The Silmarillion – Quenta Silmarillion: IX. Of the Flight of the Noldor

As one might imagine, the dark deeds of Melkor have quite the fallout.  Chaos, mayhem, destruction… these are ever found in the wake of a Dark Lord.

Even in the darkest of dark, there is ever a glimmer of hope.  Yavanna believes that with but a little of the remaining light held within the Silmarils, the Trees themselves might be restored.  Fëanor, however, refuses, thinking in his beyond overdramatically emo way that he himself should die should the light be relinquished.  Then news comes, and Fëanor learns of the murder of his father Finwë at the hands of Melkor, the former king’s reward for being the only one who did not flee the darkness.  Fëanor names the Dark Lord “Morgoth” — Black Foe of the World — by which he will ever after be known, and Fëanor leaves the council of the Valar, leaving them without their hope of light’s restoration and in grief for the marring of Arda.  Tolkien makes it a point of telling us that Fëanor loved his father even more than the works of his hands (i.e., the Silmarils).  I can’t say that’s enough for redemption.  Anakin Skywalker really loved his mother.  Need I say more?

Meanwhile, Ungoliant chases Morgoth across the lands, demanding that he give “with both hands” all of the treasures that she may sate her unending appetite.  Morgoth withholds the Silmarils, though they burn his hand with a fire that will never die.  The ever-growing spider seized upon him in fury, attempting to strangle him with webs of darkness.  Morgoth’s cry echoes through the depths of Angband, summoning forth the Balrogs.  Ungoliant flees, and it is said she eventually ate herself in her hunger.  Morgoth forges an iron crown and sets the Silmarils within it, raising the triple peaks of Thangorodrim as his seat of power and breeding ground for the vile creatures that would serve him.

The Noldor have returned to Tirion where Fëanor summons them.  He claims the kingship of the Noldor and encourages those who would follow him to claim freedom in the lands of Middle-Earth and to hunt Morgoth to his final doom.  Then his terrible oath is sworn, to pursue unrelenting anyone who kept a Silmaril from them, and Everlasting Darkness fall upon those who fail to keep that oath.  The House of Finwë stood divided, some ready to follow Fëanor, others speaking against him.

Galadriel, the only woman to stand equal with the rebellious princes, swears no oaths.  Instead, she seeks Middle-Earth for her own purposes, yearning to rule a realm of her own.

The majority of the Noldor refuse to renounce Fingolfin as king, and though they wished to leave, Fingolfin did not think likewise.  His son Fingon urged him to go simply to keep the loyal from following Fëanor.  Manwë’s herald urges the Noldor to stay, predicting only tragedy ahead and exiling Fëanor yet again.  Fëanor refused to sit idle in his grief, and urged the Noldor once more to find joy and freedom from the disappointment of Valinor.

Fëanor and his followers need ships in their quest to chase after Morgoth, so he attempts to persuade the Teleri to join in their rebellion, and when the ships are denied, the Noldor take them by force, resulting in the first kinslaying.  The seas rise against them as the Noldor sail northward, and some are lost, but moth make it to the wastes of Araman in the far north of Aman.  Here Mandos speaks the Doom of the Noldor.  Finarfin turns back and receives the pardon of the Valar, becoming the High King of the Noldor in Tirion (the 10% that stayed behind for various reasons other than cowardice), but Fëanor persists because he’s still being an emo snowflake.  The Noldor who follow him must choose between ship or ice on their path ahead.  With not enough ships and none wanting to be left behind, fear of treachery is sown.  Fëanor and his sons take all who are loyal to them, steal the ships in the night, and leave Fingolfin and his people behind.  They arrive in Middle-Earth at the firth of Drengist.

In an act that recalls Agamemnon upon reaching the shores outside the great walls of Troy in The Iliad, Fëanor orders the ships burned; there is no turning back now.  Across the sea, Fingolfin’s people can see the fire reflected on the clouds, knowing of their betrayal.  They opt to brave the Helcaraxë, and many are lost, but the people of Fingolfin wished to someday once more rejoin with their brethren.  Even after all that back there.

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