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Concerning Hidden Realities and Human Destiny

The Silmarillion - A Beginner's Guide (Redux) - Part 13 - Of the Sindar

John Carswell | Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Though Middle-earth lay for the most part in the Sleep of Yavanna, in Beleriand under the power of Melian there was life and joy...
(The Silmarillion, 91)

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This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walk through of The Silmarillion. This time, I look at the tenth chapter of The Silmarillion proper, "Of the Sindar." You can see all the posts in this series by clicking here. You can also find other Silmarillion resources here.

meilian's forest by breath-art

"meilian's forest" by breath-art © 2013 - 2017

The Noldor, led by Fëanor, have re-entered Beleriand in pursuit of Morgoth and the Silmarils. This chapter brings us up to speed with the Elves that already inhabit Beleriand, especially the people of Thingol (a.k.a. the Sindar) and what has transpired in the many years since their brethren departed Beleriand for the Blessed Realm.

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

Key Figures

  • Moriquendi: These are Elves who have not seen the light of Valinor.
  • Sindar: These are Moriquendi who set out for Valinor but stopped in Beleriand. They are otherwise known as the Grey Elves and are ruled by Thingol and Melian.
  • Dwarves: Or Naugrim, who enter Beleriand over the Blue Mountains and establish a profitable relationship with Thingol.
  • Thingol and Melian: They have established a great kingdom in Beleriand while most of Middle-earth still slumbers.
Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

Key Events

  • The Coming of the Dwarves: After awakening in the east, they join with Thingol’s people, to create Menegroth, the Thousand Caves.
  • The First Battle of Beleriand: The Sindar join with other Elves to do battle with Morgoth’s forces and achieve a limited victory.
  • The Girdle of Melian Established: Melian creates a magical barrier around the kingdom of Doriath to keep out intruders.

Key Takeaways

  • Tension between Dwarves and Elves: Though they partner in some ways, there exists a tension in the relationship of Dwarves and Elves from the beginning.
  • Morgoth Brings War: Morgoth doesn’t intend to simply sit in Angband and gaze at the Silmarils forever. He intends to bring death and destruction to Beleriand just as he brought it to Valinor.
  • Behind Every Great Man...: Thingol’s kingdom will endure longer than most, in large part owing to the great powers of Melian.

Key Quotes

  • Though Middle-earth lay for the most part in the Sleep of Yavanna, in Beleriand under the power of Melian there was life and joy, and the bright stars shone as silver fires; and there in the forest of Neldoreth Lúthien was born, and the white flowers of niphredil came forth to greet her as stars from the earth.
  • It came to pass during the second age of the captivity of Melkor that Dwarves came over the Blue Mountains of Ered Luin into Beleriand. Themselves they named Khazâd, but the Sindar called them Naugrim, the Stunted People, and Gonnhirrim, Masters of Stone.
  • And when Thingol came again to Menegroth he learned that the Orc-host in the west was victorious, and had driven Círdan to the rim of the sea. Therefore he withdrew all his people that his summons could reach within the fastness of Neldoreth and Region, and Melian put forth her power and fenced all that dominion round about with an unseen wall of shadow and bewilderment: the Girdle of Melian, that none thereafter could pass against her will or the will of King Thingol, unless one should come with a power greater than that of Melian the Maia.

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

What else do you take away from "Of the Sindar"? Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and random observations below.

Tolkien's Requiem Concerning Beren and Lúthien by John CarswellWant to learn more about The Silmarillion? My book Tolkien's Requiem explores the stories of Middle-earth's First Age through the prism of Tolkien's most personal tale: Beren and Lúthien. It's designed to work as a "back door" approach for those who struggle to get a start on The Silmarillion. Click here to learn more!

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