This weekend, Hall of Fire will be examining one of the most uplifting stories of Middle-earth, yet which also always seems to stand a little behind Tolkien’s “great tales”.
Yet Eärendil saw now no hope left in the lands of Middle-earth, and he turned again in despair and came not home, but sought back once more to Valinor with Elwing at his side. He stood now most often at the prow of Vingilot, and the Silmaril was bound upon his brow; and ever its light grew greater as they drew into the West. The Silmarillion, Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath.
The story of Eärendil and Elwing
Of all these tales, the ending of Eärendil and Elwing almost seems the closest we get to a happy ending. Eärendil and Elwing are able to stay together despite their trespass of Valinor. But, like the other tales, is there a bittersweet note?
Is the doom that Manwë pronounces upon them a reward, or a punishment? After all, neither may ever return to Middle-earth. In the Silmarillion text, it’s not even certain the pair are permitted to meet with Valinor’s elves. Are they that separate in their fate?
And in the choice — mortality or immortality — forced upon the pair it’s not entirely clear that Eärendil is anything more than reluctant in his acceptance. Are the Valar just? Are the three companion mariners of the tale who Eönwë returns to Middle-earth truly the fortunate ones?
What alternate insights does Bilbo’s retelling give us into the tale?
And, time permitting, we’ll also examine the alternate early versions that Tolkien outlines in the second Book of Lost Tales.
Join us tomorrow, Saturday April 27 at 6pm EDT (New York time) in Hall of Fire as we discuss the story of Eärendil and Elwing.
* The Silmarillion Chapter XXIV — Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath
* The Fellowship of the Rings Book II Chapter I — Many Meetings
* The Book of Lost Tales II — The Tale of Eärendil
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