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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 231 - A refusal often offends

27th July 2015 (17:42)

Not that it justifies Fëanor's reaction, but I do think that the Teleri are being unreasonable here. The fact that Tolkien's text compares their possessiveness about their ships to Fëanor's possessiveness about the Silmarils ('the gems of the Noldor') can't be a good thing.

If you remember, it was Ossë and Uinen who taught the Teleri how to make ships (and to make them look like swans).

Part 231: A refusal often offends

Next time: Part 232: Climb Mount Niitaka

Chibis by the now-dead website formerly known as 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: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 28th July 2015 14:00 (UTC)

Weren't those ships pretty much designed to just go back and forth between Alqualondë and Tol Eressëa? Would they have been capable of an ocean crossing?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 28th July 2015 14:29 (UTC)

Yes, they were. I assume, though, that their construction involved elven magic ('as it is known to mortals') meaning that the ships would never sink (unless through the direct intervention of an angry and grieving Maia), always find a fair wind, and so forth. They'd be capable of much longer voyages than their designers intended.

Another question is how large they are, or how many of them there are, since by my calculations there were probably between 50,000 and 100,000 Noldor to move over the Sea!

Posted by: mikeda (mikeda)
Posted at: 28th July 2015 22:59 (UTC)

Are you counting all of the Noldor or just Feanor's faction?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 29th July 2015 00:38 (UTC)

All of them.


The army of Gondolin at Nirnaeth Arnoediad was 10,000 elves.
Assume the population of Gondolin was 50/50 Noldor and Sindar, that makes 5000 Noldor warriors.

Turgon led "a third part of Fingolfin's host", so Fingolfin led 15,000 Noldor warriors into Middle-earth.

How many died crossing the Helcaraxë? No way of knowing, but let's assume it was 25% of his followers who died. So he set out with 20,000.

Fëanor's host was smaller than Fingolfin's, but how much smaller? We don't know, so let's assume it was half the size. 10,000 elven warriors following Fëanor and 20,000 following Fingolfin, total 30,000.

We also have to factor in those killed in the kinslaying and those who turned around to go home afterwards. So call it 35,000 at this point in time.

However, that's just the warriors. How many non-combatants were there?

If Turgon led half the population of Gondolin to war (for example, almost all the men plus some of the women), then there were 70,000 Noldor who left Tirion. If he left Gondolin empty, then there were 35,000. If the army of Gondolin was only 10% of the population, then there are currently 350,000 elves on the march. However, that would require a fleet larger than the D-Day landings in 1944, which strains credibility...

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