The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The time before the Darkening of Valinor and the Flight of the Noldor1
Location
Valinor in the West
Origins
Brought about by the machinations of Melkor
Race
Division
Family
The chief discord was between the sons of Finwë
Settlements
The Noldor dwelt for the most part in Tirion at this time; Fëanor went into exile at Formenos
Pronunciation
Noldor is pronounced 'no'ldorr'
Meaning
Noldor means 'those with knowledge'

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About this entry:

  • Updated 21 March 2019
  • This entry is complete

Unrest of the Noldor

Disquiet in the Blessed Realm

At the time of the coming of the first Elves, the Valar went in force against Melkor to protect the newly awakened Children of Ilúvatar. In the Battle of the Powers they captured the Dark Lord, and bound him with the chain Angainor in the depths of Mandos for three ages. While Melkor languished in Mandos, many of the Elves made the Great Journey across the Sea to Aman, and dwelt in bliss in the company of the Valar and Maiar.

When the term of his imprisonment was completed, Melkor sued for release and promised to aid the Valar in their works, and Manwë agreed. Melkor's repentance, though, was far from sincere; he hated the Elves for the part they had played in bringing about his downfall, and began to plot their destruction. Once he saw the Silmarils, he was filled with lust for the Jewels, and his hatred fixed especially on their creator Fëanor.

Thus Melkor began to spread subtle lies among the Elves, that the Valar had brought them to Aman to open Middle-earth to the Younger Children, Men, who were at that time yet to awaken. Amongst the princes of the Noldor he spread rumours that Fingolfin, Fëanor's half-brother and second son to Finwë, was plotting to usurp the leadership of the Noldor. Fëanor came to believe these claims, leading him to forge arms and threaten his brother. For this act Fëanor was banished to his fortress of Formenos, and with him went his father Finwë.

Melkor's part in this unrest was revealed, and rather than face punishment he vanished from Valinor. Going to Formenos himself, he sought to stoke Fëanor's anger against the Valar and his fellow Noldor, but Fëanor closed his gates and Melkor fled into hiding for a time. Melkor's unmasking as the source of the unrest did not bring it to an end: his lies still festered in the heart of Fëanor. When Melkor returned to Valinor, destroying the Two Trees and stealing the Silmarils, the words he had spoken against the Valar set Fëanor on a path back to Middle-earth. A great part of the Noldor followed him out of Aman, seeking freedom from their imagined captivity, and pursuing the stolen Silmarils. Thus the unrest fomented by Melkor stirred the Noldor instead to march against the Dark Lord in Middle-earth, and this Flight of the Noldor from Aman would lead, after centuries of warfare, to Melkor's ultimate defeat.


Notes

1

According to The Annals of Aman in volume X of The History of Middle-earth, Melkor was first recorded as spreading lies among the Elves in Valian Year 1410, and the banishment of Fëanor took place in 1490, five (Valian) years before the Darkening of Valinor. Converting these figures to solar years, and depending how we date the beginning and end of the period, the Unrest of the Noldor lasted for about eight hundred years.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 21 March 2019
  • This entry is complete

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