The Silmarillion Recap: Fëanor’s Sons Strike Back (or Onward to Valinor)

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since my last post. Last week was filled with accreditation at school, so there was little time for anything aside from staying current with grading and helping prepare. Now that that’s over, though, I’m back! Hopefully, last week was my last hiatus for quite a while. :)

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

Last week, Eärendil set off by ship to search for his parents, Tuor and Idril. Leaving his wife and sons behind, he had no idea that they would soon find themselves in trouble. After all, Fëanor’s remaining sons are relentless in their quest to regain the Silmaril, and they won’t take Elwing’s “no” for an answer.

Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 24 part 2

Since the early chapters of the “Quenta Silmarillion,” Fëanor and his sons have been relentless in their obsession over the Silmarils. When the Jewels were stolen from Fëanor, he was willing to go to unthinkable lengths in an effort to retrieve them — he abandoned relatives and even slaughtered a whole group of Elves (the Teleri) for their ships. (Interesting note: Elwing is closely related to the Teleri. Her great-grandfather, Thingol, used to be their leader.) Since Fëanor’s death, his sons have continued his trail of destruction in pursuit of their precious inheritance. (Sometimes, they make Captain Ahab seem tame in his obsession for Moby Dick.)

Over the years, all but four of Fëanor’s sons have met the same fate as their father: death while seeking the Silmarils. These four survivors are Maedhros, Maglor, Amrod, and Amras. Now, they are ready to make yet another push to win back the one that is free from Morgoth’s control, and they’ll do it at any cost.

This time, they attack the remnant of Doriath and Gondolin who have settled peacefully with Elwing and her family. While there aren’t many details, it’s clearly another massacre. The survivors of the attacks on Doriath and Gondolin are slaughtered, Elrond and Elros (Elwing and Eärendil’s sons) are captured, and Elwing dives into the sea with the Silmaril. Fëanor’s sons have their own losses (Amrod and Amras are both killed), but no one pities them. By the time that Cirdan and Gil-galad arrive to help, it’s much too late. It seems like the story is over.

But it’s not. Ulmo has helped Eärendil’s father (Tuor) and Eärendil, and now he helps Elwing. Instead of drowning, he makes her like a bird with the Silmaril shining on her chest, and she flies off to find Eärendil, who is hurrying homeward because he had a bad dream that Elwing was in trouble. When she does find him, she collapses onto the deck of the ship, and Eärendil picks up her bird-like form. However, he soon realizes that it’s his dear wife, who now looks like herself again.

When she comes to, she explains what has happened, including the capture of their sons, Elrond and Elros. As far as they are concerned, the boys have been killed, just as Elwing’s brothers were killed the last time Maedhros attacked her family.

(Little do they know, Elrond and Elros have been taken in by Maglor, Fëanor’s son, and that he actually comes to care about them.)

With sons and fellow survivors gone, Eärendil sees no more hope in Middle-earth. There’s only one thing left to do. It’s time to find Valinor and ask for help.

They sail Westward. With the glowing Silmaril bound to his brow, Eärendil stands at the top of the ship and keeps an eye out for land. The further West they travel, the brighter the Silmaril becomes.

And then, one day, they actually reach the shores of Valinor.

Next week, Eärendil becomes the first mortal to make landfall on Valinor. One small step for Man…?

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