Silmarillion Book Club (Week Twelve)

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Of The Rings of Power and The Third Age 

In this, the very last week of our Silmarillion read-along, we're wrapping up with Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age... which we might lovingly refer to the TL;DR of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This final chapter of The Silmarillion is packed with tons of information, bridging the Silmarillion to the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. 

As its title would suggest, it concerns mostly with the Rings of Power and the Third Age. Here's a long, but thorough, summary of the chapter by the Silmarillion Writer's Guild

  • What role does Sauron play in this chapter? How is he like and unlike Melkor?
  • Why didn't the Valar intervene to stop Sauron?
  • How are the Elves present in the Third Age?
  • Are Hobbits mentioned much in this chapter? Why do you think that is?

 

Looking Back on The Silmarillion

I had so much fun reading through The Silmarillion with so many of you in our Facebook group! I think, by the end, we had over 200 people with us. It was incredibly helpful for me as this was really only my second time reading The Silmarillion and there were many of you who knew much more than I do. For this week's discussion, I wanted to spend some time just looking back on this story (or really, collection of stories)...

  • Which chapter, storyline, or scene meant the most to you? Why?
  • Were there any chapters you struggled to get through? Why do you think that is?
  • How do you suppose Tolkien's Catholic faith and philosophy influenced The Silmarillion?
  • What other influences are present?
  • Are there any practical lessons to be learned from The Silmarillion? 

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Eleven)

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Week Eleven: Akallabêth

Now that we've finished the Silmarillion proper, we are onto the last two sections of The Silmarillion! Up first is Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor. In this 'chapter',  the Númenóreans rebel against the Valar and Eldar and are ultimately defeated by Sauron. 

"...Yet it seems that you desire now to have the good of both kindreds, to sail to Valinor when you will, and to return when you please to your homes. That cannot be. Nor can the Valar take away the gifts of Ilúvatar. The Eldar, you say, are unpunished, and even those who rebelled do not die. Yet that is to them neither reward nor punishment, but the fulfilment of their being. They cannot escape, and are bound to this world, never to leave it so long as it lasts, for its life is theirs. And you are punished for the rebellion of Men, you say, in which you had small part, and so it is that you die. But that was not at first appointed for a punishment. Thus you escape, and leave the world, and are not bound to it, in hope or in weariness. Which of us therefore should envy the others?"
 

Discussion Questions:

  • How has the will of Morgoth survived in Middle-earth?
  • What is the importance of the Sea and the Stars to Men?
  • What were the choices of Elrond and Elros?
  • What gift have men been given by Ilúvatar? How do the Elves perceive it? How do Men perceive it?
  • What role do the Valar play in the age of Men, if any? 
  • Is Ilúvatar present in this chapter? Ilúvatar is often compared to the Christian God; after reading this chapter, do you agree or disagree with this comparison?

Resources:

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Ten)

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Chapter 22: Of the Ruin of Doriath

In this chapter...

  • Húrin is released from Angband after being tormented 28 years
  • Húrin calls to Turgon, unwittingly revealing to Morgoth's servants where Gondolin is
  • Húrin searches for his wife, Morwen; he finds her at the tomb of Turin and Nienor, she dies and he buries her
  • Húrin goes to Nargothrond where he kills Mîm the dwarf and takes the Nauglamír
  • Húrin goes to Doriath and gives the Nauglamír to Thingol
  • Húrin throws himself into the sea
  • Thingol has the Nauglamír remade to hold the Silmaril; after remaking it, they will not return it to Thingol
  • Thingol lashes out against the dwarves and they kill him
  • The Nauglamír is returned to Melian 
  • Melian's power is diminished and Doriath lay open to its enemies
  • Melian returned to Lórien
  • The dwarves passed into Menegroth where they met the elves in battle; the dwarves were victorious and reclaim the Nauglamír
  • Dior is wed to Nimloth and has three children: Eluréd, Elurîn, and Elwing
  • Beren killed Nogrod and returns the Nauglamír to Lúthien
  • Dior brings his family to Doriath
  • Beren and Lúthien die and the Nauglamír is brought to Dior in Doriath
  • Dior will not give the Silmaril to the sons of Feanor, re-awakening their oath
  • Elwing escapes to Sirion with the Silmaril 

Important Quotes

  • "Then the lust of the Dwarves was kindled to rage by the words of the King; and they rose up about him, and laid hands on him, and slew him as he stood. So died in the deep places of Menegroth Elwë Singollo, King of Doriath, who alone of all the Children of Ilúvatar was joined with one of the Ainur; and he who, alone of the Forsaken Elves, had seen the light of the Trees of Valinor, with his last sight gazed upon the Silmaril."
  • "But in that coffer lay the Necklace of the Dwarves, wherein was set the Silmaril; and Dior looking upon it knew it for a sign that Beren Erchamion and Lúthien Tinúviel had died indeed, and gone where go the race of Men to a fate beyond the world."
  • "But now the rumour ran among the scattered Elves of Beleriand that Dior Thingol’s heir wore the Nauglamír, and they said: ‘A Silmaril of Fëanor burns again in the woods of Doriath’; and the oath of the sons of Fëanor was waked again from sleep."

Discussion Questions

  • Why is Húrin released from Angband?
  • What is the Nauglamír?
  • What happens when Húrin comes to Doriath?
  • What does Thingol do with the Nauglamír? What is the result?
  • What is the fate of Melian?
  • Who holds the Silmaril at the end of this chapter?

 


Chapter 23: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin

In this chapter...

  • Ulmo bade Tuor to seek Gondolin; Tuor and Voronwë come to Gondolin
  • They are taken prisoner in Gondolin
  • Tuor urged Turgon to leave Gondolin because the end of the Noldor was near
  • Turgon rejected this council and put Gondolin on lock down
  • Turgon pondered the council of Ulmo
  • Tuor and Idril fell in love and were married; Maeglin hated Tuor because he loved Idril
  • Tuor and Idril bore a son, Eärendil 
  • Maeglin was traveled outside the realm of Gondolin and was taken prisoner to Angband
  • Maeglin purchased his life and freedom by telling Morgoth the location of Gondolin
  • Morgoth promised Maeglin Gondolin and Idril
  • When Eärendil was 7, Morgoth attacked Gondolin
  • Tuor fought Maeglin and he was cast down
  • They escaped through the secret passages Idril had made
  • Thorondoe came to their aid
  • Glorfindel dueled with the Balrog but died
  • Glordindel was buried
  • Tuor led the remnant of Gondolin through the mountains 
  • Ulmo came to Valinor and spoke to the Valar on behalf of the elves and men
  • Tuor built a ship and set sail into the sunset in the West 

Important Quotes

  • "At last, in the year when Eärendil was seven years old, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Balrogs, and his Orcs, and his wolves; and with them came dragons of the brood of Glaurung, and they were become now many and terrible."

  • "And it is said that in that time Ulmo came to Valinor out of the deep waters, and spoke there to the Valar of the need of the Elves; and he called on them to forgive them, and rescue them from the overmastering might of Morgoth, and win back the Silmarils, wherein alone now bloomed the light of the Days of Bliss when the Two Trees still shone in Valinor. But Manwë moved not; and of the counsels of his heart what tale shall tell? The wise have said that the hour was not yet come, and that only one speaking in person for the cause of both Elves and Men, pleading for pardon on their mis-deeds and pity on their woes, might move the counsels of the Powers; and the oath of Fëanor perhaps even Manwë could not loose, until it found its end, and the sons of Fëanor relinquished the Silmarils, upon which they had laid their ruthless claim. For the light which lit the Silmarils the Valar themselves had made."

Discussion Questions

  • Why did Ulmo choose Tuor?
  • Why did Maeglin betray Gondolin?
  • When did Morgoth choose to attack Gondolin? 
  • What is significance of the sea? What role does Ulmo play in this chapter?

Chapter 24: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

In this chapter...

  • Eärendil and Elwing had two children, Elrond and Elros
  • Eärendil grows restless and longs for the sea
  • Eärendil built a ship called Vingilot with the help of Círdan 
  • War breaks out over desire for the Silmaril
  • Elwing, along with the Silmaril, on her breast cast herself into the sea
  • Ulmo bore her up in the form of a bird
  • Eärendil and Elwing sail to Valinor where they plead with the Valar
  • Eärendil and Elwing must remain in Valinor; Eärendil appears as a star
  • The Valar come back and there is great battle
  • Morgoth flees and is bound
  • The two Silmarils are taken
  • The oath of Feanor is debated
  • The light of the Silmarils should go to the west
  • Maedhros and Maglor teach take a Silmaril but are wounded greatly by them
  • The Silmaril burned Maedhros unbearably, he cast himself into a chasm filled with fire
  • The other Silmaril hurt Maglor and he cast it into the sea
  • The Elves are pardoned; the doom of Mandos laid to rest
  • Elrond remained in Middle-earth as an elf, Elros chose to be counted as a man
  • Morgoth is sent to the Timeless Void

Important Quotes

  • "Hail Eärendil, of mariners most renowned, the looked for that cometh at unawares, the longed for that cometh beyond hope! Hail Eärendil, bearer of light before the Sun and Moon! Splendour of the Children of Earth, star in the darkness, jewel in the sunset, radiant in the morning!"

  • "For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as a star the Silmaril, as she flew over the water to seek Eärendil her beloved."

  • "The lies that Melkor, the mighty and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days."

  • "Here ends the Silmarillion; and if it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and If any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos."

Discussion Questions

  • What is the significance of the star which gives hope to the Elves? What do they call it?
  • What becomes of the two Silmarils which had been on Morgoth's crown? 
  • What becomes of the oath made by the sons of Feanor? 
  • Where do the Silmarils lie at the end of Quenta Silmarillion? 
  • How does the Quenta Silmarillion End?
  • HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE FINISHED THE SILMARILLION?!?! GIVE YOURSELF A HIGH-FIVE!

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Nine)

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Chapter 19: Of Beren and Lúthien

First of all, this chapter is *intense* and probably my favorite in all of The Silmarillion. I've read this book concerning Beren and Lúthien (Tolkien's Requiem by John Carswell) and I found it very helpful to understanding the story of The Silmarillion as a whole! Highly recommend. You can read more about it here (affiliate link). 

In this Chapter

Important Quotes

  • "Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin tha come down to use from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures. And of these histories most fair still in the ears of the Elves is the tale of Beren and Lúthien."
  • "But Lúthien heard his answering voice, and she sang then a song of greater power. The wolves howled, and the isle trembled. Sauron stood in the high tower, wrapped in his black thought; but he smiled hearing her voice, for he knew that it was the daughter of Melian. The fame of the beauty of Lúthien and the wonder of her song had long gone forth from Doriath; and he thought to make her captive and hand her over to the power of Morgoth, for his reward would be great."
  • "Then Thingol’s mood was softened; and Beren sat before his throne upon the left, and Lúthien upon the right, and they told all the tale of the Quest, while all there listened and were filled with amazement. And it seemed to Thingol that this Man was unlike all other mortal Men, and among the great in Arda, and the love of Lúthien a thing new and strange; and he perceived that their doom might not be withstood by any power of the world. Therefore at the last he yielded his will, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father."
  • "This doom she chose, forsaking the Blessed Realm, and putting aside all claim to kinship with those that dwell there; that thus whatever grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and Lúthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world. So it was that alone of the Eldalië she has died indeed, and left the world long ago. Yet in her choice the Two Kindreds have been joined; and she is the forerunner of many in whom the Eldar see yet, though all the world is changed, the likeness of Lúthien the beloved, whom they have lost."

Discussion Questions

  • What name does Beren give Lúthien?
  • What does Beren ask of Thingol? How does he respond; what Quest does he give him? How does Luthien respond?
  • How is Luthien able to escape out of Nargothrond?
  • Who is Huan?
  • What roles do Morgoth and Sauron play in this chapter?
  • What is the importance of loyalty, glory, and love in this tale?
  • The loss of Beren's hand is reminiscent of the loss of Frodo's finger in The Return of the King. In what other ways are they similar?
  • What is the significance of this story to The Silmarillion as a whole?

Chapter 20: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad

In this Chapter

  • Melian grieves the loss of Luthien
  • Beren and Luthien dwell in Ossiriand in peace, and are never heard from again
  • Maedhros seeks to assail Morgoth once more (the Union of Maedhros)
  • Only a small group comes to fight alongside Maedhros
  • Thingol will not surrender the Silmaril to Maedhros; Celegorm and Curufin vowed to slay him if they return from war victorious and he would not give them the jewel
  • Turgon and his armies from Gondolin arrive to fight alongside Fingon
  • Ulfang's treachery is revealed when the Easterlings turn against the Union of Maedhros
  • All the sons of Feanor are wounded but not slain
  • The Naugrim stand firm against Glaurung
  • Gothmog slays Fingon
  • Húrin is taken into Angband alive
  • The servants of Morgoth roam freely, destroying as they desire
  • At Turgon's bidding, Círdan’ builds 7 swift ships to ask the Valar for help; only one returns
  • Húrin is brought before Morgoth and does not reveal the location of Gondolin
  • Morgoth curses Húrin and his family
  • Morgoth commands his servants to gather the slain into a great pile and the Elves name it the Hill of Slain and Hill of Tears. 

Important Quotes

  • "But Maedhros made trial of his strength too soon, ere his plans were full-wrought; and though the Orcs were driven out of all the northward regions of Beleriand, and even Dorthonion was freed for a while, Morgoth was warned of the uprising of the Eldar and the Elf-friends. and took counsel against them."
  • "In the morning came hope, when the horns of Turgon were heard as he marched up with the main host of Gondolin..."
  • "Yet neither by wolf, nor by Balrog, nor by Dragon, would Morgoth have achieved his end, but for the treachery of Men. In this hour the plots of Ulfang were revealed." 
  • "Then he [Gothmog] turned upon Fingon. That was a grim meeting. At last Fingon stood alone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog... Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood." 
  • "Thus ended Nirnaeth Arnoediad, as the sun went down beyond the sea."
  • "Great was the triumph of Morgoth, and his design was accomplished in a manner after his own heart; for Men took the lives of Men, and betrayed the Eldar, and fear and hatred were aroused among those that should have been united against him. From that day the hearts of the Elves were estranged from Men, save only those of the Three Houses of the Edain."

Discussion Questions

  • What causes disunity between the Elves at the beginning of the chapter?
  • How is Morgoth able to gain his victory? 
  • What is the result of Morgoth's victory on the relationship between Elves and Men?
  • How does Húrin respond to Morgoth's demands? What is his consequence?
  • What becomes of the slain at the end of the chapter?

Chapter 21: Of Túrin Turambar

In this Chapter

  • Morwen, wife of Húrin, has three children: Túrin, Lalaith (who died at age 3), and Nienor. 
  • Túrin is sent to be raised in Doriath, fostered by Thingol
  • Saeros dies after an incident with Túrin; Túrin leaves Doriath an an outlaw
  • Thingol pardons Túrin; Beleg leaves to find Túrin
  • Túrin does not wish to return to Doriath and continues to live with his band of outlaws
  • Morgoth learns of Túrin and his servants capture him
  • Beleg and Gwindor search for Túrin
  • Túrin kills Beleg, mistaking him for a foe
  • Morwen and Nienor come into Doriath but are saddened to learn Túrin isn't there
  • Túrin is deceived by the dragon
  • Túrin takes the name of Turumbar
  • Morwen leaves Doriath in search of Túrin
  • Nienor flees to Brethil where Túrin finds her and renames her Níenel 
  • Níenel does not remember that she is the sister of Turin and falls in love with him
  • Túrin insists on marrying Níenel and she consents
  • Túrin slays Glaurung but is burned by his blood and knocked unconscious when he opens his eyes before dying
  • Nienor comes to Túrin but he will not speak; instead Glaurung speaks and tells her that Túrin is her brother
  • Nienor casts herself off of a cliff to her death
  • Túrin awakens and kills Brandir, though later realizing it was unjust
  • Túrin kills himself

Important Quotes

  • "Those days were evil; for the Easterlings that came into Hithlum despised the remnant of the people of Hador, and they oppressed them, and took their lands and their goods, and enslaved their children." 
  • "It is not fitting that the Elder Children of Ilúvatar should wed with the Younger; nor is it wise, for they are brief, and soon pass, to leave us in widowhood while the world lasts. Neither will fate suffer it, unless it be once or twice only, for some high cause of doom that we do not perceive . But this Man is not Beren. A doom indeed lies on him, as seeing eyes may well read in him, but a dark doom. Enter not into it! And if you will, your love shall betray you to bitterness and death. For hearken to me! Though he be indeed agarwaen son of úmarth, his right name is Túrin son of Húrin, whom Morgoth holds in Angband, and whose kin he has cursed. Doubt not the power of Morgoth Bauglir! Is it not written in me?’"
  • "Then Turambar summoned all his will and courage and climbed the cliff alone, and came beneath the dragon. Then he drew Gurthang, and with all the might of his arm, and of his hate, he thrust it into the soft belly of the Worm, even up to the hilts. But when Glaurung felt his death-pang, he screamed, and in his dreadful throe he heaved up his bulk and hurled himself across the chasm, and there lay lashing and coiling in his agony. And he set all in a blaze about him, and beat all to ruin, until at last his fires died, and he lay still."
  • "Thereat Glaurung stirred for the last time ere he died, and he spoke with his last breath, saying: ‘Hail, Nienor, daughter of Húrin. We meet again ere the end. I give thee joy that thou hast found thy brother at last. And now thou shalt know him: a stabber in the dark, treacherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin, Túrin son of Húrin! But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself.’ Then Glaurung died, and the veil of his malice was taken from her, and she remembered all the days of her life."

Discussion Questions

  • Reflect on the differences of the names of Morwen's daughters, Lalaith and Nienor. What do these names mean?
  • What lies does the Dragon tell Túrin?
  • What name does Túrin take? 
  • What do you make of the love between Níenel and Túrin? What's going on here? 
  • What happens when Nienor realizes the truth of her relationship?
  • Why does Túrin kill Brandir?
  • What is the source of all the discord in this chapter? 

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Eight)

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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?

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!): 

bc596969396308106c994219051a6b06.jpg

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?

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Six)

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Six)

This week, we witness some pretty exciting changes to Middle-earth including the creation of the Sun and Moon and the awakening of Men! We also see the Valar drawing back from the Children of Iluvatar and leaving them mostly to take care of themselves. Lúthien is also born, and we hear a few familiar names (Eärendiland Elrond!) at the very end of the last chapter. 

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Silmarillion Book Club (Week Five)

Silmarillion Book Club (Week Five)

This week is a huge week for the Noldor. We begin in chapter seven with the making of the Silmarils and Melkor being released from his prison. Almost immediately, Melkor is scheming to get revenge and obtain the Silmarils. He stirs up dissention between the Noldor, pitting them against he Valar, eventually leading Fëanor to rebel against his own family. Melkor gets a little too eager and Fëanor realizes he's scheming to get the Silmarils, so he runs off and hides for a while…

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Silmarillion Book Club (Week Four)

The Silmarillion Week Four.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. 

Chapter Four: Of Thingol and Melian

Key Quotes:

  • “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." 

Discussion Questions:

  • 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! 

Key Quotes:

  • "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.”

Discussion Questions:

  • 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. 

Key Quotes:

  • “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..."

Discussion Questions:

  • 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?