Fëanor (fey-ah-nor) was the firstborn son of Finwë, the only child of Míriel. His true name was Curufinwë, but his mother called him Fëanor, which means Spirit of Fire. Indeed, Fëanor was among the boldest of the Elves. Bearing Fëanor had cost Míriel much in spirit and body, and so she diminished and died as she was lead to rest for recovery. He never much cared for his father's new bride, Indis, or her sons, Fingolfin and Finarfin.
So Finwë's love all came upon his son. It is said that "Fëanor grew quickly, as if a secret fire were kindled within him." Tall, elegant, dominating, with piercingly bright eyes and very dark hair, he shone with his audacity. He was always focused on his own pursuits and potential, never taking counsel from anyone, save his wife, Nerdanel. Fëanor spent much time developing his skills in craftsmanship. When he reached the zenith of his skill in forging, he secretly developed the Silmarils. Their radiant beauty soon had become his most valued treasure, and he became engulfed in greed over them, daring not to share their sight anyone save his father Finwë or Fëanor's seven sons, Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod, and Amras. As Melkor spread rumors and lies to divide the Noldor, Fëanor surreptitiously built up arms for himself and his sons, using his superior mastery of craft. Distrust had spread through Tirion, so Finwë called his lords to council. His son, Fingolfin, came quickly and spoke desperately of Fëanor's doings. Fëanor, armed and armored, arrived soon enough to hear this and challenged Fingolfin's words at the tip of a sword. For drawing a blade against his kin, the Valar banished Fëanor from Tirion for twelve years. Although Fingolfin was forgiving, Fëanor went into banishment, accompanied by his father who loved him, and with his sons as his followers. In his exile, Fëanor created a treasury of jewels and gems. Within this, the Silmarils were secured. In his devices of trickery, Melkor warned Fëanor that the Silmarils would not be safe. Seeing that Melkor desired them, Fëanor commanded him away and shut the door in his face.
When at last the fruits of the Trees of Valinor had begun to ripen, Manwë called for a great feast of all people of Valinor, and Fëanor was granted invitation to attend, and he did. There, Fingolfin again forgave Fëanor, who accepted it. Then Fingolfin made oath to Fëanor: "Half-brother in blood, full brother in heart I will be. Thou shalt lead, and I will follow." Responded Fëanor: "I hear thee. So be it." While everyone feasted in praise of Eru, Melkor took his revenge by killing the Trees, raiding the treasury at Formenos, stealing the Silmarils, and slaying Finwë. Bitter over the theft of his most precious works, and even more bitter over the murder of his father, Fëanor cursed Melkor, "Morgoth!", the Black Foe of the World, the name by which Melkor would remain known in history. The Valar did not escape blame, for in his enraged passion, he thought that his father could have been saved, had he not been summoned to the feast.
Against his banishment, Fëanor returned to Tirion and called the Noldor to high court. There, he gave a speech so great that it was remembered forever by the Noldor. He claimed kingship over his people and eloquently spoke of revenge against Morgoth and distrust of the Valar, who failed to stop their kind and enemy from committing evil. He told them to return to their home in Middle Earth and to leave the small, now darkened land and to return to open life under unclouded starlight, among flowing waters. He uttered the lies of Morgoth, which he thought to be true, that the Valar would hold the Eldar captive in the Blessed Realm so that Men would dominate the lands of Middle Earth. He urged his Noldor to go to the ends of the Earth and to fight to the bitter end for the Silmarils, so that the hallowed light would again belong to it rightful owners. Fëanor and his seven sons then swore an awful vow to oppose all of any race or power that kept a Silmaril from their possession. Fingolfin and Turgon argued against Fëanor. Many of the Noldor were moved by the speech, but choose not to speak against their fathers who might have opposed. Ultimately, Fëanor won the debate that had ensued, and the greater portion of the Noldor rallied behind him and his cause. Fingolfin, remembering his promise to his brother, hesitantly followed him, along with Finarfin.
Fëanor's legions followed him northward, in pursuit of the fleeing Morgoth. They came at last to Alqualondë, the city of the Teleri. Fëanor reminded them of when they first came to the shores of the Undying Lands and how the Noldor labored to aid the Teleri in settling. In spite of this, Olwë, lord of the Teleri, would not go against the Valar and aid the Noldor in their quest. Fëanor and his people went to the haven and tried to take the ships of the Teleri by force. A battle of swords erupted. The Teleri slew many of the Noldor and pushed them into the sea. Fëanor's company had grim hope when the lingering hosts of Fingolfin and Finarfin arrived to see their kin in peril. Better armed, stronger, and reinforced, the Noldor defeated the Teleri and pirated their white ships, which were held among the greatest of treasures of the Teleri. The seas roared angrily at the Kinslaying, sinking many of the ships. Most of them, however, survived and ferried across the sea. A messenger of the Valar spoke to them, saying that their actions had sealed their doom and that they would be the makers of their own destruction. Fëanor hearkened not, but Finarfin turned back at this and brought his host back to the Blessed Realm. They continued northward until they reached the far North, which was cold, and there lied a narrow straight of ice. The choice was left to travel by straight or by sea, but the ships were too few. Fëanor then decided that he and his host would sail across the Great Sea on the ships. They did so secretly and crossed the narrow part of the sea, landing at Drengist.
When Maedhros asked his father what ships they would spare to Fingolfin and his people, Fëanor scoffed and said: "None and none! What I have left behind I count now no loss; needless baggage on the road it has proved. let those that cursed my name, curse me still, and whine their way back to the cages of the Valar. Let the ships burn!" So Fëanor's host burned the ships and betrayed their brethren under Fingolfin. The red light of the burning of the fleet was seen on the horizon for many miles. This light had been seen by the Orc hosts of Morgoth, who preceded to assail the Noldor as they had arrived at the Lake of Mithrim in the land of Hithlum. Outnumbered and unprepared, the Noldor should have been annihilated, but they still bore the light of Aman within their eyes, and with longer swords and triumphant anger, they slaughtered the armies of Orcs and pushed them into Ard-Galen. From the Falas in the south, another group of Orcs came to aid their allies, but Celegorm caught word of their march and took his portion of the host and fought them off and pushed them back to the Fen of Serech. Thus, upon their return, Fëanor hadscored his first victory in winning the Second Battle in the Wars of Beleriand, Dagor-nuin-Giliath.
This victory was to be short-lived, as Fëanor pursued north arrogantly, after the retreating forces of his enemy. He came to Angband, cocky and determined, unaware of the dangers and defenses of Morgoth. In Dor Daedeloth, Fëanor was surrounded by emerging Balrogs with few comrades to aid him. He fought gallantly and was wounded multiple times, until at last he fell, by the hand of Gothmog, Lord of the Balrogs. The Balrogs left him there and his sons came and carried his dying body with them. He ordered them to stop, knowing that the hour of his death has nigh. Gazing from the slopes of Ered Wethrin, he saw the peaks of Thangorodrim. He cursed Morgoth's name and reminded his sons of their oath and to avenge their father. Then he died, and his spirit was so fiery at heart, that when it left him, his body turned to ash, and it was carried away like smoke. Thus ended the greatest of the Noldor, whose legacy would carry on after his death, whose actions in life would forever change the world afterward.