Silmarillion Book Club (Week Eight)

The Silmarillion Week Eight.png

Chapter 16: Of Maeglin

In this Chapter...

  • Aredhel (daughter of Fingolfin) leaves Gondolin, though Turgon is reluctant to let her leave. 
  • She wants to go to Doriath but Thingol won't let her in; she becomes lost near Nan Dungortheb
  • Aredhel comes to Himlad and is welcomed by the people of Celegorm
  • She grows restless, wandering often, and becomes enmeshed in Nan Elmoth. 
  • Eöl sees Aredhel wandering and uses enchantments to draw her close to his home, eventually making her his wife. 
  • Aredhel gives birth to Maeglin
  • Aredhel longs to see her people again
  • While Eöl is away, Maeglin and Aredhel escape in search of Gondolin
  • Eöl pursues them in rage
  • Aredhel and Maeglin are welcomed into Gondolin; Eöl secretly follows them in
  • Eöl is brought to Turgon
  • Turgon welcomes Eöl but does not allow him to depart; Eöl demands Maeglin return to him; Turgon gives them the choice between staying or dying
  • Eöl throws a javelin at Maeglin; Aredhel jumps in front of it and is killed
  • Eöl is sentenced to death and curses Maeglin
  • Maeglin remains in Gondolin
  • Maeglin loves Idril but his love is unrequited and Idril thinks it's weird because they are cousins
  • Maeglin grows resentful and begins to seek power. 

Important Quotes

  • "But Aredhel, having sought in vain for her companions, rode on, for she was fearless and hardy of heart, as were all the children of Finwe..."
  • :"Very fair she seemed to him, and he desired her; and he set his enchantments about her so that she could not find the ways out, but drew ever nearer to his dwelling in the depths of the wood.... And when Aredhel, weary with wandering, came at last to his doors, he revealed himself; and he welcomed her, and led her into his house. And there she remained; for Eöl took her to wife, and it was long ere any of her kin heard of her again." 
  • "Therefore he said to Aredhel: "Lady, let us depart while there is still time! What hope is there in this wood for you or for me? Here we are held in bondage, and no profit shall I find here; for I have learned all that my father has to teach, or that the Naugrim will reveal to me. Shall we not seek for Gondolin? You shall be my guide, and I will be your guard!" 
  • "Then Eöl looked into the eyes of King Turgon , and he was not daunted, but stood long without word or movement while a still silence fell upon the hall; and Aredhel was afraid, knowing that he was perilous. Suddenly, swift as serpent, he seized a javelin that he held hid beneath his cloak and cast it at Maeglin, crying: ‘The second choice I take and for my son also! You shall not hold what is mine!’ But Aredhel sprang before the dart, and it smote her in the shoulder; and Eöl was overborne by many and set in bonds, and led away, while others tended Aredhel. But Maeglin looking upon his father was silent."
  • "Thus it was in Gondolin; and amid all the bliss of that realm, while its glory lasted, a dark seed of evil was sown." 

Discussion Questions

  • Why is Turgon reluctant to allow Aredhel to leave?
  • How is Eöl described?
  • Why does Eöl require Aredhel to shun the sunlight? 
  • What does Aredhel call her son in her heart? What name does his father give him? What do these names mean?
  • Why does Eöl begin to mistrust his son?
  • How does Eöl find his wife and son?
  • Why does he try to kill Maeglin? What actually happens?

Chapter 17: Of the Coming of Men into the West

So much happens in this chapter and it felt like a bit too much to summarize in bullet points, but I thought this summary by TrueMyths.org was helpful! 

Important Quotes

  • "Then Felagund, standing silent in the night-shadow of the trees, looked down into the camp, and there he beheld a strange people."
  • "After many lives of wandering out of the East he had led them at last over the Blue Mountains, the first of the race of Men to enter Beleriand; and they sand because they were glad and believed that they had escaped from all perils and had come at last to a land without fear."
  • "Indeed they believed at first hat Felagund was one of the Valar, of whom they had heard rumour that they dwelt far in the West; and this was (some say) the cause of their journeying. But Felagund dwelt among them and taught them true knowledge, and they loved him, and took him for their lord, and were ever after loyal to the house of Finarfin."
  • "Now the Eldar were beyond all other peoples skilled in tongues; and Felagund discovered also that he could read in the minds of Men such thoughts as they wished to reveal in speech, so that their words were easily interpreted."
  • "The years of the Edain were lengthened, according to the reckoning of Men, after their coming to Beleriand; but at last Bëor the Old died when he had lived three and ninety years, for four and forty of which he had served King Felagund. And when he lay dead, of no wound or grief, but stricken by age, the Eldar saw for the first time the swift waning of the life of Men , and the death of weariness which they knew not in themselves; and they grieved greatly for the loss of their friends. But Bëor at the last had relinquished his life willingly and passed in peace; and the Eldar wondered much at the strange fate of Men, for in all their lore there was no account of it, and its end was hidden from them."
  • "To corrupt or destroy whatsoever arose new and fair was ever the chief desire of Morgoth; and doubtless he had this purpose also in his errand: by fear and lies to make Men the foes of the Eldar, and bring them up out of the east against Beleriand."

Discussion Questions

  • How does Felagund first react to seeing Men? How do they react upon hearing his song?
  • Who is Bëor?
  • How is Felagund able converse with the Men?
  • How does Morgoth work to come between Elves and Men? 
  • Who suffers most at the hands of Morgoth in this chapter? 
  • Reflect on the theme of Mortality in this chapter... 

Chapter 18: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin

In this Chapter...

  • The Battle of Sudden Flame
  • Filgolfin challenges Morgoth to single combat 
  • Fingolfin dies 
  • Fingon becomes king of the Noldor
  • Morgoth is wounded by Fingolfin and Thorondor and his power is lessened 
  • Sauron takes Minas Tirith; the servants of Morgoth roam freely
  • Turgon does not respond to the breaking of the Siege of Angband with armies, though he does sent ships secretly to ask the Valar for aid
  • Morgoth is continually scheming and causing destruction

Important Quotes

  • "Morgoth had long prepared his force in secret, while ever the malice of his heart grew greater, and his hatred of the Noldor more bitter; and he desired not only to end his foes but to destroy also and defile the lands that they had taken and made fair. "
  • "Thus began the fourth of the great battles, Dagor Bragollach, the Battle of Sudden Flame."
  • "Fingolfin named Morgoth craven, and lord of slaves. Therefore Morgoth came, climbing slowly from his subterranean throne, and the rumour of his feet was like thunder underground. And he issued forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower, iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable unblazoned, cast a shadow over him like a stormcloud."

Discussion Questions

  • What was the outcome of the Battle of Sudden Flame?
  • Who saves Felagund? How is this significant?
  • Why does Fingolfin challenge Morgoth? How does this end?
  • Who is the chief servant of Morgoth?
  • Who are Huor and Húrin? What role do they play in this chapter?
  • What role does Ulmo play in this chapter?