The Silmarillion Recap: Thingol’s Obsession (or The Silmarils Cause Another Downfall)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last week, Hurin made his final visit to Thingol and gave Thingol the Nauglamir, the treasured necklace made by the Dwarves. However, it turns out that this might have been a very ill-fated idea.

Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 22 part 3

After Hurin left the throne room, Thingol sat quietly, staring at the beautiful Necklace of the Dwarves — the Nauglamir. The Dwarves had made it as a gift for Finrod. (Yes, the Elven King whose death could be blamed on Thingol. See more on that here and here.) And now it belonged to Thingol.

While this could be taken many different ways, this moment soon takes a darker tone. For some time, Thingol had been obsessed with the Silmaril that Beren and Luthien had stolen from Morgoth. (Want to read their whole story? Start here.) Think Bilbo and the Ring during The Fellowship of the Ring obsessed. And given the Silmarils’ rocky history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Boo as Frodo

Speaking of Bilbo, I once dressed my previous dog as Frodo, Ring and all. It seems apropos.

Towards the beginning of the Quenta Silmarillion, Fëanor created the three Silmarils from the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. Fëanor had always had a greedy bent, but it didn’t become obvious until he created these gems and began to obsess over them himself. Add Morgoth’s (then known as Melkor) lies and desire to have the Silmarils for himself, and it just turned into an ugly situation. Soon, Morgoth stole the Silmarils, Fëanor chased him over into Middle-earth, and it’s all history from there.

So what does Thingol want to do with the Nauglamir (the treasure of a fallen Elven king) and the Silmaril (that his own daughter and now son-in-law sacrificed so much to recover)? He wants to combine them. This way, he always has the Silmaril with him, wherever he goes, and it’s in a necklace worthy of such a treasure.

As it would happen, Dwarves frequent Doriath, so Thingol asks a group of them to help in his plight to combine the Dwarves’ and Elves’ greatest treasures. Though the Dwarves have an inclination to keep both treasures for themselves, they agree to do the work. They probably didn’t expect Thingol to constantly hover over them, but it’s hard to expect much more from someone who is so completely consumed by the Silmaril.

Once the work is finally complete, Thingol is thrilled. He can barely stand it. Just as the Dwarves prepare to hand over their work, they decide that it really shouldn’t belong to Thingol. They intend on keeping it. Why? Their fathers had made the Nauglamir for Finrod, so why should he have the right to keep it? Hurin may have given it to Thingol, but he showed up and took it from the abandoned hoard like a thief. Thingol is absolutely insulted, and he lashes out in return, going as far as to call the Dwarves “stunted people” (279). At the end of his tirade, he orders the Dwarves to leave.

And the Dwarves do leave. But not before they kill Thingol, take the Nauglamir that’s now fitted with the Silmaril, and run for it. It’s not long before their deeds are discovered and a group of Elves slay the Dwarves and return the Nauglamir to the grief-stricken queen, Melian.

However, two of the Dwarves escape, and they quickly return home, where they tell their side of the story. In their region of the Blue Mountains, there are two major cities: Nogrod and Belegrost. Their people in Nogrod are completely outraged and bent on war, but the Dwarves of Belegrost couldn’t disagree more. Unfortunately, though, those of Belegrost are completely ignored as the Dwarves of Nogrod sharpen their axes and put on their armor.

The Silmarils are about to cause war yet again.

Next week, it’s time for war, and the Silmaril isn’t finished causing problems yet…

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2 responses to “The Silmarillion Recap: Thingol’s Obsession (or The Silmarils Cause Another Downfall)

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