remained by the coast and became great mariners and ship builders.
This chapter also gives insight into the early Kings and Princes of the Elves, particularly those of the Noldor, and the main differences between the Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri.

Chapter 6 deals more specifically with Finwe's eldest son, Feanor. Feanor's mother, Miriel, had put much of her own spirit into Feanor, and while this caused Feanor to become powerful, it caused the death of Miriel. Finwe took a second wife, Indis of the Vanyar, and she bore him the sons Fingolfin and Finarfin. This second marriage, however, caused a rift and there was never much love between Feanor and his half brothers.
It was also during this time that after spending three ages imprisoned within the Halls of Mandos, Melkor was released. Hiding his hatred for the Elves, he feigned friendship with them, giving his council to whoever would listen. Though he had little time for the Teleri, he revealed much hidden knowledge to the Noldor, much of which they would have been better off never hearing.

Names and Places
Between pages 368-374 there are a number of family trees. The first one, The House of Finwe and the Noldorian descent of Elrond and Elros , covers many of the elves mentioned in these chapters. The other four trees will prove useful while reading the coming assignments, so be aware of them.
After the five family trees there is also a page showing the names of the various Elven groups that had become sundered from each other.

Elven Groups
Quendi - Elves
Eldar - Those Elves that took the Great Journey west from Cuivienen
Avari - The Unwilling. Those Elves who refused the Journey.

The Eldar can be divided into, the Vanyar , the Noldor and the Teleri.
All of the Vanyar and Noldor went to Aman, but the Teleri became further sundered. Some went to Aman, but one group remained in Beleriand and became the Sindar. Some had become separated earlier at the River Anduin, and these became the Nandor. Of this latter group, some eventually moved to Beleriand and became known as the Laiquendi (or the Green-elves of Ossiriand). In addition, there was a sub-group of Sindar who lived near the sea, and they became the Falathrim.

Elven Lords/Kings
Vanyar - Ingwe
Noldor - Finwe
Teleri in Aman - Olwe
Sindar - Elwe (aka, Thingol)
Falathrim - Cirdan the Shipwright
Nandor - Lenwe
Laiquendi - Denethor

Elven Princes
Sons of King Finwe
Feanor - From Finwe's marriage with Miriel
Fingolfin and Finarfin - From Finwe's marriage to Indis of the Vanyar

Sons of Feanor
(father of Celebrimbor, forger of the Rings of Power)

Sons/Daughter of Fingolfin
Fingon (father of Gil-galad)
Turgon (Lord of Gondolin, father of Idril, the grandmother of Elrond)
Aredhel (Wife of Eol, the Dark Elf, and mother of Maeglin)

Sons/Daughter of Finarfin

Finrod Felagund
(father of Finduilas)

Questions for discussion.
How is the way Dwarves were created reflected in their nature?

Why is their liable to be strife between the Dwarves and the Children of Eru?

In chapter 3 it mentions that many woes befell because the Valar had summoned the Elves to Valinor. Why do you think this was?

How are the Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri different to each other, and how do their natures reflect the Valar/Maiar company that they kept?

Although the group of Teleri that became the Sindar did not make it to Aman, they were considered greater than the other groups of elves that did not go. Why is this?

Why are some Noldor golden haired while the norm is black?

Why does Feanor burn with such a powerful inner spirit?

Why did the Noldor have dealings with Melkor?

Grondmaster posted


How is the way Dwarves were created reflected in their nature?

Aul’ also wanted children, but as they were not part of Il’vatar's plan, Aul’ in secret created the Dwarves underground from the substance he found there. As they were made in secret they became secretive in their nature.

Because Aul’ didn't create the Dwarves out of malice, was this secretivness Il’vatar's doing when he gave the Dwarves their free will, a part of Aul’'s punishment/pentinence, or was that the prophesy that there would be conflict between the Dwarves and the firstborn?

Orange posted

Although the group of Teleri that became the Sindar did not make it to Aman, they were considered greater than the other groups of elves that did not go. Why is this?

Sindar were considered greater than other elves, because although they haven't seen the Two Trees they were 'enlightened' by Melian and Elwe. That does show that light (or wisdom) isn't assigned to Aman only.

How am I doing? I'm thoughtfully scraching my head ...

Valedhelgwath posted

Like Grondy mentioned, the Dwarves were created in secret and so this is reflected in their nature. When Aule created them, the Valar were also at war with Melkor. Having the foresight to see they might be assailed by Melkor, Aule created them to be hardy and unyielding. Aule was impatient for the Children of Eru to arrive because he wished to teach his crafts to them. When he made the Dwarves, therefore, this thought was foremost in his mind. The Dwarves have always had a love of the Earth for this reason, mining, smelting, forging etc, like their maker.

Because the Dwarves were not part of Eru's plan, and thus not part of the third theme of music that he wove, there was liable to be discord between the Dwarves and his Children. This is also true with the creations of Yavanna, because Aule also kept his council from her. At the end of the chapter, when she tells him of the Ents who will be guarding the forests, he merely replies that the Dwarves will require wood. Trees are Yavanna's creation, and yet Aule seems to hold them in very little regard. This is also shown in the nature of the Dwarves.

Hi Orange. I'm pleased you are still with us.

Yes, the Sindar were greater than the other Moriquendi (Elves who did not see the light) because of Elwe and Melian. Elwe (Thingol) had seen the light, and Melian was Maiar. Between them, they would be able to teach their people many things that the other elves in Middle Earth at that time would not be privy to.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the other questions before we move on to the next assignment, or have any queries of their own?

Samwisegamgee posted

Sorry I am so late on this assignment! I like what Grondy said about dwarves, though. But why are they not in the Third Theme, Val? I guess you sort of lost me.
I also liked what orange said about the Sindar. Also I think they were respected because they knew Middle-Earth better than the Elves from Aman because they had been there longer. For the Elves that went there from Aman, it was always a place of exile, for the Sindar it was home.

Tombombadillo posted

: To these the Valar had given a land and a dwelling-place. Even among the radiant flowers of the Tree-lit gardens of Valinor, they longed still at times to see the stars; and therefore a gap was made in the great walls of the Pel’ri, and there in a deep valley that ran down to the see the Eldar raised a high green hill: T’na it was called.

What wall? What are Pel’ri? This confused me quite a lot.

I'm actually beginning to enjoy the read, and though it's still not that interesting, it's becoming it more and more.

Plasticsquirrel posted

Pelori are the mountain range along the edge of Aman, which hides it from the ocean (metaphorical wall) get me?

Valedhelgwath posted

Welcome Plastic... Now sit down and don't disturb the class.

As Plastic said, the Pelori are a chain of mountains that form the North, East and South borders of Valinor. They were built by the Valar with the intention of keeping Melkor out, and as such they were the tallest mountains in Arda, and their sides were sheer.

The only gap in this range was the Calacirya through which the Elves in Valinor could view the stars to the east, and the Telori could see the light of the Two Trees.

But why are they not in the Third Theme, Val? I guess you sort of lost me.

The three themes of the Great Music was one of the topics I raised in the First Assignment, but the question never got answered. In the first chapters you read about the Great Music of the Valar, and how from that musical theme Ea was created. The music was conducted in three parts (remember how the first two were interrupted by Melkor, and how the third theme was done by Eru alone).

Tolkien doesn't specifically say what these three themes represent in the creation of the Earth, but it is likely that the First theme represented the unbuilt forming of Ea which the Valar first entered. The second theme represents the shaping of Ea by the Valar once they had entered Ea, and the third theme, sung by Eru alone, is the Creation of the Children of Eru. The Children of Eru were the Elves and Men, not Dwarves, and thus Dwarves were not part of this music.

While on the subject, be careful not to confuse the Three Themes of the Great Music with the Second Great Music. The First Great Music created Ea and everything in it, while the Second Great Music deals with what happens after the end of Time when Ea is no more. This second Great Music involves Men, and it is the Gift of Man that they will participate in this music. Tolkien hints that Dwarves might also get to participate in this Second Music. It's theme is obviously Heaven.

I like your point, Sam, that the Sindar knew Middle Earth as home, while to the Noldor it was a place of Exile.

Tombombadillo posted

Ooooh! I see... It's the wall thingie that got me. But hey, it was pretty late when I started reading that chapter, and even later when I eventually finished it so don't blame me. Normally, I would have understood... Thanks

Samwisegamgee posted

I get it now you think that Iluvatar knew that the dwarves were going to be, even if he didn't put them in the Third Theme? At several parts in the Sil., it states the Eru knows everything that will happen and nothing can be hidden from him. He seems angry at Aule when he finds the dwarves, but not surprised.

Valedhelgwath posted

From what I understand of the three themes of the Great Music, Aule would have created the Dwarves during the second theme while the earth was being shaped. Eru alone took part in the third theme, melding the elements of the earlier two themes and adding parts of his own making. Only after the music had finished did the real work begin.

From this reasoning, my opinion is that Eru would have been aware of Aule's creation during the Music itself, but it would have been something he had not intended to happen, nor something that he could have stopped occuring once it had been sung. The life the Dwarves eventually had, however, was not given to them by Aule (he was not capable of doing that), but by Eru. What their eventual fate was, ie. were they tied to the fate of Ea like the Elves, or free of its constraints like Men (and part of the Second Great Music) I am unsure about.

Orange posted

Ai! Now the mystery of dwarves is realy cleared up for me!

But -

In chapter 3 it mentions that many woes befell because the Valar had summoned the Elves to Valinor. Why do you think this was?

Confounding q. Maybe elves were suposed to stay in Middle Earth where they were created? Valar should have aided them on the spot, that is. But Melkor would probably cause mischief anyway.

Valedhelgwath posted

I am a little unsure of the answer to this one myself Orange, but you are thinking along a similar line to myself.

I think the important thing to remember is that Eru created the Elves and Men without any input from the Ainur. They were given their own thoughts and capable of making their own decisions.... ie. they were free of the Ainur. The Ainur created Ea for them, but the Children were not meant to be manipulated.

Although the Elves were given the choice over whether they went to Valinor or not, they were effectively summoned. I think in this, the Valar interfered with Eru's plans and although their reasons were not selfish, it led to many woes because it had interfered with Eru's third theme.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this one?
Very interesting question orange, I have been thinking for a long time, and this is what I think: The Valar wanted to bring the Elves to Valinor because they loved them. They loved them because, as Val said, they were completely different, being made by Eru alone. Their first thought in taking them to Valar, I think, was to keep them safe from Melkor. I think they only thought about the physical damage that Melkor could do to the Elves: he could kill them, he could turn them into orcs. I don't think they really thought about the fact that he could persuade them as he did in Valinor.
Good points there, Samwise.
I had previously only considered my answer from the perspective of the Valar interfering with Eru's will that the Elves and men should be free willed. By applying your logic, it can be added that the Valar also wanted to have the Elves close by because they wished to teach them too. Knowledge can be dangerous in the wrong hands though.

Without the teachings of the Valar it is unlikely Feanor would ever have had the skills to make the Silmarils from which so much trouble came. Also if they had not been summoned to Valinor, there would have been no ban of the Noldor, or the kin-slaying at Aqualonde.
Without the teachings of the Valar it is unlikely Feanor would ever have had the skills to make the Silmarils from which so much trouble came. Also if they had not been summoned to Valinor, there would have been no ban of the Noldor, or the kin-slaying at Aqualonde.
Very Sad Smilie How sad that this happened; however, I have mixed emotions about this. Without the above aforementioned, we would have had neither The Hobbit nor The Lord of the Rings, or at least not the same thrilling versions of them. Elf Winking Smilie
I retrieved the missing lesson overview, names list, and first questions for this assignment. The missing posts will be added later.
This thread has now been reconstructed. If any readers of the Silmarillion wish to add their views on the topics raised in this section please feel free to do so.

Valedhelgwath posted:
The three themes of the Great Music was one of the topics I raised in the First Assignment, but the question never got answered.

As I've gone through the 1st two assignments, I find, that there has not been much discussion about the 3 themes. So, I'd like to start one. Since there has been a little discussion about the themes in this assignment and as the post I'm about to make includes the chapters covered in the second assignment, I'm posting in the 2nd assignment rather than the first.

I had a chat with Valedhelgwath about this a couple of days ago and here are his views, which I've reproduced here from the chat log, with his permission :


I think Eru gave them the idea like songwriter giving the band a theme to play. The music they then created was ad-lib around that concept.
What they played in music eventually came to be
Eru used his powers to turn their music into a vision
The vision was of Ea, and the future they had created through the music
Once they had seen the vision, they went into Ea and made it happen

Now, my question is, did the Ainur create the music according to their own, shall we say "free-will"? Here's the next part from the log :


The three themes are the main events or interactions between Eru and Melkor
1st theme was the building of Ea
2nd theme was the rebuilding after the war at the end of the 1st age
I think the 3rd theme came when Eru had to reshape the world after Numenor invaded Valinor
The 3rd theme might be the Final Battle at the End
In the music, you see Eru changing the theme to adapt to Melkor's rebellion, so the themes to mirror Eru's interactions with Melkor in Ea

This second set of quotes clearly revolves around what each theme exactly contained. I get confused there myself, so I'd like to hear others' views upon this.

Now combining the first set of quotes and the last line from the second, I have a doubt in my mind. I am, to be frank, still in doubt as to whether the 3 themes were concerned with building the world for the Children of Eru, or was it like "a history of things to come"? If we consider the first possibility, then why was Mandos all-knowing? If we consider the second possiblity, it somehow fits in the whole plot. Consider only Mandos here. He tells the Valar that the Children of Eru were suppose to awake at a time, when there was darkness upon the Middle Earth and that they were bound to see the starts first and hold Varda with the most reverance. Then, he remains quiet during the unchaining of Melkor before Manwe. When Feanor says that his shall be the first blood spilt upon Valinor, after the destruction of the two trees, Mandos denies him and later it eventually becomes clear that it is in fact Finwe, who's blood is spilt first upon Valinor.

Now, considering that the second possibility holds true, is it a case of Eru writing the whole script and getting the Valar to work on it and bring it into reality and then mearly enjoying (!) the movie he wrote himself?


Why are some Noldor golden haired while the norm is black?

Why does Feanor burn with such a powerful inner spirit?

Why did the Noldor have dealings with Melkor?

There's been nothing said about these questions. I'd like to hear peoples' comments on them.
OK, I guess I'll chime in here, too, since a) it's been comparatively short, and b) one of the unanswered questions for which one is requested is near and dear my heart, the more so since Jackson !@#%ed it up in the movies.

Why do some Noldor (like Finarfin, Galadriel, Glorfindel, and Idril, to name the ones of which I know) have golden hair?

That's a result of Vanyar blood; whether it's solely due to Indis, Finwes second wife, or not I can't say. The House of Finarfin, son of Indis, was said to be golden haired, but I don't know if this was supposed to be true of all of them or to indicate it was exclusive to them. Thence Galadriel derives the trait. I don't know and eagerly invite any knowledge from others about the color of Fingolfins hair, but it seems logical to expect that if he was blonde as well his brother would not have been singled out for mention. We know that Idril was blonde, but her mother was also a Vanyi (I know not whence this comes, but found it online, so it must be true, right?) who perished in the Helcaraxe (if I can be excused for jumping ahead) and thus probably derives from her, as Turgon was the son of Fingolfin and therefore probably not blonde (his sister was not,) though it's not impossible. Blonde hair is, I believe, a recessive trait in humans, and could be expected to be in Quendi as well, but it's not a given. Given the two principal sources of golden hair among the Noldor, the existence of Glorfindel in Gondolin makes for interesting speculation, although the marriages of Indis and Elenwe might have been noted solely because involving those in direct line to the throne.

The point of all this is that blonde hair among the Noldor, and likely the Teleri as well, is indeed "not common." Yet virtually every one of the Quendi we see in the films is blonde, the exceptions being limited to the house of Elrond (thus the one instance outside of Galadriel in which Jackson would have been not only justified but correct to have a blonde Elf he doesn't.) I don't know what happened in Lorien; if there were that many blonde Elves there Celeborn would have grounds for divorce by preponderence of evidence. Bah! Least said, soonest mended.

Why was Feanors spirit so fierce? Well, ultimately because Eru had decreed it. There's sundry contributing factors to consider; he was born of the father of the Noldor, he was born in Aman (ultimately,) he was born in the first flowering of the Eldar and of Valinor beneath the Two Trees, and thus the greatest of the Noldor, the summit and depth of their qualities. And, of course, as an afterthought, so much of Miriels spirit went into him that she was consumed soon after his birth. Depending on how we define the word, it might have been "better" had Feanor never been borne.

Why did the Noldor give heed to Melkor? Well, their knowledge of the first war of the Valar came to them as naught but rumor, and we all know who writes the histories, right? And Melkor was long in bondage, for three ages by the decree of the Valar, who only released him because they were certain he was by then reformed, so why would they not listen to the wisest and most powerful of the Valar, who, like Sauron ere the fall of Numenor, likely wore a pleasing form with which to deceive the unwary and undiscerning. One at least of the greatest minds among the Noldor, Feanor, gave little ear to him, but those words of Melkor which he did hear he took to heart, and those the most grievous in later days. Melkor was, in the mythos of Tolkien, the father of lies, and his malice was only overt when he thought it unassailable, subtle and crafty when he knew his position weak.

Ok, that's enough for me for now; someone elses turn.
It seems that in the Sil only the hair colour of Ar-Feiniel and Galadriel are mentioned :

The sons of Finarfin were Finrod the faithful (who was afterwards named Felagund, Lord of Caves), Orodreth, Angrod, and Aegnor; these tour were as close in friendship with the sons of Fingolfin as though they were all brothers. A sister they had, Galadriel, most beautiful of all the house of Finw’; her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin.

There she was often in the company of the sons of F’anor, 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.

I must say someone once told me that F’anor's wife, Nerdanel, was a redhead, and hence Maedhros was blonde, as well as Celegorm ("the fair") and Amras was a redhead as well : but i never found any proof of this.

Although in the appendices it's mentioned that Fin means "hair", so perhaps they had all a fin in their name because of the fact they were blond : so i conclude that Fingolfin, Fingon, Finrod, Finarfin, and also Glorfindel, were blond (although Finw’ wasn't).

although the marriage of Indis and Elenwe might have been noted solely because involving those in direct line to the throne.

Elenw’ of the Vanyar was Idril's mother, actually...

from the Sil :

There Elenw’ the wife of Turgon was lost, and many others perished also; and it was with a lessened host that Fingolfin set foot at last upon the Outer Lands. Small love for F’anor or his sons had those that marched at last behind him, and blew their trumpets in Middle-earth at the first rising of the Moon
Help! I'm being stalked! lol I should've said "marriages of Indis and Elenwe" (I didn't mean to imply they married each other, or how do Finarfin, Fingolfin, and Idril get born?) Consider it edited. I'll have to do some digging; I only caught this last week. Gimme a sec... ah, it's in the very first occurrence, as it should be, in "Of the Noldor in Beleriand [or Berryland if one prefers]"

There shining fountains played, and in the courts of Turgon stood images of the Trees of old, which Turgon himself wrought with elven-craft; and the Tree which he made of gold was named Glingal, and the Tree whose flowers he made of silver was named Belthil. But fairer than all the wonders of Gondolin was Idril, Turgon's daughter, she that was called Celebrindal, the Silver-foot, whose hair was as the gold of Laurelin before the coming of Melkor. The Silmarillion, 1977, p. 126

I don't know what Feanor would've done had he seen IDRILS hair. Probably something bold or rash. Can you give me a source for Elenwe being a Vanyi? I found it online, which is worth slightly less than a bucket of warm spit, and int he Silmarillion the two occurrences of her name don't name her race.
Chapter 16 of the Sil :

Yet to none were his eyes more often drawn than to Idril the King's daughter, who sat beside him; for she was golden as the Vanyar, her mother's kindred, and she seemed to him as the sun from which all the King's hall drew its light