Of the Darkening of Valinor
~Silmarillion Chapter 8~

First off, apologies for the VERY late posting. My excuse is as follows: sibling, car crash, hospital. All is well and the aforementioned sibling shall be quite alright, but it has thrown off my regularity. Explanation complete, and now for Spiders and Trees 

Manwë pursued Melkor to the north, not knowing that his enemy had doubled back, and was beyond his reach. Melkor made his way to the distant lair of Ungoliant, a fallen Maiar in spider form. 
She hungered for light, consuming it and turning it to darkness, and Melkor persuaded her to aid him in his revenge against the Valar. 
During a time of festival in Valinor, the enemy arrived, and Ungoliant sucked the light and life out of Telperion and Laurelin. 
Thus were the two trees destroyed, and the world cast into darkness. 

I promise I will try to stop turning every post into a defence of Fëanor (scratch that, I make no promises) but this chapter shows on of the many reasons why anyone might want to strangle Manwë just a little bit. 

Melkor flees to the North, Tulkas and Oromë are sent north. Melkor is not found, nor any signs of him. A watch is set in the North. And with bajillions of Maiar and Valar and whatnot, not a soul is sent in any other direction. Even though Melkor still retains the ability to walk without visible form, it occurs to no one that he might have doubled back. Or snuck around. Or been clever and crafty and secretive. Or any of the things that he is known for. Sigh, I suppose we must all take a deep breath and remember that, while we know of doubling back as the oldest trick in the book, this all happened before sneaky maneuvers were common knowledge.

And now we (and Melkor) come at last to the lair of Ungoliant. If you thought Shelob was bad, meet her ancestor. 

"[S]he had disowned her Master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness ... In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all light that she could find, and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished." 

There Melkor sought her out, and devised a plan. Promising to give her whatever she wanted when he had power, Melkor convinced Ungoliant to aid him. 

"Lightly he made this voe, as he ever did; and he laughed in his heart. Thus did the great thief set his lure for the lesser." 

Shrouded in a shadow of Ungoliant's making, the two made their way unseen to Valinor, during a time of festival. 

"Yavanna set times for the flowering and ripening of all things that grew in Valinor; and at each first gathering of fruits Manwë made a high feast for the praising of Eru, when all the peoples of Valinor poured forth their joy in music and song upon Taniquetil." 


Fëanor had been commanded to attend the feast, but his father, Finwë and his people at Formenos refused to come so long as Fëanor was banished from Tirion. Fëanor arrived without the Silmarils, having jealously locked them up in Formenos, and did not wear the garb of celebration. 
(We shall remember that Fëanor had drawn sword against Fingolfin). He "reconciled" with his half-brother. And Fingolfin, being the wonderful lovely creature that he was, graciously forgave and offered friendship. 

"For Fingolfin held forth his hand, saying: 'As I promised, I do now. I release thee, and remember no grievance.' 

Then Fëanor took his hand in silence; but Fingolfin said: 'Half-brother in blood, full brother in heart will I be. Thou shalt lead and I will follow. May no new grief divide us.' 
'I hear thee,' said Fëanor. 'So be it.'"

I do not understand how anyone can be so bitter and obnoxious in the face of such a gracious gesture of love and friendship. Just goes to show what happens when you feed your pride and anger. As of only a chapter ago, he was angry at Fingolfin because he thought himself usurped. Now Fingolfin promises to be his follower, and Fëanor is already beyond caring. I think he hates that Fingolfin is, by this gesture, showing himself to be a better king. I can just see the gears turning in Fëanor's mind, as he convinces himself that Fingolfin is only doing this so that everyone will like him more. 

Two things I neglected to mention concerning the previous chapter: When the Silmarils were made, they were hallowed so that no evil thing, or creature with dark intent (or "unclean hands") could touch them without being 'scorched and withered'. It is later said that Fëanor took to only wearing them set in a crown upon his head. think that when Fëanor drew a sword against Fingolfin, his hands became 'unclean' and the Silmarils burned him, so he took to wearing them in a crown so that they would not touch his skin (which is, for the record, exactly what happens with Melkor later on.)*

Now enter our two villains.....

"And in that very hour, Melkor and Ungoliant came hastening over the fields of Valinor, as the shadow of a black cloud upon the wind fleets over the sunlit earth. ... Then the Unlight of ungoliant rose up even to the roots of the trees, and Melkor sprang upon the mound; and with his black spear he smote each Tree to its core, wounded them deep, and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground. But Ungoliant sucked it up, and going then from Tree to Tree she set her black beak to their wounds, till they were drained; and the poison of Death that was in her went into their tissues and withered them, root, branch, and leaf; and they died."

The light of Telperion and Laurelin thus extinguished, Valinor was shrouded in darkness. 

"Melkor had gone whither he would, and his vengeance was achieved."  


*As far as I know, there is no actual proof of this, and Tolkien does not say as much explicitly. It is mere conjecture (but I still think I am right about it, as with my opinion of Tom Bombadil's origins...but that is a post for another day). 

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For a full list of Silmarillion posts: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/silmarillion-posts
Family Trees and Diagrams (Silmarillion Series): theredbooknews.blogspot.com/sil
A List of the Valar: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/the-valar 
Maps: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/maps
Pronunciation Guide: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/pronunciation 

(Lest there should be any confusion or matter of rights and whatnot, all quotes in this post are from the works of JRR Tolkien, unless otherwise mentioned. There may be slight errors, misspellings, or alternate punctuation in the quotes, and if you notice such, please inform me so that I can speedily remedy them.)

Morgoth and Ungoliant by Protoguy: https://protoguy.deviantart.com/
Fingolfin by Venlian: https://venlian.deviantart.com/
Fëanor by Venlian: https://venlian.deviantart.com/
Silmarillion: Unlight by Lady Elleth: https://ladyelleth.deviantart.com/

Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor
~Silmarillion Chapter 7 ~

Yes, my friends, we have finally arrived at the titular Silmarils. 

Fëanor created the three Silmarils, like gem in form, holding the light of the Trees. As with all things great and wondrous, the Silmarils caught the eye of Melkor. He doubled his efforts to disperse lies and rumours among the Noldor, causing them to distrust the Valar and one another; he then taught them to make weapons. Fëanor became overprotective of the Silmarils, and grew paranoid and jealous of others. 
In an attempt to address the unrest and the lies, Finwë summoned a council. Fëanor encouraged rebellion, Fingolfin spoke against it, and Fëanor took that as proof of Fingolfin's rumoured (though nonexistent) plot to usurp the throne. Fëanor threatened Fingolfin at swordpoint, and the Valar called council. Because of Fëanor's behaviour, he was sentenced to 12 years exile from Tirion. Fingolfin forgives his half brother and is desirous of reconciliation. Finwë departs with Fëanor, and Fingolfin ends up with the crown, by no design of his own. 
As a result of the councils of Finwë and the Valar, it became clear that Melkor was the cause of many problems, but he fled before he could be brought to justice. 

First of all, Fëanor is being a brat. However, despite what I just said, I still hold to my opinion that some of what Fëanor does is justifiable, and most of it is understandable and should not be tossed off lightly as 'naughty naughty'. Some of what he does is, of course, a result of a vindictive nature which we can all self-righteously complain about if we like. 
As a further disclaimer, I am not endorsing Fëanor's actions, I am merely saying that I refuse to have him discounted as a 'bad guy'.  

Anyhow, what were we talking about? Oh yes, Silmarils. 

"But not until the End, when Fëanor shall return who perished ere the Sun was made, and sits now in the Halls of Awaiting and comes no more among his kin; not until the Sun passes and the Moon falls, shall it be known of what substance they were made."

By some art unknown (save perhaps to Varda) Fëanor filled these 'gems' with the light of the Trees of Valinor. 
As he became obsessed with Arda in its beauty, so Melkor's mind was now filled with lust for the Silmarils. 

"Ever Melkor found some ears that would heed him, and some tongues that would enlarge what they had heard; and his lies passed from friend to friend, as secrets of which the knowledge proves the teller wise. Bitterly did the Noldor atone for the folly of their open ears in the days that followed after."

The main of Melkor's lies concerned the Valar. He filled the heads of the Elve's with thoughts of the power they should and could wield if they were not under the thumb of the Valar. He told them that their freedom was a sham, and that they were only being kept out of Middle-earth so that another race (men) might rule it. 
Melkor also spread rumours that Fingolfin was plotting to take the kingship of the Noldor from Fëanor.

Here we come to two points concerning Fëanor. 
First, it is interesting to note that though Fëanor ever hated Melkor, yet he was greatly influenced by him, and brought many of his schemes to pass. Fëanor never listened to Melkor, but he always heard him, and then his own mind took credit for the poison which filled it. Later, when Fëanor sees what he believes to be Fingolfin trying to undermine him, he says "even as I guessed", when in reality, all those ideas about Fingolfin were put there by Melkor. Fëanor was the perfect soil for the lies of the dark lord; he so refused the idea that he could be in any way influenced by Melkor, that he had to make his unpleasant thoughts come out of his own head, a more reliable source. If he had simply acknowledged that Melkor had tricked him, and that he had to be more careful, things might have gone differently. 

Second, Manwë pretty much does nothing this entire time. Fëanor (though his own talk did as much or more damage than that of Melkor) saw his people divided and confused and angry. What he sees, is that Manwë wrongly freed Melkor, and then did nothing to keep him in check; let him loose among the Noldor to do as he pleased. Manwë's 'perfect' Aman, in which Míriel dies and Melkor walks freely.....is it anything but natural for Fëanor to dislike Manwë. Then later, with the destruction of the trees, it can once more be blamed on the Valar's lack of vigilance. Fëanor, despite everything, really has quite a case against Manwë. 

Moving on. Finwë summons his lords to council. 

"For Fëanor now began openly to speak words of rebellion against the Valar, crying aloud that he would depart from Valinor back to the world without, and would deliver the Noldor from thraldom, if they would follow him." 

Fingolfin asks Finwë to 'talk some sense' into their wayward relation, and Fëanor enters the council, fully armed. He orders Fingolfin to leave, accusing him of trying to turn their father against him, and follows him to the door. 

"...and the point of his bright sword he set against Fingolfin's breast. 'See, half-brother!' he said. 'This is sharper than thy tongue. Try but once more to usurp my place and the love of my father, and maybe it will rid the Noldor of one who seeks to be the master of thralls.'"

This was (finally) a step too far, and Fëanor, as well as others among the Noldor, were summoned before Manwê. 

"Then at last the root was laid bare, and the malice of Melkor revealed ... But Fëanor was not held guiltless, for he it was that had broken the peace of Valinor and drawn his sword upon his kinsman; and Mandos said to him: 'Thou speakest of thraldom. If thraldom it be, thou canst not escape it; for Manwë is King of Arda, and not Aman only. And this deed was unlawful, whether in Aman or not in Aman. Therefore this doom is now made: for twelve years thou shalt leave Tirion ... But after that time this matter shall be set in peace and held redressed, if others will release thee.'
Then Fingolfin said: 'I will release my brother'."

Bear in mind that 12 years is the blink of an eye for elves. This sentence is ridiculously light, but Fëanor, proud as he is, stalks off to Formenos with his family to sulk, hiding the Silmarils with him. 

"Thither also came Finwë the King, because of the love that bore to Fëanor; and Fingolfin ruled the Noldor in Tirion. Thus the lies of Melkor were made true in seeming, though Fëanor by his own deeds had brought this thing to pass". 

Melkor, knowing he was discovered, fled and was not brought to justice (another thing for Fëanor to add to his 'reasons why Manwë is lame' list), he instead went to Fëanor, to offer his "assistance", but the door was quite literally slammed in his face.

So off went Melkor, and off went Fëanor, and off went peace and the days when people weren't constantly being killed.  
Wave goodbye to those wonderful days, and get your handkerchiefs out. From now on, the book is full of sad sad sad things, and the many good things are so beautiful that they are even harder to read.

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For a full list of Silmarillion posts: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/silmarillion-posts
Family Trees and Diagrams (Silmarillion Series): theredbooknews.blogspot.com/sil
A List of the Valar: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/the-valar 
Maps: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/maps
Pronunciation Guide: theredbooknews.blogspot.com/pronunciation 

(Lest there should be any confusion or matter of rights and whatnot, all quotes in this post are from the works of JRR Tolkien, unless otherwise mentioned. There may be slight errors, misspellings, or alternate punctuation in the quotes, and if you notice such, please inform me so that I can speedily remedy them.)

Fëanor with silmaril by steamey: https://steamey.deviantart.com/

Happy Birthday Dear Bilbo-and-Frodo

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Bilbo-and-Frodo! Happy birthday to you!

(in which I reference a bunch of quotes)

My wonderful hobbits, you are two that I love, the oldest not the least. There at last, dear friends, on the shores of the sea, came our final farewell. Saying goodbye to you at the Grey Havens has always brought tears to my eyes, but not all tears are an evil. 

So much time spent in your great story, only to say goodbye at the end, but that is the beauty of it. I hate saying goodbye, but I wouldn't love you half so much if I didn't have to watch you go, every single time. 

Bilbo, you have had an exciting time of it. First that business with the dragon, then all those little trips with the Dwarves. Then to live in Rivendell, how I envy you that one, for as long as you did, and finally, the greatest journey of them all. It may not seem like much to you, Bilbo, taking a boat to Valinor, but it is really something. And how delighted the elves there will be with you! You're such a loveable chap. You passed the Old Took, and since you are going to Aman, who knows how much older you might get? 

Good-bye, my dear Bilbo – until our next meeting (or my next re-read).

And Frodo. I have no words for you, Frodo. Go, join the ranks of such as Earendil and Beren, in whose company you should not feel ashamed. You deserve it (so does Sam though, you make sure he gets through eventually, you basically promised). I miss you. I always miss you. I miss the innocent you coming in from a party in the unblemished Shire. I miss the stupidly brave you that set out from Rivendell. I miss the compassionate you who tried to help Smeagol. I miss the damaged you who could no longer stay in Middle-earth (but seriously you can't let Sam stay behind forever, that just isn't right I can't bear it). 

Re-reads shall keep me as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as my part of the story goes on. 

Farewell! Go in peace!

Chapter I
A Long-Expected Party

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday..........