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Old 10-23-2003, 02:40 PM   #1
Attalus
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Important: Chapter 15, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand."

Chapter 15, “Of the Noldor in Beleriand.”

Supplemental Readings:
The Book of Lost Tales II, Chapter III, “The Fall of Gondolin.”
The Shaping of Middle-Earth: "The Earliest Silmarillion," "The Quenta," and "The Earliest Annals of Beleriand"
The Lost Road: "Quenta Silmarillion" and "The Later Annals of Beleriand"
The War of the Jewels: “The Grey Annals,” 67 and 102; “The Later Quenta Silmarillion,” 99-102.

Any additions or corrections welcome.

Summary: A short Chapter (5 pages) but one that introduces to us the Kingdoms of Gondolin and Nargothond, and tells more about the older Hidden Kingdom, Doriath. Doriath was ruled by the Telerin Elwë Singollo, “Greymantle;“ called in Sindarin Elu Thingol. He was Lord of the Sindar, and married Melian the Maia; their daughter was Luthien the Fair. Turgon , whose wife was Elenwë (lost in the Crossing of the Helcaraxë) and his daughter Idril, was King of Gondolin. Turgon and Finrod are, of course, Noldor. The Chapter has two dramatic notes. In the beginning, after the account of the founding of Gondolin and Nargothond, little changed from the older accounts, we have Galadriel living in Doriath and talking with her friend Melian the Maia, and Melian questions her as to why the Noldor have come back to Middle-Earth, for she has guessed that they are not allowed to return, since no messages come from the Valar. She seems also to have guessed at the horror of the Kinslaying. Galadriel confirms that they left Valinor without the Valar's permission, and cannot return, but does not tell of the Kinslaying, the Oath, or the burning of the ships at Losgar. This seems odd to me, as Melian was her friend and hostess and the Sons of Fëanor quite the reverse; but, being wise as she was, perhaps she foresaw how this would inflame Thingol. He grew quite angry enough at the account of the Noldor leaving Aman to seek the return of the Silmarils, and the death of Finwë his friend. Melian makes two prophecies: that the Silmarils will not be recovered by the power of the Eldar, and that the swords and also the counsels of the sons of Fëanor would have two edges; meaning, I suppose, that they would be fell in battle, but crooked in words. Thingol, further inflamed by rumors, however, did not confront Galadriel about it, but her brothers Finrod and Angrod. Finrod apparently agreed with his sister and did not accuse his fellow Princes of the Noldor, but Angrod did not and told all of the truth, ending with the ringing declaration, "Wherefore should we that endured the Grinding Ice bear the name of kinslayers and traitors?" Thingol agreed, saying, however, that, though he would keep alliance with the Sons of Fëanor, that no-one in his realm would ever speak the language of the Noldor, that is, Quenya. It therefore became a language of lore, as Latin used to be, and Sindarin the spoken language of the Eldar of Middle-Earth.
Finally, and seemingly randomly, the Chapter ends with an odd little pair of paragraphs, detailing the visit of Galadriel to Nargothond to attend a feast of all of the family of Finarfin. Finrod has no wife, she notes, after the immemorial manner of sisters. Why? He replies, "An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfill it, and go into darkness. Nor shall anything of my realm remain that a son should inherit." The text notes that he loved Amarië of the Vanyar, who apparently declined to leave Valinor with him; as, of course, the Vanyar were notoriously fond of Valinor and the Valar.
Now, as SGH has noted on Another Forum, this is strange for a number of reasons. He says that he shall swear an oath, and we know that it will be to aid Beren, and he died of it. But, why, "too?" Like the sons of Fëanor? Perhaps that had been the subject of conversation right before Galadriel started her sisterly inquiries. He seems to foresee his death, and the reasons for it. Why, then, did he take the oath to Beren? Was it so that he would indeed be killed and be free to return to the Halls of Mandos, and on reembodiment be reunited with his beloved Amarië of the Vanyar? It was then noted that "Not since that hour had such cold thoughts ruled him," so, apparently before then he was not eating his heart out for Amarië. But, IMHO, then, he foresaw that he would indeed be reunited with his beloved by that route, despite the Ban of the Valar. Thoughts?
Another thing that struck me was the apparent disorder of JRRT’s early writings on this. At one point the even makes Luthien Turgon’s daughter. No wonder newbies get mixed up about Elven lineages.
Two great pictures of Finrod Felagund:
The Death of Finrod Felagund and Finrod Felagund.
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Old 10-23-2003, 03:21 PM   #2
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Why, then, did he take the oath to Beren? Was it so that he would indeed be killed and be free to return to the Halls of Mandos, and on reembodiment be reunited with his beloved Amarië of the Vanyar? It was then noted that "Not since that hour had such cold thoughts ruled him," so, apparently before then he was not eating his heart out for Amarië. But, IMHO, then, he foresaw that he would indeed be reunited with his beloved by that route, despite the Ban of the Valar. Thoughts?
Although it is true that this was the only way of returning to Valinor at that time, I'm not so sure that Finrod just decides to sacrifice himself for the sake of returning. There are places in the text that are very contradictory to itself. In the conversation that takes place between Finrod and Beren, for example, it says: "He listened to Beren's tale in wonder and disquiet, and he knew that the oath he had sworn had come upon him for his death as long ago he had foretold to Galadriel." But, when he goes to speak before his kingdom and they turn upon him because of the words of the sons of Feanor, it says: "he gave the crown of Nargothrond to Orodreth to govern in his stead." This implies to me that there was a possibility for his safe return from the quest of the Silmaril.. Very confusing.

Also, if he decided to sacrifice himself so that he could return to Amarie, how could he have known that she was still free for him to persue at that point? It does say however, in the HoMe that "He dwells with Amarie in Valinor."

Edited: Just to pic apart another piece of that text.

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Now King Finrod Felagund had no wife, and Galadriel asked him why this should be; but foresight came upon Felagund as she spoke, and he said: "An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfil it, and go into darkness. Nor shall anything of my realm endure that a son should inherit."

But it is said that not until that hour had such cold thoughts ruled him; for indeed she whom he had loved was Amarie of the Vanyar, and she went not with him into exile.
This is another one of those parts where Finrod seems to be sure that he will die, and even beyond, he sees the distruction of Nargothrond which occurs long after his death. So, how on the money was the foresight for Elves? Accurate always, or only sometimes?

I had always interpreted the cold thoughts to relate to perhaps the happiness that he never knew in Middle-earth, because Amarie did not come with him, and upon Galadriel's inquiry, brought an unhappiness and reminder of a loss that he had long left behind and tried to forget.
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Old 10-23-2003, 06:00 PM   #3
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Re: Important: Chapter 15, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand."

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Originally posted by Attalus
Galadriel confirms that they left Valinor without the Valar's permission, and cannot return, but does not tell of the Kinslaying, the Oath, or the burning of the ships at Losgar. This seems odd to me, as Melian was her friend and hostess and the Sons of Fëanor quite the reverse; but, being wise as she was, perhaps she foresaw how this would inflame Thingol.
Yes, I think Galadriel, and all the Noldor, wanted the truth to be hidden as long as possible, because they knew it would make the Sindar hostile against the Noldor, and that would only be to the benefit of Morgoth. And maybe they were ashamed. But I'm not sure whether this was wise of them, because the true story was likely to be known sooner or later, and from the point of view of the Sindar this secrecy would only add to their anger.
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Melian makes two prophecies: that the Silmarils will not be recovered by the power of the Eldar, and that the swords and also the counsels of the sons of Fëanor would have two edges; meaning, I suppose, that they would be fell in battle, but crooked in words.
'Two edges' could also refer to the later Kinslayings. Fëanor's sons had their own agenda, everyone who possessed a Silmaril became their enemies.
Quote:
no-one in his realm would ever speak the language of the Noldor, that is, Quenya. It therefore became a language of lore, as Latin used to be, and Sindarin the spoken language of the Eldar of Middle-Earth.
Another reason was that the Noldor learned Sindarin much faster than the Sindar learned Quenya.
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Why, then, did he take the oath to Beren? Was it so that he would indeed be killed and be free to return to the Halls of Mandos, and on reembodiment be reunited with his beloved Amarië of the Vanyar?
I have also had thoughts along these lines. But I ended up rejecting them. It would be too selfish of Finrod to think in that way. And besides, how could he know that he would be allowed to be reincarnated in Aman?
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Old 10-23-2003, 06:11 PM   #4
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Re: Re: Important: Chapter 15, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand."

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Originally posted by Artanis
I have also had thoughts along these lines. But I ended up rejecting them. It would be too selfish of Finrod to think in that way. And besides, how could he know that he would be allowed to be reincarnated in Aman?
Maybe he had foresight of that, too. I don't think that Finrod sacrificed himself, unless you conceive of that as doing his duty. He just saw the end coming and realized that his death would fulfill a noble purpose, and would result in being reunited with Amarië, as he had apparently long desired. Sort of a Noldor version of "when I die, I'll be with my beloved," but with more certainty. Isn't it said that the better and nobler the fëa, the less time is spent in the Halls of Mandos? As it indeed proved.
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Old 10-23-2003, 06:13 PM   #5
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Originally posted by Sister Golden Hair
I had always interpreted the cold thoughts to relate to perhaps the happiness that he never knew in Middle-earth, because Amarie did not come with him, and upon Galadriel's inquiry, brought an unhappiness and reminder of a loss that he had long left behind and tried to forget.
Another interpretation could be that until then his only reason not to marry was his love for Amarië, whom he at that time could not have. But as Finrod himself said to Andreth: "The life and love of the Eldar dwells much in memory, and we would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end." So maybe he didn't feel so bad about leaving Amaríë back in Aman, he knew she would be better off there than in Beleriand. But when the foresight came upon him, suddenly he had another reason not to marry, a much darker reason.
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Old 10-23-2003, 06:21 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Attalus
Maybe he had foresight of that, too. I don't think that Finrod sacrificed himself, unless you conceive of that as doing his duty. He just saw the end coming and realized that his death would fulfill a noble purpose, and would result in being reunited with Amarië, as he had apparently long desired. Sort of a Noldor version of "when I die, I'll be with my beloved," but with more certainty. Isn't it said that the better and nobler the fëa, the less time is spent in the Halls of Mandos? As it indeed proved.
I think Finrod did sacrifice himself, for two reasons: First, because of the oath he had sworn, and second, because he knew how important it was for Beren to survive (foresight again?). I think these were his main reasons. Of course if he had any hope of being reunited with Amarië that would make his offer easier for him, so perhaps their love and her staying back in Aman was a part of a 'higher' design.
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:29 AM   #7
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think Finrod did sacrifice himself, for two reasons: First, because of the oath he had sworn, and second, because he knew how important it was for Beren to survive (foresight again?). I think these were his main reasons. Of course if he had any hope of being reunited with Amarië that would make his offer easier for him, so perhaps their love and her staying back in Aman was a part of a 'higher' design.
I'm not sure about this. I think that FF went with Beren because of the Oath. I think that FF sacrificed himself for Beren because that was the kind of Elf that FF was, not to make things easier for him to return for Amarië. FF did it because he felt that it was the right thing to do. If it would have been another Man, I think he would still have done the same thing.
Hmmmm, I wonder if SGH would agree with me.
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2. Of or relating to North or South America, the West Indies, or the Western Hemisphere.
As a noun American is:
A native or inhabitant of America.
A citizen of the United States.

Then the boy asked, “What is America then?”, and the wise man looked at the dictionary again:
1. The United States.
2. also the A·mer·i·cas. The landmasses and islands of North America, Central America, and South America.

Confused, the boy asked, “Does the term american refers solely to a us citizen or to any person in North, Central or South America?”
The wise man replied: “What do you think?”, and the boy answered: “It is clear to me that while the term american is used to refers to us citizens, one can also use it to refer to any person who is from that continent too,” the boy thought for a while and asked the wise man, “Am I right?”, and he replied: “But of course.”
The boy wondered, why is it that some people refuse to acknowledge the fact that the term american refers not only to US citizens but to anyone of the American continent?, but then sadly, the boy understood, that it is the calamity of ignorance.
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:41 AM   #8
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I'm not sure about this. I think that FF went with Beren because of the Oath. I think that FF sacrificed himself for Beren because that was the kind of Elf that FF was, not to make things easier for him to return for Amarië. FF did it because he felt that it was the right thing to do. If it would have been another Man, I think he would still have done the same thing.
Hmmmm, I wonder if SGH would agree with me.
I do agree that that was the kind of Elf he was. I don't think it was his intention though to sacrifice himself. I think it was his hope that they could all come out of it alive and with the Silmaril, but I think he knew that it wasn't likely to happen, and his foresight pretty much made that clear to him, but he could still have hoped, because Elven foresight doesn't mean it's written in stone, right?

Something else I have been thinking about. In the Lay of Lethien, after the ten companions are dead, and Beren and Finrod are talking, Beren releases Finrod from his oath. I find that to be a strange time to do it. I mean what was Finrod going to do at that point. It wasn't like he would or could just say: okay, see ya. By that time, he was trapped with no escape, just like Beren, and he knew that without him, Beren would surely have died.
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"North away." he said: "to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence - that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes."

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Old 10-24-2003, 12:46 AM   #9
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I don't think it was his intention though to sacrifice himself. I think it was his hope that they could all come out of it alive and with the Silmaril, but I think he knew that it wasn't likely to happen, and his foresight pretty much made that clear to him, but he could still have hoped, because Elven foresight doesn't mean it's written in stone, right.
I meant sacrifice in the way that he felt that he had more of a chance at surviving the battle that Beren would. I do think that FF was fighting with the purpose to win it.
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Something else I have been thinking about. In the Lay of Lethien, after the ten companions are dead, and Beren and Finrod are talking, Beren releases Finrod from his oath. I find that to be a strange time to do it. I mean what was Finrod going to do at that point. It wasn't like he would or could just say: okay, see ya. By that time, he was trapped with no escape, just like Beren, and he knew that without him, Beren would surely have died.
That Lay is absolutely beautiful. Perhaps Beren had a foresight of what FF was going to do, and he was shamed that he had caused the death of FF. Just a thought.
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“What does the term american refers to” asked the boy, and the wise man answered: “Lets look at the dictionary then.”
As an adjective American is:
1. Of or relating to the United States of America or its people, language, or culture.
2. Of or relating to North or South America, the West Indies, or the Western Hemisphere.
As a noun American is:
A native or inhabitant of America.
A citizen of the United States.

Then the boy asked, “What is America then?”, and the wise man looked at the dictionary again:
1. The United States.
2. also the A·mer·i·cas. The landmasses and islands of North America, Central America, and South America.

Confused, the boy asked, “Does the term american refers solely to a us citizen or to any person in North, Central or South America?”
The wise man replied: “What do you think?”, and the boy answered: “It is clear to me that while the term american is used to refers to us citizens, one can also use it to refer to any person who is from that continent too,” the boy thought for a while and asked the wise man, “Am I right?”, and he replied: “But of course.”
The boy wondered, why is it that some people refuse to acknowledge the fact that the term american refers not only to US citizens but to anyone of the American continent?, but then sadly, the boy understood, that it is the calamity of ignorance.
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Old 10-24-2003, 01:02 AM   #10
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That Lay is absolutely beautiful. Perhaps Beren had a foresight of what FF was going to do, and he was shamed that he had caused the death of FF. Just a thought.
I actually got the impression in the Lay, that Beren was just so grieved by the torture and pain and suffering that they went through at Sauron's hand, that he may have even felt a bit guilty at that point for asking Finrod to aid him.
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"Whither go you?" she said.

"North away." he said: "to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence - that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes."

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Old 10-24-2003, 03:01 AM   #11
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Something else I have been thinking about. In the Lay of Lethien, after the ten companions are dead, and Beren and Finrod are talking, Beren releases Finrod from his oath. I find that to be a strange time to do it. I mean what was Finrod going to do at that point. It wasn't like he would or could just say: okay, see ya. By that time, he was trapped with no escape, just like Beren, and he knew that without him, Beren would surely have died.
But do you think Finrod thought himself to be free from the oath when Beren released him? I don't think so.
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I meant sacrifice in the way that he felt that he had more of a chance at surviving the battle that Beren would. I do think that FF was fighting with the purpose to win it.
That's true. He did slay the werewolf.
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Old 10-24-2003, 09:24 AM   #12
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I agree that Finrod did not know that he would die after slaying the werewolf; he still felt bound by his oath and was trying to protect Beren. I further agree that Beren felt guilty, and was saying, in effect, "If you have a chance to escape, take it, don't worry about me."
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:01 AM   #13
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But do you think Finrod thought himself to be free from the oath when Beren released him? I don't think so.
Oh absolutely not. I think at that point Finrod was bound to the oath and Beren's releasing him was a vain effort. However, I wonder if Beren had released him sooner, say, before they had been captured, would Finrod have accepted the release then.
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"North away." he said: "to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence - that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes."

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Old 10-24-2003, 11:29 AM   #14
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However, I wonder if Beren had released him sooner, say, before they had been captured, would Finrod have accepted the release then.
Ah, have to think about that one, though I would say no by instinct.

But now I intend to leave my favourite fanfic characters by themselves for a little while (they'll be back in a later chapter also), and ask a question. I'm thinking about what Galadriel said to Melian, when she was asked about what woe was on the heart of her and and her kin:
Quote:
For that woe is past,' said Galadriel; 'and I would take what joy is here left, untroubled by memory. And maybe there is woe enough yet to come, though still hope may seem bright.
And Angrod in his first meeting with Thingol:
Quote:
... but being true, and wisehearted, and thinking all griefs now forgiven, he spoke no word concerning the kinslaying, nor of the manner of the exile of the Noldor or and the oath of Fëanor
It seems like Galadriel, and all of the Noldor with her, purposed to forget all about the past, keep quiet about it and pretend to the Sindar it didn't happen. There were reasons for doing so: loyalty to Fëanor and his sons, and not cause more dissensions between the Noldor and the Sindar as they needed to be united against Morgoth. Still I'm questioning their right to do this. Olwë was after all Thingol's brother, and the oath was too important to be hidden from the Sindar. What do you think about it?
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Old 10-24-2003, 11:43 AM   #15
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Ah, have to think about that one, though I would say no by instinct.

But now I intend to leave my favourite fanfic characters by themselves for a little while (they'll be back in a later chapter also), and ask a question. I'm thinking about what Galadriel said to Melian, when she was asked about what woe was on the heart of her and and her kin:And Angrod in his first meeting with Thingol: It seems like Galadriel, and all of the Noldor with her, purposed to forget all about the past, keep quiet about it and pretend to the Sindar it didn't happen. There were reasons for doing so: loyalty to Fëanor and his sons, and not cause more dissensions between the Noldor and the Sindar as they needed to be united against Morgoth. Still I'm questioning their right to do this. Olwë was after all Thingol's brother, and the oath was too important to be hidden from the Sindar. What do you think about it?
I think they didn't want to make waves. I don't think though that their silence had anything to do with loyalty to Feanor or his sons, as much as it did with loyalty to Fingolfin and his sons. Although the children of Finarfin did not take part in the Kinslaying, it says, that not all of the Noldor were guiltless, meaning the house of Fingolfin. There was never any doubt that Feanor and his sons were responsible for the whole thing. I think when the text says concerning Finrod being silent because he could not defend himself, save by bringing charges against the other princes of the Noldor, it is refering more to the house of Fingolfin than Feanor.
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"North away." he said: "to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence - that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes."

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Old 10-24-2003, 12:06 PM   #16
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I think when the text says concerning Finrod being silent because he could not defend himself, save by bringing charges against the other princes of the Noldor, it is refering more to the house of Fingolfin than Feanor.
You are likely to be right there. What do you think of Thingol's response? Not too bad, was it?
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:13 PM   #17
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You are likely to be right there. What do you think of Thingol's response? Not too bad, was it?
Inspite of my feelings for Thingol, I will have to agree. Many of Thingol's kin died in the Kinslaying, and it seems the worst thing to come out of him finding out, was the banning of Quenya. He still kept friendship with the second and third houses of the Noldor.
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Old 10-24-2003, 04:07 PM   #18
Attalus
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Oddly enough, (or not so oddly, perhaps ) I was reading my new copy of the 3rd edition of Tom Shippey's The Road to Middle-Earth, and I came across this passage:
Quote:
Oaths are commonly regretted in this story [The Tale of Beren]. Finrod's oath 'of abiding friendship and aid in every need to Barahir and all his kin' was made in gratitude and affection, but when it comes to the redeeming, he is sad for others rather than himself. What makes matters worse is that he has foreseen his own rashness long before, saying to Galadriel, 'An oath I too shall swear, and must be free to fulfill it, and go into darkness. Nor shall anything of my realm remain that a son should inherit.' How great this gratitude to overcome that foreboding; how much greater the disaster to quench that gratitude!
I don't think I fully understand the last half of the last sentence, though.
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Old 10-24-2003, 04:20 PM   #19
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How great this gratitude to overcome that foreboding; how much greater the disaster to quench that gratitude!
Sounds like Shippy is saying his gratitude for being rescued in the battle by Barahur was more important to him than future consequences of the oath, but when the time came to fulfil the oath, it was a bitter pill to swallow, and was now more hard to deal with than being greatful for Barahur's aid and swearing the oath long before. I don't know. Does that make sense?
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"Whither go you?" she said.

"North away." he said: "to the swords, and the siege, and the walls of defence - that yet for a while in Beleriand rivers may run clean, leaves spring, and birds build their nests, ere Night comes."

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Old 10-24-2003, 04:51 PM   #20
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Originally posted by Sister Golden Hair
Sounds like Shippy is saying his gratitude for being rescued in the battle by Barahur was more important to him than future consequences of the oath, but when the time came to fulfil the oath, it was a bitter pill to swallow, and was now more hard to deal with than being greatful for Barahur's aid and swearing the oath long before. I don't know. Does that make sense?
Well, that certainly makes more sense than to assume that there was anything in the tale that indicates Finrod regretted the oath.
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But when the wolf came for Beren, Felagund put forth all of his power, and burst his bonds; and he wrestled with the werewolf, and slew it with his hands and teeth; yet he himself was wounded to the death. Then he spoke to Beren, saying: "I go now to my long rest in the timeless halls beyond the seas and the Mountains of Aman. It will be long before I am seen among the Noldor again; and it may be that we shall not meet a second time in life or death, for the fates of our kindreds are apart. Farewell."
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