Since chapter 3 of “Quenta Silmarillion” (the third book in The Silmarillion), the focus has been primarily on goings on in Valinor. But that doesn’t mean that everything’s been quiet in Middle-earth. Now for what’s been happening on the other side of the pond…
Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 10
Back in chapter 3, the Elves first received their invitation to live in Valinor. Some weren’t so sure about the venture, but many of the others decided that they’d like to go meet this Valar who had fought so hard to protect them from the evil Melkor (now known as Morgoth, “the Black Foe of the World”).
Among the ones who planned on going to Valinor: Elwë, one of the leaders of the Teleri (the Sea Elves who have since been massacred by Fëanor). But before he leaves, he meets the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen: Melian, one of the Maia, the servants of the Valar. Before long, Elwë forgets all about Valinor and ends up staying in Middle-earth. Some of his people remain as well. The rest, however, follow Olwë — the other leader of the Teleri — to Valinor.
In Middle-earth, Elwë — who is now known as Thingol –is happily married to Melian, has a young daughter named Lúthien (who will be very important in a few chapters), and has befriended the Dwarves who have recently awoken. (I’m sure Aulë was thrilled!)
Though life seems perfect, rumors begin to swirl that the Valar haven’t removed all of the evil that Melkor left in Middle-earth. Things have been brewing in the darkness, and there’s trouble further east, far over the mountains. So Thingol, Melian, and the Dwarves work together to create a fortress and weapons to protect themselves from the Orcs and other monsters that might threaten them.
The timing couldn’t have been better. Not long after, with Ungoliant’s (the giant spider) help, Melkor unleashes that awful attack on Valinor and flees back to Middle-earth. Once he’s at home in Angband, Melkor begins attacking the Elves who are settled all too near to his fortresses. This marks the beginning of a very long, difficult war called the Wars of Beleriand. (Beleriand is the name of that region, but don’t stress too much about that.)
To protect herself, Thingol, and their kingdom, Melian uses her power to create a border. All of lands inside this border — called the Girdle of Melian — are known as Doriath and are impenetrable. Only those that Thingol and Melian allow in the land can reach it, unless their power is stronger than Melian’s. Fortunately, as a Maiar, she’s quite powerful.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s no cause for concern. Morgoth’s servants roam freely in the lands that aren’t carefully guarded by the Elves and Melian. Worse than that, though, the connection that Melian had with Valinor has been severed. Now that the Trees are dead (thanks to Melkor and Ungoliant), no word passes between Middle-earth and Valinor. This sets Melian and the Elves even more on edge.
In case that isn’t bad enough, tensions are about to go through the roof. After all, Fëanor and his allies have just arrived in Middle-earth with the stolen Teleri ships. The stolen ships of Thingol’s slaughtered kin. Yes, things are about to get interesting…
Next week, the Valar shed some light on the situation. Literally. After all, the stars alone just aren’t bright enough.
Note: There is a bit more to this chapter. More Elves, more places, etc. But this is just a recap of major events. If you want the full story, definitely check out The Silmarillion itself.