Ch:Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
|Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor|
|Author||J. R. R. Tolkien|
This chapter tells of the birth of the Elves, the downfall of Melkor's dominion in Arda, and of the Elves' pilgrimage to Valinor.
 Plot Summary
 The Twilight of Arda
There was darkness over Eä, illuminated only by the starlight in the sky of undying night. Many dark creatures roamed the Earth, and the Valar rarely ventured into their once proud kingdom from The Spring of Arda. Only Yavanna and Oromë ever went there. Yavanna put her trees and forest into slumber, so they would not age and die, and Oromë hunted many of Melkor's foul beasts that haunted the land. While the Valar remained reserved, Melkor rested not and worked tirelessly. He bred many terrible monsters within Utumno. His darkest and most powerful servants had hearts of fire, were shrouded in darkness, and they carried whips of flame. They were Balrogs. Melkor also built a fortress near the northwestern shores of Middle-earth, to defend against attack from Valinor. It was commanded by his lieutenant, Sauron.
 The Valar Prepare
The Valar gathered and discussed the fate of Middle-earth. Yavanna feared the Children of Ilúvatar should only come into being to fall under the grasp of Melkor. Tulkas called for war, but Manwë was not so hasty. He said that through starlight in darkness the Firstborn would come. He called for Varda to aid them. So she took dew from Telperion and endeavored to create new stars to light a path for the Firstborn. She created Carnil, Luinil, Nénar, Lumbar, Alcarinquë, and Elemmírë. She made the constellations of Wilwarin, Telumendil, Soronúmë, Anarríma, Menelmacar, and Valacirca in the north, the Sickle of the Valar and the sign of doom for Melkor.
 The Firstborn
As Varda ended her works, as Menelmacar strode up in the sky, and as the blue blaze of Helluin twinkled in the clouds beyond the Earth, the Firstborn of the Children awoke. By the lake of Cuiviénen they were, and they first saw the the starlight and have loved it ever since, and the Firstborn cherish Varda most of all the Valar. The first thing they heard was also the sound of water flowing and trickling over stone. They lived by those shores for some time, amazed at the world they now saw. They developed a language and gave names to all the things that they had seen. They called themselves the Quendi, those that speak, for they had met no others yet that did speak. It so happened that Oromë traveled far east and was astonished to hear voices singing. The Quendi amazed him for what they were, as he had never before seen the likes of them. It is said that the strength and greatness of the Firstborn on the Elder Days was never higher than then, but their fairness yet remains in the West.
Oromë was a fright to some of the Quendi, for rumors spread that hunters and dark riders came and devoured those of the Quendi that wandered too far into the wilderness. When he first came to them, many of them fled and hid at the sound of Nahar's neighing. The noblest and bravest of the Quendi did not flee, and they remained, seeing that the light of Aman was upon Oromë's face. He loved the Quendi very much, and he named them the Eldar, the People of the Stars. These rumors that scared the others away were a product of Melkor's lies that he sought to spread, or of his own dark riders that he sent forth. It is said that those of the Quendi who were captured were taken to Utumno, where they met horrors unimaginable. Little is known of what happened, but the only truth known for sure is that the dark ways of Melkor turned the Quendi into his race of Orcs, and they would soon become the enemies of the Quendi. This deed is considered the most cruel of Melkor, the perversion and desecration of beautiful life.
 Arda Reclaimed
Oromë returned to Valinor to tell the Valar that he had found the Firstborn of the Children. They were overjoyed to hear this news, but they were unsure of what to do. Oromë rode back to the Quendi immediately while the Valar pondered. Manwë finally decided that Arda must again belong to the Valar. Tulkas was glad at this, but Aulë was more reserved. He knew that war with Melkor would create devastation to the Earth. Nonetheless, they prepared for battle, and the host of the Valar had their first, swift victory in the northwest of Middle-earth. Melkor's forces retreated to Utumno and the Valar sent protection to Cuiviénen. The Quendi know little of what happened in the Battle of the Powers, expect that earth and water shook, and that lights on the northern horizon lit like great, distant fires were yonder.
The Battle caused the Great Sea between Aman and Middle-earth to widen, and some lands were swallowed beneath the water. The Great Gulf formed in the south, and many bays formed between the Gulf and the Helcaraxë, the greatest of them being the Bay of Balar. The mountains around Dorthonion were raised, and the river Sirion flowed from it. The northern lands of Middle-earth were well laid to waste.
The Valar finally breached the gates if Utumno and Melkor hid in his deepest pit beneath the Earth. Tulkas wrestled with Melkor and then he was bound with Angainor, a chain made by Aulë. Melkor was led out of Utumno, and his dark reign had ended. Still, not all the many caverns of Utumno were searched in Utumno, nor in Angband. Many dark creatures hid in those or fled into the wilderness, and Sauron remained hidden. Still, bound hand and foot and blindfolded, Melkor was brought to the Ring of Doom before Manwë. Melkor asked for pardon and was denied. They then threw him into the depths of Mandos, from where none can escape, no matter how mighty, and Melkor would be imprisoned there for three ages before he would be tried again.
 Summoning the Quendi
After casting Melkor into prison, the Valar debated over their next course of action. Ulmo and others believed that the Quendi should be left to roam freely in Middle-earth and to establish their own realms and fix the damages done to the world by their own means. Others desired for the Quendi to live with them, to share with them the light of the Two Trees and befriend them. Ultimately, it was decided that summons would be sent to the Quendi for them to come. With this, Mandos said, "So it is doomed."
The Quendi were afraid to travel to Aman, though, for they had only seen signs of their wrath in the Battle, and they preferred to remain. So Oromë, the only Vala that they knew, returned to them and convinced them to send three ambassadors, Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë. When they came to Valinor, they were mystified and dignified by the glamor of the realm, and they longed for the light of the Two Trees. So when they returned to their brethren, they urged them to go West. Those that followed the words of Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë became known as the Eldar (as named by Oromë), but many of the Quendi refused to leave their home for a distant myth, so they became the Avari, the Unwilling. They did not meet again with the Eldar until many ages had come and gone.
Ingwë led the first and smallest host. He led them into Valinor without much delay, and neither he nor the other Elves of his following ever looked back again to Middle-earth. They were the Vanyar. Finwë led the next group, the Noldor, the Deep Elves. Elwë led the largest group of the Eldar, the Teleri, which arrived to Valinor after the other two, for they lingered hesitantly. They had two lords who commanded them, Elwë and his brother Olwë. When they reached the western shores of Middle-earth, they developed a love for the ocean, and they were known as the Falmari, the Sea-Elves, when they came to Aman. It took many years for the Eldar to come to Aman, because Middle-earth was vast and uncharted. Many of the Eldar were frequently intrigued by the new things that they saw as they traveled and did not want to move too quickly. The Misty Mountains also slowed the Teleri who had reached the Great River, Anduin. They seemed higher and more terrible than any yet. So they stayed on the east bank of the river, while the Vanyar and the Noldor crossed it, led by Oromë, who left the Teleri. This made them afraid to travel further. Olwë and his followers forsook the journey to the West, and he took his people south, along the river. They were the Nandor, and little was known about them until Denethor brought part of them to the west, before the Moon first rose.
The Noldor and Vanyar had continued and crossed Ered Luin, the Blue Mountains, and came to the westernmost land, known as Beleriand. When they came to the shores of the sea, many feared to cross it, for it was so vast, and so many went into the woods and the mountains of Beleriand, while the main segment of the traveling hosts continued onward. Elwë urged the Teleri to move once more, and they passed the Misty Mountain, marched through Eriador, and then crossed Ered Luin as well. They stopped for a time at the River Gelion.
All those who had arrived in the Blessed Realm were known as the Calaquendi, the Elves of Light. The Avari in the far east and those of the Teleri that stopped their march in the western regions of Middle-earth were known as the Moriquendi, the Elves of Darkness, because they never saw the light of the Two Trees of Valinor.