Feanor et al. Did Nothing Wrong

How am I just now learning about the Feanor Did Nothing Wrong memes?

For those who don’t know, the story goes a little something like this:

So the Valar (kind of like the gods of Middle-Earth, but maybe like archangels or something in-between) started out by making literal heaven for the elves, and they lit it with two magic trees.  An elf named Feanor caught the light and poured it and part of his essence into three amazing gems called the Silmarils.

The heavy of the piece, Melkor, convinced the mother of all spiders to poison the two magic trees, then sat back and waited for Team Good to tear itself apart.  There was a kerfuffle about whether to use the magic McGuffin gems to rebuild the trees, and the Valar almost went to war with Feanor over it.  It almost happened, but not quick enough for your average Dark Lord’s bigger and badder daddy-boss.  Impatient, Melkor stole the gems, and spirited them away to the dungheap lands where the men dwelt.  Feanor basically told the Valar, “You wanted the gems, help me get them back.”

The Valar were like, “Nah, it’ll be fine.”

Spoilers:  It so very, very wasn’t.

Feanor dedicated himself to recovering his gems and put that goal before all else, and some people think he might have gone a little too far.  Just because he burned fleets, started a millennia long civil war, forced his sons to continue his monomaniacal obsession even after his death at the hands of pretty much all the Balrogs, and you know, little things like that.

Which is a gross over-simplification.  It’s like calling Ford v Ferrari a race car movie.  Or calling Citizen Kane the story of a man who liked his sled.

The story of the silmarils is so entertwined with the history of Middle-Earth that it lent its name to what many consider the bible of the world – the Silmarillion.  And people actually spend a lot of time talking about whether Feanor did nothing wrong or not and man, this world is an incredible place.

For my part, I don’t think Feanor did anything wrong.  Nor do I think the Valar did anything wrong.  They wanted to replenish the trees of heaven.  They were willing to punish puny little Feanor for his greed, but couldn’t afford to punish Melkor once he fled east.  Hey, we’ve all been there.  It’s really the story of how evil can pit good men against each other, both in the right, and both fully justified in their actions.

But then, I know more than the average bear and a lot less than the best bears around.  This subject deserves further research.

I’m going to go look up more memes.

About Jon Mollison

Jon Mollison was weaned at the literary knee of Tolkein, Howard, Moore, and Burroughs. He spent decades wandering in the wilderness of modern genre fiction, wondering when the magic and wonder went out of the world of dragons and space ships. In his darkest hour, he encountered a wise man who handed him the open secrets to crafting works that emulate the stories of the great authors who built the genre. They are easily summarized in but two words: Regress Harder. Now one of the twelve champions of the Pulp Revolution, his self-published works represent a more direct lineage to the tales of action, mystery, romance, virtue, and pure unalloyed adventure than the bland imitations churned out by New York City publishing houses in recent decades.
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