Fëanor was an Elda of the Ñoldor, one of the Elven kindred that departed Valinor in the land of Aman, where they had lived with the angelic spirits known as the Valar. Fëanor was born in Valinor, the only child of Finwë, the High King of the Ñoldor and his first wife Míriel Þerindë. He is renowned as a craftsman, gem-smith, and warrior, the maker of the Silmarils and inventor of the Tengwar script. He also was the creator of the seven Palantír/Palantíri. He was considered the greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore, but also the proudest and most self-willed.
Fëanor drew so much of Míriel's life energy when he was born that she grew weary of living and her spirit voluntarily left her corporeal form, leaving her family for the garden of Lorien. Finwë remarried had four more children, Fëanor's half-brothers Fingolfin and Finarfin, and two daughters, Findis and Irimë. Fëanor did not like his stepmother Indis and so lived apart from her and his half-siblings. Fëanor wedded Nerdanel daughter of Mahtan, who bore him seven sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod, and Amras.
The Making of the SilmarilsEdit
In the greatest of his crafting achievements, Fëanor captured the light of the Two Trees of Valinor to make the three Silmarils, also called the Great Jewels. He prized the Silmarils above all else, and grew increasingly suspicious that the Valar and other Eldar coveted them. This was generally untrue; the Valar did not want them and some even wanted them destroyed. Fëanor alternated between vainly displaying the jewels and jealously guarding them from all but his immediate family.
The Wiles of MorgothEdit
After three ages of imprisonment, Melkor, the mightiest of the Valar but a great source of evil, deceived the Valar with promises that he had repented of his evil ways. Pardoned and residing in Valinor, he undertook to corrupt the Ñoldor and succeeded in making them instruments of his malice, particularly Fëanor. Although Fëanor greatly mistrusted Melkor, the fallen Vala used this as part of his plan to get the Silmarils from Fëanor.
Melkor coveted the Silmarils and his hatred for Fëanor grew, but hid his intentions from the Ñoldor and the Valar. Melkor played upon Fëanor's pride to convince him that his half-brother Fingolfin was not only planning to usurp his place as heir to Finwë, but also seize the jewels for himself. Fëanor's hostility grew to the point to where he threatened Fingolfin's life, leading the Ñoldor to forge weapons for the first time. For this, the Valar exiled him to Formenos. He took a substantial treasure with him, including the Silmarils, which he put in a locked box. In a show of support for his eldest son, Finwë withdrew to Formenos.
When the Valar realized that Melkor's role in the conflict, they sent Tulkas to imprison him again, but he could not be found for some time. He unexpectedly showed up at Formenos where he tried to convince Fëanor with his lies. Since in Finwë and Fëanor's absence Fingolfin had become king, Melkor's tales could be seen as true. However, Fëanor realized that Melkor's true goal was to obtain the Silmarils. He shut the door in Melkor's face. Melkor left in a rage. When the Valar heard of this they took up the hunt but realized that Melkor had fled from Valinor. He feigned to go north, but then turned south. The Valar sought to mend the breach between Fëanor and Fingolfin, and invited them to Valinor to make peace. Fingolfin grudgingly offered a hand to his half-brother, recognizing Fëanor's place as the eldest.
The Darkening of Valinor and theft of the SilmarilsEdit
Melkor stole away to Avathar in the south of Aman to seek out the evil, spider-like creature Ungoliant and secured her as an ally. During the festivities where Fëanor and Fingolfin reconciled, Ungoliant helped Morgoth destroy the Two Trees, bringing darkness to Valinor. Morgoth and Ungoliant then went to Formenos. Melkor, surrounded by an impenetrable black fog, went to Fëanor's vault in Formenos. Finwë the High-King fought and lost against Melkor, and was the first Elf to be slain in Valinor. Melkor ransacked the vault, taking many valuable jewels, including the Silmarils. They escaped by crossing the Helcaraxë, or Grinding Ice, in the north to Beleriand in Middle-earth.
The Valar knew that now the light of the Trees survived only in the Silmarils and Yavanna asked Fëanor to give them up so that they could restore the Trees. Fëanor emphatically stated that he would not give up his Silmarils of his own free will; if the Valar forced him, he said, they would be no better than Melkor. A messenger from Formenos then arrived to deliver the news of Finwë's death and the loss of the jewels.
The Flight of the ÑoldorEdit
The Valar and Eldar now saw the extent of Melkor's treachery. Fëanor, upon learning of his father's murder and the theft of his prized Silmarils, named Melkor "Morgoth", or "Black Foe of the World" (literally "Black Enemy"). Now King of the Ñoldor on the death of his father, Fëanor delivered the most impassioned speech ever given in Arda, which he unwittingly filled with Morgoth's taint. He railed against the Great Enemy, but because of Morgoth's influence and his anger he also blamed the Valar for Morgoth's deeds. He persuaded most of his people to go to Middle-earth with him and fight for the Silmarils. Fëanor then swore that he would get the Silmarils even if he had to fight the Valar. The Oath of Fëanor was also taken by his seven sons below the tower of the Mindon Eldaliéva in the Great Square of Tirion, who invoked Ilúvatar as a witness. This oath was the cause for great tragedy for Fëanor's family.
The First KinslayingEdit
Seeking a way to get to Middle-earth, Fëanor went to the shores of Aman, where the seafaring Teleri lived, and demanded the use of their ships. The Teleri refused and Fëanor and his armed and impassioned Ñoldor threatened to attack the lightly-armed Teleri, and destroy their settlements and seize the ships. The Teleri refused still, and Fëanor's people attacked the Teleri. Unable to participate in murder, Finarfin took his host and turned back.[See Note] They were accepted by the Valar, and Finarfin ruled as High-King of the Ñoldor in Valinor. The rebel Noldor sailed away in some of the Teleri's ships.
There were not enough ships to carry all of the Ñoldor across the sea, so Fëanor and his sons led the first group. They arrived at Losgar, in the land of Lammoth, in the far west of Beleriand, where Morgoth and Ungoliant had passed not long before. They decided to burn the ships and leave the followers of Fingolfin behind. The earth, being flat in those days, allowed the remaining Ñoldor to see the flames, and they perceived that if they were to go to Middle-earth, they had no choice but to cross the Helcaraxë. This they did under the leadership of Fingolfin, and suffered great losses along the way, which greatly added to the opposition they had for Fëanor and his sons.
In one version of The Silmarillion, his son, Amras, was burnt accidentally on the attack.
- Note: In later versions of the Silmarillion, the hosts of Fingolfin and Finarfin attacked the Teleri because they did not know what had instigated the battle. Once reunited with the host of Fëanor, they encountered a figure thought to be Mandos himself. Mandos prophesized the ruin of the Noldor, subsequently causing Finarfin to turn back.
Final Battle and DeathEdit
Learning of the Ñoldor's arrival, Morgoth summoned his armies from his fortress of Angband and attacked Fëanor's encampment in Mithrim. This battle was called the Battle under the Stars, or Dagor-nuin-Giliath, for the Sun and Moon had not yet been made. The Ñoldor managed to win the battle, and disperse Morgoth's armies. Fëanor, still in a great rage, pressed on toward Angband. He came even within sight of Angband, but was ambushed by a force of Balrogs, with few elves about him. He fought mightily, hewing even after receiving several wounds from Gothmog, captain of the Balrogs. Gothmog cut down Fëanor after a long battle. His sons came upon the Balrogs with strong forces and were able to drive them off. However, as Fëanor was being escorted off the battlefield, he knew his wounds were mortal. He cursed Angband thrice, but with the eyes of death, he knew that his elves, unaided, would never throw down the dark towers. At the moment of his death, the passing of his fiery spirit reduced his body to ashes.
Aftermath of the Battle near Angband and Feanor's DeathEdit
On Fëanor's passing, his son Maedhros became High King of the Nôldor. Maedhros, however, met Fingolfin soon after and gave the kingship to him. Fingolfin's descendents would reign over the Nôldor until the death of Gil-galad. Fëanor's remaining sons were still bound by the Oath to recover the Silmarils, which would determine the events of Middle-earth during the First Age, and lead to the undoing of all of Fëanor's sons. Despite the great tragedies that affected Fëanor and his family, his skills as a craftsman remained legendary. The Doors of Durin would later bear the emblem of the House of Fëanor: a single star with many rays.
Originally named Finwë or Finweminya after his father and later Curufinwë ("Skillful [son of] Finwë"), he was the greatest of the Ñoldor, and very briefly their king. His name is a compromise between the Sindarin Faenor and the Quenya Fëanáro, meaning "Spirit of fire".
The House of FëanorEdit
Finwë = Míriel Mahtan | | Fëanor = Nerdanel | ------------------------------------------------------ | | | | | | | Maedhros Maglor Celegorm Caranthir Curufin Amrod Amras | Celebrimbor