A GUIDE TO THE SILMARILLION

When adapting any book for another medium there is always a degree of changes from the source material.  This is even more of a case when it comes to adapting books for the operatic stage, where it takes considerably longer to sing anything than to speak it.  You also don’t have the luxury of film adaptations in that you can’t quickly cut away from the action or change to another setting.  There are also limits to the number of people on stage and what you can represent realistically within a limited budget.

 

This means that The Silmarillion adapted by Paul Corfield Godfrey is a much leaner animal that the book upon which it is based.  This is where the moniker “Epic Scenes” earns its meaning; in the eleven hours it takes to experience this part of the Tolkien Cycle you are never going to get the entire legend as originally presented; but the way that Paul has arranged them means you have sections of the story tied together that tells its own version of the legend but at a much accelerated pace.

 

Paul, in his acquisition of the rights from the Tolkien Estate, was also given access by the late Christopher Tolkien to almost all of the other texts that he edited and released that may have been of use to create the libretti.  Some of these are often contradictory to the published “Silmarillion” but served the condensed version better, and Paul had many a happy written correspondence with him discussing these changes.  Most importantly though, all but a handful of the words are pure Tolkien, sometimes reassigned and edited but his words nonetheless.

 

This guide is for this version and uses the actual libretti as a guide for what is included.  If something is not mentioned or seen, then there will not be an entry or description of it. In the original you find some characters or places have multiple names, but if only one is used throughout the libretto then the other names will not appear here.

 

The idea is to have a guide that serves to introduce new people to this story as well as the well-versed fan of Tolkien. This page may therefore seem very light on details to the latter and in some cases completely different.  I urge you to enjoy these differences for what they are: Paul Corfield Godfrey’s adaptation of the source material for a very specific art form and not an attempt to rewrite the original.

 

SIMON CROSBY BUTTLE

Synopsis

Rather than duplicate the synopses that are supplied with each individual work we thought that for the purposes of this page an extended chronological synopsis might be more suitable.  Due to the nature of the source material not all of the works follow chronologically, and some even occur concurrently; so to try to make sense of this we will now provide a synopsis of “The Silmarillion” as it is represented in this section of the cycle as a whole, rather than the individual works.

 

Ainulindalë  (Fëanor: Prologue)

The world is created by Ilúvatar, the One, from primaeval chaos.  He introduces the fourteen Valar, the Powers who will govern Arda in his name.  The Elder King, his spouse Elbereth, Mandos, Ulmo and Melkor are among their number.

 

The Awakening (Fëanor: Scene One)

The Elder King declares the hour has come when the Firstborn Children of Ilúvatar, the Elves, will rise from sleep.  Elbereth creates new stars to herald their coming.  The Elves come into being by the Waters of Awakening, in the far east of Middle-Earth, and look upon the stars.

 

The Prophecy (The War of Wrath: Prologue)

Elbereth and the host of the Valar are seated in the Ring of Doom awaiting the arrival of the Elves.  She sings of the beauties of Valinor and of Eärendil, the one who will sacrifice everything to     eventually come to the aid of all of the Children of Illúvatar.

 

The Enemy (Fëanor: Scene Two)

Melkor the Enemy descends to the Elves and seeks to corrupt them.  The Valar decide to summon the Elves to safety in the Blessed Realm, where the Two Trees give light to the land and the Elves begin the crossing of Middle-Earth to reach the ships that will take them to Valinor.

 

It is during this journey across Middle-Earth that the Elf Thingol comes across Melian, a powerful spirit in physical form known as a Maia, and the two fall in love.  Her magic keeps him hidden from the rest of his kin and he stays behind in Middle-Earth to wed her.

 

The Vision (The War of Wrath: Scene One)

Círdan, one of the Elves travelling across Middle-Earth to make the crossing to Valinor, is delayed because of searching for his missing friend Thingol. He arrives at the shore too late to board the ships and swears to build his own ship to make the crossing.  Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, appears to him in a vision and tells him wait behind and bide his time for the prophecy of Eärendil to come to fruition.  He shows him an image of a white ship sailing through the air shining as a star.  Círdan relents and stays behind.

 

The Silmarils (Fëanor: Scene Three)

In Tirion, the chief city of the Elves in the Blessed Realm, Finwë the King of the Elves and his wife Miriel have a son, Fëanor; but Miriel’s spirit is consumed in the delivery, and she passes to the kingdom of Mandos the Lord of Death.  Finwë remarries and has two further children, Fingolfin and Finarfin, who are therefore Fëanor’s half-brothers.  Fëanor shapes three great jewels, the    Silmarils, from the blended light of the Two Trees, and they are hallowed by the Valar.

 

The Banishment (Fëanor: Scene Four)

Melkor covets the Silmarils, and sows dissension between Fëanor and his half-brothers.  Fëanor draws his sword  on Fingolfin during a debate before his father Finwë, and is banished from Tirion for twelve years.  Melkor warns Fëanor that the Silmarils are not safe in the land of the Valar, and Fëanor realising Melkor’s purpose drives him from his door.

 

The Black Foe of the World (Fëanor: Scene Five)

Melkor seeks out Ungoliant, the Great Spider, and offers her all that she may wish if she will aid him.  Fëanor and Fingolfin are reconciled, and Fingolfin promises to follow Fëanor wherever he may lead.  But Melkor and Ungoliant come into the Blessed Realm and destroy the Two Trees. Elbereth says that with the use of the Silmarils she could restore light to the Realm, but Fëanor reflecting on Melkor’s words refuses to surrender them.  Fëanor’s son Maedhros enters in haste to tell the Valar that Melkor has gone to Fëanor’s stronghold and, after killing Finwë the King, has stolen the Silmarils.  Fëanor curses Melkor, naming him Morgoth, the Black Foe of the World, whilst the foe himself takes his prize and crosses the Narrow Ice to Middle-Earth to fortify himself in his stronghold of Angband.

 

The Flight of the Noldor (Fëanor: Scene Six)

Fëanor summons the Elves to follow him in pursuit of Morgoth, seeking to recover the Silmarils by force.  He and his sons swear an oath of vengeance, and that they will destroy anyone who seeks to keep the Silmarils from them.  The Elder King warns Fëanor that his pursuit of Morgoth is in vain, but Fëanor is unmoved. Amongst the Elves who meet with Fëanor and agree to aid him by crossing to Middle-Earth with him are the majority of the Noldor in Valinor, one notable exception is his half-brother Finarfin who chooses to remain behind and not be involved with his war-like sibling.

 

The Kinslaying (Fëanor: Scene Seven)

Fëanor and Fingolfin seek to persuade Olwë, the King of the Teleri Elves in Valinor, to lend them ships to sail back to Middle-Earth in pursuit of Morgoth.  Olwë refuses to do so against the wishes of the Valar, and Fëanor seizes the ships by force in his defiance, killing many of the Elves who resist him.  Fëanor, his sons and the first group of his followers board the ships to begin the     crossing to Middle-Earth.  Their trip across the sea is perilous as a vengeful Ulmo raises a storm and many of the ships are lost.

 

At the forefront of this kinslaying were Fëanor and his Sons.  The other Noldor arrive once the deed is done and though horrified by these actions, their oath to Fëanor means that they are also bound to his doom and cannot return to their homes.

 

The Curse of Mandos  (Fëanor: Scene Eight)

Mandos appears to the host of the Elves, laying a doom upon Fëanor and all who follow him.  For slaying their kinsfolk unrighteously they are forever banished from  Valinor and the Valar will block any that try to return.  Though they may not perish by natural causes they shall all be doomed to die and their works will all fade to nothing.  Fëanor replies that even if they all perish, their deeds will live after them.

 

The Burning of the Ships (Fëanor: Scene Nine)

Morgoth and Ungoliant quarrel about the division of the spoils, and Morgoth refuses to surrender the Silmarils to her; with the aid of his Balrogs, spirits of flame, he drives her away. Fëanor and his sons land in Middle-Earth,  but  Fëanor  refuses  to  send  the  ships  back  to convey the rest of the Noldor across the Ocean; he has the ships burned. 

 

The betrayal of Fëanor to the rest of the Noldor meant that the exiled Elves were left with no option but to cross the Narrow Ice to Middle-Earth, with the loss of much life to the perilous frozen paths.  The characters that are part of this cycle this affected directly are Fingolfin, Finrod, Orodreth, Galadriel, Turgon (who lost his wife in the crossing), Aredhel and Idril.

 

The Death of Fëanor (Fëanor: Epilogue)

Fëanor manages to fight his way to Angband to confront Morgoth, but is defeated by him in combat and consumed with flame.

 

In the interim of the previous entries Thingol and Melian have created the kingdom of Doriath.  Melian uses her magic to protect the realm so that none can enter without permission.  Finrod, upon reaching Middle-Earth creates his own realm of Nargothrond and his sister, Galadriel, goes to live in Doriath as a companion to Melian.

 

The Questioning (The War of Wrath: Scene Two)

In the hidden realm of Doriath, Melian the Queen asks Galadriel to tell her of the reasons for the exile of the Noldor to Middle-Earth. Galadriel is reluctant to reveal all and will not talk of the Kinslaying.  Melian warns Thingol that the disputes between the princes of the Noldor will threaten his realm, and that the sons of Fëanor are not to be trusted. She foresees that the coming of Men, and that one man in particular, will soon change the destiny of both races.

 

The Bidding of the Minstrel (The Fall of Gondolin: Prologue)

The Chorus sings of the deeds of Eärendil the seafarer, which have now receded into the mists of memory. Ulmo, the Lord of Waters, appears to the Elvenking Turgon and bids him to lay down his arms and shows him the location to build the Hidden City of Gondolin.

 

Eöl, kin of Thingol, has settled in the outlying woods of Nan-Elmoth near to Doriath.  As payment for being given leave to live there he begrudgingly creates the black sword Anglachel.  His malice is poured into the blade and Melian warns her husband to never use it.

 

The Foundation of the Hidden City (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene One)

The fair city of Gondolin is built.  Turgon dwells there with his daughter Idril Celebrindal and his sister Aredhel. Turgon has decreed that no one who knows the city’s location may depart. Aredhel, wearying of the delights of Gondolin, informs her brother that she intends to leave the city.

 

The Birth of Maeglin (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Two)

Aredhel is captured by the Dark Elf Eöl, who takes her as his wife.  She bears him a son, Maeglin, who grows to have little love for his father and his ways. Maeglin asks his mother to lead him to Gondolin away from his father’s tutelage.  She consents and the two flee their bondage.  

 

The Return to Gondolin (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Three)

Aredhel and Maeglin travel to Gondolin, but, unbeknownst to them, are followed by Eöl.  Turgon welcomes the return of Aredhel and offers Maeglin a high position in the realm.  Ecthelion, the Captain of the Guard, enters to inform Turgon that another has come unbidden to the Gate.  Aredhel admits to her brother that the newcomer is her husband and begs him to stay his hand.  Turgon welcomes Eöl into his city and his family, but informs him that now he has entered Gondolin he must remain there.  Eöl is determined to leave and to take his family away with him.  Turgon gives him and his son a choice: stay or die.  Eöl chooses the latter and attempts to kill his son with a spear.  Aredhel steps between her husband and son, intercepts the blow and is killed.  Eöl is condemned and thrown from the ramparts of the city.  Idril approaches Maeglin to console him but something in his gaze frightens her.  She leaves him alone.

 

At this time the second born children of Illúvatar start to awaken, the Race of Men.  Morgoth attempts to corrupt them to his cause but many resist and join forces with the Elves to try and rid Middle-Earth of his influence.

 

The Battle of Sudden Flame. (Beren and Lúthien: Prologue)

In the Battle of Sudden Flame, the Dagor Bragollach, the long siege of Angband is broken by  Morgoth; the Elvenking Finrod Felagund is saved by the intervention of the mortal Beren son of Barahir, to whom he gives a ring and swears an oath promising him assistance in the event of any future need.

 

The Death of Gorlim. (Beren and Lúthien: Scene One)

After Finrod returns to his kingdom of Nargothrond, Sauron the servant of Morgoth captures Gorlim, one of Beren’s followers. He promises to release his wife from captivity if Gorlim will  betray the whereabouts of Beren. The information is given, but Sauron nevertheless has him killed.

 

The Wraith (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Two)

Beren is in hiding near the lake of Tarn Aeluin.  He is visited by an apparition of the ghost of Gorlim, who warns of his betrayal urging him to flee. Beren vows vengeance, and escapes into the wilds.

 

The Nightingale (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Three)

Beren’s journey comes to an end in the woodlands of Doriath.  A distant flute is heard in the woods as the elven princess Lúthien begins her dance. The sudden appearance of Beren startles her, and she flees into the forest. Beren is abandoned, but she soon reappears and invites him to join in her dance. Beren gradually approaches her, calling her Elvish name, Tinúviel (Nightingale) and as the distant flute is heard once more she sinks into his arms.

 

The Vow (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Four)

The couple come to the court of Thingol, Lúthien’s father. The latter challenges Beren to explain his presence, but learning that he desires the hand of his daughter threatens him with death. Thingol’s immortal wife Melian warns him that he may not kill Beren, whose fate is wound with his; and Thingol declares that he will only yield Lúthien to Beren if the latter will bring him a    Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. After Beren has agreed and left on his apparently hopeless quest, Melian observes that Thingol has doomed either his daughter or himself.

 

The Promise Fulfilled (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Five)

Beren seeks the assistance of Finrod Felagund, who describes the dangers that are involved in his quest. He seeks the aid of his people, but the sons of Fëanor repeat their Oath of vengeance on any who seeks to withhold a Silmaril from them as the rightful owners of the jewels; and none of the Elves of Nargothrond will follow their king.  Finrod abandons his throne and sets forth with Beren.

 

The Rescue (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Six)

Sauron confronts Finrod and Beren, who are disguised as Orcs, asking them for  information. He strips their concealment from them in a contest of enchantments and confines them in a dungeon. There Finrod is killed by a wolf as he tries to protect Beren. He dies, bidding Beren farewell.   Beren hears the distant voice of Lúthien who has come to rescue him. She overcomes Sauron and banishes him; and then, finding Beren, declares that she will undertake his quest alongside him despite the dangers. 

 

The Dark Throne (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Seven)

Beren and Lúthien make their way to Angband using Lúthien enchantments to conceal themselves as servant of Morgoth.  At the gates they encounter Carcharoth, the Wolf of Angband, and cast him into slumber. They descend to confront Morgoth, who conceives in his heart a desire for Lúthien. She dances before him, but then casts a spell over him and his court rendering them unconscious.  Beren cuts a Silmaril from Morgoth’s iron crown, but the roused Carcharoth then bites off his hand and swallows both that and the jewel.

 

The Escape (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Eight)

Beren and Lúthien, aided by the eagles, flee Angband and return to Doriath. The mortally   wounded Beren bids farewell to the earth and to his love, but Lúthien tells him that she will follow him wherever he goes. Thingol enters to seek his prize, but Beren succumbs to his wounds.

 

The Pity of Mandos  (Beren and Lúthien: Scene Nine)

Without her love Lúthien withers, dies and her soul passes to the Halls of Mandos.  She sings a song of such sorrow and beauty before him that he grants both her and Beren a return to life for the duration of their mortal spans.

 

The Return to Life  (Beren and Lúthien: Epilogue)

The lovers return to Middle-Earth to start their renewed lives together.

 

The Curse of Húrin (The Children of Húrin: Prologue)

Morgoth’s minions have captured Húrin, a mighty Lord of Men of the house of Hador, in the  Battle of Unnumbered Tears.  He lays a curse upon Húrin’s family, and binds him to a high place to witness their doom.

 

The Departure (The Children of Húrin: Scene One)

Morwen, the wife of Húrin and heavy with child, is with their son Túrin.  The pair debate the fate of Húrin, with Túrin believing that he is dead. Morwen decides to send Túrin away to the Elven Realm of Doriath for protection from the Easterlings that now rule their land.  She bids him     farewell.

 

The Exile of Túrin (The Children of Húrin: Scene Two)

Once Túrin reaches Doriath Morwen gives birth to a daughter, Niënor.  Túrin grows and becomes a fierce warrior, but is forever touched by sorrow and worry for his mother and sister.  Saeros, a friend of King Thingol, mocks Túrin and insults Morwen.  Túrin overpowers him and forces him to run for his life whilst he chases him.  Mablung tries to stop Túrin but a fearful Saeros leaps from a cliff and dies.  Mablung attempts to take Túrin before the King but Túrin scorns his judgement and leaves.  Beleg, Túrin’s friend, enters having sought the truth of the encounter. The King      pardons Túrin, deeming him wronged and provoked, and offers any reward to Beleg for returning him. He takes with him the Black Sword Anglachel, as a gift from the King.  Beleg vows to find his friend and bring him back. 

 

The Death of Beleg  (The Children of Húrin: Scene Three)

Beleg searches for Túrin and comes across Gwindor, an elf of Nargothrond, unconscious by a tree. Beleg wakes Gwindor, who tells him that he has escaped from capture in Angband and that he recently saw a company of Orcs passing with a man in chains. Beleg, followed by Gwindor, chases after the Orcs through a wild storm and comes upon their camp.   There he finds an unconscious Túrin and attempts to free him using Anglachel.  This wakes Túrin, who jumps to his feet and in the darkness takes the sword and slays Beleg, believing him to be an Orc.  A flash of lightning  reveals Beleg’s face and Túrin realises his mistake. A grieving Túrin learns from Gwindor of a  rumour in Angband about a curse upon Húrin’s family.

 

Túrin in Nargothrond (The Children of Húrin: Scene Four)

Gwindor brings an incognito Túrin to Nargothrond.  He tells Túrin that he will be safe there but Túrin believes it would be better for all of the host of Nargothrond to take the fight to the enemy.  Finduilas, the daughter of King Orodreth, betrothed of Gwindor, finds her heart turned towards the stranger.  Gwindor, realising he has lost his love, has turned sullen and distant towards Túrin.  Gwindor tries to confess his love to Finduilas and warns her not to trust Túrin; he reveals all he knows of Túrin’s family and curse. Finduilas confesses to Gwindor that, while she loves him, her love for Túrin is greater.  She admits that she knows that Túrin does not love her in return, seeing her like a mother and a Queen.  She greets Túrin by his name and berates him for not telling her himself.  Túrin blames Gwindor for bringing his curse back upon him but Gwindor believes that the curse lies on the man, not his name.

 

The Sack of Nargothrond (The Children of Húrin: Scene Five)

The host of Nargothrond, under Túrin’s command, goes forth into battle against Morgoth.  The dragon Glaurung lays siege to Nargothrond and succeeds in destroying it.  Gwindor is killed and Finduilas is captured. Túrin rushes back to the ruins, only to be intercepted by the dragon, who holds him in his bewitching gaze whilst Finduilas is carried away.  Once the dragon’s spell breaks, Túrin rushes away after Finduilas.

 

The Loss of Niënor (The Children of Húrin: Scene Six)

Morwen and Niënor, now under the protection of Mablung, come in search of Túrin. Morwen attempts to leave Niënor behind and go on alone. However, her daughter insists on staying with her and searching for her brother.  As Morwen decides to search for Túrin at Nargothrond, Mablung attempts to stop them going any further. He cannot fulfil his duty to protect them if they continue. Morwen and Niënor carry on without his escort. Morwen becomes separated and lost in the ruins of Nargothrond.  Niënor comes upon Glaurung, who casts a spell of forgetfulness upon her.  She runs off into the forest. 

 

The Messenger  (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Four)

We are introduced to Tuor, the son of Huor, the brother of Húrin, who died in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Tuor journeys to the shores of the ocean, where a great wave arises and brings Ulmo with it.  Ulmo addresses Tuor and bequeaths to him the former arms of Turgon and a mission: to be his messenger and warn Turgon that the fall of Gondolin draws near.  Ulmo saves a wrecked ship from the sea and upon it is Voronwë, an Elf of Gondolin, who was sent by Turgon on a failed mission to seek aid from the Blessed Realm. Voronwë and Tuor discuss the errand that Ulmo has set. Voronwë describes to Tuor his labours in the sea and finally agrees to take him to the Hidden City.

 

The Master of Doom (The Children of Húrin: Scene Seven)

Túrin comes into the forest of Brethil, encountering a group of men led by Dorlas.  Túrin learns that Finduilas was slain by the Orcs and that Dorlas spoke to her as she lay dying.  Dorlas recognises Túrin as the great captain of Nargothrond.  The chieftain of the men of Brethil, a lame man named Brandir, approaches and berates Dorlas for greeting the cursed man. Túrin determines to forget his name and kin, which have only brought evil to others, and takes the name Turambar, the Master of Doom.

 

The Maiden of Tears (The Children of Húrin: Scene Eight)

Niënor, still under the spell of forgetfulness that Glaurung placed on her, also comes to Brethil, where she is discovered by Dorlas and Túrin.  Túrin and Niënor find themselves irresistibly attracted to one another.  Túrin gives her the name Niniel, maiden of tears, and the two fall quickly in love.  They marry and Túrin vows to never go to war again, unless to protect her or their home.  She becomes pregnant and for the first time in Túrin’s life he is at relative peace.

 

The Horns of Ulmo (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Five)

Tuor tells Voronwë of his vision of Ulmo and his errand as they continue their journey to Gondolin.  Voronwë leads Tuor to the dark and concealed Gates of the City.  They are challenged at the Gate by Ecthelion.

 

The Message (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Six)

Ecthelion refuses the pair entry into Gondolin until Tuor removes his cloak and reveals the arms of Turgon, bequeathed to him by Ulmo.  Turgon, Idril and Maeglin greet the visitors. When Tuor imparts the message of Ulmo to the King he refuses to abandon his city.  Tuor, now trapped within the city, is left behind with Idril who offers him aid.  This is much to the dismay of the on looking Maeglin, who is himself enamoured of Idril.

 

The Death of the Children of Húrin (The Children of Húrin: Scene Nine)

Brandir warns his people that Glaurung is coming to destroy them.  Túrin vows to kill the dragon and goes forth with Dorlas. Dorlas and Túrin approach Glarung’s location but Dorlas, turning to flee when he sees the dragon, falls into a ravine and dies.  Túrin presses on alone and succeeds in killing the great worm.  Brandir approaches with Niënor in search of Túrin.  They find him unconscious at the feet of the dying dragon, who with his final breath removes the spell of forgetfulness from Niënor.  In horror at the realisation that she is pregnant with her brother’s child, she throws herself to her doom in the river.  The men of Brethil come in search of her, but Brandir tells them all of Túrin and Niënor.  Túrin awakes and when Brandir tries to tell him the truth he calls him a liar and slays him.  Mablung approaches, hailing the slayer of Glaurung. Túrin asks him for tidings of his family. He is told the truth, that Morwen is lost and Nienor was bewitched and ran off into the wilds. Túrin calls upon his sword, Anglachel, to end his life and throws himself upon the blade.

 

The Curse Reaches its End (The Children of Húrin: Epilogue)

Húrin, freed from captivity, comes to Túrin’s grave. There he finds a dying Morwen.  She asks him what happened to their children and he cannot answer.

 

The Wedding of Tuor and Idril (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Seven)

Tuor and Idril are married and have a baby son Eärendil.  As their child grows so too does their love but they are being watched by the jealous Maeglin.  The couple both have a yearning to be beyond the City gates and to see the Blessed Realm.

 

The Betrayal (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Eight)

Maeglin is brought before Morgoth, where he offers to betray the whereabouts of the Hidden City if he is rewarded.

 

The Fall of Gondolin (The Fall of Gondolin: Scene Nine)

The City of Gondolin is celebrating the first morning of summer and all sing an Elvish hymn to Ilúvatar.  It is at this point that Morgoth looses his whole force against Gondolin.  Turgon, realising his folly at not heeding the words of Ulmo, tells his people to flee and follow Tuor as their leader.  The King remains behind, refusing to strike any blow and sends a reluctant Ecthelion after them.  Maeglin attempts to seize Idril and Eärendil.  Tuor struggles with him and casts him from the walls to the same death as his father before him.   A sudden burst of flame from below rises and engulfs Turgon and from it rises a Balrog. Ecthelion rushes forward and hurls himself at the Spirit of Flame, and both fall to their death in the abyss.  Tuor and Idril lead the survivors away from the fallen city and down towards the sea.

 

In the interim the great wolf Carcharoth, driven mad by the Silmaril still burning inside him, breaks through the Girdle of Melian and begins a rampage through Doriath.  He is slain and Mablung removes the gem from his belly and returns it to Thingol in Doriath.

 

The Ruin of Doriath (The War of Wrath: Scene Three)

Melian is beginning to feel her control over events is slipping; and the Sons of Fëanor, mindful of their Oath to keep the Silmarils from any but themselves, discover that one of their father’s      creations is held by Thingol in Doriath.  On the festival of the King, when Thingol is hunting outside the Girdle of Melian, they ambush and kill him.  This creates enough disruption to Melian’s power for them to cross her barrier and enter Doriath.  They begin a brutal and ruthless sacking of the Realm in search for the Gem.  When coming close to the throne room Melian quickly sends her great-granddaughter Elwing away from the city with the Silmaril.  The Sons of Fëanor break into the throne room and present Melian with the head of her husband.  At that moment she abandons all of her protections of the realm and walks away from her home, unchallenged by the attackers.  The Sons of Fëanor then discover that the Silmaril is no longer there and the realm is destroyed.

 

The survivors of all of the great realms of Beleriand, Nargothrond, Gondolin and Doriath, along with the remaining members of the great Houses of Men are now isolated on the Western Coast of Middle-Earth, the majority in the Havens of Sirion, where Tuor acts as Lord of the Exiles.  The rest of the land is now taken by Morgoth’s forces and the war against him is all but lost.

 

The Last Ship (The Fall of Gondolin: Epilogue)

A now aged Tuor bids his wife and adult son farewell as he boards a ship.  His aim is once more to sail the ocean and seek the Blessed Realm.

 

The Mariner (The War of Wrath: Scene Four)

Eärendil is now married to Elwing and they have twin sons, Elrond and Elros.  The situation in Middle-Earth is now dire and he has no recourse but to brave the sea and try to find the Blessed Realm to ask for the assistance of the Valar.  Círdan aids him in building a ship, Vingelot, to make the crossing and he bids farewell to his family.  The enchantments placed by the Valar mean that his ship ends up lost at sea.

 

The Voyage of Eärendil (The War of Wrath: Scene Five)

The Sons of Fëanor attempt to seize the Silmaril from Elwing, which she has kept in hiding.   Elrond and Elros manage to flee but Elwing is trapped against a cliff edge.  As Curufin attempts to take the gem from her she throws herself into the sea, and in pursuit of her he falls to his death in the waves. Ulmo intervenes and bears her aloft as a seabird to the deck of Eärendil’s ship.  Together, with the Silmaril bound upon the brow of Eärendil, the two of them set sail once again for Valinor and this time through its power they succeed.

 

The Judgement (The War of Wrath: Scene Six)

Eönwë the herald of the Valar bids Eärendil and his wife welcome to the Blessed Realm.  Eärendil pleads on behalf of the two Kindreds for their aid in the war against Morgoth.  His prophecy is now fulfilled and the Valar agree to lend support to the forces in Middle-Earth opposing the enemy Morgoth. But the two half-elven are not allowed to return to Middle-Earth, and their ship is raised to the stars with the Silmaril bound to its mast.

 

The War of Wrath (The War of Wrath: Scene Seven)

The assault of the Valar comes to Morgoth, and his realm is laid to waste.  He tries to resist by sending massive winged dragons into the fray but Eärendil, now aboard his ship of the air, comes to slay the beasts. Morgoth is ultimately captured, chained and sent into the Void.  The remaining two Silmarils are taken from his crown by Eönwë.

 

The Silmarils Come to Rest (The War of Wrath: Scene Eight)

Maglor and Maedhros, the two remaining of the Sons of Fëanor, demand that the Silmarils should be surrendered to them in fulfilment of their Oath. To this Eönwë consents; but the jewels burn the hands of the two brothers with unendurable pain, and they cast them into the depths of the Earth and the Sea.  The Valar save the survivors of the war by sending them East to Eregion and then sink the wasted Beleriand into the sea.

 

The Rings of Power (The War of Wrath: Scene Nine)

Sauron, the surviving servant of Morgoth, attempts to seduce the Elves by the suggestion that with their creative powers they should seek to render Middle-Earth as blissful as the distant realm of the Valar. But he deceives them, and as he forges the One Ring to make himself the master, the voice of Morgoth is heard pronouncing the doom of the Elves.

 

The Waning (The War of Wrath: Epilogue)

The three bearers of the Elven Rings, Elrond, Galadriel and Círdan, lament the downfall of the Elves, but suggest that their powers are not yet ended, even in times far distant.  They will await the end of the darkness and the Age of Men.

The World of The Silmarillion

The following is a guide to all of the locations either mentioned or seen in the duration of this part of the cycle.

BEYOND THE WORLD

THE OUTER VOID (or the TIMELESS VOID)

 

The space outside of time and creation.

 

THE TIMELESS HALLS

 

The dwelling of ILÚVATAR, infinite in size and distinct from the VOID.

CIRCLES OF THE WORLD

 

The name for the boundary between ARDA and the OUTER VOID.

 

TARMENEL (or HEAVENS)

 

The highest of the levels of the sky.

ARDA (or THE EARTH)

The world created by ILÚVATAR, and then shaped by the VALAR, for the purpose of being a home for the CHILDREN OF ILÚVATAR.  The continents that appear in this version of the story are AMAN and MIDDLE-EARTH.

AMAN (or THE BLESSED REALM)

A continent to the west of MIDDLE-EARTH separated by either by the sea or the perilous NARROW ICE to the north.

DOOR OF NIGHT

The doorway in the distant West that leads to the VOID.

 

NARROW ICE

A name for the northern frozen passage between AMAN and MIDDLE-EARTH. 

 

SHADOWY SEAS

Part of the great sea that separated AMAN and MIDDLE-EARTH, located closest to VALINOR.  After the DOOM OF MANDOS was pronounced, the VALAR used this sea as a barrier to stop any of the ELVES returning.  They created a dark shadow and a chain of islands that bewildered and enchanted any passing ships.  Only EÄRENDIL and ELWING succeed in crossing this barrier with the aid of a SILMARIL

ELDAMAR

Also called EGLAMAR or ELVENHOME.  The land of the ELVES in AMAN, encompassing THE BAY OF ELDAMAR, CALACIRIAN, ERESSËA, THE GREEN HILLS.

 

THE BAY OF ELDAMAR:

To the north of the bay is the harbour city ALQUALONDË, home of the TELERI which is ruled by OLWË.

 

CALACIRIAN:

The great ELVEN city of TIRION, ruled by FINWË, is located in this  mountain pass.  The wetlands known as the SHADOWMERE are also located here.

 

ERESSËA:

A large island off the coast in the BAY OF ELDAMAR.

 

THE GREEN HILLS:

In this region is FORMENOS, the stronghold oh FËANOR.

VALINOR

The lands of the VALAR.

 

THE HALLS OF MANDOS:

The dwelling of MANDOS on the northern shore of VALINOR.  The spirits of ELVES and MEN gather here to wait until they can pass into their afterlives.

 

LÓRIEN:

The most beautiful place in ARDA, filled with plants and lakes.

 

RING OF DOOM:

The court where the VALAR meet for their councils.  The thrones of the fourteen VALAR are arranged in a circle.

 

TANIQUETIL

The tallest of the mountains on ARDA located upon AMAN’s eastern coast on the summit of which is ILMARIN, the domed halls and throne of the ELDER KING.

MIDDLE-EARTH

The place where the majority of the narrative takes place, where the ELVES, MEN and DWARVES came into being.  The prominently featured regions in this cycle are ANGBAND, ARVERNIEN, BELERIAND, HITHLUM and the lands

TO THE EAST.

ANGBAND

 The lands to the north and the location of MORGOTH’s citadel  MORGOTH: the seat of his power.

FEN OF SERECH

A marshland to the north, on approach to ANGBAND.  It was here, during the BATTLE OF SUDDEN FLAME, that BEREN with only a few of his men saved the life of FINROD  FELAGUND.

TOL-IN-GUARHOTH

The island of Werewolves, an island stronghold controlled by SAURON just south of the entrance to ANGBAND.  It is here that BEREN and FINROD were captured and tortured, eventually leading to FINROD’s death.  SAURON is ultimately defeated by LÚTHIEN and has to flee as she comes to rescue BEREN.

ARVERNIEN

 The coast land to the south west.

MOUTHS OF SIRION (or the HAVENS OF SIRION)

A harbour town on the south-western coast of AVERNIEN.  This was the final refuge of the ELVES of GONDOLIN, NARGOTHROND and DORIATH along with the surviving MEN of three houses of the EDAIN in MIDDLE-EARTH after MORGOTH and his forces had taken almost the entirety of the land.  TUOR and IDRIL were the first rulers of the exiles then later their son EÄRENDIL and his wife ELWING took charge until he left to seek VALINOR and the remaining SONS OF FËANOR attack and kill many of the inhabitants in search of a SILMARIL.

NIMBRETHIL

A forest in the land of AVERNIEN.

BELERIAND

BRETHIL

A forest to the west and part of DORIATH but not protected by the GIRDLE OF MELIAN. THINGOL allows the MEN of the HOUSE OF HALETH to make it their home as long as they serve as a guard to the crossings of the river to DORIATH.

DORIATH

A wooded realm and home of the SINDARIN elves under King THINGOL.  It is kept safe by the GIRDLE OF MELIAN, a magical barrier put in place so that no one can enter without the permission of the King or Queen.  The stronghold in the centre of the realm, and home to THINGOL and MELIAN, is the underground city of Menegroth.

GONDOLIN (or GONDOBAR, or CITY OF THE FLOWER OF THE PLAIN, or the HIDDEN CITY)

Founded by TURGON after he is shown the location by ULMO.  It is built on a hill surrounded by a ring of mountains and the location is kept secret from friend and foe upon pain of death.  The high TOWER OF THE KING is the palace of TURGON. The HIDDEN WAY is the pathway to the outer gate of the city.

NAN ELMOTH

A forest east of DORIATH and part of that realm but outside of the GIRDLE OF MELIAN.  EÖL gave THINGOL the sword ANGLACHEL as payment for making his home in the forest.

NARGOTHROND

The realm and kingdom first ruled by FINROD FELAGUND and then ORODRETH upon his abdication to go with BEREN on his errand to ANGBAND.  Aided by DWARVES, FINROD built the fortress by delving deep into underground caves.

HITHLUM

The north-western most part that connects with the NARROW ICE, separated by mountains from the lands immediately to the south.  This is the location of the home of HÚRIN and MORWEN.

LOSGAR

A place on the north-west coast, just outside of HITHLUM. It was here that FËANOR and his SONS landed after crossing from VALINOR and where he orders that the ships be burned rather than return them for their kin to use to follow them.

TO THE EAST

EREGION

Once the VALAR sink the wastelands of BELERIAND into the sea this realm is established by the Noldor in MIDDLE-EARTH.  It is here that the three ELVEN RINGS are forged.

MORDOR

The stronghold of SAURON, east of EREGION, after his defeat by BEREN and LÚTHIEN at TOL-IN-GUARHOTH until the time of “The Lord of the Rings”.

WATER OF AWAKENING

The location of the awakening of the ELVES.

The Characters of The Silmarillion

ILÚVATAR (also called THE ONE)

The supreme creator of all of ARDA who lives beyond the world.  He first created the VALAR, then the ELVES and then the RACE OF MEN.

 

Mentioned in “Fëanor” and “The Fall of Gondolin”.

VALAR (or LORDS OF THE WEST)

This name is given to the fourteen immortal powers of the world in physical form who reside in the realm of VALINOR.

THE ELDER KING (or MANWË)

The greatest of the VALAR and the first King of ARDA.

 

Spouse of ELBERETH.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” and “The War of Wrath”.

ELBERETH

The Vala who placed the stars in the sky and gave light to the TWO TREES OF VALINOR. 

 

Spouse of THE ELDER KING.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” and “The War of Wrath”.

MANDOS

The judge of the VALAR and keeper of the Houses of the Dead.  He is gifted with knowledge of all that has and may pass.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”, “Beren and Lúthien” (non vocal) and “The War of Wrath”.

ULMO

One of the most powerful of the VALAR and Lord of Waters.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin” and “The War of Wrath”.

MORGOTH (originally MELKOR)

Equal in power to THE ELDER KING but driven by a desire to seek power for himself alone and bend all things to his own will.  He abides in his stronghold of ANGBAND to the north of MIDDLE-EARTH.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”, “Beren and Lúthien”, “The Children of Húrin”, “The Fall of Gondolin”

and “The War of Wrath”.

MAIAR

Lesser (although still powerful) spirits that entered the world and took physical form.

EÖNWË

Chief of the MAIAR and herald of the ELDER KING.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath”.

MELIAN

Dark haired and ethereal Queen of DORIATH, who keeps the city safe with her power (referred to as the Girdle of Melian) so that none can enter against her will. After the awakening of the elves she met THINGOL on his journey with his brethren to VALINOR.  He stays behind with her and eventually founds DORIATH. Amongst her powers she is blessed with foresight.

 

Spouse of THINGOL, mother of LÚTHIEN, great-grandmother of ELWING.

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien” and “The War of Wrath”.

SAURON

One of the mightiest of the MAIAR, student of forging and making and has the ability to alter his form.  He was seduced by the dark powers of MORGOTH and became one of his lieutenants in MIDDLE-EARTH. His stronghold in the first age is TOL-IN-GAURHOTH (Isle of Werewolves) which serves as a gateway to ANGBAND.

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien” and “The War of Wrath”.

BALROGS

Spirits of Fire allied with MORGOTH.  Huge yet man-like in form, they could appear as shadows or in fiery form.

 

Appear non-vocally in “Fëanor”, “Beren and Lúthien”, “The Fall of Gondolin” and “The War of Wrath”.

ELVES

The elder children of ILÚVATAR (sometimes referred to as The Firstborn or as the ELDAR), at first awaken in MIDDLE-EARTH without the knowledge of the VALAR.  When they are discovered the VALAR decide that they should be brought to VALINOR for their safety.  The ELVES that agreed to go with them became known as the Three Kindreds: the VANYAR, the NOLDOR and the TELERI. The majority of the ELVES who did not travel to VALINOR became known as the SINDAR. The ELVES are not subject to illness or natural death and therefore do not visibly age.

VANYAR

INDIS

Tall and possessing fair hair, the second spouse of FINWË after his first wife’s soul departed her body and would not return.

 

Second spouse of FINWË, mother of FINGOLFIN, grandmother of AREDHEL, GALADRIEL, FINROD, ORODRETH, TURGON, great-grandmother to FINDUILAS, MAEGLIN and IDRIL.

 

Appears non-vocally in “Fëanor”.

TELERI

OLWË

King of the TELERI and younger brother to THINGOL. He refuses to aid FËANOR in his oath and quest to sail to MIDDLE-EARTH, in response to which FËANOR steals his ships and leaves him behind.

 

Grandfather of GALADRIEL, FINROD and ORODRETH, great-grandfather of FINDUILAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”.

SAEROS

Member of the court of THINGOL in DORIATH.  He is haughty and does not believe that TÚRIN should be allowed to live amongst the ELVES.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

NOLDOR

This faction we will sub-divide into a few groups; the HOUSE OF FINWË, the EXILES, the SONS OF FËANOR and the

ELVES OF GONDOLIN.

HOUSE OF FINWË

FËANOR

A great scholar and crafter, famously capturing the light of the TWO TREES OF VALINOR to create the three SILMARILS. His name translates as “Spirit of Fire” and is possessed of raven hair and a great strength of spirit.

 

Son of FINWË and MIRIEL, half-brother of FINGOLFIN and FINARFIN, father of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”.

FINARFIN

The youngest son of FINWË, he did not take part in the KINSLAYING choosing to remain in VALINOR even though his children tried to follow FËANOR and his sons across the sea.

 

Son of FINWË and INDIS, father of GALADRIEL, FINROD and ORODRETH, uncle of AREDHEL and TURGON, grandfather of FINDUILAS.

 

Appears (non vocally) in “Fëanor”.

FINGOLFIN

The second son of FINWË, tall with dark hair, was as valiant as his half-brother but possessed a much calmer and more valiant demeanour. One of the NOLDOR betrayed by FËANOR and his sons when they departed from VALINOR and burnt the ships that were supposed to carry the remainder of their kind to MIDDLE-EARTH.  Instead they had to take a perilous crossing of the icy wastelands to the north.

 

Son of FINWË and INDIS, father of AREDHEL and TURGON, uncle of GALADRIEL, FINROD and ORODRETH, grandfather of MAEGLIN and IDRIL, great-grandfather of EÄRENDIL

 

Appears in “Fëanor”.

FINWË

The first High King of the NOLDOR in VALINOR and a great friend of THINGOL.  He and his people live in the city of TIRION upon VALINOR. He has black hair.

 

Spouse of MIRIEL, spouse of INDIS, father of FËANOR and FINGOLFIN, grandfather of AREDHEL, GALADRIEL, FINROD, ORODRETH, TURGON, MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and AMRAS, great-grandfather of FINDUILAS, MAEGLIN and IDRIL.

 

Appears non-vocally in “Fëanor”.

MIRIEL

Described as having unusual silver hair.  The birth of FËANOR left her without strength and she wished to be released from her eternal existence.  After departing for LÓRIEN, to rest and regain her strength, her soul left her lifeless body and entered the HALLS OF MANDOS.

 

First spouse of FINWË, mother of FËANOR, grandmother MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and AMRAS.

 

Appears non-vocally in “Fëanor”.

THE ELVES OF GONDOLIN

ECTHELION

Lord of the Fountains and Captain of the Guard of GONDOLIN.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

VORONWË

A nobleman and mariner of GONDOLIN, sent to sea by TURGON to try to find the VALAR to ask for their aid against MORGOTH.  After seven years at sea without reaching VALINOR he turns back but his ship is wrecked within sight of MIDDLE-EARTH. His life is saved by ULMO who preserves him from the wrath of the sea until his meeting with TUOR.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

THE EXILES

The NOLDOR betrayed by FËANOR and his sons when they departed from VALINOR and burnt the ships that were supposed to carry the remainder of their kind to MIDDLE-EARTH.  Instead they had to take a perilous crossing of the icy wastelands to the north.

AREDHEL

Also known as “The White Lady”, tall with a pale complexion and dark haired always wearing silver or white.  She dwells in GONDOLIN as the sister of the King.

 

Spouse of EÖL, mother of MAEGLIN, granddaughter of FINWË and INDIS, daughter of FINGOLFIN, sister of TURGON, neice of FINARFIN, cousin of GALADRIEL, FINROD and ORODRETH, aunt of IDRIL.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

FINDUILAS

Golden-haired Princess of NARGOTHROND and betrothed to GWINDOR before his capture in the BATTLE OF UNUMBERED TEARS.

 

Daughter of ORODRETH, granddaughter of FINARFIN, great-granddaughter of FINWË and INDIS, great-granddaughter of OLWË.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

FINROD FELAGUND

Founder and first King of the realm of NARGOTHROND.  Fair of face with golden hair, he was against FËANOR and his oath to reclaim the SILMARILS. When the rest of the NOLDOR were readying to leave VALINOR he

nonetheless joined them.

 

Son of FINARFIN, grandson of FINWË and INDIS, grandson of OLWË, brother of GALADRIEL and ORODRETH, uncle of FINDUILAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” (non-vocal) and “Beren and Lúthien”.

GALADRIEL

Second in power only to FËANOR but greater in wisdom.  Tallest of all elven-women with shimmering golden hair with strands of silver.  Though not allied with FËANOR and his cause she did follow the others of her kin to MIDDLE-EARTH. Upon reaching MIDDLE-EARTH she leaves her brother’s realm of NARGOTHROND and goes to DORIATH and studies with MELIAN. By the time of the Epilogue of “The War of Wrath” she is now Lady of LOTHLORIEN and a bearer of one of the ELVEN RINGS.

 

Daughter of FINARFIN, granddaughter of FINWË and INDIS, granddaughter of OLWË, sister of FINROD and ORODRETH, aunt of FINDUILAS.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath”.

IDRIL CELEBRINDAL

Princess of GONDOLIN with golden hair.   Her mother died in the perilous crossing of the icy wastelands to the north. 

 

Spouse of TUOR, mother of EÄRENDIL, daughter of TURGON,

grandmother of ELROND and ELROS, great-granddaughter of FINWË and INDIS, granddaughter of FINGOLFIN, niece of AREDHEL, cousin of MAEGLIN.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

ORODRETH

The second King of NARGOTHROND, taking the place of FINROD FELAGUND when he leaves with BEREN on his quest to retrieve a SILMARIL. He was one of the NOLDOR betrayed by FËANOR and his sons when they departed from VALINOR and burnt the ships that were supposed to carry the remainder of their kind to MIDDLE-EARTH.

 

Son of FINARFIN, grandson of FINWË and INDIS, grandson of OLWË, brother of GALADRIEL and FINROD, father of FINDUILAS.

 

Mentioned in “Beren and Lúthien” and “The Children of Húrin”.

TURGON

The King and founder of the Hidden City of GONDOLIN, taller than all but THINGOL, wears white with a gold belt and bearer of the Staff of Doom and the sword Glamdring.  His wife died in the perilous crossing of the icy wastelands to the north which they had to traverse without the ships.  He was shown the way to the location where he would build the hidden city by ULMO.

 

Father of IDRIL, grandson of FINWË and INDIS, son of FINGOLFIN, brother of AREDHEL, nephew of FINARFIN, cousin of GALADRIEL, FINROD and ORODRETH, uncle of MAEGLIN.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

THE SONS OF FËANOR

AMRAS

Twin of AMROD and joint youngest of the seven SONS OF FEANOR. Although alike in appearance with his brother, his red hair is a lighter shade.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CARANTHIR, CURUFIN and AMROD.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”

AMROD

Twin of AMRAS and joint youngest of the seven SONS OF FEANOR. Although alike in appearance with his brother, his red hair is a darker shade.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CARANTHIR, CURUFIN and AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”

CARANTHIR

The fourth of the seven SONS OF FËANOR, dark-haired and quick to anger.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, AMROD and AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”

CELEGORM

The third of the seven SONS OF FËANOR, fair-haired and one of the more notorious brothers due to his dark deeds.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and

AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” and “Beren and Lúthien” (non-vocal).

CURUFIN

The fifth of the seven SONS OF FËANOR, black haired, similar in temperament to his father and one of the more notorious brothers due to his dark deeds.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CARANTHIR, AMROD and

AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor”, “Beren and Lúthien” (non-vocal), and “The War of Wrath”.

MAEDHROS

The eldest of the seven SONS OF FËANOR, born during the time of the TWO TREES, he is tall and red-haired.  By the time of his appearance in “Beren and Lúthien” (although not necessary in this version of the narrative) he has lost his right hand after being imprisoned by MORGOTH.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAGLOR, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” and “The War of Wrath”.

MAGLOR

The second of the seven SONS OF FËANOR, a dark-haired poet and much gentler soul than any of his brothers.

 

Son of FËANOR, grandson of FINWË and MIRIEL, brother of MAEDHROS, CELEGORM, CURUFIN, CARANTHIR, AMROD and AMRAS.

 

Appears in “Fëanor” and “The War of Wrath”.

THE JOURNEY OF FËANOR’S SONS THROUGH THIS CYCLE

The driving force behind much of the action of this cycle is the Oath taken by Fëanor and his seven sons, which leads to the first kinslaying and then the Doom of Mandos.  Even when they are not physically present in one of the pieces their actions have had some bearing on the characters involved.  Their tragic journey through the cycle is not fully explained in the stage directions, indeed they are often referred to without actually giving their names and number.  The path they take through the original Tolkien works is sometimes conflicting, so the creation of a definitive timeline for this version was thought to be useful.  The characters themselves throughout the cycle become more cruel and war-like, the Doom of Mandos felt most keenly in this family. 

Fëanor: Scene Six, Seven and Eight

Present in this scene, are all of the sons: Maedhros, Maglor, Curufin, Caranthir, Celegorm, Amrod and Amras.  They all take the Oath with their father and then take part in the Kinslaying of the Teleri at Aqualondë.  All then board the ships and receive the Doom of Mandos with their father.

Fëanor: Scene Nine

Amrod, having expressed regret for his actions to his twin Amras, would not sleep on the land at Losgar and remained aboard his ship.  When Fëanor orders the ships burned he does not realise his son is aboard and Amrod perishes in the flames.

Beren and Lúthien: Scene Five

At this point Curufin and Celegorm were residing in Nargothrond.  (For the purposes of a staged version there is no reason that the rest, except Amrod, might not appear either.)

The War of Wrath: Scene Three

The offstage battle between the Sons of Fëanor and the residents of Doriath is not an easy one for the brothers and in this fight both Celegorm and Caranthir fall.

The War of Wrath: Scene Five

In this raid on the Havens of Sirion Amras is slain and Curufin dies when he overreaches for the Silmaril in Elwing’s possession as she leaps from the cliff.

The War of Wrath: Scene Six to Eight

Maglor and Maedhros are the only remaining of the brothers by this point.  Once they finally regain possession of the last two Silmarils their evil deeds have corrupted them so much that they can no longer hold the gems and they are burnt by them.  Maedhros, by this point the most changed by the oath, is driven mad and throws himself and the gem in his possession into a fiery chasm.  Maglor, the more reluctant of the two, is still burned but throws his gem into the Sea.  He remains alive and haunted by his actions; his final fate is uncertain.

SINDAR

BELEG CÚTHALION

Captain of DORIATH and considered to be the best hunter and archer of his time.  Good friend and brother-in-arms of TÚRIN.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

CÍRDAN

One of the highest and most noble ELVES of MIDDLE-EARTH.  Tall, silver haired and bearded he is one of the most skilled ship-builders of his race.  When THINGOL remains behind with MELIAN rather than crossing the seas to VALINOR, CÍRDAN spends too long looking for his friend and subsequently misses the ships.  Upon reaching the shore he sees the lights in the distance and swears to travel alone if he must.  ULMO appears to him and gives him a vision of the future and tells him the prophecy of the coming of EÄRENDIL.  CÍRDAN relents and chooses to stay behind in MIDDLE-EARTH and becomes Lord of the TELERI who stayed behind.  By the time of the epilogue of “The War of Wrath” he is Lord of the Grey Havens, the sea port on the western shore of MIDDLE-EARTH, and is the bearer of one of the ELVEN RINGS.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath”.

EÖL

A distant relative to THINGOL who left DORIATH to dwell in the woods of NAN ELMOTH.  He was a friend to the DWARVES and learned metal work from them.  As payment for being allowed to stay in NAN ELMOTH he begrudingly forged the black sword ANGLACHEL from the iron of a meteorite and gave it to THINGOL. He is often referred to as a Black or Dark ELF and also has some skill at enchantment.

 

Spouse of AREDHEL, father of MAEGLIN.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

LÚTHIEN TINÚVIEL

The fairest elf to have ever lived, yet possesses powers of enchantment above the rest of her kin due to being half MAIAR. Black haired and most often wearing blue with golden flowers, she is often found dancing in the woods of DORIATH.

 

Spouse of BEREN, daughter of THINGOL and MELIAN, grandmother of ELWING, great-grandmother of ELROND and ELROS.

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien”

and in a vision in “The War of Wrath” (non-vocal).

MABLUNG OF THE HEAVY HAND

Captain of DORIATH. He received his name by reclaiming the SILMARIL from the belly of the wolf CARCHAROTH which was still held in the severed hand of BEREN and gave it such weight that MABLUNG dropped it to the ground.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin” and “The War of Wrath” (non-vocal).

MAEGLIN

Black haired with an unfortunate sullen disposition yet still becomes a great Captain of GONDOLIN. He falls in love with his cousin, IDRIL, but the laws of the land do not allow him to act upon it.  She senses something evil in him and avoids him, turning his love to darkness.

 

Son of EÖL and AREDHEL, nephew of TURGON, cousin of IDRIL, grandson of FINGOLFIN, great-grandson of FINWË and INDIS.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

THINGOL GREYCLOAK

The King of DORIATH. Born at the AWAKENING and was one of the chosen to lead his people to VALINOR.  Upon the journey he encountered MELIAN and fell in love with her.  He stayed behind with her and founded the realm of DORIATH. The tallest of the ELVES with silver hair, he takes part in the greatest victories of the age, but his desire for to possess a SILMARIL is ultimately his downfall.

 

Spouse of MELIAN, father of LÚTHIEN, great-grandfather of ELWING.

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien” and “The War of Wrath”. Mentioned in “The Children of Húrin”.

HALF-ELVEN

The result of the union between members of the races of MEN and ELVES.

EÄRENDIL

The birth of EÄRENDIL was part of the fulfilling of a prophesy that had been foreseen by the ELDAR: the coming of one who could cross the sea and call on the aid of the VALAR to aid the two kindreds of ELVES and MEN.  In “The Fall of Gondolin” he is first seen a young child who survives the fall of the city by escaping with his parents to the MOUTHS OF SIRION.  By the time of the events of “The War of Wrath” he is grown and described as resembling more ELF than MAN, with shining white skin, but with the natural strength of MEN and a great mariner.

 

Spouse of ELWING, father of ELROND and ELROS, son of TUOR and IDRIL, grandson of TURGON.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin” (non-vocal) and “The War of Wrath”.

ELROND

Dark-haired twin brother of ELROS, born in the HAVENS OF SIRION when it was the one of the last remaining parts of MIDDLE-EARTH not under the control of MORGOTH.  After he and his brother escape the raid by the SONS OF FËANOR on their home, where their mother appears to jump to her death rather than return the SILMARIL, they are found by MAGLOR who raises them as his own.  By the time of the Epilogue of “The War of Wrath” he has decided, after the judgement of THE ELDER KING, to remain an ELF and is now Lord of RIVENDELL.  He is a bearer of one of the ELVEN RINGS.

 

Son of EÄRENDIL and ELWING, brother of ELROS, grandson of TUOR and IDRIL, great-grandson of TURGON, great-grandson of BEREN and LÚTHIEN, great-grandson of HUOR and RÍAN.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath”.

ELROS

Dark-haired twin brother of ELROND, born in the HAVENS OF SIRION when it was the one of the last remaining parts of MIDDLE-EARTH not under the control of MORGOTH.  After he and his brother escape the raid by the SONS OF FËANOR on their home, where their mother appears to jump to her death rather than return the SILMARIL, they are found by MAGLOR who raises them as his own.   After the judgement of THE ELDER KING, he chooses to become one of the race of MEN and becomes the forefather of a long line of Kings of MEN.

 

Son of EÄRENDIL and ELWING, brother of ELROND, grandson of TUOR and IDRIL, great-grandson of TURGON, great-grandson of BEREN and LÚTHIEN, great-grandson of HUOR and RÍAN.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath” (non-vocal).

ELWING

One of the few survivors who escaped the destruction of DORIATH wrought by the SONS OF FËANOR and in possession of the SILMARIL taken from MORGOTH by BEREN.  She is a descendant of the first union between ELVES and MEN, that of BEREN and LÚTHIEN.

 

Spouse of EÄRENDIL, mother of ELROND and ELROS, granddaughter of BEREN and LUTHIEN, great-granddaughter of THINGOL and MELIAN.

 

Appears in “The War of Wrath”.

THE RACE OF MEN

The Second-born children of ILÚVATAR and the youngest race in MIDDLE-EARTH.  They possess the “Gift of Men”, mortality.  When they die their souls go to the HALLS OF MANDOS to await release at the end of the world.  They are also gifted the freedom to shape their own future.  The men who joined the fight against MORGOTH became known as the EDAIN and were divided into three houses, that of BËOR, HALETH and HADOR.

THE HOUSE OF BËOR

BEREN, son of BARAHIR

Tall with golden brown hair, he is a champion of MEN who comes to the aid of the ELVES at the BATTLE OF SUDDEN FLAME.  In return for helping their escape, the ELVEN King FINROD gifts to him a ring and a promise of aid  whenever he calls for it.  After the battle he and his remaining people became the focus of MORGOTH’s ire for rescuing the ELVES.  MORGOTH’s minions hunt them down one by one until only BEREN is left.  After seeing the apparition of his friend GORLIM, who bids him to flee for his life, BEREN wanders alone in the world until he comes to the forests of DORIATH.

 

Spouse of LÚTHIEN, grandfather of ELWING, great-grandfather of ELROND and ELROS.

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien” and in a vision in “The War of Wrath” (non-vocal).

EILINEL

When her husband went to fight in the BATTLE OF SUDDEN FLAME her house was plundered and she was slain by SAURON’s ORCS.

 

Spouse of GORLIM.

 

Mentioned in “Beren and Lúthien”.

GORLIM

One of only a few survivors of BEREN’s men from the BATTLE OF SUDDEN FLAME, he is captured by SAURON’s ORCS who bring him before their   master.  SAURON offers to save his wife EILINEL from the coming onslaught and let him rejoin her if he betrays BEREN’s location.  GORLIM gives the  information but is killed instead, since SAURON reveals that his wife is already dead.  He appears as an apparition to BEREN, as if in a dream, to confess his betrayal and to urge him to escape.

 

Spouse of EILINEL

 

Appears in “Beren and Lúthien”.

MORWEN ELEDHWEN

Tall and slender, raven-haired and of stern disposition.  Pregnant at the time of her husband’s capture in the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS. Her tendency to keep her emotions and thoughts private make her appear cold.

 

Spouse of HÚRIN, mother of TÚRIN and NIËNOR, cousin of RÍAN.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

RÍAN

Pregnant at the time of her husband’s departure for the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS. After the battle she goes into the wilds to seek news of her husband.  She gives birth to her son TUOR and gives him to the care of ELVES before dying of grief upon the burial mound of her husband.

 

Spouse of HUOR, mother of TUOR, cousin of MORWEN, aunt of TÚRIN and NIËNOR, grandmother of EÄRENDIL, great-grandmother of ELROND and ELROS.

 

Mentioned in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

THE HOUSE OF HALETH

BRANDIR

Chieftain of the men of BRETHIL.  At a young age he suffered an injury which left him lame.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

DORLAS

A man of BRETHIL, he witnesses the death of FINDUILAS at the hands of ORCS and relays her final words to TÚRIN.

 

 Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

THE HOUSE OF HADOR

HÚRIN THALION

Blonde-haired mighty warrior who was raised in BRETHIL along with his brother.  The two were rescued from battle by ULMO and flown by the EAGLES to GONDOLIN for their safety.  They served TURGON there for a while but swore an oath of secrecy about the city and were eventually returned to HITHLUM.  He went to fight with his brother at the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS and was captured by MORGOTH’s forces and taken as a prisoner to ANGBAND.  There MORGOTH curses all of his family and chains him to a high seat forcing him to watch the downfall of his kin.

 

Spouse of MORWEN, father of TÚRIN and NIËNOR, brother of HUOR, uncle of TUOR.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”, mentioned in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

HUOR

Blonde-haired and the tallest of all MEN other than his son. He was raised in BRETHIL along with his brother.  The two were rescued from battle by ULMO and flown by the EAGLES to GONDOLIN for their safety.  They served TURGON there for a while but swore an oath of secrecy about the city and were eventually returned to HITHLUM.  He went to fight with his brother at the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS and was killed by MORGOTH’s forces.

 

Spouse of RÍAN, father of TUOR, brother of HUOR, uncle of TÚRIN and NIËNOR, grandfather of EÄRENDIL, great-grandfather of ELROND and ELROS

 

Mentioned in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

NIËNOR (also takes the name NÍNIEL)

Tall and golden-haired, her name means “mourning”.  Born after her father was captured by MORGOTH and her mother has sent away her brother to live in DORIATH.  Once grown she goes with her mother out of HITHLUM to try to find her brother.

 

Spouse of TURAMBAR, sister of TÚRIN, daughter of HÚRIN and MORWEN, niece of HUOR and RÍAN, cousin of TUOR.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

TÚRIN (also takes the names TURAMBAR and MORMEGIL or BLACK SWORD)

Tall, dark-haired, never merry, not one to speak unnecessarily and seems older than his years.  After his father is captured in battle his pregnant mother sends him to live in DORIATH.  He grows to be a great but grim warrior who is quick to anger.  The curse of MORGOTH upon his father and the rest of the family lays heavily on him.

 

Spouse of NÍNIEL, brother of NIËNOR, son of HÚRIN and MORWEN, nephew of HUOR and RÍAN, cousin of TUOR.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”.

TUOR

Born in the wilds after his father died in the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS and cared for by ELVES after the death of his mother.  Golden-haired and the tallest of all of the RACE OF MEN.  As a young man ULMO puts a desire in his heart to travel to the sea.  Upon reaching it ULMO  addresses him and delegates him to take a message to TURGON in the hidden city of GONDOLIN commanding him and his people to leave and head for the sea.

 

Spouse of IDRIL, father of EÄRENDIL, son of TUOR and RÍAN, grandfather of ELROND and ELROS, nephew of HÚRIN and MORWEN, cousin of TÚRIN and NIËNOR.

 

Appears in “The Fall of Gondolin”.

DWARVES

Created by one of the VALAR, they are not counted as children of ILÚVATAR although he did grant them independent life and have them placed in a deep underground chamber until their awakening.  They are short, hardy and long-lived but not immortal.  Whilst no individual named characters occur in this version of the mythology, the DWARVES do play a part in some of the battles witnessed.

NOTABLE CREATURES OF ARDA

DRAGONS

Also known as GREAT WORMS, intelligent, evil, greedy, cunning and malicious. They serve MORGOTH and take part in the BATTLE OF UNNUMBERED TEARS, the destruction of GONDOLIN and in WAR OF WRATH.  After the fall of GONDOLIN MORGOTH unleashes a new breed of winged DRAGONS upon MIDDLE-EARTH to rain fire from on high.

GLAURUNG THE GOLDEN

The first and father of all DRAGONS, one of MORGOTH’s lieutenants.  Four-legged, no wings and able to breath fire.  His gaze is able to transfix his victims and bewitch them to his will.

 

Appears in “The Children of Húrin”

EAGLES

The messengers of the ELDER KING, they were sent from VALINOR to keep a watchful eye on the NOLDOR that are in exile.  They often aid ELVES and MEN in their quests to defeat the evil of MORGOTH.  Although not specifically mentioned in this operatic version of the mythology they are represented by a musical theme that appears in “Beren and Lúthien” and “The Fall of Gondolin” at the points of their appearance in the original source material.

ORCS

Footsoldiers of MORGOTH and his lieutenants, created by him as a twisted mockery of ELVES.  Shorter than the ELDAR or MEN, hideous in appearance and loyal to their masters.

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST

CURSE OF MANDOS (or the DOOM OF THE VALAR, or PROPHECY OF THE NORTH)

The judgement of the VALAR, delivered by MANDOS, pronounced on the NOLDOR who take part in the slaying of the TELERI after their refusal to give them ships to leave VALINOR. The judgement pronounced is that VALINOR will be forever closed to them and the VALAR shall not aid them.  The OATH OF FËANOR shall betray them and all of their deeds shall be for naught.  Though immortal they shall come to their end, be it via battle or woe.  Those who remain shall be burdened with woe and regret until the younger race, the RACE OF MEN, inherit the earth.

 

GIRDLE OF MELIAN (or the GIRDLE OF DORIATH)

The name for the enchantments put in place by MELIAN to protect DORIATH from all outside invaders.  Only BEREN and CARCAROTH managed to cross it without the permission of MELIAN during THINGOL’s rule.  Upon his death in the woods outside of DORIATH her magic falters enough to allow the SONS OF FËANOR entry and when they confront her with the head of THINGOL she surrenders all of her enchantments and leaves the realm open to its enemies.

 

THE SILMARILS

Three gems of great beauty created using the light of the TWO TREES OF VALINOR by FËANOR, who alone knows the method of their creation. ELBERETH used her power to make sure that no mortal or evil hands could touch them without being burned.  They were tainted though with arrogance and a lust for any who desired to possess them.  When MORGOTH, aided by UNGOLIANT, destroyed the TWO TREES, FËANOR is asked to surrender his creations so that the light in them can be used to restore the trees.  He refuses to destroy his handiwork.  MORGOTH, at that moment, has broken into his home, killed his father and stolen the gems.  The gems burn his hands horribly but he bears the pain and sets them into an iron crown.

 

TWO TREES OF VALINOR

The silver and gold trees that were the source of light in VALINOR, created by the VALAR and given light by ELBERETH.  This light is what is used by FËANOR in the creation of the SILMARILS.  After their destruction at the hands of MORGOTH and UNGOLIANT, ELBERETH cannot recreate their light but instead uses a remnant from each tree to create the Sun and the Moon.

 

THE OATH OF FËANOR

The oath taken by FËANOR and his sons to recover the SILMARILS  from MORGOTH and to pursue with hatred any others who attempt to withhold the jewels from them. Since the oath names ILÚVATAR as witness, it cannot be broken.

 

THE WAR OF WRATH

The contest between the forces of MORGOTH and his enemies, with the VALAR led by ËONWË in response to the plea for assistance delivered to them by EÄRENDIL.