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Topic: What is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin?

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jun 17, 2010
What is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin?

Roughly a month ago, in a thread where the character and actions of certain elvish and human characters were subjects of  discussion and countering points of view, a question was asked concerning the characters Feanor and Maeglin.  It seemed to me that this should be a unique thread of its own.  The question was posed by one our most experienced Forum members. It was stated in the following form;
"On a slightly different note, what is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin, Bear?"
(Tolkien Forums > The Silmarillion  > Beren Looked in Melian's eyes... > Glorfindel 1235 > May 20th, 2010 )

The following expositions, one for Feanor and one for Maeglin, are presented as a beginning place from which Forum participants opinions may be elicited.

Fëanor was an Elda of the Noldor, one of the elven kindred that departed Valinor in the land of Aman, where they had lived with the angelic spirits known as the Valar. Fëanor was born in Valinor, the only child of Finwë, the High King of the Noldor and his first wife Míriel. Originally named Finwë or Finweminya after his father and later Curufinwë ("Skillful [son of] Finwë"), he was the greatest of the Noldor, and very briefly their king. His name is a compromise between the Sindarin Faenor and the Quenya Fëanáro, meaning "Spirit of fire". He is renowned as a craftsman, gem-smith, and warrior, the maker of the Silmarils and inventor of the Tengwar script. He may also have made the Palantíri.
Fëanor drew so much of Míriel's life energy when he was born that she grew weary of living and her spirit voluntarily left her corporeal form, leaving her family for the garden of Lorien. Finwë remarried had four more children, Fëanor's half-brothers Fingolfin and Finarfin, and two daughters, Findis and Irimë. Fëanor did not like his stepmother Indis and so lived apart from her and his half-siblings. Fëanor wedded Nerdanel daughter of Mahtan, who bore him seven sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod and Amras.
In the greatest of his crafting achievements, Fëanor captured the light of the Two Trees to make the three Silmarils, also called the Great Jewels. He prized the Silmarils above all else, and grew increasingly suspicious that the Valar and other Eldar coveted them. This was generally untrue; the Valar did not want them and some even wanted them destroyed. Fëanor alternated between vainly displaying the jewels and jealously guarding them from all but his immediate family.
After three ages of imprisonment, Melkor, the mightiest of the Valar but a great source of evil, deceived the Valar with promises that he had repented of his evil ways. Pardoned and residing in Valinor, he undertook to corrupt the Noldor and succeeded in making them instruments of his malice, particularly Fëanor. Although Fëanor greatly mistrusted Melkor, the fallen Vala used this as part of his plan to get the Silmarils from Fëanor.
Melkor coveted the Silmarils and his hatred for Fëanor grew, but hid his intentions from the Noldor and the Valar. Melkor played upon Fëanor's pride to convince him that his half-brother Fingolfin was not only planning to usurp his place as heir to Finwë, but also seize the jewels for himself. Fëanor's hostility grew to the point to where he threatened Fingolfin's life, leading the Noldor to forge weapons for the first time. For this, the Valar exiled him to Formenos. He took a substantial treasure with him, including the Silmarils, which he put in a locked box. In a show of support for his eldest son, Finwë withdrew to Formenos.
When the Valar realized that Melkor's role in the conflict, they sent Tulkas to imprison him again, but he could not be found for some time. He unexpectedly showed up at Formenos where he tried to convince Fëanor with his lies. Since in Finwë and Fëanor's absence Fingolfin had become king, Melkor's tales could be seen as true. However, Fëanor realized that Melkor's true goal was to obtain the Silmarils. He shut the door in Melkor's face. Melkor left in a rage. When the Valar heard of this they took up the hunt but realized that Melkor had fled from Valinor. He feigned to go north, but then turned south. The Valar sought to mend the breach between Fëanor and Fingolfin, and invited them to Valinor to make peace. Fingolfin grudgingly offered a hand to his half-brother, recognizing Fëanor's place as the eldest.
Melkor stole away to Avathar in the south of Aman to seek out the evil, spider-like creature Ungoliant and secured her as an ally. During the festivities where Fëanor and Fingolfin reconciled, Ungoliant helped Morgoth destroy the Two Trees, bringing darkness to Valinor. Morgoth and Ungoliant then went to Formenos. Melkor, surrounded by an impenetrable black fog, went to Fëanor's vault in Formenos. Finwë the High-King fought and lost against Melkor, and was the first Elf to be slain in Valinor. Melkor ransacked the vault, taking many valuable jewels, including the Silmarils. They escaped by crossing the Helcaraxë, or Grinding Ice, in the north to Beleriand in Middle-earth.
The Valar knew that now the light of the Trees survived only in the Silmarils and Yavanna asked Fëanor to give them up so that they could restore the Trees. Fëanor emphatically stated that he would not give up his Silmarils of his own free will; if the Valar forced him, he said, they would be no better than Melkor. A messenger from Formenos then arrived to deliver the news of Finwë's death and the loss of the jewels.
The Valar and Eldar now saw the extent of Melkor's treachery. Fëanor, upon learning of his father's murder and the theft of his prized Silmarils, named Melkor "Morgoth", or "Black Foe of the World" (literally "Black Enemy").
Now King of the Noldor, Fëanor delivered the most impassioned speech ever given in Arda, which he unwittingly filled with Morgoth's taint. He railed against the Great Enemy, but because of Morgoth's influence and his anger he also blamed the Valar for Morgoth's deeds. He persuaded most his people to go to Middle-earth with him and fight for the Silmarils. Fëanor then swore that he would get the Silmarils even if he had to fight the Valar. The oath of Fëanor was an oath taken by Fëanor and his seven sons after Morgoth killed Finwe and stole the Silmarils.
The Oath of Feanor;
"They swore an oath which none shall break, and none should take, by the name even of Ilúvatar, calling the Everlasting Dark upon them if they kept it not ... vowing to pursue with vengeance and hatred to the ends of the World Vala, Demon, Elf or Man as yet unborn or any creature, great or small, good or evil, that time should bring forth unto the end of days, whoso should hold or take or keep a Silmaril from their possession. ... "Quenta Silmarillion"

Seeking a way to get to Middle-earth, Fëanor went to the shores of Aman, where the seafaring Teleri lived, and demanded the use of their ships. The Teleri refused and Fëanor and his armed and impassioned Noldor threatened to attack the lightly-armed Teleri, and destroy their settlements and seize the ships. The Teleri refused still, and Fëanor's people attacked the Teleri. Unable to participate in murder, Finarfin took his host and turned back. They were accepted by the Valar, and Finarfin ruled as High-King of the Noldor in Valinor. The rebel Noldor sailed away in some of the Teleri's ships.
There were not enough ships to carry all of the Noldor across the sea, so Fëanor and his sons led the first group. They arrived at Losgar, in the land of Lammoth, in the far west of Beleriand, where Morgoth and Ungoliant had passed not long before. They decided to burn the ships and leave the followers of Fingolfin behind. However, Fëanor accidentally left his youngest son Amras in the ships, and he was burned alive. The earth, being flat in those days, allowed the remaining Noldor to see the flames, and they perceived that if they were to go to Middle-earth, they had no choice but to cross the Helcaraxë. This they did under the leadership of Fingolfin, and suffered great losses along the way, which greatly added to the animosity they had for Fëanor and his sons.

Learning of the Noldor's arrival, Morgoth summoned his armies from his fortress of Angband and attacked Fëanor's encampment in Mithrim. This battle was called the Battle under the Stars, or Dagor-nuin-Giliath, for the Sun and Moon had not yet been made. The Noldor managed to win the battle, and disperse Morgoth's armies. Fëanor, still in a great rage, pressed on toward Angband. He came even within sight of Angband, but was ambushed by a force of Balrogs, with few elves about him. He fought mightily, hewing even after receiving several wounds from Gothmog, captain of the Balrogs. Fëanor was cut down by Gothmog after a long battle. His sons came upon the Balrogs with strong forces and were able to drive them off. However, as Fëanor was being escorted off the battlefield, he knew his wounds were mortal. He cursed Angband thrice, but with the eyes of death, he knew that his elves, unaided, would never throw down the dark towers. At the moment of his death the passing of his fiery spirit reduced his body to ashes.
On Fëanor's passing, his son Maedhros became High King of the Nôldor. Maedhros, however, met Fingolfin soon after and gave the kingship to him. Fingolfin's descendents would reign over the Nôldor until the death of Gil-Galad. Fëanor's remaining sons were still bound by the Oath to recover the Silmarils, which would determine the events of Middle-earth during the First Age, and lead to the undoing of all of Fëanor's sons. Despite the great tragedies that affected Fëanor and his family, his skills as a craftsman remained legendary. The Doors of Durin would later bear the emblem of the House of Fëanor: a single star with many rays.
(Thanks to the Encyclopedia of Arda and Wikipedia)



Maeglin was an Elf, the son of Eöl the Dark Elf and Aredhel daughter of Fingolfin. He lived in the First Age of Middle-earth, and was a lord of Gondolin. His name means "sharp glance" in Tolkien's fictional language of Sindarin.
At birth, Aredhel gave Maeglin the name Lómion, meaning "Son of the Twilight" in Sindarin. Eöl gave his child the name Maeglin when he was 12. Aredhel left Eöl, and took her son (who stole his father's sword, Anguirel) with her, returning to Gondolin. Eöl followed her, and in judgement before Turgon, the king of Gondolin, he attempted to kill Maeglin with a poisoned javelin, but hit Aredhel instead. Aredhel begged her brother to forgive Eol, as she still loved him despite not wanting to live with him. She in fact succeeded in this until she grew sick and died because the dart was poisoned. Eöl was cast down to his death from the city walls by an enraged Turgon.
Maeglin was in love (and lust) with Turgon's daughter (and Maeglin's first cousin) Idril. But there was no hope for him, for "the Eldar wedded not with kin so near". Worse, Idril herself despised him. This was the beginning of his dark side being revealed.
When Tuor came, carrying Ulmo's warning of the danger to Gondolin, Maeglin sat at Turgon's side and argued against Tuor. Tuor's marriage with Idril further incensed Maeglin, who rebelled against Turgon and Tuor. Later, seeking after metals, Maeglin defied Turgon's order to stay within the mountains, and was captured by Orcs and brought to Angband. However, Maeglin was no craven and it was only after Morgoth promised him both Gondolin and Idril in return for the location of the hidden city, that he agreed to reveal the location of Gondolin. When Morgoth's armies attacked and overran the city, Maeglin fought with Tuor on the walls, and Tuor threw him to his death into a precipice. This was the way his despised father had been executed before for the killing of Aredhel, and it was also the curse that Eöl had placed on Maeglin at this event - to suffer the same fate as he.
Maeglin committed  treason to Gondolin and more importantly for his willingness to serve Morgoth (originally out of fear, but later with fervor) was the main element of that treachery.  He is the only Elf to ever willingly and knowingly become a servant of Morgoth.
(Thanks again to the Encyclopedia of Arda and Wikipedia)


These two brief and concise descriptions may be enough from which opinions may be expressed and supported.  Of course further exposition is welcome.
The point of the thread is to give a space for Glorfindel's question;
"...what is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin ... ?"



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Finwë remarried had four more children, Fëanor's half-brothers Fingolfin and Finarfin, and two daughters, Findis and Irimë. 

Well, I like disagreeing with Wikipedia wink so...

... here's my off-topic aside about names: the names and texts concerned are, from Morgoth's Ring:

Findis, Faniel and Irime (from Finwe And Miriel I)

Findis, Faniel and Irime
(from a footnote to Laws and Customs of the Eldar)

Findis, Finvain and Faniel
(from a footnote to Finwe And Miriel IV)

Findis, Faniel and Irime (from the genealogies dated 1959)


From 1968 or later: The Shibboleth of Feanor: Findis and Irime -- but a few sentences later in the same work, 'Irime' becomes Irien Lalwende. Christopher Tolkien notes:

'It is strange that my father should give the name of the second daughter of Finwe as both Irime and Irien within the space of a few lines. Possibly he intended Irien at the first occurance but inadvertently wrote Irime, the name found in all the genealogies.'

CJRT, note 28, The Shibboleth of Feanor


For the main entry Wikipedia currently chooses Findis and Irime. I would not, for though the matter is speculative the new writing in 1968 would suggest the loss of Faniel, and Finvain/Irime are the 'older forms'...

... although obviously Irien is only moments 'newer' (!) as far as appearing in the actual 1968 text along with Irime -- still, if one has to choose I would go with Irien. And Christopher Tolkien's suggestion, or explanation, also seems to make sense, as Irime being the older existing form could have slipped in at first. 


However, Fëanor accidentally left his youngest son Amras in the ships, and he was burned alive. 

The names here are getting quite confused all over the web. If one is going to incorporate the Ambarussa legend (as here), then Amrod and Amras are 'out' (though obviously better known to Silmarillion readers), and Amros is in, for both sons -- except that Amrod 'remains' as a possible Sindarization of Ambarto (if he had lived)!

So confusingly, it is Amros 'Amrod' who is burned (in Quenya Ambarussa Ambarto). But since he did not live, he became known as Amros Amarthan rather.


I admit it is a bit confusing, but it's also not impenetrable. Most web sites will tell you both sons were named Ambarussa, which is true, but will then seemingly ignore that in Sindarin Ambarussa will yield Amros -- not Amras, and not two different forms, Amrod and Amras!

Again, granted, Amrod and Amras are the more well known names from the 1977 Silmarillion. I get that; but if people making web sites would simply choose one form of the legend or the other, or even both separately, the nomenclature would not get mixed in silly ways. Certainly readers of only the Silmarillion might be confused -- but are they not confused already when reading that one of the sons died at Losgar? I would think so.

I would vote for choosing one or the other -- instead of merging both together so that the nomenclature refers to a scenario that JRRT never wrote or imagined.

I couldn't not mention it, apparently biggrin


-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 17th of June 2010 09:58:36 PM

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Galin,
Thank you!  This is the type of scholarship that corrects and enlightens!
Thank you most humbly.
So what is your opinion of Feanor or Maeglin?
Bear



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Heavy thread, Bear.

Can I ask about this part:

"Maeglin committed treason to Gondolin and more importantly for his willingness to serve Morgoth (originally out of fear, but later with fervor) was the main element of that treachery."

I am unsure of when Maeglin went from a grudging slave in Morgoth's 'plan' into an eager servant. I was always under the impression that the threat of death and torture combined with the promise of Idril were enough to tip him 'over the edge', but I can't recall him ever becoming eager.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Glorfindel 1235,
Fervor means with passion, with feeling ... not "eager".
At least that is how I saw it.
His hatred for Tuor and his consuming lust for Idril certainly was with fervor ...
ergo sum ...
So what is your opinion of Feanor or Maeglin?
(smiling ... glad you like the thread ... you are the inspiration for it!)
In friendship,
Bear


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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Well they are one of the same to me. If you are passionate about something (in this case about Idril) then you must be eager for it.

Maeglin I do think was corrupt. I wouldn't say out-right evil but certainly tainted with corruption. In fact the book suggests it was the making of some external force:

"And however that might be, Idril loved Maeglin not at all; and knowing his thought of her she loved him the less. For it seemed to her a thing strange and crooked in him, as indeed the Eldar ever since have deemed it: an evil fruit of the Kinslaying, whereby the shadow of the curse of Mandos fell upon the last hope of the Noldor."

As for Feanor, he is harder to judge. Will have to think on him.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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If Maeglin and Feanor where put on a sliding scale of evil ... Maeglin seems the worst elf on all sorts of levels ... he is a bad guy inside and out ...
Feanor may be guilty of many evil deeds but I'm not sure he was evil inside ... he was twisted from all sorts of forces...



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I am not sure either can be excused of being evil. I just try to imagine myself in Maeglin's position when brought before Morgoth. Not pleasant. That is why it would be good to know the source of Maeglin serving Morgoth with fervour before I judge him.

As for Feanor, I suppose intentions are the main thing here. I was always under the impression that Feanor did what he thought was right. Whether by the lies of Morgoth it turned out to be the wrong decision is another matter. Therefore I can't say Feanor is corrupt, let alone evil.

His deed of leaving Fingolfin and co in Aman when he sailed to Middle-earth and burned the ships was an unfortunate one. I can't think of many excuses for that except perhaps that he deemed himself now beyond the appeasement of the Valar so it didn't really make much difference. Or maybe he feared Fingolfin would betray him first.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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What about Eol, Maeglin's father. Better or worse than these two chaps?

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Difficult one. Was Eol more overtly corrupt than Maeglin? On the service, I suppose. But would he have succumb to the will of Morgoth? Not sure on that front.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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I think this is one of those threads that can spin off in several directions and topics.
Our bad elf list of Feanor, Maeglin, and Eol could be ranked over and over again depending on the priorities (or dare I say "mood") of whoever is posting.
Perhaps we can all agree that they are more "tragic" figures than "evil" ones.
But the definitions of "tragic" and "evil" are topics in their own rights ... Did Tolkien ever define these terms?

This brings in the counter spin; ie ~ greatest elven hero or heroine ... maybe delete the term "greatest" and just leave the heroine/hero bit. Who and why?

What do you think?


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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Interesting question Bear. Generally people weigh that up by calculating who made the biggest sacrifice in order to achieve good. In this regard I think Glorfindel would be one of my first choices. But an interesting question nonetheless.

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mouth of sauron,
Interesting choice and an even more interesting criteria; "Sacrifice to achieve good".
What about Luthien? Or even Arwen?
You have me thinking ...
Great post!


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Well, it seems rather strange to compare Feanor to Maeglin. These two characters are quite different: Feanor regarded Morgoth as the worst enemy and Maeglin became a servant of Morgoth. The resemblance between them is that both of them performed unethical deeds, but in spite of this both of these characters appeal to lots of readers... I'm sure if Feanor and Maeglin were real persons, they wouldn't appeal to anybody, but the point is that fictional characters aren't real people. =) Whether fictional characters appeal to us or not, doesn't depend on ethics. It depends on other things...



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Isillune,
Good point!
We love our bad guys...or in this case elves!
Bear


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I agree with Glorfindel1235 that neither one is evil, in the sense that Sauron or Morgoth are evil. One thing Tolkien does well is imbue the elves with, for lack of a better word, human characteristics. If all the elves were without faults, think how boring the whole oeuvre would be. Even Elves we love, like Elrond and Galadriel, are not without character flaws. This is a tangent perhaps, but to me the least interesting character is Manwe, because he's a little too perfect.

I think Maeglin is just not likeable, evil or not, at least once he takes up residence in Gondolin. But I think we have to judge the actions of anyone associated with those Noldorin who took part in the kinslaying, even men, through the prism of Feanor's curse, or doom. Turgon himself made choices that led to the fall of Gondolin, not heeding Ulmo's advice by way of Tuor. But somebody said something earlier I agree with, which makes me come out on the side of Feanor more. He was motivated by his hatred of Morgoth, not only for the theft of the Silmarils, but for sowing evil to begin with. Maeglin's motivations are more self-centered and low, it seems.

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Rick Nagy
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By the way, I know it is somewhat unfair to compare one of the Valar to the elves, but I just meant Manwe was the least interesting character in The Silmarillion to me, even among the other Valar.

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Rick Nagy
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It is so interesting that someone will put Feanor and Maeglin side by side. At first it seems that other than doing "evil things" there is nothing in common between them. But there are similarities. Both experience the most unusual kind of death of their parents. In both cases, the mother leaves the father of her own will and not without the son's involvement in some way. I am not sure that either Miriel or Aredhel can be labeled as traitors, probably not, but this might have given their respective sons some idea... Just a thought. Surely if anybody then Finwe and not Miriel would be the traitor in Feanor's eyes though.

Talking of opinions, to me the worst things about Maeglin would be being unmoved by his father's death (are we told he was grieved by the death of his mother?), and his attempt to kill Earendil who is just a child. What he did to Gondolin is just plain bad - to an elf, probably should look terrible, but to a human observer, not extraordinary... lust is a strong thing and he was waiting for a long time... And isn't Morgoth scary?

As to Feanor, he is way more complicated. Personally what I dislike about him is (1) he leaves Fingolfin in Araman - and this after the latter said "... Thou shalt lead and I will follow. May no new grief divide us"; to which Feanor answers "I hear thee. So be it!" (A side thought, I think this is one of the reasons Fingolfin didn't return to Valinor). (2) He is of course guilty of Kinslaying, but what one is to expect from the person who burns his own son and "hides his dismay"(!). It just is so strange that his father's death causes so much sorrow and resentment, but his son's (Telvo's that is) death doesn't. And (3), knowing "with the foreknowledge of death" that they will not have a victory over Morgoth, he makes his remaining sons repeat the oath. It does not make much difference in their fate, but the attitude...

I would not blame Feanor for not agreeing to give the Silmarils to Yavanna. Valar knew what kind of person he was full well, and that he was extremely protective of those jewels too, so it is just amazing that they would even think of putting it forward to him the way they did. Granted they were bewildered by the loss of the trees, but they should have know better.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 05:57:44 PM



-- Edited by Lorelline on Friday 2nd of August 2013 09:16:49 PM

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Lorelline,
I've pretty much given my own opinion of Feanor and Maeglin ... there are a couple of points in your opinion that made me look again at the "history" of their backgrounds and especially your thought that the Valar "should have known better" than to ask Feanor to give up the treasure of his heart
Certainly Feanor is a tragic figure ... and in some ways his reaction to events, (murdered father, destruction of the Two Trees, his hatred of his step-mother and step-brother, his rage at the loss of the Silmarils, and the pressure of the Valar at the same time) seems to lead to such deeds as the kinslaying and all the rest. It is almost like his evil deeds are a sort of emotional breakdown.
Maeglin on the other hand is more of a pervert than a victim ...

A very interesting post ... and thought provoking ...



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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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I always felt that Feanor was a high ranking noble, not because he was high born (which he definitely was) or because he was a master at every undertaking but because he had so much scorn for others and zero remorse for the outcomes of his proud actions. He was most resolute and unbending in his will.

When he was born (I'm paraphrasing here), he was born with a flame that burned so bright that it basically drew all of his mother's will and/or penchant for life. I think Tolkien used this device to tell us that Feanor was set apart from most of his characters and the one solid difference that stands out to me is his Unapologetic Lust to do his own Will...

I gotta delve a little deeper into the Maeglin/Feanor thing in order to do any good here. Good topic

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I've always been disgusted with Feanor. It felt like he was given so much (and had much taken away) but he chose to do what only benefited him and not much for the greater good. I don't think that his father's murder was what initiated his behaviour. He was scornful of all those "beneath" him as Jaido points out. There seemed to be no room for grace or mercy in his heart.

As for Maeglin, I agree with Bear, pervert first class bleh



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Maeglin indeed may be a pervert, but that is not his fault is it? Is it not terrible to suffer the whole life from unshared and forbidden love? Until the end he doesn't do anything bad to Idril. One may think he simply cannot, being afraid of Turgon. But then he has a chance to stay in Gondolin without Turgon during Nirnaeth...

As a pure speculation, had he stayed (perhaps with the whole house of the Mole lest Gondolin remained defenseless), Turgon might have never made it back. Maeglin then would have taken over the city by right, and who knows what would have happened to Idril. Yet Maeglin does not stay, he goes to war (not a coward). Does he want to look like a hero? Or does he hope to be killed and finally released from his lust? Maybe if he had not just an insight into the minds of others but also a foresight (=knew of the upcoming utter defeat), he would have stayed? As it was, in some ways he was not all bad. Still, bad enough.

Feanor is sure a tragic figure but not nearly as tragic as his eldest son. I think I saw it somewhere but myself I also thought that Feanor among Elves (Noldor at least) was in a way as Melkor among the Valar.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 06:00:05 PM

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Lórellinë

Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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Loreline, my speculation about Maeglin going to war is he wanted be a hero in everyone's eyes. Sure he didn't "do" anything to Ideological, but he wasn't very chivalrous or realistic either. It sucks loving when it's not returned but you learn to deal.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Laurelin,

To us mortals it is hard to deal with a love not returned. But it seems to me that for Elves it should be harder; as a rule they love only once and for the lifetime which is long. Yes they are given more strength then we are, on the other hand... So I don't know, I cannot help pitying him. There are others who were in a similar situation but not many, and in fact yes most dealt with it in a somewhat "better" way than Maeglin (Daeron fled Doriath and was lost; Finduilas was killed; Indis finally got who she wanted; Celegorm did things not any better than Maeglin; who am I forgetting? But this starts going beyond the thread I am afraid)



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 06:01:12 PM



-- Edited by Lorelline on Friday 13th of September 2013 08:34:14 PM

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Lórellinë

Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Lorelline,

I think you hit on something very deep here. You wrote: "To us mortals it is hard to deal with a love not returned." Then you went on to write: "that for Elves it should be harder; as a rule they love only once and for the lifetime which is long."

To me if I were an Elf and fell deeply in love with someone, I would feel that that was my 'One and Only One' and if that love should not be returned I would find walking through life alone to be a singular, more firm course for my life (this is, of course if I were an elf). With that said, I have to admit that Maeglin reacted poorly but Love will make you do some outrageous and irrational things, especially the scorn brought on by its rejection.

Think also of how Feanor felt when his father took another wife. I think any Elf would have been a little miffed at the notion that his father would take another wife but it had to happen to Feanor the most intolerant, stubborn, and angry Elf to live in Tolkien's universe.  Woe be to Arda...



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Inspired by the concurrent topic on Psychological aspects, I would like to note that self control/lack thereof is what sets Feanor and Maeglin apart. Feanor has little of it (a fiery spirit is difficult to control) and as a consequence is easily provoked. Not just Melkor with his lies but "bright Valar" as well manage to provoke him, and most deeds of his that turn out to be evil just follow from the provocation. Ship burning likely is the only thing done with an evil (although not mortally evil) intention. He does show self control at the death of his youngest son, or was it that he simply didn't care much.
On the other hand, Maeglin definitely possesses a lot of self control. Villain as he is perceived, even his intentions are not always malicious. Perhaps only advising Morgoth on how to construct artificial iron snakes and then an attack on Earendil are truly evil.
But anyways, both of them manage to generate lots of trouble...
Interestingly, neither Maeglin nor Feanor are my favorite characters and I can hardly believe I am provoked to write about them.

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Lórellinë

Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Jul 11, 2013

My Friends,
Just on a minor note ... deeds can be malevolent without there being a psycho-pathological disorder as their origin.
Looking at maladaptive social behaviors does not indicate that because someone has lost their mother at an early age they automatically develop abandonment issues and create barriers against intimacy.
Feanor and Maeglin within Tolkien's stories I believe are much closer aligned because of their warrior attributes ... both the "Good" and "The Shadow".
Tolkien makes the point over and over again that the Ainur and the Children of Illuvatar will not see all aspects of his music or his creations ...

"Then Ilúvatar spoke, and he said: 'Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'

Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet comprehend the words that were said to them; and Melkor was filled with shame, of which came secret anger. But Ilúvatar arose in splendour, and he went forth from the fair regions that he had made for the Ainur; and the Ainur followed him."   (The Silmarillion, Ainulindale: "The Music of the Ainur", pg 17)

Labels of good and evil are tricky things ... somethings are not evil until they are labeled as such.  How can a warrior come whom to his nation as a hero when inside his heart he knows he committed atrocities.

My point is ... that Tolkien created these characters as works of fiction ... his purpose was to entertain, not create a new bible to judge good vs. evil.

What I really like is the discussion that you have brought to these characters ...Why?  Because for me it enriches the story ... and I thank you!

 



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Bear,
I cannot agree with you more. Good and evil are tricky. To me, evil intentions remain evil intentions whatever the outcome, but my views by necessity are simplistic and limited - what do I know? After all, this is what Manwe said concerning Feanor's rebellion and his proud last words: "So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." No arguing with that for me...



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Lórellinë

Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Lorelline wrote:

Maeglin indeed may be a pervert, but that is not his fault is it? Is it not terrible to suffer the whole life from unshared and forbidden love?


 In regards to Maeglin I think this is the crucial point - it isn't just that he fell in love with someone forbidden to him. It was that the Elves deemed that there must be a 'seed of evil' already in him in order for him to fall in love with Idril.

"The Eldar wedded not with km so near, nor ever before had any desired to do so. And however that might be, Idril loved Maeglin not at all; and knowing his thought of her she loved him the less. For it seemed to her a thing strange and crooked in him, as indeed the Eldar ever since have deemed it: an evil fruit of the Kinslaying, whereby the shadow of the curse of Mandos fell upon the last hope of the Noldor. But as the years passed still Maeglin watched Idril, and waited, and his love turned to darkness in his heart. And he sought the more to have his will in other matters, shirking no toil or burden, if he might thereby have power.

Thus it was in Gondolin; and amid all the bliss of that realm, while its glory lasted, a dark seed of evil was sown."


As we can see this isn't standard 'taboo' love - the desire of someone despite imposed unacceptability. This is something else, apparently the product of genuine 'evil'.



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Great point. The passage you quoted has been always puzzling me. It is so complicated.

Maeglin's lust an evil fruit of the Kinslaying... He personally has nothing to do with the Kinslaying. Any connection he has to it is through his mother Aredhel. Perhaps Aredhel's marriage to Eol is another such fruit (nothing is said of it though). It sort of follows that Maeglin's being Eol's son is irrelevant here, despite all Eol's less than admirable qualities (he was not involved in the Kinslaying in any way).

Idril herself is under the curse of Mandos too; that she becomes an object of this love/lust might be the consequence of the curse as well - although is seems to her that it is he who is crooked. Well, however that might be, if the evil seed has been within Maeglin from birth, then his 'feelings' towards Idril are his fault all the less...right? His actions are.

It is said that "his love turned to darkness in his heart" implying that it is rejection (inevitable as we are told) that brought the evil seed to fruition. He wanted to have power, as it appears, as a compensation for being unloved. He, however, was not plotting against Turgon or anything, until the very end.

Apart from this, it is interesting that "the Eldar ever since have deemed" Maeglin's feelings "strange and crooked". This I guess refers to the survivors of the fall of Gondolin who witnessed his attempt to capture Idril and kill Earendil. Before that nobody had a clue - Idril did not tell anyone about his lust. She shared just the general suspicion of him with Tuor. She never gave any hint of it to her father. Was she that disgusted to even mention it? Or was she anyhow afraid?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 06:03:24 PM

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Lórellinë

Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Was Maeglin a family member? Like a cousin?
Please educate me...I don't own The Silmarillion...but will soon....


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Jaidoprism7,

Yes, Maeglin was Idril's first cousin. His mother Aredhel was a sister to Turgon, the king of Gondolin. Both of them are Fingolfin's children.

It is an interesting point why Eldar would not marry their first cousins. In humans, the reasons are mainly diseases in the offspring caused by genetic defects. Elves apparently could not have that problem. They should have other reasons for not marrying close kin. I wonder what they might be?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 06:11:10 PM

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Lórellinë

Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Wasn't Maeglin Turgon's blue-eyed boy? If so it may have been for this reason that Idril did not mention her suspicions to him. Perhaps, because she didn't have any proof, Turgon would not have believed her anyway?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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I guess I haven't made myself clear. Yes, to relate her suspicions of Maeglin's betrayal of Gondolin to Turgon, Idril would have needed proof, and she had none other than her insight. That would not have been sufficient, given that indeed Maeglin was Turgon's favorite (seems Turgon never learns the truth about his nephew). But what I meant was that she never told her father about Maeglin's love despite that it has been creeping her out literally for ages. We know that Turgon loved his daughter a lot and she loved him very much too. So why not tell him? No proof would have been needed in that case. Maybe Turgon would have become disenchanted with Maeglin. Even if he did not believe his daughter he surely would have watched his nephew closer and eventually would have seen it for himself. Nothing of this sort happens. Is this lack of communication/trust another twist of the curse of Mandos?

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Lórellinë

Haldir of Lorien - Rank 6
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I think Idril not telling her father might be more simplistic. How many daughters tell their dads everything even when we should? Sometimes it's to avoid creating more issues and other times it might be embarrassing to talk to dads about affairs of the heart. Maybe we can learn a lesson here.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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This simple explanation is very plausible. But of note, human girls can always hope that their problems will go away on their own - Idril could not hope for that. Well, maybe she didn't want Turgon to overreact and throw Maeglin down the precipice - he wasn't supposed to do that even to Eol.

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Lórellinë

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Was Idril even sure herself that Maeglin loved her? I mean it's obviously a major suspicion she has but I can't recall if there was something concrete which confirmed her suspicions.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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What a thought. I don't clearly remember how exactly Idril perceived Maeglin's feelings (other than "strange and crooked"). Something possessive I would think - did they even have an idea of anything akin to love but not quite - lust, desire, or whatever? Although to us observers it is said that he loved her. Anyways Turgon is left unenlightened concerning all this. I unfortunately don't have books with me other than The Lost Road, which doesn't elaborate on these pretty dark matters.

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Lórellinë

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So this is how Idril & Maeglin's story is laid out:

"...he had borne a grief, ever worsening, that robbed him of all joy: he loved the beauty of Idril and desired her, without hope"...

"...and knowing his thought of her she loved him the less."

Apparently she knew - not simply suspected - of his love and desire.

Since the topic is about comparing Feanor and Maeglin, it is tempting to point out that in terms of love affairs they are entirely dissimilar. Whatever misfortune Feanor goes through he (I would say) has no idea what the real misfortune is - unlike Maeglin. One might think Feanor simply doesn't care, but he gets 7 sons, which for Elves is not trivial. Well maybe he cares at first but then becomes obsessed with his "shiny rocks". He even seems troubled very little if at all that Nerdanel totally disapproves of his rebellion and refuses to join him in exile.

A side note - interestingly, Eol knows of the kinslaying and because of that forbids Maeglin to meet with sons of Feanor. How does he know about this? Does he still have a connection with Doriath? Does Aredhel herself tell him?



-- Edited by Lorelline on Thursday 25th of July 2013 06:13:21 PM

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Lórellinë

Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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I'd imagine Eol would have ways of getting news from the 'outside world'. He had dealings with the Dwarves, perhaps they could have told him? I don't know whether the time lines fit into place with that theory, or if the Dwarves would know that information, I'm assuming they travelled to Doriath and picked up the news there.
Other than that maybe he does have occasional dealings with elves from elsewhere.

As for Maeglin - according to the quote it does seem like his feelings are directly connected to the curse that was upon the Noldor. It was the curses way of ensuring that Gondolin - the last refuge of the Noldor - fell to Morgoth.

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