Silmarillion Book Club (Week Four)
For key terms, major events, and takeaways, I've found the posts on TrueMyths.org to be the most helpful. Click here to read them! And I'm including some of the key quotes below as well as discussion questions.
Chapter Four: Of Thingol and Melian
- “She spoke no word; but being filled with love Elwë came to her and took her hand, and straightway a spell was laid on him, so that they stood thus while long years were measured by the wheeling stars above them; and the trees of Nan Elmoth grew tall and dark before they spoke any word.”
- "Elwë Singollo came never again across the sea to Valinor so long as he lived, and Melian returned not thither while their realm together lasted; but of her there came among both Elves and Men a strain of the Ainur who were with Iluvatar before Ea."
- "And of the love of Thingol and Melian there came into the world the fairest of all the Children of Iluvatar that was or ever shall be."
- What characteristics stand out in Tolkien's description of Melian?
- How does Elwë come to meet Melian and what comes from it?
- Who replaces Elwë as king of the Teleri?
- What comes of Elwë after he stays with Melian? What is he called?
- What is the result of the love between Thingol and Melian?
Chapter Five: Of Eldamar and the Princes of Eldalië
This chapter contains a ton of background information on the different groups of Elves and how they came to dwell in Aman. If you've read The Lord of the Rings, you'll notice a familiar name in this chapter, too!
"Therefore Ulmo uprooted an island which long had stood alone amid the sea, far from either shore, since the tumults of the fall of Illuin; and with the aid of his servants he moved it, as it were a mighty ship, and anchored it in the Bay of Balar, into which Sirion poured his water. Then the Vanyar and the Noldor embarked upon that isle, and were drawn over the sea, and came at last to the long shores beneath the Mountains of Aman; and they entered Valinor and were welcomed to its bliss."
‘And it came to pass that the masons of the house of Finwë, quarrying in the hills after stone (for they delighted in the building of high towers), first discovered the earth-gems… they hoarded them not, but gave them freely, and by their labour enriched all Valinor.”
“Fëanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame.”
“A sister they had, Galadriel, most beautiful of all the house of Finwë; her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin.”
“For all living things that are or have been in the Kingdom of Arda, save only the fell and evil creatures of Melkor, lived then in the land of Aman; and there also were many other creatures that have not been seen upon Middle-earth, and perhaps never now shall be, since the fashion of the world was changed.”
- Discuss and compare the journeys the different groups of Elves make throughout this chapter...
- Which of the Elves were most loved by Manwë and Varda? Which were loved by Aule?
- Which Elves were the first to discover the gems of the earth and what did they do with them?
- Here we first meet Fëanor, who will soon become a major character. What do you notice about his personality thus far?
Chapter Six: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor
In this chapter, we learn about the birth of Fëanor and his upbringing, as well as the pardoning of Melkor by the Valar.
- “Now the Three Kindreds of the Eldar were gathered at last in Valinor, and Melkor was chained.”
- "But in the bearing of her son Míriel was consumed in spirit and body; and after his birth she yearned for release from the labour of living."
- “Fëanor grew swiftly, as if a secret fire were kindled within him… Few ever changed his courses by counsel, none by force. He became of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand… and he it was who, first of the Noldor, discovered how gems greater and brighter than those of the Earth might be made with skill.”
- “Nerdanel was also firm of will, but more patient than Fëanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to master them, and at first she restrained him when the fire of his heart grew too hot; but his later deeds grieved her, and they became estranged.”
- "For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he saw not to the depths of Melkor’s heart, and did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever."
- "Now in his heart Melkor most hated the Eldar, both because they were fair and joyful and because in them he saw the reason for the arising of the Valar, and his own downfall. Therefore all the more did he feign love for them and seek their friendship..."
- Was it a good idea for Manwë to bring Míriel to Lórien? Should he have consulted Eru first?
- Discuss the family dynamics of Finwe's house after his second marriage to Indis.
- “In those unhappy things which later came to pass, and in which Fëanor was the leader, many saw the effect of this breach within the house of Finwe, judging that if Finwe had endured his loss and been content with the fathering of his mighty son, the courses of Feanor would have been otherwise, and great evil might have been prevented.” -- What do you think about this quote? Is it fair to say?
- Why did Manwë pardon Melkor? Was this a good move? What would you have done?
- What did Melkor do after being pardoned?
- How are Melkor and Fëanor similar?