During the next few recaps, the focus will be on Luthien and Beren (whose story is recorded in Chapter 19). It’s long and very important, which explains all the extra time on it.
Last week, Beren and Luthien fell in love, but the only way that they can be together is if Beren brings one of the Silmarils “in his hand” to Thingol (Luthien’s father). This week, Beren embarks on the fateful adventure.
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)
Part XII (Chapter 13 cont.)
Part XIII (Chapter 14-15)
Part XIV (Chapter 16)
Part XV (Chapter 17)
Part XVI (Chapter 18)
Part XVII (Chapter 18 cont.)
Part XVIII (Chapter 19)
Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 19 part 2
While Beren left Thingol’s throne room with bravado (seemingly), it doesn’t seem to last after the doors close behind him. Thingol has asked for the impossible: Beren has to bring one of the Silmarils from Morgoth’s crown back “in his hand.” There’s no way that he can do it on his own, and there might not be a way to accomplish the task at all.
So, not really knowing where else to go, Beren heads towards Nargothrond, where King Finrod lives.
As mentioned several times before, Finrod has always had a special bond with the Edain (men). After all, he was the first to find them, and he also fought alongside Beren and his father, Barahir.
As Beren creeps closer and closer to what he knows is Finrod’s realm, he knows that he’s being watched by Elven guards. For that reason, he holds up his father’s ring — the one Finrod had given to Beor years ago — and frequently announces who he is and that he just wants to see the king. Finally, the Elves appear and fulfill his request by taking him to King Finrod.
When Beren arrives in the throne room, he’s ready to explain who he is, but there’s no need. Finrod recognizes him and listens as Beren recounts his whole story: his father’s death, meeting Luthien, Thingol’s bride price of the Silmaril. Finrod listens calmly, but he knows that Thingol has just sent Beren on this mission because he wants him dead. Unfortunately, though, he also knows that messing with the Silmarils will only cause more trouble. It has since they first were created, as he knows too well.
This isn’t just because of the foreboding feeling that Melian has about the whole situation. It’s also because two of Fëanor’s sons — Celegorm and Curufin — are hanging out in Nargothrond. Long ago, Fëanor swore that he would get revenge on Morgoth for stealing the Silmarils from him, and after he died, his sons took up the same oath. Now, if anyone so much as mentions the Silmarils, Fëanor’s sons leap into an over-defensive fury.
Unfortunately, though, it’s impossible to keep Beren’s intentions a secret. After all, Finrod wants to help, and he needs to call a meeting to handle the situation. More unfortunately, though, Celegorm and Curufin show up at the meeting and tell Beren, in no uncertain terms, that they will find him and they will kill him if he dares to take a Silmaril.
Even though Finrod is the King of Nargothrond, many of his subjects are more closely allied to Fëanor’s sons than they are to him. Knowing this, Finrod plots his next move very strategically. He finds ten loyal companions who will join him and Beren on the quest for the Silmaril. Then, he hands his crown to his brother, Orodreth, who will take care of Nargothrond while he’s gone.
When Fëanor’s sons see this, they don’t say anything but they do share a smug smile as they leave the meeting. Needless to say, they’re up to no good.
With their ten companions, Finrod and Beren head towards Morgoth’s headquarters in Angband. On the way, they come across a band of Orcs, who they kill for their uniforms. They they disguise themselves, both in the clothes and with Finrod’s magic, so that no one would recognize them.
At first, the plan works perfectly. However, Sauron notices that they aren’t moving around like the other Orcs. They’re marching too fast and not stopping to check in. Something is up.
He confronts them and ends up in an unusual sort of battle with Finrod. Instead of battling each other with swords or outright magic spells, they engage in a battle using “songs of power” (Tolkien 201). Finrod is strong, but his power is no match for Sauron. They’re captured, and their disguises are removed. Interestingly, though, Sauron can’t figure out who they are. (Good thing for Finrod!) So, since none of them will speak, he throws them all in a pit. There, one of the companions is eaten by the menacing werewolf that hides in the darkness around them, and the rest of them try to figure out what to do next.
Next week, Luthien proves she’s no damsel in distress.