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Topic: The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and oth

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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Date: Sep 21, 2013
The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and oth

(Not everything will fit into a single post so I will start with treachery...)
 
It definitely looks like the treachery of kin unto kin, and the fear of treachery, as the 'mechanisms' of the failure of the oath of Feanor, are not to be understood literally. They are rather the cause of the overall misfortune - as it appears, not only for the House of Feanor. 
 
Although,
"Their Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed shall they be for ever. "
 
It seems 'kin' is to be understood in a broad sense. In that sense and concerning the exiles in general, the examples of treachery at work are numerous: the shipburning; the Fall of Gondolin; Finrod's unkinging (or crown-relinquishing); the second Kinslaying and the third.
 
Specifically in the failure of the oath treachery plays little role. To illustrate this point:
 
Feanor himself tries to approach Angband but is mortally wounded by the balrogs and soon dies, and so far no kin treachery is a reason for his death.
There are direct and indirect (Nirnaeth ) attempts to regain the jewels. The Fifth battle might be the only thing the Feanorians began well. Clearly treachery - but by Men, not Elves - plays a role in the defeat in Nirnaeth - unless Thingol's and Orodreth's non-participation is also treachery (but it is rather their response to Feanorians' treacherous ways) . Failure to get the Silmaril at the second Kinslaying (the Fall of Doriath) comes to pass by Elwing's escape (hardly treachery). The same applies to the third Kinslaying. 
 
However, there is a very disturbing example of kin treachery, pertaining to the Feanorians, although I haven't seen it named as such. Maedhros (I am only choosing this spelling as the most familiar to all) decides to feign to treat with Morgoth. Why he does that is another question. We are not presented with the reasons, and mere folly cannot be ruled out, but, in my opinion, that would not fit the character. He knows that their force is not sufficient to simply attack Morgoth - the Valar told his father just that and they were right; of course what applied to Feanor was true also for his sons; so he tried something different. However, that proves a disaster. He is taken captive, kept (and presumably tortured) in Angband, and then is hanging out there for many years (!). His brothers do exactly nothing about it. Yes, they are bound by the oath and cannot agree to Morgoth's terms. Ok, they stay where they were. But then, what prevents them from attempting to help, or at least to learn what happened to Maedhros? Anyway, over all these years, as it appears, they never try to rescue their brother... nor to fulfill the oath. Honestly, it is not clear what they are doing all this time. But if this is not treachery, then what is? 


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Lórellinë

Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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RE: The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and

Lol, this time even the title of the thread didn't fit into the space. "The other matters" got cut off. I will bring them up anyway.

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Lórellinë

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That's actually a very interesting point. Why do the other sons never rescue Maedhros? Was he assumed to be dead? Did they believe rescue impossible? Did they have some kind of pre-agreed upon policy not to risk their own lives saving one of them if they were captured, so as to increase their chances of gaining the Silmarils back? (if the brothers tried to rescue Maedhros and got caught doing so, they'd never be able to get the Silmarils back).

It doesn't seem to fit that it's treachery, not to me. Maedhros doesn't seem to have any qualms with the brothers once rescued either.

As for the downfall of the Noldor as a whole - treachery is the biggest factor. The kinslaying at Alqualonde caused much division between the Noldor and the existing elves of Beleriand. The treachery within the Noldor as well caused division and mistrust. Basically had all the elves of Beleriand been united, it seems likely they would have defeated Morgoth, or at least his forces, in the Fifth Battle.

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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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"Why do the other sons never rescue Maedhros? Was he assumed to be dead? Did they believe rescue impossible? Did they have some kind of pre-agreed upon policy not to risk their own lives saving one of them if they were captured, so as to increase their chances of gaining the Silmarils back? (if the brothers tried to rescue Maedhros and got caught doing so, they'd never be able to get the Silmarils back)."

They couldn't have known but might have believed that their brother was dead - that could be a reason, but then why would they be so sure as to not even try to find out? As a matter of opinion, the loss of all hope indicates also not enough love that they had for him, or maybe for each other in general. Perhaps the example was set by Feanor himself - he treated his (half-)brothers much the same way, and (admittedly bringing in the latest tradition) was not really grieved by the loss of the youngest son.
As to protecting their lives from any unnecessary danger, I was thinking about that. They do risk their lives to save their father - the balrogs left Feanor alone when the sons came to the rescue but they might have stayed and done them harm, so there was risk. If this is applied consistently, then they should behave like cowards all along and it doesn't seem to be the case. They don't plan anything together, and none of them decides to try any rescue single-handedly. Even if Maedhros himself told them not to do anything about it should he not return, in my opinion it is still not a valid reason for inaction and is no more than an excuse.

"It doesn't seem to fit that it's treachery, not to me. Maedhros doesn't seem to have any qualms with the brothers once rescued either."

We don't know about this really. What was Maedhros's reaction to the rescue by his cousin? There is not a word about this in the books, and one is left wondering. There are six, or at least five, brothers... He probably asks if they are still alive, or maybe is afraid to ask, but learns about them anyway. And that likely is a torture worse than his physical discomfort. We are never told about how they first met after these events, but it should have been very difficult. Yet whatever he feels he cannot disown them (like later Celebrimbor disowns his father) and let them do what they want, because he is the eldest and is still responsible for them, for the oath, and now (on his part) also for the overall peaceful existence among the Noldor. Of course he would try to find excuses for them, but because there are basically none, it wouldn't help. And they on their part are probably mortally ashamed, and whether they are still grateful to Fingon or are secretly resentful (or both, and perhaps it is different from one brother to another), one can only guess. At least they could not openly oppose Maedhros's decision to waive the kingship (or to support Fingolfin as the king in the later tradition), nor to move far to the east. Why Celegorm and Curufin stay in Nargothrond and are not in a hurry to move back (until they are asked to leave) is easier to understand given all this. Those two become professional kin traitors.


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Lórellinë

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Treachery or not?
It seems this cannot be answered without getting into Maglor's mind. What do we know of him? He doesn't seem violent, probably taking after his mother. He is a singer, a poet and a musician. From the subsequent events it also becomes clear that he is not a coward, is closest to his elder brother, is capable of mercy and is wise-hearted.

After the loss of the father and the elder brother he is all of a sudden in command. And he immediately has to make a decision whether to accept Morgoth's terms (withdraw from the neighborhood of Angband as far as possible, at the promise that Maedhros will be returned to them). He knows that Morgoth cannot be trusted, and moreover he may think that Maedhros would be in a greater danger (given that he is still alive) should they agree to what Morgoth is proposing. This may indeed be the case, since Morgoth never made it clear in what condition Maedhros would be brought back.

Morgoth may have presumed that Maglor and the others would agree to whatever terms at the hope to save their brother - he has no idea of the oath. The only one from whom he could learn about it would be Maedhros himself, but it is highly unlikely that the full variant of the oath would be relayed, if anything at all (Morgoth was never able to corrupt Maedhros or bend him to his will).

Morgoth must have been pleasantly surprised when his proposition was declined - although the Feanorians are a nuisance to him, he now can torment Maedhros even 'better', bringing up his brothers' treachery and indifference - but of course at that moment it wouldn't work.

So the kind of decision that Maglor made might not have been the worst, although to a human mind it may look strange that if a possibility had existed, however tiny, it has not been used.

But then... Many years pass. Feanorians live near Mithrim, and what they do until Fingolfin's host arrives is unclear. What is Maglor thinking? He (of all) must be suffering at the loss of the elder brother. Why doesn't he do anything? He is responsible for the younger brothers, but they are in no immediate danger, nor can they get in strife with anybody yet. Is he afraid of the scenario that if he goes alone and perishes, others will follow and be lost? In other words, is he facing a choice between Maedhros and the younger brothers? There should be ways around that. He simply doesn't have to let them know, keeping in mind that they are full-grown and quite strong and not helpless by any means. Would that be treachery towards them? I don't think so. One could say that the oath might play a role, but they (including Maglor) do not try to fulfill it anyway. Is he just afraid of Morgoth and Angband? He probably is, but it doesn't seem that that alone would stop him. Is he irresolute? Still looking for a sign of an appropriate moment?

What am I missing?

Just for comparison, Morwen the mother of Turin (a mortal woman!) would stop at nothing at all to find out what happened to her son. She risks the life of her (similarly stubborn) daughter (not to mention the Elves). Much misfortune comes out of it, and yet, her behavior is so much easier to understand than Maglor's.

If anyone has any idea, please do help.


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Lórellinë

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...Or maybe Maglor is afraid to find out for sure that Maedhros is dead? What I don't think was happening is that Maglor actually wanted to be a king and wasn't willing therefore for the elder brother to return.

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Lórellinë

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Now it takes Fingon five years to make up his mind to rescue Maedhros. This is totally understandable. He has no idea that there was any discord between Feanor and Maedhros concerning the ship-burning, and that Maedhros wanted to sail back and bring him and others to Middle-earth (or, in the later tradition, that Feanor burned the ships without most of his people even knowing until too late). Fingon had to assume that his friend abandoned him.

Here I would like to note that the rescue story has undergone quite a change. In an earlier version of Quenta Silmarillion the reason for this attempt was Fingon's determination to heal the feud between his father's followers and the Feanorians - no personal motives whatsoever. He appears unbelievably heroic and unselfish. Yet later the motivation has become much more personal. The memory of the friendship with Maedhros 'stung his heart with grief'. Notably they have been friends a long time ago, before there was a dissension between Fingolfin and Feanor and before Feanor's banishment. And then there also was the Grinding Ice. It is not trivial that any friendship, let alone a friendship already interrupted, would survive such experience.

We don't know how soon upon the arrival at Middle-earth he learns that Maedhros is missing, but likely soon enough. And we are not told what his first reaction to that was. For whatever reason I find it more likely that he was struggling with himself for all this time until he made a decision (what was the final impulse to do this, if any, would be interesting to know), and not as likely that it just suddenly occurred to him to try and rescue Maedhros after five years.

I might be going too far, but what was his primary motivation - to 'heal the feud' so that Morgoth could be finally shown his proper place (and the rescue of Maedhros would be an excellent way to reach this goal, but just think about how uncertain and dangerous the whole undertaking was, to be done merely for this purpose)? Or to save his beloved friend, and as a side effect also heal the feud, so that he may remain in friendship with Maedhros... and yes, as a tertiary effect, they will be able to unite against Morgoth and all that. Anyway, according to the Grey Annals (The War of the Jewels), 'he rescued his friend of old from torment, and their love was renewed; and the hatred between the houses of Fingolfin and Feanor was assuaged'.

It could be that this event has its bearing on the subsequent passing of the crown to Fingon and not Maedhros. We are not told that at the moment Maedhros waived his claim to the crown forever. In fact very little is ever told about the ways of inheritance of this nominal crown, but in this particular case there might have been a discussion between these two on the matter, with an easily predictable result.

It is also of note that it is Maedhros that initiates the Union against Morgoth; in all logic the king should be doing this and in a way Maedhros acts like he is the king, and is fully supported by Fingon.

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Lórellinë

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Hopefully, citing The Screwtape Letters here is not heresy.

"...courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions".

And that includes love too (love is a virtue for sure). So in this case if courage fails, love fails also. But this failure can produce "...self-knowledge and self-loathing with consequent repentance and humility".

It is very hard to tell if this even applies to Maglor's case, at least I don't think it applies in the full measure, but to a degree it might. His subsequent behavior - closeness to Maedhros for the rest of the latter's life (or to the rest of their lives in the other tradition) is not a direct indication at that, of course, but it seems consistent with that in a way.

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Lórellinë

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Very interesting thoughts Lorelline. I enjoyed reading them. Don't have time to respond at the moment but will try to at some point. Maybe others can throw their weights into the scales regarding this.

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Thanks, Glorfindel.
I would of course appreciate input from others, this topic is quite difficult for me alone and I tend to have highly biased views. I noticed however that Feanorians are not that popular, and not just on this forum.

Anyways, just a 'brief' note - it is said, as cited above, that 'hatred between the houses of Fingolfin and Feanor was assuaged'. I would be thinking that to Fingolfin and his folk, bitter as they were, a mere sight of Maedhros as he was then, and especially with the right hand cut off (I guess Fingon felt as much pain as Maedhros at the cut) should be, very likely, enough to turn hatred to pity. Possibly the followers of Fingolfin came to understanding that there could be things worse than Grinding Ice and that Feanorians paid dearly for their treachery. (Sure enough the least guilty suffered most as is typical.) What was thought and said of Maedhros's brothers in the Fingolfin's camp I don't even want to speculate about.

But it is interesting to try to guess how the immediate Fingon's family reacted to what he did. Surprised they were for sure, but was there any resentment or anger at first? Or pride? Jealousy on Turgon's part? He likes Feanorians the least, while not only Fingon but Aredhel also are friends with some of them (too little is known about another brother Argon who is dead by the time anyway).

Seems that the mother-name Maitimo (meaning 'of a beautiful bodily shape' - probably in comparison to others, since Elves are all shapely and good-looking) comes in a dire contrast with the actual condition. Loss of a hand is obviously disfigurement. Yet mother-names are supposed to be prophetic... Was Nerdanel mistaken, or not at all because even maimed he remained remarkably beautiful?

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Lórellinë

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Feanorians do seem to be looked down upon fairly universally. Yet that is not exactly the impression I get from The Silmarillion. The impression I get is that they were a good people, as all Elves are, that had - due to circumstances relating to Morgoth - been led down the wrong path and ended up cursed due to their being led astray. Doubtless Feanor had his faults, as did his sons, but then again so did Thingol and yet he isn't viewed in the same light as Feanor and co. I guess it is either the Kinslaying or the Oath, or both, which causes people to look on the Feanorians so badly. I can't say the Oath sounds as terrible to me as it is made out to be. As for the Kinslaying; that definitely goes against them. But desperate times means desperate measures.

As for 'Maitimo' - I don't think Maedhros having his hand cut off would have necessarily had much impact on his overall appearance.

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'Yet mother-names are supposed to be prophetic... Was Nerdanel mistaken, or not at all because even maimed he remained remarkably beautiful?'    

 

I agree with MOS and with your last comment here.

Plus I don't think all Mother-names were prophetic. From my reading of Laws And Customs I think that the most notable kinds of Mother names were names of insight and names of foresight, which description seems to agree well enough with the later account on naming in The Shibboleth of Feanor [I don't see a discrepancy here anyway, necessarily] -- where it is said that 'many' mothers might have the gift of bestowing a prophetic name on their children.

My take is: not all Elvish mothers had this particular gift, and of those that did (at least in potential), their children still might receive a different kind of Mother-name.                 



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We know that Nerdanel had that gift, as follows from the Ambarussa/Umbarto story. This doesn't necessarily mean of course that all the names she gave her sons were prophetic. Some look more like plain descriptive names (e.g. Carnistiro) - depending on when exactly they were given. I am not sure that we are told when Maitimo received his name - if in infancy, it may be prophetic, otherwise who knows. But he incorporates it in his new Sindarin name - I would think that the names, including his, were rendered in Sindarin (well) after all these events. Either his self-perception (and maybe the perception by others, owing to his otherwise 'well above the average' appearance) didn't suffer that much, or it was in defiance of this loss, as is evidenced by acquiring the skill of wielding the sword with the left hand.

Personally I would have much easier understood it if he had never used that name himself anymore, nor had allowed others to use it. If that makes any sense... But definitely he had more important things to think about than his appearance, even though to Elves issues related to beauty seemed to be quite serious.

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Lórellinë

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"Feanorians do seem to be looked
down upon fairly universally. "

I would say that what I meant by unpopular was not that the Feanorians (or the sons of Feanor to be precise) are criticized - that would be ok - but that they are ignored. Maybe 'unpopular' is not the right word. Anyway, Feanor isn't easy to ignore but his sons are usually grouped with him as if they are his accomplices in all aspects, and this is not the case. They deserve some attention on their own, but are rarely given it is all I meant.

I don't view Thingol much better than the Feanorians (as I think is known by now).

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Lórellinë

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The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and oth

Celegorm and Curufin


These two are difficult. I guess they are most famous for their behavior in Nargothrond. I would mention first that this story, like many other stories, underwent a serious evolution. At some point it is Celegorm himself that is rescued by Egnor (Beren's father) and that gives Egnor a ring. Beren asks Celegorm for help and receives it, Celegorm with some Gnomish companions go with Beren to Angband disguised as Orcs, and they are captured by The Lord of Wolves. How Celegorm would have reconciled his being bound by two contradictory oaths - if it ever would have become an issue - is anybody's guess.
And also there is a version where Curufin (not Celegorm; of course Celebrimbor son of Curufin did not yet externally exist) falls in love with Luthien.


Returning to the latest version... I believe it is the one appearing in the War of the Jewels (and the published Silmarillion). Celegorm and Curufin aid Orodreth's escape from Minas-Tirith (the one on Tol Sirion of course), and they are admitted to Nargothrond with gratitude. They seem to be on their best behavior ever since. That is, until Beren asks for help from Finrod Felagund. We know that Finrod was wise (e.g. the way he goes about the Kinslaying when questioned by Thingol) and in fact he seems flawless, unless being a 'hidden king' is a flaw. But even in that he never gets as paranoid as Turgon or Thingol.


So I am puzzled to a degree... despite that he knows very well that the Feanorians will not be happy about Beren's quest, he publicly announces his intention to support Beren. What is he thinking? That his cousins will restrain themselves? Just because he is the king? I would suppose that Luthien's love for Beren should have been as unbelievable a thing to the Elves of Nargothrond as it was to the Elves of Doriath. Finrod might be the only one who fully understood it and believed in it, because his own brother loved a mortal woman, and so the matter wasn't totally strange to him. Clearly Beren is not to blame (although it is not obvious to me why he decided to ask Finrod for help? Because he could?) since Thingol thought it all up. Finrod knew all the consequences related to the oath of Feanor. Instead of having an open council at which he had to face the wrath of his cousins, should he have quietly left with Beren (giving his crown to Orodreth)? Well, what Celegorm and Curufin do is no surprise but Finrod's people too refused to support him, with an exception of a few. This is very strange because at least the Noldor that followed Finrod also knew all the deeds of these two Feanorians in the past, and so the fact that they fell for Celegorm's threats and the Curufin's art of speech is plain disconcerting. On the other hand, how helpful a big company would have been to the quest is also unclear, so was there indeed a need to make the matter public?

 

I wouldn't say that, given their oath, Curufin and Celegorm did anything really wrong at that moment, and yet I would hate to see Maedhros or Maglor behaving the same way. But was there any alternative? Going together with Beren, helping him in his quest, trying to get all the Jewels (not just one), letting Beren give one to Thingol - warning the latter that he could have it for a limited time and then should return it?.. Is that any realistic? At least this would not go against the oath, or not much. Anyway, Celegorm and Curufin are not that dumb to risk their lives for such an uncertain undertaking (oath or no oath). Unlike Beren (mortal and not really very young) they can afford to wait for a better time; so they happily remain in Nargothrond. Their subsequent actions (well known - no need to repeat) show them as evil as possible. When people discuss whether Maeglin is most evil, somehow the deeds of these two are overlooked. The oath cannot be blamed for their behavior towards Luthien (or Beren or Finrod their cousin; a textbook example of treachery of kin unto kin). Most appalling seems the fact that Celegorm wanted to use this marriage to get military support from Doriath. One is left to wonder what sounded worse to Thingol, Luthien marrying Beren or Celegorm?

 

What I think is interesting is how, with what explanation, those two Feanorians came back to Himring (sharing one horse). Did they tell all the truth to their elder brothers? We know that Thingol at some point - when he received Celegorm's letter informing him of Celegorm's intentions to marry Luthien and then through spies discovers that Luthien has fled from Nargothrond - sends a message to Maedhros requesting help in finding his daughter, but the message is never received - Carcharoth gets in the way of the messengers; so unless somebody brought the rumor to Himring anyhow, Celegorm and Curufin are the ones to give the account of events. It seems conceivable that whatever they said, the ugly truth has become known, sooner or later; maybe they didn't even try to lie or conceal anything because the elder brothers could see right through any such attempt.

 

We are not given any hint as to how that family reunion went. Maybe this is a stretch, but it seems to me that the proof given by Luthien and Beren that Morgoth was not unassailable was not the only reason for Maedhros to start putting together the Union. There could be an additional reason, namely shame he felt for the deeds of his brothers. Just think of it, a maiden (no ordinary maiden, but by no means a warrior) and a mortal Man get a Silmaril, and those two brothers could have aided them and could have got at least the other two gems, but instead by their deeds make everybody look at the whole House of Feanor with contempt.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Sunday 27th of October 2013 12:00:02 AM

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Lórellinë

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RE: The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and

Continuing in the blog/monologue mode...

It is also interesting that those same Elves of Nargothrond that betrayed their king and listened to the Feanorians changed their opinions quite quickly, and some of them even demanded that they be slain. Very human-like. And among them Celebrimbor, son of Curufin, 'repudiated deeds of his father' (and of his uncle I would guess) and didn't go with them when they were invited to leave. Tolkien didn't elaborate much on this matter, it all originates from a relatively late note. So the matter really should not be pressed too hard. With that in mind, I am still thinking whether this is yet another example of kin treachery? Certainly what Celegorm and Curufin did was really base... even if they thought that being from the elder house they were entitled to power, and even in such a place as Nargothrond, that's very far from a valid reason for their behavior. And yet, Celebrimbor's choice seems oversimplified. Unfortunately, due to the external history of Celebrimbor changing multiple times, absolutely nothing is told concerning his life until well into the Second Age. We don't know if he had any second thoughts or regrets. After disowning his father (instead of remaining with him and at least trying to change his ways for example), does he have any right to claim himself a Feanorian? His father's deeds were just the logical and creative development of the ways of Feanor; so why not repudiate those deeds as well? And maybe by implication he did; but we know from LOTR that he did consider himself a Feanor's heir and there was the star of Feanor on the west gates of Moria. So yes to Feanor's skills and talents, but no to his rash actions, violence, and treachery? What a practical approach.

I find it sadly ironic that in the end Celebrimbor has to withstand Sauron, that same Sauron whom Finrod (betrayed and virtually de-kinged by Celebrimbor's father) had to face also. I don't know if it was really intended that way, but it looks like the fate 'considers' Celebrimbor a Feanorian, and pays him back for not just his own unwisdom, but for his father's actions too.


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Lórellinë

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It is of note how Tolkien treats Curufin in the text titled 'Maeglin'. It is emphasized that when Eol Maeglin's father in his pursuit of his wife and son was passing through the Curufin's land and was waylaid by the latter, it was easy for Curufin to slay Eol, no one would have objected or even wondered about his fate that much. And the fact that he didn't is mentioned as presenting Curufin "in a better and more honorable light", as if Curufin did something good by just insulting Eol but not slaying him. To me such standards applied to Curufin's behavior look quite telling. Who else would be praised for not killing somebody who did no harm and was simply passing by? Granted he had little liking for Eol, and not exactly for no reason. Eol didn't like the Feanorians either, but he didn't do anything bad to them - not that he really could - other than some attempts to stir unfriendliness to the Noldor among the Dwarves. But is that any remote ground to even think of murdering him? I would say it isn't a reason even for insults that Curufin makes a-plenty and Eol tolerates and handles not without dignity, having really no choice given the situation. Eol's family problems are not Curufin's business at all. Yes, Aredhel is his cousin, but did he care about her when taking part in ship-stealing and (especially in the later tradition) ship-burning?

Even the fact that Eol was permitted to travel through the lands of the Feanorians is supposed to show the latter as not-so-perilous; as if they could make him locked in Nan Elmoth and that would still be fine?

I also cannot help wondering how Aredhel has preserved any friendliness to the Feanorians after crossing the Ice? Perhaps one is not to expect any logic from her. Anyway it is to them (Celegorm most of all) and not Fingon that she wants to go from Gondolin... they are friends of old, like Fingon and Maedhros. I can understand that Fingon finally rescues Maedhros; whatever Maedhros's fault may have been (limited as we know), Fingon ultimately finds himself better off, even after suffering Helcaraxe, than his friend, and pities him of course. But no misfortune befalls Curufin or Celegorm. Aredhel plain likes them no matter what.

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Lórellinë

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The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and oth

The other day I got a rare chance to watch a little of Scooby-Doo and was immediately reminded of Huan. And that made me thinking... So Huan, after all, isn't really a smart and strong dog - he is a Maia. It is somewhat confusing whose Maia he is supposed to be. One would expect him to be Orome's but in the late notes he (along with the Eagles) is mentioned as an emissary of Manwe (!). And this Maia is in a voluntary service to Celegorm. That tells something about Celegorm, doesn't it? 

 

The question that comes to mind, however, is not why Huan ultimately leaves his master. What is striking is how Huan comes this far as to 'join' Feanor's rebellion and tolerate the first Kinslaying? He is one of (lesser) Ainur - whatever Vala he is associated with, did that Vala secretly approve of his following the Exiles? We know that at least Ulmo was helping (some of the) Exiles, so why not others? But then, what a huge disappointment with Celegorm there must have been, when what had happened became known - from (discarnate) Huan himself most likely.



-- Edited by Lorelline on Tuesday 12th of November 2013 01:20:47 PM

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Lórellinë

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RE: The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and

A brief note. Why don't Celegorm and Curufin ever mention to Beren that the Silmarisl would burn him even if he manages to lay his hands upon the Morgoth's iron crown? It would seem to be quite a strong argument and that it is not brought up is weird. My answer to this is they simply have no clue themselves. Probably the 'hallowing' of the Jools was done without letting Feanor know about that. So his sons also don't know.

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Lórellinë

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Caranthir

This one is even more difficult (I feel like a complete failure dealing with him). The name is already difficult. I didn't get it at first why his mother-name would be 'red-faced'- this doesn't sound like a compliment, even if he truly was like that. Especially that Nerdanel his mother (who gave him that name) herself has the same complexion... Finally I realized that 'ruddy' is not simply 'red-faced' but 'having a healthy face color with rosy cheeks' kind of thing (good I looked up the Etymologies; Karan- 'red' but Noldorin crann 'ruddy' and the original name was Cranthir; thir 'face' but also 'expression' - here I quit). So it is not about him being red faced because he is angry all the time.
That name was the one he himself preferred, over the father-name.

The late texts concerning him are so confusing!

Father-name: "Morifinwe 'dark' [Finwe] - he was black-haired as his grandfather" [paternal of course] (Moryo).

And then on that same page (p. 353 in The Peoples of Middle-earth):

"Carnistir 'red-face' - he was dark (brown)-haired but had the ruddy complexion of his mother".

I am puzzled. To me black and brown are very different (e.g. when I use mascara I make sure to use brown and not black, as the difference is very visible, and that's just eyelashes - what about hair?).

Another confusing thing is he is #4 in the published Silmarillion and in many texts, but on that page 353 he is listed as #5 - after Curufin. Was that the latest idea then? The reason could be that Celegorm and Curufin tended to act together (they better didn't) and it was more logical for them to be closer in age?

What is known about Caranthir?
He is quick to anger - he insults Angrod after the latter relays the will of Thingol as to where the Noldor have his leave to settle. He is the one to have dealings with the Dwarves, which he finds profitable, although the Dwarves seem 'unlovely' to him. He saves Haleth and her people from orcs at the last moment - and he recognizes Haleth's and her people's (Haladin's) valor and offers them his protection. She declines!

And I think one more note about him is that Ulfang's people enter his service while already being corrupted by Morgoth and they remain true to Morgoth and do much harm during the war.

It is said in Grey Annals that Bor's people, on the other hand, were not corrupted but were 'worthy folk'. In The Silmarillion it is said that Bor and his sons 'cheated the hope of Morgoth' - I am perplexed here, because I get an impression that they too were Morgoth's secret servants but changed sides. Maybe this is overinterpretation. Was it just a coincidence and bad luck that unfaithful men serve Caranthir (who might have found them not-so-lovely and who knows how he treated them) while those in allegiance with Maedhros (and Maglor in the Silmarillion version) are either never corrupted or 'cheat' Morgoth's hopes? And why Ulfang's people chose Caranthir as their lord in the first place? Just because he was closest? Or was he easiest to deceive (they sure wouldn't know but Morgoth might, through his spies)?

A lot more questions than answers.

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Lórellinë

Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and oth

'The name is already difficult. I didn't get it at first why his mother-name would be 'red-faced'- this doesn't sound like a compliment, even if he truly was like that. Especially that Nerdanel his mother (who gave him that name) herself has the same complexion... Finally I realized that 'ruddy' is not simply 'red-faced' but 'having a healthy face color with rosy cheeks' kind of thing (good I looked up the Etymologies; Karan- 'red' but Noldorin crann 'ruddy' and the original name was Cranthir;...'

 

For a post-Lord of the Rings source we also have caran 'ruddy' in Caradhras, attested in Words, Phrases and Passages. Anyway I agree Tolkien was ultimately thinking of complexion here. There is an interesting earlier form of the entry for KARAN- published in VT 45, which I'll refer to below. It seems to possibly contain the word 'outrage' according to the editors of Vinyar Tengwar. 

'thir 'face' but also 'expression' - here I quit).'

As you note, back in the Etymologies scenario we have a root THE-  originally 'perceive, see'. This was altered or expanded at the time to [same base]: THE- 'look (see or seem) N thir look, face expression, countenance, cf. Cranthir Ruddy-face, Gostir older Gorsthir 'dread-glance', dragon name.' So no 'brow' specifically here, and 'face' is certainly employed for the late notes on Caranthir published in Vinyar Tengwar 41 too. 5) [In] Sindarin carani- caran + thir face (< stire) [? substituted] for Q. carni-stire. So Caranthir. [Marginal note Carastir?]

In Eldarion and Erendis we have the new name Tar-Elestirne 'the Lady of the Star-brow', and in a draft for 'Smith of Wooton Major' we have the name Gilthir 'Starbrow'. Verlyn Flieger notes: 'The literal translation of Gilthir would not be 'Starbrow' but 'Starface' (...) Sindarin thir is harder to trace, but appears in the name Caranthir, 'Dark face', the name of Feanor's fourth son'.

V. Flieger then notes both VT 41 and Etymologies. To me this seems a bit too certainly worded. Anyway, in an online dictionary especially concerned with etymology, it is noted: 'Words for "eyelid," "eyelash," and "eyebrow" changed about maddeningly in Old and Middle English (and in all the West Germanic languages). By 1530s, brow had been given an extended sense of "forehead," especially with reference to movements and expressions that showed emotion or attitude.'

So maybe we have something like this with Eldarin words for brow and face, although one can see the relationship in any case.

'So it is not about him being red faced because he is angry all the time. That name was the one he himself preferred, over the father-name.'

That's interesting, as in the earlier entry for KARAN- we had '... with derivatives N. crand, crann; and the gloss of the Noldorin forms originally conrained 'brown' and an inserted gloss, perhaps 'outrage' The following was struck out after N caran: 'red, blush, red [?part] of face; carana ruddy...' In the final entry we have N crann ruddy (of face), cf. Cranthir (...) like Old English rudu, face, blush, the cheeks. And Old English rudu does not seem to carry the sense of turning 'red' with anger, at least according to my O. E. dictionary.

 

'The late texts concerning him are so confusing! Father-name: "Morifinwe 'dark' [Finwe] - he was black-haired as his grandfather" [paternal of course] (Moryo). And then on that same page (p. 353 in The Peoples of Middle-earth): "Carnistir 'red-face' - he was dark (brown)-haired but had the ruddy complexion of his mother".' I am puzzled. To me black and brown are very different (e.g. when I use mascara I make sure to use brown and not black, as the difference is very visible, and that's just eyelashes - what about hair?).

 

I think Tolkien changed his mind here. In Words, Phrases And Passages JRRT even coined Elvish words to mark a distinction between black hair and dark brown hair: 'The Noldor were generally hróva or morna' [these Elvish words are noted] 'morna black of hair: hróva 'dark, dark brown' He once stated that no Elf had absolute black hair, but later seems to have changed his mind again about that, or at least he used the word 'black' in The Shibboleth of Feanor anyway, as you note.



'Another confusing thing is he is #4 in the published Silmarillion and in many texts, but on that page 353 he is listed as #5 - after Curufin. Was that the latest idea then? The reason could be that Celegorm and Curufin tended to act together (they better didn't) and it was more logical for them to be closer in age?'

Could be another change of mind, yes. And not that you said otherwise but of course JRRT is allowed as part of the creative process, and he didn't know we would someday be reading his drafts. 

 

Basically I think these are probably examples of Tolkien changing his mind. As far as I can tell anyway!



-- Edited by Galin on Tuesday 19th of November 2013 06:36:43 PM

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RE: The relationships among the sons of Feanor and beyond: treachery of kin towards kin, yielding to another's will, and

"For a post-Lord of the Rings source we also have caran 'ruddy' in Caradhras, attested in Words, Phrases and Passages. Anyway I agree Tolkien was ultimately thinking of complexion here. "

So can English 'ruddy' mean plain red after all? Caradhras is Red Horn (mountains don't have complexion do they? I feel so silly typing this!)

"...Caranthir, 'Dark face', the name of Feanor's fourth son'.

V. Flieger then notes both VT 41 and Etymologies. To me this seems a bit too certainly worded".

I wonder - she says 'dark' not 'red' face, looks like a mix-up of father- and mother-names. Or is it because brown also was one of the meanings of KARAN (as you mentioned)? But sounds strange!

"Could be another change of mind, yes. And not that you said otherwise but of course JRRT is allowed as part of the creative process, and he didn't know we would someday be reading his drafts. "

You are right - he of course was entitled to do whatever because these are just drafts... but what are we to conclude? I would say that ruddy face goes better with brown than with black hair - with red hair even better but red-heads are not said to have that ruddy complexion.

Those late notes say nothing of Celegorm's hair but he is 'fair' as I guess not because he is good-looking but because in an earlier account he is 'Fairfax' - with fair or light hair color, and the adjective stayed with him even if the hair color didn't (as it seems, only Finarfin's children and Glorfindel had fair hair finally, among Noldor, because of admixture from other races).

An early idea was that Swarthy Men were beloved by Cranthir (the earlier form of the name)! Later (externally - in later versions), though, he pays little heed to Haladin until the episode where he saves them. In those later accounts he is presented as 'harshest' and so surpasses even Curufin. He doesn't seem to be close to any of his siblings (or they don't want to get too close?).

And so again it is difficult to come to any conclusion as to whether there is any significance to the fact that the treacherous men were allied to him (not to any other Feanorian). Yet was there absolutely no contact between Ulfang's people (or Ulfang himself at least) and Maedhros? Is Caranthir alone to be blamed (if anybody at all)? Did they trust the Men completely while for example those who escaped from Angband were held in suspicion?

The only explanation I could come up with (not attested anywhere) is that Maedhros is in a hurry because of shame he feels for the deeds of Celegorm and Curufin.

Quite apart from all this, in a late note three Feanorians are mentioned as having wives - Curufin, Caranthir, and Maglor. Seems that those ladies chose not to accompany their husbands into Exile (who knows, maybe they couldn't even dream of such a good riddance). It is notable that Feanor was able to provoke most of the Noldor but not his relatives except for the sons.



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Lórellinë

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I am going in circles about this... The question of 'brotherly' treachery seems to remain. I was thinking again whether it could be that Maedhros's brothers simply thought that he was dead, and for that reason didn't even try to rescue him. It is not impossible, but on the other hand they are, or seem to be, the only source of information about Maedhros's taking to all others, including Fingon. How did it then occur to Fingon to attempt the rescue? Was there anything in their words that made him hope his friend was still alive? But then, how come they didn't have that hope themselves - or if they did, then why ignore it?..

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Tom Bombadil
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Tolkien changed a lot around while writing and never incorporated it when a new version hit him. For example, Beren was an Elf before he became Human and also a dwarf. If you read the Book of Lost Tales I & II and the Unfinished Tales, yoyu know what I am talking about. And also, Editions have sometimes amendments, and Editors don't catch everything.

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