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/

The Return of Goldenrod Gardener

I'm back! 

In case you were wondering what had become of me since my last post on July 2nd, I shall enlighten you. First, I decided to take a break and focus on other things for a bit. Then I got really busy, then I went on vacation for three weeks (ending on August 16th) and now, just over a week later (oh my gosh it hasn't even been two weeks has it? I feel like that vacation was a lifetime ago), I have returned. The time between getting home, and now has been filled with 'figuring out my life'. School, job, drama (as in theater, not sensation), scheduling, etc.

But I am back. 

I shall be resuming on the first Sunday of September. The every-other-week Silmarillion posts are all that I am really planning on at the moment, but I hope to be able to post other stuff in the intervening weeks. However, as the fall semester finds me with less time on my hands for writing blog posts, I imagine it will find everyone else with less time on their hands for reading blog posts, so less is more, or better, or less, or something. Anyhoo. I am alive and kicking. I have not forgotten this blog (although, to be honest, if it were dedicated to any writer save Tolkien, I would have forgotten long ago). 

Do forgive me if I miss a week, or post a few days late (or early). I don't consider the Silmarillion posts particularly helpful, and my main reason for doing them is that I enjoy the process of digging around in Silmarillion and other Tolkien stuff, and writing down my thoughts. Which means that these posts are selfish, and I have a very hard time keeping on track for selfish motives. When I promise someone else something, I am a thousand times more likely to do it than if I promised myself. 

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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.

Of Thingol and Melian

While the Teleri were resting on their journey to Valinor, Elwë (afterwards called "Elu Thingol") chanced upon the wood of Nan Elmoth, and there found Melian the Maia, singing. He fell in love, and did not return to his people, so they went on without him. He and Melian later became the leaders of the Sindar, and dwelt in Menegroth in Doriath. 

Ah, Thingol and Melian. They play a large role in the story of Arda, and Melian is one of my favourite Silmarillion characters. 

"It is told that the Valar would leave their works, and the birds of Valinor their mirth, that the bells of Valmar were silent and the fountains ceased to flow, when at the mingling of the lights Melian sang in Lórien."

Not Lothlorien, but the gardens of Lórien the Valar, also known as Irmo. Melian is akin to Yavanna, and also has a love for growing things. It is said that she taught the birds to sing. Both she and her daughter have a strange tendency to go be lovely in a forest by themselves. Perhaps it hereditary (I believe Arwen was also caught dancing in a forest at times). 

Elwë was leading his people (the Teleri) to Valinor, and they were taking a very very very long break in Beleriand. When gallivanting about, he chanced upon the wood of Nan Elmoth when he heard the voice of Melian. 

"He forgot then utterly all his people and all the purposes of his mind, and following the birds under the shadow of the trees he passed deep into Nan Elmoth and was lost.  But he came at last to a glade open to the stars, and there Melian stood; and out of the darkness he looked at her, and the light of Aman was in her face."

He took her hand "and straightway a spell was laid on him, so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word."

Failing to find Elwë, Olwë took up kingship of the Teleri and led them on to Valinor (except for the Úmanyar, naturally). Thingol and Melian became the king and queen of the Sindar, and with some help from the Dwarves, built their abode in Menegroth, the Thousand Caves. Speaking of elves living in the caves, the Mirkwood elves are, in fact, Sindarin, so their palace isn't that weird. 

While Elwë, having seen the Two Trees, is counted among the Elves of Light, he did not return to Valinor and became the king of the Sindar. Also known as Elves of Twilight or Grey Elves. Elwë was renamed Elu Thingol (King Greymantle). He and Melian are Luthien's parents, and since Melian was actually one of the Maiar, Beren and Luthien's descendants (whether human or elf) have a special something in their blood. 

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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.)

Summer in Doriath by Elena Kukanova: http://ekukanova.deviantart.com/
Under the Stars by Līga Kļaviņa: http://liigaklavina.deviantart.com/
Thingol and Melian by Antti Autio: http://aautio.deviantart.com/
Thingol by Marya Filatova: http://filat.deviantart.com/

The Silmarillion: Obscure Editions

When you are behind on a post about the contents of a book, why not talk about its cover? 

While there are many gorgeous copies of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, book-buying Tolkien fans have found a lack of beautiful copies of the Silmarillion. One's that are readily available, anyway. The problem is that most of the really pretty ones, are the earlier editions, and are now harder to come by. 
We have all see the ugly brown one, the little silver paperback, and this latest black and blue edition, which is quite nice. 

But they don't really come close to the 50th anniversary LOTR, or the collector's edition.  Perhaps it is just me who dislikes these covers, but there you have it. So naturally, I went on a search for the Silmarillion of my dreams. 

I own the silver paperback, for annotating and re-reading, and carrying places, and generally beating up. But I needed something pretty. Something that I could read at home, and pet, and display, and enjoy looking at. I love beautiful books. Skip to the end of the post to see the one I ended up buying. 

Turns out, there are actually several beautiful copies of the Silmarillion, they just aren't widely marketed. Some may require you to pay with your firstborn child, and if they are signed, will likely require your soul as well. 

Collectors Edition, 1982
This blue 1997 edition was published in Canada, I believe, and may actually be impossible to purchase. 
Now we have the 1982 collector's edition, which is red and gold, and comes with a matching slipcase, much like the LOTR one. It is probably my favourite one. So pretty. This image doesn't do it justice. It was a limited edition, and whoever owns all of them seems unwilling to sell. BUT, if you have about $5,000 on hand, you can have on that is signed by Christopher Tolkien himself (For Sale on AbeBooks). But hey, at least it has free shipping. 


Next up is a lovely 1995 edition, which is similar to the Alan Lee illustrated copies of LOTR.  It's hardcover, with dust jacket, and I believe that the cover art is by John Howe. There are a couple other version of this edition, the only difference being that the gold on the top and bottom is a different colour. The good news is, you can actually buy one of these. I found a couple that were not too expensive. (Lower Price - Medium PriceHigher Price)
This next is another favourite of mine. Released in 2004, hardcover, and illustrated by the talented Ted Nasmith. Readily available on Amazon

1977 - 1998
Easton Press
This beautiful 1977 - 1998 edition with the rose window thing in the front, is fairly easy to come by. If you just look on amazon or something, it will cost around 2,000 dollars, but some deeper searching on more obscure used book sites, will provide you with copies anywhere from $3 to $50. 

The leatherbound, Easton Press edition is also well known, and very easy to come buy, so long as you have $100 - $300 on hand. There was a time where I had my eye on a $120 copy, and it is a good thing it went up before I could be an idiot and spend that much money on it. Also a good thing, because now I have one that I like much more. 

This brings me to the fairest in the land (not including the collector's edition) and a very affordable copy. Prices range from $10 - $30 which is pretty standard for a nice hardcover. Once you know what to look for, they are really easy to find. The thing to know is that there are multiple 1999 editions, and you are going to have to search a bit. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't pop up right away. The artwork is Tolkien's own (you may recognize it from a book ABOUT middle-earth artwork). It is a hardcover, but the art is only on the dust jacket. The book is rather boring under the dust jacket, but I think it's nice. Black with silver lettering. Not too shabby. 

Mine was $13 and I think I went through at least 20 pages of search results on Amazon before finding it, so I shall save you the trouble: 

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I hope you found this useful (or at least amusing) in your search for the perfect copy of Silmarillion. If you are looking for the older ones, I would recommend places like Ebay, AbeBooks, and ThriftBooks. You can find some of these on Amazon, but it is more oriented towards newer books. You will have more at stores that are mainly for secondhand things. I don't think it is hard to find nice copies of any of Tolkien's other books, but let me know if you want a post on my favourite editions of other things. 

All the images in this post belong to the publishers of the books. 

The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

More at end of post.

Perceiving that the hour of the coming of the Firstborn was growing near, the Valar gathered in council. So that the Children might awaken in light, Varda made stars far greater than any she had yet made, earning herself the name of Elentári, Queen of the Stars. 
As she finished, the Firstborn awoke in Cuiviénen, and the first that they saw were the stars. Because of this the elves have loved Varda above the other Valar. 
Melkor first learned of the awakening of the children, and sent dark spirits to trouble them, and make them afraid. Many he took to Utumno, to torture and corrupt, thus beginning the race of orcs. 
Oromë was the next to find them, and though many fled in fear, thinking him a dark spirit, the greater number saw that he was good. He became a friend of the Elves.
The Valar decided that they must stop Melkor once and for all, a great seige was made upon Utumno. They triumphed and Melkor was placed in captivity, but Sauron, his lieutenant, escaped. 
The Elves were then summoned to Valinor. Those that went were called the Eldar, and those that stayed in Middle-earth were known as the Avari (unwilling). Of the elves that obeyed the summons, some did not find their way, these were called the Úmanyar. The Úmanyar and the Avari alike were called the Moriquendi, elves of darkness, for they never saw the light of the two trees in Valinor.

There is a lot going on in this chapter, so strap in.

*deep breath*

Sauron and Angband

To recap, the Valar and Melkor had been fighting over Arda for a long time. The two lamps, Illuin and Ormal, had shed light over the earth for a long time before being destroyed, and lots of things had grown and flourished........ More on the Spring of Arda
Melkor broke everything again (like a very naughty child) and the Valar went to live in the land of Aman (Valinor) and made the two Trees of light, Telperion and Laurelin. Thus began the count of time....... More on the Count of Time
There was light and lots of lovely stuff going on in Valinor, but Middle-earth (at that time, basically just the rest of Arda) was left in a twilight beneath the stars of Varda, and pretty much ignored. 

Okay. So, while the lamps were still around, the oldest living things had arisen, and many strange creatures roamed Middle-earth. "And in that dark time Melkor bred many other monsters of divers shapes and kinds that long troubled the world; and his realm spread nwo ever southward over Middle-earth."

He also made the fortress of Angband, which was given to the command of Sauron. (After reading the Silmarillion, I would be more scared of Sauron than of Melkor, even though Melkor has greater power and all that.)

Varda and the New Stars

The Valar, realizing that the Children of Ilúvatar were to come "soon" (a relative term for the Valar), took council. Manwë said: "In this age the Children of Ilúvatar shall come indeed, but they come not yet. Moreover it is doom that the Firstborn shall come in the darkness, and shall look first upon the stars. Great light shall be for their waning. To Varda ever shall they call at need."

So Varda "began a great labour, greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming into Arda."
And made new stars from the 'silver dews' of Telperion. She made many new ones, and "many other of the ancient stars she gathered together and set as signs in the heavens of Arda ... high in the north as a challenge to Melkor she set the crown of seven mighty stars to swing, Valacirca, the Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom."

This is a classic example of how Tolkien uses words to create images in the mind that are more epic than they could ever be if shown on film or in a picture. 

The Children Awake

As Varda completed her work, the Children of Ilúvatar awoke. "By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, Water of Awakening, they rose from the sleep of Ilúvatar; and while they dwelt yet silent by Cuiviénen their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven. Therefore they have ever loved the starlight, and have revered Varda Lentári above all the Valar."

After a long time, they began to speak and to name things that they saw. They named themselves the 'Quendi', meaning 'those that  speak with voices'; for they had not met anything else that spoke or sang.

"Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the awakening of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy upon them and waylay them." For many years, elves that strayed far alone or in small groups often disappeared, taken by Melkor. The Quendi believed them taken by a being they called the Hunter. Because of this, when Oromë came among them, riding on Nahar, many of the Elves were afraid and hid. "But those that had courage, and stayed, perceived swiftly that the Great Rider was no shape out of darkness; for the light of Aman was in his face, and all the noblest of the Elves were drawn towards it."

The Origins of the Orcs

"[A]ll those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor ... by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the elves ... For the Orcs had life and multiplied after the manner of the Children of Ilúvatar; and naught that had life of its own, nor the semblance of life, could ever Melkor make".  

The Captivity of Melkor

The Valar rejoiced when Oromë informed them of the awakening of the Elves, and gathered to decide what should be done to safeguard the Children. Oromë was very fond of the Elves, and went to dwell among them, while Manwë decided what was to be done. The Valar went to war. 

The first battled took place in the North-west of Middle-earth, and the Valar prevailed. Melkor fled back to Utumno.
"Long and grievous was the siege of Utumno, and many battles were fought before its gates of which naught but the rumour is known to the Elves."

As a result of the fighting, the shape of middle earth changed. The ocean that separated Aman from Middle-earth broke in upon the coasts. "Many lesser bays were made between the Great Gulf and Helcaraxë far in the north, where Middle-earth and Aman came night together. Of these the Bay of Balar was the chief".
Highlands were raised in the north: "Dorthonion, and the mountains about Hithlum". From these, the river Sirion flowed into the Bay of Balar.

The gates of Utumno were broken, and Tulkas wrestled with Melkor and cast him down. Melkor was "bound with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age."

The Valar did not find ALL of the many caverns hidden far beneath the earth, and many of the evils of Melkor lingered therein. Sauron also was not discovered. 

The Divisions of the Elves

The Valar once more took council. Some (Ulmo among them) thought that the Elves should be left to roam as they pleased, but in the end it was decided that they should be summoned to Valinor, to be gathered in the light of the trees. "From this summons came many woes that afterwards befell"

Oromë chose three ambassadors from the elves to go first to Valinor. These were Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë. They were filled with awe at the sight of Valinor, and returning to their people, urged them to obey the summons of the Valar. 

Alrighty, Elven people sorting time. 
The best thing to explain this is a diagram. Mine is a slightly different version of the one from the back of the Silmarillion. 

They first separated into the Eldar (those who went with Oromë) and the Avari (those that stayed behind).
The Eldar are divided into three "clans": The Vanyar, the Noldor, and the Teleri.
The Teleri then separated further, for during the long journey, many went different ways. Those that made it to Valinor, along with the Vanyar and the Noldor, were called Calaquendi, elves of light, for they beheld the light of the Two Trees.
The Teleri who did not make it to Valinor were called the Úmanyar.
The Úmanyar AND the Avari, were collectively called the Moriquendi, elves of darkness, for none of them saw the light of the trees.
(You will later hear a lot about Sindarin elves. These are a group of Úmanyar who settled in Beleriand.)


Many, many thanks to Janka Látečková for allowing me to use her gorgeous artwork in this post. I am rather obsessed with it. Isn't it frabjous?

Janka Látečková is an artist from Slovakia with a fondness for JRR Tolkien. Her interests include books, nature, music, archery,  traveling, and the collecting of swords and daggers. 

"I have always been drawn to traditional media - pencils, chalks and watercolours. I prefer drawing people and animals (fantasy or real), but I enjoy creating fantasy or sci-fi cities and landscapes too."

(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.