Before we begin, the teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies is officially available! Yes, I’ve watched it more times than I should admit to. Yes, I know what’s going to happen, but I won’t spoil it for you. What I can say is that, if it’s anything like the book, it has the potential to be a great final movie for the trilogy. (Though don’t ask me what’s up with a downed Gandalf getting a kiss on the forehead from Galadriel. My guess is it’s part of the very important subplot with the Necromancer. But I won’t say anything else.)
And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
With Fëanor gone, his sons have sworn to take vengeance on Morgoth, but their first attack hasn’t ended well. The good news: Fingolfin has arrived on the scene and just in time to watch the first sunrise.
Part I (Chapter 1)
Part II (Chapters 2-3)
Part III (Chapters 3-4)
Part IV (Chapters 5-6)
Part V (Chapter 7)
Part VI (Chapter 8)
Part VII (Chapter 9)
Part VIII (Chapter 10)
Part IX (Chapter 11)
Part X (Chapter 12)
Part XI (Chapter 13)
Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 13 continued
After being abandoned by Fëanor, Fingolfin (Fëanor’s half-brother) didn’t give up on reaching Middle-earth. He, Galadriel, Finrod, and the rest of his posse crossed some of the most inhospitable parts of Arda (the earth) and arrived just after Maedhros (Fëanor’s son) was captured by Morgoth.
This moment also happens to be the first time that the Sun makes its appearance. Morgoth and his servants can’t stand the light, so they hide in the deepest, darkest tunnels of his fortress, Angband. For this reason, no one opposes Fingolfin and his company as they march straight up to Angband and blow the trumpets. But unlike his half-brother, Fingolfin is cautious. After measuring up the enemy, he withdraws to a safe distance where his people can rest and regain their strength after their arduous journey. As they search for a spot, though, Fingolfin comes across Fëanor’s sons and their group. Since the abandonment is still fresh, Fingolfin and his people choose a spot away from Fëanor’s sons and their followers, who are too ashamed and/or bitter to invite them to join them.
Even from his hiding place, Morgoth can clearly see how divided the Noldor (the group of Elves Fëanor and Fingolfin belong to) are and what easy prey they are. With an evil laugh, he unleashes thick, poisonous smog to keep the Noldor at bay and allow his servants to move around more easily.
While most of the Noldor have no interest in resolving their grudge and don’t realize their impending doom, Fingon (Fingolfin’s son) decides that enough is enough. He has heard that Maedhros has been captured, and he remembers what close friends they were before this whole mess started. So he decides to gather his gear and set out alone to save Maedhros.
Fingon isn’t prepared for what he finds hidden behind the mountains. Destruction, sorrow, pain. How will he ever find Maedhros? So he does the last thing that any of us would think of. He begins to sing an old song from Valinor. Incredibly, a voice answers him. Maedhros’s.
Fingon follows the voice and finds Maedhros bound to the top of a precipice. The excitement of finding him soon fades into despair, though, because there’s no way to get Maedhros down. In fact, Maedhros is so hopeless and desperate that he even asks Fingon to shoot him so that he won’t have to continue to live under Morgoth’s torture.
Not knowing what else to do, Fingon draws an arrow and whispers a simple prayer: “O King to whom all birds are dear, speed now this feathered shaft, and recall some pity for the Noldor in their need!” (Tolkien 125-126)
And while he had hoped that this prayer would result in a clean shot, it instead is answered by the arrival of the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles dive in to save the day for the first time in Arda (though certainly not the last). The King of the Eagles (Thorondor) picks Fingon up and takes him to Maedhros. But Maedhros still has a problem: the ring binding his wrist to the precipice can’t be destroyed. When he asks Fingon to kill him again, Fingon comes up with a better plan. He cuts off Maedhros’s hand, and the Eagles fly them to safety.
This mends the relationship between Fingolfin and Fëanor’s people. The Noldor are reunited, and Maedhros returns the crown to Fingolfin (who should be king after Fëanor anyways).
But while things are great amongst the Noldor again, Thingol isn’t so thrilled.
Thingol (who stayed behind in Middle-earth because he met Melian) has been the only ruler (besides Morgoth) in this part Middle-earth, and it seems a bit odd for the Noldor to return without any clear reason. At first, Fëanor’s sons are offended, but Maedhros calms them. (Finally, a calm head among Fëanor’s sons!) Well, all of them except for Caranthir, but he won’t do anything about it until later.
With some time, an alliance of sorts does emerge between the Noldor and Thingol, and they continue to fight against Morgoth. The next few pages are filled with their exploits (including a run-in with a young dragon buddy of Morgoth), but suffice to say that each side tests the other and then prepares for the next encounter. It’s only a precursor for the battles to come.
Next week is all about secrets. One of Fingolfin’s sons builds a secret city, and the secret the Noldor have concealed from Thingol and his people is revealed.