The Silmarillion Recap: Quenta Silmarillion (Part IV)

Some of the Elves have taken up the Valar’s invitation to live in Valinor, but things won’t be as perfect as the Valar planned…

Quenta Silmarillion:
Part I (Chapter 1)
Part II (Chapters 2-3)
Part III (Chapters 3-4)

Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 5 and 6

Finally, the Elves sit on the shore of Middle-earth, waiting to be taken to Valinor. It’s been a long journey (and one that must have driven poor Oromë crazy because, every time he left to tend to business, he returned to find them right where he left them instead of further down the road he told them to follow). But the Vanyar (the Fair Elves) and the Noldor (the Deep Elves) are all packed and ready to take an island dragged by Ulmo (member of the Valar and lord of the seas) to their new home.

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S.B. Roberts 2014

As Oromë counts heads, a large group is missing. The Teleri. In the last chapter, their leader, Elwë, was too wrapped up the girl he loved, Melian, to realize that his followers had begun to miss him and were waiting for him. Unfortunately, the whole group misses the boat (or, more accurately, island) to Valinor. Several years later, those that decide to continue on without Elwë arrive in Valinor in swan-powered ships, thanks to Ulmo and his servant (and the Teleri’s dear friend), Ossë. (There’s a great deal more to the story, but the point is to make The Silmarillion approachable, not to summarize every detail. : ) )

And there the Elves who chose to come to Valinor live happily, admiring the two Trees, hanging out with the Valar,  gaining new knowledge, building new cities, and growing their families.

One of the most notable new arrivals in Valinor is Fëanor, Finwë’s first son. Fëanor’s name, meaning Spirit of Fire, fit him all too well.

As a young man, he has a rough life. After a rough pregnancy, his mother falls sleep in the forest of Lórien and never awakes. (While the word “dead” isn’t used, that is essentially what she is.) Then his dad, Finwë, marries a new woman, Indis, and Fëanor doesn’t like her or his two half-brothers, Fingolfin and Finarfin. He avoids his step-mother and half-brothers by taking his wife, Nerdanel, with him to live far away from them, where he can spend most of his time crafting or working with gems.

It’s during this time that Melkor finally has a chance at parole. He puts on his best show, promises to help the Valar if they’ll just let him be the least in Valinor, and probably even conjured up a few tears. Most of the Valar are convinced that he’s turned from his evil ways and let him roam freely in Valinor. But Ulmo and Tulkas don’t buy his act. They go along with Manwë’s decision because “those who will defend authority against rebellion must not themselves rebel” (Tolkien 67), but they keep a close eye on Melkor and are ready to pounce if he makes one false move.

Melkor keeps up appearances, though, by befriending the Elves (whom he secretly abhors because they are responsible for his imprisonment in the first place). The one he ends up building a close relationship with: Fëanor. Fëanor loves all of Melkor’s knowledge of secret things, and Melkor sees him as the perfect pawn. But neither of them could guess what would come of the relationship in the end.

Next week, Fëanor crafts a new type of gem so unique that they named a book after it, and Melkor shows himself for the friend he really is.

The above quote is from the second edition of The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien, copyright 1999.

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16 responses to “The Silmarillion Recap: Quenta Silmarillion (Part IV)

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