After the third great battle between the elves and Morgoth (Dagor Aglareb), Beleriand settled into a watchful peace and the elves — both Sindar and Noldorin — established the boundaries of their kingdoms. This is all recorded in Of Beleriand and its Realms — the 14th chapter of the Silmarillion.
We wonder, though, who is telling the tale? From what era? Could it be a Sindar elf, a Noldor lord? Or even a hobbit, perhaps?
Descriptions of the slag and ash-heaps of Thangorodrim, for example, are remniscent of the fields outside Mordor’s gate. With smoke constantly issuing from its lofty peaks, Thangorodrim itself feels like a forerunner of Mt Doom.
In describing Angband’s ceaseless furnaces and forges, is Tolkien describing the area around Birmingham and the inexorable industrialisation of his childhood home?
Yet Ard-galen, on Angband’s very doorstep, stands as a contrast. Does Morgoth leave this lush plain untouched and unpolluted as a subtle way to lull the Eldar into a false sense of security? The writer also mentions that many of the horses of Ard-galen sires came from Valinor — given to Fingolfin by Maehdros. Could these have been the ultimate ancestors of the Mearas that arose in Rohan thousands of years later?
The geo-political divisions that develop are also interesting. Maehdros moves his kin to East Beleriand, both to bear the brunt of any attack from Morgoth and to keep the Curse as quiescent as possible. Fingolfin and Fingon rule from Hithlum, one of the harshest places they could have chosen. Was it because their people were the most hardy and valiant? It’s also mentioned that they were the most feared by the Orcs and most hated by Morgoth. Why?
Of all the Noldor, it is Finrod who controls rules the greatest amount of land. Why? And why is it that in Nevrast many Sindar take Turgon for their ruler, yet Sindar elsewhere do not seem to do the same with other Noldor lords? In fact, most of the Sindar followed Cirdan or Thingol, not the Noldor. They appreciate the Noldor as a bulwark against Morgoth, but live apart from them. And the Nandor followed Thingol or no one.
It’s also mentioned that Morgoth’s minions always avoided water “to the sea none would willingly go nigh, save in dire need.” Here we have a definite statement that almost definitely explains the problems the Nazgul have in crossing water. Perhaps Ulmo was part of the reason Morgoth’s servants stayed off the water? And perhaps Ulmo’s protection is the same reason Beren and Luthien choose an an island as their home?
Finally, what of the taint on the Esgalduin and Nan Dungortheb? Was it wholly Ungoliant’s? And when she pass on, did that mean it would eventually fade away to nothing?
Join us in the Hall of Fire on the TORn IRC Server this Saturday October 22 from 5.30pm EDT as we discuss this and more and examine Chapter 14 of the Silmarillion – Of Beleriand and its Realms.
Time and date:
Saturday October 22
11.30pm Central Europe
7.30am (Sunday) Brisbane
7.30am (Sunday) Sydney
9.30am (Sunday) Wellington
Chats usually last 45 mins to an hour, and are very newbie friendly. Simply drop in and join the conversation!
Don’t forget our live chat with famed Tolkien illustrator Alan Lee on November 5. Alan will be answering your questions on his work for an hour. However, this chat is sure to be popular, so send us your question early!
Chat happens on #thehalloffire on irc.theonering.net – the TORn IRC server. You can connect instantly via our java chat client that works inside your web browser (find it here! ) or choose to install a dedicated chat program such as mIRC on your computer.
To find out more about using mIRC to connect to TORn IRC server, check out these instructions.
Sat October 22 – Silmarillion Ch 14
Sun October 30 – Silmarillion Ch 14
Sat November 5 – Alan Lee live Q&A
Sun November 13 – The seven deadly sins in LoTR
Sat November 19 – The seven deadly sins in LoTR
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