The Feanoriad

(A Homeric retelling of The Fall of the Noldor)

Sing, O Nienna, of the wrath of Finwe’s son
Feanor, the deadly wrath that brought upon the
Noldor countless woes and sent many fair princes
of the Eldalie down to the Halls of Mandos from
that day when first far-seeing Manwe and mighty
Feanor parted in strife.

Which one of the Powers, then, set them to angry
quarrelling? It was Morgoth, who in his jealous
rage slew Feanor’s father, fair Finwe, and stole the
Silmarils from strong-walled Formenos.

Shadow-cloaked he came, and climbed, down
spider threads entwined by foul Ungoliant who
with her webs engulfed all light that she could scry
from ‘neath Pelorean heights.

He took his fell-wrought spear in hand and pierced
the Trees unto their core, whose light enriched
undying lands and hallowed ground the Gods
bestrode, and afterwards forever ceased.

Then while all was masked in gloom, foul Morgoth
fiend to all that’s good, sped hastily to Finwe’s
gate and slew the Noldor King and stole those
jewels that Feanor did make from light that could
not be reborn.

Not the eagles of far-seeing Manwe nor the might
of strong-armed Tulkas could succeed to pierce the
shroud Ungoliant cast, and with her webs of
darkness deep, she fled with Morgoth who
possessed the Silmarils in his grasp.

Who of us can relate dear friends, the
lamentations of the host? Of Elves and Valar night
enshrouded when the light of Laurelin faltered and
with breath the world awaited the messenger of
doom.

On the Mahanaxar the Valar kept silent vigil while
the Eldar wept, and far-seeing Manwe led the
Gods in council, though it seemed their foes had
fled unanswered back to their dark abode.

But hot with rage mighty Feanor, maker of the
Silmarils, could not abide to wait and filled with lies
that Morgoth in his spite did plant, spoke haughty
words before the Host at Tirion’s gate.

“What deeds the Valar do, while fair Finwe lies
slain before our feet? None and none but silent sit
upon high thrones in terror before their enemy and
kin, slayer of The Tree’s and thief of their light now
doubly so!”

“Nay, I shall not stay with those who can relate to
my father’s slayer, be he friend or foe. But seek
revenge of my own accord while Manwe waits but
moveth naught.”

“Let us go dear friends and seek the lands, long
denied to us by the Valar’s hands, to be placed in
a cage even though unchained, to serve at the
feet of those who cannot defend themselves.”

“I fly to the east to seek revenge and take back
the jewels that I made with these hands. To carve
out new realms underneath the stars as we did when
Cuivienen was our home.”

And then did mighty Feanor, Finwe’s son, invoke
that most regretful oath. To pursue with hate to
the ends of the earth any elf, god, or hand of fate
that should hold from his grasp a Silmaril.

Up arose the sons of Feanor, to join their father in
his dreadful pledge. Red-haired Maedhros, silver-
tongued Maglor, Celegorm the hunter, crafty
Curufin, Caranthir the cruel, and Amrod and Amros
youngest twins.

Many other hearts were swayed to his cause, by
the promise of wonders in lands undiscovered
underneath the stars. No love did they bore him,
who spoke thus in anger, but gladly they joined
him with desire in their hearts.

And so did Galadriel, golden-haired daughter and
Fingon the valiant take up their bright banners to
seek out new fortunes in a world under shadows,
created by Morgoth in ages uncounted.

Then rose in defiance brave Fingolfin, half-brother
to Feanor, his armor resplendent, with a large
host behind him, not caught up in rash passions
that might lead to disaster in this home of the
Valar.

Of caution and patience he spoke unrelenting and
many ears followed to Feanor’s dismay. For
Fingolfin was valiant and beloved of many and the
elves still awaited the response of Manwe.

Then strife arose amongst the elves, betwixt the
brothers quarreling, and blades were raised on
hallowed ground with heated words though in the
end mighty Feanor had the mastery.

In over-haste he drove them quickly for he feared
their hearts might waver and with spirits cooled
with council, forsake his ill-advised endeavor and
return to those who waited on the heights of
Taniquetil.

It seems his fears were proven justly for most the
Noldor loved Fingolfin, and would rather see the
crown of Finwe pass to him and not the elder
though the words of Feanor still pushed them
forward.

Onward with divided host, the Noldor took the
bitter road. Fingolfin looked with sadness
backwards at the palaces and places, built by
hands with love and patience, never to be seen
again.

But ere the trumpet blared it’s last note a herald
of far-seeing Manwe approached, warning the
Noldor against their doomed exploit then turning
to Feanor he spoke.

“Mighty Feanor by your own words are banished
and soon you will learn with regret your mistake
for Morgoth is greater than oaths spoken brashly
and from the Valar ye shall get no aid.”

“For the hour is evil and ever before you are
troubles and dangers ye cannot relate so turn
back ere the shadows of fell words enfold you and
trust in the power of Manwe.”

Mighty Feanor laughed and responded, “Have not
we found trouble and danger before us? Are not
the Trees sundered, their bright light now lost?
The shadows surround us and yet we flee not.”

“Nay ye great Noldor do not seek to abandon the
heir to fair Finwe unjustly to exile, alone with his
brethren. But follow and we will bring sorrow to
gladness and shake the foundations of the great
and the wise.”

The words of mighty Feanor overmastered
thoughts of caution or wise council, and with tromp
of feet proceeded till the light of Tirion retreated,
until thoughts of home receded into the crisp night
air.

Northward where the sea grew shorter Feanor
pushed them for he fathomed that those leagues
would best be conquered with the ships the Sea-
elves crafted on the quays of Alqualonde.

But Olwe, sea-king, was not persuaded by
Feanor’s words and tried to steer him, from his
path of doom and treason and refused him ships
and sailors, not perceiving by such action, evil was
at hand.

Mighty Feanor spoke with rising anger. “Is this the
repayment for friendship rendered when the Teleri
were but late-coming creatures and my people
succored and crafted their houses of coral and
pearl?”

Olwe sea-king responded rightly. “Nay, we forget
no service given by the Noldor but pray
forgiveness betwixt them and the Valar trusting
that they’ll redress all wrongs.”

“But our ships we built with our hands, lovingly
and will not give them for we say that like those
jewels you wish to reclaim we could not remake
their glory and their loss would grieve us greatly
for our hearts are theirs.”

Feanor, so rebuffed, retreated till most the Noldor
host had gathered, then with thoughts both dark
and guileful, whispered plans to sons and soldiers
marking when the watch was lessened at the
harbor gates.

Secretly the Noldor vanguard manned the ships
but were thrown over by the sea-elves desperate
sailors and a battle quickly started, fierce and
deadly, on the harbor though no victor could
emerge.

Brave Fingolfin’s forces, late arriving, mistook the
sea-elves for the villains, so joined in the fateful
melee turning fast the tide of battle, til at last it
was a slaughter out upon the quays.

The pearls of Alqualonde darkened, red with blood
their souls departed, back to Mandos cold and
frightened, parted from their ships and shore-lines,
grievously they mourned.

So for the first though not the last, elf slew elf a
bitter jest, though Feanor laughed indeed in
triumph, raised his banner on the mast-head and
resumed the journey northward, with the sea-elf
fleet.

Uinen, maia of the sea-ways, wrathful at the
wrongful slaying, sent the swan-ships rocked and
reeling, so that many capsized over and the
Noldor sailors foundered underneath the waves.

Northward with their fleet in tatters and the
ground troops feeling worn, mighty Feanor and the
Noldor felt the west wind, cold and callous, for it’s
bitter breath brought to them tidings from the
voice of doom.

Mandos, Doomsman of the Valar, thundering into
their ears, called down the wrath of greater
powers and pronounced his judgment justly and
that sentence echoed endless in their souls
throughout the years.**

Cursed he made them and foretold that ever
would their oath betray them and the blood they
spill precede them as their goal eludes their
fingers and if hands be raised in pardon, it will be
denied.

But Feanor cried in mad defiance, “Oaths we
swore unto the highest, fearlessly we carry on,
not fit to play the part of cravens til we regain
what was our own.”

Some there were though, in repentance, turned
aside shame-faced and stricken. For they felt the
will of Feanor sicken with his dark deeds and fell
speeches, so returned and were forgiven under
Tirion’s gate.

Brave Fingolfin shared their sadness but resolved
to carry on. For his hands blood-stained weren’t
guiltless and he feared to leave his people or to
face the Valar’s judgment for his grievous wrongs.

With grim resolve and leadened footsteps, til the
cold lands rose above them, and the smashing of
the dark waves broke against the grinding-ice. The
Noldor reached a crucial impasse before the
Helcaraxe.

There the sea was at its shortest, destination
near at hand, but in between the ice was deadly
and to cross it court disaster for one slip or quick
collision, would precede a watery end.

Fierce debate and then dissension rose again
unceasingly and Feanor found his hold diminish as
the grumbling increased as it was found they were
too many to all sail on the lessened fleet.

Fell Feanor and his sons conspired, while the
weary host was resting, secretly to sail the swan-
ships with their loyal entourage until they made
the distant coast-line and set foot upon it’s
shores.

Red-haired Maedhros asked his father, “Whom
shall we send ships for second, brave Fingolfin
your half brother? Or perhaps the valiant Fingon
whose great might would be a blessing in the
coming fight.”

Fell Feanor with contempt responded, “Those we
left I count no asset, useless baggage gladly
offset. Let them grovel back to bondage and
subsist on Manwe’s breadcrumbs, while we press
for greater conquests and the Silmarils!”

Then he set the ships to burning so the flames
leapt high to heaven and their like has not been
copied. Still the sea-elves mourn their passing for
they placed in their creation, all their love and
craft.

The smoke ascended as an omen to those upon
the further shore and brave Fingolfin, fist raised in
challenge, swore he would redress such treason
that fell Feanor had bore.

And so with grim determination, undeterred by
frost and head-winds, brave Fingolfin son of Finwe,
raised his banner high before him, for his people
followed freely and the songs of that endeavor will
be sung until the end.

So both the oath that Feanor spoke and Mandos’
curse bore ill-wrought fruit in that the sundered
Noldor forces could not, divided, conquer Morgoth
and his subtle dark devices slowly brought them all
to ruin.

For Feanor’s wrath would be his downfall as the
Balrogs closed around him. But his death would
not bring solace for his sons took up his banner
and their oath brought them to madness till the
world was changed.

Sing, O Nienna, of Feanor’s folly. Pride precedeth
the fall of the wise and the mighty. And sing as we
sail on the waves of the west-wind, until our tale
is done.

 

** The Prophecy of the North or the Doom of the Noldor
(Preserved from the chapter of the Silmarillion entitled
‘Of the Flight of the Noldor’)

“Tears unnumbered ye shall shed; and the Valar will
fence Valinor against you, and shut you out, so that
not even the echo of your lamentation shall pass over
the mountains. On the House of Feanor the wrath of the
Valar lieth from the West unto the uttermost East, and
upon all that will follow them it shall be laid also. Their
Oath shall drive them, and yet betray them, and ever
snatch away the very treasures that they have sworn
to pursue. To evil end shall all things turn that they
begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear
of treason, shall this come to pass. The Dispossessed
shall they be for ever.

“Ye have spilled the blood of your kindred unrighteously
and have stained the land of Aman. For blood ye shall
render blood, and beyond Aman ye shall dwell in Death’s
shadow. For though Eru appointed to you to not die in Ea,
and no sickness may assail you, yet slain ye may be, and
slain ye shall be: by weapon and by torment and by grief;
and your houseless spirits shall come then to Mandos. There
long shall ye abide and yearn for your bodies, and find
little pity though all whom ye have slain should entreat for
you. And those that endure in Middle-Earth and come not to
Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden,
and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the
younger race that cometh after. The Valar have spoken.”

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6 thoughts on “The Feanoriad

  1. Thanks Molly 🙂

    The idea came to me because Feanor’s story arc had a lot of parallels with Achilles and I was always curious of doing something in that greek epic style. Glad that you enjoyed it.

    Like

    • That is always up in the air. I have an idea for something visual but am not sure I have the skill or know-how to pull it off. And as for accepting other writings, I am always open for possible submissions to The Cottage 🙂

      Like

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