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Topic: What is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin?

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Jul 25, 2013
RE: What is your opinion of Feanor and Maeglin?

The quote would have been so much easier to understand if it referred to the "evil fruit of the curse of Mandos". But anyways, indeed the fall of Gondolin is a classic example of treachery of kin unto kin.

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Lórellinë

Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I've always wondered why Maeglin received such a bad rep from the Elves. After all he was threatened with dire torture on the one hand and a lofty prize on the other. I can't say I would have blamed him for choosing the later. I'm afraid to say I don't think I'd last two minutes before caving in under the threat of torture!

I guess he could have betrayed Morgoth and warned Turgon about the inevitable attack. But then armed resistance was futile anyway, the only defense that Gondolin really had against Morgoth was it's unknown location.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Jul 30, 2013

Maeglin had a bad reputation mostly among the survivors of the fall of Gondolin. Their opinion is of course biased. There is nothing outstanding in the betrayal of Gondolin given the circumstance. And yes, Maeglin might have warned Turgon, and although the city could not have been saved, the people might have escaped. But Turgon did receive a warning from Ulmo/Tuor and chose to ignore it.

And now a bit on Feanor...

******Galin said******

Most web sites will tell you both sons (Feanor's twins) 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.

************End of the reference***********

In this case, since people are confused anyway, it would be easier to use the father-names of the twins. At least they are different.

And this is just another example of a less than exciting thing about Feanor. Feanor wants to have the upper hand in all matters - even in the matter of (mother-)names. Since he is not satisfied with the twins sharing one mother-name Ambarussa (what kind of a problem is that, just use Pityo and Telvo, the names he gave them - but no...), he insists that Nerdanel, too, give them different names. It is then that she gets the bad feeling about the fate of one of the twins, she knows not which, and comes up with the name Umbarto. Feanor again doesn't like it - there is no way to make him happy - and further changes it to Ambarto.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Tuesday 30th of July 2013 05:20:56 AM

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Lórellinë

Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I'm guessing the question is set up as a discourse on the nature of good and evil in Elves.   So I'll attack it from that angle.   Firstly, I don't think that human morality is the same as that of the elves.   We have to look at the extreme differences between Elves and Men before we can even begin to understand Elvish motives.  

Firstly, Elves are much more aware of the cosmology of their universe.    They have a personal relationship with the gods, and are well aware of what happens when their physical life ends.   The uncertainty that Men have about their afterlife is what makes their physical life so important to them.   The Elves simply do not have the same fears, as death isn't the end from their point of view.   

Secondly the Elves know their place in the hierarchy of beings.   They understand that they are similar but lesser than the Ainur, just as they are similar but greater than men.   As some of the Ainur are much greater than others, the same is true among Elves, which is why the greatest among the Elves are similar in might to the Maiar. 

Feanor is obviously arrogant, prideful, stubborn, and willful.   By human standards, he might appear to be evil or capable of evil deeds, but by Elven standards I think that his worst actions would only be considered distasteful or disrespectful.  I don't think that Elves are weighed down with moral issues like Men are because they have a wider view of the world.



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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Aug 30, 2013
"Firstly, Elves are much more aware of the cosmology of their universe. They have a personal relationship with the gods, and are well aware of what happens when their physical life ends. "
Do you mean here that Elves know that they can be reborn if they die? Or do you mean the Estel that they have to rely upon concerning the ultimate end of their lives when Arda is no more? Because (as at least follows from Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth) the Elves don't know for sure what will happen to them then.

"The uncertainty that Men have about their afterlife is what makes their physical life so important to them. The Elves simply do not have the same fears, as death isn't the end from their point of view. "
Isn't it interesting then that, though Elves can return to life, all the episodes of the Kinslaying are seriously considered 'merciless deeds' (not by men but by the Valar) - this is for example the reason why Eonwe denies the Silmarils to Maedhros and Maglor?

"Secondly the Elves know their place in the hierarchy of beings. They understand that they are similar but lesser than the Ainur, just as they are similar but greater than men. As some of the Ainur are much greater than others, the same is true among Elves, which is why the greatest among the Elves are similar in might to the Maiar. "
'Greatest' is a tricky term, but Feanor was able to create things that neither Maiar nor Valar could make and in that relatively narrow sense he surpassed them. It is sort of surprising that given his inventiveness in some matters he doesn't apply it to other matters. Or should I put it this way: somehow he was able to find patience when he worked on the Silmarils...

"Feanor is obviously arrogant, prideful, stubborn, and willful. By human standards, he might appear to be evil or capable of evil deeds, but by Elven standards I think that his worst actions would only be considered distasteful or disrespectful. "
What would you name his worst action? My answer to that is above somewhere in the thread. Would be interesting to compare.


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Lórellinë

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"Do you mean that Elves know they can be reborn if they die?"

Unless I am mistaken, the Valaquenta is an Elven account of events.   The Eldar that travelled to Aman and resided with the Ainur were well aware of the Halls of Mandos.   They lived with the Ainur and interacted with them and had personal relationships with them.   The Eldar also ave power to influence their enviornment (magic) similar to the Ainur but to a lesser degree.   The point I was making is that they have far greater knowledge about the world and their fate than Men.

As for actions being merciless, such as the kinslaying, I am not disputing that.   Merciless is not necessarily evil.   Although it could be inferred that the Silmarils deemed the line of Feanor to be evil because they burned when finally recovered.   The Silmarils were hallowed so that they would burn any evil or mortal that came in contact with them, with the exception of Beren.  I would have thought that the Dwarves that murdered Thingol would be considered evil, but they were not burned.  Oddly enough it seems that the Silmarils actually inspire lust for them.

Feanor's worst action was the swearing of his oath, but that was influenced by Melkor and the Silmarils.   One could say that the height of his vanity was the creation of the Silmarils and from that stemmed all his future misdeeds. 



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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Aug 30, 2013
"Unless I am mistaken, the Valaquenta is an Elven account of events."
Yes, this account was made by Rumil. In the earliest version of the legends Rumil himself talks to Elfwine, a human mariner who came to Tol-Eressea, but I think this has changed in later versions.

"The point I was making is that they have far greater knowledge about the world and their fate than Men."
I am trying to follow here - you are stating that because the Elves have greater knowledge and power than Men (us), we cannot apply our moral standards to them - they should not be held to the same moral standards as Men. It seems natural to expect higher moral standards and greater responsibility from those more knowledgeable, but maybe this is only natural from the men's point of view, while for them, ends totally justify means (as you wrote elsewhere)? Is that the idea? Are you referring to Manwe's words about the evil which was
"good to have been"? Of which Mandos then said 'And yet remain evil'? So the Valar do call Feanor's deeds evil.

"... it could be inferred that the Silmarils deemed the line of Feanor to be evil because they burned when finally recovered. "
Sounds like you too are inclined to think that the jewels had a mind of their own, or otherwise how could they 'deem'?

" I would have thought that the Dwarves that murdered Thingol would be considered evil, but they were not burned. Oddly enough it seems that the Silmarils actually inspire lust for them."
This part in the Silmarillion is based on the editorial work, because the only original account of this is from the Book of Lost Tales II and there Thingol-Tinwelint is quite different, as are the Dwarves (they are 'more evil' there but Tinwelint also insults them). In those accounts the Dwarves were said to be 'made of stone', but still could be slain, yet maybe not burned.

"Feanor's worst action was the swearing of his oath, but that was influenced by Melkor and the Silmarils. One could say that the height of his vanity was the creation of the Silmarils and from that stemmed all his future misdeeds."
This is an interesting take. Feanor's speech was largely inspired by Melkor's lies, but the oath... Not just Melkor but the other Valar too have provoked him. The creation of the Silmarils I would not consider an act of vanity. It seems he just could not live without creating, the process of which was his passion and joy. It would have been vanity if he had boasted about his jewels, but he does something more strange - he begrudges the light of the Silmarils to all except his family, as if anybody really needed that light at that time. So that in itself wasn't evil, just unpleasant.

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Lórellinë

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All in all,
If Feanor took the time to hug his sons a little more and spent a little less time in the forges things would have panned out a little differently. Just saying...


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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Aug 31, 2013

I agree with this.
I think the most important thing about Feanor is his extraordinary talent; arrogance and rash deeds go hand in hand with that, and the way he treats others follows from there... and is, sort of, understandable. But, in my opinion, his attitude towards his sons is another matter, and is most unsettling.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Monday 9th of September 2013 08:12:03 PM

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Lórellinë

Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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It's natural for those granted considerable gifts and talent to also be given downsides and negatives in equal measure. Rarely do you find someone with great abilities and yet also great virtues and modesty at the same time. Feanor was clearly proud and unyielding right from the off. His perception of his other brothers is a clear indication of this, he wasn't happy with his father going off with another Elf female and having children.

However for all his faults he wasn't evil. It was the lies Melkor spread in Valinor, the slaying of his father and the theft of his most prized possessions that drove Feanor from being a tad 'rough around the edges' to the other darker deeds.

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Utúlie'n  aurë!  Aiya  Eldalië  ar  Atanatári,  utúlie'n  aurë! 
Auta  i  lómë! 
Aurë entuluva!

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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No, Feanor is not evil... I don't think he himself is called evil anywhere. And I agree it is no more than wishful thinking to expect someone very talented to also be wise. Nevertheless I still find it disappointing that Feanor unwittingly adopted the lies of Melkor and creatively incorporated them into his speech. At least for that Melkor is not to be blamed.

The Valar consider the Kinslaying an evil thing, even though the death of the Teleri is not final, more like the leave of absence. (I personally don't think though that if Feanor had been facing some mortals and not the Teleri he would have hesitated to kill those just the same).

But is evil a different thing indeed for Men and Elves (and so are we doing Feanor injustice by applying our views on good and evil to him)? I found an interesting quote on this matter in Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion (II), Of re-birth and other dooms of those that go to Mandos:

'Evil is not one thing among Elves and another among Men. Those who give evil council, or speak against the Rulers (or if they dare, against the One), are evil, and should be shunned [whether bodied or unbodied]'.


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Lórellinë

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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In my opinion, the two of them are the epitome of what can happen when pride(Feanor) and/or envy(Maeglin) take over a life and become the main motivation.  Lol, that being said, it is probably obvious that they aren't on my list of favorites from the book, but I have to admit that Feanor is on my list of favorite literary jerks.



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Russell
Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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What in particular about Feanor irks you, Russ al Thor? I've always quite liked the character!

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Mainly, my beef stems from how he put himself ahead of his people.  I like how he wants vengeance even if it is against a god, but not the things he did, the Kinslaying and the abandonment of the majority of the Noldor being two examples.  The legacy of his oath on his house was heartbreaking to me as a reader.  Lol, with Feanor, the bad outweighs the good by a bit!



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Russell
 
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