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..........

Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
~ Silmarillion Chapter 6 ~

After Melkor was caught, there was a long peace, during which Fëanor son of Finwë was born. After giving birth, his mother Míriel did not want to live, and lay down in the gardens of Lórien, never to wake. Fëanor married Nerdanel, and together they had seven sons. Finwë, after a long period of grieving, remarried and fathered Fingolfin and Finarfin. 
Melkor was again brought before the Valar. By trickery and groveling, he convinced Manwë to let him out on 'parole'. Melkor was so helpful and friendly to all that he eventually won over many of the Valar and elves (Fëanor, Tulkas, and Ulmo not included).
Oh Fëanor, I love you, but you really messed everything up. This chapter mostly tells of things we have already read about, albeit in more detail. That tends to be Tolkien's way. He doesn't save important plot points until the end, trying to keep you guessing. He just references them off hand leaving you seething because WHY WOULD YOU TELL ME STUFF LIKE THIS AND THEN JUST BRUSH IT OFF AND NOT EXPLAIN FOR A VERY LONG TIME!!!! *ahem* Apologies. Tolkien has done this to me a lot. 

Fëanor is perhaps one of the most famous elves from Silmarillion. Those Tolkien fans who have had no contact with the Silmarillion, have usually still heard the name Fëanor thrown about in both angry and reverent tones by other Tolkienites. Fëanor, the creator of the Silmarils.

Allow me to take you a little deeper into Fëanor's beginning. Born Curufinwë, he was a prince, and everything should have been perfect for him. He came during a golden age of peace, in a beautiful city upon a beautiful hill, in the land of Aman, surrounded by loving elves. 

But things started off wrong from the very beginning. Míriel's death was the beginning of a long line of tragedies and sorrows for Fëanor and all the Firstborn. In a way, it was what set the ball rolling for the corruption of the Children of Ilúvatar. 

"But in the bearing of her son Míriel was consumed in spirit and body; and after his birth she yearned for a release from the labour of living. And when she had named him [Fëanor], she said to Finwë: 'Never again shall I bear child' for strength that would have nourished the life of many has gone forth into Fëanor.' ... She went then to the gardens of Lórien and lay down to sleep; but though she seemed to sleep, her spirit indeed departed from her body, and passed in silence to the halls of Mandos. ... Then Finwë lived in sorrow; and he went often to the gardens of Lórien, and sitting beneath the silver willows beside the body of his wife he called her by her names. But it was unavailing; and alone in all the Blessed Realm he was deprived of joy."

Are you sad yet? Though Finwë was a good and loving father, and never blamed Fëanor for Míriel's 'death', it is likely that Fëanor blamed himself. He never knew her, but her manner of passing would never have been passed over as 'a mother who died in childbirth'. For one of these beautiful, unblemished, immortal elves to die, with no apparent cause save an event which should have been joyous...it would have been an incredible blow to everyone, especially Fëanor.

"Few ever changed [Fëanor's] courses by counsel, none by force. He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand. .... [H]e it was who, first of the Noldor, discovered how gems greater and brighter than those of the Earth might be made with skill."

He was strong-willed, and desire to master the minds of others, to learn and to create. He was not content to stay in one place, but travelled frequently. He married Nerdanel, daughter of a great smith, and she bore him seven sons. 

"Now it came to pass that Finwë took as his second wife Indis the Fair. She was a Vanya ... golden-haired and tall, and in all ways unlike Míriel. Finwë loved her greatly, and was glad again. But the shadow of Míriel did not depart from the house of Finwë, no from his heart; and of all whom he loved Fëanor had ever the chief share of his thought. The wedding of his father was not pleasing to Fëanor; and he had no great love for Indis, nor for Fingolfin and Finarfin, her sons."

Another blow to Fëanor. He distanced himself from his family, exploring and working. 

"In those unhappy things which later came to pass, and in which Fëanor was the leader, many saw the effect of this breach within the house of Finwë, judging that if Finwë had endured his loss and been content with the fathering of his mighty son, the courses of Fëanor would have been otherwise, and great evil might have been prevented .... But the children of Indis were great and glorious, and their children also; and if they had not lived the history of the Eldar would have been diminished."

Next, Melkor was released.

"Before the gates of Valmar Melkor abased himself at the feet of Manwë and sued for pardon, vowing that if he might be made only the least of the free people of Valinor he would aid the Valar in all their works ... But fair-seeming were all the words and deeds of Melkor in that time, and both the Valar and the Eldar had profit from his aid and counsel, if they sought it; and therefore in a while he was given leave to go freely about the land, and it seemed to Manwë that the evil of Melkor was cured. For Manweë was free from evil and could not comprehend it." 

I do not wish to place upon Tolkien things of my own thought, but in my opinion, he began even then to resent, just a little, the fact that the Valar had summoned the Elves to Aman. He would have heard stories of Middle-earth and, given his personality, no doubt wished he had a way to see the star-lit land. He would have heard stories of Melkor, and Tolkien says that "none of the Eldalië ever hated Melkor more than Fëanor son of Finwë, who first named him Morgoth", so I think it safe to say that Melkor's unchaining would have significantly diminished Fëanor's respect for Manwë. 

The line about comprehending evil is also very important. I think that would have been something that Fëanor would have perceived, and that would have perhaps made him more interested in the workings of evil than is healthy. He likes knowledge and control, the idea that he could make a mistake such as Manwë's because of a lack of comprehension, would have been displeasing to him. Fëanor is certainly not the sort to avoid delving into something because it could have a negative impact on him. It is easy to see how he came to dislike and disagree with Manwë.

My point in all this is, Fëanor wasn't just a stupid elf who caused problems. There was a lot more going on his life to cause his pride and rebellion. Míriel, Finwë, Manwë, Melkor...all of them contributed to him being the way he was. 

"Fëanor was driven by the fire of his own heart only, working ever swiftly and alone; and he asked the aid and sought the counsel of none that dwelt in Aman, great or small, save only and for a little while of Nerdanel the wise, his wife."

Okay, I'm basically done, I just have one more little quote I want to share. 

"[T]hose who will defend authority against rebellion must not themselves rebel." 

"Now the Three Kindreds of the Eldar were gathered at last in Valinor, and Melkor was chained. This was the Noontide of the Blessed Realm, the fullness of its glory and its bliss, long in tale of years, but in memory too brief."

If anyone finds it odd that I am defending Fëanor (not that I approve of most of the things he did, I just hate it when he is brushed off as a 'bad guy'), don't worry, I am also a staunch defender of Saruman (he was strong through SO MUCH before he started down his dark path). 

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(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.)

Star of Feanor by Kimberly: https://kimberly80.deviantart.com/
Lamentation for Miriel by Losselen: https://losselen.deviantart.com/
Word of Feanor by Venlian: http://venlian.deviantart.com/

Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië

Geography, yet another division of elves, and an introduction to the Noldor with whom the Silmarillion is chiefly concerned. 

At long last, the main of the Teleri host followed their new king, Olwë, to Valinor. Of the Teleri that did NOT follow Olwë, there were two groups. The Falathrim, friends of Ossë, the mariners and shipwrights, of whom Círdan was one; and the Eglath (Forsaken People) who stayed behind seeking their lost lord, Elwë. 

In Valinor, a dwelling place was made for the elves: Tirion upon Túna. In Tirion, Yavanna made a tree like to Telperion, though it did not give light of its own, from this eventually came the White Tree of Númenor. 

The lord of the Noldor was Finwë, his sons were Fëanor (one of the largest characters in the book), Fingolfin, and Finarfin (Galadriel's father).
Now then, we must dig a little deeper and quote Tolkien a whole bunch, but first a map1.

If you will remember, Oromë was to lead all the elves to Valinor.  After the Avari (the Unwilling) broke off, the Vanyar and the Noldor went along and made it without any problem, the Teleri, however, ended up fracturing a couple more times. While they were still travelling in a generally steady fashion (before their REALLY long break in Beleriand) an elf called Lenwë broke off with a bunch of people (the Nandor) and wandered away south. 

All three elven groups made it Beleriand, then Elwë ran into Melian2 in what is called Doriath on the map; as a result, the Teleri did not move on with the Noldor and Vanyar, but stayed behind in East Beleriand. The others moved on to the shores of the sea that lay between them and Aman (where Valinor is situated). At this point, Ulmo uprooted an island, brought it to the Bay of Balar, and then used it to carry the Vanyar and Noldor to Valinor; a part of this island broke off and remained behind, becoming the Isle of Balar. The Teleri did not hear Ulmo's summons, and so remained behind. However, having chosen Olwë, brother of Elwë, for their lord, they eventually came to the Bay of Balar, and were there befriended by Ossë and Uinen3.   
"Thus it came to be that the Teleri, who were from the beginning lovers of water, and the fairest singers of all the Elves, were after enamoured of the seas, and their songs were filled with the sound of waves upon the shore."

More time passed, then Ulmo at last returned to the Teleri to take them to Valinor. Ossë was fond of the Teleri, and persuaded a group of them to stay behind, these were called the Falathrim. Another group remained behind, still seeking for Elwë Singollo, "though they would fain have departed to Valinor and the light of the Trees, if Ulmo and Olwë had been willing to tarry longer." These called themselves the Eglath (the Forsaken People), but eventually Elwë returned to them with Melian at his side, his people became the Sindar, and he himself was known after as Elu Thingol.

Ossë followed the people of Olwë and persuaded them to stop, so Ulmo anchored the island they were riding upon, and it became Tol Eressëa (the Lonely Isle). 

Meanwhile, in Valinor, the Vanyar and the Noldor longed for sight of the stars and so "a gap was made in the great walls of the Pelóri, and there in a deep valley that ran down to the sea the Eldar raised a high green hill: Túna it was called." Upon this hill was raised the white city of Tirion. 
"Then through the Calacirya, the Pass of Light, the radiance of the Blessed Realm streamed forth, kindling the dark waves to silver and gold, and it touched the Lonely Isle, and its western shore grew green and fair. There bloomed the first flowers that ever were east of the Mountains of Aman."

Yavanna gave to the elves in Tirion a replica (though it gave no light) of Telperion. This tree was called Galathilion, from this came Celeborn (planted in Tol Eressëa), and eventually Nimloth (the white tree of Númenor). 

In time, the Noldorin masons dug up the first of the earth gems and "hoarded them not, but gave them freely, and by their labour enriched all Valinor." Yes, we are getting closer to the actual Silmarils. 

At long last, the Teleri once more desired to continue their journey to Aman, and Ossë was sent to teach them to build ships. He did so, and gave them 'strong-winged' swans to draw the ships to the shores of Eldamar in Aman. "[O]f pearl were the mansions of Olwë at Alqualondë, the Haven of Swans, lit with many lamps. For that was their city, and the haven of their ships; and those were made in the likeness of swans, with beaks of gold and eyes of gold and jet.

As ages passed, the Vanyar gradually abandoned Tirion, and took up their dwelling on the mountain of Manwë, behind the Pelóri, and grew sundered from the other elves. But the Noldor liked to travel far and wide, learning of all things, and they grew close to the people of Alqualondë. 

Now then, we have only Finwë's family tree and we shall be done. You'll want to familiarize yourself with this, as these particular familial relationships are referenced a lot. Eärwen is the daughter of Olwë. The wife of Elrond was Elwing, who is the granddaughter of Beren and Luthien


1: I should like to note that I, being the sort of person I am, started trying to find Middle Earth places on the maps in Silmarillion before I got to the part where Beleriand pretty much all sinks. Naturally, I got confused. If you are looking to orient yourself between maps of Beleriand, and those of the Third Age, look to the far north-east corner of the Beleriand map, and you will see the mountains of Ered Luin. These same mountains can be found on the far north-west corner of the Third Age maps from The Lord of the Rings. 

3: See Valaquenta: The Maiar and the Enemies, Uinen and Ossë

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(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.)

Cuiviénen by Jenny Dolfen: https://goldseven.wordpress.com/