Discussion in 'Character Profiles' started by Inderjit S, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S Bootylicious

    Maedhros: Smarter then your average Red-head


    'Maedhros' the eldest son of Fëanor, is generally held with a reverence, respect and admiration that is bereft of the (misunderstood!) house of Fëanor-of all the Fëanorians he is the one who for the most part keep his poise, nobility and strength of character and thus enhanced the reputation of the Fëanorians greatly and changed the fate of Arda (albeit unwillingly) for the better.

    Well, let’s start with his early history in Valinor. In the
    Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12) in a excursus to the original essay, Tolkien writes some information on the Quenya names of the Finwëans. In it we find out that Maedhros's father name Nelyafinwë means 'Finwë third in succession', his father, Fëanor, was first named Minyafinwë though this was later changed to Kurufinwë. His name could be a assertion on the part of Fëanor on his house being the legitimate and eldest house of Finwë thus disregarding his half-brothers, Fingolfin and Finarfin, though I don't think Findis and Lalwendë would have come into it. His mother-name was Maitimo which means 'well shaped one', since Maedhros was of "beautiful bodily form". So Maedhros had a nice body (Did Tirion have a gym?;) :D :p) in comparison to most of the Eldar. Of course the Amanyar had a vitality of body that was greater then that of their counterparts in Middle-Earth, and even the Elves of Middle-Earth had a vitality of body that was greater then most Men. (Note Tolkien's description of Legolas in The History of Eriol BoLT 2).

    His epessë was Russandol (coper-top), and he used his mother and nick-name to create his Sindarin name, Maedhros. A interesting point here is that in latter essays Tolkien often dropped the "h" from his name and wrote it as Maedros. In the Problem of Ros we learn that Tolkien wanted to changed his name from Maedhros to Maedron. This could be because of of Fëanor's disdain with the letter 'S' (See the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12) for more info. on this) though it could be because Tolkien was unsure on the meaning of ros and how it fitted in with Maedhros's name. He was also called 'the tall'.

    Maedhros also had re-brown hair, as did the twin brethren Amrod and Amras. They inherited this from their mother Nerdanel. His was said to be similar in mood and face to his grandfather Sarmo Urundil (Mahtan) and they both wore copper-circlets on their heads. Maedhros may have been a great lover of copper then, he may have received a lot from the Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod who trafficked much in Beleriand and his younger brother Caranthir was said to have received a lot of the goods of Dwarves that passed into Beleriand. We learn in Of Maeglin (HoME 11) that the Dwarves of Belegost were closer to the Fëanorians then the Dwarves of Nogrod, but whether they had more copper or any other goods it now known, though they play the more heroic part in the WoTJ. His grand-father was also a Aulëndur (Servant of Aulë), in History of Galadriel and Celeborn we learn that Galadriel too was a Aulëndur so maybe Maedhros had a positive relationship with Galadriel in Aman? He seems to be the most diplomatic of all the Fëanorians, he was close friends with Findekano (Fingon) but of course there would be no reason for the various houses of Finwë not to mix prior to their corruption by Morgoth's lies.

    Him and Fingon were great friends in Aman. One wonders what they used to get up to? Maedhros would have been the eldest, but they would have been the first of the Second generation of Finwëans and shows a closeness and love that developed in the sons of Fingolfin and Fëanor-though they had little of it for each other.

    As attributed by the chapter Of The Return of the Ñoldor , Maedhros and Fingon were caught up in the rivalries that were brewing amongst the Ñoldorin houses and they didn't make up (with many hugs and kisses I bet) until Fingon rescued Maedhros when he was hanging off Thangorodrim.The Annals of Aman tell us that Maedhros was out hunting with his brother when Finwë was slain by Morgoth and they came back late but it was he who brought the tidings to his father. Like all his brother swore the oath of the Silmaril, much to the disgust of the Ñoldor and no doubt his boyfri... (sorry 'friend'-there’s only room for straight-laced platonic relationships in Tolkien) yet he was against the burning of the ships at Losgar by his father. But in the Shibboleth of Fëanor we learn that Fëanor roused a few people at night and burnt the ships without the general knowledge and consent of most his host.

    After the death of his father, Maedhros led a group in order to discuss peace with Morgoth, though the intentions of both parties were crooked. But Maedhros's group was over-helmed and he was captured and held hostage by Morgoth. When Morgoth realised that the Fëanorians would not meet his demands for the release of Maedhros he hung him off a precipice on Thangorodrim. According to the Annals of Aman (HoME 10) Maedhros was left hanging ( ahh-a double entendre ;) ) for some 20 odd years. Now I think most people are aware that you cannot live 20 odd years without food (despite the rigorous efforts of Mr. Blaine) or a copy of PlayboyTM. So was Maedhros fed-if so how? And why would Morgoth want to keep him alive unless it was a symbol of fear for the Elves and to dent to pride of the Ñoldor. Or was he able to survive this long with no food, water etc. Osanwe-Kwenta makes it clear that the incarnates had to eat-so one wonders how he survived with no food, was it because he had just come from Aman?

    Maedhros then seceded, and the Kingship passed from the house of Fëanor to the House of Fingolfin, thus fulfilling the Curse of Mandos that the Fëanorians would become the dispossessed. One must wonder if Fingolfin was not already the King of the Ñoldor? The Shibboleth of Fëanor tells us that Fingolfin claimed the Kingship during the rebellion and Of the Flight of the Ñoldor tells us that the majority of the Ñoldor marched under Fingolfin and Finarfin. I think 'passing over' the Kingship was a mere formality on the part of Maedhros, though not all his brothers liked it.
  2. Inderjit S

    Inderjit S Bootylicious

    Maedhros-The Papa Smurf of the Noldor.

    The Fëanorians soon removed to Eastern Beleriand, which according to Of Maeglin and Quendi and Eldar (HoME 11) was little populated by the Sindar and thus they were free to order to lands as they wished. Maedhros chose the Hill of Himring as his base. ('Himring' later survived the sinking of Beleriand, and it's named 'Himling‘.) It is probable that Maedhros was held 'over-lord' of Eastern Beleriand holding rule over his 5 brothers. It also seems that the Fëanorians lived wholly separately from the other Beleriandic kingdoms. They may have taken some of the Mithrim Sindar into their kingdoms, though the Iathrim Sindar seem to have matched the anti-Fëanorian policy of their King, Elwe Þindikollo. They spoke the Northern Sindarin dialect-this was said in the Problem of Ros (HoME 11) to anger Thingol and the Iathrim Sindar who disliked their Northern Sindar who claimed they were treacherous and being 'spies of Morgoth'. The truth in this is questionable, and it contradicts the statement in Quendi and Eldar (HoME 11) that no Elf ever served Morgoth of free will but some were daunted by his eyes and became his spies. Of course the Mithrim Sindar would be more likely to be captured by Morgoth then the isolationist Iathrim Sindar. But I think the use of Northern Sindarin was more due to convenience then annoyance of Elwe Þindikollo. Maedhros together with Maglor attended the Mereth Aderthad ('Feast of Re-uniting').

    In the Dagor Aglareb he and Fingolfin came upon the main host of Morgoth as they were assaulting Dorthonion and destroyed them. They they held closer relations and began the Siege of Angband. In the time that passed between this and the Dagor Bragollach little happened. Glaurung issued forth but was driven away by Fingon, and due to his rescuing of Azaghal when he was waylaid on the Dwarf-road in Eastern Beleriand (Narn i Hin Húrin; U.T ) he was given the Dragon-Helm, which he passed on (as a anniversary gift?) to Fingon, which he gave to Hador.

    Men also came into Beleriand but it seems as though Maedhros had little interaction with them. Amlach, who was said to be one of the leaders of discontent amongst the Edain when they first entered Beleriand went into his service after something or someone made out to be Amlach in a council held in Estolad.

    In the Dagor Bragollach his kingdom upon Himring was the only one of the Fëanorian kingdoms that stayed in tact and this was largely because of the valour of Maedhros. The most valiant of Eastern Beleriand and Dorthonion were said to have rallied to him so Himring would have been a collection of Fëanorians, Finarfians, Men from Estolad and maybe some Bëorians.

    After the disgraceful behaviour of his younger brothers, Celegorm and Curufin, Elwe Þindikollo sent messengers to Maedhros to ask for aid in the search for Lúthien, but they never reached Maedhros as Carcharoth came into Doriath and of all the messenger Mablung was the only one who survived. Maedhros sent haughty words to Elwe Þindikollo telling him to relinquish the Silmaril's and if he didn't the Iathrim would become their enemies, whilst Celegorm and Curufin vowed to attack Doriath if they came victorious from the proposed attack on Morgoth. (Latter called Nirnaeth Arnoediad).

    It was Maedhros who re-united the now separate Ñoldorin kingdoms to make the Union of Maedhros, a Union of the Ñoldor, Mithrim and Falathrim Sindar, Naugrim, Edain and Easterlings and one of the greatest hosts that was ever assembled, yet this was no-where near the full might of Beleriand.

    Maedhros also welcomed the new come Easterling men. Bor and his followers served him, and they were faithful, but Ulfang and his followers served Caranthir-but they betrayed him and the Ñoldor. One wonders whether the choice of lords had any effect on the actions of Bor and Ulfang, although Ulfang's tribe are in Of the Ruin of Beleriand to be partly under the dominion of Morgoth prior to entering Beleriand, and in the Grey Annals this is more explicitly stated, as well as the kindly nature of the Borrim, one wonders whether if Ulfang's tribe served Maedhros if they would repent of their Morgoth worship.

    Nevertheless, it was because of the treachery of the Easterlings that the Nirnaeth Arnoediad was lost. Maedhros was deceived by Uldor who told him of a false assault from Angband, and thus he was delayed and the impatient host of Nargothrond attacked the Orks, followed by the Western Host. When Maedhros and the Eastern host finally came in the third hour of the morning on the fifth day of the Nirnaeth, and his trumpets were heard, hope was renewed in the forlorn hearts of the Western host. But Maedhros's host was assailed from behind and from the East and the Eastern host was scattered and though injured Maedhros and his brothers managed to escape and fled to Mount Dolmed and resided with the Nandor in Ossiriand.

    There the Fëanorians lived in isolation for a while, until they heard of the death of Lúthien and Beren Erchamion and the passing of the Silmaril to their son Dior, and demanded the return of the jewel, but he refused to yield it and they attacked and ravaged Dior's realm in Doriath and slew Dior and Nimloth, but the Silmaril eluded them and the servants of Celegorm captured the twin sons of Dior Elured and Elurin and left them to starve in the forest. Of these deeds Maedhros later repented and he went looking afar for them, but to no avail. According to the map in Grey Annals (HoME 11) the sons of Fëanor now dwelt just south to Amon Ereb the 'Lonely Hill'. When they heard of the dwelling of Elwing on mouths of Sirion Maedhros withheld the wrath of his brothers. But eventually, he sent messengers to Elwing telling her to yield the Silmaril, but she refused. Therefore, Maedhros and his brothers attacked the realm on the Mouth of Sirion. It is said that some stood aside, and some aided the Fëanorians, maybe there was a group of Fëanorians from Nargothrond (Under Celebrimbor?) or just divided Ñoldorin feelings, but yet again the Silmaril and Elwing escaped their grasp. Amrod was slain in the attack on the Havens of Sirion. (Amras was killed in the burning of the ships at Losgar, as told in the Shibboleth of Fëanor (HoME 12)) and Maedhros and Maglor took the twin sons of Elwing, Elrond and Elros, and brought them up as their sons, and great love grew between them, though Maglor was closer to Elrond and Elros then Maedhros, whose heart was sick with the oath.

    After the victory over Morgoth by the Host of the Valar and the capture of the Silmaril, Maedhros and Maglor demanded that the Silmaril's should be given to them, but Eonwë who commanded them to come before the Valar and repent of their evil deeds. And although Maglor wanted to yield, Maedhros had the greater wisdom, maybe and counselled that mayhap they would bring a seed of evil in Aman and the Valar may not have the power to release them from their oath. Therefore they abandoned Elrond and Elros (Letters of Tolkien) in a cave, and slew the guards and stole the Silmaril. But the Silmaril would not endure his touch, for his evil deeds and he cast himself into a gaping chasm filled with fire, and so ended Maedhros Russandol, might and noble amongst the Elves, whose cruel fate still makes the minstrels weep, as did his bad breath and poor body odour. (sorry couldn't help it! I have erased several 'jokes' from this bio. most of them cheap jokes about Maedhros and Fingon's "relationship". ;) )

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, or at least finished reading half of it before falling soundly sleep on they keyboards. And yes I did use Maedhros’s Quenya and Sindarin name in that last sentence (tut, tut!) but it was to sound oh so dramatic and stuff.

    Published Silmarillion
    Unfinished Tales
    Letters of Tolkien
    War of the Jewels (HoME 11)
    Peoples of Middle-Earth (HoME 12)
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2003
  3. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    I think the later form Maedros was due to the new idea arising in The Shibboleth of Feanor, as there we have maed 'shapely'.

    Confusingly, before this, differences between -dh- and -d- were arguably due to anglicization. This is noted back in the older Etymologies for example, where Maidhros meaning 'Pale Glitter (of metal)' is said to be anglicized Maidros.

    But as you correctly point out, we have a new idea later on, and though I'm no expert I think with Maedros -- by the time it becomes a Sindarization of Quenya names and means 'Shapely + red-brown haired' that is -- we have -d- as the regular spelling. In other words, I think it's not an anglicization of -dh- here.

    Maedhros was taken up for the 1977 Silmarillion just like Amrod and Amras, two more names that were altered (or shifted in the case of Amrod) within the revised tale. The names from the Shibboleth are very wound up with the later story, a story not used for the published Silmarillion.

    Technically the change to Maedron is characterized as a 'later' note, though referred to by Christopher Tolkien within the notes to The Problem Of ROS of course. This is pedantic enough I admit, but in my opinion it helps to explain Tolkien's proposed (but failed) solution to his problem.

    I would say that Feanor did not dislike the sound of S. This occured naturally in Quenya and he protested a merging of sounds, a change also criticised by loremasters '... who pointed out that the damage this merging would do in confusing stems and their derivatives that had been distinct in sound and sense had not yet been sufficiently considered'. Feanor was opposed to þ > s, not already existing s.

    Also, I think Tolkien was sure of the meaning of -ros and how it fit into Maedros and Amros. It meant 'red-brown' and referred to hair in these cases. Tolkien had another -ros occuring in Elros, and this meant 'foam, spray'.

    JRRT's (primary) problem here was that he thought these two homophones were unconnectable in meaning yet both Eldarin. To solve this he attempted to characterize -ros 'foam, spray' as hailing from Beorian rather, a Mannish language -- thus the problem would be solved -- as both would not be Eldarin in any case.

    Maedros and Elros were not to change (Elros had been in print, and the note written at the same time as the essay implied Maedros would not be changed). Here Elros would have an older form Elroth, and so his name could connect to Elwing and Rothinzil... but this failed because ros meaning 'foam spray' could not be Beorian...

    ... as already published Cair Andros was Sindarin (Eldarin), and already said to mean 'Ship of Long Foam'.

    So the failed solution really had little to do with Maedros, which was still going to retain its form and meaning. Maedron might have been a second attempt to deal with this problem, but all we have (so far) is the declaration of Maedros to Maedron, with no details surrounding this alteration, or what it might mean for other 'russa, ros' names, if anything.

    They inherited this from Nerdanel's kin, but the mixing of names conflates the different concepts. I realize most people know the 1977 Silmarillion forms in any case, so that's why you chose these forms here, but technically, as both the twins were named Ambarussa, both would have Sindarized forms as Amros. Russa is the Quenya part yielding -ros (Russandol with Maedros)

    Amrod now connects to the 7th son, becoming a probable Sindarization of Ambarto if he had lived -- but in this conception he did not live past the burning of the ships at Losgar, when the Noldor spoke Quenya still, and by his death Nerdanel's Umbarto 'the Fated' was revealed as the true form. And so (even though dead), when referred to he was called Amarthan in Sindarin, 'Fated one'.

    There are even more names or details to consider from The Shibboleth of Feanor story, but that's the shorter version.
  4. Confusticated

    Confusticated Registered User

    That is the case. I just want to say that I am confidant Inderjit knows this, (as someone who used to talk to him over Messenger almost daily regarding the Noldor and everything concerning them from HoME 10-12) but failed to word his meaning properly. Maybe Inderjit will return to clarify his profile then and address your commentary.
  5. Galin

    Galin Registered User

    I hope Inderjit does return. Also, I've been wondering about...

    I'm not sure this is the chronology intended however. Looking at the description from the letter...

    Using what we have of The Tale of Years, it looks like there's about 42 years for the War of Wrath, but the letter seems to say that Elros and Elrond were 'infants' when left in the woods. Even given the description in Laws And Customs about Elven growth (though Elrond and Elros were technically not Elves in any case), it still doesn't seem to work well if they were infants more than forty years after the raid on Sirion.

    Also, as Tolkien's nomenclature can go hand in hand with story, and we know that according to later text the name Elrond no longer means (as it appears to here) *Elf of the Cave, I'm wondering if the detail survived that he was found in a cave.

    According to Quenta Silmarillion Elrond and Elros were fostered of course, but reading this letter as it stands (as if I did not know the Silmarillion tale), I read it as: the Feanoreans took the sons of Earendil captive -- but didn't slay them -- leaving them in the cave. In other words not years later, but right after the attack on Sirion.

    It appears to be Inderjit's reading that it was the Feanoreans who left Elrond and Elros -- I agree, but again I think the letter implies Elrond and Elros were left not long after being abducted, and if so, it would seem that we would then have no fostering.

    Perhaps this letter represents a variant history? something along the lines of Dior's sons maybe, I don't know. In any case it seems odd phrasing to me if Tolkien meant that many years after taken captive, and after the War of Wrath even, the sons of Earendil were left as infants in a cave.

    I'm not sure who was supposed to have found Elrond and Elros within the conception (or interpretation) that they were left just after the attack on Sirion -- but if the sons of Feanor intended to foster them, why leave them in the first place? or if JRRT imagined that someone in the Feanorean camp later repented and 'found' them, for example, why leave that arguably notable detail out?

    Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but this letter seems curious to me :*D

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