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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 190 - Charging - clear!

23rd February 2015 (12:27)

There may be a theme to this current run of titles. :)

Trivia for the day: when Tolkien first wrote this section of the story, he hadn't yet come up with the idea of Míriel's death and Finwë's remarriage to Indis - so Fëanor just said, "I will be the first Elf to die in Aman". Once Tolkien decided that the honour actually belonged to Fêanor's mother, he had to re-write this dialogue to be 'the first to be slain'.

Also, in the original draft it was Ulmo who said Aulë's lines about "give him time", so I gave Ulmo a speaking part in the scene anyway.

Part 190: Charging - clear!

Next time: Part 191: We're losing him...

Chibis by tektek.org
Original story by and copyright to J R R Tolkien, ed. C Tolkien: Primarily based on the Silmarillion, but incorporating ideas from the 12-volume History of Middle Earth series.
Questions and comments welcome!


Posted by: Garth St.Claire (Garth St.Claire)
Posted at: 24th February 2015 00:07 (UTC)

I was going to say "But it's just shiny jewellery!"
However I think I have never taken the (when it comes down to it) pretty alien nature of Tolkien's Elves into account here. According to some notes they put part of themselves (life force/souls whatever) into their works (and their children) and since the Silmarills were Feanor's greatest work it's possible that a lot of Feanor was inside/bound to the Silmarills.
It might have really killed him, in which case it's true that nobody could have forced or even expected that of him.

Edited at 2015-02-24 00:08 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 24th February 2015 01:43 (UTC)

Something to remember is that elves in Middle-earth can actually die of grief. They can 'die of a broken heart' for real.

I also think Tolkien was making a metaphor for the creative process as he himself saw it. Imagine if, after 14 years of writing Lord of the Rings, someone had come up to him and told him that it was his duty to set fire to every existing manuscript copy and all his notes - how do you think he'd feel?

Also, my own viewpoint is that the Silmarils aren't just 'shiny jewellery' - they're sacred. They have the last remaining accessible spark of the Secret Fire within them. They're not just lights, they're the Light of the World. In Buffyverse terms, they're the Seed of Wonder.

Posted by: salazar_quinn (salazar_quinn)
Posted at: 26th February 2015 02:14 (UTC)
you sir are beneath contempt

I'm not sure about the dying from grief part - that is, how seriously I take it as an 'Elven biology' thing. Mostly because there are humans who are stated to 'die of grief' too, so I've always put the Elves with them in the 'authorial conceit/exaggeration' column, rather than 'yes it literally happens. (The example I'm thinking of is Haldir's wife Gloredhel. Haldir of the Haladin, I mean. Or how Boromir and Faramir's mother didn't LITERALLY die of 'being in a stone city not near the sea itis'.) So, you know, I have trouble seeing Feanor as anything but a drama queen. :)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 26th February 2015 10:54 (UTC)

I kind of do believe it, though.

The thing about Tolkien's elves is, their spirits are in far greater control of their bodies than is true for humans. They can endure for days with little food or sleep (36 years chained to a mountain, in Maedhros's case), they can walk over the top of fresh-fallen snow without breaking the crust. They're just more spiritual and less material than humans.

So if an elf's spirit decides 'I can't handle this any more, I want to die', I can imagine their body simply shutting down its functions in obedience to its spirit's will.

"But the starlight was quenched and darkness had fallen even upon Lúthien Tinúviel. (...) But the spirit of Lúthien fell down into darkness, and at the last it fled, and her body lay like a flower that is suddenly cut off and lies for a while unwithered on the grass. Then a winter, as it were the hoar age of mortal Men, fell upon Thingol, but Lúthien came to the halls of Mandos..."

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