Aiya, nildor, we meet again at long last. Elves have a poor grasp of time, you know, and the many months since my initial post have seemed like mere seconds to me. Or possibly like decades, it’s hard to tell. This post will cover, in kindergarten format, the next five chapters in the Silmarillion. This includes the introduction of our first major protagonist, the first dozen or so out of approximately 5000 people whose names begin with the letter F, and the answer to the age-old question : what happens when you bring a shiny new toy to the playground, and don’t let anyone else play with it?
Picking up from before : the elves followed their three kings west to heaven. There were a lot of elves, and pretty much every time they ran into something difficult, some of them would peel off and refuse to go any further. Range of mountains? Some refuse to go over. Big river? Some refuse to cross. Lose one of your kings in the woods? Refuse to continue until you find him (which will take a long time). Papa Tolkien came up with a bunch of different ways of categorizing these, but eventually settled into a fairly simple system, as demonstrated in the chart below :
Conveniently, all the ones who strayed off came from the one biggest group. So when they eventually got to heaven, the groups were more or less like they are in school : a small group of popular kids lording it over the great mass of generally creative, normal people, with an equally small group of outcasts who get kind of looked down on by everyone else. In the Teleri’s case, that was mostly a case of “Seriously guys, it’s HEAVEN. And you can’t be bothered to stop suntanning on the beach, get on the boat that the angels provided for you, and be carried here?” *cough*. But largely because they were slow-moving like that, the Teleri ended up being the only ones who had boats — since they missed the departure of the angel-boat, they had to make their own once they eventually realized their stupidity. It’s not important now. But it will be later.
So the chief boss of the Noldor was a guy named Feanor. And he was soooo cool that his momma realized she’d never make anything as cool again, and semi-killed herself in sadness. This engendered some bitterness between Feanor and his half-brothers once his dad remarried. It didn’t help that Feanor was kind of an arrogant kid, who was smart, incredibly skilled with his hands, and liked to rub everyone else’s faces in how awesome he was. Feanor was such hot stuff that he actually managed to capture some of the proto-sunlight from the two trees, and stick it into some fancy shiny gems called the Silmarils. No, that’s not a coincidence; that’s where the name of the story comes from ;-).
Meanwhile, Morgoth was going through one of his periodic “pretend to be a nice guy” phases, and the Valar let him wander around Heaven. He saw the Silmarils, and of course, he wanted them. Remember that question we asked at the beginning? That’s what’s going on here. Feanor had a shiny toy, he liked to show it off, show everyone how much fun he was having playing with it, and then when someone said “Hey, can I play with that for a little bit?”, he’d get all huffy and stomp off. I mean seriously. How DARE you want to play with a toy that he’d been rubbing in your face?
Most of the elves went along with that kind of behavior, because his dad was the king, so you kinda had to. But Morgoth don’t answer to no nancy-pants elf king, yo. So he went back to his old stomping grounds, hooked up with a giant spider who went around in a cloud of darkness and evil, and snuck back into Heaven to do some bad things. And let’s face it : if you want Bad Things to go down, teaming up with a gigantic, hungry spider is pretty much the way to go.
So Morgoth and Ungoliant (the spider) showed up while everyone was at a party, the cloud of evil darkness made everyone hide in their houses afraid, and Ungoliant pretty much ate everything in sight. And on their way out, they killed Feanor’s dad, broke into his house, and stole his toys, the Silmarils. Major bummer. But then, what do you expect when you go around acting like that?