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Last week, Thingol and his realm were attacked by Dwarves bent on retaking the Nauglamir (a very old and precious necklace made by the Dwarves. This week, the repercussions of their decisions have a lasting affect, and Fëanor’s sons make another appearance.
Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 22 part 4
Thingol lays dead in his palace of Menegroth, and his beloved queen, Melian, mourns by his side. Since the beginning, the Silmarils have been little more than trouble. Now, for a third time, they have brought grief to Thingol’s family. The first time was when Thingol’s relatives across the sea were killed because they refused to help Fëanor, and the second when Beren and Luthien had to retrieve one to be together. Now, Thingol is dead thanks to the one he had.
Now, Melian knows that worse things are coming. After all, she is one of the Maiar, servants of the Valar, so she can both perceive things that others can’t and has more power than them. This means that she also is aware that her life in Middle-earth has essentially relied on Thingol, her husband. Now that he is gone, her power wanes and she knows that it’s time for her to leave Middle-earth and return to Valinor. Before she leaves, she leaves strict instructions for Mablug to take the Nauglamir with the Silmaril to Luthien and Beren, her daughter and son-in-law.
Before Mablung can do this, though, the Dwarves who have been plotting to retake the Nauglamir arrive. Without Melian’s protection over the realm, the Dwarves easily march straight to the palace and engage in a bloody battle inside the halls of Menegroth. The slaughter is so terrible that it’s called “a thing most grievous among the sorrowful deeds of the Elder Days” (281). When it’s all said and done, many Dwarves and Elves are killed. Among them is Mablung, who died seemingly protecting the Nauglamir. Then the victorious Dwarves plunder the place, take the Nauglamir, and leave.
Meanwhile, Luthien and Beren have been enjoying life together. They have a son, Dior, who’s married to Nimloth (a relative of Celeborn — the Celeborn that is married to the one and only Galadriel). They even have three grandchildren: Elured and Elurin (the grandsons) and Elwing (the granddaughter). Life is great.
However, they soon receive news of marauding Dwarves in the area as well as word of what has happened in Doriath. While Luthien mourns at home, Beren and their son Dior grab their weapons and aid in an ambush headed up by the Elves. Soon, the Dwarves are trapped and slain between the Elves and the “Shepherds of the Trees” (282). (Yes, it sounds like the Ents make an appearance!) Beren gives the last blow to the dwarves, killing their lord and retaking the Nauglamir. However, before the lord dies, he curses the Nauglamir.
Though all of the rest of the treasure from Doriath is at the bottom of a river now, Beren returns home with the Nauglamir with the Silmaril that he and Luthien fought so hard to win. Luthien is understandably heartbroken, but she does begin to wear the Nauglamir. During this time, their home of Tol Galen becomes the closest thing to Valinor on earth. It’s bright and beautiful and plentiful.
Soon, Dior and his wife Nimloth decide to go to Doriath to restore it to its former glory, so they leave Tol Galen for the ruined Menegroth. It’s some time after they leave that Dior receives an unexpected visitor with a coffer. When Dior opens it, he sees the Nauglamir with the Silmaril in it. Though there is no note, he knows what it means. His parents, Luthien and Beren, have finally died and this treasure is his to keep. And he does. He wears it like his mother did. Unlike his mother, though, he is special in that he is descended of Men (through his father), Elves (through his mother), and the Maiar (through his grandmother, Melian).
However, not everyone is glad that Dior has the Silmaril in his possession. Yet again, Fëanor’s sons decide that it’s time to take the Silmaril for themselves.
Interestingly, Fëanor’s sons didn’t ever threaten Luthien while she had the Silmaril. I suppose there’s something inherently daunting about a person who faced Morgoth and death and was returned to life again with the man she fought alongside and fought to save.
The seven sons of Fëanor send a message to Dior, but he doesn’t reply. Frustrated by Thingol’s family yet again, Celegorm brings up the idea of war, and his brothers jump on the bandwagon. Before long, they attack Doriath yet again. This is specifically noted as the second time that Elf slayed Elf. (The first, of course, being when Fëanor attacked the Teleri, also related to Thingol.)
In the aftermath, many are dead, including three of Fëanor’s sons (Celegorm, Curufin, and Caranthir). Dior and Nimloth have also been killed. Dior and Nimloth’s young sons, Elured and Elurin, are taken from their home by Celegorm’s servants, and the boys are left in the forest to die. Interestingly, Maedhros (one of Fëanor’s sons) feels awful about what he’s done and tries to find the boys, but nothing ever comes of it. They are gone for good, and there’s no record of what happened to them.
And the Silmaril? Fëanor’s sons can’t find it. And for good reason. Before they attacked, some of the Elves of Doriath were sent away, including Elwing (Dior and Nimloth’s daughter). They took with them the Silmaril so no one could steal it and escaped to the shore of the sea. Fëanor’s sons are foiled again.