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Nerdist Book Club: The Silmarillion, Part 4

Nerdist Book Club: The Silmarillion, Part 4

Last time we met, the Valar acted like naïve idgits. This week’s section of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion only touches on the Valar briefly and instead focuses on the fall of Fëanor. The Silmarils have seemingly corrupted his spirit. It’s unclear how much of the malice he shows was present before the gems took hold, but either way, it’s not pretty. Let’s dive in.

What happened
Chapter 9 – Of the Flight of the Noldor

After the destruction of the Trees of Valar, Yavanna asked Fëanor to use the light from the Silmarils to recreate the trees. He denied her because he was worried he could never make their like again and while Nienna is crying (again), messengers bring news that Melkor killed Finwë. Fëanor is wrecked over the death of his father and blames the Valar for calling him away from his home where the slaying happened. Besides the murder, Melkor also stole the Silmarils.

Despite the brilliance of the jewels burning his hand black and causing everlasting pain, Melkor put them in an iron crown. He went to Angband and ruled from there and rarely departed and only wielded a weapon once. Those facts speak to the strength of his power and paint a picture of him as an unstoppable enemy.

In his anger and grief, Fëanor swore a terrible oath to pursue any creature who took the Silmarils from him. His sons also spoke the unbreakable oath. The way the horribleness of the oath is emphasized makes it apparent that it is serious business, and I get the impression the words they said in anger will have consequences throughout the rest of the book. Also, people warned me about the tragedy and sadness in The Silmarillion, and oh boy, I completely understand now.


The Kinslaying by ivoignob

After his temper tantrum, Fëanor rallied the Noldor from their home in Tirion to take them to Middle-earth. From there, it only goes downhill and Fëanor keeps making the most awful decisions possible. Seriously, where’s a life coach when you need one? He steals ships from the Teleri and kills them and by doing so, causes the Noldor to kill in self defense. Then, when he gets to Helcaraxë, the Hoth-like waste between Aman and Middle-earth, he takes his loyal followers with him on the ships they stole and abandons everyone else. Oh, and he burns the ships. What a tool.

The others – including Fingolfin and Galadriel – brave the crossing and get to Middle-earth anyway. You can’t keep a good Elf down.

This chapter ripped up my heart. I was furious at Fëanor at first and still am, but mostly, I’m sad. The beautiful world has become twisted and blood has been shed. It was probably inevitable but that doesn’t make watching it play out any less painful.

Chapter 10 – Of the Sindar

This chapter takes us back in time and catches us up on what’s been happening with the Sindar. They’re ruled by Thingol and Melian and were off on their own while Fëanor created the Silmarils and the drama happened in Valinor. I understand the necessity of the summary, but the way the story went backwards didn’t flow and confused me for a moment.

Anyway, we learned about the prosperity of the Sindar and that they encountered the Dwarves during the second age of Melkor’s captivity. They were amazed that other beings were present but also seemed dismissive towards them. It bugged me that the Elves called the speech of the Dwarves ugly and that few bothered to learn it even though the Dwarves were more than willing to learn the Elven-tongue.

Despite their seeming distaste for Dwarves, the Elves befriended them and worked with them to create an underground home for the Elves known as Menegroth. While peace reigned for a while, eventually the Dwarves brought word that all the dark things Melkor had created were still wandering the world so Thingol had weapons created. And it’s fortunate that he did because after the Trees of Valar were destroyed, an Orc army soon descended upon Menegroth.

The first battle in the Wars of Beleriand occurred and while the Elves won, many perished. Other Elves did not win against the Orcs, and Thingol pulled them into his kingdom and Melian wrapped them in what I interpret as a barrier called the Girdle of Melian. The name may be silly, but it kept the servants of Melkor/Morgoth at bay. It seems to be a type of spell or just extension of Maia powers; which do you think it is?


Crossing the Helcaraxë by Belegilgalad

Relevance to The Hobbit and/or Lord of the Rings
These sections were light on references to Lord of the Rings. Some came up that we’ve seen before like Balrogs and Orcs, but I only found three items of note. We learn how Galadriel came into Middle-earth, and that she desired to rule her own realm. It’s small, but that makes her later refusal of the One Ring seem more important.

We also met Lúthien. She’s a distant ancestor of Arwen, and whereas Lúthien was described as the Morning Star, Arwen is known as the Evening Star. Lúthien’s relationship with Beren parallels that of Arwen and Aragorn.

And there’s one more tie to Aragorn. The dwarf Telchar is mentioned as a talented craftsman of Nogrod and made weapons for Thingol. He eventually made the sword Narsil which took down Sauron and was reforged into Andúril for Aragorn.

Favorite quotes
“In the darkness of Arda already the Dwarves wrought great works, for even from the first days of their Fathers they had marvelous skill with metals and with stone; but in that ancient time iron and copper they loved to work, rather than silver or gold.”

“But of bliss and glad life there is little to be said, before it ends; as works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see, are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for ever do they pass into song.”

“In Beleriand in those days the Elves walked, and the rivers flowed, and the stars shone, and the night-flowers gave forth their scents; and the beauty of Melian was as the noon, and the beauty of Lúthien was as the dawn in spring.”

“For so sworn, good or evil, an oath may not be broken, and it shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world’s end.”


Lúthien by Cocoz42

Discussion questions
– Was Fëanor selfish to keep the light of the Silmarils for himself, or was it about self-preservation?
– Do you pity Nienna for carrying the sadness of the world on her shoulders?
– How much do you think guilt over his father’s death fuels Fëanor’s actions?
– Do you think the Doom of Noldor was a curse actually put upon them or as an expression of foresight?
– Do you view Fingolfin’s crossing into Middle-earth as heroic or foolish?
– “Of the Sindar” takes us back in time; did you feel this worked for the narrative?

Bonus material
A gallery of Silmarillion art
The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad

Journey to the comments below to reply to the discussion questions and share your thoughts about Chapters 9-10 of The Silmarillion. Feel free to hit met up on Twitter as well. If you tweet or instagram about the book, be sure to add the #NerdistBookClub hashtag so everyone can find your opinions.

Come back for the discussion of Part 5 next Tuesday, August 5th, at 10:30am PST. We’ll be going over Chapters 11-13.

Top image by FoxinShadow

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  1. Nzie says:

    So I accidentally anticipated Part 4 in my catch-up comments on Part 3. Great discussion here as always. A few thoughts to add:
    1) I think it is not about self-preservation for Feanor. I think it is about ownership. As with all greed and miserliness, the owner is really owned by the possession, more than the other way around. Feanor has a beef with the Valar, and he doesn’t trust them because he’s fallen for more of Morgoth’s lies than he thinks he has and wants to stick it to them. He also is so possessive he doesn’t even show off the silmarils – he just keeps them in a treasure room locked up.  A creator sends what he makes out into the world, like Eru, like Yavanna, like Varda, like Aule. But while Feanor at first showed the silmarils around, he pulled them back towards himself and is pulling ever in on himself.
    2) “Doom” really just meant “fate” – it didn’t have such a negative connotation originally, and I think Tolkien probably used it in this sense.  By making such dread choices, Feanor and his follows are choosing a different path.  In Tolkien’s world, preferring any object, but especially a great one, more than keeping faith with others is a choice that will always lead to destruction. In these chapters we see many such choices – turn by turn, Feanor creates his own dismal end. His oath basically puts him in a bind of his own making: no matter what he does, he will break something, his word or his kinship. What a terrible choice, and one most would not make if not driven by a powerful thirst for something.

  2. jamal says:

    someone just asked me about this and I thought it might be worth mentioning was that when feanor responds to the curse in his defiance, if you already ready the book, he’s actually proven half right

  3. btlnsdolfin says:

    In regards to the curse of the Noldor-
    “Much it foretold in dark words, which the Noldor understood not until the woes indeed after befell them; but all heard the curse that was uttered upon those that would not stay nor seek the doom and pardon of the Valar.” I think of it more as a warning for the stubborn Noldor to reconsider the cost of their actions. Those that turned back were pardoned and only those who continued on their destructive path were under the “curse”. It was a foretelling of what their actions would cause to happen and those who continued were only “cursed” by their own actions and choices and not the malice of anyone else.

  4. John Enfield says:

    ‘Of the Sindar’ is something of a flashback, which is a story telling technique a lot older than the TV shows and movies we usually think of when we think of flashbacks.  Even Beowulf, Le Mort de Arthur and even the Bible have flashbacks in them. 

    Tolkien realized that some readers might not fully understand the significance of the Sindar without a bit more about them.  Sometimes, a flashback like this works better than a lengthy aside.  He could have made this part of the appendix, but it flows into the main narrative just fine here.

  5. I’ll do some quick responses and then come back to the conversation-it’s been a long day at work… Having read The Silmarillion previously, I cannot help but see the actions of Fëanor against the tapestry of what unfolds and thus I gave most my opinions on him last week.

    While Fëanor was never a team player and his heart was “fast bound” to his creations, we could imagine a very different chain of events had Melkor been refused pardon. In many ways Fëanor and Aulë have similar creation impulses and of all the Valar, Aulë understands what is being asked of Fëanor, “be not hasty! We ask a greater thing than thou knowest,” he says when the request is made for Fëanor to “unlock” the Silmarils. That similarity aside, Aulë would act for the greater good while Fëanor due to pride, mistrust of the Valar, and his unhealthy obsession with his greatest creations refuses the request. In this way, we can see connections to the One ring and the behavior of anyone who possesses it for a lengthy period of time; however, I believe that Fëanor’s case is slightly different in the sense that he is the inventor and that the objects are his greatest achievement. The Silmarils are tied to Fëanor’s identity and legacy and ultimately the fate of the Noldor.

     Yes, Fëanor was selfish, prideful, and hasty. I might reiterate that he is a favorite *tragic* character in the sense that he is of all the Firstborn was endowed with a spirit that made him the hyperbolic embodiment of all of the positive and negative qualities of the Noldor that were corrupted by Melkor. Indeed, we learn later that the Valar ”mourned not more for the death of the Trees than for the marring of Fëanor: of the works of Melkor one of the most evil.” To me, the sense that Melkor is responsible for this doom runs throughout Fëanor’s story and actions and reduces his culpability and make the story more tragic. I am left with the sense that the story could not end differently since Melkor’s role was inscribed in the Music of Ainur and Melkor himself was a manifestation of Ilúvatar.

    I don’t think that Fëanor was driven primarily by guilt, but anger or wrath, as he says “Vengeance draws me hence.” While we know he grieved, after the death of his father he was driven by an anger befitting his amilessë “Sprit of Fire.”

    • “Of the Sindar” I always felt should open with “Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice…Er, I mean back in Middle-Earth…” It is however, necessary to catch us up on what has been transpiring in Middle-Earth during the lengthy focus on the Calaquendi and events in Valinor. This narrative technique is familiar to me and far less jarring than some of the chapter cuts in A Dance with Dragons. I always enjoy reading about the brief period where the Elves and Dwarves were friendly. The chapter also establishes the Dwarves as master craftsmen of stone and steel as well as deadly foes. Thingol was indeed lucky that the Dwarves provided the Sindar with a well-stocked armory. The Valar’s reluctance to scour Middle-Earth of Morgoth’s (I guess we should call him that for at least the latter part of this chapter) minions is paid by those living in Middle-Earth, in particular the Elves in the First Battle of Beleriand.

    • Just an aside, when Manwë asks if Fëanor will grant what Yavanna asks, doesn’t it seem that Mandos should have suspected that Melkor had the Silmarils since he knows Finwë has checked in to his hall?

    • I am so very interested to see what happens to Feanor from here. I have a hunch it’s not going to get any easier.

      I believe you’re correct about Melkor’s role being more or less set in stone.

  6. Jeff Smith says:

    Something occurred to me today as I was doing my thing. It seems to be a recurring theme in Tolkien’s work that the best and brightest are the ones most susceptible  to falling into darkness. Melkor. Feanor. Saruman. Are there others I forgot? Was Tolkien trying to tell us something?

    • “Love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart.”

    • Emily says:

      Denethor was gifted, although he wasn’t called out too much. 

      Throughout his works, Tolkien extolls humility (Sam being the best example). Great skill can lead more easily to pride. I think Tolkien was demonstrating the downsides of skill and power. Not every gifted person ends up a mess, but enough do that people should stop to consider their actions.

      • And I think so many gifted and bright characters in this world think they’re above having to worry about morality… they focus instead on their creations or power and forget about right and wrong.

  7. – Was Fëanor selfish to keep the light of the Silmarils for himself, or was it about self-preservation?

    He had so much pride in what he created that yeah, he became selfish and wanted to keep the gems to himself.

    – Do you pity Nienna for carrying the sadness of the world on her shoulders?

    No, it would actually be nice to see the Valar be more proactive instead of spending large chunks of time grieving.

    – How much do you think guilt over his father’s death fuels Fëanor’s actions?

    I think it fuels it a lot.

    – Do you think the Doom of Noldor was a curse actually put upon them or as an expression of foresight?

    I think it was a curse.  And it was a dick move on the part of the Valar.  At first they’re like, we won’t stop you from leaving.  Then they try to manipulate the elves by threatening them with a curse.  And when some decide to go on anyway, they actually curse them.  Selfish much?

    – “Of the Sindar” takes us back in time; did you feel this worked for the narrative?
    Kind of seemed like he added it in as an after thought.  

    • Proactive Valar? Now you’re just talking crazy!

      I do understand the overtones of predestination in the story, but man. Would it kill the Valar to color outside the lines in order to make the world a better place?

    • Valerie says:

      I always felt the curse was foresight, in the vein of “Hey, this won’t bring your father back, and it will end in a lot of suffering” kind of deal.

  8. Aleketh says:

    – Was Fëanor selfish to keep the light of the Silmarils for himself, or was it about self-preservation? 
    It was selfishness. “This light is mine, and I won’t share it” type of behavior, very childish. 
    – Do you pity Nienna for carrying the sadness of the world on her shoulders?
    Very much so, she took it upon herself to grieve.
     – How much do you think guilt over his father’s death fuels Fëanor’s actions?
    A good chunk of it, Vengeance is a strong emotion capable of pushing someone to their limits, take The Count of Monte Cristo, most of his actions are fueled by revenge. 
     – Do you think the Doom of Noldor was a curse actually put upon them or as an expression of foresight?
    Not entirely sure. hmm. 
    – Do you view Fingolfin’s crossing into Middle-earth as heroic or foolish?
    I did not view it as either, to be honest, It just happened.
    – “Of the Sindar” takes us back in time; did you feel this worked for the narrative?
    Personally i’m used to narratives going back and forth so it didn’t bother me too much. It puts in perspective what else is happening around the same time, and I like that. 

  9. jamal says:

    One; I always wondered what was going through feanor’s wife’s mind during this, and why the sons didnt side with her.  I would think so since its said she was the only one feanor took councel from for a time. Sounds pretty important.
    Two; I have to confess to loving feanor’s speech both in the city and when mandos pronounces the curse.  Its  fiery and communicates the mix of grief, rage, and arrogance that is feanor. I wonder what wouldve happened to humans had what happens next didnt.
    three; I dont think the simirals corrupted feanor.  He was already prideful and in my estimation afraid of loss of things and people important to him because of the loss of his mother.  He did give a fuck, just depended on what it was about. How right he is to blame the valar is open to interpretation.  technically them calling him away did lead to his father’s death, but melkor would’ve killed him had he been there anyway, though I doubt that would be easy. But their loss does drive him mad.
    four; the doom of the noldor is a interesting thing.  It can easily be interpreted both ways as foresight and just being divinely screwed over from success. Much of the novel says what happens to certain people as fate, but its easy to see where it was equally their own choices if not more so at times.
    Five; This section also empowers galadriel too.  She wasnt always the gentle and wise and kind elf we see in the movies, but was at one time just as proud and arrogant as the rest of her clan.  Which says something given she is the only woman noted as the leader of the rebellion and where that goes by the end of the book.
    six; the crossing of the ice displays both the heroicness of the noldor-theyre not always proudful- and their stubbornness.  Seems like once theyre mind is set theres no changing it, even the ‘nicer’ ones.
    seven; love the mention of telchar. It makes me wonder just who narsil’s original owner was and how it eventually got to the third age

    • Emily says:

      Agree with you about Fëanor’s wife! I’ve always found her to be a fascinating character. I think it says in some of Tolkien’s later notes that Nerdanel and Fëanor became estranged before he took his oath–probably around the time Melkor’s influence started to creep in among the Noldor.

      I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her. Watching her husband and her children make what she knew to be a horrible decisions. I’m sure she knew them well enough to know that she couldn’t argue with them. Knowing that they were under the Curse of the Noldor must have been a heavy burden for her to carry throughout her long years.

    • XagzanOTM says:

      Well, it said he listened to his wife’s advice for a little while. I guess by the time of these events, that little while was up.

      • jamal says:

        yea, another tragedy in the book, but still of some interest to me in regards to what if?. And if as alot of people are saying here feanor is the most intense character of the book, standing up to even divine beings, what kind of woman was she to be able to council him for that little while, no?

  10. zeroentropy says:

    As far as the sadness of Nienna, this makes a lot more sense when you see the Valar as each having certain attributes of Iluvatar, or each having a limited scope into the mind of Iluvatar, however is easiest to think of it.  So in a way Nienna is the medium in which we see the incredible heartbreak Iluvatar has into what has happened in the world.  Although he has foresight and may know everything that will happen, it still induces incredible sadness.

    At the same time, this sadness is not necessarily a weakness.  For example, we see a similar character in Gandalf, which makes sense because he was a good friend of Nienna, and the Silmarillion says he went to her place often and learned from her “pity and patience”.  And we can see in LOTR that although he seemed weak in many ways, these attributes of his made him stronger than other seemingly powerful beings.  Also, the Silmarillion states that many people cry to her because she brings “strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom”.  So this viewpoint of hers actually creates mental strength and the ability to see past that sorrow to the wise choice.  We can see this influence on Gandalf as opposed to Saruman.  Saruman saw the increasing power of Sauron and even in his great knowledge, the sorrow was too much and he gave into the will and dominion of Sauron.  Whereas Gandalf could see past this seemingly unavoidable sorrow and still retain wisdom.

    • I sort of feel bad that all that sorrow is places upon the shoulders of one being though!

    • Valerie says:

      The “strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom” part suggests to me that people felt more comfortable weeping with one who knows sorrow. It can be hard sometimes to show weakness in front of others who seem powerful and invincible, but Nienna probably helped other people feel more at peace letting their emotions out.

  11. zeroentropy says:

    To me the tie-in to Galadriel is significant.  She denied the pardon of the Valar just to be able to rule her own kingdom in Middle-Earth.  She was the only elf alive during the timespan of LOTR to even know what the light of Valinor was like, and her refusal of that is significant.  In addition to being one of the most powerful beings in LOTR, the only thing in the world that threatened her kingdom was the potential destruction of the One Ring, and its subsequent power over her ring.  She would essentially lose everything if she agreed to destroy the ring.  And not only that, she did not have the recourse to leave Middle-Earth and sail to Valinor like the other elves did.  The fact that she resisted the power to just hide the ring in Lothlorien is very significant.

    • XagzanOTM says:

      Character development!
      (also the Unfinished Tales book has a section on Galadriel that provides more information on her, both in-story and out. Some of it’s conflicting with the established Silmarillion, but it’s still an interesting glimpse)

    • You’re absolutely right, thanks for the input!!

  12. 1. Keeping the Light to himself was pure selfishness, and parallel to the “Original Sin” of the Eldar. Though we see how the Children of Ilúvtar were splintered into different groups of peoples, Fëanor’s acts essentially doom them all, forever.

    2. Nienna doesn’t want our pity, it’s simply her part of the Plan that she should mourn and grieve for all that was or ever will be

    3. Fëanor is filled with much more anger and wrath than guilt when he discovers his father’s murder. The Silmarils have already set his path against Melkor and the slaying of Finwë is the trigger that moves him upon it.

    The Doom was a curse, though Eru surely had forseen it. Manwë has a direct line into the mind of the Creator, but it’s not open all the time, only as Ilúvatar wished it to be.

    5.  Heroic. A display of both the heartiness and bravery of the Eldar while also proving that they could indeed perish of natural causes.

    6. I’ve never had any problem with the way Tolkien moves back and forth in time, overlapping some chapters and revisiting certain topics, almost as a refresher for the reader.

  13. XagzanOTM says:

    Don’t forget the awesome passage about Ungoliant devouring the Noldor’s jewels and swelling to a size and almost devouring Melkor when he refused to give her the Silmarils, only being driven away by his summoned horde of Balrogs.

    There’s a wicked fanart of it by Rubendevela on deviantart. Can’t seem to paste text in here though, so I can’t share the URL.


    1) Definitely selfish, although that was obviously born out of a desire to preserve his greatest creations. And I think that desire was only enhanced by Feanor being who he is. Like I said last time, he’s easily one of the most intense characters in all the Tolkien mythos. Practically burning. He speaks and feels more extremely than the other elves, so if he decides the Silmarils are for him alone…he’d go against the world if someone messes with that.


    While Feanor’s time in the book may be brief (that’s not a spoiler, it outright says “who perished ere the Sun was made”), he sure does leave his footprint. His giant, larger than life footprint.


    2) Yes it is pitiable, although it also gives her that wisdom she imparts to Gandalf.


    3) A lot. Although, I don’t know if I’d call it guilt per se. He blames the Valar for calling him away, and while that may be a guise to conceal his own guilt, I don’t know if we can be sure either way. I think it’s more just extreme grief that sets him to wrath.


    4) I think you can see it as a curse, or rather a judgment of sorts (Doom in this sense means judgment, or sentencing, like the Ring of Doom in Valinor doesn’t mean the RIng of Death, as the modern use of the word might suggest). I forget if the Valar have that power though? I mean, Doom can also mean Fate, so it could just be a foresight…so it’s confusing. Also, later on, I believe Melkor will…well, don’t want to spoil that actually.


    5) Well, whether you want to argue heroic or foolish, one thing is certain. It was badass.


    6) You have to keep in mind the Silmarillion isn’t a straightforward, beginning to end narrative. When people say it’s like the LOTR Bible, they mean it. You do have a general forward momentum, but there are going to be interruptions and deviations from time to time. It’s not completely linear, that is. Like how the narrative momentum of Genesis and Exodus in the Torah is interrupted by the massive list of God’s instructions in Leviticus, or how the New Testament begins with four books that tell variations of the same story, followed by a singular Apostolic “sequel” to one of those variations, which is itself followed by a collection of letters to different churches.    

    Same deal here, basically. We’re not always gonna go in a straight direction. Sometimes we’ll take a detour, do a little bit of zigzagging. I don’t mind it personally.


    (whew, sorry for writing a book :p)

    • zeroentropy says:

      I also love the struggle between Ungoliant and Morgoth.  This is one of the best parts of the Silmarillion.  It continues Tolkien’s theme that too much power ultimately leads to the want for more power.  Coupled with the myopia that having too much power creates, Morgoth was easily overcome by Ungoliant’s insatiable desire for more and more desire.  I think this is one of the reasons why Iluvatar decided to strip the wizards of most of their power before sending them to Middle-Earth.  Although it would seem smart to send these guys with as much power as possible to defeat Sauron, I think he realized that giving them too much power would result in them wanting even more.

    • I like your point about it being like the Bible and it certainly has the feel of a collection of tales that are put together by an editor. In part, some of this may be attributed to the fact that the major parts were separate tales and that , Christopher Tolkien with Guy Gavriel Kay had to create transition sections to fulfill Tolkien’s wish that the tales be published together. I also think Tolkien was emulating the narrative style that comes from an oral tradition so there will be digressions and references to other stories that the audience presumably knows. 

      • Emily says:

        Keep in mind that, within Middle-earth, The Silmarillion is meant to be Bilbo’s translations from Elvish. In other words, it’s a collection of stories that Bilbo read or heard in Rivendell and later wrote down. They were collected in the Red Book of Westermarch, which was held in the Shire. The Red Book also contained LotR and The Hobbit.
        Tolkien never wrote the prologue/context for The Silmarillion, since he never finished all of the stories. However, it does provide some explanation for the choppiness of the narrative.

    • Man, Ungoliant is one of those creatures I’m definitely interested in seeing on the big screen. She sounds terribly amazing.

      I agree that Feanor was selfish, even if I can step into his shoes and see his motivations. But think of how differently things might have gone if he’d given Yavanna the Silmarils. Then again, seeing what we have of the Valar so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d leave the Trees unprotected and open for another attack from Melkor.

  14. Kevin W Enns says:

    Feanor was selfish, yes, He could have restored the Bliss of Valinor, but was too concerned with material wealth.
     Nienna got what Iluvatar gave her. Blame Him, not her.
    Feanor’s guilt was transparent self-justification for his dick moves.
     The Doom of the Noldor was foresight. Mandos knew the whole story, but would only share it when it suited him. Also a dick move.
    Fingolfin: BAMF. That’s all.
    Sindar? With the exception of the magnificent Beleg, who cares? Hippies.

  15. “Four of Five Wits”, I agree about that regarding Fëanor and the death of his father… he flew into a many faceted rage, and given his spirit, it could/would not be quelled easily…

    When it comes to the “Doom”, I don’t think it’s a curse, in as much as it is a foolhardy course of action, born of an oath, that was made in the heat of passion without much forethought… given their adherence to their oath, they are shoehorning themselves into a narrow set of choices… not to say too much but this gets explored and shown more clearly as we continue forward.

    Lastly, I love this book, have read it 5-6 times, and am thrilled to be discussing it here.

  16. Last time people were discussing Feanor as their favorite character in the Silmarillion and the Legendarium but, as far as the Silmarillion is concerned my favorite character is Lúthien hands down. I don’t want to give details why to avoid spoiling it for others but she kicks all sorts of ass.

    I love the parts where Tulkas is saying “Come on Fëanor, this is Yavanna asking how can you say no?” and Aule interrupts “Hold on man, you have no idea how hard this really is.”

    Also, with this chapter and the last we get to see how evil destroys itself. Ungoliant eventually feeds on herself when there is no more light and Morgoth is slowly losing his power. 
    In the last chapter he lost the ability to change his form and in this one his hands get permanently scarred by the Silmarils.

    Also, I never picked this up the first time around but Mandos answering Fëanor “Not the first” when Fëanor says he shall be slain if unlocks the Silmarils for the light of the trees always gives me chills.

    In fact, most of this chapter in chilling, from Fëanor’s oath to the kinslaying to Mando’s Doom of the Noldor (yes I do think it was Mandos) but what really struck me this time around reading was this quote right after his father died. “…for his father was dearer to him than the Light of Valinor or the peerless works of his hands.” We can sometimes forget reading this as he does tend to become blind in his quest to retrieve the Silmarils.

  17. I was caught up on my reading and then fell behind again for this week. I hope to chime in on the discussions soon.