Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I got really excited about the assignment in class today. Hence, the all caps title.  Here's what I wrote...I'll discuss afterwards.

"And though the Valar believed the oath would be Feanor's downfall, they underestimated him.  As he created the brightest jewels, he also possessed the brightest spirit of any of the elves - a spirit to rival the being of the Valar.  And stronger Feanor ever became because he also knew evil and hatred as the Valar of Valinor could not.  Rage and passion drove Feanor, and he defied Mandos and all of the Valar for he did not soon come to the Halls of Mandos.  Feanor thrived on his hatred of Morgoth, driven ever to avenge the loss of his father, Finwe, the only one that Feanor had ever truly loved.  And so arose the challenger of Morgoth:  Feanor at whom Morgoth directed all of his malice out of fear.

All around Feanor, his sons and kinsmen fell.  Each death only served to stoke the flame of Feanor's heart, until he was too great and terrible to behold.  And at last, he marched alone and unhindered to the very gates of Morgoth's fortress.  And before the vast Thangorodrim, Morgoth and Feanor battled, striving in mind and body.  But Feanor, possessing the light of the Valar, the flame of the Noldor, and the hatred of Morgoth, threw his foe beneath his feet."

Maybe somewhat dramatic.  But how crazy would it be if because of the range of Feanor's emotions and experiences, he combined them all to become greater.  Think Gestalt's "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." I don't know if Feanor would be a good ruler or if he would be overcome by Morgoth's evil - kind of like the Black Breath of the Nazgul.  Maybe his pride would consume him.

While writing this, the first choice I made was to let Feanor live.  I think he's an incredible character, but like many tragic heroes, his tragic flaw is pride and that leads to his downfall. (I like to entertain the idea that Tolkien also really liked Feanor because he calls him "the mightiest of the Noldor" and talks a lot about his burning spirit). Because of my appreciation of Feanor - and trying to stick with his character - I had Finwe's death be his motivating factor in overcoming Morgoth, not the Silmarils. Maybe part of Feanor's obsession with the Silmarils stemmed from a love of his father? Who knows. I'm going to pretend it did. Also, I chose to write Morgoth's defeat because I think Feanor's rule would bear interesting consequences for the rest of the history of Arda.


Austin M. said...

I really enjoyed this! I think your idea of Fëanor's burning spirit is an incredibly important factor in the future of Arda. For me, a ruler driven by hate, even when victorious over evil, will never fulfill the ideal image of a just and righteous sovereign (Aragorn, perhaps). In my mind, it would be inevitable that Fëanor's spirit consumed him. He lost everything most dear to him. His father was killed and his mortal enemy defeated. Even though he might reclaim the treasured Silmarils, they would be tainted with the blood of Arda. There are just so many things to consider, though. I can't imagine the task of making each of these incredibly difficult choices. I think this exercise has given us a glimpse into some of the anguish and frustration Tolkien experienced as he struggled to complete these stories toward the end of his life.

Megan said...

I agree that Feanor would be a terrible ruler, but it would be so massively cool if he was!! Also my major problem with him (that he screws up his sons) is "better" (?) in this version because at least they're dead.... (?) Wow so many problems with this. Anyway, I like it, as an evil Alternate Universe.

I also like Feanor's motivation for revenge more Finwe-centric than silmaril-centric. Super important motivation, and much more admirable.

Michael Lott said...

I certainly like the idea of Morgoth being overcome as his plans or traps are overcome even when they go as expected, the beginning of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears is a good example, where the Eldar breach the walls of Morgoth's fortress. This cocky overlooking of the simple is what eventually destroys both him and Sauron. However, there is also the issue of consuming greed on the part of Feanor. It is recorded that all of the great dwarven cities were consumed by fire due to their greed in the use of the seven rings. Also lust of the Silmarils seems to have a strange weakening corruption on the Eldar, and they are near driven mad by lust for the jewels. I would expect that even if Feanor could have beaten Morgoth he would have been driven mad like the last of his sons were after the war of wrath, and thus lead to his downfall.