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Fëanor was a Ñoldorin elf and one of the Elven kindred that departed from Valinor in the land of Aman, where they had lived with the Valar.

He was born in Valinor, the only child of Finwë, High King of the Ñoldor, and Finwë's first wife Míriel Therindë. He was renowned as a craftsman, gem-smith, and warrior, the maker of the Silmarils and inventor of the Tengwar script. He was also the creator of the seven Palantíri. He was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind; of beauty, understanding, skill, and subtlety, of all the Children of Ilúvatar. However, his personality was riddled with flaws, foremost among them selfishness and pride, that ultimately led to him causing his people untold anguish.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

Feanor by LuisFBejarano

Fëanor, by Luis F. Bejarano

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 body, leaving her family for the Halls of Mandos. After a time, Finwë remarried and had four more children; Fëanor's half-brothers Fingolfin and Finarfin, and half-sisters Findis and Irimë. Though he loved his father as dearly as a son could, Fëanor was not fond of his stepmother Indis nor her children, and so lived apart from her and his half-siblings. In his youth, he quickly discovered his outstanding talents for craftsmanship and language. In his youth, he improved upon the work of Rúmil and created the system of writing known as Tengwar. He also became a student of Mahtan, a great smith who had learned his craft at the feet of Aulë himself. From Mahtan, he learned much of metallurgy, and at some point he wedded Mahtan's daughter Nerdanel, who bore him seven sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod, and Amras. He spent most of his time either alone or with his sons, and they were all completely loyal to him. He also was known to have been restless, exploring as much of Aman as he could and constantly crafting new works.[2]

The Making of the SilmarilsEdit

By far the greatest of Fëanor's crafting achievements was the creation of the Silmarils, also called the Great Jewels. To make them, Fëanor captured some of the intermingled light from the Two Trees of Valinor and, by unknown means, locked it into three large diamond-like gems. His creations garnered him great praise, and he came to prize the Silmarils above all else. However, as time went on, he began to covet the gems with a greedy love, and he increasingly ignored the fact that the light which lay in the gems and gave them their beauty was not of his own making. Fëanor alternated between vainly displaying the jewels and jealously guarding them from all but his immediate family, though eventually he came to the point where they almost always remained under lock and key.[2][3]

The Wiles of MorgothEdit

Anna Lee - Feanor

Fëanor, by Anna Lee

After three ages of imprisonment, Melkor, the mightiest of the Valar and the world's primordial source of evil, deceived the Valar with a false show of repentance. Pardoned and residing in Valinor, his malice had in fact reached hitherto unprecedented level, and its primary target quickly became the Elves, as it had been for their sake that he had been overthrown. He found that, of the three primary groups of Elves in Valinor, the Ñoldor were the easiest to manipulate due to their thirst for knowledge and willingness to listen. Focusing his efforts solely on the Ñoldor, he subtly spread lies amongst them that the Valar were keeping them imprisoned in Valinor so that the race of Men might inherit Middle-earth and claim the glory that could have been theirs. Although Fëanor mistrusted and feared Melkor, in his arrogance and impatience he often unwittingly repeated the lies of Melkor. He quickly became the most prominent of the rebellious Ñoldor, to the point where the other Valar, not knowing of Melkor's lies, saw him as the source of the Ñoldor's distemper.

Melkor coveted the Silmarils and hated Fëanor, but he hid his intentions from the Ñoldor and the Valar as the situation continued to deteriorate. Melkor's lies eventually came to the point where rumors began to circulate amongst some that Fëanor's half-brother Fingolfin was planning not only to usurp his place as heir to Finwë, but also to seize the Silmarils for himself. In his pride and vanity, Fëanor took little convincing, and his hostility grew to the point to where he threatened Fingolfin with violence. The Valar, having put up with Fëanor's rabble-rousing for some time, could not ignore the transgression of breaking the peace of Valinor and so summoned Fëanor to the Ring of Doom to explain himself. Fëanor's testimony revealed the malice of Melkor and his lies, and Tulkas immediately left the Ring to apprehend him again. Despite Melkor having been the true root of the Ñoldor's unrest, Fëanor's crime had been of his own making, and 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 also withdrew to Formenos and renounced the kingship so long as Fëanor remained in exile.

Jenny Dolfen - The Drawing of the Sword

"Get thee gone, and take thy due place!", by Jenny Dolfen

Some time later, Melkor unexpectedly appeared at Formenos where he tried to sway Fëanor to his side, proclaiming that the Valar had treated him unjustly. However, Fëanor realized that Melkor's true goal was to obtain the Silmarils, and he vehemently dismissed the fallen Vala. Melkor left in a rage and fled from Valinor. He feigned to go north, but ultimately turned south, passing as a cloud to the unexplored southern coast of Aman. The Valar later sought to mend the breach between Fëanor and Fingolfin, and invited them to Valinor to make peace. Fingolfin offered a hand to his half-brother, recognizing Fëanor's place as the eldest, but it was returned by Fëanor somewhat grudgingly.[2][3]

Theft of the SilmarilsEdit

Melkor stole away to Avathar in the south of Aman. There he discovered the evil spider-like creature Ungoliant and secured her as an ally, promising that her unrelenting hunger would be satisfied in return for her aid. During the festivities at which Fëanor and Fingolfin had reconciled, Melkor and Ungoliant destroyed the Two Trees and plunged Valinor into complete darkness. Melkor and Ungoliant then went to Formenos, where Melkor slew Finwë and ransacked the vault, taking the Silmarils and many other treasures. They then escaped by crossing the Helcaraxë, or Grinding Ice, in the north to Beleriand in Middle-earth. Though the Valar attempted pursuit, it was ultimately in vain, for the Unlight of Ungoliant completely obscured the sight of the pursuers.

The Valar quickly realized that with the Trees dead, their light survived only in the Silmarils. To restore the Trees and foil Melkor's malice, Yavanna asked Fëanor to give up the Silmarils so that they could be broken, and the light within them released. But Fëanor emphatically stated that he would not give up his Silmarils of his own free will, and proclaimed that if the Valar forced him to do so that they would be no better than Melkor. Ultimately however, Fëanor's selfishness made little difference, for a messenger from Formenos then arrived to deliver the news of Finwë's death and the loss of the Silmarils.[4]

The Flight of the ÑoldorEdit

Jenny Dolfen - The Oath of Feanor

Maglor with his father Fëanor, swears the Oath beneath the tower of the Mindon Eldaliéva in the Great Square of Tirion, by Jenny Dolfen

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"). As he did so, a great rage and despair gripped him, for his love for his father had run deep, and he fled in grief from the Ring of Doom. Now King of the Ñoldor after the death of his father, Fëanor returned to Tirion, ignoring the fact that he was still technically exiled, and gave one of the most impassioned speeches ever delivered in Arda. However, due to his rage, grief, and pride, he unwittingly filled his speech with many of the lies and half-truths of Morgoth. He railed against the Dark Lord, but he also blamed the Valar in part for Morgoth's deeds, claiming that they should have been able to stop him and had failed. He spoke of the fact that because Morgoth had attacked and badly marred the kingdom of the Valar without consequence to himself, there was neither bliss nor surety of safety to be found in Aman any longer. He evoked images of the kingdoms his people could build in Middle-earth, and the glory that could be theirs once they regained the Silmarils. Fëanor then swore an oath by the name of Ilúvatar himself that he would suffer none, no matter their race or reasons, to withhold a Silmaril from him, and that he would pursue with violence any who attempted it. The Oath of Fëanor was also taken by his seven sons below the tower of the Mindon Eldaliéva in the Great Square of Tirion. This oath was the cause for great tragedy for Fëanor's family, and for the Eldar in general.

His impassioned speech swayed most of those present, but even with his tremendous oratory skill, dissension quickly arose regarding who should lead the hosts to Middle-earth. For though Fëanor was technically High King, was not well liked amongst the Ñoldor, and many of them were not of mind to accept him as king. Greater love was given to Fingolfin and his sons, and most of the Ñoldor desired greatly that Fingolfin and his sons should go with them and lead them. Fingolfin was not eager to go, but he had sworn to uphold his brother's rights as the eldest, and furthermore he did not wish to leave his people to the mercy of Fëanor's rash and often selfish courses of action. Additionally, his son Fingon was eager to undertake the journey, and urged his father to come with him. Thus against his wisdom, Fingolfin marched with a second and larger host than Fëanor, while Finarfin commanded a third, smaller, and quite reluctant host. However even with the three sons of Finwë leading the way, about a tenth of the Ñoldor chose simply to stay in Tirion, some for the love of Tirion and others for love of the Valar.[4][5]

The First KinslayingEdit

Flight of the Noldor

The battle in which the Noldor attacked the Teleri

After delivering his speech and departing with his host, Fëanor's mood cooled somewhat and he belatedly realized that he had no practical means of delivering himself and his people to Middle-earth. For though Middle-earth and Aman were connected in those days by the Helcaraxë, a treacherous and bitterly cold region of shifting arctic ice, it was deemed to be impassable. Fëanor then gave thought to the building of ships, but there were no shipwrights amongst the Ñoldor and even had there been, crafting a fleet large enough to ferry all of his people to Middle-earth would have been a monumental and time consuming task. Fëanor therefore went to Alqualondë where the seafaring Teleri lived and attempted to persuade them to join him, or failing that, secure the use of their ships. But the Teleri had no desire whatsoever to leave Aman and would not give Fëanor their ships, for they held them too dearly. Fëanor angrily cited that the Teleri owed the Ñoldor for instructing them in the arts of crafting buildings and cities. But Olwë, the lord of the Teleri, was unmoved, and rebuffed again in friendship what he saw as great folly by Fëanor and his kin.

But Fëanor would not take no for an answer. He understood that many of his people had been inflamed by his impassioned words, and knew that haste was essential to keep cooler heads from swaying the Ñoldor to a more reasonable course. As such, he persuaded his host to aid him in taking the ships by force. This he attempted, and the Teleri resisted, casting many of the the Ñoldor into the sea and thrice driving them back despite being far more lightly armed than the Ñoldor. However, Fingolfin's host, which had been slower and less eager to start the journey, came upon the battle in progress. Believing that the Teleri had been the aggressors, perhaps on the orders of the Valar themselves, Fingolfin's host came to the aid of his brother's and the Teleri were overcome. The ships were stolen, and many of the Teleri mariners were wickedly slain. After commandeering the ships, the Ñoldor, their hosts lessened by battle and by terrible storms conjured by Ossë in vengeance for the Teleri, encountered a figure that may have been Mandos himself. This figure uttered a terrible Doom, exiling the Ñoldor from Valinor and foretelling that their war against Morgoth would cause them only misery. Due to their wickedness in slaughtering their kin, they would be utterly forsaken in the eyes of the Valar, and would receive neither welcome nor aid from Valinor in their struggles. Additionally, Fëanor and his house were cursed, and Mandos foretold great suffering and hardship would be their lot, due in no small part to the oath they had taken to regain the Silmarils at all costs. Above all, the figure made it explicitly clear that any war made by the Ñoldor against Morgoth would be utterly hopeless, for the Ñoldor, being Elves, did not have the power to overcome a Vala. Hearing this Doom, and having not participated in the Kinslaying, Finarfin and his host and turned back in grief, cursing Fëanor.[See Note] They were pardoned and accepted by the Valar, and Finarfin ruled as High-King of the Ñoldor in Tirion. Fëanor, however, defied the Doom and proceeded onward. As such the journey northward continued, the land became ever darker, and the temperatures began to drop dramatically as the Ñoldor began to approached the Helcaraxë. Many of the Ñoldor, already reluctant to follow Fëanor, began to openly express dissatisfaction with his actions as conditions continued to deteriorate. Fëanor was all too aware of this and sought counsel with his sons. For despite having succeeded in seizing the Teleri fleet, the storms of Ossë had wreaked many of the ships, and there were no longer enough to bear all of the Ñoldor at once to Middle-earth. But due to fear of treachery, none were willing to be left in Aman while others crossed the sea first.

Feanor at Losgar

Feanor watching the burning at Losgar

However, Fëanor's most loyal forces had maintained control of the Teleri fleet after having seized it. As the dissent grew worse, Fëanor decided to simply abandon all those whose loyalty to him was not absolute, and he and his followers slipped away one night in the ships. They arrived at Losgar, in the land of Lammoth, in the far west of Beleriand, where Morgoth and Ungoliant had passed not long before, and upon arriving, Fëanor 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 they were betrayed. Fingolfin now had the choice of either returning to Tirion in disgrace, or proceeding to Middle-earth across the treacherous Helcaraxë. Fingolfin and his people chose to attempt the crossing, as many of Fingolfin's host wished to continue and many, including Fingolfin himself, were eager to confront Fëanor and his people over their betrayal. The journey was a long and terrible one, and Fingolfin's host suffered great losses along the way, which added to the bitterness they felt for Fëanor and his sons.[5]

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 confrontation was called the Battle under the Stars, or Dagor-nuin-Giliath, for the Sun and Moon had not yet been made. The Ñoldor won the battle handily, and destroyed Morgoth's armies. But Fëanor, exhilarated by the victory and ever prideful, pressed on toward Angband far ahead of his army with only a small vanguard. As he approached Angband, the Orcs, seeing that Fëanor's numbers were so few, turned and gave battle. Due to their proximity to Angband, they were reinforced by a number of Balrogs, who quickly slew most of the Elves. But Fëanor was undaunted, and though he was dealt many wounds, he long fought on alone. At last however, he was stricken to the ground by Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs.

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Fortunately for Fëanor, his sons arrived with a substantial relief force. The Balrogs returned to Angband, and Fëanor's sons took him from the battlefield. However, Fëanor knew that his wounds were mortal, and bade his sons to stop. He looked upon Angband and cursed Morgoth thrice, but gazing upon the sheer scope of Morgoth's stronghold, he understood at last the truth of Mandos's words; that no force of the Ñoldor would ever overthrow the Dark Lord. Nevertheless, he instructed his sons to keep to their oath and avenge their father. As he died, his fiery spirit left his body and burned it to ash.[5]

LegacyEdit

On Fëanor's passing, his son Maedhros became High King of the Ñoldor. Maedhros, however, met Fingolfin soon after and gave the kingship to him out of respect, a desire to keep his people united, and an acknowledgment that, as Finwë's oldest surviving son, the kingship ought to pass to him by right of birth.[6] Fingolfin's descendents would reign over the Nôldor until the death of Gil-galad many centuries later. Fëanor's deeds, many of which were infamously despicable, cast a shadow over the interactions between the Silvan Elves and the returning Ñoldor. For Thingol, the King of Doriath, eventually learned of the kinslaying, the burning of the ships at Losgar, and the curse of Mandos. As the Teleri were of Thingol's own kin, he was enraged to hear of the merciless and needless slaughter. The sons of Finarfin he came to forgive, as they were of his own kin and had not participated in the evil. Those of Fingolfin's host, who had endured the horror of crossing the Helcaraxë after Fëanor's betrayal, he held as having suffered enough hardship to redress their ills. But all those who had followed Fëanor, were of his kin, or were friends of his kin, Thingol held in contempt and would have as little to do with as he could. Fëanor's remaining sons were still bound by the Oath to recover the Silmarils, and this oath would eventually see two more Kinslayings come to pass, each more horrific than the last, and would work to undermine the Elven war against Morgoth in many important ways. The Doors of Durin would later bear the emblem of the House of Fëanor: a single star with many rays.

EtymologyEdit

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".[7]

Appearances in the BooksEdit

House of FëanorEdit

House of Feanor

Finwë
   
   
Míriel
   
   
Mahtan
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Fëanor
   
   
   
   
   
   
Nerdanel
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Maedhros
   
   
Maglor
   
   
Celegorm
   
   
Caranthir
   
   
Curufin
   
   
Amrod
   
   
Amras
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Celebrimbor


Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ፈኣኖር
Arabic فيانور ?
Armenian Ֆըանոր
Belarusian Cyrillic Фёанор
Bengali ফেরানোর ?
Bulgarian Cyrillic Феанор
Catalan Fèanor
Chinese (Hong Kong) 費諾
Dari فهانور
Georgian ფეანორი
German Feanor
Greek Φέανορ
Gujarati ફએનોર
Hebrew ףיאנור ?
Hindi फ़ेअनोर
Japanese フェアノール
Kazakh Cyrillic Феанор
Korean 페아노르
Kurdish فه‌انۆر (Arabic script) Feanor (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Фэанор
Macedonian Cyrillic Феанор
Mongolian Cyrillic Фёанор
Nepalese फ़ेअनोर
Pashto فېانور
Persian فئانور
Russian Феанор
Serbian Феанор (Cyrillic) Fëanor (Latin)
Sinhalese ෆෙඅනොර්
Tajik Cyrillic Феанор
Telugu ఫీనోర్ ?
Thai เฟอานอร์
Tigrinya ፈኣኖር
Ukrainian Cyrillic Феанор
Urdu فےانور
Uyghur فەانور
Uzbek Феанор (Cyrillic) Feanor (Latin)
Yiddish פעאַנאָר
High King of the Ñoldor
Preceded by
Finwë
Fëanor Succeeded by
Fingolfin
YT 1495 - YT 1497

ReferencesEdit

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VII: "Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VIII: "Of the Darkening of Valinor"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIII: "Of the Return of the Noldor"
  7. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth

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