Friday, May 06, 2005

'The pride of Feanor'

Book: The Silmarillion
Quenta Silmarillion, ‘The flight of the Noldor’ [p82-83]


Summary,
With the darkening of the trees the Valar consider whether the trees can be brought back to life.
Yavanna (who brought the trees to life) hasn’t the power to recreate them and the only chance of restoring the existing trees is to use the light preserved in the Silmarils created by Feanor.


Yavannas creation of the trees was a unique event likewise Feanors creation of the Silmarils can’t be repeated. Feanor takes a great deal a pride in works he created, unlike the Valar, who love and care for thier works.

Feanor has been counciled by Melkor and, though he has the wisdom not to take Melkor at his word the deliberations of the Valar lead Feanor to the conclusion that the Valar always wanted the Silmarils for their own.

He refuses to help the Valar and his concern turns to the security of the Silmarils themselves.

Commentary,
The Valar and the Eldar are described as having,

‘….drained to the dregs the cup of woe that Melkor had filled..’

this counterpoints the draining of the light of the trees by Ungoliant.

Feanors creation of the Silmarils is seen as being ‘foresighted’ by Yavanna (an example of the Valars lack of omniscience) as this action has preserved the essence of the trees.

The Valar do not act unanimously with regard to the to the Silmarils. Tulkas champions Yavannas position (that only the contents of the Silmarils could be used to rekindle the trees). Whilst Aule the smith (a creator of things) champions Feanors right to preseve his works.

Among the Valar, Tulkas and Aule represent the 'warrior' and the 'artisan' ( respectivley) and counterpoint Feanors embodiment of both qualities.

Feanor and the Valars attitude to this situation differ in that the Valar wish to restore a lost idil ( the beauty of the trees, the mingling of the light), whilst Feanor wishes to build on greatness. Neither party considers that the future might not depend on their achievements to date.

The angst that Feanor feels, echoes the limitation of the power of the Valar with the added aspect that,

‘…in that deed his heart shall rest….’
and to
‘…break them…’ (the Silmarils)
shall
‘…break my heart…’

Feanor interprets the designs of the Valar as confirmation of the half truths that Melkor has told him. This convinces him that the Valar have always wanted to keep the Eldar in Valinor as ‘servants’ and that while the Valar have asked for Feanors help they might well take the Silmarils by force.

That being the case the Silmarils aren’t safe and so he takes his leave of the Valar.