Silmarillion Book Club (Week Seven)

The Silmarillion Week Seven.png

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. This guide to the Silmarillion is also helpful, although not broken up into chapters; and The Silmarillion Writers' Guild also offers a chapter-by-chapter summary, which is incredibly helpful! 

 

Chapter Thirteen: Of the Return of the Noldor

In this chapter...

  • Fëanor leads his people to Mithrim
  • The Noldor fight the Second Battle in the Wars of Beleriand (Dagor-nuin-Giliath, the Battle-under-Stars); the Noldor are victorious
  • Fëanor is consumed with wrath and rushes towards Morgoth; Fëanor is attacked and mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs
  • Fëanor dies.
  • Maedhros (oldest son of Fëanor) is captured by Morgoth
  • Fingon goes alone to find Maedhros; He is aided by Thorondor, King of Eagles and frees Maedhros by cutting off his hand at the wrist.
  • Thingol does not allow the Noldor into Doriath
  • Finrod hosts a Feast of Reuniting (Mereth Aderthad)
  • Thirty years later, Turgon (son of Fingolfin) and Finrod are given dreams from Ulmo
  • **Mention of Galadriel! and Celeborn!! (Am I the only one who gets super excited everytime I read familiar LOTR names??)
  • Finrod builds a stronghold called Nargothrond; Turgon discovers the hidden vale of Tumladen
  • Morgoth attacks again and is defeated once more; this is the third great battle of the Wars of Beleriand, called Dagor Aglareb, the Glorious Battle
  • After 100 years, Morgoth tries again and is successful; then 100 years later, he tried again and failed again. 
  • At the end of this chapter, the Noldor and Sindar are mostly united

Key Quotes:

  • "Yet cause he had for great joy, though it was hidden from him for a while. For Fëanor, in his wrath against the Enemy, would not halt... and he laughed aloud as he wielded his sword, rejoicing that he had dared the wrath of the Valar and the evils of the road, that he might see the hour of his vengeance." 
  • "Thus ended the mightiest of the Noldor, of whose deeds came both their greatest renown and their most grievest woe."
  • "But the Noldor had as little thought of faith as had he. Wherefore each embassy came with greater force than was agreed; but Morgoth sent the more, and there were Balrogs."
  • "Therefore Morgoth took Maedhros and hung him from the face of a precipice upon Thangorodrim, and he was caught to the rock by the wrist of his right hand in a band of steel."
  • "No love was there in the hearts of those that followed Fingolfin for the House of Feanor, for the agony of those that endured the crossing of the Ice had been great, and Fingolfin held the sons the accomplices of their father."
  • "Thus because of the curse that lay upon them the Noldor achieved nothing, while Morgoth hesitated, and the dread of light was new and strong upon the Orcs. But Morgoth arose from thought, and seeing the division of his foes he laughed.
  • "Then Fingon the valiant, son of Fingolfin, resolved to heal the feud that divided the Noldor, before their Enemy should be ready for war..."
  • "Now, even as Fingon bent his bow, there flew down from the high airs Thorondor, King of Eagles, mightiest of all birds... and staying Fingon's hand he took him up, and bore him to the face of the rock where Maedhros hung."
  • "In those days there was joy beneath the new Sun and Moon, and all the land was glad; but still the Shadow brooded in the north."
  • "Galadriel his sister went not with him to Nargothrond, for in Doriath dwelt Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol, and there was great love between them."
  • "In many parts of the land the Noldor and the Sindar became welded into one people, and spoke the same tongue..."

Discussion Questions:

  • What becomes of Fëanor's obsession with vengeance?
  • Reflect on Fëanor's vulnerability in riding ahead of everyone else. How was that his downfall? Do you see yourself making this same mistake?
  • What happens to Fëanor's body when he dies?
  • How was Maedhros held by Morgoth?
  • Why did the sons of Fëanor do nothing for Maedhros?
  • Who ultimately goes off alone to rescue Maedhros?
  • How does Fingon cry to Manwe when he sees Maedhros? How does Manwe respond?
  • What does Ulmo influence Turgon and Finrod to do? 
  • How do the Noldor and Sindar become as united as they are at the end of the chapter?

So many elves with 'F' names are mentioned in this chapter so here's a handy chart I found (it's probably also in your book depending on the edition!): 

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Chapter Fourteen: Of Beleriand and its Realms

In this chapter... (nothing happens! it's all about the map!) 

Key Quotes:

  • "This is the fashion of the lands into which the Noldor came, in the north of the western regions of Middle-earth, in the ancient days..."
  • "But after the coming of the Sun rich grass arose there, and while Angband was besieged and its gates shut there were green things even among the pits and broken rocks before the doors of hell." 
  • "All that people took Turgon for their lord, and the mingling of the Noldor and the Sindar came to pass soonest there; and Turgon dwelt long in those halls that he named Vinyamar, under Mount Taras beside the sea." 
  • "...and the island that its waters enclosed was named Tol Galen, the Green Isle. There Beren and Lúthiendwelt after their return." 

Discussion Questions:

  • I thought it was so interesting that Tolkien took the time to point out that green things were even able to grow once in Angband... let's reflect on that quote for a while, it's so beautiful.
  • This chapter is just peak Tolkien writing. SO MUCH DESCRIPTION. How do you feel about it? Love it or hate it? It's very hard for me to follow these descriptions so I'm so thankful for the maps! 

Chapter Fifteen: Of the Noldor in Beleriand

In this chapter...

  • Turgon builds Gondolin
  • Ulmo reminds Turgon that he lay under the Doom of Mandos
  • Turgon and his people, along with some of Fingolfin's people and many Sindar, dissappear into Gondolin
  • In Nargothrond, Galadriel tells Melian about the Silmarils but she does not tell of the Oath, the Kinslaying, or the burning of the ships at Losgar; Melian brings news of the Silmarils to Thingol
  • Morgoth began to spread rumors; Círdan hears them and is troubled and sends messengers to Thingol concerning them
  • Thingol speaks with anger to Finrod about them; Angrod tells the truth
  • Thingol commands that the tongue of the Noldor (Quenya) may never be spoken in his realm algain 
  • The sons of Finarfin leave with a heavy heart, knowing they'll never escape the consequences of the deeds of Fëanor. 

Key Quotes:

  • "And [Ulmo] said: "Now thou shalt go at last to Gondolin, Turgon; and I will maintain my power in the Vale of Sirion, and in all the waters therein, so that none shall mark thy going, nor shall any find there the hidden entrance against thy will. Longest of all the realms of the Eldalië shall Gondolin stand against Melkor. But love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea." 
  • "Then Angrod spoke bitterly against the sons of Fëanor, telling of the blood at Alqualondë, and the Doom of Mandos, and the burning of the ships at Losgar. And he cried: ‘Where-fore should we that endured the Grinding Ice bear the name of kinslayers and traitors?’"

Discussion Questions:

  • Reflect on Ulmo's advice to Turgon... what do you make of it? Can any of it be applied to your own life?
  • What is the Doom of Mandos? 
  • How does Thingol come to learn of the Kinslaying? What is his reaction?
  • Why does Finrod refuse to be married, despite loving Amarië?
  • How does this chapter end?