Welcome back, this week I am discussing Chapters 13 and 14 of The Silmarillion. Now before I dive in, Chapter 14 is Of Beleriand and its Realms. Now, if you look up people’s thoughts on this chapter, many will say it is unreadable. It is a chapter that is exactly what the title says. There is really no way to summarize this information but I do have a recommendation when trying to tackle this chapter—have a map in front of you. Honestly following along with a map does help and it will give a better understanding of these lands. I tried taking a picture of my map but it came out unreadable, so I found this copy on SilmGuide, which is a pretty awesome website filled with resources regarding The Silmarillion.
I think it is best to actually have this map in preparation for the previous chapter, Of The Return of the Noldor. When I say a lot happens in this chapter, I mean it this 20-page chapter could be an entire season, maybe two if it were ever adapted. The battles that appear in this chapter are a part of The War of the Jewels, which Christopher Tolkien analyzed in his Histories in Middle Earth and of course, my copy is in storage. Anyway, the 2nd Battle is Dagor-Nuin-Giliath (Battle-Under-Stars.)
So the followers of Morgoth come across Feanor and the Noldor and the Noldor win despite being outnumbered. From the first time we met Feanor, he becomes more and more consumed with his wrath and keeps pursuing. This ultimately leads to his death and the hands of Gothmog, The Lord of the Balrogs (that name means hate and strife, which is very fitting)—and trust me we will see him again. The death of Feanor brings about the uniting with the Grey Elves. But this also gives Morgoth another opportunity. He comes to admit defeat and give up the Silmaril or so he says. COME ON, you can’t trust him!! But alas, our heroes agree. Then Morgoth releases the Balrogs. I imagine it went something like this:
No matter, Maedhros is taken captive and nailed and hung from the volcanic cliffs of Thangorodrim. It is very brutal torture. Next, prepare yourself because I always lose it at this next half. Enter Fingolfin. He has his differences with the Noldor but his son, Fingon grew up with Maedhros. He searches for Maedhros and is successful but Maedhros begs for death.
“he took his harp and sang a song of Valinor that the Noldor made of old, before strige was born among the sons of Finwe; and his voice rang in the mournful hollows that had never heard before aught save cries of fear and woe…”The Silmarillion
Fingon calls upon Manwe and who does Manwe send…
THE EAGLES! Thorondor the King of the Eagles himself comes to his aid. He is known to be one of the greatest Eagles. I have always believed The Eagles to be the true MVP in Tolkien’s works.
“His body recovered from his torment and became hale, but the shadow of his pain was in his heart…”The Silmarillion
Because of this Maedhros relinquishes the throne of the Noldor and heals the anger between the houses of Fingolfin and Feanor.
If that isn’t enough, Tolkien just slips in a few details of things that aren’t related to the war. One thing is Galadriel falls in love with Celeborn. As I said, he just drops that in like it is no biggie.
Now enough of that brief break, time for the Third Battle called Dagor Aglareb also called Glorious Battle, and once again the Noldor are victorious and then begins the 400 year Siege of Angband. I am skipping over a few things because we also have the first mention of Glaurung, The Father of Dragons. He is the result of Morgoth’s experiments to defeat the Noldor. He isn’t full-grown yet but he becomes absolutely terrifying and will come into play a little later.
So what more could you ask for? Family houses reuniting, The Eagles, AND Dragons. So much epic-ness in one chapter!