Now that Melkor is captured, the Valar have a decision to make and its outcome will shape the future in ways they never would have foreseen.
Quenta Silmarillion: The second part of Chapter 3 and Chapter 4
Ever since the Valar first saw a vision of the Children of Ilúvatar (aka, Elves and Men), they’ve anxiously awaited their arrival. And once they received news that the Elves (also called the Firstborn) appeared in Middle-earth, they stretched their resources to protect them from Melkor and his evil servants: Orcs, Balrogs, and Sauron himself. With that war now finished, the Valar realize that they’re on one side of the sea and the Elves are still in Middle-earth, on the other side. So, after a meeting, they decide that it’s time to invite the Elves to live with them in Valinor, safe from the remaining servants of Melkor who are still roaming about.
The Elves, however, aren’t so sure about this invitation. And who could blame them? They met Oromë, and he was nice enough. But they had only seen the rest of the Valar while they were on their way to war with Melkor. That was more than enough for some of them, thank you very much.
This results in the first major split between the Elves. The ones that decide to stay behind (out of fear or just because they liked the starlight better than the description of Valinor) are called the Avari (or “the Unwilling”). The ones that decide to leave are called the Eldar (the name that Oromë originally gave the Elves upon their first meeting).
Among the Eldar, there are three groups:
- The Vanyar (aka, the Fair Elves; a small group led by the most renowned Elven lord, Ingwë)
- The Noldor (aka, the Deep Elves; led by the Elven lord Finwë and the jewel-loving friends of Aulë, craftsman among the Valar)
- The Teleri (aka, the Sea Elves; led by Elwë and Olwë; water-lovers who dawdle along the way)
Speaking of the Teleri, Elwë isn’t one of their leaders for long. One day, while on his way to find Finwë (the Noldor’s leader), he happens across the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen: a girl. Not just any girl. She’s a Maia (one of the servants of the Valar) named Melian. They fall in love and he chooses to stay with her in Middle-earth. Elwë is later known as Thingol. This couple will be very important in just a few chapters.
With Elwë missing, Olwë takes over and leads most of the Teleri onward towards Valinor. Not that it helps them speed up, but that’s for Chapter 5.
Come back next week for new cities, more names that require a rudimentary understanding of linguistics, and swan-powered ships. (Yes, I’m serious about the last one.)